Exclusive: The Strongest Evidence Yet That America Is Botching Coronavirus Testing


Through interviews with dozens of public-health officials and a survey of local data from across the country, The Atlantic could only verify that 1,895 people have been tested for the coronavirus in the United States, about 10 percent of whom have tested positive. And while the American capacity to test for the coronavirus has ramped up significantly over the past few days, local officials can still test only several thousand people a day, not the tens or hundreds of thousands indicated by the White House’s promises.

The time it took to test the two cases in Eastern Washington that I know of (fortunately both negative I believe) was in excess of three days. Now that the UW Virology lab is approved I think it's going to help a lot, but we clearly need even greater capacity across the country to increase testing to an adequate level.

From Tot to Drafts 5

Over the years I've used a variety of different note taking apps on Mac and iOS. On the Mac side NVAlt was probably the first application that I really got on board with. The simplicity and ease of search made it a great environment for collecting my thoughts, gathering information and URLs, and writing down solutions to various tasks that required a few steps on the command line that I could never fully remember.

For notes capture on the iOS side I've mainly used Drafts 4 since it came out and it has served me well. When Drafts 5 came out it looked promising, but I wasn't terribly excited about another iOS software subscription and Drafts 4 continued to work fine for me. I've used 4's text action features at times over the years, but not enough that I needed additional power and functionality.

There was also a real disconnect between my Mac note taking tools and my iOS tools. On the Mac side everything I tried over the years worked via plain text or markdown files (which is great). But that made syncing between macs and iOS challenging and usually involved Dropbox, or a similar third party service. That also increased the chance of file modification conflicts if I was working in my notes app on a couple different macs at the same time. And there was no direct connection between Drafts and my notes archive folder on Dropbox.

Last week John Gruber plugged a very simple and elegant mac text capture app from the Icon Factory called Tot. It's free on the Mac so I downloaded it and gave it a try at work on my work iMac and PowerBook Pro. It synced seamlessly between the two machines and worked well enough that I actively considered whether I would be willing to spend the $20 for the iOS app to finally have a nice integrated solution between platforms.

Thinking about Tot's $20 one time price tag reminded me that Drafts 5 has the same price for a year's worth of Pro functionality. If I was going to spend that amount of money for an app that was kind of similar to Drafts, but with a lot less functionality, maybe I should finally take a look at the latest version. I had never actually tried Drafts 5 on the Mac or iOS so I started investigating and discovered a couple very promising facts:

  1. Basic functionality and syncing is free thanks to iCloud sync!
  2. The Drafts Mac application only requires High Sierra.

So there was really no reason not to try Drafts 5 out this week, and furthermore, that last fact offered a ray of hope for my primary home desktop, a 2009 MacPro desktop which had been running El Capitan until yesterday. Having full notes app integration between all the Apple devices I work on would be a big leap forward.

Dave Nichols: Stars come out from across metro area and region for showcase


The event, featuring the Denny Humphrey Memorial Boys All-Star Game and the Jack Blair Memorial Girls All-Star Game, is March 17 at Lewis and Clark High School. The girls’ game is at 5:30 p.m. and the boys tip at 7:30.

The games will feature all-stars from the Greater Spokane League (“Metro”) against the best from the region’s smaller schools, North Idaho, the Mid-Columbia Conference and the Columbia Basin Big 9.

Each of the GSL and Great Northern League schools are represented between the four teams, and MVPs from more than a dozen leagues east of the Cascades dot the rosters.

The Boys Metro team with all the Greater Spokane League players is going to be really solid, but the Region team has some outstanding players as well (a bunch of Eastern Washington league MVPs in fact). Happy to hear that Ferris senior Zach Fleming will be taking part and looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.

'There's things he sees … that some of us don't': Ichiro makes seamless transition to Mariners coach


“Ichiro’s at the plate, and Allen’s flipping him balls. It was amazing,” he said. “I watched this guy hit 50 balls. He hit 45 of them perfectly. Like, ‘OK, I’m going hit these in front of you now,’ and they come running in and it’s perfect, shoestring catch.

” ‘OK, now I’m going to hit them over your head,’ and it’s right at the wall. And the fans are just watching it, the players are just going about their business. I’m thinking, ‘Do you people not know how hard that is to do?’ It’s a gift. I talked to Allen about it. He said, ‘He was practicing all winter.’ Not surprising. Nothing amazes me anymore about that guy. Just a love for the game.”

⚾ Going to a Mariners game just to see Ichiro do his thing in BP, whether it's pitching or hitting fungoes sounds pretty awesome. What a privilege for the young players to get to work with him.

Galaga (Boss Fight Books, #4)


📚 Galaga (Boss Fight Books, #4) (★★★★) is a quick read that I ended up enjoying more than I expected. Like most books in the series this book is equal part classic video game examination and memoir; I found this one particularly entertaining and poignant. It made me want to fire up an emulator and start playing a game that I had probably only played at a pizza place once or twice before.

Tot • Your tiny text companion


Just found out about Tot via John Gruber's post. Tot is an "elegant, simple way to collect & edit text on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad." Craig Hockenberry and the Icon Factory have really outdone themselves because this is exactly the tool I've needed for a long time. I use plaintext in a lot of different scenarios, but I've never had a great place to work on and store short term text on the Mac.1 The mac version is free, but requires Mojave or higher (and uses iCloud for syncing), the iOS version is a $20 one time fee.

  1. Although it just occurred to me that Drafts for Mac (which I have yet to try) could serve a similar role with even more power.

John Blanchette: Just like his No. 3 jersey, Adam Morrison plans to hang around Gonzaga


Surely you know the vitals: college hoops’ leading scorer in 2006, when he was also a consensus All-American and co-Player of the Year by the measure of coaches and writers with Duke’s JJ Redick. Their long-distance rivalry for the scoring title gave the season its buzz, but it was Morrison’s style that provided the bite.

And nowadays, no one remembers how improbable it all was.

He was a local kid out of Mead High School – an ex-GU ballboy – with no other Division I offers, despite outsized scoring numbers.

Truly a deserved honor, but I kind of wish they'd recognized Courtney Vandersloot first because of her huge impact on the women's program.1 Her WNBA career is still going strong though2 and she did come along a year after Morrison left Gonzaga so chronologically I guess it makes sense.

  1. First person to score 2000 points and handout 1000 assists during their college career, as well as leading her team to the Elite 8 her senior year.

  2. Just signed a new 3 year deal with the Chicago Sky I believe.

Back to the Grind

My weight has been on a steady upward trajectory since last fall when I cut back on my bike commuting and took a month off from running while I focused on completing a big garden shed project in our backyard. I got back to running, but at a fairly typical reduced rate during the winter and my eating habits weren't particularly good either. Between those two factors it wasn't enough to change the trend so as of right now my weight is higher than it's been in a long time, possibly even a decade. I've started working on my weight during Lent before, but it's been a few years. It was clear to me that this year I'm going to have get back to monitoring my food intake and increasing my exercise output.
I also started phasing out my beer consumption at the beginning of February with the idea that I would completely abstain during Lent and for perhaps longer.

To monitor my food consumption this time around I decided to try a new iOS app called Calory. It has a very clean interface and offers excellent HealthKit integration and no gross ads in the the free version (unlike MyFitnessPal). I think I'm going to spring for the $16 year long subscription price because it's a good deal and a solid product. It took me a little while to figure out how to incorporate calories burned into the days calorie tracking, but it was a simple toggle in settings and automatically pulls the Healthkit record that my workout app iSmoothRun uses.

I've been using iSmoothRun to track my runs and bike rides for a long time and am generally a fan, although since moving to my iPhone 11 I haven't been able to get it to work properly with my Pebble 2HR smartwatch. This was a bummer, but not unreasonable, I got the watch for a deep discount ~$40 and over three years worth of good use after the company was sold to Fitbit. The HealthKit support in iSmoothRun just works, but indoor runs or bike rides have always been a problem since you can't put the GPS to work. On my first attempt at an indoor ride last night I made the mistake of thinking it would do some basic calorie estimation for me, but I think that it needs heart rate data that my watch can no longer provide. I had to go back and do some futzing to get the correct data into Healthkit and accessible to Calory, but I was satisfied with the outcome once I figured things out.

Overall I'm excited to get back to doing more bike riding again. My running has felt pretty uninspired for a few months1, but my fitness is okay and I'm hoping to get my weight down to the low 180s again in time for Bloomsday. I don't have any expectations of running a very good time by my standards2, but I think a time in the 54 minute range is doable if the next ten weeks of training go well and I'm able to reverse my weight trends.

  1. I think it will improve as I shed some extra baggage and the weather starts to come around.

  2. My best is a 47:26 in 2012 at age 38.

New cable company enters Spokane market, will invest $100 million in fiber network


The Spokane City Council unanimously approved a 10-year franchise agreement Monday with TDS Telecommunications, a Wisconsin-based company that plans to bring high-speed internet and more than 100 channels of cable television to Spokane customers.

TDS plans to invest more than $100 million to lay hundreds of miles of fiberoptic cable to form a brand-new network throughout the city. The company hopes to begin construction later this spring, although that is subject to negotiation with the city.

This is huge for Spokane. I doubt I'll be able to take advantage of this for a long time since we live a few miles outside the city limits, but allowing Comcast to have a monopoly for decades has resulted in almost no consumer fiberoptic availability in Spokane when we should have had it for at least a decade now.

Keyboard Rage

Spent a couple hours frustrating hours trying to repair a broken Enter key1 on a third party iPad keyboard tonight. The iPad in question is predominantly used by my older kids and for whatever reason they didn't let me know when the key came off the scissor mechanism. Instead they continued to use it with the key floating freely on top of the switch, until at some point it fell out and became lost. Needless to say I was irate to discover this by accident at the end of the day while looking over my son's shoulder while he played a game. My kids are hard on computers and have broken laptop keys before2 so it wasn't a surprise that they had broken the keyboard, but the fact that they hadn't let me know and compounded the situation by losing the key in question before I could attempt to fix it really set me off.

Nobody wanted to take the blame3 and so loss of computer privileges for all three until the key was found was my immediate reaction. Everybody went to bed angry, and I stayed up and started looking for the key. Luckily, I had a pretty good idea of where to find it and after about a half hour's worth of disgusting work dredging the crumbs, garbage, and debris from the crevices of the kids' favorite brown chair in our TV area4 I found the key.

I then spent the next hour and half trying to get the key clicked back in place. Even though I haven't had the usual age related issues with fine print and detail vision afflict me yet5 seeing what was going on with the key and scissor mechanism was challenging in the low light of my office. There was a lot of flashlight and phone juggling happening as I fruitlessly tried to get the key to snap into place. Eventually I started taking off a few other keys to make sure that everything was correctly in place with the the scissor mechanism I was working on, to confirm that nothing was broken, but I was still kind of stumped.

It was only after I realized that the Caps Lock key on the keyboard was identical to the Enter key that I was finally able to partially fix things. It turns out that the scissor mechanism under the Enter key was missing two tiny tabs that were supposed to click into the key and hold it in place. Bizarrely there was no evidence that they had ever been there and broken off- the scissor mechanism was smooth on both sides (and it seems highly unlikely that they would both break). The obvious solution was to cannibalize the Caps Lock key mechanism and use it for the Enter key going forward so that's what I did.

  1. It should really be labelled Return in my opinion, but whatever!

  2. No way they're ever getting a Mac with a butterfly key mechanism!

  3. Also not unusual, but an ongoing source of frustration with my kids.

  4. With a brief equally gross intermission between sides of the chair that I spent searching under the cushions of the sofa in that area.

  5. Knock on wood!