Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Compaq HELL final episode – hibernate crash solved

Ever since I bought the Compaq Presario laptop, I have been running around to the service center in Bengaluru every other week to get a multitude of problems fixed. First I made a bad decision of going for a laptop without an OS, next I decided to install Windows XP knowing little that these days laptop manufacturers have moved to support Vista OS instead of XP. When half the drivers and functions failed to work on this laptop with XP, I decided to finally buy a legal copy of Windows Vista.

The problems did not stop there. The webcam failed, and I had to leave my laptop at HP service center for a replacement of the webcam. But knowing these gadget manufacturers way of handling in warranty products, they changed my entire display for solving a webcam issue. Only I know what pain I went through to test the webcam without much progress. So much so that I also installed Acer’s webcam driver on my Compaq to test if the device works! Why? Since it was the same company who manufactured the webcam for both HP and Acer laptops.

Next it was the great HIBERNATE issue. If I put my laptop to hibernate, it would crash with a blue screen of death as shown below. Putting it to sleep mode and bringing it back from there would also produce the same BSOD (yea, what can one do, there are abbreviations even for denoting HELL these days!)

The system would perform a memory dump since some driver accessed an illegal memory location, and then a restart happened. This was forcing me to live life with this laptop by always shutting it down after use, something that I did not fancy doing for short spans of working time. No amount of searching yielded any results on the net about how to solve this crash. Finally even another visit to the service center did not help. The only thing they ever suspected was either the BIOS or the NVIDIA display driver for GeForce 8200 MG card. No amount of reinstalling these drivers either from HP website or from the manufacturer website helped in any way. Distraught, I decided to scan the net until I found a solution before going to HP again.

This is when I found one of the websites that spoke about a Win DBG utility which can be used to analyze memory dumps that windows creates in C:WindowsMinidump. I opened up the last crash dump using the tool and expected it to give lots of details on which file is causing the error upon what function access, etc. But believe it or not the only detail I ever found was the possible name of the file that gave me the error. :-)

CLICK BELOW TO SEE BIGGER IMAGES.

*********************************************************************
* Symbols can not be loaded because symbol path is not initialized. *
*                                                                   *
* The Symbol Path can be set by:                                    *
*   using the _NT_SYMBOL_PATH environment variable.                 *
*   using the -y argument when starting the debugger. *
*   using .sympath and .sympath+                                    *
*********************************************************************
Probably caused by : RTSTOR.SYS ( RTSTOR+2a60 )

 

Ok, that’s good, atleast I found something of use I thought and began understanding what this file is all about. One search on the net for RTSTOR.SYS and it showed up that this file is from Realtek Inc, a Taiwanese firm doing this business:

Realtek devotes itself to offering a comprehensive range of ICs of exceptional value for the communications network, computer peripheral, and multimedia markets. By its continued commitment to innovation, quality, and service, Realtek has successfully built trust with its customers.

 

Alright, but still I could not understand what device Realtek was providing for my laptop. So a quick scan over device manager and I found this: (CLICK TO SEE A LARGER IMAGE)

So now I was one step closer to the solution. The driver for USB 2.0 multi card reader on my laptop was causing the hibernate crash. First step was to disable that and try hibernating. And guess what? The functionality worked like a charm, I could now hibernate my laptop for the first time in its purchase history! The next step was to check out if there was an updated driver for the device which solved this issue. And true to my assumption I found it on HP’s website:

I was using an June 2008 version of the realtek driver, and the current version was May, 2009 just released this month (which I assumed would take care of the hibernate crash it was causing on vista). Keeping my fingers crossed, I downloaded and installed this new driver version, and clicked on Hibernate. Viola! From today my life has changed for the better. Hibernate works flawlessly now on my laptop. I have put in this article for all HP laptop users, as well as others who want a way of understanding how to solve or at least figure out which driver is causing crashes.

Most websites only suggested disabling hibernate, but I disagree with this and feel that everything has a solution, one needs to only look deeper for it and understand stuff.

Simple steps to understand a crash:

  1. Install Win DBG utility to analyze memory dumps created by Vista or any other OS
  2. Open the memory dump from C:WindowsMinidump folder
  3. Check for the file name which is causing the crash, typically it would be a SYS file (driver)
  4. Google for the file name to find out which company codes that driver
  5. Find out which possible product of theirs is in use in your laptop, if you don't get it straightaway, check in device manager on each entry until you find that company name
  6. Disable the driver and check if the crash occurs. Of course, PLEASE NOTE that IF IT IS A DISPLAY DRIVER, or some other required driver, you CANNOT DISABLE IT.
  7. Get the updated driver from the company website, and install it.
  8. Check if the problem is gone!
  9. IF NOT, you have to write to that company, or wait until they solve the issue with their latest driver versions. There is no OTHER hope if you reach this STEP. You must be the chosen (unlucky) one in this case :)

I hope you like this post. Do COMMENT on this post if it has helped you resolve the hibernate issue, or any other crash issue. Please feel free to STUMBLE this or DIGG this post if you appreciate it, so that others can benefit from this.

 

Friday, May 22, 2009

Sanjaynagar Magic Box finally opens up today

 

The BDA finally opened up the Sanjaynagar Magic (or Tragic as the case may be) box today after the CM inagurated the same. With this the entire stretch from Hebbal Flyover upto Raj Bhavan is now officially signal free :-) We all know the magic box fundas for sometime now, so I ll just leave you with some pictures to relish! Enjoy.

 

 

Hopefully BDA now realizes what it is to make the city signal free, and would now start off work on similar lines in other directions of Bengaluru – South, East and West too. Common BDA finish them fast, and Bengaluru will truly be a pleasure to drive in. And at some point you can also make this a toll based road so you can maintain it for sometime to come.

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Narayana Hrudayalaya – a hospital in dire need of a heart transplant

 

 

I get to see many things in life, even if I dont want it, and one such is this hospital. Fate brought me here after my father had a tryst with heart related issues. After his pulse rate dipped drastically to 30 beats/min he had a temporary blackout and had to be rushed to Sagar hospital. Note that I said Sagar and not Sagar Apollo, as the two are now disentangled much like Congress and RJD :-)

An angiogram test and a sinus node function test revealed more than just the surface. With about 30% blockade in the right coronary artery, and a low pulse rate varying by the minute, there was an urgent need to do something about such a heart condition. So we decided to try out Narayana Hrudayalaya, the much acclaimed hospital in Bengaluru for heart ailment treatments. The doctor had advised my father a pacemaker insertion procedure, which is pretty much a non invasive one these days, and hence we had to come over to NH for the same.

What follows below is a radically different version of what I really expected from a hospital such as NH. You can also consider it as a detailed review of the features of this hospital.

The cost of the entire procedure was pegged at close to two lakhs, and for about three days of stay. I will put down a few things which I find good and bad about this hospital which will make you decide whether a treatment here is really worth it.

The PROS first:

  • The hospital is big, and has enough space to walk around it, and is located in a rather tranquil stretch of NH7 (Hosur Road) beyond Electronics City.
  • For those worried about commuting this far from city center, there are more than the needed amount of buses coming to this location, a couple of volvo AC buses 356N and 600K directly into the hospital itself. So in about an hour, you can easily reach from anywhere.
  • The registration counter, and cash counters work well, and they answer most of your queries without ambiguity.
  • The experience of the doctors is good, and they are able to take critical decisions well. My father’s was a complicated case and they did their best. This is where NH excels in its chosen field and no hospital can come close to its achievements for sometime in the future.
  • This hospital discusses upfront on all costs involved and wants all surgery related deposits to be made upfront which is a good thing. All communication in his regard is clear

Now the CONS:

No hospital is without CONS. The reasons for the CONS is sometimes that the doctor is also the owner of the hospital, or the management and medical fraternity are completely out of sync. NH is no exception and here are its CONS

  • The PHONE in the room – There is absolutely no instructions on how to use the phone in the room, or any ready reckoner of the frequent numbers available.
  • The TOILET – this is of anglo indian type and perhaps not so comfortable for western toilet users. there is also NO tissue paper, which does not gel well with the image of this hospital being a world class one. I say this because if a hospital can accept cash in foreign currencies, it can surely do with some tissue paper in the loo!
  • The FOOD – I am not of the opinion that patients must be forced to take some food they dont like and NH precisely does this. My father was expected to buy a coupon booklet having food coupons for the three days of his stay even though there was an option that we could bring food from home. No proper explanation was given why this had to be so and why this was not part of the overall package charged to us during admission. Add to that the fact that no WATER bottle was given even to the patient and this issue gets rocky. Some small hospitals do better in this department compared to NH and surely NH can take a leaf or two in adopting best practices within the organization
  • The FRONT DESK service – is not the best in class and it sometimes takes a while for your request to even be heard and understood. Its easy to pacify patients or attendants, but its more than that to understand what they really want and when. The sensitivity and urgency is missing in the attitude.
  • The PRICE of food – is slightly on the higher side, and its strictly not meant to be so.
  • The arrogance of Hospital authorities towards villagers – This has always been a long standing tussle and while the hospital prefers to follow its rules, it also fails to realize not everyone in this country is literate and understand rules. It does not aim to educate people who cannot understand stuff, about its policies. I personally saw a villager get unruly within the premises and the counter staff and security whisking him away when one of his kin was in bad shape and admitted here.
  • No BUSINESS features – Ok everyone is really busy so much in life thanks to recession that even when their kith and kin are having surgeries, they still have to parallely work on their job. So I did not find even a single Wireless Internet Connection installed in the premises of NH anywhere. For a hospital earning in crores each day, is it too much to install even five WiFi hotspots? We are talking about technology going hand in hand with medicine. If it were five years earlier, I’d have discounted this fact, but now WiFi is like Water, you cant live without both!
  • No CAR park! – yes you heard it right, for a guy coming from miles away to a peaceful campus like NH, you are expected to dump your car in a small 25 x 25 ft muddy patch opposite the hospital. So much for professionalism. Wonderful! Dear westerners, do observe all this when you are here. Cheap India welcomes you.
  • PHARMACY is near the main gate – according to me this is a CON. Now how do you expect old people to walk miles together to just get some medicines. A tightly knit pharmacy within the hospital is much sought after.
  • the ATTITUDE of some people who attend to you – this is not a generic comment but specific to those individuals who screw up the hospitals name and fame by acting in a manner not so much like NH. Some attendants talk roughly to patients who already are enduring pain and agony. This is because of their illiteracy and ethics to handle such events, and the hospitals attitude of only being strict on them instead of educative to them about handling such situations.

The next time you want to decide coming over to Narayana Hrudayalaya, please think of the facts mentioned above and make decisions. If you are willing to overlook all of the above in lieu of the fact of presence of some experienced doctors, then its fine, but there are definitely hospitals which are having a good mix of both expertise and attitude to consider, otherwise. The choice is yours, since the mental peace is also yours! :)

 

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The DLF and BBMP spat: Questions to answer

 

Its  not easy that you would have missed the one page advertisement in Times Of India, given by the BBMP. The subject was to take DLF to task and advising buyers not to buy into DLF homes, in South Bengaluru for obvious reasons of DLF trying to sell houses even before it procured the necessary permissions from the competent authority. There are a few worms that have crawled out of the can, and as a buyer you need to ask yourself these questions before trying to invest into that coveted apartment complex

Is the price of the apartment getting misquoted?

Is the discount genuine or because of some permissions not available?

When is the project likely to get permissions?

If you have doubts, head to the nearest BDA or BBMP office even if that sounds a bit of a tiresome task to do. After all you are investing 40-odd lakhs and thats not a small amount by any means. Add bank loan interest for first five to ten years of loan and it totals to a whopping 60 lakhs of money which is not small.

What is the waste treatment and water usage policy for this apartment complex?

Say after ten years, do you think you will face acute water shortage?  In that case what are your options? Would you then sell the flat? Yes, but unfortunately you have to think of this answer since by then you would have ended up paying 60 lakhs.

Would you like to insure your loan with the bank?

First of all if the bank does not give you a loan for this project, then this apartment obviously has some issues and the bank knows best about it. Even if they do sanction loan, in your own best interests, you must insure your loan such that in case something happens to you or the project, your interests have atleast one way of getting safeguarded.

 

Finally, some questions remain to be answered as to why BBMP had to issue such a big advert against DLF cautioning buyers (considering the fact nothing moves with respect to bangalore property without bribery)

Did the DLF high handedness irk BBMP?

Did the DLF not pay sufficient moolah to BBMP?

Did the negotiations DLF had with BBMP on this project reach any deadend?

Is the BBMP becoming proactive towards us citizens? (Your bet is as good as mine :) )

Is inflation and rising recessionary trends causing BBMP to act properly?

Has the government instructed BBMP to be extremely citizen friendly?

Well, your choice would be between the DEVIL and the DEEP SEA here and ultimately its your intuition that must guide you! With the BBMP stating BDA has nothing to do with this project and DLF stating they have BDA approvals, another can of worms is about to open between BBMP and BDA themselves in the nearest future. This is one of the reasons why the property buyers in Bangalore are a harassed lot for the past decade or two.

 

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Comfort Net – Saying no to mosquitoes naturally

 

How many times in life has this small insect made you lose your sleep? How many different repellants have you been using and inhaling for the past ten years or more? Don’t you think its been a long time since you have been taught that repellants and coils are the only way to keep away mosquitoes!? So much so that you did not even argue or tend to look at the problem and solution in a different perspective at all thanks to commodity advertising on consumers heads! :)

Its been close to two years now, since I came across and use the Comfort net. First the reason for this: My wife was very clear that neither she nor me nor my newborn son be exposed to the repellant chemical crap at any point of time. Tough call for me, but me being the curious guy I am to find solutions, chanced upon this net. So how is it different from other such nets!? Well by a large gap I must say. I have only been used to nets which had to be tied to the walls at six to seven different ends and were a mess to deal with and keep wrapped during the day.

It was a pleasant thing to finally come across a viable solution – the Comfort Net. Marketed by a company in Bangalore with tie up elsewhere in India, the provider was receptive enough to my needs, and understood my requirement well. He took about a week and delivered two nets, one which you see above of standard size, and another of a custom size for me to do yoga on the terrace. Priced at Rs.1200/- for the big one and Rs.800/- for the smaller one, these were delivered to my house in the promised time. Learning to use this, assembling the net and living with it has been a regularity since then! You basically tie the net up to the frame at different ends, and the frame opens and closes like a rainbow as you see above. So when you use it its on, and when you don’t, its folded and rests along the borders of the bed. The net can further be secured to the bed by clipping it on with the bedspread. And oh yes, the net can be hand washed too without any problems!

As such the net itself can be done in a better way and its a matter of time by when people will come up with more enterprising ideas. So there you go, an economical way, to keep the pests away naturally without wasting their effort or yours! :)

What are you waiting for, look up ComfortNet and order one now. Tell them you found information on chowchowbath.com! Enjoy the summer with a sound sleep.