Saturday, March 28, 2020

Coronavrius In California: What's Normal Anyway and Update On Life

Bike ride through the city.  We did that today.  The ride was just like any I've had as far back as I can remember.  The only difference is that there are way less cars than before.  And the remaining cars on the streets are driving so fast I'm considering getting a camera mount for my helmet so I can record and report them.

It's been almost two weeks since the state and large cities like Los Angeles declare self-lock down and ordered temporary closures of nonessential businesses and activities and, on Friday, closed beaches, parks, and trials after thousands did not take the order and social distancing seriously and took to public places in large numbers.

It's a little different this Saturday compared to last weekend.  People are still going out but there is a feeling in the air that more people are taking the coronavirus pandemic, which started in Wuhan, Chia in early December (possibly late November) but was not reported by Beijing until January.  After all, it's been a week and the number of cases reported in the United States continue to increase out of control as more people are tested and hospitals become overwhelmed with patients suffer from more serious ailments.

This week, I started working from home.  In terms of productivity, I have to say that it's gone up, much to my surprise.  And without having to commute, I have time "after work" for a walk with my wife.  And as with the bike ride, social distancing is observed by everyone as far as I can tell.  What I found particularly was how neighbors who normally would be driving or going somewhere else are also walking and share friendly acknowledgements via a wave, a nod, or a "hello".

We still go out to get food.  Even before the order to stay at home, my wife and I cooked and ate mostly at home.  We go out on an average of one and a half times.  And if you made any trips to the market in the last few weeks, you'll noticed taped markings that are six feet apart on the ground with a friendly market employee or two keeping people reminding customers to practice social distancing.

And here are a few new normals during an pandemic:

  • Less driving means I'm saving on gas.  And gas has been dropping even before the number of cases exploded in the US due to Russia's attempt to crush the US oil industry and breaking from OPEC.
  • Less driving also means the air is nice throughout most of the day.  I mean, wow, I can see the mountains clearly for days now.  And it helped that we have been getting rain.
  • I had started stocking up months ago because we live in earthquake country.  So I got lucky.  I think people will continue to stock up even after the pandemic is over.  I've learned and I believe millions of other families have as well.
  • Walking.  I've always enjoy it.  Jogging as well.  And I think more people have rediscovered the joy of walking.  And perhaps once restaurants and malls reopen and public areas become more assessable, walking could remain more common.
One last thing.  Sure, some stuff are still unavailable at the supermarkets.  But I would say 90% of what need for day to day survival as available.  You might not be able to find your favorite brand of glass bottled organic 2% milk but if you are willing to walk to another store a mile away, you'll find organic milk available, in a carton.  And while cheap store branded beans are no longer available, more expensive brands are available.  It all depends on what you're looking for and if you are willing to pay an extra buck for it. 

Okay, really one more thing.  I promise.  The local news are good source to get information.  But some of the anchors and reporters are not helping with comments like "it's going to be a beautiful day tomorrow. Just look at the gorgeous view of the beach you are not allowed to go to behind me".  Seriously, right?

Apple Watch 3 - Battery Dying. Time For An Upgrade When The Apple Watch 6 Comes Out?

I skipped the Apple Watch 4 and 5 and plowed through with my Apple Watch 3.  It'll be three years this September 22nd and I can't wait to see what new features the Apple Watch 6 will pack when it is released this year.  Of course, with what's going on with the coronavirus pandemic here in the US and the rest of the world, there is no guarantee that Apple will be release products on the annual schedule that we have come to expect.

And while I think I can hang for another six months, I'm not sure my Apple Watch 3 can as the battery life has diminished greatly in the last month.  I reset it today in hopes that the reset could fix it.  And if it doesn't, well, I'll have to figure out how to work around a shorter battery life until later this fall.  It is not as if the Apple stores are open for me to take my watch in for a battery replacement.

But even if I eventually have the chance to take my three in for a battery replacement and that the Apple Watch 6 does not impress me, I can see myself with the three for another year and wait for the Apple Watch 7.

ECG is nice which came with Apple Watch 4 and the always on screen on the Apple Watch 5 is nice, none of those two main features are enough for me upgrade each of the last two years.  Rumored features, oxygen blood level monitor, sleep monitor, and faster chip, are all nice but hardly worth upgrades if you've got the four or five.  It could be enough to upgrade for someone like me.  Still, those features are nice but not necessary.  And it's been suggested that the Apple Watch can monitor oxygen level in the blood as far back as 2015.

I can be sold on a new Apple Watch if the next one really offers a much longer battery life.  If anyone read my past posts, you'll know that having long battery life is something I've been asking for year after year.

At it's peak, the three offers me enough to get me through the day.  And I've got a charger a home, work, and in my car and I charge my watch whenever I get a chance.  But I'm not talking about going from twenty hours to thirty or even forty-eight hours.  I'm walking about 3-5 days long.  I know, I know.  That's wishful thinking.  Fine, be that as it may, it certainly is something Apple is working on.

People have mentioned a blood pressure monitor in the Apple Watch.  Now, that could be something I would jump on immediately.  I'm approaching that age in my life that I should be worrying about my blood pressure.  And hypertension is something I should worry about given that it is common in my family.  But so far so good.

I don't know when the pandemic in California is going to let up so Apple is comfortable to reopening its stores.  When it does and I am able to get my battery replaced (should the reset not work - I don't know yet since I just did it today), I will be quite content with my three because it'll feel like a new watch for me.  And should the Apple Watch 6 not meet my threshold for an upgrade, I'll still be happy to keep my Apple Watch 3 on my wrist for another year.

One thing is for sure when I do upgrade - I'll be going for the cellular version.

When are the Macs Getting M4 Chips? Prediction: MacBook Pro With M4 At the WWDC

What are the new M4 chips? Presumably, Macs could get the M4 chip tomorrow if Apple decides to pull the trigger on them.  First, let's a...