While you’re stuck at home, here are a few ways to remain a rock star on the job

If you've recently faced a major shift in where you work — as in, from an actual office to your home — you're probably in need of a little assistance to help you navigate that transition more smoothly. Or, maybe you’ve always worked from home, and now the rest of the world is catching up to how you normally live.

No matter which camp you’re in, we’re all in this together. You’re home now — so better make the best of it. The business world may have slowed down, but it never stops entirely, which means you’ve got to stay on top of your work obligations.

You’re a pro. You’ll get it done. But to help, we pulled together 15 apps and other digital helpers that can keep you focused even when you aren’t in front of your office keyboard. And to further incentivize, you can take an extra 15 percent off your already discounted total by adding SPRINGSAVE15 at checkout. Hunker down and dig in.

Computer aids

Everything starts with a clean, tidy desktop, so with WorkspacePro Multiple App Launcher for Mac ($6.79 after discount; originally $9.99), you’ll have every needed app and file just a click away. Workspace Pro lets you regroup app, customize their position, and even launch or close a whole collection of macOS apps all with a single button press for a streamlined, efficient desktop.

If your problem is your browser, with bookmarks saved in different places on different devices, a Qlearly Premium lifetime subscription ($16.99 after discount; originally $180) can straighten that out. Read the rest

Prusa Research develops 3D-printable face shield in three days

Last week, I reported on Czech 3D printer company, Prusa Research, converting over some of their manufacturing capability to producing hand sanitizer. Now, the company has, within three days of prototyping, created a 3D printable face shield.

Josef Prusa writes:

We were notified on Facebook that doctors are in great need of face shields and that there is already a great face shield design available online. We took it as a starting point and decided that we would adjust it for easier and faster 3D printing – e.g. there shouldn’t be any supports required and we should fit as many of them onto a single print sheet as possible. So we started working on it immediately. After all, it is very important to keep the guys, who will take care of us in the darkest times, as healthy as possible. These shields will help protect their eyes and face from coughing and sneezing of their patients.

In three days, we were able to go through dozens of prototypes, two verifications with the Czech Ministry of Health and we even met our minister of health Adam Vojtech. Today we are excited to share with you that we have started prototype production and the first units just went to the hospital for field testing and verification. I want to thank Martin Havrda from the University Hospital Vinohrady in Prague for taking the time to meet us. And also, when we have this design verified, we will move to design protective goggles.

Read the rest

High schoolers planning virtual proms

With schools closed during this COVID-19 situation, and with no real end in sight, some high school students are planning to take their prom celebrations online.

TIME:

And while schools in Los Angeles are only shut down for two weeks so far, students at the Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES) are looking to technology for social distancing-friendly ways to celebrate the end of the school year with their friends.

LACES seniors Zack Monterosso and Colin Wire and junior Wakie Haque tell TIME that they’re currently planning to host a virtual party on the video conferencing service Zoom, dubbed a “Zoom rager,” as a test run for virtual prom...

...in Struthers, Ohio, Jessica Ludovici, a senior at Struthers High School, tells TIME that she’s planning to host prom in her living room while FaceTiming her friends.

“We’re all going to do a huge group FaceTime. I’ll put on music and we’ll go in the expensive dresses and tuxes that we already bought to get ready for prom,” she says. “I tweeted and was just like, ‘This is what’s going to happen. It’s going to be in my living room, you guys can send me a song for the playlist and that will be your ticket. You can invite whoever, I don’t really care because we’re all just going to be on a group FaceTime.'”

photo by hundrednorth/Flickr Read the rest

Who needs super powers when you have Kid Congo Powers?

Through the DC arts and music scene, I have had the great pleasure of getting to know Kid Congo Powers, legendary guitarist for The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and his own Pink Monkey Birds. Kid is as kind, generous, and down-to-earth, as he is ridiculously talented.

Given his talent and artistic pedigree, it's a shame that he doesn't get the level of respect and exposure that he deserves. So, it's always heartening to see when he does get a little love. Here is a wonderful KC Powers tribute and set from XRAY FM in Portland, OR. The set nicely covers the arc of Kid's career and includes tracks from his various guitar stints and solo work. Read the rest

Fraudster Jim Bakker is hawking "medicinal seeds"

I have very little sympathy for anyone who believes anything convicted fraudster* Jim Bakker says on his infomercials. A couple of weeks ago the New York DA sent Bakker a cease-and-desists to force to him to stop selling colloidal silver as a coronavirus cure. Now Bakker is selling "medicinal seed" bundles to grow plants so you can "make your own medicine." And it cost $99!

*From Wikipedia: "Bakker was indicted in 1988 on eight counts of mail fraud, 15 counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. In 1989, after a five-week trial which began on August 28 in Charlotte, North Carolina, a jury found him guilty on all 24 counts. Judge Robert Daniel Potter sentenced Bakker to 45 years in federal prison and imposed a $500,000 fine."

  Read the rest

Spoken Word with Electronics: "Paul Krassner Recalls the Day JFK Died" and "Earth, Take Four"

Spoken Word with Electronics is an audio series delivering to you a two side recording of unusual stories paired with vintage modular electronic sounds

THIS WEEK:

Welcome, fellow occupant of Quarantonia! A few months back I posted the first installment of Spoken Word with Electronics, an audio history series. The first episode was a tribute to David Berman of the Silver Jews/Purple Mountains. Since then I've been finishing up a lot of the separate selections from interviews and other recorded vocals.

Here's Spoken Word with Electronics Issue #2, with a lot more to come.

Think of each installment as a two-sided record, a Side A and a Side B.

SIDE A: Paul Krassner recalls the day JFK was shot. Audio comes from a comprehensive interview I did with Paul in 2017, mixed in with a lot of electronic accompaniment. The printed piece ended up in The American Bystander, Issue #4. There was a huge amount of information recorded that couldn't fit in the printed piece, though, and these audio pieces will provide a much denser portrait of P.K. - Often going into territory he rarely discussed.

Future installments will have five or six other focused memories of Paul's on a variety of wonderful topics. Stay tuned for some fun stuff.

SIDE B: Our flip-side track of the album is an apocalyptic carnival ride called "Earth, Take Four" — I'd completed this a few months back but it feels timely. Watch out for the volcanoes!

The wind in "Earth, Take Four" is a combination of different colors of noise. Read the rest

FDA gives go-ahead to Maryland bio-firm to accept orders on their COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Test Kit

From BioSpace via Alberto Gaitán:

ROCKVILLE, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- 20/20 BioResponse, a business unit of 20/20 GeneSystems, Inc. announced today that it will begin taking orders for its CoronaCheck  COVID-19 Rapid Antibody Test Kit. (The test is intended to identify persons having an immune response against SARS-CoV-2.) The company’s action follows discussions with officials from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) this week after the agency’s March 16 Guidance issued to “expand the number and variety of diagnostic tests” as the “severity and scope of the current COVID-19 situation around the globe necessitates greater testing capacity than is currently available.”

Alberto comments:

"Low cost" 15-minute COVID-19 antibody test has been cleared for use in the USA by the FDA. "Rapid Antibody Test Generates Results in under 15 minutes from Blood Drop without Laboratory Equipment or Personnel"

Standard error is ±10%, which is kinda high (i.e., you're positive but get a negative result and think you're okay so you do stuff you shouldn't, and the opposite case is also problematic).

Read the rest on BioSpace.

[Thanks, Alberto!]

Image: Photo by CDC on Unsplash Read the rest

"Metropolis Kid" will make you dance like Superboy

Metropolis Kid by Model Decoy

I've known Doron Monk Flake and Ari Sadowitz since high school, and it's been an honor to watch their musical prowess grow and grow and grow. Their current project, Model Decoy, pumps out Prince-like post-punk jams, full of sick rock riffs and soaring jazzy vocals that bring gravitas to clever lyrics that are mostly about their favorite nerdy comic books and movies.

Their newest single, "Metropolis Kid," is a perfect example of this. It makes you want to tap your feet as you croon along with Superboy (being young Kon-El, the misfit clone of Superman and Lex Luthor, not that cranky bastard Superboy-Prime

You can find the band's back catalog on Spotify, but they just released "Metropolis Kid" and two other new songs exclusively on Bandcamp, which is waiving their fee today (March 20) so that struggling bands can get 100% of the proceeds of their music during this quarantine.

(If you're feeling generous, you can buy some tunes from my own band, the Roland High Life, too — we're not as funky as Model Decoy, but we do have some good banger about Spider-Man and, uhh, conspiracy theorists.)

Model Decoy on Bandcamp

Image: Pat Loika / Flickr (CC 2.0) Read the rest

NY now has ~8,000 cases of Coronavirus, about half of all cases in the US

The number of coronavirus cases in New York sharply increased to nearly 8,000 cases on Friday, a result of increased testing and the continuing uncontrolled spread of the virus that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19.

This is 10 times higher than what was reported earlier in the week.

New York now has half of all coronavirus cases in the US.

“The healthcare system is already getting overrun. Hospitals are running out of ventilators. Doctors are reusing masks,” says the New York Times' Brian Rosenthal.

Excerpt:

The sharp increase is thrusting the medical system toward a crisis point, officials said.

In the Bronx, doctors at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center say they have only a few remaining ventilators for patients who need them to breathe. In Brooklyn, doctors at Kings County Hospital Center say they are so low on supplies that they are reusing masks for up to a week, slathering them with hand sanitizer between shifts.

Some of the jump in New York’s cases can be traced to significantly increased testing, which the state began this week. But the escalation, and the response, could offer other states a glimpse of what might be in store if the virus continues to spread.

Read the rest

The subreddit r/coronavirus is a pretty great COVID-19 news source with 1.2M+ members

About a million of the people who are members of the Reddit discussion group r/coronavirus joined in just the past week. The subreddit is getting some recognition now as a pretty reliably good source of community-moderated news and information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the rest

Talking Adventure Games with Mark Yohalem

As a game design hobbyist, Mark Yohalem has worked both on his own projects and as an offsite senior or lead writer for BioWare, inXile Entertainment, TimeGate Studios, S2 Games, Nikitova Games, and Affinix Software. As co-founder of Wormwood Studios with two friends (artist Victor Pflug and programmer James Spanos) in 2010, he developed Primordia, a classical point-and-click adventure game that has sold about a quarter million copies and was, for years, the highest-rated adventure game on Steam. The same trio is currently working on Strangeland, another adventure game. Mark is also developing Fallen Gods, a role-playing game inspired by the Icelandic sagas and folklore, the board game Barbarian Prince, and game books like Lone Wolf. By profession, Mark is an attorney. In 2018, he was recognized in the Daily Journal as one of the top 40 lawyers under the age of 40 in California.

This interview features conversation about the aesthetics of point-and-click adventure games, classic and modern adventure games, game writing and design, and ways in which stories connect with both learning and play.

Jeffery Klaehn: [Imagine] you’re addressing an audience comprised primarily of non-gamers, and your talk is entitled, “The aesthetics of classic point-and-click adventure games.”  You begin …

Mark Yohalem: The wonder of the classics is that they don’t just let us hear the voice of the past, they also allow us to listen with the ears of the past. We commune not only with those who created the art but also those who consumed it -- not just Beethoven but Beethoven’s audience. Read the rest

Netflix launches $100 million coronavirus relief fund to help jobless cast and crew

Additional $15M will go to third parties and nonprofits

Cat enjoys playing Super Mario

This cat sure appears to be having a fun time. Read the rest

'Resign!' 2 GOP senators should lose jobs for coronavirus stock jump, say critics

They told the public everything would be okay with the virus outbreak. Then they privately dumped stocks.

Over the past 24 hours, news has spread that various U.S. lawmakers received advance private briefings about the severity of an oncoming coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic -- then, they sold stocks before the public knew how bad it would get, and how the economy would suffer. Read the rest

Drew Friedman's amazing portrait of Jared Kushner for Netflix's "Dirty Money"

Drew Friedman says:

The Netflix documentary series Dirty Money, season two, debuted with a profile of Jared Kushner (titled “Slumlord Millionaire”) directed by Morgan Pehme and Dan DiMauro (who also made the Roger Stone documentary).

The filmmakers filmed me for the episode, sent cameras up to my my home studio to interview me about Kushner, (who I did 50 covers for back when he published the NY Observer), and also filmed me over a course of three days creating an illustration of Jared channeling Dorian Gray, with the exposed picture being his father-in-law).

A bit more on the genesis of the drawing: I had thought that Jared looked like the young, handsome, and emotionless actor, Hurd Hatfield, who played Dorian Gray in the 1946 MGM film version, and I was toying for awhile with the idea of drawing Jared Kushner posed as Dorian but couldn’t figure out a twist. One of the filmmakers suggested that Trump himself be the horrible visage seen in the aging painting hidden away in Dorian’s attic, perhaps an analogy to what his soul might someday evolve into. That clicked with me, thus the drawing.

Read the rest

Dow drops 900+ points in worst week since 2008. Thanks, COVID-19 and Trump!

Growing fear coronavirus will plunge U.S. and other economies into deep recessions

I interviewed Cory Doctorow for the Cool Tools Podcast

Kevin Kelly and I interviewed Cory for our Cool Tools podcast. He talked about his four favorite tools as well as his latest writing projects and various other topics. Find out more in the show notes. Read the rest

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