Some Useful COVID-19 Resources

Like a lot of people, I’ve been closely tracking the COVID-19 pandemic. There are a lot of useful resources for keeping track of what’s happening with COVID-19, but there’s also a lot of misinformation. I wanted to put together a collection of the things that I’ve found to be useful, and more importantly accurate.

This is mostly for my own benefit, but I thought other people might find it useful as well. If you’re aware of something that belongs on the list, tell me about it on Twitter or email me (my Twitter username @ Google’s email service).

News and miscellany

» Spirits Distilleries Around the US Now Producing Hand Sanitizer

This is nice to see.

» State of Illinois Stay-At-Home FAQs

The state issued a shelter in place order today in an effort to contain the outbreak. There’s confusion about what exactly that entails, and this helps answer some of the questions.

» 3M Doubled Production of N95 Face Masks to Fight Coronavirus - Bloomberg New

Masks seem to still be hard to come by. Hopefully this is a temporary situation.

» All of Wirecutter’s Coronavirus Coverage | Wirecutter New

The Wirecutter is a product review site. They’ve had great coverage of COVID-19 related things, including product recommendations for sanitizing, how and what to clean, and more. Worth the time to check out.

What it is and why it’s serious

» CDC - COVID-19 Site

The CDC’s website has the most up to date information on COVID-19

» Coronavirus: Why You Must Act Now

I think this was the first article I saw that made it clear how serious this was. It’s thorough and well-written.

» Bloomington-Normal COVID-19 Information

This is mostly of use to those who live near me. It’s a good collection of community resources, in particular this page with a list of restaurants that are delivering food.

» Internet Book of Critical Care - COVID-19

This is a deep dive into the illness itself, and the diagnosis and treatment of it. If you want all of the gory details, this is the place to go.

» Illinois Department of Public Health COVID-19 Information

The State of Illinois has a site with the latest news and guidance for a variety of businesses on how to prevent the spread. If you live elsewhere, your state probably has something similar.

» What We Know So Far About SARS-CoV-2 - The Atlantic

Great piece by The Atlantic.

» The Sober Math Everyone Must Understand about the Pandemic

I can’t add much to this that the title doesn’t already tell you. I’ll point out this bit though, which I’ve been saying for weeks:

Yes, the virus only kills a small percentage of those afflicted. Yes, the flu kills 10s of thousands of people annually. Yes, 80% of people will experience lightweight symptoms with COVID19. Yes the mortality rate of COVID19 is relatively low (1–2%). All of this true, but is immaterial. They are the wrong numbers to focus on…

» The Doctor Who Helped Defeat Smallpox Explains What’s Coming

In situations like this, the people to pay attention to are the professionals. Doctors, scientists, infectious disease specialists. Larry Brilliant is a professional.

If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention.

Facts and figures, with pretty pictures

There are a handful of sites that are tracking the spread of the disease and helpfully display it in chart, graph, and map form.

» Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

This is a good visualization of the current state of things. Johns Hopkins has been tracking this disease for quite a while, and has made the data available to other organizations. I look at this regularly just to keep a pulse on things. If you’re into the nerdery behind this, the doctor who made this has put up a great behind-the-scenes look.

» Khan Academy COVID-19 Data

This is a good explanation of the data that we have about the spread of this disease, and what it means. I really like this.

» Epidemic Data for COVID-19

Mantained by Wolfram Research, this is based on the data from Johns Hopkins, but presented slightly differently and with more ways to view the data. If you are a Wolfram user, you can create a copy of the notebook and explore the data yourself.

» COVID-19 Infographic

A very readable infographic that shows the impact of the disease, how it affects people, and how it compares to other diseases.

» Corona Virus Simulator

An excellent visual to show why social distancing is important.

» Predicting Coronavirus Cases

I don’t actually understand all the math in this, but it was interesting nonetheless.

» Coronavirus tracked: the latest figures as the pandemic spreads New

Financial Times has some great coverage of the pandemic, with visualizations that illustrate how this is unfolding. Their reporting is usually behind a paywall, but they’ve made this coverage free. Their charts are concise and informative.

» United States Coronavirus Totals New

A more concise view than Johns Hopkins. Useful for getting a quick view of where the numbers are at.

Separating fact from fiction

There are a number of crazy rumors and conspiracy theories floating around, none of which are true.

» Social media conspiracies blame coronavirus on 5G internet

This was one of the first rumors to come out, and one of the most persistent. It’s also complete nonsense.

» Social media conspiracies

Some of the same information in the previous one, but with some additional detail.

» COVID-19 wasn’t produced in a lab

This is another persistent conspiracy theory, and also not true. See also: Coronavirus is not a bioweapon created in a lab, scientists say

» Younger Adults Comprise Big Portion of Coronavirus Hospitalizations in U.S.

Original reports were that this was largely a disease the affected the elderly and those with underlying conditions. While they make up the majority of deaths, many younger people end up sick enough to need intensive care. There are also reports of some people who recover but have a 20-30% reduction in lung capacity. It may or may not be permanent. The point is, recovering from the illness doesn’t mean you escape unscathed.

Things you can do to help

» Stay home, if at all possible

Social distancing is the only way to curb the spread and flatten the curve.

» Donate to a food bank: Feeding America

There are likely places near you that are helping to feed families in need, just ask around. Additionally with many schools shut down, there are lots of kids who may have been eating at school and now don’t have enough to eat. Many areas have programs that are helping provide meals for these kids. You can donate money or time.

» Give blood: Red Cross

There’s a severe shortage of blood right now. Give if you’re able.

» Fostering a Pet During Coronavirus Pandemic

This is a great idea, especially for those that live alone. There are lots of dogs that need a home, and even if you can’t give them a permanent home, you can get them out of the shelter and enjoy the company of a furry friend.

The Week In Links - Feb 8, 2019

» Cal Newport on Why We’ll Look Back at Our Smartphones Like Cigarettes

It’s a fair analogy, I think. I’m not ready to trade my iPhone in for a flip hone, but I’m rethinking my relationship with my phone and with social media in particular.

» Watch a Homemade Robot Crack a SentrySafe Combination Safe in 15 Minutes

Last Christmas, Nathan Seidle’s wife gave him a second-hand safe she’d found on Craigslist. It was, at first glance, a strange gift. The couple already owned the same model, a $120 SentrySafe combination fire safe they’d bought from Home Depot. But this one, his wife explained, had a particular feature: The original owner had locked it and forgotten the combination. Her challenge to Seidle: Open it.

Impressive.

» Random Travel Hacks

There are some great tips in here, and he uses the same backpack I do. I should probably write a similar post at some point, I’ve accumulated a number of tips and tricks myself.

» My Travel Packing List Shortcut

Another travel related tip, this one for using Shortcuts. I’ve done something similar, and it’s a life saver. I’m generally a bit anxious when traveling anyway, and I find that having a detailed checklist for packing (almost 100 items on mine), as well as other things that have to be done, makes a huge difference in my level of anxiety.

» Microsoft’s fonts catch out another fraudster—this time in Canada

Lesson: when forging documents allegedly from many years ago, make sure you choose fonts that were around then.

» How will Apple redesign the iPad home screen?

As a heavy user of the 2018 12.9” iPad Pro, I’m keenly interested in what iOS 13 will bring. Redesigning the home screen to be more functional is high on my wish list. Jason Snell has a great take on this at Macworld.

I don’t know how radical a makeover Apple’s planning for the iPad home screen, but I hope it will provide us with more than a new view into the same old collection of apps. I like my iPhone home screen to be simple, but it’s small. My iPad screen is bigger than the one on my MacBook—it deserves to host a home screen that’s got more functionality and density than the one the iPad has suffered with for its entire existence.

» The Big List of Naughty Strings is a list of strings which have a high probability of causing issues when used as user-input data.

The Big List of Naughty Strings is an evolving list of strings which have a high probability of causing issues when used as user-input data. This is intended for use in helping both automated and manual QA testing

Handy.

» Thinking Different: Keys to Adopting an iPad-First Workflow

I’m not iPad-first, but I’m definitely using it for more tasks that I would have used a Mac for a few years ago. Writing this, for instance.

Before the iPad Pro debuted in late 2015, transitions from Mac to iPad were extremely scarce. The iPad’s hardware and software were both far too limited to compel many switchers. The software has advanced since that time – thanks to Split View, drag and drop, and Files, it’s far easier to work on an iPad than before – but there’s plenty more progress still to be made. The hardware, however, is where the iPad has shined most, especially with the newest iPad Pros.

A Collection of Links About Github Actions

Github Actions is really intriguing, and I’m excited to get my hands on it. It’s not enabled for my account yet, but once it is I’m going to dive in and automate a bunch of things, starting with the publishing of this blog (which I currently do with AWS CodeBuild).

While I wait paitently-ish, I’ve collected some links to things I’ve read about it.

» GitHub Actions: built by you, run by us

The blog post where Github announced Actions. Good place to start if you have no idea what I’m talking about.

» Features • GitHub Actions

A high level overview of the features Github Actions has.

» The Changelog #331: GitHub Actions is the next big thing with Kyle Daigle, Director of Ecosystem Engineering at GitHub

The Changelog podcast interviews Kyle Daigle of Github to talk about Actions.

» A redone blog, again - Arktronic.com

A fairly common task, I suspect: automating the publishing of content when it’s pushed to Github. I’ll be doing this soon myself. Even if it’s not something you need, this is a good intro to what you can use Actions for.

» Introducing Github Actions

An introduction to Github Actions, from Sarah Drasner. This is a great overview.

» Getting started with Github Actions

Nice guide to getting started.

» Jessie Frazelle’s Blog: The Life of a GitHub Action

An in-depth look at what happens when an action runs, from @jessfraz. As an aside, if you’re not following her on Twitter, you should. She’s smart and works on some very cool things.

» nektos/act: Run your GitHub Actions locally

This is really exciting - run actions locally for testing. I haven’t played with this just yet, but I will soon.

» Github Actions

An open source list of Github Actions (via David Boyne). There are a lot here already, and they look useful. Adding a new one is as simple as submitting a pull request on Github.

» Awesome Actions

This is a great collection of resources, also from Sarah Drasner. Links to cool actions, as well as lots of links to documentation and other resources.

The Week In Links - Jan 19, 2019

These are the things that captured my attention in the past week.

» A story of an online stalker takes a bizarre turn down the rabbit hole

I watched this story unfold on Twitter over a weekend, and it kept getting crazier. You should also read Chloe’s own post on the matter..

» The curious case of the Raspberry Pi in the network closet

A story of a completely different sort, but no less interesting. With computers being so compact these days, it’s surprising this doesn’ happen more often.

» AWS For Everyone: New clues emerge about Amazon’s secretive low-code/no-code project

If this is true (seems likely), it will be massively successful. As described, it sounds like the spiritual successor to Yahoo! Pipes, which was way ahead of its time.

» How Airbnb is Moving 10x Faster at Scale with GraphQL and Apollo

I’m starting to experiment with GraphQL. It’s early days, but GraphQL seems like the right solution for a lot of problems.

» iOS Shortcut for Importing Photos into Lightroom

The iPad Pro is starting to play a bigger role in my photography. When I went to Florida on vacation this summer I didn’t take my laptop at all, only my iPad Pro. There are still some awkward bits about working with RAW files on iOS, but overall it’s become capable of handling a lot of things. Also, I’m starting to build/acquire a bunch of iOS shortcuts now. It’s so easy to build them, and I’ve already found a number that I’m using daily.

» Signal v Noise exits Medium

Their reasoning is similar to mine. Perhaps it’s just selection bias but I see this sentiment echoed all over lately.

The Week in Links - 12/4/2010

Full-Ack: an Emacs interface to Ack
Ack is a useful little app for searching source code. If you ever use grep for finding things in your code, switch to ack immediately - you won’t regret it. This is a handy front end to ack for Emacs users.

Information architecture: A How to
I’ve been learning about information architecture lately as it’s becoming increasingly important for my job. This is a good overview.

Hacker’s Guide To Tea
I need to drink more tea. This article taught me a lot I didn’t know about tea and its benefits.

Tasty Treats for PostgreSQL
A bunch of useful tools if you work with PostgreSQL, from the guys at OmniTI.

HTML5Rocks - Introducing Web Sockets: Bringing Sockets to the Web
An introduction to Web Sockets, which let you do lots of cool real time things with the web. One of many things I need to spend more time experimenting with.

The Week in Links - 11/11/2010

Things You Should Do Immediately After Launching a Website
Some of these are common sense, but there are quite a few non-obvious ones here. A good checklist.

Running Shells in Emacs: An Overview | Mastering Emacs
Working with shells in Emacs is very useful; I almost always have a small one running at the bottom of my window to run commands in. This explains the differences between the different kinds of shells in Emacs, how to use them, and how to change their settings.

Announcing Cloud Load Balancing Private Beta | Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting
Rackspace Cloud, where I host a ton of different servers for myself and for clients, has announced a beta of their load balancing service. Good load balancing is a pain to set up, so this is promising.

The 1140px CSS Grid System/Framework · Fluid down to mobile
Nice new CSS grid framework that handles multiple screen sizes with ease. It seems like a fundamental failing of CSS that we need all these frameworks to do really basic stuff like this though.

Dr Nic’s Making CI easier to do than not to with Hudson CI and Vagrant
I need to spend some time with Hudson. It’s an incredibly powerful “Continuous Integration” server, but it does a lot more as well. This article explains how to use it in conjunction with Vagrant to automatically set up your test environment.

How to Use Your Zoom Lens as a Compositional Aid
I’ve been learning photography over the last couple of years. This article did a better job of explaining the effects of using different kinds of zoom lenses. The pictures that accompany the article are worth 1000 words and then some.

Links for 5/27/2008

I’ve built up a big backlog of links. Here’s the first batch.

Unix Command Line Kung-Fu

33 Pages of command line goodness. I’ve been rocking the command line for almost a decade, but there’s a ton of stuff here I didn’t know.

Update : Hal Pomeranz, who created this document, sent me an email with a link to the PDF version of the document. You can find it here. Thanks Hal!

Erlang vs. Scala

I want to experiment with both of these languages.

21 Ruby Tips You Should Be Using In Your Own Code

The title is self-descriptive, and as you would expect from Ruby Inside there are a lot of nice shortcuts here.

Community Engine: A Social Networking Plugin for Ruby on Rails

This has been pretty well publicized, but here it is in case you missed it. Community Engine allows you to add social networking capabilities (profiles, photos, blogs, forums, and more) to any application simply by adding this plugin. Extracted from live websites, so it is real-world tested.

Awaken

Awaken is a slick little app for OS X that I picked up as part of the MacHeist bundle. I’ve used it as a timer for those occassions when I need to force myself to work on something for “Just 10 minutes”, but here are some other uses.

Links for 4/2

A list of random and assorted things I have found lately

New York Times blog on open source technology at the Times

“A blog about open source technology at The New York Times, written by and primarily for developers. This includes our own projects, our work with open-source technologies at nytimes.com, and other interesting topics in the open source and Web 2.0 worlds.”

There are a lot of nice posts in there, including one on how they used EC2 to convert their archives to PDF.

Desert Rails Plugin

Desert is a component framework for Rails that allows you to seamlessly define in your plugins: \* Models \* Controllers \* Views \* Helpers \* Routes \* Migrations \* Plugin Dependencies
I'm going to check this out for something I'm about to start on.

Five Runs Interviews

Five Runs is conducting a series of 5-question interviews. So far they have interviewed Chad Fowler, Michael Cote and Peter Cooper.

Arc is Released

Paul Graham has released Arc, his long-awaited Lisp dialect.

Arc is designed above all for exploratory programming: the kind where you decide what to write by writing it. A good medium for exploratory programming is one that makes programs brief and malleable, so that’s what we’ve aimed for. This is a medium for sketching software.

How to be a Great Dad - 12 Awesome Tips | Zen Habits

‘nuff said.

Links for 1/29/08

A list of random and assorted things I have found lately

New York Times blog on open source technology at the Times

“A blog about open source technology at The New York Times, written by and primarily for developers. This includes our own projects, our work with open-source technologies at nytimes.com, and other interesting topics in the open source and Web 2.0 worlds.”

There are a lot of nice posts in there, including one on how they used EC2 to convert their archives to PDF.

Desert Rails Plugin

Desert is a component framework for Rails that allows you to seamlessly define in your plugins: \* Models \* Controllers \* Views \* Helpers \* Routes \* Migrations \* Plugin Dependencies
I'm going to check this out for something I'm about to start on.

Five Runs Interviews

Five Runs is conducting a series of 5-question interviews. So far they have interviewed Chad Fowler, Michael Cote and Peter Cooper.

Arc is Released

Paul Graham has released Arc, his long-awaited Lisp dialect.

Arc is designed above all for exploratory programming: the kind where you decide what to write by writing it. A good medium for exploratory programming is one that makes programs brief and malleable, so that’s what we’ve aimed for. This is a medium for sketching software.

Links for 8/4

An assortment of tasty distractions.

A fun collection of classy insults. Here are a couple of choice ones:

“A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” - Winston Churchill

“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” -Clarence Darrow

What 120 calories looks like. Nice reminder. Via Jeremy Zawodny

A productivity tip from Jerry Seinfeld I really didn’t believe this until I read it. Good advice.

YUI 2.3.0: Six New Components and a Prettier Face

“We’re pleased to announce today the release of YUI version 2.3.0. This release features six new additions to the library as well as a new skinning architecture and a new visual treatment for most of our UI controls. All of this, plus 250 enhancements and bug fixes, is available for download immediately.”

One of the notable additions is a rich-text editor that is stated to work well across all of the YUI “A” browsers.