Shadow

Change is a Monster!

Welcome to the inner sanctum. My remote office away from home across the wet, muddy path that leads to the shed within a shed. A fortress of solitude where one can contemplate complex and fascinating problems that have baffled even the most brilliant intellectual sectors. Under a dimly lit LED that reflects off the 70’s SciFi influenced aluminum foil bubble wrap that insulates each wall, I toil away as the wind howls, thunder claps, and rain beats against the outer hull. (for this inner sanctum reminds me of a ship adrift on a sea of perplexities)

Well used computers, and monitors display multiple terminal screens of data. Information on many things relegated to the command line or the shell – some trivial and some of intrigue. Processed bits and bytes of standard output regarding topics such as weather, news, and plots of system information. Here I spend the late hours among an assortment of vintage analog electronic testing novelties from days long past. This has evolved over the years into my humble workshop of alchemy……computer alchemy to be more specific. This is where I can test tinker and play with interesting new and old operating systems, hardware manipulations and often useless applications…….all in the name of computer enthusiasm.

While the world binges on Netflix and overloads on all things Covid-19, I have used this “opportunity” to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, review the latest Chromebook updates, ponder upcoming Apple product release rumors, and prepare for the next Windows 10 update to version 2004. (the one that promises real time packet monitoring) This time has been useful for trying out various Linux spins, exploring a multitude of creative audio, video, and publishing solutions. even resurrecting old laptops and forgotten Android tablets. I’m also realizing it’s time for a well deserved equipment upgrade. Usually I have only finite amounts of time to peruse this unconventional hobby of mine. Now with limited travel time, I have a little more, and for reasons I would have never imagined before this year.

This ain’t the summer of 1969, and it’s not quite the summer of love. The job market is hosed, Layoffs, furloughs, business closures, millions out of work, and patience for longer lock downs is wearing thin. This could be a bad mix for a heated summer. Tempers could add to an already atmosphere of angst. A second spike in Covid-19 related deaths and hospitalizations would be very bad. Will there be an economic boost, or will the whole system collapse under all the stress? Throw in an election year, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster…..Situation Critical? Maybe in the movies. Reality isn’t that clear cut, but why not be prepared just in case.

Meanwhile my inner sanctum now serves full time as my home office. Out here in the land of muck and mud not much has changed. The Covid-19 pandemic lock downs do change the way we shop for limited groceries, essentials (coffee) and limits interaction with friends and family.

The hope is that the health situation is getting better, and the probability of infection begins to wane as temperatures start to rise to normal seasonal levels. A continuing rise in infections and deaths are being predicted by some University models, but nevertheless any rise for either is not wanted, and a second peak or prolonged wave possibly in the fall/winter flu season could exasperate the work from home/lock-down situation.

I should probably think about adding better insulation to my workshop. March was cold, but not as cold and snowy as November through February could be next year. This first wave was very educational for many. I think I’d like to be a little more comfortable if I have to spend 60 – 80 hours a week (60+ hrs for actual “work”) hunkering down in the inner sanctum during brutal winter weather. This workspace is practically sea worthy, but long underwear is sometimes essential on blustery November days.

Some may have prepped for the end of the world, but who thought we’d be working from home during the Apocalypse? Who brings a printer to their fallout shelter? Some may for the next global calamity. What will the next challenges be?

Beware of whispers of civil unrest, round two of the virus, economic collapse, infrastructure instability, and even more troublesome Windows update frustrations.……………….all equally frightening! Some will say all dreaded predictions are inevitable. So it goes in a world of misinformation and fake news. As in any overly complex system, breakdowns are often possible, but not all failures play out as one might think. Overly ambitious event modeling might not be any more accurate than a wild guess.

I will simply build a better workshop with what I learned throughout this last few months of bizarre societal challenges. In any event, it’s always handy to a have workshop for puttering around in.

Modernization is key, supporting mobility will replace many if not all legacy setups that can’t or won’t leverage the evolution to a remotely dispersed organization or workforce. On the far end (where I work) learning to use new tools for access and collaboration will be (and currently is) a necessity

Toilet paper caches, limited quantities on permitted purchases of canned chili and tuna, designer face masks, alternatively produced hand sanitizer, Zoom meetings which later many were pushed to Microsoft Teams, VPNs, assorted web based training, Tele-medicine doctor visits, and long drawn out PowerPoint presentations are now “Things we deal with in this new phase”…..but rest assured someone out there is fumbling with a fax machine…….in this brave new world.

Change can be a big bad monster. The pandemic has forced many into working with technologies, processes, security provisions, and formats that may have never factored into the lives of many workers. Companies are faced with a new set of ground rules that will either diminish or enhance their businesses. Sure there will be push back from those who are not ready or willing to update their philosophies or work cultures. Those who embrace the best fit solutions for their future should do well.

Anyhow, It’s just the wind and the rain now, nothing more than nature doing it’s thing. It does enhance the gloom. Thunder and lightning have a way of stimulating one’s thought process. Having a generator on hand does bring a sense of security.

All is good despite the lugubrious atmosphere. Here, in this refuge what’s old will soon be new again. The storm will move on, but there will be others. Slowly the door to the inner sanctum creaks closed. Hang in there, the waves this far out are known to sweep anything loose overboard.

Even on the calmest of seas, something could rise from the deep, something big bad mean and green. Some curve ball that would make this present situation look like the best of times. It’s all in your perspective. From within the inner sanctum all disturbances appear as noise. I’m confident there are those who are sitting at home right now loving this lock down…..until the ground shakes.

Like the song says: “Keep it off my wave”

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