If I am lucky, this week will be a return to normal working hours and stress levels. If I am not lucky, well…

🎵 Today’s listen: “The Third Gleam” by The Avett Brothers. I had no idea this album existed and am thrilled it does. It is more lovely music from one of my favorite bands.

This article, about the uselessness of blockchain for just about anything, really tickled me. I have given training on blockchain and have described it as a vector for criminal activity (such as ransomware) that wasn’t possible before.

Kamala Harris Goes Beyond the White Pantsuit

Come on, New York Times. This type of article is sexist and demeaning. What is Joe Biden wearing? What does it mean?

🎵 Today’s listen: “Gimme Fiction” by Spoon. I remember not liking this record as much as Spoon’s earlier work, but whatever criticisms I have had of it are long forgotten. It is great.

Coronavirus is in the air. Here’s how to get it out.

Brian Resnick’s article on Vox summarizes some of the issues we are all facing in the back-to-school period. Coronavirus is in the air, and being indoors with an infected person for a prolonged time increases the viral load that one is exposed to. This is critical to understand.

As Derek Thompson observes in the Atlantic, a lot of places have put on a big show about cleaning surfaces — what he calls “hygiene theater” — though surface contamination is not thought to be a large source of Covid-19 transmission.

Making places safer, instead, should mean improving air quality. But “have you ever heard a restaurant reopening announce they’ve improved ventilation or increased ventilation?” Lidia Morawska, an engineer and the director of the International Laboratory for Air Quality and Health at Queensland University of Technology, recently told me. “No.”

The “hygiene theater” of surface cleaning is already entrenched in mask wearing. Mask wearing is critical to reducing disease transmission from a public health perspective, but masks aren’t magical COVID-19 blockers, especially when people are wearing them around their chins or taking them off before they sneeze (seriously, I have seen this in the grocery store). I think that a lot of people believe lots of activities, like sitting in a classroom all day, are OK as long as everyone wears masks, at least most of the time. I don’t believe that—at least not at a time in which Covid cases are climbing, and outbreaks have been traced to gatherings of people indoors or families sharing a home.

I am concerned that in schools, restaurants, and other public places, “ventilation theater” will soon run rampant. We will be promised that “ventilation system improvements” will protect us, our children, and our grandparents, even when most buildings can’t be redesigned to circulate or scrub the air with any real effectiveness. The article points this out, too:

Remember: Hygiene theater is possible when it comes to air quality as well. If a school or any indoor space says it has improved ventilation, ask how. Marr suggests asking building operators what the air exchange rate is (if they don’t know it, maybe be wary about the space). Ask about what filters have been put in place. Ask if their HVAC systems have been routinely maintained.

I do wonder when things will go back to pre-Covid normal. I am advocating opening windows and using window fans to exchange inside- and outside air, to the extent that is possible, in public buildings. Most places I can think of aren’t really designed for that, unfortunately.

Stormy weather. I am glad I’m inside.

We’re having a morning thunderstorm right now. The sky is black. The barometric pressure is low. It is making me so sleepy!

I spent some time tonight editing vacation photos, mainly because I was too tired to do any programming or work any overtime. It feels good to start the process of sorting, editing, and sharing them with the family. Last year I took way too long to get to it, and I felt bad.

I basically figure that I am old and anxiety-ridden now, because my big, exciting delivery from Amazon contained a Withings Thermo and a pulse oximeter. I need to have things on hand in case I or anyone in my family needs them.

🎵 There’s a new EP by Norah Jones.

Apple Music 1” is not nearly as fun to say as Beats 1.

I very much enjoyed listening to Antony Johnson’s interview of Dan Moren on the Writing and Breathing podcast. I am reading through Dan Moren’s Galactic Cold War series now, which is a fun “spies in space” space opera.

📺 I finally watched “Picard” this week. Overall, I enjoyed it, but I thought the ending was a mess and a cop-out. I was king of hoping for the “Logan” version of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” (something dark and elegiac and serious from start to finish) but “Picard” started that way and retreated into magical Star Trek silliness. I’m not sure I’ll be on board for season 2.

I am reading on the porch, during a steady, soothing rain, after a large meal with my family. It is nice to relax sometimes.

The Good Sudoku game has really grown on me. Despite some early bugs, which were quickly fixed, and some night mode colors that really don’t work for me, I find the app very appealing. The gameplay choices really streamline the game and make it easy to focus on the logic rather than the busywork of solving.

We are getting a ton of rain today in New Hampshire. I enjoy the rain when I am out in the woods a lot more than I do at home.

If I had a NY Times crossword micro blog, my posts would consist solely of the puzzle date and “blerg!” or “hmm…” Tuesday, December 21, 2010 definitely merits a “blerg!” from me.

I am on vacation with my family, enjoying simpler things like walking outside.

I was amazed this week to learn that my Game Boy Advance, which is nearly 18 years old still holds a charge and works perfectly. (The screen sure is dim, though, but maybe it always was.) My Sony PSP, which is nowhere near as old, is completely dead.

Apparently, iPhone 12 price leaks are suggesting expensive prices in line with what we have today for the iPhone 11. My phone of choice would cost about $1,200, and I’m not sure it’s worth it. Wait till October when I buy it with cash. 😂

I am astounded by the sheer number of keyboard shortcuts I have memorized, and how I can keep them straight across applications and devices.

The best tech thing I did all week was to create a PowerShell script that opens the most recently created file in a particular folder, and then map that script execution to a keyboard shortcut via AutoHotKey. I’m using it to quickly launch the reports I am generating for work.

My work computer is generating data extracts in Excel via a PowerShell script, and I’m afraid to use it for anything else right now!

I’m working really, really hard this week. (Sigh.) I’m hoping for a chance to take a breath later this week.