Category Archives: Technology

Kernel Panic on OS X Update

I recently read of someone’s attempt to update a ProBook 4530s from Mavericks 10.9.3 to 10.9.4. They wrote that the install went smoothly, but, on reboot, they got a kernel panic. Mixed in with the textsplosion that filled the screen was a reference to “AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement.” It looked something like this:

KernalPanic AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement

This screen could not be bypassed by booting into the installed OS from the person’s USB drive. They could only run the OS X installer and use a fix from Terminal. The person ended up finding this fix on the blog of Sanga Collins.

  1. Enter your boot menu via the BIOS.
  2. Start the OS X installer (using a DVD or USB drive) and then open Terminal.
  3. Select your language.
  4. Click “Continue” at the welcome message.
  5. Click “Agree” when asked.
  6. At the “Select Destination” screen, go to the Utilities menu and select Terminal.
  7. When the terminal window opens type:
    • cd /Volumes/[HardDisk–Or whatever your install is called.]/System/Library/Extensions
    • rm -rf AppleIntelCPUPowerManagement.kext
  8. Quit Terminal.
  9. Quit the installer and reboot.

Colbert and Sci-Fi v. Fantasy

So, I’m tempted to think that the reason I feel some apathy toward fantasy is how easy stories like Game of Thrones and LOTR make it for writers to use magic as a deus ex machina. Of course, the same could be said of Star Trek and “technobabble.” So, why is it easier for me to forgive Star Trek? Well, for one, I think it’s more fruitful to converse about technobabble. You can actually talk about real science when you’re talking about why Treknobabble is pseudoscientific.

So, why do I prefer Star Trek to Dr. Who? Well, for one, Dr. Who doesn’t give us a homo sapiens that has overcome its pettiness. Star Trek — to my delight — explores the possibility of what comes after Sagan’s, “If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars.” It seems to me that the Doctor performs a similar capacity to the Vulcans: overseer of the humans. They’re both waiting with their fingers crossed to see if we continue surviving each new genocide, pandemic, or other crisis and continue evolving (intellectually if not biologically) to eventually become spacefaring. (Also, the critical attitude of the Vulcans toward humans seems much more realistic to me than the avuncular attitude of the Doctor toward us.)

That’s infinitely more interesting to me than the idea of constant, secret alien visitation on earth by hostile aliens that require earth to be saved by other kindly aliens. This is essentially the idea of Transformers as well and how cool would it be if the Transformers did what Picard and company do? (Not cool at all if all you want to see is hot robot-on-robot carnage! But, that was well-covered in the first Transformers movie!)

Another thing about fantasy: why are so many important characters in Game of Thrones and LOTR humanoid? This seems forgivable to me with respect to Star Trek because the original series probably lacked funding for advanced effects and make-up. Humanoid aliens were just more practical to make and act. Game of Thrones and LOTR were books, though. Books don’t have budget constraints, right?

And, why, why, why must fantasy take place in a magical corollary to the Dark Ages? Actually, an answer occurred to me as I was typing the question: it may have been in the Dark Ages that magical thinking most flourished.

The I-Pen and Paint.NET for Math

For anybody looking to make writing out equations on your computer easier, I have two recommendations:

First is the I-Pen (pictured above). It’s plug and play, but I think I had to install software either for my mouse or for the I-Pen itself to make the two device pointers move at two different speeds (you will probably want the I-Pen to move more slowly for greater accuracy).

Second, I have made this blank worksheet for working out problems in Paint.NET. I was using the version of Paint that comes with Windows 7 and it’s quite nice, but I wanted something with greater functionality that would work on my netbook (running Windows XP) as well. So, Paint.NET works well.

The only problem was that I don’t want to have to mess with layers and selecting a canvass size I like every time I need to work through one or a whole slew of equations. So, the above-referenced “blank worksheet” has proven useful so far. I open it once and then each time I want to begin a new equation, I press and hold the “Ctrl” key on the keyboard and tap the “A” key (to select all) and then press the “Delete” key. Voila. Blank math canvass in approximately two seconds.

One issue with this approach is the way that Paint.NET handles layers. In order for my approach to work as intended, the layer settings window must look like this:

However, quite annoyingly, when you close and reopen this saved document, the layer settings window looks like this:

So, it must be changed back each time to allow trouble-free math drawing.

Sony Walkman NWZ-S615F

After hours of searching, I finally figured out that the free version of Any Video Converter will convert video files I have into ones I can view on my Walkman device.

I have used the mpeg4 option at a resolution of 320×240. I chose a bit rate of 112 and a frame rate of 15.

Using that method, I get a pretty good picture. A roughly 700 MB .avi file became a roughly 64 MB .mp4 file. Puzzlingly, a roughly 400 MB .avi file became a roughly 120 MB .mp4.

I’m afraid I don’t care enough to figure out what caused these differences. To my knowledge, I encoded these files using the same method.

Anyway, I hope someone finds some of this useful!