COVID-19 and Some Changes

Well, the Governor of Maryland has closed all non-essential businesses and other states have done the same, which means most of my clients are closed and every other business that is still open has way more to worry about than a website. With that in mind, I’m making some changes, I’m currently sitting here working on ideas for a new career and making some other changes to my daily life.

Software

I’ve had time to really look at what I’m using over the last few months and I knew I wanted to make some changes, I just didn’t make it a priority. The first thing I’ve done is a switch from Polymail to Spark for email on both my MacBook and my iPhone.

Polymail worked just fine, but I didn’t like the monthly fee for features I didn’t use. They have a free plan, but every message includes a “Sent from Polymail” blurb after my signature. I didn’t want that and I didn’t want to go to just using Gmail or Mail.app, neither works exactly as I want. I had used Spark awhile ago but when browsing the app store for something else today I came across it again. I quickly set up my email addresses and signatures and everything works without any advertising or subscription. The only thing I don’t like is that the delete button is on a sub-menu when viewing a message.

Other recent changes (last few months) include a switch from Dropbox to a copy of Nextcloud running on a DigitalOcean server, GitHub for projects, and Brave for my browser. I have more space with Nextcloud, complete control of users and access, and it only costs me $5 per month, a way better deal than Dropbox for my use case. All projects are now on GitHub which makes it really nice since GitHub now has an actual iPhone app and I like the overall setup. I used Bitbucket for a while, then GitLab, but I still had to go to GitHub for a lot of open-source resources and I had to maintain an account if I wanted to clone anything. I finally just gave in and moved everything back and have a paid account for private repositories.

I’ve been using Brave for a few months and it works really well, it’s Chrome with better security. I like that I can pop into a private window or go further with a private TOR window if I need to look something up but don’t want a record of it (Christmas gifts). I haven’t used the TOR option except to check IPChicken to verify it was receiving a different IP address, but it’s nice to know it’s there. The shields it provides to stop cross-site tracking and scripts are very nice, I occasionally have to disable them for specific sites so they work, but since uBlock Origin no longer worked on Safari because of updates it’s a nice convenient change.

Life

I’ve given up soda and most caffeine now, occasionally I’ll have a ginger ale but it’s rare. I’ve been having coffee more often, I know I just said I gave up most caffeine, but I wasn’t drinking coffee before, I was drinking way too much soda. A single coffee a few times a week pales in comparison to what I was drinking before. It’s always with almond milk and no added sweeteners, I switch between a macchiato and a latte. The only other things I am drinking are water and the occasional orange juice.

I’m walking, being more active and I am doing my best to take care of myself. There are several outdoor events and competitions I would like to take part in once all of the lockdowns are done, between the events and the practice for them I’ll be getting more exercise. If schools stay closed I’m going to start doing morning walks, it’s hard to do them on a road without sidewalks when you’re worrying about busses and cars. Summer is usually when I do my longer walks because there is less traffic so I’m not constantly having to move from the edge of the road to the ditch.

I’ve decided that I want to start a small garden and get a few chickens. Of course, I decide on chickens when the entire county is phone or email only and I can’t get through on the phone or get a response to my email regarding any zoning or permitting requirements for backyard chickens.

Career

Career-wise I don’t know what I’m going to do, I like web development, but I don’t like trying to find work when things fall through or worse when everyone is rightfully concerned with trying to keep their businesses open. Web development also can be an annoyance because things don’t want to work right for one specific person while for everyone else it works just fine. It’s hard to track down those errors and it’s hard not having complete control of things to do testing, updates, and changes. Having to go through another person who has no idea about the project to get something done with a database, subdomain, or PHP extension can mean a day or more before it’s done. I could have it done in a few minutes to a few hours depending on what the task is.

I want to get away from sitting behind a computer all-day-everyday if I can. That’s one of the contributing factors of why my general health is less than optimal. I can stop drinking soda, eat better, and walk but I’m still looking at least 8 hours sitting behind a computer per day, and usually, it’s more than that.


Featured Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

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