covid

You can now unlock your iPhone while wearing a mask if you have an Apple Watch

Go grab the iOS 14.5 update in Settings > General > Software Update if you have an Apple Watch… and welcome to our mask-wearing longterm future!

iOS 14.5 will let Apple Watch owners unlock their iPhone while wearing a mask: Another oft-requested feature, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Apple doesn’t support Touch ID in it is newest iPhones, which can make unlocking with Face ID while wearing a mask a pain. But Apple is helping with that. Apple Watch owners will be able to confirm unlocking their iPhones while wearing a mask with iOS 14.5.

Source: Apple releases iOS 14.5, iPadOS 14.5, and watchOS 7.4 with Apple Watch iPhone unlock and more

American Churches and The Digital Divide 

The company also found that one-third of faith-based organizations reported an increase in donations during the 2020 pandemic—specifically, ones with more of a digital presence. Churches with YouTube channels, Instagram pages, and prominent websites saw 533 percent more donations than those without.

Technology like this can help churches of all kinds, but it has been a lifeline for some smaller and more rural churches, which have been more vulnerable in the pandemic.

Source: The Digital Divide Is Giving American Churches Hell | WIRED

Over the past year, I’ve worked with dozens of churches, non-profits, community groups, and various religious organizations and congregations on tech and marketing issues discussed here. Some are large, most are small. I’ve worked with predominately white congregations, predominately black congregations, and a mixture of both. Some of that work was setting up a website for the church or group, lots of that work was to implement an online giving option that was either new or much easier to use than a previous solution (especially on mobile devices), some of that work was marketing strategy and how to survive Covid and still keep services and ministries going amidst lockdowns and economic crisis.

What has struck me about all of this work is that the churches and groups that “leaned in” (I’m not a fan of that term, but it works here) to the situation with a realization that this was going to be a long term situation that would change the nature of congregating for a long time found their communities more engaged, their donation numbers rise, and new opportunity to provide ministries and services became clearer. Those who sought short-term budget options to “get through this” and “make our way back to normal” are the groups that struggled in 2020 and are only now coming back to me for help with the long term.

I hope more churches begin the hard, but fruitful, work of reconciling the current landscape with the realities being faced by congregants. Numbers are important, but a church is made of people. Churches that recognize and uplift that in their outreach, leadership, and message-telling are the ones that are “finding a Way through.”

Thinking with Sam Harrelson Episode 167: Thomas Whitley

I was thrilled to be joined again by my long time co-podcaster Thomas Whitley on the most recent Thinking Podcast. We discussed what he’s doing in his capacity as Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Tallahassee, FL to work with (and help) businesses in their city navigate the ongoing Covid crisis and its rippling effects…

Thomas Whitley is the Chief of Staff for Mayor John Dailey’s office in Tallahassee, Florida. In this episode, we discuss what Tallahassee is doing to help citizens and small businesses deal with the economic impacts of Covid as well as marketing efforts that the Mayor’s Office is undertaking to get the word out about those efforts.

Source: Thinking with Sam Harrelson Episode 167: Thomas Whitley

Workplace Gender Equity and Covid

I’ve been a work-from-home type for years, but as a man it’s been hard to share the experiences of being on an important client call while changing a diaper or cleaning up my son’s lunch with my male friends (or society in general).

I’m definitely not patting myself on the back here (at all… I suck at parenting but everyone’s winging it… “Here’s another marshmallow, Junior… don’t tell Mommy”), however, I am glad that more males are having to face the reality that working women and partners have had to endure for ages while exhibiting equity and egalitarianism for their children.

If anything, this pandemic will hopefully lead to a fuller understanding of the struggles and challenges that working women and partners have to endure to balance career and family…

The presence of more men sharing more fully in domestic duties for an extended period of time has the potential to create a sea change in gendered norms — at home and at work. Men teleworking during the pandemic are more likely to appreciate women’s work-family experiences, understand the value of flexible work arrangements, appreciate the benefits of relationships with work colleagues, and role model more equitable work-family gender roles for their children.

Source: Gender Equity Starts in the Home

Friday, November 13, 2020

It’s been a week but still relevant:

Here in South Carolina, I’m seeing a mix of responses to the spiking Covid rates. Some of our friends (especially parents of young children) are full of despair and “over it” to put it lightly. I also have clients in-town who seemed confused when I say “No, I can’t come to your office for that meeting. We’re still hunkering down and trying to avoid indoor spaces when possible.” But, there’s a general feeling that we know the worst is yet to come and people are taking masks seriously (distancing not so much) in public spaces and in grocery stores etc. Let’s keep it up. We won’t see a vaccine for months (if that), so it’s on us to not have “pandemic fatigue.”

Business wise, there are many small businesses, nonprofits, and churches (big and small) that I know are hurting. I find it astonishing we don’t have something like a second federal stimulus package. To leave it up to cities and states seems like a complete hand-washing from our federal representatives. We need another stimulus package. I’ve done more pro-bono work for church and nonprofit clients in the last couple of months than I should have, but it’s heartbreaking to hear the constant stories of pure budget fallouts (along with volunteer hours etc).

Be kind to each other out there.

Today’s big puzzle has been trying to figure out how to display post time (not just date) on a WordPress post… there has to be a PHP function for that and I’m completely blanking on it. I’ll blame it on being Friday. But I’ll figure it out.

What I’m Thinking About Today:

Maybe it’s the pandemic and my Aunt passing away last week, but death and dying has been on my mind a good deal recently. I had an email yesterday about my life insurance policy, so that didn’t help change my brain. We have so much work to do with rethinking and reconditioning how we think about the process of death in our country. Particularly from the balance between spiritual development and scientific/medical understandings, there seems to be a real need for people to find balance. I highly recommend reading the Emanuel piece above. Good stuff.

Big Sur hasn’t gotten off to the best of starts. I always caution friends and clients these days to wait a little while before installing the new iOS or iPadOS or macOS update because Apple has proven time and again that launch day is a precarious time if you’re running updates. It’s a fantastic operating system, though. Once things get ironed out, make sure you update if you have a modern Mac (you know, if you don’t mind your computer phoning home and compromising your security and all).

It turns out that in the current version of the macOS, the OS sends to Apple a hash (unique identifier) of each and every program you run, when you run it. Lots of people didn’t realize this, because it’s silent and invisible and it fails instantly and gracefully when you’re offline, but today the server got really slow and it didn’t hit the fail-fast code path, and everyone’s apps failed to open if they were connected to the internet.

Oof. Must read for the “APPLE IS MORE SECURE THAN OTHER OPERATING SYSTEMS!” crowd and the rest of us.

Radiant now sells a stripped-down Samsung smartwatch as a social distance monitoring tool. When an employee wears the watch, it constantly searches for other similar devices worn by other employees, and estimates their distance based on how strong that signal is. If a strong signal is detected for more than 15 minutes, the interaction is recorded and uploaded to the cloud for the company to reference later if a worker tests positive. In addition, an employer can opt to use the device to monitor the specific location of individual employees.

I don’t ever want to work in an office building “for” a company again. I fear this sort of thing will become much more mainstream during and (eventually) after Covid.

The year 2020 has been kind to Turchin, for many of the same reasons it has been hell for the rest of us. Cities on fire, elected leaders endorsing violence, homicides surging—­­to a normal American, these are apocalyptic signs. To Turchin, they indicate that his models, which incorporate thousands of years of data about human history, are working. (“Not all of human history,” he corrected me once. “Just the last 10,000 years.”) He has been warning for a decade that a few key social and political trends portend an “age of discord,” civil unrest and carnage worse than most Americans have experienced. In 2010, he predicted that the unrest would get serious around 2020, and that it wouldn’t let up until those social and political trends reversed. Havoc at the level of the late 1960s and early ’70s is the best-case scenario; all-out civil war is the worst.

Turchin is certainly a polarizing figure. I admit that I’m a passive fan of megahistories (being a mostly-white male and all), but I do think there’s something to the idea of applying mathematics to history and liberal arts. Maybe I’ve read too much Asimov.

I can’t stress this enough and tell my clients this all the time… make sure you have your Google My Business listing set up and connected to a GMail or Google Suite/Workplace account that you trust and will keep for a while. Don’t just assume that you don’t have to do this. Google is placing a high amount of energy, time, and resources to developing and promoting My Business, and if you run or are a part of a business, group, church, organization etc… make sure to claim and keep up with yours.

In this Best of Whiteboard Friday edition, Tom Capper explains how the sessions metric in Google Analytics works, several ways that it can have unexpected results, and as a bonus, how sessions affect the time on page metric (and why you should rethink using time on page for reporting).

Good video here on Sessions in Google Analytics… my clients typically are suprised when I show them how useful having an understanding of Sessions can be for their overall digital marketing campaigns.

The platform saw a spike in users, doubling from roughly 4.5 million members last week to about 8 million this week, and surging to 4 million active devices from 500,000 two weeks ago, according to Parler chief operating officer Jeffrey Wernick. He added that daily active devices are up approximately tenfold and session growth is up 20 times on the app.

I’ve been monitoring Parler (Twitter alternative), MeWe (Facebook alternative), and Rumble’s (YouTube alternative) growth over the last few months. There’s also banned.video that was created by InfoWars / Alex Jones after he was banned from most mainstream social media platforms. The growth on all of these “conservative-friendly” social platforms is astonishing and a sign of virality. I know a number of prepper and Q themed groups jumped over to these and that’s only accelerating. Will they have sticking power? That depends on a number of variables from how the transition of administrations occurs, whether Parler figures out its own internal bugs and advertising, and if Trump manages to congeal a media empire and stay relevant in the coming months.

To be updated throughout the day