News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, January 9, 2009

Reston's Vibrant Economy Part 32: Footloose and Fancy-Free

After moving its headquarters from Reston to corn fritter-intensive Kansas, Sprint Netxel has laid off 160 people from its Herndon building because, hey, who needs high-speed wireless access from their fancy phones when you can't even get a decent signal for a voice call?

The layoffs will come from staff at Sprint's building that operates laboratories and offices for its former WiMax brand Xohm. Xohm merged with Clearwire of Kirkland, Wash., in November in a $12 billion deal that involved investments from Google, Intel and cable operators Comcast, Time Warner and Bright House. While most of the assets were transferred to Clearwire in the merger, Sprint retained employees and operations at its Xohm building.

Sprint said that after the merger, some employees were offered jobs at Sprint and some at Clearwire; the layoffs will come from the remaining employees. The job cuts will take effect in late March, the company said.

Spokesman Rich Pesce said operations at the Herndon building will be "scaled back." He did not say which jobs will be eliminated and if any former Xohm employees will remain at the Herndon Xohm building.
But never fear! Reston's economy is dynamic and full of entrepreneurs just ready to pounce on the Next Big Idea and smother its face in the 1970s shag carpeting. Metaphorically speaking, of course. There's that whole business with the pirates, and now there's, which is bringing the fancy, wheelbarrows-o-money-making "Web 2.0" paradigm all the kids are talking about these days to helping college kids cheat on tests. is the brainchild of Glynn LoPresti, Michael Rihani and Patrick Gartlan, graduates of Virginia Tech, where the term "koofers" was coined in the 1940s. The three launched the site 18 months ago and have seen business flourish, allowing them to set up shop this fall in an office in tech-heavy Reston.

The site works like this: Students log on to the site for free. Once there, they can either upload old tests, quizzes and study guides onto the site, or search for ones already there. Students also can critique courses and professors, or view grades given in a course they are planning to take.

"We are absolutely concerned about academic integrity," said LoPresti, 35, the company's chief executive officer, when asked if viewing koofers was considered academically honest. "I've been asked is this is the end of the world of academics," the Ashburn resident added. "We don't help people cheat ... All we want is a level playing field for all students."
Sweet. Maybe we'll find a test for the Blogging 101 course we're currently taking.

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