I should have been watching the Windows Subsystem for Linux virtual conference today. For about five minutes I managed to do so. Unfortunately my local broadband provider does not maintain the infrastructure local to me very well. Reconnecting was not doable and I gave up for the day. Looking at results from Speedtest.net over two weeks shows a steady decline in average speed in both directions for me. I’ll be looking for recordings of today’s events and will try to sit in on tomorrow’s proceedings.

Why bring that up? The big reason is to mention the need for backup plans and continuity plans. With COVID-19 concerns in play within the continental United States, the Windows Subsystem for Linux conference had to switch from being an in-person event to a virtual event. After my broadband decided to die on me I decided to follow up on guidance from the state’s election authorities to get early voting out of the way as reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. My account on Instapaper has been full of closure listings in the local area such as Kent State University stopping classes on all campuses including the local commuter campus in Ashtabula. Many people and institutions are having to improvise, adapt, and overcome.

For the individual developer, though, there should be some consideration about COVID-19. Is your code maintained in a way that nobody else could access it if you were incapacitated? Do you have a “trusted person” who has delegated access if you become incapacitated so automated systems can continue to function? Is your code clean and commented sufficiently so that somebody could take over maintaining it if, heaven forfend, you are out of commission for an extended period of time?

These are all good business practices. The COVID-19 situation merely brings them into sharp focus as being essential business practices. If you haven’t implemented them already there is no time like the present.

This is not to be focused on doom and gloom. Going it alone in any enterprise is fraught with peril. I may have written a novella recently myself that wound up on Amazon for purchase but there were still other sets of hands that participated in the final production process. There is plenty of “business continuity planning” advice out there that scales from a tiny solo coder business to a large business empire. Whether you look at Australian advice, British advice, Canadian advice, New Zealander advice, or American advice you should get started.

This too shall pass. I have reaction plans to prepare for a couple situations that some folks don’t want yet but will likely want from me with very little notice. My planning for the next few days is going to involve fussing over OBS Studio and what I can do with it in my impaired connectivity situation. We’re all going to have some adventures in store from this, I think, as we mostly follow the planning P.