School Daze

It’s not enough that our government wants to mess with the school system, imposing a complicated set of calculations that don’t really seem to help all that much. North Carolina also wants to get into the act, by making sure that school doesn’t start prior to a particular date and doesn’t run past a particular date. Couple that with the fact that North Carolina schools must apparently operate for a minimum of 180 days, it’s going to make for quite a challenge.

Most months seem to have around 22 available days (week days) for education. The new start and end requirements allow for a maximum of 13 days in August and June. Using those numbers, we’re talking about 211 days that may be possible over that calendar. Consider that there are 22 holidays on the CMS calendar this year. That’s 189 days. There are 10 additional teacher workdays on that calendar. That’s 179 days, and makes no consideration for days the school may unexpectedly not operate (ie, snow days). We’ve had at least a couple of those for the last two years. Also consider that except in very rare occasions, February will never have 22 possible school days, so the starting number is likely to be even lower. Using the actual months for a 2004-2005 school year, you’d start with 208 days. Uh-oh.

In fact, the last two years have seen problems with snow days and the school schedule that require a slight addition of extra days – extra hours through the last couple months, Saturday school, even extending the school year by a day. And that’s with a calendar that starts in the middle of August. It continues to amaze me that our government thinks that they can legislate everything and have it magically work itself out. Just because it’s on the books doesn’t mean that the real calendar has to comply.

Flashblock in Firefox

During the process of checking things out recently, I noticed that Shockwave Flash movies had stopped displaying in Firefox at some point. I think it was the loading of 0.9.

So I went through the ritual of uninstalling and reinstalling, but it didn’t really help. Then I started looking at Flashblock again. Looking through some posts here and there, it seemed that while Flashblock may work with the newer versions, it did seem to have some install problems. So I installed it to see what happened.

Flashblock no longer shows up in the extension list (it hadn’t for a while anyway), but it does seem to work as expected. And more importantly, my movies are back. But only when I want them. Sweet.

Presidential Decree

They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.

Nice. Oh, I’m sure he meant to say something about how they are always vigilant in order to make sure they’ve thought of everything so that they can defend against the same – but I find it refreshing when the government can be so open and forthright. It’s downright refreshing that we have a president like Dubya, who doesn’t try and hide his true thoughts from us.

Firefox Update

More than one site has mentioned a new point release (0.9.3) for Firefox. While this is apparently the case, the download link on the front page does not point to the setup for 0.9.3 – it points to 0.9.2. Using a little creativity, you can munge the URL for downloading 0.9.2 into one that you can use to download 0.9.3.

Update: Here’s the link that I used to download 0.9.3. The Firefox web site still has a link to 0.9.2 on their main product page. Thus far, I’ve had good luck with 0.9.3. Your mileage may vary. Please use caution.

Real Player in Firefox

I was wandering the web and came across some content that was presented in Real format, which Firefox didn’t seem to support. One problem was that I didn’t have any version of the Real Player installed. The other problem was that I didn’t particularly want to install the Real Player if I could help it, but I especially didn’t want to install the Real One player. I do have a copy of Real Player Basic version 8, but it isn’t currently installed on my system. You can also find it available for download if you don’t already have a copy.

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In Flight Entertainment

On recent USAirways flights to the Caribbean, our flights were late – and so the headsets for the in-flight entertainment were provided free of charge. Meanwhile, a return flight from San Francisco to Charlotte last week had a charge of $5 for the headset – on a red-eye flight that didn’t even have a movie. You get to keep the headsets for future use in either case.

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