The Fun Brought by COVID-19
2020/08/02 - Written by doamatto
The Maladie à coronavirus (better known as the ‘novel coronavirus’ or ‘Covid-19’) has truly shaped the world to have changes (for better or worse) that are making history every day. Although it’s a nerve-wracking event, most of us have been granted the rare commodity of having more free time, which in turn means more time to improve.
Throughout the quarantine in America (which started around mid-March), so much has happened: ranging from terrible bills like the EARN IT act to powerful and important movements such as the BLM protests. During all of this, some people, including myself, took this time to do what is objectively just as important and took to the Internet to do the one thing we all said we’d do but we never did: do new things (or improve existing skills).
Many people took to streaming on platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming, while others expanded their skillset in ways like coding or drawing. With the time and the reach that was enabled with the quarantine, people are given an even stronger ability to make new friends, start new projects, and more. So, it was a no brainer that I’d join on the fun. And, oh boy, it’s been fun.
Table of Contents
- (Informally) Welcoming Mello
- Given the time, people flourish
- The Main Takeaway
- Legal Mumbo Jumbo
Covid-19 has shaped the world in many ways with several powerful movements, for better or worse. Over this time, it’s allowed myself and others to help expand our capabilities and improve on ourselves. With the informal introduction of Mello, a free and open-source mediatation app, and the advancements I’ve made in the software I make and the projects I work on, as well as the projects I’ve seen others jumpstart due to this new found time, Covid-19 is both a horrible thing to endure, but an amazing thing that is empowering people to get out of their comfort zones and learn more than ever.
(Informally) Welcoming Mello
Near the start of March, I started work on one of my larger projects and suspended work on another 1. That new project was originally under the “internal” name of Yin but has since been changed to Mello. For the most part, I’ve kept Mello under wraps because it wasn’t (and still isn’t) in a state where I can confidently say “This is it. And it is good.” In the wake of all the chaos, I started using Headspace, however, there were some fatal flaws:
- the iOS and Android apps (although they both seemed like they may have used a cross-platform framework like React Native) were gravely different from another,
- neither apps supported AirPlay/Google Cast,
- rather pricey, and:
- the plethora of tracking utilities.
For an app about health, specifically mental health, this was unacceptable. Mello is aimed exactly for that problem. Mello is a free and open-source meditation (and sleep story) app that won’t have:
- send data to third parties (such as Google or Facebook),
- collect or log anything you do, and:
- data stays on your device or where you store it (you can sync with a service like Nextcloud).
I’ve grown a small team of 6 others to help me develop and load content onto this project, with the hope of being able to bring this to F-Droid, the Google Play Store, and the Apple App Store (as well as an Aptitude repo for jailbroken iDevices).
Given the time, people flourish
Over the past couple of months, I’ve since expanded my projects board with more ideas that I’ve had, suggestions I’ve been given, and have slowly started to organize plans for more amazing software and services that I hope will help empower others to do even greater things than they’ve already been doing with both my software and others. Things like Flag Analytics (private -by-design and -by-default analytics), Aurora (an icon pack that focuses on simplicity), and Swift (a Discord bot that is here to put an end to needing 20 different bots) have been slowly but surely worked on alongside my usual development of Mello.
With the time I’ve been given through the quarantine, I’ve been enabled to work on more projects that I’ve been wanting to try for a long time such as modding FiveM (the first byproduct being 5mLoading) and designing more concepts for site and app designs (that may or may not come into fruition at some point).
Others I know have started more projects that are even more advantageous than ever. Danny has slowly started work on sys9wm, a lightweight window manager for *NIX reminiscent of macOS 8, Miles and the Politiwatch team has furthered the amazing work on PrivacySpy with a great redesign to help inform more people about their privacy and what’s behind the long privacy policies of everyday services, and, as an “honourable” mention, Maddie has taken to using her GitHub for more than school assignments.1
Given these melancholy times, we are all humans: which means we’ve constantly expanded, adapted, and improved, even though when we don’t know if we’ll see the sun come morning. Covid-19 has empowered change in our communities, struggles to learn how privacy (especially on the Internet) should be treated, and more people to simply do more. Most of us have been given the rather big luxury of more time on our hands, so why not use that newfound time to try something new or continue improving on what you already love?