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Downsides of Working From Home

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Really, in today's day and age when we can deliver HD movies to everyone's houses all day, there really is no technical reason why it's not used.

But.. we can't. In some areas, school districts have to kit out school buses with internet connections and wifi, and park them outside apartment buildings so students can do online learning.

We can deliver HD movies to the houses of those who are well off. Not everybody.
 

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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
But there are reasons it's not used and it's not holding them back.

It is perhaps more accurate to say that it isn't stopping them.

But it is probably slowing them down, holding them back. It is rather likely that their conversations are less efficient than they could be - they could understand each other better and faster if there was video. That understanding and human connection tends to lead to greater trust. And trust between team members is a cornerstone of performance.

You don't notice the impact over a few days. But over weeks and months, it starts to show. And goodness help you if you have to bring new members into at team when they can't see each other.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Covid-19 silver lining: if the disease reshapes the American K-12 educational landscape so much that online classes are essentially REQUIRED as a public health measure, our impoverished schools will be upgraded by force of law.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Covid-19 silver lining: if the disease reshapes the American K-12 educational landscape so much that online classes are essentially REQUIRED as a public health measure, our impoverished schools will be upgraded by force of law.

But then you have the issue of getting broadband to every kid, which is not a minor task.
 

Aeson

Adventurer
It's not a minor task, but thankfully we have a lot of people out of work and government wanting to throw money at the problem. Maybe setting up a program to get people to work setting broadband up in various parts of the country?
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
But then you have the issue of getting broadband to every kid, which is not a minor task.
It’s a HUGE task. And considering America’s sterling history with proper funding of schools for teacher salaries, infrastructure and the like, one littered with all kinds of political landmines.

And it isn’t just the school having the network, it’s also getting the devices into the hands of the kids. IOW, $$$$$$!

But it will be extremely difficult to sell the concept of mandatory K-12 with mandates about social distancing/online courses for public health reasons while simultaneously not having that in place.

”You have to go to school, but you can’t go TO the school.” would run afoul of not only informed voters, but the law as well. Remember, the judiciary in KS slapped the State around when it repeatedly tried to underfund the education system due to the supply-side budget shortfall, violating the law.
 

Really, in today's day and age when we can deliver HD movies to everyone's houses all day, there really is no technical reason why it's not used.

If you have garbled video when you are doing it, my guess is you are using wireless. Or have a crappy home internet and other people using it. Because with a good wired internet connection, todays solutions will give you both at high quality. Even transcontinental - known from doing regularly. Or maybe you're using some cut-rate service, or thru a VPN and routed badly. Basically, if it's not good, there's some mess up going on that you can fix instead of living in the past where there were legitimate technical concerns about it.
Unless you are in a rural area. Not everybody lives in cities.
 

Covid-19 silver lining: if the disease reshapes the American K-12 educational landscape so much that online classes are essentially REQUIRED as a public health measure, our impoverished schools will be upgraded by force of law.
I don't think they should be required. I am an Online teacher, and as much as I love my job, it is definitely not the best solution for every student.

Having said that, I do hope that this spurs upgrades in the technological infrastructure so that it is an OPTION for every student. I also think that having training and practice in this is good for everybody, just in case a similar situation happens again. Heck, just avoiding having to make up snow days at the end of the year would be nice.
 



Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
I don't think they should be required. I am an Online teacher, and as much as I love my job, it is definitely not the best solution for every student.

Having said that, I do hope that this spurs upgrades in the technological infrastructure so that it is an OPTION for every student. I also think that having training and practice in this is good for everybody, just in case a similar situation happens again. Heck, just avoiding having to make up snow days at the end of the year would be nice.
Not only that, it’s not a solution for every CLASS. Some things are better taught face to face, in groups. Some things can’t be taught remotely with any efficiency.

But worst case scenario- years or decades of no vaccine, no treatment, and no long-term post-exposure immunity- 30 students per classroom from 9-5 in schools of 3000 students isn‘t going to be sustainable.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
And the Recession. I remember all the road projects going on. building a better digital infrastructure is worth the time and money now.

It isn't that simple, at all. Because the roads are owned by the states and communities in which they live. Our digital infrastructure, on the other hand, is based on some very complicated leasing arrangements with various companies that provide internet services. Government(s) cant' just put people on it, because they don't own it.

And, more importantly - put up all the wire you want, you still need a service at the end of that wire, and the ISPs are not running those services for free. Also note that the FCC has stepped back from governing ISPs like common utilities, so the public cannot mandate their policies.
 

But then you have the issue of getting broadband to every kid, which is not a minor task.
It would provide a nice pretext for expanding broadband infrastructure to rural areas, which has already been an issue in rural America.

ISP's have long been reluctant to run the cables (either fiber optic or coaxial) to rural areas for broadband, leaving them stuck with either dial up, DSL, or satellite internet. Educational necessity would be a way to force the issue.
 

It isn't that simple, at all. Because the roads are owned by the states and communities in which they live. Our digital infrastructure, on the other hand, is based on some very complicated leasing arrangements with various companies that provide internet services. Government(s) cant' just put people on it, because they don't own it.

And, more importantly - put up all the wire you want, you still need a service at the end of that wire, and the ISPs are not running those services for free. Also note that the FCC has stepped back from governing ISPs like common utilities, so the public cannot mandate their policies.
That was about ruling they could fall under common carrier provisions. They can still mandate the policies if
1. The FCC commissioners vote to change their policy.
2. Congress explicitly gives them that authority.

One way or the other, expanding internet to rural areas will take legislative action. . .both in giving the FCC a mandate to the subject, probably subsidizing the process, and if needed, approving the use of eminent domain for the utility easements to put the cables through.

Saying it's for educational necessity due to an increase in distance learning from the COVID-19 pandemic is a good reason for that legislative action, though.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
That was about ruling they could fall under common carrier provisions. They can still mandate the policies if
1. The FCC commissioners vote to change their policy.
2. Congress explicitly gives them that authority.

And those things are terribly unlikely to happen in the next few months.

Saying it's for educational necessity due to an increase in distance learning from the COVID-19 pandemic is a good reason for that legislative action, though.

Yes it is. However, "good reason" really doesn't make things happen all that often.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Definitely not an overnight thing; not a flip of a switch.

But it could still happen with lightning speed compared to most government action. If Covid-19 is the catalyst, I’d say the actual groundwork will be initiated during the next administration, regardless of who is actually in office.

All it would really take is a lawsuit with expedited review making it to the SCOTUS after the war between mandated schooling and pandemic-induced long-term social distancing became manifest. Call it...24-36 months.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
If Covid-19 is the catalyst, I’d say the actual groundwork will be initiated during the next administration...

And that's great. Not even starting on it until next year (and finishing it goodness knows when) makes it a poor candidate for dealing with the absolutely massive unemployment spike we are currently experiencing, though.
 

This. My computer is in the coldest room in the house, because that's where the only available wired connection is (one of the "charms" of a hundred-year old house). Going wired really makes a difference for online videopresence, whether for work or for gaming.

If you have garbled video when you are doing it, my guess is you are using wireless. Or have a crappy home internet and other people using it.
 


Nebulous

Legend
Zoom is cheap and good - one person with a $15/mo subscription can do unlimited 100 person meetings. We use it to play several RPGs, and we did a 44 person surprise 50th birthday party (along with word/speaking based games).

At first glance, I thought you said you did a 44 person surprise birthday RPG! I was like, wow, how does that even work? :D
 

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