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January 21st, 2014

pipelight and cold front

Yesterday the high crossed 70 degrees [21.1 degrees C.] This morning the temperature is 39 degrees [3.8 degrees C.]. The wind howled as the cold front moved in. I woke up early and petted Beatrice, who rolled about like a puppy.

I need to complete a couple of mandatory continuing legal education seminars. I am licensed in both Texas and California, and one of my California deadlines runs February 3. I have enough hours of seminars, with but two exceptions. I must take an hour in a subject matter that I summarize as "don't do drugs" and another in a subject matter I summarize as "treat everyone well".

The Texas on-line vendor I use used to stock seminars in both areas. I did not find them this time, though. I went to the California Bar and bought access to a couple of hours of on-line seminars. I went to watch the "don't do drugs" one. I found, to my dismay, that the California bar MCLE site still uses the outmoded Microsoft Silverlight software. Though they offered an alternative player, my system professed to be missing a plug-in. I suppose I should have taken the easy way out and loaded a different video player with the right codecs. In my experience, the program VLC works with almost anything if it is set as the default. But I decided to figure out if there was a way to run Silverlight in my Linux system.

I found a project by two students in Germany who developed a way to use Silverlight called Pipelight. I entered the installation instructions into the command line, and a few moments later Silverlight worked in Firefox. I then noticed that Microsoft claimed that Silverlight ran in Linux. When I hit the button to install, there were no install links there. Microsoft's near-spotless inadequacy with Silverlight maintains its almost-perfect record. I wish that all video suppliers defaulted to VLC, which is cross-platform and much more format-agnostic (or format-savvy, depending on one's preferred jargon).

I watched the first 16:44 of the hour-long seminar, and then set it aside until tonight. I also listened to lots of ambient music this morning, read the morning paper, and ate a bowl of raisin bran with non-fat milk.