South Carolina posted our highest daily total for new COVID-19 cases today: 2,239, with a 22.2% positive rate (also a new high). We had our first pediatric death, as well. These are terribly sad numbers. Shutting down alcohol sales at 11:00 p.m. will do nothing to stem the tide.

Diving into iOS and iPadOS 14 public betas. 🤞🏼

Singing in the Age of COVID-19

As we await the results of the Colorado State University study on the role of singing and playing wind and brass instruments in the spread of COVID-19, there is a study available now that gives us some potentially important information. Study: Aerosol emission is increased in professional singing

• The Berlin study confirms the data shared in the first NATS webinar. Remember the one all of us widely panned as being overly pessimistic? The one we all decried, saying, “They don’t know what they’re talking about! They’re irresponsible to be saying this! They’re just spreading fear!”? It turns out they were right, after all. Singing spreads significantly more droplets and aerosol particles than normal speaking.
• The Berlin study involved 8 professional singers, not students and not amateur singers.
• The CSU study will give us more data on student singers. One can reasonably anticipate that even though students expel fewer droplets and aerosols than professional singers, they still expel more while singing than they do through speaking. Is that increase enough to be concerned? We will have to wait and see.
• The Berlin study showed the aerosols expelled by singing can hang in the air for hours and that they have a cumulative effect (the more singers in one space, the greater the accumulation, the longer they hang in the air).

Considerations and questions for choral professionals:
• We now know from multiple experts and scientific studies that singing spreads orders of magnitude (the Berlin study’s words, not mine) more droplets and aerosol particles than non-singing activities. (Want a good visual of this? Watch Jonathan Groff’s performance as King George in Hamilton, now available on Disney+.)
• We know (or at least scientific evidence strongly suggests) that COVID-19 is spread through the air on large droplets and in the smaller aerosols.
• The risk of singers spreading COVID-19, then, is elevated, probably significantly elevated. This risk could be lower or higher depending on the amount of spread currently active in the singers’ community. (For many of us, that spread is currently very high. We must take that into consideration.)
• As choral music professionals, what level of risk are we willing to take with our own singing?
• A far more important question, though: As choral music educators, what level of risk are we willing to ask our students to take on? Do we have an ethical responsibility to ensure our singers are safe?
• Are there mitigation techniques that we can employ that would reduce the risk of spread in a school setting enough to justify a return to singing in the classroom?
• We’re not just worried about our singers. We’re also worried about all the people with whom they come into contact. What we allow in our rehearsal rooms will have an exponential effect outside of our rehearsal.

It’s not enough to say we’re ready to get back to singing. Of course we are. We all are. And we have the right as individual professionals to assess our own risk tolerance. We do not, however, have the right to make that decision on behalf of our student singers. I think we have an ethical responsibility to ensure that our student singers are safe, that they understand and own their role in keeping others safe, and that they understand the factors we take into account to make decisions. And that might mean we err on the side of focusing on non-singing standards for much of this coming school year.

N.B.: This is my opinion. It’s an educated, well-researched, and science-based opinion, but it’s still an opinion. I’m not speaking on behalf of any organization with which I am involved. These are my thoughts and these are the ideas I’m discussing with my administration.

Has anyone used Libro.fm instead of Audible?

Audible is an Amazon-owned company, but it operates essentially autonomously and by all accounts does great work for its local community.

Libro.fm, on the other hand, is an audiobook company that supports local booksellers. One hundred percent of the purchase price of an audiobook goes to the look bookseller of your choice as if you had purchased directly from them. It doesn’t have the vast catalog of Audible, though.

I’m currently an Audible user but love the idea of supporting local businesses.

Here’s a snapshot of our little girl, @miraz. Her name is Winnifred Jane. Winnie for short. She has a very round puppy belly so I’ve taken to calling her Winnie Pooh. She’s not a runt, but she was the smallest of her litter and she’s pretty spunky. She’s learning how to dog from our older border collie/Corgi mix.

This review of Hey surprises me. Unless I’m just missing something so basic, Hey is nothing more than a pretty skin on email. It offers nothing revolutionary. SaneBox, for example, can achieve the same filters with fewer clicks and you can use it with more addresses for the same cost.

If I’m missing something, what is it? 🤔

thesweetsetup.com/hey-email…

Any mail service + SaneBox ≥ Hey

Maybe I’ll write more about this later but I’m really just one opinion, and here’s the crux for me anyway.

Hey is pretty. And fast. And really pretty. But it doesn’t deliver on its promise to revolutionize email. Because it fails to deliver on that promise, the already premium price becomes extremely unpalatable. Maybe I would grow into loving it. And if Hey included custom domains in the premium price, I would pay today. But $99 a year for a catch-all address is a lot to ask for an email service that, at the end of the day, is just a pretty skin. (Did I mention it’s pretty?)

Reedy River Falls, Greenville South Carolina 📷

One of my favorite images from Canterbury Cathedral. I performed in residence there a couple of summers ago. The ensemble with which I perform is scheduled to return next summer. COVID-19 might dictate otherwise, though.

On Hey

  • The interface is pretty.
  • There are a couple of novel workflows that could be helpful, e.g., screen in and Focus & Reply.
  • Security is good (2FA with recovery codes).
  • Strong support for keyboard shortcuts.
  • No email signatures. They’re “thinking about it,” though. (What’s there to think about?)
  • No fetching of mail from external accounts. You have to set up external addresses to forward to your Hey address.
  • Right now, it can serve as little more than your catch-all address.
  • $99 a year is a lot to pay for a catch-all address.
  • If $99 a year is the price for a catch-all address, then the cost for custom domains is likely to be exorbitant.

Hey is a baby; its offerings will grow (and no doubt will be expensive). But I don’t see how it will replace services like Fastmail (or Gmail, quite frankly) which are easily as feature rich and far less expensive.

Are you all ready for some cuteness? I want to make sure you’re ready. I’ll wait.

My wife has wanted a Corgi her entire life. Last Friday, that dream came true for her. And here she is: Winnifred Jane. Our 6-year-old Corgi/Border Collie mix was a rescue. We think he was abused before we rescued him. He’s a crotchety old man and for about 48 hours, wanted nothing to do with Winnie, and even tried to attack her once. Now he’s become used to the idea that there is another of his kind here and he wants to play but doesn’t know how. So it’s a learning process for everyone involved.

Thanks to the folks on Micro.blog, I’m trying out Fastmail. I’m very impressed with the service. And the web interface and iOS app are quite adequate for daily use. I might even give up on Spark or use it for work email.

I use emojis in my primary menu on my site. On a whim, I tried including the SVG code for my Micro.blog account and it worked!

I’ve started writing more long form posts on my main site, GregoryPittman.net. I would love to post short form writings there, too, (basically the kinds of things I would post here) and have them push here but I haven’t found a way to do that. Maybe there isn’t a benefit to that anyway.

I stumbled across Shakespeare Live! from RSC on PBS and was introduced to the incredible talent of jazz singer Gregory Porter. 🎵

When you start using a new social media platform, how do you find people to follow? You stalk users like @rosemaryorchard and @ismh to see who they are following. Of course, then you run the risk of duplicating the other platforms, and I’m not sure that accomplishes anything.