The nuclear option


Grinning, at least now.

I wasn’t a few days ago. With the update to Chrome OS 78, I was feeling pretty good about reliability again. Then, I started to read about new features. If they were as good as the Accessibility Option that I had previously blogged about, this could be good.

One new feature, in particular, excited me. It was a setting for “Dark Mode”.

I’m a real fan of dark screen (green screen too but that’s not the point). I find it easier on the eye and hope that it saves on battery life as others have claimed. So, I was ready to check it out. Simply go to the Chrome Flags menu and change a setting.

I’ve seen this warning a million times and a million times I’ve ignored it. I think you know where this is headed, right? I applied the Dark Mode setting and rebooted as suggested.

And everything looked good. I logged in and the browser reloaded. I went to Twitter and it was fine. But then, I had already set it natively to show a Dark Mode. Let’s try something with a White Background.

Aw, Snap!

We know what that means. The browser has crashed that tab. I reloaded to see it partially load and then crash again. It looks like the browser is attempting to load the original page, do some colour shifting, and then reload with the new colours.

I tried to go to the help page.

But I couldn’t. It’s a Google page and so has a nice white background and so crashes.

I did some searching on my phone and found a Reddit page Dark mode on ChromeOS 78 has broken my Chromebook. That post could have been written by me! That, and a couple of other similar pages, revealed the one and only solution. Do a Powerwash on your computer.

So, I tried to do that. Into Settings I went where I new the Powerwash option was. The problem?

It had a white background and wouldn’t load! So, no Powerwash here!

Supposedly, after a Powerwash, the next step is to go to the Terminal and enter a “rollback” command. I was getting desperate so just went to the rollback stage.

The message from Chrome OS sounded hopeful; I guess it either didn’t know that I couldn’t access the Powerwash button or didn’t care. So, I let it do its thing.

I expected to get a fresh Chromebook with no settings and a previous version of the Chrome Operating System.

What I did get kind of surprised me. I got the same Chrome OS version as what caused the problem but it did work. In fact, the customized settings that I had previously set were all gone and I was back to the defaults. Then, came in all the browser settings from my Google account. I did expect that although I probably could have gotten away without all the Android applications being reloaded. But, they came too.

The result? I have a nicely functioning Chromebook restored to Acer’s settings.

You’ve got to love the cloud.

Oh, and Happy Hallowe’en!

OTR Links 10/31/2019


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Praise for older schools


Last Friday, one of the blog posts that I shared because I enjoy it came from Anne-Marie Kee. She had a “Focus on Trees” as her topic. It has stuck with me since I read it.

In the post, she took us for a virtual walk through of her school setting and the heritage that was attributed to the various trees on the property.

The post took me back to the high school I attended as a teenager. It was actually a building built in two stages. The first stage was really old and had significant older trees on the property. The new stage had nothing at the time I went there although a recent trip through there showed some nice trees growing.

The first school I taught at was relatively new. Like so many new builds, it looked like the after math of a bulldozer going through levelling everything and then building the school. I can remember Student Parliament running a fundraiser, a planting session ensued and now there are at least some trees there. It’s really apparent that they were planted as an afterthought as they’re all in a row, equidistant from each other. They’re planted a fair distance from the school but, in the spring, you do see the odd class or other group of students gathering around enjoying the shade.

This summer, my dog and I, had a distraction as we walked past an elementary school during our morning routine. In front of the school, there was a fenced in area for younger students with a sidewalk around the perimeter and an area that would have been a lawn in another context. But, here, it was an area for the kids to play/learn. There was an old tree trunk lying on the ground which appeared to be a great place to play. It was well worn; the bark was long gone, and it was nicely smooth from being walked/climbed on. Kids can see things at times that we adults miss.

Over the summer, while there were no children around, trucks moved in. The entire inside was dug down a bit and eventually filled up with dirt. Jaimie and I walked by daily and speculated that it might eventually be sodded. Or maybe seeded. Or maybe someone had won the lottery and it was going to be artificial turf. While we never went in, Jaimie was hoping to see the tree trunk remain.

Yes, the story didn’t end that way. It ended up being paved.

Now, I get the convenience of it. No grass to cut; no mud to worry about when it rains; no inside recesses – the list goes on. Sadly, the tree trunk was a casualty as well. In its place, you’ll now find a great place to ride a tricycle. And, it’s maintenance free. Since it’s unshaded and uncovered, it’s going to be pretty hot next spring.

It’s going to be good for certain elements of play but there will be learning opportunities lost. I’m guessing that there might be a bit of nature in the form of earthworms after it rains but that’s probably about it. I can’t help but think that the historical significance that Anne-Marie mentions in her post is a non-starter here.

I think we all know of the benefits of modernization of older buildings or of building new schools. But, I really think we’re missing a great deal when paving over what nature has so generously given us.

My guess is that, if students were asked for input, they’d want the best of both worlds. There is a great deal of discussion about classroom arrangement and design. That’s important and not to be minimalized here. I would just hope that planners consider the entire package.

OTR Links 10/30/2019


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Windsor Firefighter Memorial


Recently, we saw an announcement on the local news that there was to be a new Windsor Firefighter Memorial unveiled along the Windsor waterfront.

As it would happen, my wife and I got a call from some dear friends who were in town and wanted to go out for breakfast and get caught up. We did and my friend wanted to show his wife the Windsor Sculpture Gardens so we went down to the waterfront and got to take in both.

It was still early in the morning but there was already a tent set up for the unveiling that would happen later in the day. But, I did get some very nice pictures.

The bronze and granite memorial is very humbling. The image of a firefighter handing a little girl out the window to another firefighter is very powerful.

The local television station will probably play the following report during the news this evening.

Windsor firefighter memorial officially unveiled

If you’re in Windsor, I would encourage you to visit. It’s located at the foot of Ouellette Avenue just to the east of The Great Canadian Flag.