Mac OSX Mountain lion

The standard user interface of Mac OS X
The standard user interface of Mac OS X (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am not known for my exemplary patience and if anything I am quit horrible at bidding my time for just about anything.

I was thus not about to not update Vivian (My Macbook Pro) from OSX Lion to OSX Mountain lion. For starters, I was not aware that there are lions that live on mountains. Doesn’t sound very liony.

Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma ...
Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma concolor) closeup. Philadelphia Zoo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyhoo I should have known from my previous experiences in updating a plethora of iOS based devices for pals that the hype behind the update is hot air.

Apple fanboys/loyalists/paid goons will tell me am tasteless, dont understand technology ad nauseam but notification centers and facebook integrations are not features in my book. These are stickers on a car not additional airbags for the toddler in the back seat.

All the same I try remain current and not disappoint my geek gods lest I get excommunicated. Kickass torrents quickly availed a usable copy of the mountain lion installer and I got on my way. Now before you start shouting yourself hoarse about piracy, I qualified for a free copy but due to technical issues I could not redeem it from the cupertino buggers. Its their fault.

Upgrade went on without a hickup , I think seeing as I left it happening overnight, and absolutely nothing of note changed on my desktop experience. Well that was a 4.5 GB dissapointment. Little did I know this was the beginning of my problems. After a while   the laptop started acting all slow at times even hanging and other times geting all hot and bothered.

Now I have bootcamp installed on half my harddrive because for technical folk in my field Windows applications are bread and butter. This has worked flawlwessly for the past 7 months but on one random day last week the laptop took 15 mis to boot. I forced a reboot and this chewed up another 10 mins. Here my problems began with the damn thing refusing to boot into Mac OS and only running Windows 7 when the startup disk is changed.

Long story short, the 500 GB drive developed S.M.A.R.T errors specifically a 2047 value on the Reallocated sector count. Trawling the forums turns out this is a common error upon the upgrade with the only solution being provided is replacement of the drive. I think I will do this when My warranty is close to its end or when the damn thing just dies on me but I think this is utter bullcrap. That the error is not random should be telling no?

For a system that “just works” there is a lot of tinkering to get simple things done without regularly turning you into a pauper.




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Progress through Processors

Data crunching is hard and more so when you have obscene amounts of data that are produced everyday and that you need to make sense of.

Most badass data crunchers are monstrosities called supercomputers which occupy entire rooms. They are basically your laptop on crack laced with speed with all the power of one of those decommissioned space shuttles.

The data intensive operations like climate prediction, cancer research etc as well as computationally heavy operations such as image analysis and graphics rendering require a hefty amount of data crunching capacity that is terribly expensive to firms whose owners do not own yachts.

Enter BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) An initiative of the University of California Berkley on exploring distributed computing of task. It started off as a project in support of the search for extraterrestrial life (Aliens basically) but now its used in climate research, protein synthesis, malaria control and a plethora of other applications. 

Basically you get a desktop client which downloads some data to be crunched and your pc crunches the data in place of the screensaver and once done sends back the results/ a report to the server which issues more work if available. You can see how the millions of computers worldwide connected to the internet just sitting there running Microsoft Word and Outlook can be used for scientific betterment of humanity.

This is a purely volunteer affair where you specify how much of your processor is used, when to download and all manner of metrics to adhere to.

Intel has been pushing for its own brand of the same platform (seeing as they make the most processors) calling it progress thru processors.

I run this app though at minimal settings and I have done quite a sizeable amount of computing calculated in Ghrs.

Try it out.



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Age and politics

As is usual with kenyan politics, mudslinging and dragging your opponents through the mud is considered very standard operating procedure when vying for any seat.

It is thus not unusual to hear characters aspiring to occupy the highest office in the land throwing juicy opinions on their opponents ability at conducting their daily business. This is not like the customary insulting that goes on in Mali. This is seedy, sleazy and downright childish insulting that should only be attributed to bad upbringing.

The president thinks as much too and regularly joins in the fun, only his insults are usually targeted at regular folk who enjoy their tipple more often than not and retire and rest before working. Such upsetting of capitalistic norms are what warrant insults by the commander in chief. Insults are things that are dragged out when nothing else of note can be generated by the concerned parties. How else do you explain how a man aspiring to lead 40 million kenyans in military,economic and political conquests wasting precious time at a rally insulting opponents while he could be trying to convince the populace why his policies are superior to his opponents. Taking swipes at their age and soccer skills is guaranteed to generate better response from the crowd and thus more media coverage and hence more publicity.

But I gotta admit some of the swipes are hilarious and really bring home the reality about some of our political contestants. The recent comments by Ruto about how he used to read about and sing for William ole Ntimama when he was still in class 3 were really hilarious. I dug around for old photos of Ntimama and he looked old back then like older than the members of the UhuRuto brigade. Of Course the constitution affords protection from discrimination agains age, sex etc but come on. Ancient is ancient. A 40 year old able bodied man is not expected to be living with his mother and getting a weekly allowance however rich the folks may be. Same with an octogenarian claiming he wants to revolutionise anything.  Its just common sense and little todo with hiding behind rights.

I am a proponent of the idea that time should be respected. The insistence of perpetuity in holding offices is detrimental to the entire fabric of the ecosystem. The stubborn office holders ironically also limit themselves in the opportunities they can take advantage of and the growth in stature, influence and the all to enigmatic legacy. Who doesn’t want to go down in history as being awesome? Look at what Mandela did for himself with only one term in office. Imagine if he had been rigging himself into power for the 5th time. Would he still be a global icon? Do your time and leave. If you cant find something else to do then your lack of creativity is a case in itself as to why you are unfit to hold the office.

Old guys should stick to what they are best at doing. Guiding and giving advise. Even biology thinks so.

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Just over 6 months ago, I got a shout out from one Melissa Balan a 22 year old Graduate living in New York with an interest in making a documentary.

The idea of the documentary (As I understood it anyway) is to show or explore the connections made possible by technology and how these can be used or are helping the betterment of society. We live in a society that is hyper connected now even in the so called 3rd world and it has led to the proliferation of ideas, tastes, traditions and essentially the crafting of a global culture. Thousands of miles over land,sea, mountains and a plethora of other obstacles are reduced to nothing and people are connected in an instant.

The premise of the documentary will be to follow 5 young guys/guyettes from around the globe as they show their life and embarking on a transition be it graduating, moving to a new town/city etc and showing how this affects their outlook,the influence of their culture, dreams aspirations and their world view.

Clearly I wasn’t going to say no to that and consequently dived in faster than I could say frozen yoghurt!

Over the following months copious emails were exchanged between yours truly and Melissa culminating in a terribly amateur self interview that after extensive editing and videoshopping (I hope there is such a term) wound up on the trailer for the Sanskriti Documentary below. Oh and by the way Sanskriti is a Sanskrit word for “Culture”

More info about the Documentary can be found here.


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