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COVID work from home. 8–15 March

Work has been ok – I’ve been used to working remote, from home and using the technology for decades. Some coaching on best practices for the larger team – but it’s been ok. Certainly less productive – but ok.

A few folk started drifting back to the office; that should be discouraged. I travelled in early on Friday 13 March to pick up a docking station to be most productive. Traffic was exceptionally light.

Local businesses are struggling and closing. Seattle restaurants and bars are closing – for at least the spring. Many will probably not be back. Events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future – soccer, concerts, school events – everything. Public libraries in Seattle and King County closed on Friday 13 March. Large gatherings of more than 250 people across Washington state have been banned.

I discussed pulling the kids out of school early in the week. My personal preference would have been earlier – but they started the isolation on Thursday 12 March. Most of the local school districts started announcing full closures on Thursday 12; Issaquah School District declared on Thursday afternoon. There was significant pressure from local parents to close schools. The Governer announced a limited area school closure on Thursday 12 March – and extended this to statewide on Friday 13 March.

Continued coverage from The Seattle Times.

March 8

March 9

March 10

March 11

March 12

March 13

March 14

March 15

COVID early March

March 1 – 7

Most of this week I was in the office, running an architecture workshop in a closed conference room. Certainly no social distancing.

There was a slow build up of coronavirus news. March 2 – 18 cases locally, March 3 – 27 people locally tested positive. Most of these were centred on a care home in Kirkland. There were a couple of school closures based on early positive tests. Kirkland and Redmond saw a cluster of first responders with symptoms after responding to  the care home.

March 2 also saw the Governer of Washington, Jay Inslee, declare a state of emergency.

From the afternoon of Friday 6th the decision was made to work from home; this was initially somewhat voluntary and quickly morphed into a mandated request to work from home and distance.

Continued shortages and panic buying – with long lines reported, and bare shelves for toilet paper, hand sanitiser, bleach and the like.

A local, Issaquah, nursing home had more residents test positive during the week. This is in addition to one reported last week (March 6).

The Seattle Times made all coronavirus news free and not paywalled. This will become a useful archive and reference for the realtime local news.

March 1

March 2

March 3

March 4

March 5

March 6

March 7


I’ve been monitoring the slow build of novel coronavirus (aka SARS-CoV-2, aka COVID-19) since the new year – and the spread from Wuhan, Hubei, PRC to the rest of the world.

Early cases in the greater Seattle area started appearing in late January 2020 – and from looking at the preparedness of the US it was clear that this could only take two courses – quickly fizzle out, or become a major public health emergency.

It took around a month from the first Washington state case to the first death on 29 February. Since then it’s been just two short weeks featuring public anxiety, panic buying and now state-wide school closures, working from home and public distancing.

The first major panic buying spree was around the start of March. Here are shelves in our local Target, Issaquah, WA with all shelves of toilet paper, hand wipes, sanitiser and bleach stripped bare.


Since the beginning of March many workplaces have taken measures to allow employees to work from home where possible. Microsoft and Amazon both announced immediate short term restrictions on 4 March 2020. My own employer, BECU, has also supported working from home where possible.

The remaining posts in this series will chronical the development and spread of COVID-19 over the coming weeks and months.

Especially useful data, modelling and visualisation have come via the Johns Hopkins University dashboard and other online resources. I’ll try and keep a running list.

Good resources:

Old meets new

Todays fun – installing old (2005 era!) software on a modern (2019) distro.

I’ve been playing LAN shooter games with the boy for a while; it’s old school EA Battlefield 2 from mid 2005. It’s ancient. Today we looked at setting up a dedicated LAN server for this one.

openSUSE Leap 15.1 continues to be solid on a wide variety of hardware. I rescued an old laptop and it’s installed and running as a server (runlevel 3 – no GUI). Only additional module needed for the EA dedicated server was libncurses5 – easily installed using zypper. (As an aside – it’s a pleasure seeing this working so well after the delights of ZMD/ZLM back in the day..)

Hunting down the original EA bits for the server is a pain – eventually managed to find a pristine (and checksummed!) copy on a fan server.