First day of Spring. How are you doing?
It’s been a week since the Conseil Fédéral announced the closing of the schools and limited public gatherings, but it feels more than that. Several additional steps have been taken since to slow down our rhythm of life and prevent people from moving and gathering by imposing social distancing. All non-essential stores are closed since Monday evening. The national railways (CFF/SBB) have revised their schedules, reducing the number of running trains.
University research has been put on hold, except for virology research, particularly concerning SARS-CoV-2, no more in person lectures this semester and remote working and teaching solutions are being deployed with varying levels of success.
After last week’s announcement, people panicked and started stock pile food and sanitary products. I’d never seen anything like it. I’ve just returned from our local Coop, and despite their efforts to replenish the shelves, some remain completely empty. Many people acted by imitation. “He took two paquets of this, maybe I should too”… The social networks just amplified this mouvement and behaviours. We are creating our own shortages…
I stopped commuting to my office last Tuesday even-though I work alone. Only a week ago, I imagined I would commute on my bike and take advantage of the general slow down, but I decided to minimise my outings following the federal recommendations.
I started planning how I could work from home a couple of weeks ago. I ordered a LG 4K monitor (not the Apple one) and picked up a standing desk and sit/stand stool on Monday morning, only hours before the non essential stores were ordered to close.
The four of us are at home full time now. I’m working in a corner of the living room, while Mathias has transformed his bedroom into a workshop and paints mostly at night. Luckily, he managed to bring home most of what he needs to continue painting, including large canvases, wooden frames and paint, before the HEAD closed down.
Emma is getting accustomed to interacting via Google Classroom and organising her time accordingly, while trying not to worry too much for her Maturité (aka A levels) exams. Fabienne closed her salon Monday evening, and has been in touch with her clients since. We are slowly finding the right balance in space and time.
We are lucky to live in a relatively large flat, close the countryside, with a balcony. We have a supermarket only minutes away, and can go walking in the nature without meeting many people.
Our local community is getting organised to protect and help the most vulnerable among us, by organising trips to the food stores or chemists. An initiative of our young adults that setup two hotlines, and went flat by flat to propose their services (while keeping their distances).
Several of us have opened our Plex servers to families and friends confined at home, thanks to the bandwidth provided by fibre optics. I’ve been helping friends remotely to refurbish their old Mac laptops and iMacs to increase the number of computers in their family. Downloading old versions of macOS and creating bootdrives goes a long way.
My professional activities being mostly online, and thus haven’t changed much. My week was mostly spent testing and setting up remote work procedures and teaching tools for my academic colleagues. We meet online via Skype, Cisco Meetings or Zoom. In the proicess, I discovered Whereby which is neat application to meet online (free for 4 participants) to chat while working.
On the tech side, I’ve noticed that my MacBook Pro 13” (16/512/i5) handles Cisco Meetings better if the monitor is not plugged in. While no match for my 5K iMac, this little laptop does the job nicely. I’m still considering repatriating my iMac though.
SWITCHdrive had trouble scaling to handle the increasing traffic, but seems to be okay now. On the other hand Dropbox or kDrive didn’t budge. Infomaniak is extending their 90 days free trial. For now, our telecom infrastructures are holding up to the increased load and bandwidth demand, but several streaming services have decided to reduce their streaming bitrates in Europe.
All this to say that we are all finding ways to live together while continuing our activities and helping out around us. We are in this all together, and need to stick together to get out of it in the best possible conditions.
Stay safe, stay healthy.
Worth reading :
- COVID‑19 Information & Resources by Google
- Some people by Jason Kottke
- Coronavirus and public trust by Michael Blastland
- Interview of Effy Vayena «Les crises de cette ampleur tendent un miroir à nos sociétés» by Céline Zünd
- Local by Jeremy Keith
- Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve” by Harry Stevens
- Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance by Tomas Pueyo
- Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now by Tomas Pueyo