Thoughts on COVID Notifications

Lake Tahoe view from Zephyr Cove hike.
View from a morning hike at Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

A notification just popped up on my iphone. It was from the state of Nevada and it stated it could let me know if I’d been exposed to someone with COVID. This really creeped me out. How did they know I had visited Nevada for the weekend?

Seriously. This is scary. Are we being tracked? I wanted to look back at the notification so I could write down the verbiage, but it disappeared off my phone as quickly as it appeared.

I checked out the Nevada state’s COVID website and found what must have been it: COVID Trace.

COVID Trace is a free, easy-to-use mobile phone app that gives us the information we need to fight COVID-19, without compromising your privacy.

The app will help Nevadans protect each other and slow the spread by notifying you if you’ve likely been exposed to COVID-19. Empowering you to quarantine effectively, seek timely medical attention, and reduce risk for your loved ones.

COVID Trace is a contact tracing mobile app developed by the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services that uses a technology called the Exposure Notifications System from Google and Apple. The app exchanges anonymous information with other phones in your vicinity and can notify you if you’ve come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

My question remains. Why did the state of Nevada send a message to my phone? How did they know I was there?

What are your thoughts about this app? Would you sign up for it? How do you think they traced me to being in Nevada and had my cell phone number?

How to not overwork from home

robahh 1
Back when I was working from home as a stay-at-home mom with my first-born child.

Little did I know when I posted this last January, that a bunch of people would be working from home in a few short weeks! My husband’s office is shut to most employees and clients. He’s been working from home for close to a year. He’s pretty good at keeping strict business hours. In our new home, he has his own office and that’s a big upgrade from him working in our master bedroom! Here’s what I wrote unknowing what the COVID year ahead would be like:

Working from home is something I’ve done for years. At first, I had what is now our guest room dedicated as my office for my sole proprietor public relations and marketing biz. That’s why the kids called it the “computer room” when they were little.  I had a desktop Apple IIc something computer and heavy-weight laser printer. Back then, I also had a fax machine and a separate phone line for my work.

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This looks like the very first Mac in my home office.

My downfall with that venture was not knowing when to stop. Even though I had a separate work space, I couldn’t stop working. I had a client who loved to call me after 6 p.m. and give me work that had to be done by morning — and they were my main client! Also, this was pre-email days and internet. I had to transfer files to the people who changed my files to film over a modem. Then the film had to be picked up from these mom and pop shops and I drove them to the printer. I’m talking newsletters, flyers, brochures and veloxes for newspapers. Can you imagine that?

I’d wake up throughout the night and to make sure the files transferred from my modem to the film person’s modem. Sometimes a newsletter or ad file would take six or seven hours to transfer.

How things have changed from the early 1990s! Prior to that it, was a Selectric IBM typewriter I used and hand delivered copy to a print shop who then had to retype it all into columns, lay it out with my photos or artwork, give me a rough copy and finally a blueline to proof before going to print. Things are so much easier these days.

I’m still working from home and everything is so much quicker and convenient with emails and the internet. But the question still remains, how do I guard my time and not work all the time?

What’s a blueline you might ask if you weren’t alive back in the olden days? Here’s the definition I got from googling it from Dictionary.com:

blueline:

a print made on light-sensitive paper and used as a proof for checking the position of stripped-up negatives or positives and copy prior to platemaking.

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What are your solutions for separating a life from working hours when you work from home?

Is There Something Apple Isn’t Telling Us?

One of our earlier Macs.

One of our earlier Macs.

I never realized how much I depended on my iPhone, until it went down!  It’s almost like missing a good friend. I’ve written about my relationship with technology in a blog post here.

My son called to tell me he finally got new tires. After a nice talk, I put the phone down and next time I picked it up I discovered a white screen with the Apple logo. (Which reminds me of a funny video called, “Put Your Phone Down!” — by Smog and Fog, the Whole Foods and Yoga Girl guy.)

Not good. I got the phone in March, so I knew it was still under warranty. I backed it up when it acted skittish a few weeks ago. I wasn’t panicked because I knew I wasn’t losing anything irreplaceable.

This looks like the very first Mac I owned.

This looks like the very first Mac I owned.

The only thing I was truly suffering from was inconvenience.  I got online and tried a bunch of technical fixes from Apple Support like updating and restoring. Repeatedly. Nothing worked. I drove to AT&T where I bought it to see if they could do anything. Nope.

I had no choice but to go to Apple and visit the Genius Bar. The only problem was the next available appointment was five days away! I went ahead and made the appointment. What other choice did I have?

During the next days, I checked myself every time I reached for my phone. I posted on FB that I was phone-less in the off chance someone needed to reach me. I still have a home phone, email, etc. My morning walks were without my iHeart radio. I couldn’t take photos of the beauty during my morning walks, nor post to insta. I couldn’t tweet. What on earth was a person to do?

What we used before computers.

What we used before computers.

I decided not to wait for my appointment. Instead I drove to Palm Desert, which is 30 miles away, to the Apple store before it opened this morning. Was I shocked to see 50 people standing in line on the sidewalk!

“Oh, great,” I thought. “I pick the day they release the iPhone 6s to get my phone looked at!”

But, no, standing in line, feeling the camaraderie that happens when you’re waiting with strangers, I discovered that the new iPhone won’t be in stores for about a week. People I talked with had the same white screen with the Apple logo on their iPhone 6. This cannot be good. What the heck is going on? Is there something that Apple isn’t telling us? Is it the upgrade to iOS 9? 

When my hour and 45 minute wait was over and I got a coveted stool at the Genius bar, my “appointment genius” couldn’t answer my questions.

My favorite typewriter. The IBM Selectric II.

My favorite typewriter. The IBM Selectric II.

“It could be because of anything,” he said. “No, it’s not an upgrade glitch.”

Hmmmm. I glanced up and down the Genius bar at all the frozen phones. Interesting.

The best thing I can say about this adventure is this: the customer service at Apple is amazing. I walked away with a new phone, feeling thankful to have my friend, iPhone 6, back in my daily life.

Has anyone else had their iPhone freeze this week?

I wonder if the world as we know it would come to a halt, if there was a truly huge Apple glitch? What does that say about how dependent we are on technology and electronics?

It's back!

It’s back!

After the Whirlwind the Dust Begins to Settle in My Empty Nest

University of Utah

University of Utah

We were caught in a whirlwind of activities and travel, running away from our empty nest. We went to the beach, Mexico, Utah, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara and Utah in that order in the past two months. Wheew!!! It makes my head dizzy to think about it.

View from University of California Santa Barbara

View from University of California Santa Barbara

Now that we have stopped running, I’m anxious to start some big projects. Emptying out the guest room and redoing the bathroom and walls. The first part of this project means I have to go through boxes and closets and books and make decisions about what to toss and what to keep.

images-2We have an armoire with a BIG TV and VCR and drawers full of movies that entertained the kids for years. I feel somewhat sad about tossing out all the Disney classics, but they’re never going to be watched on a VCR again.

images-3I have shelves of books that have followed me from childhood. The complete set of Anne books and Narnia Chronicles I will keep. I still enjoy reading them.  I’m holding on to A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, too. I think my husband wants me to get rid of them all, but they are like dear friends that I cannot part with.

images-8images-7I keep avoiding this chore of going through the “guest room” which at one point in our 22 years here, was called the “computer room” because before kids in 1992 it was where my first Apple computer lived. Now I’m on about Apple number nine, wanting to return to work in my computer room. I’m coming full circle becoming the person that I was before. It’s a great feeling, but a little scary, too.

One of our earlier Apples.

One of our earlier Apples.