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back to article Help! I’m trapped inside the Chamber of Hollers

There’s this guy in the office who sits ten feet behind me. Lovely bloke, diligent worker, cares passionately about his job, loud voice. Oh yes indeed, a really loud voice. It doesn’t seem to matter that there’s an office divider between us, his voice is as clear and piercing as if he was sitting next to me. It’s not even an …

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Windows

Sounds like you need to take a lead from this organ's own BOFH. Just remember to hang on to the roll of carpet after you take it up ...

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Megaphone

ah, the perils of working for megacorp

I used to work in a cube farm, and then my new laptop arrived. I then ordered a cd-bay battery and more memory. The memory allowed EcoScope and remote Sniffer to run well, and the additional battery allowed me to work from the smoking area from 8 to 4:30, thus removing me from the echoey, how-many-conversations-can-you-hear-at-once cube farm.

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Anonymous Coward

Something that worked a bit with one chap...

Stroll up behind the offending party and turn down the imaginary volume control between the shoulder blades. Seemed less confrontational than shouting STFU. I won't pretend it resulted in silence, but things moderated a tad.

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Re: Something that worked a bit with one chap...

Would this be the 2 x 4 sort of volume control or the oversized wrench sort of volume control?

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Re: Something that worked a bit with one chap...

Whatever you do, don't touch the bass and treble controls round the front, and the on/off lever is a definite no-no

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Megaphone

Re: Something that worked a bit with one chap...

A while ago there was a Japanese chap who created a nice tool with a directional mic and a directional loudspeaker to throw the shouty voice back to the shouty person with a slight delay - very irritating. And silencing.

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Joke

He SAYS Leith

Really he's from Edinburgh and is just trying to make himself look trendy

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Re: He SAYS Leith

I seem to remeber that Leith Docks was not known for being chic....... It was very popular amongst a certain kind of Gentry ansd Sailors.

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Holmes

Re: He SAYS Leith

and then came Trainspotting (the book rather then film)....

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Pint

@HolyFreakinGhost Re: He SAYS Leith

I think what he's getting at is that the success of Trainspotting put Leith on the literary map (the author's from there you see - imagine...) and this contributed to the perceived gentrification of the area around that time. I'd say there was a lot more to it than that, but that's what a lot of people pick up on as some sort of catalyst.

And I say "perceived" because there's still an ambulance rank outside Swanny's [no relation] Bar most of the week :(

All together now: "Ho! Bawbag! Yir gettin' burst!"

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A couple of my mates used to be cops in Leith

They couldn't be sacked as one was pissed all the time and the other had a lisp.

I'll get my tunic

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Somehow this reminds me of my parents in law, who (after a career teaching mentally less agile people, to put it mildly) were used to settle every argument by the application of equal parts of authoritarianism and volume (they still go at it hammer and tongs at each other, producing Pythonesque near infinite loops of "Yes it is! No it isn't!") .

They found out the hard way that this did not work on a scientist with a voice that some have compared to Brian Blessed in full spate (but only when I talk enthusiastically about anything or am just plain angry).

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Coat

Pop round to Studiospares and grab a couple of acoustic tiles. Place one on each side of your cubicle, around ear height, and marvel at how you can't hear sharp , annoying treble unless it reflects off something.

The invoice is in the post.

Mine's the one with a copy of Psychoacoustic Weekly in the pocket.

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re: Place one on each side of your cubicle

Would it not be better to treat Mr. Shouty's cubicle?

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drywall and phone rooms

dividing a big open space up a bit can make a huge difference in noise. Developers generally don't have a need to be on the phone, so you can help these problems a lot by having small, non-reservable conference rooms with good sound absorption. Encourage people to go to these rooms for calls by refusing to give people proper phones on their desks ("here's a usb headset with a busted mic and some terrible software that takes 10 minutes to startup") and generally giving them dirty looks. Use these rooms for any vociferous arguments. Stick the noisy departments like sales/marketing in their own area with some decent walls around it.

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"successive landlords casually slapped multiple coats of cheap satin magnolia over once-intricate Victorian ceiling roses"

Some ignoramus has turned what was probably quite nice molding all round the room, into a series of shapeless white blobs using this method.

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Megaphone

Your forgetting one thing in all of this ...

Marjorie ... DAMNNNN!

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Re: Your forgetting one thing in all of this ...

Marjorie may have won the war...but she hasn't wont the battle!

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Anonymous Coward

tall / short

just a word, or two.

is the person tall,

you might find that they miss out on conversations at a lower level, so end up compensating by being louder.

is the person hard of hearing in one ear.

Although they can hear in a quiet room, if there are other noises around they will loose resolving power,

they cant hear the conversation on the other side of the room,

Do they have tinnitus,

it make hearing some times quiet difficult.

I have all of these, 'problems'

the result is I am loud, as my brain is always compensating for something that is not there.

I have to force my self to talk soft such that I can not hear myself ,

its rather like talking when you have loud head phones on, its very hard to talk quiet.

try it.

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There goes my massive once in a lifetime coincidence

Sitting on a deck at 5am in Brisbane watching old episodes of Blackadder on my phone while reading news articles on my tablet. Clicked on a Register story about Steve Jobs, and then saw a story about hollering. Clicked on that and simultaneously had that scene from Blackadder on both my phone and tablet.

What are the chances of that? I was hoping the biggest coincidence in my life would be a bit more profound.

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Accoustic tricks...

If you want to cut down on echos you need surfaces that don't reflect (d'uh) or if you can't avoid some reflecting surfaces, stop them reflecting continually by making them a bit "pissed", that's UK pissed, not US pissed (you can try US pissed, but in my experience, casting aspersions on the marital status of the divider's parents is usually unsuccessful).

Anyway, sound bounces about like a ball (minus gravity), so making the place a bit wonky will bounce the sound off into one corner where it can die).

It's also a good way to drive arty-farty creative designer type from the building, they'll hate all the non 90 degree angles.

Add a few soft furnishings (mediaeval banqueting hall wall hangings style) and you should be good to go.

Alternatively put half a dozen cloth bags over the noisy Scot.

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