I'm writing this just after week 16 of my Coronavirus lockdown, having started working from home on 13th March. A lot has gone on since my last post on this subject and I've started to consider skills that I've gained and changes I've seen.
At the beginning of lockdown I started to track the number of new toilet rolls we had in the house, largely because of the toilet roll panic buying that went on. This statistic quickly fell by the wayside as, frankly, I couldn't be bothered to count them every day. At the start of lockdown we had 31 toilet rolls as part of normal purchasing patterns (we have three bathrooms).
I've photographed one frog (this post's banner image), albeit seven times. The frog was living under the empty paddling pool, and I wouldn't have moved the pool had I known.
I've been managing and collating the church's YouTube channel with 59 videos and 123 subscribers. That meant I had to learn how to use YouTube from a creator's perspective, along with how to stream to it. I recommend OBS Studio to you.
The number of cuppas (cups of tea) I drank was fairly consistent about 4 - 5 cups per day. I stopped logging those fairly early on.
I've studied 108 days of Welsh, my learning streak intact throughout. My favourite words, or phrases (written with English phonetics), are:
- Pili-pala (pill-ee-pal-ah) - butterfly
- Collnod r - apostrophe R,
'r(I can't give the phonetics as Duo Lingo sounds like that's "potten ah daire" yet this post shows the audio is wrong!)
- Gwneud (gwin-ayde) - to make
I've written 109 journal entries (should have been 110, but I forgot one day). I've bought two fountain pens (TWSBI Vac 700R and Pilot Capless (Vanishing Point) in matte black).
Early on I heard someone predict the "collapse of the Internet" with many working from home. This, naturally, raised the question of whether or not you had to take annual leave if you couldn't work due to the Internet being so slow. Netflix reduced the quality of the video they were streaming to help address the problem. This prompted ISPs such as BT to announce they had plenty of capacity to absorb the spike.
Naturally research was needed!
While not entirely scientific, most of my tests have followed the same process. I've generally been sat at the same place (in the study, next to the wifi access point) using the same device - most readings are from my work laptop before connecting to the VPN. Generally I've not been streaming or downloading any big files when taking my readings, but others in the house may have been. I took three readings for each "session" and then calculated the mean average. There's 50 readings so far.
As the red line on the graph shows, my upload speeds (mega bits per second, Mbps) have been fairly consistent with a mean average of 18.18 Mbps. Download speeds have been less stable, the blue line, with a mean average of 52.25 Mbps (peak mean average speed was 59.16 Mbps.
Of all the measurements, ping trip times (milliseconds, ms) were the most variable with a minimum of 12 ms and maximum of 31.33 ms. Mean average ping time came to 23.09 ms. I noted quite often that my second measurement of the test often jumped 20 ms from the first reading.
Conclusion: the Internet's doing fine.
Increased electricity bills had come up in conversation at work and I realised this was not a statistic I'd been monitoring. There's no point showing a graph for this, it'll just be an increasing line, but having collected 57 readings it appears that we use an average of 10 kWh of electricity per day.
Work announced we were able to claim ~£6 per week in expenses for working from home (from April). This prompted comments from a colleague that "that wouldn't cover it" (he often comments on money), however, my electricity is about £1.77 per day based on my calculations so about £8.85 per working week. Considering not all of my electrical usage is work related I don't consider ~£6 per week a bad deal. I appreciate water and gas rates also apply, along with council tax and a myriad of other bills, but I don't feel I'm being hard done by. It'll be interesting to see how much the house electrical usage varies when I'm home alone on a week off.
Some readers may recall I set myself some goals back in week 4, one of which was to get outside every day for some form of exercise. Sadly I've not always managed that (a combination of weather and sometimes not being bothered) and the lowest number of steps in one day was an embarrassing 3,668 which is very low for me. The most steps per day, so far, was 16,525 back on the 21st March.
Over the last 112 days I've amassed 1,135,922 (one million, one hundred and thirty five thousand, nine hundred and twenty two) steps. I've only managed 10,000 steps or more, the recommended number for an adult like me, on 69 days - 62% of the last 112 days.
I'm a slow reader (probably due to my Irlens) but I've managed to get through several books, some of which are below in roughly decending reading order. I find it easiest to read on my Kobo eReader where I can change the font size, spacing and font. I tend to read in OpenDyslexic.
- The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives In Your Home (Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor)
A Welcome to Night Vale novel about the Faceless Old Woman. Really an enjoyable read with twists and surprises - some I guessed, others were a shock.
- After The Devil Has Won (Rick Wood)
The first book of the Cia Rose trilogy, and a post apocalyptic thriller. A fast paced book that's probably aimed more at the teen / young adult reader. Kobo recommended this to me and I'm reading the second part now.
- #taken (Tony Parsons)
Part of the DC Max Wolfe series. Not a bad plot but I struggle with the author's style due to strange inconsistencies (for example defining an acronym but then getting the letters in the wrong order).
- Die Last (Tony Parsons)
Another part of the DC Max Wolfe series. I grew to care about the characters but see the note above.
- Remote (office not required) (Jason Fried & David Heinemeir Hansson)
A non-fiction book discussing the benefits of remote working.
Now we head into the next several weeks of lockdown measures - I'll need another journal as I'm running out of pages...
Banner image: The frog found living under the paddling pool.
 We did purchase some boxes of tissues, not something we normally have, to stop using toilet rolls for blowing our noses.
 Disclosure: my FitBit converts cycling and other forms of exercise to steps too.
 Please don't ask me to look at checked patterns, or closely drawn lines, unless they're in the right colour. My church minister likes to wear blue checked shirts, that I can't look at. My ex-boss has the same shirts, he wears them because I can't look at him!
 My wife and my eight year old don't like the font. My eight year old handed me her Kobo set to OpenDyslexic one night and I read it no problem. Was quite some time before I realised it was in my preferred font because I had no problems.
 From an aesthetics perspective I'm not a fan of the font, but functionally it's grand.