Out with the Old…

Categories: Miscellania
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Published on: May 30, 2013

It’s going to be a very different summer at my school district this year. Though we’re only doing a limited laptop replacement for staff, I’ll be making some big changes behind the scenes with our older equipment, which I plan to talk more about soon.

Also, we’re doing some construction. Our original high school building was built in 1919, and it’s come to the point where it would cost us more to maintain and repair it than it would to tear it down and build new. Thanks to some grants and matching-funds opportunities, we are erecting a new school building between our elementary and high school buildings, and then we will raze the original portion of the high school.

The work began in earnest this week. Yesterday they tore down and mulched some trees, and today they started ripping out concrete.

Noise and chaos and testosterone abound
Noise and chaos and testosterone abound

It’s a lot of fun to watch.

Meanwhile, we’ve also ripped out two labs for redecoration and remodeling. Our old setup wasn’t terrible, but was very inflexible. Now that we have laptops in one of those labs, I can take advantage of this opportunity to start considering some more flexible and friendlier lab spaces.

Last but not least, I’ve gotten my hands on a few Google Chromebooks from Samsung. I like what I’ve seen so far, but I’m going to give it a few more weeks of playing with and hammering on them before I post any kind of a writeup.

I’m expecting it to be a hectic but fun summer.

Commencement Speech: This is Water

Categories: Philosophy
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Published on: May 13, 2013

As we come to graduation season, I felt this commencement speech by the late David Foster Wallace would be a good listen for both our graduates and those of us already working in the trenches.

Pro Tip: protect your Apple power adapter

Categories: Gadgetry
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Published on: May 8, 2013

A cool feature of the Apple power adapters from the last few years is the cable wraps built into the power brick. They are fare more compact than most of their PC counterparts, making them less likely to snag on things and easier to store in bags and travel gear.

On the down side, however, some users are winding them too tight and are stressing the cable and/or its connection to the main power brick, resulting in frayed or destroyed cables.

For example, many users wrap their cables like so:

If it could scream, it would
If it could scream, it would

The little rubber sleeve at the base helps, but I often see cables where the main tubing pulls loose. This boot also prevents stresses to the side, but not stress coming straight out of the hole in the brick. The components on the inside are very likely under the same stress.

To prevent this, create a small loop in the cable. I usually hook the cable over my finger first, creating a 1″ loop before wrapping the rest of the cable. This takes all of the tension off of the cable’s connection to the power brick.

My preferred wrap looks like this:

No more tears
No more tears

This doesn’t take up any more room in a bag, it takes no time at all, and the loop can still fold over without putting additional stress on the connection if it is pressed up against another object during travel. The loop protects the adapter, and it protects the user’s wallet from an unexpected $79 charge to replace a broken adapter (or more for a larger MacBook Pro adapter).

Next time you put your adapter away, give it a shot! It will save you some grief in the long run.

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