A swiftly shifting world

I expected a lot of blame throwing and politicizing of events, but the brazenness of some of it is surprising. Everywhere that has government-run healthcare (like CHINA) shortages and inefficiencies are the norm, yet when we are not at shortages YET people are already saying that it is TRUMP’S response that will result in death panels, and a government take-over of healthcare is going to be required to stave off the worst effects. When he imposed travel bans he was called racist, now that we have dead they say he could have done more (but they never really say WHAT, given the information and political reality at the time). They accuse him of being a fascists (like it’s a bad thing) while demanding the Federal government require all manufacturers to build ventilators and medical equipment, and require all healthcare facilities to have a stockpile of such things on hand (like that would be a good thing)… which is a centrally run/planed privately-owned economy… which IS FASCISM, economically-speaking! Man, the lack of self-awareness and critical thinking by some people is staggering.

Trump’s use of the Defense Production Act to get domestic manufacturers to produce, on an expedited emergency basis, things like ventilators will be fascinating to watch. Can American business shift production to radically different products like Ford, Singer, and Kaiser did in WWII? Can we re-enact a modern version of the Arsenal of Democracy? We’ll know by summer. If so, them America is well on its way to getting the mojo back. If not, it will tell us just how far gone American manufacturing was hollowed out.

But there is another aspect that is interesting. We are in a rapidly shifting work environment. A much greater amount of work is being done from home. What effects does this have beyond the obvious, things like a very light commute? Go check out prices and availability of web-cams as an example. Prices are WAY up, and “in stock” is spotty. A Logitech C920 hi-def that cost me $70 last year is now unavailable, and comparable models are something like a hundred bucks more. Everyone suddenly wants to teleconference and they discovered their laptop webcam cameras are total crap. Which leads me to….

I was talking with my neighbor. He normally gets a network bandwidth of something like 20-30 megabits/ sec, occasionally when tethering he can hit 100 megabits. Now he’s down to 2 to 4 megabits…. because everyone is phoning it in. Classes are on line. Kids are home doing video games when they’d normally be at school. People are rushing around trying to find homeschooling content and educational videos. Things that are normally entirely on internal-to-company networks at Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Google, school districts, etc., are all being done over local residential infrastructure. This is an affluent area with pretty good bandwidth normally. It’s noticeably slower for me, with definite peaks and valleys of performance. It will be interesting to see what sort of upgrades the local carriers do to deal with the problem long-term.

2 thoughts on “A swiftly shifting world

  1. My laptop has a good camera, and our teleconferencing software supports it. But I leave it off; there is no reason I can see for using it. Without the video, bandwidth demands are very modest.

    1. Certainly different jobs have different needs. As a teacher, I need to be able to remotely verify that it’s the actual student doing the work on tests and quizzes for example, and that’s very hard to do audio only. But yes, for a lot of people video isn’t needed.

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