Working During a Pandemic

We’re in very strange times, that’s for sure. The entirety of humankind is trying to social engineer a defense against a microscopic threat, yet here I am wanting to talk about working and how well it’s going in spite of the pandemic.

When I was first inspired to write this brief post, I decided against it because it felt too much like bragging. After all, not being able to work is clearly on the minds of MILLIONS of people right now. But really, this isn’t about me; it is a testament to how working on a phenomenal team makes it possible to be busy and happy with my job no matter what the rest of the world is up to.

I’m glad to work with friends, to have tons of work to do, and to see my projects succeeding. As a person that already works from home, this whole situation hasn’t been much of a change for me, but it has been fantastic to see how well the rest of the team has been doing with it. It really matters how companies handle situations like these; we all gain some solid insight into what a company values and how much it can adapt. My group has certainly adapted and after a week or so, I think we’re back in the groove. We’re not slowing down — we’re picking up! I’m grateful that work is the last of my worries (which is precisely how it should be during a pandemic).

Some tips for companies:

  • Let people work from home if they can!
  • Make sure your employees aren’t worried about taking sick time or personal time to figure out family situations.
  • Lead by example: if CEOs or leadership video conferences from a home desk just like everyone else, people are less nervous.
  • Be transparent.
  • Be understanding.

Tips for individuals:

  • Develop a healthy morning routine.
  • Take breaks and go for a walk outside.
  • Establish rules for disruptions during work (when my door is closed, I’m in a meeting).
  • Communicate often in the chat.
  • Leave room between meetings for personal time like getting water, checking in on kids, grabbing a snack, etc.

Stay healthy, everyone!

Encryption Redux

In yet another exciting move for my blog, I’ve switched SSL providers from my previous provider to Let’s Encrypt. I’ve done so using a set of Docker containers, which also helped me move this WordPress blog to Docker as well. Now my blog is faster, encrypted for free, and easier to backup and maintain. I’ll probably post a brief article soon about how I set this up in more detail (including some docker-compose.yml snippets) soon.

An Open Letter to President-Elect Trump

Dear Mr. Trump,

Let me start out this letter by admitting a few things. First, it would be a tremendous understatement to claim that I am not your strongest supporter. While I have disagreed with much of what you have said and what you and your soon-to-be Vice President claim to stand for, I still feel this letter needs to be written with sincerity and tact. That said, the second thing I will admit is that I am under no illusion that you will ever read this letter, or even be aware of its existence. I am not an important political figure, an aristocrat, rich, or famous; I am simply a concerned citizen and a member of the human race. I also understand if, from your point of view, my pleas seem unnecessary or even insulting, but please let me assure you that this is not my intention. I may be left-leaning, but this letter comes from the heart and out of a concern for my fellow man, not based on any political alignment.

This letter is not intended as a plea for you to reverse your stance on anything, or to retract anything you have said. Continue to stand by what you believe in, though I certainly hope in the future you are open to critically analyzing those beliefs and reevaluating your stances. That said, what I am asking you to do here is understand that there is a very large population in your country that are scared for their future, partly because there is also a disturbingly large population of people that firmly believe your election provides a license for racism, homophobia, sexism, and other forms of hatred. My hope is that you recognize this, and that while you may feel it is not necessary to acknowledge this hatred for what it is, I implore you to consider the impact such animosity will have both on our own people and on the world’s perception of our nation.

Please consider making an unambiguous statement about something I hope you feel is obvious, but I can assure you is not for many people: that hatred, abuse, and violence inspired by racism, sexism, sexual preference, religion, or country of origin will be no more tolerated or acceptable during your presidency than it has in previous presidencies. Assure the American people — and the rest of the world — that the rule of law, the rights and safety of our citizens, and the freedom to prosper for all kinds of people, are paramount and will continue to be upheld at least as well during your time in office as they have in the past.

Such a simple proclamation will go a very long way in unifying our country, curbing hatred, and showing the world the kind of leader you intend to be.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Gnagy

Transport Layer Security FTW!

Thanks to the good people at SSls.com, my blog is now more secure than ever! And for only about $15… for a three-year cert! I’m not sure how they’re doing it, but I encourage anyone looking for an SSL certificate to check them out. Note that I am in no way affiliated with (and sadly not being paid to advertise for) SSLs.com. Along with this move to SSL, I have relocated this blog to an LXC container running on Ubuntu since the FreeBSD jail I was using couldn’t quite keep up with the demand (to be fair, I’m pretty sure that machine is plenty busy even without my tiny blog).