I’ve been watching many videos over YouTube and other online sources of how ordinary Chinese citizens are coping with COVID-19 (Coronavirus). This has given me some insight into what it might be like for us should we face the same issues here in Canada.
In some videos, I’ve seen significant pileup’s of rubbish that isn’t being collected, this has potential health impacts such as vermin infestation, air pollution, affecting those with respiratory issues, poor for wellbeing, can contaminate water and more. However, in more modern apartment complexes rubbish appears to be taken away regularly.
Private Health Insurance
In China, they have universal health care but private insurance for more chronic conditions. I’ve noticed some having difficulty with the online forms for COVID-19 related hospital stays, making claims off their insurance. However, I am wondering about the impacts under a more corporate-run health care system as in the US, whether it will be a barrier to those who are sick seeing out treatment due to cost.
I’ve seen a number of options for buying food during the crisis in China.
First, some are given passes every couple of days to go out and buy food from local stores or supermarkets. It does look as though finding an open store can be problematic, however, when people are finding them they do appear to be stocked up well.
Second, some food items are delivered to apartment complexes but the owners must order online. I’ve seen some content in videos where people are stressed out because they are running out of food but not realising, or don’t have the skillset, to order via a website or app.
I’ve seen people donate ready meals to hospital patients, and those owning farms donating their own products to communities. Recipe videos seem to have increased, these are from established vloggers and others who are demonstrating what they are cooking when you can’t access the food you wouldn’t normally buy ie less meat.
Not seen a lot of this but in one video a vlogger had to go out to the hospital to buy medication on their health insurance, I couldn’t see any examples of supplies being delivered to an apartment block. I’ve seen vloggers discuss how family members became sick with a non COVID-19 issue but didn’t have access to a pharmacy to get advice or medication, it could be the case of not thinking straight during a stressful situation.
Face Mask Shortage
I’ve seen many videos where ordinary citizens donate face masks to hospitals, the police and other emergency services. At the beginning of the crisis, I heard some concerns where people couldn’t buy face masks however not heard anything recently. People appear to wear basic masks, not the N95 standard ones with filters. I’m not convinced the basic ones provide people with adequate protection but everyone should find out via their own health care practioners.
I’ve seen a lot of upset people that they cannot be with their families and are very concerned for their wellbeing. Many cancelled their plans to be with their families for Chinese New Year by the request of the government so this must have added that additional stress. I saw a video where a Mother caught the virus and decided her child should live with the grandparents until she is well. This creates another issue where grandparents are looking after their grandchildren and I don’t know if they are receiving the support they need to perform that function. The parents feel guilty since their children don’t understand what’s going on and hope they will forgive them as they get older.
I have seen a number of parents wish for their children to become doctors or health care workers so they can help people should another crisis in the future.
The more time people have on their hands the more they tend to think the worst. From what I’ve seen there are moments like this for vloggers, they record video of themselves crying and showing their desperation. They do seem to be able to pick themselves up as the situation improves. Would everyone be able to cope with staying at home for a long time? I always have things to do so I don’t think it would be a problem for me but for some, it will be a big issue.
People can’t go out to get their hair cut as the stores are all closed, so I’ve seen people trying to cut their own. This has created a lot of amusement for those recording the videos as they make a complete mess of themselves. I saw some guy try to use a beard trimmer on his hair which kind of worked out ok. There are many services like this that we will miss while being stuck at home.
In some respects, China does appear to be more technologically advanced than Canada. People are using technology to keep in touch with each other particularly through WeChat and Weibo. Most people seem to pay for things via WeChat such as online-shopping. Some vloggers have set up a PayPal account to ask for a donation to help in the production of their videos. I noticed some people are a little suspicious of donations to China.
In every video, I saw vloggers and their families wear winter jackets in their own home or can even see their breath when speaking. This was my greatest concern as I would think they should keep warm to prevent related illnesses, it’s also a better environment to get better if you are sick. I wonder if heating is too expensive in parts of China or whether this is what citizens are used to.
Most of the videos are more pro Chinese government as vloggers could be arrested if they said anything against them but reading between the lines I’ve got so much from these even if it’s just to learn about their day to day life. I certainly have a better idea of what I need to do if and when the virus hits Canada.
This is just a random review of HP customer service as I thought I had an odd experience today.
My current printer died and it’s not worth updating given that it doesn’t have all the groovy features you would expect in 2020. So thought it was about time to buy a new 4 in 1 model. I struggled to find one that is compatible with the latest Mac OSX. HP still seemed to be the best for my needs but I did have a slight trauma in contacting them.
I wanted to find a list of Mojave compatible printers, the HP website had misleading information on that, so I attempted to contact customer support.
- Went onto the HP website to find the Canadian support homepage.
- Called the 1-800 Canadian number
- Got through to a representative very quickly, was pleased about that. I told her what I needed.
- I asked if HP had a list of Mojave compatible Inkjet printers similar to the LaserJet one on the website. She didn’t answer.
- She asked if I was in Canada. I said I was in Vancouver, British Colombia. She then asked again whether I was in Canada. It seemed she didn’t know where British Columbia was.
- I asked if I had been redirected to the US call centre, she didn’t want to answer. Thinking about it now I’m not sure if the rep was based even in North America or even if she worked for HP, maybe an outsourcing company?
- Basically, she had no idea what I was talking about, the call started to deteriorate.
- I decided to end the call as I wasn’t getting anywhere.
It was an extraordinarily odd call. I noticed the rep wanted to adhere very tightly to a script that was most likely on her call centre application.
I managed to reach out to someone on Twitter. They managed to redirect me to a page on their site that had a list of Mojave compatible printers but didn’t list the one I was considering.
The social media person said he didn’t know if it was compatible as there had been a lot of confusion over this issue. Well, the confusion seemed to be mainly with HP. The guy gave me a technical support number to call, I suspect it was in the US.
I called the technical support number as provided.
It was difficult to get through their telephone workflow as it kept wanting to direct me towards the “virtual assistant”. At this stage, I was not patient enough to speak to a computer. The first call was dropped as soon as it redirected me to a human. Sigh. I called again and finally managed to get through to someone.
That call started in an odd way, the rep first asked me for an issue number, I said I didn’t have one. Then she asked me if I was “such and such” person, I said I wasn’t, maybe she was expecting someone to call her back. Finally got to ask her the question I wanted answering and got an immediate “yes it is compatible, via an app in the Apple Store”. She tried to get me to order the printer from her but it would take up to 6 days via a courier and just couldn’t be dealing with that.
Finally got there in the end.
I wrote feedback to HP about the above so they were aware of the process in getting an answer to a question stating that it shouldn’t have taken that long.
I was impressed with an immediate call back soon after I write that email. That was nice of them.
The final step was buying the printer which we did from a very hard salesperson in Staples Canada, that was a bit troublesome too.
I bought an HP OfficeJet Pro 9015. I got it fixed up at home and it works perfectly with Mojave, as they said, via the app.
Some features I like about the printer:
- Nice bright design
- Easy to read/touch front panel
- Duplex printing and scanning. Two-sided scanning is a huge bonus for me.
- Mobile friendly
Some bad points:
- Seems a little noisy when printing
- Doesn’t do larger size paper formats
What you say on social media can lead to ruining your privacy, reputation and brand. It’s always best to engage brain before hitting “Post” on your device, in other words, “planning”.
Most organizations will have a strategy in planning their social media in advance to coincide with their projects, goals and timelines. Most likely they will go into review by other members of staff including those on the senior leadership team and marketing. It’s helpful to keep this in mind for your own individual posts. If you aren’t careful what you say you could either lose followers or the worst case scenario be your own risk to reputation.
We’ll just dive into what I think people should not post.
- You dislike your job
- You dislike your boss or work colleagues
- You dislike your customers or complain about their looks/ethnicity etc
- You dislike your life partner or shame him/her over social media
- You dislike your family or shame them over social media, even in conversations they are not a party to
- Constantly shame other people over social media (being a troll)
- Don’t be an emotional vampire
- Don’t provide details of when and where you are going on vacation (tells the world that your property will be empty)
- Don’t provide details of your daily schedule (again tells the world that your property will be empty)
- Don’t say that you are having an affair
- Don’t reveal your financial status, whether you are poor or rich, need or have loans, in serious debt
- Don’t reveal or give any clues as to what your usernames and passwords are
- Scams about how many followers people can make if they listen to you
- Photos of you being too familiar with other people than your partner
- If you are going through some legal investigation don’t say anything that might jeopardise that for yourself (friends could let slip about something you have mentioned on Facebook)
- Your toilet habits
- Medical records or photos of your condition
- Extreme views about politics or people ie racism, homophobia.
- Photos with documents that users can zoom in to in order to find confidential information about yourself or loved ones
- Photos of strangers in embarrassing situations, obtain people’s permission before posting
- Post too much on yourself, show you are considerate of others too
- Death and other threats
- Steel someones work/data and say it’s your own (always cite your source)
- Repeat the same message day after day or constantly retweeting yourself. Always come up with new and exciting stories to keep your visitors engaged.
I use quite a few chat applications mainly because I have friends who use a wide variety of them. So, I thought I would review the ones I do use.
I started using chat type apps many years ago the first ones being:
- ICQ – originally created by an Israeli company then bought by AOL it was finally sold to a Russian entity, it was at that stage I decided to stop using it.
- Yahoo Messenger – many of my friends were on this application probably because there was no other choice, but it closed in 2018.
My current favourites:
I wasn’t on Skype until Microsoft bought the company and it was amalgamated into its product line. I start using Skype for Business but didn’t have it for personal reasons. I guess I got used to using the program and now it is my most used chat type app. Of course, it is multi-functional so I have the ability to a) make international phone calls, b) chair online client meetings by video and screen sharing. Companies are reaching out/finding me more over Skype than they are over LinkedIn. Skype is my preferred chat type app to use. The only thing I will add about the Desktop version, it is a little confusing to get around, as there is so much there, compared to the other basic chat apps.
I’ve been using Telegram for a few weeks for personal use and like the simplicity of the design. It does seem to be working out very well although it would be better if more of my connections used it. The company suggests they are the best for security but there are reviews for and against this, they are most likely they are the best on the market today, everyone needs to make up their mind.
My not so favourites:
I have found the interface not as easy to use as the other apps, or at least I am not that familiar with it as I’ve only used it a few times. In my experience startups and agencies use it as they prefer the general Google Suite of applications. I am also quite concerned about privacy on Google so I generally avoid it and don’t promote that I am on it.
Since WhatsApp is owned by the Facebook family of products I rarely use it due to privacy concerns and well, I don’t trust the company. I only have one friend on the app but when I have used it, always on a Desktop, it performs well. I have tried to encourage my friend to try out Telegram.
Worst chat apps:
As soon as I registered I was told that there was something wrong with my account and was locked out. I tried to resolve it with them but they were pretty non-responsive not only via Twitter but also but logging a ticket on their system. Therefore I abandoned trying to use this application. It might have been useful in China but alas it wasn’t to be. I only had one friend who tried to encourage me to use the application so all is ok.
When I started receiving adverts through Facebook Messenger and encouraged by companies to use [FAQ] bots through it (rather than speak to live human beings) that was my last straw. Of course, there is also the privacy issue with Facebook too. There are some humans behind companies on Facebook Messenger, for example:
- Shaw Cable – able to answer some basic questions on a certain subject quickly even though the initial response was incorrect
- London Transport – took them about 48 hours to respond to a message but not with enough detail in order to resolve the situation
With so many chat type products on the market and a number of friends scattered around them it’s tough to stop using certain ones but often I have to consider privacy and online safety as my number one priority.