The Actuator – March 25th

This week's Actuator comes to you from my home office, where I’ll be located for the foreseeable future. We’ve successfully completed the first week of a three-week school closure. Last night we watched the documentary “Contagion,” so I fully expect this situation to last longer than just three weeks.

As always, here's a bunch of links I hope you find useful. Enjoy!

9 Cybersecurity Takeaways as COVID-19 Outbreak Grows
A decent list to share for awareness, and I like the call for "common sense", which we know is not too common.

Sickness Monitoring is the Opening Video Surveillance Has Been Waiting For
I think we are all familiar with governments doing a "power-grab" during times of crisis. Extending that to the use of tech is an interesting take.

US government reportedly in talks with tech companies on how to use location data in COVID-19 fight
As I was saying. Here's another example where tech could be used to help, but also chip away at our civil liberties.

Google has completely canceled Google I/O 2020
Last week I attended the Microsoft MVP Summit. We used Teams, and it worked brilliantly. For Google to cancel it shows they either could not make a virtual event work, or they don't see their event has having a real benefit to their business. Either way, this is a bit shocking to me.

Why we’re not overreacting to the coronavirus, in one chart
It's worth understanding why the precautions are taking place, and how long we need to keep taking them.

The do’s and don’ts of video conferencing
Because we all need a reminder of how to do a proper video call. 

Californians can now order alcoholic beverages to go
Finally, some good news!

When you find yourself in isolation, it’s nice knowing your local brewery has your back.



Top Comments

  • The booze-to-go article sort of makes sense--for people who follow the law and who aren't inconvenienced by having to store the alcohol in the car's trunk before leaving the drive-through.

    I've never quite understood the mentality of drive-through liquor purchases, nor of putting liquor stores in the medians of highways or freeways.  Facilitating driving while under the influence of any drug seems a poor idea to me.  Why make it easier when the alcohol isn't even necessary?

    To be fair, folks eat and drive all the time, and my state says that's a no-no.  But although I might joke about being addicted to a particular burger or sandwich from a chain, having a couple while driving IS distracting.  Yet they don't slow my response time to emergent situations twenty miles down the road like two beers would.

  • The story about best practices for video conferencing is a good one.  But it doesn't go far enough.  Someone accustomed to their home environment can easily fall into old/bad habits while listening to others on the video conference, forgetting they can see everyone's face.

    Yawning (even on mute), eye-rolling after statements, indicating boredom via any expression or activity, tapping on nervously out of habit on the desktop with fingers or a pencil, cracking one's knuckles . . . these things and many others will make a poor impression on your peers.   You wouldn't do them in person; treat that video camera like you ARE in-person at the meeting and you'll be off to a great start.

  • I'm glad Google's taking the pandemic seriously.  Closing down their convention seems to be the most responsible action.

  • There's something about the government wanting more location data about each of us, gathered from our cell phones, that automatically gets my hackles up.  I like to think living in "The Land of The Free" means we're free from that kind of Big Brother spying and information gathering.

    On the other hand, I don't immediately see a risk to my freedom or happiness.  I DO see risks of being better targeted for advertising ("Hey! He's driving near a restaurant!  Flood his e-mail and Instant Messaging with advertisements for that chain!"), which would annoy me to no end.

    Much worse, if that private and personal information were compromised or stolen:  "OK, everyone's left that home.  Let's get the breaking and entering equipment and head there for some easy pickings, since we can tell from their cell phone travel history that the house will be empty for the next six hours."

    I'm all for helping contain COVID-19.  But I don't want the data to become available to anyone who can (or will) use it to do anything other than help contain COVID-19.

  • Hmmm . . . our president claiming something that makes him look better & sound like he's intelligent, yet it turns out his claim is false?

    His track record prevents me from being surprised.

    And his statements bring stress and misinformation to good people?  Again, this is a repeating pattern.  And no surprise.