6 Useless Things I Am Doing During COVID-19


A combination of bored-some and a little obsessive compulsive tendencies lead to some random things. Since we’re all scrolling for content, why not read some of my neurotic tendencies during this. Who else is doing these?

Household Paper Product Inventory Management

Paper Products!
Paper Products!

Who isn’t having to do this? Has anyone figured out why toilet paper and paper towels are still hard to come by weeks later? Long before this I’ve done inventory management to avoid the random $300 trips to target to fill up so we’re good but we are starting to get low. This is my first time post COVID-19 to try to acquire Toilet Paper & Paper Towels. I’ve got a good Amazon, Costco and Target stalking routine.


One of my morning runs
One of my morning runs

I had a nice running routine since my Gym closed but let’s face it, I’m out of shape and could stand to lose a few pounds so I am on the sidelines nursing a knee injury. After a few days of running I thought I”d take my 4 year old with me. He ran about 100 ft and then wanted to be pushed. I thought I was in shape enough to do that. My knees told me otherwise!

Electronic Devices

Android Update
Android Update

Last week I decided to upgrade the firmware/software on all of my electronic devices. As I mentioned, I can be a little obsessive-compulsive. It started with my wife’s iPhone and iPad and then the apps on them. I then went to her laptop and updated all the firmware, windows updates, printer drivers and 3rd party software. My laptop is almost always up to date so while I checked it there was nothing else to do. Ecobee (smart thermostat) is more of a pain than my threshold for boredom/laziness. It usually requires a chat with support and required way too much work.

All of my My devices are up to date. Shouldn’t I feel accomplished? Not quite but we’ll get there!

Rechargeable Batteries


Ever since the kids came, they use batteries like nobody’s business. Maybe that’s how they get all their energy because its non stop. In any case I decided to replace all of the rechargeable batteries with freshly charged ones. This included both TV remotes, kids toys, noise hair trimmer, DVD remotes, magic mouse, wireless headsets and a few flashlights.

Sometimes I put in older previously charged batteries to see if they need recharging.

Vehicular maintenance

Vehicles sitting for long periods of time need some maintenance. If you have keyless remote, it does have some drain on the battery which can add up over time. This is particularly so if you walk by your vehicle with keys in pocket which tends to wake up the car in preparation for your entrance.

I’ve been starting up my truck for about 10 minutes a week but today took it out for a drive to help avoid flat spots in the tires. Along with avoiding flat spots, you want to make sure they’re properly inflated. In reality it usually takes about a month to develop flat spots. Colder climates see this much more quickly but most people are lucky enough to correct this after 20-30 minutes of driving.

Also not a bad time to check oil and fluids although I already do that nearly every fill up on both of our vehicles. It did come in handy once when I found a coolant leak on my truck.

In all reality though the vehicles can likely sit for a month without it being problematic.

Endlessly and Needlessly Scroll Social Media

Aren’t we all doing this, looking for a new article to waste our time. If you’re not the master of Facebook, NextDoor, Reddit, Snapchat and TikTok, get on it. You can waste a few days on those. If you’re thinking, wait, he missed a few, gold star for you!

Another hobby I’ve taken up when I get bored of this is “Coffee Naps“. Think of it as power napping on steroids. I actually stumbled across this by accident before finding out it was a thing via social media.

Final Words

In all seriousness though, whatever we need to mentally make it through this, don’t feel bad about doing it. Social distance as best as you can and just try to hang in there! Thought you were alone and doing some of these too? You’re not, we’re all in this. Drop a line or a comment if you do any of these.

Review of KardiaMobile 6L by AliveCor

My review of the KarbiaMobile 6L by AliveCor. It is a pretty interesting device that can help detection if you are having some strange heart rhythm issues.


Earlier in the week I had some heart irregularities that scared me. Upon visiting my Primary Care he calmed my concerns but recommended a device I had actually already been looking into to help monitor at home.

The device was KardiaMobile by AliveCor. In doing my own research, I came across it but I wasn’t sure how accurate it was. Since my doctor recommended it and said he had one I was satisfied by the quality of the results.


There are two main options. A Single lead which is their original product or the new Six Lead (6L). For me, for the extra quality of the EKG I opted for the 6L as it was only marginally more expensive and why not?

What Are Leads?

I won’t attempt to write in depth on this as I am just learning about it but do not confuse electrode for lead. Have a good read on this Wikipedia article – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrocardiography#Electrodes_and_leads

In short, more leads equate to a higher quality EKG with more data points although for most of us, the single lead will do just fine for home monitoring.

Here is a picture of the measurements of a 6 lead. A single lead is simply the first “I” listed below. Leads 4-6 (aVF, aVL and aVR) are calculated and not actual. Its fun how triangles work, isn’t it 🙂

By Npatchett – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39235282


The natural question is exactly what can this detect? It is FDA-Cleared to detect the following

  • Bradycardia
  • Tachycardia
  • Possible Atrial Fibrillation

The nice part about it is Kardia only uses the first lead to detect these so you do not always have to take the 6 lead test. It can sometimes be inconvenient if you are in a public place.


It arrived in a small box.

Kardia Outer Package
Kardia Outer Package

I opted to buy the carry pod as well since I plan on throwing this in my laptop bag and carrying around.

Kardia Inner Package


The initial setup and pairing was nice but unexpectedly I did have to disable NFC. I use this for mobile payments so it may be a pain to disable and re-enable constantly. Minor inconvenience but worth mentioning.

Kardia Record

Here you can select the Single Lead or 6-Lead. The Single lead requires pointer and middle finger to touch the metal contact from each hand. The 6-Lead requires thumbs and the bottom center metal contact to touch part of your left leg.

Reviewing Results and Sharing

Simply hold for 30 seconds and it will record. when it is done it will provide this report. It will save the results locally but you can use the “Email EKG” to share. This is not limited to email, you can share it with any app on your phone such as FaceBook but it does generate a PDF file so the app needs to be able to accommodate transferring a PDF instead of an image file.

Kardia Results

Here is an example of the output I took of my first 6 lead.

Kardia Sample EKG Results

Final Words

At a first glance, I am happy with the 6 lead. It may never end up to be more than a toy I tinker with on occasion as I likely do not have any underlying heart issues but it is very convenient to have this available.

Unless you are highly proficient in reading EKG results, the intent should be to capture an event you are unsure of so that you can share with your doctor, whether it be a primary care or cardiologist. Many times you can walk into the ER having an event or even be at the doctor’s office and they not catch it on an EKG. This device gives you a better chance of catching it.

Is Your Office Chair Causing Back Pain?


Many people in the IT space suffer from back pains at one point or another. 5-10 years ago I thought back pain was just for those that were unhealthy. Then, earlier this year, it hit me. It was pain like no other. Not just muscle pain but felt like “bone on bone” pain. For the first time, I went to a chiropractor. It helped but depending on that did not seem like the long term solution. Here is my journey and thoughts on back pain. Hopefully it can help you!

Over the Years

Over the years I have had the occasional back pain from tense muscles. It usually came from a stressful day and left a day or two later. Exercise and a good night sleep usually fixed it. Sometimes it was as simple as my body telling me it was time for new shoes! Soles of shoes can wear over time and stop providing the support needed.

Doctor Time?

That was until earlier this year I woke up one morning with some absolutely terrible back pain that caused me to go to the chiropractor. After a few sessions of adjustments and deep tissue massage, I was on my way. It was not completely gone but bearable. I kept asking what I could do differently but was repeatedly told me it was just life and to keep coming back. The chiropractor was a highly reputable one so I believed it. Perhaps he was just tired of giving people advice that they never took.

It came back again a few weeks later until I took a family stay-vacation. Some family came into town and I was off work for a week. My back pain was gone so I realized it had something to do with my work routine.

Change it up!

I decided to rotate my mattress and eventually get a new one. I replaced my shoes to see if that helped. These minor changes were making a dent but still not quite doing it. Then I started looking at my chair. It was a typical adjustable task chair but it was about 15-20 years old. My wife on the other-hand had a nice Serta executive chair she inherited from my father. I swapped chairs for 1 day and felt “cured”. It was a miracle!

The Chair!

Upon investigating chairs and doing my research on my own chair, it had a few issues. The chair was fairly old so the padding was pretty shot. It also did not have any lumbar support. That was the primary area of my back pain. The Serta chair, on the other hand, had copious amounts of lumbar support. Knowing it was my chair that was the issue, I sought out finding an economical replacement.

Chair Qualities

As I would come to find out, there were a few qualities of a chair that would help support the back and help to prevent or mitigate back pain

Lumbar Support

What is lumbar and lumbar support? The lumbar is the lower region of the back. It has a natural curve to it.

Spinal Column Anatomy including Lumbar
Spinal Column Anatomy
Taken from – https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/lumbar-strain-weight-lifters-back

In chairs that do not have lumbar support (curved to match to this), we tend to press up to the back and lose that natural curve. This causes the spin to sit in a way that can cause pain over time. The reason for this is muscles are supporting the back that do not usually do so. Then over more time, we tend to hunch or change positions to more unhealthy positions

Lean Back!

No, its not just a song feating Fat Joe! The ability of a chair to tilt and allow you to lean back allows for the back of the chair to take most of the weight of your upper body off your back and place some of it on the chair. This reduces the strain on back and back muscles.


In terms of mitigating back pain, these are fairly terrible if you spend your day typing on a keyboard. The reason for this also goes along with design flaws in desks. Perhaps flaw is not the right word but a choice of aesthetic over function.

An ideal setup allows for your elbows to be parallel to the desk when sitting so that your arms can rest on the desk comfortably without contorting your shoulders and putting strain on them. The problem with armwrests is they typically prevent you from adjusting your chair to a proper height to allow for that. For this reason I typically remove the arm wrests completely when possible.

Some desks come with drawers under the desk, in the sitting area which cause similar issues. Your chair should be adjusted so that there is a minimal amount of space between the top of your legs and the bottom of the desk to best allow your forearms to be parallel to the desk and resting comfortably.

Adjustable Desks

An adjustable desk helps with this greatly too. Sitting all day or standing all day is bad for your posture. Sit all day and your hips get tight or tense and need to be stretched. Stand all day and your back will definitely hurt. I like the flexibility of an adjustable desk so that I can change positions every few hours.

Not everyone can afford a real adjustable desk so there are cheap “hacks” you can find that will allow you to place your keyboard and monitor on a stand that adjusts on top of your desk. IKEA has some “economical” motorized adjustable desks too for $400 USD

Other Remediations

While I did not want to see a chiropractor long term, deep tissue massage is likely a must for me on some sort of schedule and I highly recommend it.

I find that using a foam roller on my upper back helps tremendously as well as tennis ball. These work wonders to help to work out knots if you cannot get to or afford a deep tissue massage.

Please do be careful with these methods though. You can make your back problems much worse if you do them incorrectly. Many times an out of alignment back can cause these issues so I recommend doing the full foam rolling exercise but leave out your lower back.

Final Words

Sometimes resolving back pain is a matter of finding the silver bullet and changing that one thing. Other times you may have a few life circumstances that are causing it. Be persistent though and hopefully this article has given you a few different areas to investigate!

Here is a great video to help visualize some of the chair mistakes we commonly make.