Iterative Update – COVID-19
If anyone follows my blog or my updates on social media, they may be interested in knowing how things are where I'm at. I'll give a summary of that and some slightly vague descriptions of what I do and where I am, since I am not very keen to the thought of publicly posting my location or place of work.
Currently, I'm somewhere in Central/Southern Texas. A lot of places have either shut down or shortened their hours and only allowed to-go/drive-thru orders at this point in time to try and combat spreading of the virus. I'm in an area of Texas where there's a bit of an abundance of medical centers, so I don't think we're in a huge danger of not being able to provide for care for the outbreak, that is if people can afford it...
Self-quarantining isn't exactly a popular method it seems. I personally, and my family, have been doing what we can to limit any outside exposure during this time, but I can say with confidence this isn't the social norm down here. A lot of the population seem generally unafraid or uncaring about the disease spreading, and a decent population are still going out regularly. The streets are still somewhat crowded with cars, and the only thing stopping people are the various businesses shutting down, which mainly have been happening because of limitations imposed federally and by our governor.
State of work
Thankfully, the management at my place of employment has been adamant and welcoming of working remotely. I'm not personally in much danger of contracting the virus during work hours, and this seems to be a direction that the customer is working actively towards accomplishing across the board as well, at least over here. There are still a few issues here and there with getting used to this workflow from everyone, but overall things seem to have transitioned fairly smoothly.
Forced Separation – Public Pandemonium
Grocery stores have been constantly out of stock and have long lines. The local ones are even trying to hire more employees to deal with the huge demand. While the public generally seems to act like they don't care much about the virus spreading, they certainly don't reflect that in this case. Additionally, we're already seeing the closure of business bring a lot of people to start applying for unemployment. A bill attempting to help pay for sick leave as well can't come soon enough for us.
On an adjacent note, I'd like to bring up that a lot of the population here lives paycheck to paycheck and has family to support. They cannot handle a month of no business, smaller paychecks, or outright being laid off. It's something that I wish I could help more with, and that I really want to bring attention to in this article.
Stay at home. Stay decentralized.
To conclude this piece, I want to talk about what I think this isolation is going to affect that seems to not be covered much yet in the general media – the unintentional DDOS of centralized services. In an attempt to not use this as a way to say “look how great decentralized services are! Stop using X service!” I want to clarify that this section is more about spreading awareness of a possible future issue and less about trying to advertise a solution.
As we continue to see more and more cities, countries, and nations close their borders and encourage citizens to self-quarantine and isolate themselves, it is inevitable that those citizens will turn to the internet to satiate their social and entertainment needs. Be aware, reader, that the infrastructures created to maintain most internet services are not equipped to handle most or all possible internet traffic at all hours all the time. I would encourage everyone to use decentralized options when possible. Watch a movie on Plex instead of Netflix, post on Mastodon instead of Twitter, Chat on Riot/Matrix instead of Telegram, make a phone call instead of a Discord VC.
This period of time is going to not only be a test of society's ability to distance themselves from others and isolate, but a test of the general Internet's infrastructure capabilities as a whole. And of course, most importantly: – Wash your hands – Stay inside
Hope you all stay safe, see you on the fediverse.