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Coronavirus

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Feross Aboukhadijeh virus.cafe

Virus Cafe: Make a friend in 2 minutes

Hey folks! I built Virus Cafe to help you make a friend in 2 minutes! My goal is to help people stuck indoors because of COVID-19 (or police curfews) to make meaningful connections with strangers.

Here’s how it works:


  1. You are matched with a random partner for a video chat
  2. You’re given a deep question to discuss. You have 2 minutes!
  3. The only rule is: no small talk!

Small talk is the worst and I’m on a mission to eradicate it. I’ve expertly crafted over 200 questions designed to stimulate good conversation and skip past the boring introductions.

Here are a few samples:

  • When in your life have you been the happiest?
  • What would you be willing to die for?
  • What is the biggest lie you’ve told without getting caught?
  • What is a belief you had as a child that you no longer have?
  • What human emotion do you fear the most?
  • If a family member murdered someone, would you report them to the police?
  • What absolutely excites you right now?

I hope you use Virus Cafe to meet a new friend and make a deep connection today.

Matt Mullenweg ma.tt

On distributed work: gradually, then suddenly

Matt Mullenweg:

The two main theses of my professional career have been that distributed is the future of work, and that open source is the future of technology and innovation.

On the distributed front, the future of work has been arriving quickly. This week, a wave of companies representing over $800B in market capitalization announced they’re embracing distributed work beyond what’s required by the pandemic…

Change happens slowly, then all at once.

There are few people on Earth that have been thinking about this longer (and more deeply) than Matt.

Tobias Lütke Twitter

"Office centricity is over."

This thread from Tobias Lütke (CEO of Shopify) on Twitter…talks about digital by default, a unified work experience, WFH setup, empathy, company culture, change, and silver linings.

As of today, Shopify is a digital by default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.

Until recently, work happened in the office. We’ve always had some people remote, but they used the internet as a bridge to the office. This will reverse now. The future of the office is to act as an on-ramp to the same digital workplace that you can access from your #WFH setup.

He goes on to say…

We haven’t figured this whole thing out. There is a lot of change ahead, but that is what we’re good at. “Thrive on change” is written on our (now digital) walls for a reason.

Sid Sijbrandij changelog.com/posts

Family and friends first, work second

Behind the scenes we heard about Sid’s idea of “family and friends first,” so we asked him to share the idea with our audience and how it’s being embraced at GitLab. Stay tuned for an upcoming episode of Founders Talk with Sid. I’m sure we’ll touch on this idea and more._

Even at GitLab, we’ve seen increased productivity as the number of merge requests for both March and April exceeded February’s numbers. But as company leader, I don’t see this as something to tout. This new normal is anything but normal, and we shouldn’t treat it as such. Even though GitLab has always been remote and experienced less of a transition than most other companies, our team members are not immune to the stressors of quarantine. Overworking or maintaining the status quo during a crisis is not a badge of honor. In fact, I would be prouder if more employees were taking time off to reset and refresh or spend time adjusting to this “new normal” with their families.

Opensource.com Icon Opensource.com

The real impact of canceling PyCon due to COVID-19

An interview with Ewa Jodlowska on how the Python Software Foundation is responding to the cancelation of in-person events.

Turns out ~63% of the PSF’s 2020 revenue was projected to come from PyCon. That’s a massive hit to take. Read the entire interview to learn what they’re doing to diversify, some silver linings that have come from this, and how you can pitch in.

(The tail end of Adam’s conversation with Duane O’Brien focused on the FOSS Responders initiative which was purpose-built to help out orgs like the PSF.)

Jack McKew jackmckew.dev

Simulating a virus outbreak with JavaScript

Jack builds on this post from Harry Stevens on The Washington Post to create an interactive virus outbreak simulator with JavaScript, HTML5, and Canvas. It simulates the effectiveness of lockdowns, social distancing, PPE, and more. Jack shares the code too.

This post will simulate how viruses can spread throughout a community and implement a variety of different parameters to see how these affect the simulation.

Simulating a virus outbreak with JavaScript

Go blog.golang.org

Go and the Go community during this pandemic

In this post Carmen Andoh, Russ Cox, and Steve Francia share important notes about how the pandemic is affecting the Go community, what they’re doing to help, what you can do to help, and upcoming plans for Go itself.

Go always comes second to more basic concerns like personal and family health and safety. Around the world, the past couple months have been terrible, and we are still at the start of this awful pandemic. There are days when it seems like working on anything related to Go should be considered a serious priority inversion.

But after we’ve done all we can to prepare ourselves and our families for whatever is coming, getting back to some approximation of a familiar routine and normal work is a helpful coping mechanism. In that spirit, we intend to keep working on Go and trying to help the Go community as much as we can.

O'Reilly Media Icon O'Reilly Media

O’Reilly Media shuts down in-person events division

From Laura Baldwin (President, O’Reilly Media):

Today, we’re sharing the news that we’ve made the very difficult decision to cancel all future O’Reilly in-person conferences and close down this portion of our business. Without understanding when this global health emergency may come to an end, we can’t plan for or execute on a business that will be forever changed as a result of this crisis.

…and they are making the move to online-only.

…we believe the stage is set for a new normal moving forward when it comes to in-person events. We also know we are poised to accept that challenge, having already delivered a version of our Strata event on-line to over 4600 participants last week. With over 5000 companies and 2.5 million users on our learning platform, we look forward to innovating and bringing together the technology communities and businesses we serve in new and creative ways.

Data visualization gabgoh.github.io

An interactive epidemic calculator

This calculator lets you tweak things like R0, incubation time, and hospitalization rate to see how affect the results. From the author:

At the time of writing, the coronavirus disease of 2019 remains a global health crisis of grave and uncertain magnitude. To the non-expert (such as myself), contextualizing the numbers, forecasts and epidemiological parameters described in the media and literature can be challenging. I created this calculator as an attempt to address this gap in understanding.

An interactive epidemic calculator

Harry Stevens washingtonpost.com

Extensive social distancing helps to 'flatten the curve'

Graphics reporter Harry Stevens from The Washington Post helps us see the impact of “social distancing” with this coronavirus simulator. He shows the effects of four simulations — a free-for-all, an attempted quarantine, moderate social distancing, and extensive social distancing.

Harry goes on to say, “moderate social distancing will usually outperform the attempted quarantine, and extensive social distancing usually works best of all.”

To simulate more social distancing, instead of allowing a quarter of the population to move, we will see what happens when we let just one of every eight people move.

Extensive social distancing helps to 'flatten the curve'

Sequoia Capital blog Icon Sequoia Capital blog

'Brace for turbulence,' Coronavirus is the black swan of 2020

I’m bracing for turbulence. To me, that doesn’t mean panic — it means prepare for change and potentially discomfort as a result of that change. Be adaptable.

This is the note the Sequoia Capital team sent to its founders and CEOs last week to provide guidance on how to ensure the health of their business while dealing with potential business consequences of the spreading effects of the Coronavirus.

Coronavirus is the black swan of 2020. Some of you (and some of us) have already been personally impacted by the virus. We know the stress you are under and are here to help. With lives at risk, we hope that conditions improve as quickly as possible. In the interim, we should brace ourselves for turbulence and have a prepared mindset for the scenarios that may play out.

It will take considerable time — perhaps several quarters — before we can be confident that the virus has been contained. It will take even longer for the global economy to recover its footing. Some of you may experience softening demand; some of you may face supply challenges. While The Fed and other central banks can cut interest rates, monetary policy may prove a blunt tool in alleviating the economic ramifications of a global health crisis.

We suggest you question every assumption about your business…

If you have BI Prime, then read this too.

Matt Mullenweg ma.tt

Coronavirus and the remote work experiment no one asked for

Matt Mullenweg, on the potential industry-changing affect that Coronavirus is having:

This is not how I envisioned the distributed work revolution taking hold.

For those asking for tips, my Distributed Podcast has a wealth of advice and stories about how we operate. But here are four good ones to start with

TLDR: Minimize real-time meetings, invest in audio/video quality (yes!), your blog is your new office, and chat tools like Slack and Matrix are a must-have.

Lauren Gardner arcgis.com

COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) real time dashboard

This interactive dashboard was created by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University to visualize and track reported cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in real time. The data collected and displayed are freely available on GitHub.

Below are a few notable pull-quotes from this correspondence on The Lancet’s Infectious Diseases journal.

The dashboard, first shared publicly on Jan 22, illustrates the location and number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, deaths, and recoveries for all affected countries. It was developed to provide researchers, public health authorities, and the general public with a user-friendly tool to track the outbreak as it unfolds.

The dashboard reports cases at the province level in China; at the city level in the USA, Australia, and Canada; and at the country level otherwise. During Jan 22–31, all data collection and processing were done manually, and updates were typically done twice a day, morning and night (US Eastern Time). As the outbreak evolved, the manual reporting process became unsustainable…

Given the popularity and impact of the dashboard to date, we plan to continue hosting and managing the tool throughout the entirety of the COVID-19 outbreak and to build out its capabilities to establish a standing tool to monitor and report on future outbreaks.

For more updates and resources follow Lauren Gardner on Twitter or read the readme.

COVID-19 (2019-nCoV) real time dashboard
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