Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Help the Philippines: donate money or give water tablets

What's happening

By now, you are probably aware that the most powerful typhoon in world history (Haiyan) that hit land has wiped out certain towns in central Philippines.  Casualties are estimated to be around 2,500.  The worst hit areas have been on the island of Leyte, where storm surges above 13-15 ft surprised typhoon hardened residents.  There's millions left homeless and there's a dire need for food and water throughout central Philippines.

While the national and provincial governments warned all citizens to evacuate from the coastal area, nothing could prepare them for the storm surge that went well into the cities.  A renewed understanding of storm surges and it's potential impact 5-8 miles inland is going to be the biggest lesson that's learned from this tragedy.

How you can help: financial assistance (impact: immediate)

An organization I trust is Adventist Development and Relief Agency.  They've been on the ground in anticipation of the typhoon and have local presence in the Philippines.  In terms of accountability, they are highly ranked 4 out of 4 stars by Charity Navigator.   DONATE HERE

The American Red Cross is mobilizing hundreds of trucks and teams to disaster areas through the Red Cross of the Philippines.  Also highly ranked 4 out of 4 stars in terms of accountability by Charity Navigator.  DONATE HERE

If you are an American taxpayer, note these are tax deductible donations and can also reduce your taxes.  Work with your tax advisor for more details.

How you can help with water tablets (impact: < 2 weeks)

There are some tangible ways to donate to the Philippines.  Water is a basic need in any disaster but shipping tons of water is heavy, bulky, and impractical.  Dirty water in the Philippines is widely available via local streams, rainwater, aquifers, and can be converted to drinkable water by boiling it and using water purification tablets.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Dell Venue Pro 11 - where are all the options? (Dell confirms next week)

The new Dell Venue Pro 11 order page is now available but it's lacking certain high end configurations!  Shipment date is also pegged to be on December 13th.  Here's what one Dell representative had to say about this...

11/08/2013 04:00:12PM don sausa: "Can you access this link?"
11/08/2013 04:00:12PM don sausa: ""
11/08/2013 04:00:41PM don sausa: "About 3 pages down you will see a chart called "Dell Tablet Family""
11/08/2013 04:00:56PM don sausa: "there are two models listed, Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro"
11/08/2013 04:01:03PM don sausa: "in the venue 11 Pro, it says "Up to 8GB""
11/08/2013 04:01:11PM don sausa: "and it also says "Up to 256GB" in terms of SSD"
11/08/2013 04:01:19PM don sausa: "hard drive"
11/08/2013 04:01:37PM don sausa: "Those two options - the 8GB RAM and the 256GB hard drive -- how come they are not available?"
11/08/2013 04:02:10PM Agent (Aileen A): "I do apologize for the inconvenience Don. But as of now we only have the 4GB Ram configuration"
11/08/2013 04:02:24PM don sausa: "Can you ask your supervisor when the new one would come out?"
11/08/2013 04:04:12PM Agent (Aileen A): "Just checked.../"
11/08/2013 04:04:30PM Agent (Aileen A): "that configuration will be available in a week or so."
11/08/2013 04:04:46PM don sausa: "Okay that's the info I was waiting for. :-)"
11/08/2013 04:04:55PM Agent (Aileen A): "if you want i can email you personally if the configuration you want is already available"
11/08/2013 04:05:01PM don sausa: "Yes please."

Friday, November 01, 2013

SOLUTION: Nvidia Kernel Mode Driver errors

This is one of the most annoying errors I've come up against using NVIDIA graphic cards and judging from others' online posts, many have faced similar problems.  Unfortunately, "Display driver NVIDIA Windows Kernel Mode Driver, Version stopped [] responding and has successfully recovered" doesn't exactly communicate what's going on with the video card.

In my own experience, this error kept looping over and over again while I playing video games. 

Problem Identification
  1. You may need to update your video card drivers.
  2. You may have an incompatible program/video game that's causing the issue.
  3. Your card maybe experiencing too much heat.
  4. You may have a bad video card.

The solutions for #1, #2, and #4, are fairly straightforward.  Update your drivers, test other programs.  And if you can exchange for the same model video card to test, go ahead and do it.  But the third issue in particular, overheating, is often overlooked in most online posts.  

You need to monitor your internal PC / GPU temperatures to see if it's simply an overheating problem.  Your overall cooling solution, or lack of, in your personal computer/laptop might be the cause.

Solution for #3: SpeedFan
This free program helps you monitor all of your fans, measure core temperatures, and allows you to set thresholds to improve your system's cooling.  This simple freeware program helped reduce heat problems in my system and the kernel driver errors no longer appeared.

Safe CNET Download Link: Speedfan