AMITIAE - Wednesday 10 December 2014

Kernel Panics Galore: Unwelcome problems (sailing into dry dock)

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers


There are a number of people who are quite happy working without a computer. My mother, for example, has never touched one and would never miss the experience. Many people whose first experience of modern computing was via the iPad, also revel that experience; and we are told that Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, does everything on his iPad. Mind you, as CEO he has an army of staff with real computers so that is a little thin.

A conversation I had online recently with a user implied that he was quite happy to work from an iPad and hoped to control his Mac, colocated in another country, from the tablet device. Having experienced brief occasions of iPad-only work, I find it hard to imagine working totally from the touch device. Well, now I am having to find out.

After a couple of weeks of Kernel Panics (KP), I have to accept that there may be something awry with the hardware of my 13" Retina display MacBook Pro, so took it into one of the Apple Service locations earlier today: Maccenter in Siam Discovery.

As I expected, before lunch there were few people and I was served almost immediately. I explained that the Mac was experiencing a series of KPs; but here I was brought up short, as the young man ("I am admin only") was not aware of the term, but did understand, "crash" (which it isn't in technical terms).

It will have to go to be checked, I was told. I had anticipated this and spent some of last night and this morning backing up data. With the serial number of the Mac, he identified me by name, and the point that I had AppleCare. We noted a couple of scratches on the body. I showed him a crash log and shut the computer down.

An interesting point in that office is that the work of taking customer details is done on old MacBooks. These are the white polycarbonate versions, so that dates them somewhat. But there you go, still providing sterling service: quite the contrast to my modern MacBook Pro.

He plugged in a power supply and connected an Ethernet to USB device, then ran a series of hardware tests, more comprehensive than the built in test available when starting up with the D key.


The hardware reported no faults, but the test showed no version of OS X installed; and no Time Machine backup. I guess this may be due to the offsite test: I was sure these were there when I left home.

Now of course, I have to wait. It may take three or four days for the technician to peer inside, and then there may be a delay if it needs to be sent away.

With Christmas and the New Year looming, this was not the best time for the Mac to need such attention. An article in Autocar (a weekly car magazine in the UK) theorised that for an owner to have any urgent repairs, the optimal time to visit a mechanic was a Tuesday, around the second week of October, at around 11 am. I have the time right, but this is a couple of months late.

I m writing this on the iPad. I was tempted to use Hanx Writer, but stuck with the even simpler WriteRoom, which sadly is no longer supported for iOS devices. Whatever I write will eventually end up on the MacBook Pro as it syncs via DropBox; but I will also have a copy on the iPhone and (should I need it) on the iMac at work, which seems to be running awfully slowly these days.

With WriteRoom, I also use the Apple wireless keyboard, so this bears a close resemblance to real typing, even if the angle of the keyboard is a little alien, compared to the flatness of the MacBook Pro keyboard. I find this with the full size keyboard I have for the iMac too.

The test with this is when I start preparing for an upload to the website, including any images and resizing them, as well as the rest of the fuss that goes with managing an upload.

I guess if you can read this, I succeeded.

See also:

  • Kernel Panics Galore: Unwelcome Problems (now apparently cured)

  • Kernel Panics Galore: Unwelcome Problems (not apparently cured)

  • Kernel Panics Galore: Unwelcome Problems (preparing for the service center)

  • Kernel Panics Galore: Unwelcome problems (adapting to change and making changes to images) - Resize, Auto Resize and Simple Resize


  • Kernel Panic Restore: Macbook Pro Time Machine Backup onto a Spare iMac

      Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand where he is also Assistant Dean. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.



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