Simple Coronavirus COVID-19 facts

Every statement in this blog came from a reasonable source. None of the information is unique. I hope it helpful.

Coronavirus is the disease. COVID-19 is the name of the virus. 

Viruses are basically living chemicals. They are strips of RNA which get into our bodies and force our DNA to replicate the virus. This happens over and over building up more and more active viruses in your body.

The test for COVID-19 is nasal swab, like a flu test, and testing for the replication. It is only effective if you have enough of the virus in your system that they virus can infect a DNA sample and force replication which is the sign of the disease. Generally, you don’t have enough if you are NOT showing symptoms. There is NO antibody test to date which would show your body has been exposed and has some level of resistance.

COVID-19 is *NOT* an airborne virus. Yes, you can get it from mist of cough or sneeze, but it doesn’t live in the air. When it’s in that “mist”, it’s living on droplets, not the air. This is why it’s important to cover up (blocks the mist) and why sick people in public must wear a mask.

COVID-19 can live on surfaces. Smoother ones seem to let it live longer – up to 48 hours. Rough ones like paper and cardboard less so – a few hours. This is why it important to disinfect surfaces. If the surface is warmer, it they tend to die/denature dfaster.

COVID-19 can be killed with exposure to heat. Viruses are mostly proteins and especially the active part – RNA. Heat denatures (breaks the bonds and links) of the protein and effectively kills it. It is one of the reasons we cook our food – think pressure cooker.

Wash your hands. Washing your hands for 20 seconds or more in plain soap and water frequently can greatly reduce your chances of getting virus. The most common path is you pick up the virus on your hands and rub your face, eyes, mouth, nose, etc. and place the virus where it can enter your body. If you got to rub your face, wash first, then its ok, but still don’t pick your nose in public. 

Will warmer weather will end Coronavirus. This is an extrapolation of the lab data. COVID-19 is related to cold viruses which don’t die back in summer. Viruses are remarkably resistant. Even if it dies back, it might come back even worse in the fall.

Optional medical procedures are being canceled. Hospitals are overwhelmed either with Coronavirus or preparing for it. If that hospital is treating Coronavirus, you are better off not being in the building being exposed while in a weakened state. Truly urgent patients are being treated. The other danger is medical treatments place us in close proximity to others (doctors, nurses, other patients) which is to be avoided, too.

Social distancing works by preventing the spread. The virus depends on humans spreading it via fluid contact (sneeze, cough, contaminated surface, etc.). If we don’t come in contact with each other, COVID-19 has no way to reproduce and spread. Coronavirus will be stopped if we don’t cheat.

Naming of the disease – 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease. There was an active effort by the WHO and others to avoid confusion by calling it SARS (accurate) or flu (inaccurate) or demonize a group of people (Chinese). The disease has been called Novel coronavirus pneumonia, Wuhan pneumonia, Wuhan coronavirus or just “Coronavirus”. The gene bank labeled it SARS-CoV-2. Calling in Chinese Flu is about as helpful as calling it “meat eaters pneumonia” or “wild game eaters disease”. This wouldn’t have happened if everyone was vegetarian or vegan so say my vegan and vegetarian friends. Let’s agree to keep racial prejudice and conspiracy theories out of medicine and science.

While I haven’t put a source with each entry, each came from reputable source and can be verified as of time of publication. Many of these are covered in World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) myth busters.

Sources:

Why soap works courtesy of Alton Brown:

Good information and data analysis:

https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus

Informative presentation from Dr. Michael Lin.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1DqfSnlaW6N3GBc5YKyBOCGPfdqOsqk1G/view

Using a DJI Drone to record house build

Using waypoints to make amazing drone videos.

Drones provide an inexpensive, easy way to record from high above and far away with little or no training. There is no pilot’s license required for small but competent drones, but you do have to avoid no fly zones such as airports, certain municipalities, or harassing individuals. As a person who builds and fixes computing systems (technology, process, people) for a living and a person who tinkers with everything from computers to IoT to cars and boats to houses for fun, it was always my desire to build a house. I’ve been using my DJI Phantom 3 SE (no longer manufactured) drone to thoroughly document the build process.

Modern drones are relatively easy to fly. That doesn’t mean the pictures, especially video, will look any good. I took lot of ugly video at first. There always is the thrill of being aloft, which you can observe from your phone. The DJI Phantom 3 SE (my older drone) and newer drones use GPS or GPS+GLONASS, typically fly for about 20 to 30 mins, range 1/2 to 1 mile, record at 720p or 1080p, hover within 0.5 to 0.1m if you just let go of everything even in a stiff breeze, newer ones avoid objects, and fly at up to about 50 MPH.

I prefer a dedicated controller, but many can be flown from just a smartphone. Many  have advanced abilities to follow-you or at least the controller, circle a known point, do special effects, respond to hand gestures, or fly a pre-assigned flight path made up of waypoints.

Waypoints are your friend when making a video. The best way I’ve found to get a good video, excluding editing (not covered here), is to set a flight path via waypoints, save the mission, and then run the mission.  There are numerous youtube videos out that illustrate the process. I’ve included a video from DJI below to illustrate the process using my DJI drone, but other drones and drone manufacturers have similar abilities.

The real trick is when you run your mission is to set the “Head to:” setting to “FREE”. In head to mode FREE, you control where the camera points. So now you know the drone will fly the mission, not crash, and you can focus on pointing the camera. Shots always are more dramatic if you can move the camera on 3-axis. You already have motion, but you tilt up and down and pan side to side. You’ll get a pretty decent video without editing.

In addition, you can repeat the mission since it saved for you. By flying the same mission, you can see changes over time. In the case of my house build, I have flown around the home site in each stage of the build. I now have a video library I can check to see the house slowly being built.

Enough people have expressed interest in my house build in Florida that I am going to write a new blog on it. Once I get enough content, I’ll post the new WordPress site here.

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Now technology bubbles up to the Business Enterprise level from Consumers

The technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will bubble up into business and into enterprises quickly – far quicker than IBM, HPE, Cisco, or any of the enterprise strength IT companies would like. Initially technology came from business to consumers – think PCs. The sheer size of consumer market and its willingness to put up with beta releases makes the consumer world the ideal proving ground for the less fault tolerant enterprise world.

Drones are bubbling up. While they started in the military, they now are big segment of the consumer market. Drones or autonomous flying vehicles have been improving including automated stabilization, 4K cameras, enhanced flying times, etc. Many of them have dozens of computers on board and some rather impressive programming to make them simple to use.

Due to the wide-spread usage of drones in the consumer market, they are vastly improved and far less expensive. One of the leader’s in the industry, DJI’s basic drone, Phantom 3 Standard, is just under $500 flying for ~25 mins, includes GPS tracking, tracks subjects based photo recognition using a 1080 camera for photos and stills. Refurb is $329 and knock offs are even cheaper.  Just 5 years ago, this would have been a top of the line $5K drone, if even available.

Part of the attractiveness of the consumer world is scale. The other factor is that the consumer world is filled with willing beta testers. Recent releases of drones from reputable companies come with lots of complaints on the internal boards of not flying well, not following waypoints, and simply flying away. A drone that loses its signal is supposed to fly back to the point of origin and land. In the business world, this would be a breach of contract and might result in loss of property or life. In the consumer world, the drone manufacturer can just send a firmware update, a coupon, or at worst replaces the device.

While scale makes the money, it is the willing beta tester that enables advancement. Haven’t you signed up to be a beta or an alpha tester. I know I am for many of IBM’s early release programs. We have marvelous internal site called “Technology Adoption Program” where individuals submit their software inventions. Many have become key enablers of IBM’s business.

What else might bubble up? Virtual Reality has real possibilities for training. Consumer IoT devices will make it into manufacturing. Fitness IoT devices will make it into Medical IoT devices. Home IoT devices by Amazon, Google, and Apple will rapidly make both IoT device and cognitive (AI) advances as we all beta test their devices for more hardened uses. I know send in correction reports regularly and in general they do a good job following up. The list is endless as people gobble up consumer technologies.

We used to make fun of 3rd world countries using the computers out of toys to steer their weapons. Maybe they were just ahead of their time.

Consumer Technology enables SCALE and RAPID INNOVATION

Consumers enable SCALE and RAPID INNOVATION in Technology. As I walked around the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), I could see how the technology will “bubble up” into business and into enterprises quickly. Initially, technology came from business to consumers – think PCs. The sheer size of consumer market, hunger for new functionality, and its willingness to put up with beta releases makes the consumer world the ideal proving ground for the less fault tolerant enterprise world. Companies that span both world can leverage the consumer world for its SCALE and RAPID INNOVATION and bubble those innovations into the enterprise world for higher profits.

Drones are an example of bubbling up. While they started in the military, they are now a big segment of the consumer market. Drones or autonomous flying vehicles have been improving including automated stabilization, 4K cameras, enhanced flying times, etc. Many of them have dozens of computers on board and some rather impressive programming to make them simple to use. First it was movies, then multi-million dollar homes and now you see mid-market homes with drone footage. It has become a toy for teenagers, too.

Due to the wide-spread usage of drones in the consumer market, they are vastly improved and far less expensive. One of the leader’s in the industry (Drone Market Map)( https://www.droneii.com/top20-drone-company-ranking-q3-2016)), DJI’s basic drone is just under $500, flys for ~25 mins, includes GPS tracking, tracks subjects based photo recognition using a 1080 camera for photos and stills. Lots of knock offs are even cheaper.  “Toy Drones” are just $50! Five years ago, the DJI basic drone would have been a top of the line $5K drone, if even available.

Part of the attractiveness of the consumer world is scale. The other factor is that the consumer world is filled with willing beta testers and relatively low liability costs. The consumer world is an agile one where cycles occur very quickly. A typical enterprise development cycle is 18 months. In the same time in the consumer world, you’d see a major hardware, firmware, and at least 30+ releases of software.

The demand for new and the tolerance for risk is high in the consumer market. Recent releases of drones from reputable consumer companies come with lots of complaints on the internal boards of them not flying well, not following waypoints, and simply flying away. In the business world, failure to perform would be a breach of contract and might result in loss of property or life. In the consumer world, the drone manufacturer can just send a firmware update, a letter, a coupon, award you status on their web site as hero or pioneer, or at worst – replace the drone. It’s a trivial price enabling those dipping into the consumer world to advance faster than those in the business world.

While scale makes the money, it is the willing beta tester that enables advancement. Haven’t you signed up to be a beta or an alpha tester. I know I am for many of IBM’s early release programs. We have marvelous internal site called “Technology Adoption Program” where individuals submit their software inventions. Many have become key enablers of IBM’s business. They grew up fast by being adopted and depended on by IBM’s business.

What else might bubble up? Virtual Reality has real possibilities for training. Augmented Reality with heads up displays and glasses will be welcomed the field. Giving schematics, UV and Infrared vision, and more to workers. What will make it become easily affordable and useful – another Pokemon Go that plays with glasses pushing it onto millions of users’ foreheads.

3D printing is coming of age, but I can see point where 25% of households have plastics printer and your hardware store has a metal one. No inventory of 500K parts – just print it. Lots more like LED lights, Home Automation, Sports Fitness, etc. will bubble up.

Finally, Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be the biggest winner from the bubble up effect of the consumer. The key to AI is having huge knowledge base or corpus and lots of training. Where better than the consumer market with a potential of 7 billion users – the population of the world – to train your AI. Whether it is Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Watson, or Google, these companies’ AI programs will benefit from the consumer training it. You get a voice interface and they get you to train their AI.

What do you think will be the next big bubble up technology from the consumer world to the enterprise world?