Thoughts and Recommendations Surrounding COVID-19

Originally published at:

We’re having trouble paying attention to anything outside the COVID-19 news, so here’s what we think we can contribute at the moment. Let us know what else you might like to hear from TidBITS on this topic.


I put together a few links on “Remote Working.”

I think TidBits readers might want more like this.
The How, when, and tips for Remote Work.


Basically, listen to the scientists, not the hearsay you just heard on some unscientific source. (Most people on this place surely understand that regardless, I suspect, lol!)

There’s a reason why different areas are locked down at different times, and why some things should be done at a later stage in the viruses lifecycle, rather than immediately.

…oh and panic buying; don’t waste your energy doing such things that causes further issues, rather than reducing them.



The first thing that comes to mind is terminology, since we at TidBITS are particular about how we use words, and usage is all over the map.

[definitions omitted]

Thank you! Earlier today, I ranted about use, misuse, and abuse of the terminology related to this current situation. Anyone who cannot get it right doesn’t make it through the first screen for trustworthiness.

(“would the New England Journal of Medicine really have suggested coronavirus infections are caused by 5G wireless?”)

Thank you for that chuckle.


What you posted cannot be repeated often enough.

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I always appreciate that TidBITS takes use of words and terminology seriously. Some folks might consider that nitpicky or obsessive, but IHMO it’s that kind of care to detail that I expect from writers who take their readers seriously. Thank you, Adam and team. Truly appreciate your effort.


… and note that major media outlets get their information from many sources, not all of which are reliable. If something sounds fishy or unusual, wait until you hear it from multiple independent sources before repeating it.

The real facts will be reported by everybody (eventually), while the baseless rumors will fall by the wayside in a day or two.

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Well, we’re all being pushed into a new set of realities.

  • Working from home
  • minimizing travel and social interaction
  • children, those we have and those we teach, remote teaching and learning, I’d say there’s a few TidBITS members doing both.
  • Opportunities this might present, beyond work and being ‘productive’. A chance for fitness maybe, or spiritual development or heck, reading books. Got a few Audible recommendations anyone?
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Thanks for putting this together. It is very helpful.

As someone who is older (70) and fighting cancer I appreciate trusted sources. I also appreciate the contact as I’ve been told to stay home and avoid people.

One nice thing that a couple of people who are working from home have done on my local Nextdoor. They’ve put word out that they are available to do shopping for people who need it. For those who are wfh might want to offer something similar, or even check in with any elderly neighbors.

Thanks again,


2 posts were split to a new topic: Recommendations for Audible books while in social isolation

As a hermit with no kids who works from home, nothing has changed for me. :wink:

I am helping elderly neighbors who need it, though.

5 Likes has pointed out that hygiene in cars is often neglected but is more important than ever. They have some reasonable tips here

Regarding Tidbits role, I agree that assisting people with working from home would be useful. However perhaps the biggest impact will be casual workers who are laid off. I am not sure how IT can help them - there will be way too many looking for any work so job-searching services will likely only help a small proportion.

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Often I get the impression that major networks will include a quote from what I consider to be an unreliable source or fringe viewpoint to present a “balanced” report. I recognize that my world view might affect which viewpoint I consider to be unreliable or fringe, but some included quotes are just wacko.

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There’s something sadly wrong with the world when that sort of well written, well considered, factually accurate report appears in an online journal about computing instead of what are regarded as mainstream media.

Props to you Adam. I have saved the links to the Johns Hopkins Center and Our World in Data in my browser ‘favourites’ bar for easy access—specifically to forward to friends in need of a dose of reality.

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I am on the planning commission in a tiny town in Utah. I’ve been tasked with finding suitable web meeting software so we can continue to hold meetings. I’m familiar with this from the client end, but have never hosted meetings before. So an article about that may be good for people in a similar situation. Free or low cost a bonus, as we have no budget for this.

A good suggestion, and we’ll work on that! My quick response is that Zoom seems to be getting the most press. You can try it for free, and as an added bonus, free meetings can be only 40 minutes. That’s almost a selling point. :slight_smile:

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My employer uses Microsoft Teams. If you use Office 365, then you might already have it installed.

Usage is very simple. Teams installs a button on the Outlook Ribbon for creating Teams meetings. Use it to schedule meetings and invite others. It will automatically generate the appropriate objects and links in Teams. You can use the link in the invitation or Teams’ own calendar page to join the meeting. Voice, video, screen sharing and whiteboard capabilities are available.

Has anybody checked your town charter and state laws to see if remote meetings are legal for deliberative bodies there? If your meetings are run by Roberts Rules, I believe they call for an explicit authorization in your bylaws or charter for telecommunications-based meetings if you would be taking any binding votes.

Apparently there are scammers taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation. I forget the details of how they operate so be on your guard.

That is important. For New York State non-profit boards, there are no issues with voting via teleconference. However, if a vote is taken via email, it must be unanimous, in that everyone on the board must vote, and everyone must vote the same way. If there’s anyone missing, or any dissent, the vote fails automatically.

(I’m now president of the local Finger Lakes Runners Club, so I’ve been dealing with both remote board issues and the whole COVID-19 situation daily for several weeks now. We’ve had to cancel two races and all group workouts so far, and I expect several more races to be canceled soon, since they’re 8 and 10 weeks out. On the plus side, I’ve been moving the club from a decades-old mailing list to Discourse, which is being a big win overall, even if it has required some people to learn something new.)