Monthly Archives: March 2020

COVID-19 Concern

There is no reason to think for a moment that COVID-19 is anything to NOT be taken very seriously.

But I do think we need to understand what it is we are being concerned about. You may not agree with my concerns, or the way I prioritize them, but by listing mine I allow myself the time to force myself to think about them and also open myself to your scrutiny. If you disagree with any of my thinking I would like nothing more than to hear your thoughts and reasoning.

This is first a health issue. We all want to stay healthy and avoid being exposed to viruses, infections and diseases. But COVID-19 is unique for the time being because it is something new that we have been exposed to. We do NOT have a known vaccine or a treatment. I am confident we will find a vaccine and / or a treatment in the very near future. Near Future is of course relative. For a lot of people it is already not near enough and for many more it will not be.

We now know for sure that it is a Worldwide Pandemic. While most of the individuals who will be infected will have mild to no symptoms, 1) they will be transmitting to others 2) some will be affected enough to require hospitalization 3) and some will be in critical condition. The main takeaway here is that not all are being affected the same. So it is very difficult to predict how it might affect me if / when I do get exposed.

Though the number of individuals who will be in critical condition is low compared to all who will be affected, the total number of critically affected individuals is very high – compared to the capacity of our health care facility. The ability to quickly increase this capacity is not a very easy one but we are trying.

China so far seems to be the only place where things have stabilized. The situation is getting worse almost all over the world. The number of new individuals affected are rising, the number of life lost is also rising. The number of individuals who are recovering is also rising but not nearly as fast as those newly affected.

We are still not testing nearly as many as we need or want to. Which is making things only worse in being able to see the real trend.

Once we try to see past the health issues we quickly see the affect this is having in our societies. To make things complicated this being a a Worldwide issue, societies across the globe is having their own way of reacting to and dealing with it. This reaction is not uniform. But there are certain commonalities that we can see. We are all scared. Scared because of the things we don’t know, the things we do know and all that we think we don’t know. We are not at our best to deal with something of this gravity when we are all scared.

Businesses and Governments are adapting to their own constituent’s concerns. While there are a few businesses that serve people across the globe, most businesses still are responsible to their primary stake holders – i.e., the stockholders / owners and employees and the governments they operate under. Each government is responding to their own citizens first. All of these are causing inconsistencies. While we may all understand and accept that it is not reasonable to expect consistent response across the board, it is still difficult for us to navigate the inconsistencies. Causing more fear.

– manzoor


Video Conferencing

<disclaimer>This is not a new thing</disclaimer>. A lot of people use some form of “Video Conferencing” already for both professional and personal reasons / situations.

With all the Social Distancing we all have been having to do, some of my friends decided that we would try to compare a few of the options that was available. So far we have tried Skype and Messenger. The consensus so far has been in favor of Messenger. But there are a few options that we still have not tried. Some of these are:

  • Apple Group FaceTime
  • Google Hangouts Meet
  • Slack
  • Webex
  • UberConference
  • Zoom

The first 3 are from me, which is why they are at the top, and the rest are ones the group had mentioned at some point. I have used all of these at various points but Webex and Zoom in professional environment only. I have used both Slack and Google Hangouts Meet in professional and personal situations while Apple Group FaceTime exclusively in personal situations.

The primary objective so far has been:

  • Ease of use
  • Number of participants allowed
  • Quality of the Audio / Video

We have also talked about the ability to “Present” (i.e, Screen Share) that we might be looking into at some point.

Apple Group FaceTime – Requires an Apple ID and an Apple Device. Number of user is limited to 64. I have only tried 3.

Google Hangouts Meet – Someone has to have a Google / Gmail account and anyone can be invited to join. A personal Gmail account allows a limited number of users but no limit on how long to use. On a mobile device, i.e., Phone, the Hangout App is required.

Slack – A Paid Subscription is needed. Probably not as commonly found on most peoples’ devices, i.e., Adoption.

Messenger – The quality of the Video does not necessarily start off the best but it does seem to settle to pretty good after a few minutes. Users do seem to get dropped off from time to time (which we are still not sure is not caused by the user). But getting back in seems fairly trivial.

The best part of Messenger was that everyone seemed to have it on their device of choice and they all knew how to use the tool.

Skype – On my Mac Laptop the resource consumption was very high. Which for me was a big negative. I forget what some of the other issues were.

Webex – no one seems to have used this beyond a professional env.

UberConference – Limited to 10 users and 50 min for the Free usage.

Zoom – limitations, requires a download. Unsure of mobile device support

Ease of Use – Not having to install something. Not having to sign up for another account. Familiarity with the tool

– manzoor

I’m Running an Experiment

That’s what it basically says at the top. Then it goes on to say, I don’t usually do this (i.e., cut ‘n paste someone else’s post) but I want to see who reads my post w/o a pix and responds to it with more than just a Like.

There are a few things I find interesting and funny. First, the most recent few of these that I have seen are the same ppl that have rarely, if ever, commented on any of my posts or any of our other friends’ posts that do not include a pix. I don’t think there is anything wrong / negative about it. A pix does speak volumes. So, if my friends have something to share and that comes with a pix or 2 (or 3 or 4), I say “nice”. If my friends shares their emotions or thoughts on the post with a “Like” or a comment, “awesome”.

When my friends don’t share their emotions or comments to my posts, I simply assume:

  • My posts are not interesting / inspiring to them they way it was to me
  • My posts may have evoked more of a negative thought in them which they kept to themselves to avoid hurting my feelings
  • My friends never saw my posts because it was way down in the feed
  • Reasons unknown

The final point, if I am running an experiment, the last thing I want to say is “I am running an experiment”. By saying so I am skewing (i.e., screwing) the experiment. In fact the experiment has always been running. I already have a bunch of posts over time that no pix, and I know who has commented or Liked. I also have a few posts that do have pix and I know who has commented or Liked.

Anytime you are copying and pasting someone else’s post, because that’s what asked you to do explicitly or note, you are doing what someone was intending. That is NOT your experiment.

– manzoor


Yesterday was the first time I had personally dealt with the affects of COVID-19. Our grocery store, My H-E-B, had updated their hours, which is usually 6am to midnight, to 8am to 8pm. My initial assumption was that change was for the store in our own neighbourhood but not for the other ones – specially ones that are in more heavily populated areas. Turns out the change is for all their stores.

So, I went to our local store earlier this morning. Got there around 7:45 – of course – but was still surprised to see a pretty long line already. My unscientific count – about a hundred people.


To smooth things they tried to get everyone to enter thru 1 of the 3 entrances and they were also trying to let 5 ppl at a time to get in. They seemed to be pretty well stocked. Though they didn’t have the 2.5 Gallon water that I usually get. They toilet paper aisle was a one-way thing. Fortunately I didn’t need to get any.

Though “yesterday was the first time I had dealt with COVID-19”, like everyone else it has been on my mind and like many others I too had been making certain changes. I definitely wash my hands more rigorously and more frequently. I keep a certain amount of “Social Distance” – not necessarily always 6 feet and definitely not with everyone.

I am definitely concerned, dare I say “worried”, about the affect this is having, and will leave, on all of us.

I would like to think that I am hopeful that we will learn from this time and experience, as we should from all our experiences. Things I am learning, or re-learning:

  • We’re in this together
  • Some of us need more of a helping hand than other’s
    • I would think of myself most fortunate IF I can extend my hand to anyone in anyway possible
  • We have been given a chance to rise to a challenge and do what is needed of us to make this a better place for all of us
  • We and we alone have what it takes to do what is right and needed

I do know – this too will pass. And we will find something else to be worried about. I have a feeling the next thing most of us will be worried about will be something that is more of a “First World Problem”.

There are ppl today to whom COVID-19 is not as dire as it is to me.

– manzoor

Ephemeral Social Networking

Fleets from twitter will be the most recent addition to a concept that first started with SnapChat. I must confess – I never quite understood the whole idea. But of course, I also don’t understand ever deleting / destroying / throwing away anything.

Of course things live out their “need” or “relevance”, i.e., the lives and then they go away naturally. That to me makes sense.

– manzoor