Vaccination Cocktail

My international travel for work has been on (March through May) and then off (July) and then back on (ETA mid-August) but might be off for a variety of reasons including COVID’s Delta flavor.

The numbers for the US as a whole is accidentally ok. They’re not great, but as compared to 6 months ago they are almost miraculous. Tennessee drags down the national average, but my county and city seem to be doing some things right.

Overseas, and especially in Asia where I was and will maybe be again, is not so good.

When I was in South Korea the country’s daily new infections was around 400. Now they are closer to 1,600 and mostly of the Delta variety. This causes me pause.

Seemingly unrelated, this past week I traveled to Boston for work. Most people in the airport and everyone on my flights wore masks. Taxis and Ubers were masked adventures. As soon as I stepped out of those mandated cocoons …

South Korea has very stringent protocols for mask wearing, distancing, limiting crowds, &c. And yet their numbers are almost 3 times what they were 2 months ago. Why? Maybe their low vaccination rate with the added complexity of Delta explains it.

My takeaway: Vaccination helps for those who can get vaccinated. Mask wearing helps for those who cannot be vaccinated. Delta doesn’t seem bound by either, but layer defense — masks, vaccines, distancing — gives the best odds.

Even with all that, someone who is regularly masked and vaccinated can still get sick. I hope you, Dear Reader, got one of the good vaccines with a 70% or better efficacy. I hope you have a solid N95 or equivalent mask. I hope you keep your social interactions limited.

Which brings me back to my pending return work trip to South Korea. Allegedly I have the one shot Janssen J&J shot in advance of the trip I was scheduled to take in July. That trip would not have allowed me time for a 2 shot protocol though it was my preference.

The data on J&J with the Delta variant isn’t encouraging. While still massively better than not having had a shot, so far the numbers indicate J&J might not offer as much protection as the 2 dose Moderna or Pfizer mDNA options.

Today I may or may not have accidentally received a Pfizer shot. The extra shot might do nothing for me. It might make me feel ill for a few days and still do nothing for me. Early indications are that a shot of mDNA vaccine boosts the usefulness of J&J.

My hope is that, whatever my vaccinations, I’ve effectively reduced the likelihood that I will die due to COVID to 0, that I’ve reduced the likelihood of contracting COVID to a low number, that I’ve reduced the likelihood that I will pass COVID on to someone else to a very low number, and that the Delta variant will have less impact on me overall.

Viva la Science!

KR dating, contract tracing & Clubhouse

Somewhere between distance, intimacy: Love in the time of coronavirus:

Nearly 80 percent of singles aged between 25 and 49 stopped looking for romance since February last year, according to a May survey by the Korea Development Institute’s School of Public Policy and Management. About a third of them cited the coronavirus as the prime reason.

The pandemic has raised the stakes for falling in love. For one thing, it means risking one’s health.

On top of the threat of catching the disease, for Park [Sara], what prevented her from “putting herself out there” was the horror of her pre-diagnosis itinerary being alerted to all her close contacts should she get infected.

“Imagine having to explain to contact tracers you might have caught the coronavirus from a blind date or something,” she said. “I would be mortified.”

(Via Korea Herald)

Imagine, indeed. There is a different cultural dynamic in Korea, but I’m sure this would cause anxiety for singles in other places, assuming contract tracing is a prevalent as it is here.

All is not lost. Many singles are doing what I did (very successfully, I might add) last summer: hopping on dating apps. One big, surprising change to my approach:

As mingling in the real world is stunted by social distancing, virtual dating is booming, with Millennials and Gen Zers flocking from platform to platform in the hopes of finding new love. The hot app at the moment is Clubhouse [emphasis mine], according to Yeo Hyun-min, a developer in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, in his mid-20s.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, the social audio app brims with blind date sessions where people “check each other out” and if things work out, eventually hang out offline. The chat’s moderator plays matchmaker and invites some of the listeners as speakers. They are given about 30 seconds to introduce themselves, including what they’re like as a romantic partner.

That is a great Clubhouse use case! I wrote about my indifference to the app and lamented the lack of a killer reason for it to remain. Maybe it transitions to dating?

Seoul Dispatch, week 11

It’s raining in Seoul. The forecast said the accumulation this weekend would be slight. It has not been slight yet.

I’ve been bouncing around between my two main customers, working a bunch of extra hours to keep both sides happy. They’re either both happy as they say and keep asking for more, or they are not happy and want me to do more to fix it. I’ll assume the positive. 

Last weekend was fun. I got out and adventurekateered!

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S. Korean telcos to share 5G networks in remote areas

Can you even imagine? US telco’s are too busy entrenching to do anything like this for the public good.

S. Korean telcos to share 5G networks in remote areas:

South Korea’s three major mobile carriers will share their 5G networks in remote coastal and farm towns in a move to accelerate the rollout of the latest generation networks, the ICT ministry said Thursday.

The carriers — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. — signed an agreement so that 5G users can have access to the high-speed network regardless of the carrier they are subscribed to in 131 remote locations across the country, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Under the plan, a 5G user would be able to use other carrier networks in such regions that are not serviced by his or her carrier.

The ministry said telecom operators will test the network sharing system before the end of this year and aim for complete commercialization in phases by 2024.

The ministry said the selected remote regions are sparsely populated, with a population density of 92 people per square kilometer, compared with those without network sharing at 3,490 people per square kilometer.

The move comes as the country races to establish nationwide 5G coverage, with network equipment currently installed in major cities.

The three telecom operators promised in July last year to invest up to 25.7 trillion won ($23.02 billion) to update their network infrastructure by 2022.

As of February, the country had 13.66 million 5G subscriptions, accounting for 19 percent of its total mobile users. South Korea was the world’s first country to commercialize 5G in April 2019. (Yonhap)

Categorized as tech Tagged


It’s a rainy Saturday evening. I’m in the hotel lounge. Women outnumber men ≈ 20 – 1

I’m taken, ladies!

※ There is zero interest in me

Categorized as I84D Tagged

Alerting resembles action

Let’s talk about security fatigue for a minute.

Korean COVID-19 text alerts to be reduced amid public weariness:

This undated image shows multiple coronavirus-related emergency text messages sent out from the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters and local governments. (Yonhap)
This undated image shows multiple coronavirus-related emergency text messages sent out from the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters and local governments. (Yonhap)
The central and local governments will reduce their emergency coronavirus text alerts amid mounting complaints that frequent arrivals of such messages have increased the public weariness in the prolonged pandemic, the interior ministry said Wednesday.
The revised guidelines for coronavirus-related text alerts, which go into effect Thursday, require only essential information to be sent out to the public and for the alert system to be turned off between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

To deal with growing public fatigue on the matter, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety specifically banned releasing information such as detailed reports on new patients and their itineraries, already widely known virus rules and promotions of local governments’ virus responses.The emergency notification system has played a key role in containing COVID-19 by swiftly delivering relevant information, including details on new infection cases and antivirus measures.

There was one day last week where I received 7 alerts across my iPhone and Apple Watch. That’s 14 unactionable alerts, many of them coming stacked like in the image above.

More than 15,500 such messages were sent out by state authorities from January to February, which translates into a daily average of 263, according to data compiled by the ministry.

The figure jumped six times from 2,711 recorded in the same period last year when the country was at the early stage of the pandemic.

Never mind the fact that they are only in Korean. Most often the alerts are purely informational. They would often include a URL that pointed to the same data on-line.

But at the same time, more people have complained of its excessiveness and redundancy, with the same information available on the central and provincial governments’ websites and social media pages.

… “It is time to shift how the text alert system works considering the persistence and routinization of the pandemic,” Interior Minister Jeon Hae-cheol said, asking people to better utilize online information made available by authorities. (Yonhap)

I work with customers who have their Security Operations Center (SOC) set up to do the above – alert excessively on things that are informational or aren’t actionable or have relatively low impact to the customer. Why?

Alerting resembles action.