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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Likness

Coding in the Time of COVID-19

How has life changed for computer programmers as a result of the 2019 novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2? A good friend of mine wanted to know. More on that in a minute.

Last weekend was the first day we had consistently beautiful weather here in the Pacific Northwest. It was so nice that we pulled out the grill. We prepped a platter with corn, bell peppers, potatoes, and Beyond Meat Bratwurst (plant-based) and I grilled for just over an hour (those potatoes take time to do right!).

Plates with food on them
Ready to Grill!

The result was delicious.

A few weeks ago, I started a daily burpee challenge. It's 31 consecutive days long and starts out with ten burpees along with plank holds, squats, and push-ups. I add one burpee per day until I reach 40 burpees total. It's been a fun challenge so far, and I haven't missed a day. Today marks my second week completed. I tweeted out this summary:

Last week I experienced major tremors in my left arm. They happened nonstop throughout the day. I also had severe cramping in my left foot and I ended the day feeling exhausted. I reached out to my doctor and he advised me to increase the dose of my dopamine agonist (ropinirole). I'm transitioning from 3 milligrams per day to 6 milligrams. So far, I've seen tremendous benefits from the increase and no side effects other than feeling a little foggy on the days I bump up the dose.

Several times over the last week I noticed a new subconscious habit. I'm left-handed and have always used a mouse on the left side of the keyboard. More frequently I find myself using my right hand to control the mouse. It's a bit awkward because I unconsciously reach across the front of my body to use the mouse, rather than repositioning it on the right. I realized that with the symptoms on my left side, it is more difficult for me to control the mouse and I accidentally click it too often due to hand twitches and tremors. I'm fairly ambidextrous with the mouse, so I decided I would go "all-in" and try using it right-handed and on the right side moving forward. I'll let you know how that goes!

I mentioned coding earlier, didn't I? To keep in touch with developers who use our product, my team is kicking off a new monthly series. We will live stream for an hour and talk about blog posts, community contributions, and new features in our product while answering questions from a live audience. This would normally be done in a studio, but due to shelter-in-place, I am going to be responsible for handling the logistics of the show. That includes transitions, audio, overlays, coordinating the streaming and hosting the show. No pressure! This is a screen cap from a fun "practice session" we had last week.

Four people speaking over video chat
Online Practice Session

My friend Shawn Wildermuth is a self-professed author, trainer, software guy, and filmmaker. He created a documentary about software development that has been delayed from full release due to COVID-19. It's called "Hello, World: The Film." (Fun fact: I'm listed as an official cast member on the Internet Movie Database.) To answer his question about how the pandemic has impacted the lives of programmers, Shawn interviewed several developers, including me, over Skype and produced a short 12-minute documentary.

According to my wife, you don't have to be into computers or software to enjoy it!

I'm working on a few longer blog posts, including some tips for people who wish to transition to eating more plant-based foods and another post about how Parkinson's Disease is diagnosed with examples taken from my own experience.

Stay tuned, be safe, and keep in touch. I appreciate all your comments and feedback!


Jeremy Likness

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