Macbook Pro black screen on wake from sleep
Friday, July 20th, 2012
I am putting this here in case someone else runs into the issue that plagued me for probably more than a year until I found a fix(?) for it, and their google search terms line up better with what I write than with other stuff on google. My google fu widely failed me on this one.
When I close my screen and cause my macbook pro to fall asleep, frequently when I open it back up the screen is black. If I look really really closely I can see that there is a login window there, the screen justas the brightness all the way turned off. To make it all more endearing, the brightness keys have no effect. No effect that is unless you hold down the command key. Holding the command key and hitting the brightness up button will light your screen back up and you’ll continue on your merry way, wishing that the aluminum didn’t warm up quite so much, and that you didn’t suddenly have a new issue where sometimes the machine seems to get bogged down and ignore some of your keystrokes, making writing a blog post such as this a little bit frustrating.
When you feel up to trying to debug this latest issue, may your google fu prove up to the task!
You’re welcome Internet.
A decade of consistent in-depth, hard-hitting, god-fearing apostrophizing
Thursday, July 12th, 2012
Just noticed that this website turned 10 years old back in February. Where’s my f’ing parade?
How do I do this again?
Tuesday, April 24th, 2012
So, how are you? It’s been a while. It’s been long enough in fact that we are back in that stage of the relationship where every new conversation we have starts haltingly, cautiously. I’m shy I can’t help it. I would like to declare that I’m going to start writing regularly now and we’ll be back to the unconsciously comfortable back and forth enjoyed by friends that meet often. I’m not going to. That would be astoundingly over-optimistic. The truth is I almost never think of this site anymore when I am looking for a creative outlet, and since I moved the site out of a server in my house, I’m less in touch with the technical aspects of it. I’ve been aware for a long while that some of the images here are not working properly, but I’ve been too busy with too many more important priorities to do anything about it. The truth is this site has probably largely been killed by parenthood, facebook, twitter, and changing interests; but I’m not giving up. I will write when I feel like it, and it turns that today I feel like it. I want to tell you a few things about my kids.
Linc will be 4 years old in two days. I really should draft a letter to him as I did on a birthday in the past. It is tough to find the time to do things like that these days. I’m really enjoying the boy that Linc is becoming, although I wish he had a little bit more understanding that other people (his sisters in particular) feel pain. He now has a constant storyline going when he is playing, and it is fun to watch.
As you might expect, the girls are changing much more rapidly than Linc is currently. LaeAnn and Keena both walk on their own when they feel like it, and it turns out LaeAnn feels like it a lot more often than Keena, who prefers knee walking as a mode of transport. As mentioned in another venue, Keena took her first steps first, but when LaeAnn started she went full throttle with it. LaeAnn has been saying Daddy for well over a month, but she would only say it to me and would never say it when UltraGirl admitted she was listening. On Sunday that changed, my picture was showing on our computer screen and LaeAnn pointed and said in a voice so clear it could not be denied, “Daddy!” That girl really has a way with words!
Speaking of speaking, Keena also got to that first, but in a similar sense LaeAnn seems to be quickly overtaking her. Keena’s spoken vocabulary includes dog, Anpanman (bean paste donut-head man), and food. She also has a pretty servicable collection of baby signs that serve her well and outpace both LaeAnn’s and Linc’s collections at that age. LaeAnn seems to be really really good at mimicking sounds she hears. Her vocabulary now includes Daddy (expect that to be mentioned a few more times before the end of this), Stand up, dog, food, possibly anpanman and I think one or two more that are escaping me now. She also sings silent night. Yes really! Well, yes kind of. I sing the first line, and then she sings “ah ah ah night” but she gets the tone right! That’s still better than what we can coax out of UltraDad, both in amount and tonefulness.
Finally the girls fight like late career Mike Tyson, which is to say primarily through biting, headbutts, and making a ruckus. If anybody has tips on how to get 1 year olds not to bite each other, I’m interested. Competition over prime toys is fierce and they primarily see each other as competition right now. When UltraGirl instructed them to pet each other (a concept familiar to them with their stuffed animals), the concept seemed completely foreign at first.
So that was my first attempt at writing at any length in quite some time, and I’m well aware that it is rambling, and takes a long time to say everything. Thank you for getting through it. Oh yeah, and LaeAnn says Daddy now!
A Walk in the Woods aka a Harrowing Hike in Lamoille Canyon
Monday, August 1st, 2011
Most weekends UltraDad and I do pretty much the same thing: watch TV, have a big breakfast, grocery shop, an occasional movie or card game and more TV. The weekend goes by and we have done, well, nothing. We decided this weekend would be a little different. So, we got up early (usual for him, an effort for me!) and headed for Lamoille Canyon, a beautiful and popular area we had not visited for a number of years. I drove as we made our way up the winding road. UltraDad pointed out picnic areas, waterfalls and other objects of interest; usually I had to make the choice between viewing the wonder or staying on the road, so he saw a lot more than I did. We arrived at the circular parking lot at the end of the road, which was already nearly full of vehicles, a little after 9 am. By 9:30, we were at the trailhead ready for an adventurous hike. UDad had his fancy Cabellas walking stick, and I had 2 leashed poodles and a small backpack containing water, apples, string cheese and 2 small candy bars. I almost brought Bug-Sun lotion, but decided it made my little pack too heavy. That decision I would later regret.
The signs at the Trail Head showed a couple of 2 mile hikes. We set off on the trail towards Lake Lamoille. The last time we had been on this trail, probably 4 years ago, it had been much earlier in the year. Water, mud and snow had made the trail treacherous and detrimental to nice tennis shoes, so that time we had not gone far. Now it was nearly August and a very warm day. How bad could it be?
To be fair, most of the trail was wide and well marked, complete with sturdy log bridges over wide streams. But as we climbed higher, it soon became clear that not all the snow was gone. I especially hated the transverse snowy patches on the hillsides. The snow was just melted enough from the weather plus the foot traffic to make it hard to gain a firm footing, at least for a clutz like me. UltraDad had no trouble at all and soon made it a policy to leave his walking stick for me at the start of each expanse of snowy trail. That helped a lot, though I still slipped and slid and had to catch myself as I got off balance.
There were a lot of people on the trail that day in every possible combination: singles, pairs, families, groups, and lots and lots of dogs. Many people stopped and gave Murphy and Rowdy a pat on the head, wondering if these two small pampered-looking pets could make the hike. I believe that people tend to underestimate poodles, especially such finely conditioned ones as my handsome pair☺ They showed their ‘toughness’ by barking at each dog we encountered along the trail, seeming to say ‘do you want a piece of me?’ No one did.
We finally came upon a series of several small lakes. These were the ‘Dollar Lakes’, I learned later, reviewing the sign upon our return. They were beautiful; I especially liked the small island with picturesque fir tree on one of them, and we took a series of pictures of it from many angles. It was about then that I realized my left ankle was really starting to hurt.
It had been twinging for a while, probably since crossing the snow fields, but I tried to ignore it, hoping it would just go away. There had been no single memorable incidence of twisting or rolling it.
Several return trip hikers assured us that Lake Lamoille was just around the corner, and soon we were gazing on a spectacular panorama of a glacial lake surrounded by snow-clad mountains. I was happy when we arrived at a spot where we could sit and rest for awhile. I removed my left shoe and packed snow around only slightly puffy ankle as we ate our cheese and apples. I don’t know how all this snow remained because it was really hot up there! This was when I regretted leaving the sunscreen behind.
When it was time to leave, I put my shoe back on with great difficulty and needed help to stand. When I put weight on my left foot, the pain was intense. Somehow I had managed to sprain my ankle. UltraDad took the nearly empty pack, took charge of the poodles and handed me his walking stick. Further down the trail, he found me another one. At first I could only go a few steps before I felt like I was going to pass out. I did this several times, but was finally able to keep going for longer stretches. Poor UltraDad would walk ahead with the dogs and wait for me to catch up. This would be our pattern for the 2 miles back. On the way up, I was careful of my shoes, trying to avoid the mud and water. Now I didn’t want to take any extra steps; at one point I slid down a hill of snow rather than try to walk a snowy trail. After awhile it got easier, though the progress was still slow. UDad and the ‘boys’ were infinitely patient. It was 3:30 when we got back to the car, and now my ankle was really swollen. I immediately zonked out as UltraDad steered the car towards home.
At one point on the trail UltraDad remarked on how pale I looked and remarked curiously, “I think you have a low tolerance for pain.” I couldn’t argue with him. “But,” he continued kindly “that doesn’t make you a bad person.” Thanks for that.
Now after a day of RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) it is feeling much better, though still very puffy. I have a cane, crutches and a walking boot (the later two borrowed from a friend). I am feeling sorry that I will miss my early morning walks with my friends. But it was definitely not our typical run of the mill weekend. In fact I think we wil remember this one for a long, long time.
UltraMom the cripple
The UltraParents enjoy a fun Independence Day Weekend
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
Well, here we are, 4th of July 2011. I am sitting in my back yard at near dusk enjoying the sights and sounds of my waterfall/pond. There is a slight breeze blowing, and I am enduring only the occasional mosquito bite. The sound of a neighborhood firecracker just sent Rowdy, my 7 lb. ball of macho, fighting-poodle quivering onto my lap. His brother Murphy seems frozen into a ‘point’ some 10 yards away. This is NOT their favorite holiday.
UltraDad and I have just returned from a fun, if a little driving-heavy weekend in Idaho. I have to take my hat off to UDad, who spent all of Friday afternoon loading up a pickup-full of possessions-left-behind-in-the-move, including a currently-not-running riding lawnmower, to take to sister Pat, who very recently moved to Arco, ID from our town of Carlin, NV. He then loaded up our trip-luggage, instructed me to set the alarm for 3 AM, and did most of the driving while I dozed. Arrival time in Arco? 10:45 AM, Idaho time! I love Pat’s new place. Her house is perfect for her, and there is a nice, big fenced yard for the dogs. She has been busy planting flowers and decorating, and really seems to be enjoying her retirement. She took us out to lunch at Pickle’s Place, which was a total nostalgia thing. Back at Pat’s house, we stood around in the front, saying goodbye. Murphy and Rowdy were being particularly well-behaved, and I was thinking how nice it was that they seemed to have gotten over their bad sometime-habit of chasing cars….and then the motorcycle drove by and it was all over. Murphy only narrowly avoided becoming road kill. I have GOT to stop trusting those conniving poodles.
We got to Jim and Jessica’s house in Rigby mid afternoon. Their puppy Zeke is really growing. He is sweet, but rambunctious. He wanted to play with the poodles; Murphy and Rowdy wanted to kill him, but as Zeke now weighs over twice their combined weight, they had to content themselves with growling, snarling and taunting from the safety of a lap.
So, after the yard tour to admire the numerous new trees, shrubs and flowers, what to do with a few hours of a lovely summer afternoon? Why check out famous Rigby Lake of course….which we attempted to do online with very little success. I defy you to find out anything about a 4th of July celebration except that the local police would have a booth there. Once we arrived in person, we found a regular jamboree of summer fun. The panorama reminded me of a crowded “Where’s Waldo?” scene with paddleboats, canoes, fishing, camping, picnic tables, a karaoke stage, food booths, craft booths, kids diving off a platform into the lake, the promised police presence, and lots of folks with dogs. At $5 a car or $1 a head for walkers/bikers/buses, tiny Rigby lake was doing a booming business. As we skirted the most congested area, walking the perimeter of the lake, it was interesting to note Zeke’s reaction to all this, given his heretofore limited contact with people. “Hi,” he seemed to say with his wagging tail and lolling tongue to each admirer who stopped to pet him, “I’m Zeke! Do you want to take me home with you?” Following in his wake, Murphy and Rowdy, contrary to their usual ability to charm children and middle-aged women, seemed to be on the fight. “So,” they seemed to radiate to anyone in the vicinity of another dog, including Zeke, “What’s up? Do you want a piece of us? Don’t make us come over there,” and so on. It was a little embarrassing, to tell the truth. Jim wanted to see how Zeke would take to the water; after all, he is, ostensibly a pointing-retrieving bird dog. And he did well, swimming a small, safe circle each time Jim lured him away from the shore. Good dog.
UltraMom had been fighting a creeping crud since the morning of July 1st, so was talking in a low, sexy voice and attractively coughing and sniffling every 5 minutes or so. And so, her half-hearted offers to help with meals were turned down, darn it. It did not stop her, however, from taking full enjoyment of Jessica’s yummy steak dinner and fantastic breakfasts. She also gamely trooped along on the nightly property walk, which is Zeke’s favorite time of the day, as he is off-leash and free to explore smells and sounds and terrorize small poodles. ‘The Sheriff’, the large, orange neighborhood cat, whose main job is to quell unruly rodents, put in an appearance also.
The next morning was a lazy one; we were not due in Pocatello for a BBQ at Heather and Heath’s until noon. We played a couple of games of CLUE; twice Jim just beat me to the punch and the WIN, but the final game of the day went to Jessica. I was still trying to narrow down the weapon when she swooped into the middle of the board for the win! Good job, UltraJess!
We had been trying the poodles out in Zeke’s kennel, with mixed success. The hour they spent there on Saturday, they howled and whined, but it seemed they would at least be contained. And then I spotted a small, light shape halfway up the wire enclosure. Someone was climbing the fence, and on closer inspection, it proved to be Murphy, who based on past experience would NOT have been the usual suspect, as Rowdy was the most renowned escape artist. But each time he neared the wood at the top of the enclosure, he fell back down. He certainly was determined! The plan had been to leave them there with Zeke when we went to Poc, to keep from stressing out Heather’s cats, especially Callie who had been quite sick, but in the end I just couldn’t do it. I would have had visions of escaped, or mangled poodles running through the periphery of my mind the entire time we were gone, so the spoiled little brats got to come along.
We made a quick stop for beer and cherries (my impulse purchase) and arrived to find Heath mowing the lawn, and Heather looking more beautiful than I had ever seen her. I was happy to see she was wearing the black top and jeans I had bought her for her birthday; she looked great in them and she said they were very comfy.
At times like this, it is quite nice having a daughter who works for Sizzler: the steaks, salads, and rolls were delicious, and Heath perfectly cooked each steak to each one’s liking, including my WELL DONE. We were soon too full to move, or even much think, and we had a nice time just talking and enjoying the back yard view, largely maintained by Don (Heath’s Dad) and Marsha Christensen, who live in the upstairs of this duplex. UtraMom and Dad particularly enjoyed the NO MOSQUITOES aspect, as Carlin, NV is the disputable (by someone who has never lived there) mosquito capital of the world. Murphy and Rowdy were quite good at times, and fooled, as they so often do, UltraMom into thinking they could be unleashed. In the end, the leashes became a permanent fixture, much to the relief of Callie and Rocky.
Towards evening, a couples’ pinochle tourney was suggested, and a table was hauled out. Heather/Heath and Jessica/Jim took the first round, while UtraMom rustled up some grub for a light, snacky dinner and UltraDad kept an eye on the unpredictable poodle brothers. The game was a long one; I think the bids were often larger than the cards, as the scores took a while to land solidly in the region of positive numbers. Jessica/Jim took the win, but the most amazing hand of the day goes to Heather/Heath with a Family/4Aces/Double Pinochle and assorted other meld in a game with Ultra/M&D. But the highlight of the day, for UMom anyhow, was feeling my precious granddaughter move!
Monday morning, the 4th of July, saw the UltraParents preparing for their long drive home. We were happy when Jim suggested a joint breakfast at McDonald’s in IF, as they had a little shopping to do in town. He also picked up the tab; thanks UltraJim!
As on the trip out, UltraMom spent most of the trip in dreamland, and besides a brief stop at the Pocatello Walmart for a pit stop (maybe something to do with UltraDad’s 4 cups of coffee and large glass of iced tea), it seemed no time at all before we were nearing Twin Falls. A quick, light lunch at KFC, a quick turn through PetsMart so Murphy and Rowdy could bark at some cute Yorkies and get petted by some cute kids, and we were on the road again.
Once back in Carlin, poor UltraDad had only a brief stop before turning back around to head for Ruby Valley. He had to work the next day. And UltraMom? In the backyard, watching fireworks alone: I long ago let Murphy and Rowdy back into the house as they were both quivering like jello. Which leads me to ponder fireworks and 4ths of July in years past……but that’s for another post.
Happy American Independence Day to you, wherever you are,
Eating Rocks Again
Monday, June 20th, 2011
Integrating Levelator and Final Cut Pro
Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Note: This was originally written for an internal audience at work. Since most of the intended audience will not get any direct benefit from it, I thought I'd put it here to hopefully let it help someone out.
Levelator is a very simple, yet very effective application for analyzing a piece of audio and adjusting it to keep levels roughly the same throughout. This is especially useful for things like GDLN VCs where a number of factors, from site-configuration to speaker microphone technique can result in differing audio levels for different sites/speakers. It is part of my standard workflow to run VC archives through Levelator at the end of my editing process, and then do further noise reduction as necessary for audio segments that ended up too noisy when their levels were brought up. The problem with this is that Levelator doesn't have any configuration options, and Final Cut Pro doesn't offer any good path for integrating other software for non-developers, and the required process for running material from FCP through Levelator was long-winded. The solution I found doesn't remove all of the complexity, but it gets us partway there, and it feels quicker and easier to me. If Final Cut Pro offered applescriptand/or automator action support this could be taken quite a bit further.
I'm running Snow Leopard, and that does make a difference, but not in the way you might think. I think setting this up in Leopard would be a little bit easier. Snow Leopard brought an update to automator that removed finder file filtering capability that would have been really handy for the folder action I created in Automator.
Over time I've found that the easiest way to make sure that I'm able to keep track of project assets is to put them in the same place every time -- divided by memory type and following a file naming convention. This means that I have an "audio sources" folder that all of my audio source files go into. Most projects I handle won't have any audio files at the outset as the audio is encapsulated in the video file, but Levelator takes an AIFF or WAV file, so running through Levelator requires one to export an AIFF file. It is perfectly ok to (and I recommend doing so, my process automates it) get rid of the file originally exported, but the Levelator output needs to be kept.
Finally, Levelator takes an audio file, lets call ours audio.aif for this explanation, and creates a levelated version in the same folder as the original with the same filename except for .output inserted into the filename right before the file extension. So the manual process would look like this:
- Right click the sequence to be levelated in the Final Cut Pro browser, Export -> Audio to AIFF(s)...
- Select filename and location to export to and click save (audo.aif for our example)
- Wait for the export to complete
- Navigate to the file location
- Drag audio.aif onto the Levelator app
- Wait for Levelator to complete (likely doing something else while you wait if the audio is long)
- Get back to the finder window where audio.aif is
- Find audio.output.aif in the same folder
- move audio.aif to the trash
- drag audio.output.aif into the FCP browser
- drag the levelated audio into your sequence and replace the original audio for the clip.
This can get more complicated with multiple audio tracks in your sequence, etc, but let's keep it simple.
the new process
Here are the steps I follow with my automation in place:
- Right click the sequence to be levelated in the Final Cut Pro browser, Export -> Audio to AIFF(s)...
- Keep the filename the same as the sequence name, and select the levelate folder inside my Audio Sources folder (elaborated on briefly later), click save
- Wait for 5 minutes, doing other work, or having a quick coffee break, while levelate does its thing
- find the output file in the Audio Sources folder that will have popped up (the original export file should have been trashed automatically)
- drag the file into your browser
- replace the audio in your sequence
The real advantages to this are that it does all the file management for you and runs Levelator as soon as the export is done.
now onto the Automator folder action
I create a folder action in automator for a folder called levelate inside my Audio Sources folder. This folder will be where I export all of my audio files. Files will be removed from the folder almost instantaneously, this folder should almost always be empty.
In Leopard it may have been possible to do everything in the Audio Sources folder without the levelate folder by using the Filter Folder Items action in Automator, unfortunately there is no way to select files with filenames not containing... in Snow Leopard:
So here is the Automator action I came up with:
Automator goes on to the Move Finder Items action immediately after passing the file to Levelator, it doesn't wait for Levelator to finish which is what allows the File manipulation steps to work. Moving the original file to Audio Sources causes Levelator to output the leveled file to Audio Sources (if we write it back to the levelate folder the output file would trigger the cycle all over again, this s where the Filter Finder Items action from leopard would have come in handy). I've found that Levelator is almost always finished within 5 minutes, so I build in a 5 minute pause to ensure the output file gets written before the original gets trashes (if you trash it first, the output file will be written to the trash too). I inserted the Reveal Finder Items action write before the trash step to pop up the finder window and remind me that it is time to move on and make it easier to find the output file. I don't think many in the network are editing in Final Cut Pro, but hopefully this serves as inspiration for finding ways to make your own workflow a little bit more automated/efficient. Thanks for reading, what are your tricks for maximizing your efficiency?