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Going Solar – a preamble

When we moved to Issaquah, back in 2008, we moved into a new home. I’ve spent the last 14 years or so researching and tracking the financials, efficiency and availability of photo-voltaic systems. Back in 2008-2010 I spoke at length with several colleagues who had made the early jump, these homebrew solutions came with costs, risks – but happily lots of data.

We are at the point in early 2022 where we have decided to take the plunge and make a major investment in a combined photo-voltaic and battery storage system. This series of blog posts will walk through a lot of our thoughts and decisions, mainly so I can have this for future reference.

COVID – week 103 – February 28 – March 6

Weekend – with war in Europe dominating the headlines, the US and much of Europe seems to have forgotten we’re in the tail end of a pandemic.

Cases are down – but still higher than much of the last two years.

Friday – Hong Kong planning to test all residents, shops rationing some food and medicines.

Thursday – Live coverage from the Guardian looks to be over. Newsroom is focused instead on war in Ukraine.

Wednesday – the end of Omicron is being mistaken for the end of Covid.

Tuesday – the smaller, child sized, shots of Pfizer are less effective. Stops serious illness, but doesn’t prevent infection.

Monday – European war, and the potential for massive global escalation, has given The Guardian newsroom a completely different focus. No daily aggregates from The Guardian in almost a week.

This time 2021 – vaccine rollout well underway; 28M in US with two shots. A great early lead.

This time 2020 – I was in the office, running an architecture design session, no social distancing. All of the talk was about the coronavirus. 2 March 2020 – State Of Emergency declared in Washington State. Work from home officially started on 6th March.

  The Guardian The Seattle Times
28 Feb   here
1 Mar   here
2 Mar   here
3 Mar   here
4 Mar   here
5 Mar   here
6 Mar    

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/

Security and access tweaks

Like many other sites, large and small, well known to obscure – I’ve been getting a lot of external and malicious traffic.

Some slight tightening of security, mandating newer TLS versions and cipher suites.

COVID – week 102 – February 21 – February 27

Weekend – looks like The Seattle Times and The Guardian are down to weekday updates – which is unsurprising.

image

 UW reporting "end of the pandemic". Locally cases are "much lower" than the peak of a few months ago.

Wednesday through Friday – Ukraine invasion. Newsrooms have put most coronavirus news way below the fold. General trend is lifting restrictions and mask requirements; continue to encourage vaccinations and boosters.

Tuesday – most COVID restrictions in UK, Ireland, US starting to be removed. On the other side – 100K new cases in Brazil. Free testing to end in England.

Monday – possible war in Ukraine has taken Covid off the headlines globally. NZ ends vaccine mandates.

This time last year – vaccination systems went online, and were swamped. 500k US deaths from COVID.

This time 2020 – this was the week when panic buying really started. Cleaning products, face masks, hand sanitiser, paper towels, toilet paper – all stripped from stores.

  The Guardian The Seattle Times
21 Feb here here
22 Feb here here
23 Feb here here
24 Feb here here
25 Feb here here
26 Feb    
27 Feb    

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/

COVID – week 101 – February 14 – February 20

Weekend – potential for Ukraine invasion has bumped Covid reporting off the Guardian for the weekend. Second booster shot being considered. Queen tests positive for COVID.

Weekly infographic from The Seattle Times shows rapidly falling positive cases, and the overwhelming variant at the end of January was Omicron. Mask mandates are going away rapidly.

Friday – Omicron wave reaches South Korea. Building concern around Omicron variant BA.2 – this from BBC early in February.

Thursday – continued re-opening in the US. Washington State and King County removing mask mandates.

Wednesday – Omicron keeps heading east, across Europe, in it’s wake countries are emerging from and lifting most restrictions.

Tuesday – Canada, US, Europe – "protest convoys" and what looks to be some pretty major astroturfing.

Monday – Microsoft announce a broad plan to return to the office; most employees have been at home for two years. Flexible working will be the new normal.

This time last year – mutations, variants, "over by Christmas" which could have been the case in so many ways.

This time 2020 – still in the office, still looking at the handful of cases emerging in Washington State and New York. Regular, weekly blogging started in March 2020.

  The Guardian The Seattle Times
14 Feb here here
15 Feb here here
16 Feb here here
17 Feb here here
18 Feb here here
19 Feb   here
20 Feb    

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/

COVID – week 100 – February 7 – February 13

Weekend – still >9000 cases per day in Washington State, but that’s nothing compared to the peaks of a few weeks ago. Death rates are peaking, hospitalisation rates are falling. Warning that the next variant will "kill many more" as England drops all restrictions.

Friday – UK looking to eliminate all free testing – both PCR and lateral flow – to save money. All Covid regulations to be gone in two weeks in UK. Political rather than scientific.

Thursday – fast follow from yesterday; and outdoor mask mandates in Washington State for large gatherings will be gone next week. I expect indoor masking to be gone by end of month. In the UK Prince Charles has Covid for the second time; Queen has no symptoms. "Africa transitioning out of pandemic stage of Covid" – WHO.

Wednesday – I am somewhat hopeful for a return to the new normal this spring and summer. Locally there is a vast majority vaxxed and boosted; and the omicron cases have swept through quickly. Hospitals were stretched to breaking point, there were many deaths, there is loss and change everywhere. A "new normal" that we saw last summer/autumn isn’t bad: require proof of vaccination for indoor bars, dining and events. Use that as the carrot and the stick to slowly nudge people forward.

Tuesday – restrictions are being dropped across the US – as Omicron quickly tails off, and the number of vaccinated, boosted and previously exposed is relatively high. My prediction is for a late summer/early autumn booster to be produced, probably in conjunction with the annual flu shot. The next wave will really affect those who are unvaccinated and/or isolating.

Monday – potential exposure again, rapid lateral flow test shows negative. The advantages of having plentiful, cost effective, home tests are numerous. I wish the US had more lateral flow tests in the system back in November and December. Continuing anti-vac protests (and I question whether these are really astroturfing) in the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand.

This time last year – coming out of the first big winter wave in Washington State and the US. Vaccination starting slowly. UK ahead of the vaccination curve with 21% vaccinated.

This time 2020 – still in the calm before the storm; this was the few weeks of cruise ships being the main vector of transmission, watching the Diamond Princess in quarantine off Japan, watching a tiny number of cases in PRC start accelerating, the novel coronavirus was named "Covid-19".

  The Guardian The Seattle Times
7 Feb here here
8 Feb here here
9 Feb here here
10 Feb here here
11 Feb here here
12 Feb here here
13 Feb    

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/

COVID – week 99 – January 31 – February 6

Weekend – Omicron starts working through NZ; hopefully the vaccination drive means the impact is low.

Cases are on the rapid decrease here in Washington State; tests and N95/KN95 masks are now readily available. I hope the stockpiles get replenished for the next wave.

Friday – US health systems are "broken", full hospitals, understaffed.

Thursday – following record cases, Europe set for a spring and summer of "tranquility" WHO

Wednesday – COVID hospitalisations dropping in Western Washington State.

Tuesday – BA.2 subvariant of Omicron is picking up; re-infections seem to be picking up.

Monday – Spotify vs. Joe Rogan and misinformation vs. Neil Young. Downing Street parties.

This time last year – "US is blind to mutations and spread"

This time 2020 – the quiet between "first case" and "panic".

  The Guardian The Seattle Times
31 Jan here here
1 Feb here here
2 Feb here here
3 Feb here here
4 Feb here here
5 Feb here here
6 Feb here  

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/

COVID – week 98 – January 24 – January 30

Weekend – well – the case count is literally off the chart, again. This may be bad date for one day, but there are still 24k+ cases being detected and reported. The case rate per 100k shows most of the case density is in the east of Washington.

Friday – UK cases, hospitalisation and deaths dropping. Continued indication that the main wave of Omicron is past in parts of the US and UK. On the flip side, the lagging indicator – deaths – are reaching record levels across the US.

Thursday – free N95 masks coming to local pharmacies – as a result of the 400M mask federal effort. These are from the National Strategic Stockpile. I hope these get cycled into first line, health care, educator and then community use – and the stockpile gets rebuilt quickly.

Wednesday – King County Omicron cases are dropping, by over 40% in the last week, hopefully a positive sign that vaccinations, boosters, immunity will give us a healthier summer. Many places emerging from Omicron and removing restrictions.

Tuesday – Possible conflict in Ukraine and the woes of Boris Johnson are pushing Covid news below the fold.

Monday – US federal and state governments are shipping N95/KN95 masks and lateral flow tests to homes. Our WA State tests arrived within 2 days, via Amazon.

This time last year – vaccines, supply and demand, variants and testing. Watched the documentary "76 Days". Mask wearing is hyper partisan.

This time 2020 – the daily blog pre-amble. Looking back at diaries, planners and notes – this was still "in the office" and there was some nervous talk about the "Chinese flu" and the recent case in Washington. One of the team had recently flown through SE Asia returning from vacation, and spread a virulent cold/cough through the team.

  The Guardian The Seattle Times
24 Jan here here
25 Jan here here
26 Jan here here
27 Jan here here
28 Jan here here
29 Jan here here
30 Jan here  

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/

COVID – week 97 – January 17 – January 23

Weekend – Omicron is spreading in New Zealand; hopefully the previous lockdowns and vaccination drives (>93% fully vaccinated) mean this is as uneventful as possible.

UK Omicron cases peaked in adults, continue to build in kids, who are now passing it back to parents. (@ProfColinDavis)

image

 

Weekly look at Washington State. A couple of days lag on the reported data; but hopefully the peak in cases has passed us.

Still only 63% of the State fully vaccinated; still very patchy and closely aligned with voting patterns.

Friday – "2 shots and a booster"; or to be more succinct – a three course immunisation. New Omicron variant "BA.2" in the wild.

Thursday – US Gov starts to provide N95 masks and lateral flow tests; good, but tbh three+ months late. Looking forward, there is a distinct "post omicron" sense that masks, restrictions and testing are going to go away, and Covid just becomes endemic. I predict a quiet summer and another combined "flu/covid" winter. Boosters and flu shots delivered in one.

Wednesday – We managed to get lateral flow tests from Target (a miracle!) negative on both. PCR tests done yesterday, waiting for those results.

PXL_20220120_001146498

Tuesday – 500k new cases in France, Italy 230k cases. UK on the down side of the curve. More Covid exposure in the house; and similar "numb nose, strange smell" symptoms. PCR test done.

Monday – "majority of Seattle areas 200k unvaccinated, will not get the vaccine" meaning variants, breakouts and one of the mutations will kill thousands.

This time last year – two years sine the first COVID case in Washington State. Mutations and concern about breakouts. Vaccinations ramping up. The Seattle Times link naming goes around again – adding -2 to urls.

  The Guardian The Seattle Times
17 Jan here here
18 Jan here here
19 Jan here here
20 Jan here here
21 Jan here here
22 Jan here here
23 Jan here  

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/

COVID – week 96 – January 10 – January 16

Weekend – the usual glimpse at state data, and there are a lot of cases, hospitalisations, and the death rate is flat. 77% omicron. UK case rates are still 80k+; but falling rapidly.

Friday – school districts locally continue to move to remote learning due to staff shortages. That rapid peak of cases, the wave of hospitalisations and deaths is coming behind.

image

Thursday – UK cases are dropping; virus traces in sewage in Boston, MA show that cases may also have peaked.

Wednesday – rapidly approaching the two year anniversary of the first cases of Covid in the US, here in Washington State. Schools are closing because of cases in teachers, support staff, bus drivers, etc.

Tuesday – record breaking case counts across Western Europe; UK looks to be declining; SA see omicron rapidly burning out. CDC now recommending N95/KN95 masks. “Up to 60% of KN95 masks are counterfeit”

Monday – record hospital admissions in the US – over 132k hospitalised. Work from home mandate in Sweden. New Zealand preparing for omicron; there’s a lot that can be learned.

This time last year – “will variants evade the current vaccines”, the shock of 60k+ cases per day in the UK, 2500 cases in Washington State.

The Guardian The Seattle Times
10 Jan here here
11 Jan here here
12 Jan here here
13 Jan here here
14 Jan here here
15 Jan here here
16 Jan here

https://www.theguardian.com/world/series/coronavirus-live

https://www.seattletimes.com/tag/coronavirus/