Considering Demobilization

In a disaster situation, the process of demobilization relates to coming back to a normal steady state. Some disasters are relatively short-term events such as a multiple car crash on a roadway. The current pandemic is one of the longer term events.

I end up looking at things from a bit of a narrow angle when it comes to economic impact right now. In part this comes from my present isolation. Of course, this isolation is expected to be extended for an unknown period per Ohio’s Governor.

Newspapers and radio stations across the country are collapsing financially right now. Big chains like Lee Enterprises and Gannett are laying off personnel to the point that their newspapers are unable to function. In Gannett’s case they could conceivably swap customers of their local titles over to receiving USA Today for the duration of the emergency but Lee Enterprises doesn’t have such a readily apparent fall-back. Radio stations have been applying to the Federal Communications Commission for “special temporary authority” to go silent due to advertising disappearing and some are going out of business entirely such as WTME and related stations in Maine.

Why on Earth does this matter for somewhere like Planet Ubuntu? In this time of crisis while so many are confined inside it means everything. We’re not going to be moving to a streaming-only world as we are finding just how much throughput the world’s networks happen to be able to handle. Radio New Zealand reported that New Zealand measured 2.82 terabytes of data transferred per second on the first day of their lockdown.

Today’s infrastructure has trouble handling capacity surges. Those aren’t going away any time soon. We have to plan for what we want our world to look like on the other side of this crisis. Building up things undergirding Ubuntu Studio would be great as we’ll likely need ways to reboot newspapers and radio stations or create new ones. There is at least one random list of station automation software out there that I found to evaluate for packaging. Prior to the current unpleasantness packaging such software would’ve been thought of as an exercise for setting up a streaming audio service but with the number of broadcast radio stations going dark there is a market niche possibly opening up.

None of us knows how this crisis is going to play out. It is never too soon to plan for life on the other side of it. As my streaming television services end up buffering even on the ads and downgrading video to unintelligible messes I can only hope regular mass media survives in some form. The constant COVID-19 PSAs across all platforms are driving me batty…

Trying To Help

To a certain extent I want to be as helpful as I can to the members of the congregation of West Avenue Church of Christ. Originally this was going to be a circular letter that was going to be mailed. Since electronic means have become available the letter will be dispensed with and this post is essentially directed to them.

Members of the congregation wishing to vote in the primary election that was moved from March 17th to April 28th need to take specific steps. Except in extreme circumstances this is a vote-by-mail only election. Members who have not already cast a ballot and who are eligible to vote should go to the board of elections voter registration lookup, search their name, then click “Print Absentee Request”. The website will fill in most of the blanks for you and you need to only fill in a few yourself on the resulting form. When done follow the directions to print your completed request then sign and mail it to the board of elections. Their facility is closed to the public until April 6th so nobody can drop off a request for you nor can they pick up a ballot for you. There is an extremely narrow set of exceptions for voting in-person on April 28th but most members of the congregation do not meet any of those exceptions. If you are unable to print a form please let me know and I will help you take care of the matter.

Federal, state, and municipal income taxes are not due until July 15th now.

All the public libraries are closed with no estimated recovery dates. They do have services available for checking out ebooks as well as movies/TV shows. Ashtabula County District Library has its digital library offering, Harbor-Topky Memorial Library lists their offerings, Kingsville Public Library announced a very aggressive set of online offerings including a YouTube channel with storytime, and Madison Public Library has a wide range of electronic services too. Don’t feel as if you need to spend lots of money on ordering from Amazon or Barnes & Noble as you’ve already paid for quite a lot of electronic stuff at your libraries through your property taxes already.

The Christian Chronicle has a list posted of live streams of services for across the country. They likewise have a list of podcasts by fellow church members in addition to blogs by fellow church members and YouTube channels maintained by fellow church members. There is a wide world of resources out there.

There is going to be life on the other side of this crisis. We just have to remember that this is a marathon rather than a sprint.