Coronavirus that bitch. I guess it will hang around a little longer. At least until there is a vaccine available, which should be some time in 2021.
Until then things will stay quite different compared to what we were used to. Different is not necessarily bad, and I think I’ve come to terms with the limitations and the new chances. However, there’s one thing that I really, really miss: Playing concerts and playing at Jazz jam sessions. For me it’s not an economic necessity, but a need for which I simply can’t get a fix right now.
Here’s a recent composition of mine. I really look forward to playing it live in front of an audience.
The Corona Situation is omnipresent. What are the changes in my daily life? Actually, I should say our daily lifes.
Being at Home Almost 24/7
Both, Andrea and I, are working from home now. This means that we spend almost all of our time within the walls of our apartment. As a couple, I think we are dealing with the situation extremely well. I think that the mutual respect and the self-confidence that both of us have are imperturbable. However, there are a few prerequisites that we agreed on pretty quickly:
We have separate office spaces. Fortunately, our apartment is big enough so that we can work in different rooms. We outfitted both rooms with nice desks, external monitors, proper office chairs. We also established the rule that the other party is only allowed to enter after knocking and upon invitation. It’s one essential key to our sovereignty.
We need to be tidier than usual. During any random week, when we would leave the apartment for work at around 7 am and come back after 7 pm, we would not care if there are dirty plates around the kitchen. But now that our home is where we spend most of our time, it really matters.
We Cook Every Day
Being at home every day we were faced with two questions: What to eat and how to prepare it? This might sound trivial, but for two adults who had gotten into the habit of eating at restaurants, canteens or simply grabbing sandwiches this meant a big change. We quickly agreed that we would take turns every day preparing lunches. Andrea had a fantastic idea for the “What to eat?” issue. She started an online survey asking “What will you have for lunch this week?”. Thanks to contributions from family and friends we now have this awesome list pinned to our refrigerator:
We Go for Walks Every Other Day
Usually, I would bike to work. Now that we are grounded, we decided to go for walks every other day. If our work schedules allow for it we try to block an hour in the afternoon.
We Go Shopping Only Once a Week
We have a grocery store right in front of our apartment building, which in normal times, is open until 8 pm every day. Usually, we would go there almost every day to grab some small bite for dinner. We used to joke that the store is just an extension of our refrigerator. With us doing some propper cooking now and all the restrictions in place we reverted to shopping once a week. More on that in another post.
This list only addresses adjustments or changes. I believe there are a couple of components in my life that are crucial right now but they were there in the first place. For instance, a daily routine, which is there through well-groomed habits and things such as the daily project stand-up meeting at 8:30 am.
Apart from the things described above my daily life now isn’t that different at all.
There are many great things I could say about my Polar Vantage M watch. I like
it’s clean, rounded physical design (as its an early model it does not ever have any ugly logo on the front),
the fact that I can use it with different wrist bands,
its battery life,
and much more.
But there are also a few things that really bother me a lot. Here are the top two things that I think need improvement and that could be improved easily via a software update
1) UI Aesthetics
Here’s an example that annoys me every day. Have a look at the following two versions of a watch screen.
Look left, look right, look left, look right. Which one feels right, which one feels wrong?
To me its the left one that feels wrong. Sure the icon as a whole, which is a stopwatch with a heart at its center, is centered. However, I think it should be the keyline, the circular outline of the stopwatch, that should be centered instead.
Polar if you are reading this: Please make the screen I see when I press the “Menu/Back” button look like the right-hand side image! Center keylines and not complete icons.
2) UI Inconsistencies
Here’s the most annoying: Cycling through menus workings differently depending on where you are.
When I enter the main menu I can press up to get from the first menu item to the last, which is settings. Once inside the settings sub-menu I can not press up to access the last menu item on that list? Also, the way the list of items is indicated is different (dots vs. just one dot and a line)? Why, oh, why???
Polar if you are reading this: Please let me get to the last entry of every list by scrolling up from the first entry!
The cherry on top: The sub-menu item I use the most (changing the alarm clock) is at the very bottom of the list. Polar: Have you evaluated how your users use the UI, e.g., which settings they use the most? Do you think people access their “General Settings” or their “Physical Settings” as often as their “Alarm Settings”?
Polar, I think you are a great company and you can make this one right by just one software update. Thanks!
… of the Corona Situation, my new Jazz trio project “Christian Schmid’s Kaleidoscope” gets delayed, but at least there is some time for practicing. Here’s the intro to one of the songs we are going to play live, hopefully soon.
Just yesterday I (re-)discovered the Kudos function on LinkedIn. As I am one of those people who give positive feedback way too seldom, here’s my new 30 days project: Use LinkedIn’s Kudos function once a day for 30 days.
22nd Jan 2020: Michael Gerstmair#Kudos As a PhD student you “boldly go where no man has gone before”. At the same time you multiply/share your knowledge and enthusiasm with the next generation of engineers! #MakingAnImpact
26th Jan 2020: Michael Mark#Kudos An inspirational leader, an avid problem solver, a constant creator of sustainable win-wins – both in terms of the nitty-gritty and the big picture. You make a huge difference. #MakingAnImpact
11th Feb 2020: Youmna El Bitar#Kudos I know you as one of the most dedicated and hard-working engineers. Seeing you leave Infineon makes me sad, but I am also excited to see what places your career will take you! #ThankYou
12th Feb 2020: Klaus Scheiblhofer#Kudos for not being shy to venture into new fields such as Functional Safety and for managing to generate results! Also how I’ve seen you protect your RX team lately is exemplary! #GreatJob
This Thursday there was a Jazz Jam Session very close to where I live. I got home from work at around 7:30 pm. I had a choice of stressing myself, showering and going there right away or taking some time and skipping part of the opening concert. I did the latter and decided to use the time to do a quick lead sheet for the Austrian Christmas Carol “Es wird scho glei dumpa”. I had done a reharmonization of the tune earlier, but in order to be able to allow for solos it was necessary to write a lead sheet.
I still was able to hear 2 pieces of the opening band, and later we had quite some fun playing and improvising over my AABA lead sheet version of “Es wird scho glei dumpa”.