General

Chin up! It could always be worse

Even with the doom and gloom, you need to look on the bright side, things could always be worse. Not only could you work for a POS company like Wells Fargo, it could actually be the year 2000, which is the technology they seem to be using.

If this were 20 years, or even 10 years ago, things would truly be in upheaval. We have tools like Slack, Zoom, and others so we can hold conferences with dozens of people not only in different parts of the city, but different parts of the country. The technology to host that was abysmal 10 years ago.

We have an Internet backbone that can actually support this traffic. We previously had DSL, which was great at the time, and fast compared to dial-up, but egad, there is no way you could conduct business over that connection.

Sure, it can be a little saturated at peak times, but it's working 95% of time, so it's easy to host meetings, see people, share screens, draw on a virtual white board, and discuss complex topics, in real time, as though you were in the same location.

Sites and services are so easily connected through web portals. Even using a VPN solution is so much better than it used to be.

Let's not forget, we have the old standby of email, which is damn near instantaneous. It doesn't have the word instant in the name, but email still makes it across the country in seconds.

And we have file sharing like never before. With Google, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, you can give files to people in the blink of an eye.

With that, we also have online Office. Google and Microsoft both have cloud versions, so you can still get on with tasks regardless of how powerful or not your computer happens to be.

Go back for a moment. Think back to 1999, and ticking over into 2000, when people thought their machines were going to reset, shut down, or explode because they weren't sure machines could handle the new year.

Make no mistake, it is tough for certain sectors of business. All the technology in the world doesn't help serve food to an empty restaurant.

But, let us be thankful for what we do have. We can easily connect to work. We can still do our jobs. We can still talk with our team. We can still write code, query databases, share files, and get work done. It's different, but it's working. And in my opinion, it's working well.

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Week #3 of working remotely – Build your workspace

We're at the start of week 3 for working remotely and I think just about everyone has found their rhythm. But, it has taken awhile, and one thing I heard from multiple people, they weren't prepared to work remotely for an extended period. The main problem? Nowhere to work.

We have people who work remotely and that's no issue. But, that's for a day. They can handle calls, or attend meetings, or put together a client proposal, but not everyone has a dedicated work machine or a dedicated work area. Working from the couch or kitchen table is fine for a few hours, but it's not going to do for several weeks.

Many people spent the weekend getting themselves set up for the long haul. Some just had to clear off a desk, while others had to race out and actually get a desk. Several people had to get full sized monitors. Some retrieved equipment from the office, others ended up ordering them. That's why so many monitors, mice, keyboards, headsets, and even full systems have been disappearing from inventory. I know Woot did a brisk trade for computer equipment.

Many people had to make a place for themselves. They needed a permanent work area in order to get back into the routine.

I'm lucky in this regard. I've already made comment that my home machine and work machine are the same. I rarely work from home, but when I've needed to do something, I wanted a familiar environment.

That's the problem a lot of people have just solved. They now have an area that is familiar, that allows them to have a routine, something puts them in the mindset of begin at the office.

It's the idea of, when I'm here, I'm working. This is my work space. You're not going to get that by wearing sweatpants and sitting on the couch.

Further, sitting at the kitchen table looking at a laptop screen for days on end is maddening. It will make being at home a dozen times worse. Setting up a space that feels right and works well will make this ordeal far more tolerable.

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Week #2 of working remotely

So here we are at the tail end of two weeks of working remotely. I had to make a dash into the office late Wednesday as our building would be closed until further notice due to the stay at home order. I figured it was better for me to have the machine here than it collecting dust in an empty building.

Oddly, there were far more people on the road than I expected. Maybe they were out and about doing the same thing, grabbing machines and necessities from their place of work, which could be confused with looting. Rest assured, I totally had permission to get my own machine from work.

Other than the laughable toilet paper situation, I find things to be going quite well. We are communicating regularly through Slack and use Zoom to have team meetings. This was already the norm since we've had people working remotely for various reasons for a couple of years.

I have to say, the morale is still very high, people are still getting work done, it hasn't all turned to doom and gloom, or a why bother attitude. That is good to see.

From my perspective, I am testing the same way I have always done. I have the same tools at home as I did at work. And now I have the same machine again. Problem is, I don't actually have room for it. I would have to turn something off to put it in place. Not sure that's possible.

I have noticed a lot of software companies dropping prices, extending trials, and making accommodations for people to work remotely. Unlike Wells Fargo, or people selling sheets of toilet paper on eBay, not everyone is out to screw over the public in this time of need.

Who knows how long the current situation will last, but we are operating under the guise of this as the normal for at least 6 months. Even when we do decide to head back, that office will need to be scrubbed. There was already dust piling up because we obviously didn't want the cleaning crew in there either.

Hopefully everyone is coping with the new normal. I haven't noticed much of a difference. I still work with the same team members, and still talk through Slack. I would even Slack people who sat next to me because I didn't want to totally interrupt their flow.

I have noticed one thing. Some people are working more now than before, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but you still need to keep boundaries. Just because our machines are on longer than they used to be, and we are in fact home, doesn't mean we need to work 10, 12, or 16 hour days. The schedule remains the same. Starting at 8:30am vs. 9am because you don't have traffic is fine. But, being "logged in" at 10pm is no good. Now more than ever, people need to take a break and separate work life and home life.

Block off time to spend with your kids. The sun is out, the birds are singing, the trees are blooming, take a break and go outside for a few minutes. Get yourself some exercise, and no, pacing doesn't count. Have a virtual lunch through Slack. Stay safe, but don't allow yourself to get cabin fever.

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Wells Fargo is run by F-ING IDIOTS

Please allow me to go on a rant for a moment. Not only am I customer of Wells Fargo, but not for much longer, but I know several people who work for the banks, Wells Fargo included.

Despite an order for non-essential professionals to stay home, Wells Fargo has stated all their employees are essentials and requires them to come into work as scheduled.

This is utterly ridiculous and they should be ashamed of themselves for treating employees like this and putting them in danger. This is totally unacceptable.

I haven't been in my office since March 13th and we were told last night to get anything we needed out of the office and steer clear of the building. There was no reason for us to enter before and now we can't.

We are a company that makes $40-50 million per year in revenue, and we have figured out a way to work from home and isolate ourselves from danger. You would think a company that clears $2 billion a year might have enough intellectual capacity to pull off the same feat.

Wells Fargo Demands Call Center Workers Come to Office Despite Coronavirus

And to further show just how rotten Wells Fargo has become as a company, this mental defective used to be CEO

'Some may even die, I don't know': Former Wells Fargo CEO wants people to go back to work and 'see what happens'

This is about as stupid as it gets. I'm ashamed to even be loosely associated with this company.

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Neil Parfitt – Someone who is actually using a Mac Pro correctly

There has been a lot of talk about the Mac Pro since it came out. Most of it drivel. There's been admonishment that it's too expensive, it's too powerful, no one has a need for a machine like that. Meanwhile, people like Linus and Jay, build $20k computers, who's sole purpose is to play games, with (multiple) $3000+ video cards and declare what they've done is awesome.

Despite this, the Mac Pro is an amazing machine, and several companies have already rushed to make Windows based systems that compete. Linus is practically screaming with joy as he snaps 2TB of ram into a machine so he can open tabs in Google Chrome. A stupid experiment, but the hardware shows other companies are taking the technology of the Mac Pro very seriously.

Ironically, it was Linus that pointed me to Neil Parfitt, who actually uses a Mac Pro for work. Real work. Not just someone on YouTube who happened to get one so they could unbox it on camera and swoon over the black keyboard.

Neil is an audio professional, who works on Hollywood movies and television (not YouTube videos), and the Mac Pro isn't the most expensive piece of gear in his audio setup.

It starts with the unboxing of the rack mount edition, and why he chose that config. He then goes into the multiple pieces of hardware that need to fit inside the Mac Pro. His goal is to replace two Mac Pro 2013s with 12 cores and 128GB ram, with a Mac Pro of 28 cores and 384GB ram.

This isn't about playing games. It has nothing to do with frame rate. There are no Cinebench scores.

What he documents is a fascinating journey of putting the machine together, installing a massive amount of hardware, getting the Mac Pro into the rack cabinet, and hooking it into the system with all the other audio hardware. He comments on both the good and bad things of the process.

Neil uses a Mac for sure, but he's not being a fan boy. He points out several places where Apple's setup for audio professionals is not set up for audio professionals. There are obstacles to be overcome and this machine needs to be set up and working for his real business and putting together a score for a real television show, not some 10 minute video on YouTube.

Honestly, this is some of the best tech documentary I have seen in a long time. He's not running around with a Red camera, or using a robotic arm, or waxing poetic about how shiny something is. Although he does make a few comments about the case clicking into place. I can't fault him though, it does sound cool.

When you see the rest of his studio gear, you will quickly realize, this Mac isn't about vanity, but performance. And it's merely one tool, in a very expensive collection of tools, that make up his workflow.

If you want to see a Mac Pro used correctly, by someone who knows what they're doing, and see a high powered machine used for something other than games and frame rate, check out what Neil Parfitt has going on.

I can't wait to see the full workflow in action.

Neil Parfitt – Unbox and commenting on the Mac Pro rack mount edition

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