Week 7 of Life in COVID-19 Land


Well it's been nearly two months since we started self isolation. Since that last trip, I've been in the physical presence of four strangers which is pretty remarkable (always masked up). Some notes on living this way:

  1. Goodness, nerds like me are dangerous, but a combination of Zoom and work keeps me busy. This is hard, but knowing that people are always home does mean that if your family ducks, they are really ducking you 🙂
  2. Doing something. It is really hard to know that there is so much hardship everyone, but picking up something (anything really) to focus on is good for the soul and good for people. We've been investing in non-profits by donating masks and for those of you with computer skills, it is a great time to help people. Let me know if you want to!
  3. The small things, this is a great time to learn. Basically every conference is now available free on the web. ICLR, for instance, was completely free and you don't have to travel. Also, there are so many great webinars on this that its a good time to learn.
  4. Exercise. Well, that's a problem, but a good book tape plus a set of stairs is all that you need. I can do an hour's walk that way. Finally hat tip to Steve and Brad, having a trainer and a bicycle has been good. I've been horrible about really focused training. I have found Zwift kind of fun (they own Sufferfest and SpeedPlay now too!), but Trainer Road at least for me is serious and hard. The training regimes are good. Zwift has the same thing, but I find Trainer Road more focused. This is a great time to get into FTP improvement, these things are just an hour or two and slay you.
  5. Managing your time, having your computer announce on the half hour what you are doing is essential, so you don't lose track. Also having Trello with scrum points is great too. I just estimate how long something takes where 1 point is one hour and that works pretty well. I've been trying out Asana as well, but the simplicity of the layout of Trello is pretty compelling. Asana has more complex layouts and is somewhere between Trello and Jira. Personally, if things get complicated, I move from Trello right to Github.
  6. Hydration. Man, you do get thirsty at a computer. Having a water bottle really helps.
  7. Multiple screens are pretty essential when you do this much work from home. I have four right now. There is the main 32" screen and using Divvy to divide that monitor up into four pieces is important. This lets you have your Zoom call in the upper left and you can see the slides on the upper right. Then you can leave work to do in the lower right and left. That way you do not "lose" things. The MacBook screen, I leave my project management stuff on there. Then I have an iPad Pro on the right. This has just one thing, the router bandwidth. Debugging this is essential in the real world. The final thing is new, a Facebook Portal. Yes, I know it's nerdy, but there are times when you want to do a quick call and you have another Zoom going. And you want to listen to a third (which I can do with my iPhone and AirPods). ugh, does that sound nerdy 🙂

Finally hats off to all the delivery folks and people out on the front lines working. That isn't easy. I would say 90% do not have masks or gloves, so we've started just giving them to drivers and so forth. It would help if it became the new norm. Sigh.

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