BSOD on Windows 7 – Faulty Memory or Motherboard ?

If you experience a Windows Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) with the error




There are a few reasons this could be caused Either:

  • You may have a conflicting driver
  • There is a faulty memory chip
  • There is a faulty motherboard
  • Some other reason

While there’s a bewildering number of articles on what it could be (and some of them are as helpful as a chocolate teapot), this one hopefully cuts to the chase:

Resolve your drivers

Download SlimDrivers – . It will tell you which drivers are out of date and offer to download them for you. Regardless of if you have a BSOD issue, this isn’t a bad thing to do.

Do a memory test – The download-less, almost-helpful version

  • Click on the “Start” button and open the “Control Panel”

  • Type in “memory” in the Control Panel’s search bar located at the upper right hand corner.

  • Look for “Administrative Tools.” Click on “Diagnose your computer’s memory problems.”

  • Choose “Restart now and check for problems” to run the scan immediately
  • Wait for the computer to restart and then follow the instructions. When the scan finishes, the diagnostic tool will let you know if RAM is the cause of the blue screen error.

Well it kind of will – I got “There is a hardware problem. Contact your PC Vendor” – so I have a problem with my hardware but I don’t know much else. Not helpful

Do a memory test – the yes-this-works-but-requires-more-effort version

Download Ultimate Boot CD ( – you could just download memtest+ but given Ultimate Boot CD gives you a myriad of tools that might come in useful one day, download and burn this CD and keep it for a rainy day.

Once you have burned the CD (read how to burn an ISO image to CD/DVD):

  • Power down your PC and remove the power cable
  • Open the case of the PC


You have now entered a world where static electricity is your enemy. You should remove any chance of static build-up (typically wearing socks on a nylon carpet on a really dry, humid-less day will not be a good idea). When you are working on your PC you should earth yourself. Some people just touch the case of their PC, other are more robust about it.

  1. Once you have earthed yourself
  2. Remove all but one of the memory by pushing on the clips that hold the memory in (on both sides) and pulling the memory chip(s) out. Some configurations mean you have to have the memory in pairs, so if this is you, leave two memory chips in. You’ll know this is you if on step 4 you hear a constant beeping and your PC doesn’t start up
  3. Place the pulled memory somewhere safe and static free
  4. Restart your PC
  5. Press F8 or F12 to get to the Boot Options
  6. Boot from your Ultimate Boot CD – if this doesn’t appear as an option you should adjust your bios to enable the CD as a bootable device (read how to do it here)
  7. From the menu that appears, pick “Memory” > “memtest +” (it will have a version number after it
  8. Let memtest do its magic
  9. If you start to see red lines of text appear then you likely have failed memory
  10. Confirm this by swapping out memory chips to test either those that were set aside, or to see if one of the already tested chips is the faulty one (e.g. if you are testing two chips at a time, swap out one chip and re-run the test).

If all your memory chips pass, move onto the “Something else” section

Something Else is Wrong

In the case of my own BSOD woes, i found out after the memory test that dust had entered the memory slots and was causing an issue. A quick blast of the air duster resolved it.

If you have made sure all your memory and cards (E.g. graphics cards) are properly seated in their respective slots, other issues can be harder to identify – for example if there’s a thermal fracture; this is where the circuit is broken (sometimes old solder can crack and will only make connection when warmed up – so a cold booting PC would fail but a warm PC might work).

Here’s some additional resources on checking

FIX: Windows 7 WIFI disabled and Can’t Connect

WIFI Stopped Working on Windows 7?

If you have a wireless adaptor that used to connect to a Wifi network and is unable to then your WLAN adaptor is likely disabled. To further verify this, when you go to Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections, your wifi adaptor is greyed out indicating it’s disabled and right-clicking on it, choosing “Enable” does not resolve.

Fix / enable your network adaptor again on Windows 7

  • Start > Run > type services.msc (enter)
  • Scroll down to WLAN AutoConfig, right click and choose properties
  • Change Startup Type  to Automatic
  • Click Start below the “Service Status” text

To be extra-cautious, you could also make sure the order of your network is set correctly:

  • Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network Connections
  • Advanced menu > Advanced Settings
  • Make sure your Wifi connection (adaptor) is set to the top-most entry

Why does this happen?

Seems it could be a multitude of reasons; it might be that your network card got in a tizzy and or that some condition occurred where your system disabled it. If it keeps happening, this could be a more significant issue. I would do the following:

1. Virus scan your system – I usually use Microsoft’s own Virus scanner as well as Malwarebytes AntiMalware

2. Make sure you have the latest drivers for your network card

Installing Angular.js on Windows

If you’re new to Angular.js and are trying to follow their example app (see, chances are you might get an error like this:

node ./scripts/web-server.js
 throw err;
Error: Cannot find module 'C:\Users\<user>\scripts\web-server.js'
 at Function.Module._resolveFilename (module.js:338:15)
 at Function.Module._load (module.js:280:25)
 at Function.Module.runMain (module.js:497:10)
 at startup (node.js:119:16)
 at node.js:902:3

What the tutorial failed to mention is that you need to be in the directory of the angular-phonecat directory – so the sequence is :

cd angular-phonecat
node ./scripts/web-server.js

Then access your browser at localhost:8000 and it will work. Remember if you’re using Windows that port 80 is typically reserved for IIS so unless you want to mess around with IIS default ports….

FIX: Asus RT-N56U doesn’t see the second USB hard disk

The Asus RT-N56U has been out for a little while now; it’s been proven to be quite a popular home consumer router as it comes with many features for a decent price (dual-band including N-band wireless and media streaming, for example).

As with most hardware products, there’s an occasional need to upgrade the firmware, to address bugs, security issues and/or introduce new features. Around 2013 ASUS introduced a completely new firmware for the router which removed features from the router – chiefly the media server. Instead these features had to be installed on an attached USB hard disk. Not only that but the latest version of the media server software ASUS supply (minidlna v1.0.33) has a bug which fails to index all content.

Media Server Fix 1 – Downgrade to

Simply follow these steps – version has the issue mentioned. You’re basically doing a manual merge of file to over-write the media server. If you need a copy of the files, you can download from here.

Media Server Fix 2 – Second Hard Drive Doesn’t Appear for DLNA devices (like PS3)

If you’re like me, your media server install (and other router related files) is on the same drive as media you are streaming. But when you connect a second drive, you may find that you can see the drive using the file share (samba) or FTP but DLNA devices (like the PS3) don’t seem to see it. This appears to be because the second drive takes a few seconds to mount (or register – the router uses unix and this is how it handles hard disks) and so when the media server goes to look at what’s available, doesn’t see it.

Solution 1 – Web Interface

You can try to either disable and then re-enable the media server via the web interface:

ASUS Wireless Router RT N56U   USB application

or telnet into the router and force a restart with re-index:

  • Start your telnet session
    • For Windows see this link
    • For OSX, go to Utilities > Terminal > type “telnet <your router IP>”
  • Login using your router username and password you setup
  • If you want to confirm you have multiple disks mouted, type

cat /proc/mounts  – you will see

/dev/sda1 /tmp/mnt/Media ufsd rw,nodev,nls=utf8,uid=0,gid=0,fmask=0,dmask=0,force 0 0

(Media refers to the name i gave this drive)

/dev/sdb1 /tmp/mnt/Shared ufsd rw,nodev,nls=utf8,uid=0,gid=0,fmask=0,dmask=0,force 0 0

(Shared refers to the name i gave this drive)

the key part is sda1 refers to the first hard disk; sdb1 refers to the second; note they’re both mounted via /tmp/mnt

  • Type minidlna -f /opt/etc/minidlna.conf -R which will force the DLNA server to re-index.
    For info, the “-f /opt” refers to the config file for miniDLNA and “-R” is the command to force a re-index
  • Now go to your routers miniDLNA status page – this should be http://<router-ip> :8200 – e.g. – this will give you a count of the re-index process. Depending on the number of files, this could take a while!

And you’re done! Hopefully this helped take the mystery out of resolving this issue.

IMPORTANT NOTE: There is a known security issue with the router that has been resolved with the latest firmware – if you are using the ASUS cloud service that lets you access your files over the internet you need to update ASAP. See the ASUS files site for info.

FIX: Windows 7 boot option doesn’t appear after installing Ubuntu via WUBI

You’ve decided to install Ubuntu using WUBI – all went well during the install and now it’s time to reboot and…. YOU GET BOOTED AUTOMATICALLY INTO UBUNTU! You were expecting a menu to appear with both Ubuntu and Windows 7 options….

Fear not – I had this happen to me and here’s the easy answer:

  1. In Ubuntu, go to Terminal (can be found in “Dash Home” and typing “terminal”)
  2. Type “sudo gedit /etc/default/grub”
  3. Ubuntu will ask you for you user account password (the one you login to Ubuntu with)
  4. Put a “#” infront of both “GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT” & “GRUB_HIDDEN_TIMEOUT_QUIET“, e.g.
  5. Change “GRUB_TIMEOUT=10” to some higher value (I set it to 30)
  6. File > Save
  7. File > Quit
  8. In the terminal window type “sudo update-grub”
  9. Although the message might indicate that it hasn’t worked (you might see something saying Windows 7 skipped), this is fine.
  10. Reboot your PC and shortly afterwards the boot menu with both OS’s will appear.

Searching the interwebs there were some other variants of this issue, but basically it comes down to GRUB not configured to show the bootloader menu option – which above typically solves.



Dominick’s Grocery Stores Exit Chicago Market

My thoughts to this, as Twitter’s 140 characters do not suffice.

As someone who has worked on Consumer Packaged Goods market dynamics, I was always wondering at the play and positioning Dominick’s team had in the Chicago Market; my view of the typical Chicago shopping consumer was this:

  • Jewel – A Chicago staple through longevity if nothing else; has tried to reinvigorate the brand through several marketing activities (loyalty card, collect stickers to get pots and pans, etc), but was mid-tier in terms of quality and pricing. Store locations were typically prime catchments which saved it
  • Trader Joe’s – For those who want decent product at a decent price and didn’t want to pay Wholefood’s prices. Choices are limited.
  • Wholefood’s – The top tier for organic produce; believes its’ prices are reasonable, but in reality, the majority don’t consider doing their weekly shop here as it’s too expensive.
  • Aldi – Came in to market with a budget perspective; has slowly been changing consumer perceptions. Still has some work to do on brand image but product quality is definitely on the up
  • Food4Less – And quality to match. Budget all the way
  • Kroger – More of a south side / burbs thing; wants to be a Jewel but doesn’t have the brand presence or quality of store premesis
  • Meijer – Target with more food choices

Which left Dominick’s; it tried to place itself in the upper-middle catchment – a notch above Jewel in terms of store premises quality, a fair balance of price and quality, but way below the high priced Wholefood’s. Unfortunately store placement seemed to be a barrier to entry, as did the perceived image (“I don’t shop there – it’s too expensive” heard many times). Almost every time I visited a Dominick’s store the footfall was low and so it seemed only a matter of time until the inevitable happened.

I guess Chicago and its’ circumstances (placement, economic) sealed the fate.

Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft XBox One and the New Age of Hacking

The first half of 2013 has seen some significant announcements from some of the biggest tech players out there; Sony revealed (sort of) their plans for the PS4, Adobe announced that their Creative Suite products are going in the cloud (aka Creative Cloud) and finally Microsoft revealed their competitor to the PS4, the XBox One.

The interesting thing about the last two is that there’s the need to connect to an internet based authentication system on a frequent basis to validate the software/configuration (to be completely validated by Microsoft, but this appears to be likely).

Adobe’s Move to Cloud – Competitors Start to Gain Share?

In the case of Adobe, their Create Suite product is still installed on the local machine but they now have the ability to push smaller updates to their products, whereas before it tended to be “big bang” approach. Adobe are charging consumers $50 per month to access this service which gives them all the Adobe Creative Cloud products (Photoshop, Muse, etc.) – thus removing their multi-tier, one-time upfront payment product matrix approach (Design, Design Premium, Production Premium, Master Collection versions). Once subscribed, the user has some great features available to them – some of which were available to them previously but in a more fragmented, less integrated fashion.

However, $50 for the casual user may be a price barrier for Adobe; Over 2 years, one user would pay $2400 for the service (a little more than owning Creative Suite Master Collection); however, unlike the old pricing model, the costs continue (but so arguably do the updates, product features, etc.). More casual users of the toolset would then argue that they could have paid $600 for access to (say) Photoshop and now their costs are exponentially higher for a service they only want 15-25% use of. This would then create a market opportunity for others (e.g. Corel Painter) to step in and provide a migration path including an ability to take existing PS Plugins and continue to use them. In this scenario, Adobe would significantly lose share of the consumer market and possibly gain additional business users who are enticed by (a) not having to pay for something they possibly use personally as well as professionally (b) costs are spread over a continuing cycle which could be easier to justify/expense.

XBox One’s Kill the Hacker Approach

For Microsoft, it is claimed the XBox One will expect to connect every 24 hours – possibly for the same update push reason as Adobe, but also because Microsoft are probably trying to combat the hacked systems out there that allow people to play pirated games (Both XBox and XBox 360 can be hacked relatively easily and there’s no shortage of pirated games). It also means they can control the use of used and borrowed games – effectively removing the used games market for all but the big players and stopping friends sharing their legally bought games, as each game is tied to a user ID. It will also be interesting to see how this affects services such as GameFly and Redbox – both whom allow the renting of games.

All it needs is one Service

There’s an old saying that goes to the effect of “the more you try to grip a grain of sand, the more it slips away” – and this is true for technology. Think of all the product launched with security and protection built into them and think how many have been hacked, cracked and/or broken. The answer is most, if not all of them to some degree – and this is exactly what will happen here.

Simply put, if a product needs to connect to the internet to validate, it’s going to send communications out. These communications can be intercepted and re-routed to another service pretending to be the authentication service which sends back a “All is OK” signal. Now this may cripple some of the features of the product (e.g. updates, access to other services by the vendor), but people are already accepting that (XBox 360 hacked consoles can’t connect to Microsoft services otherwise they get banned [but there are ways to fix them]). Additionally, if the costs of owning a legal copy are such that owning a crippled copy that is workable for free or a significantly reduced charge is acceptable then folks will use that service. All it takes is one provider to offer an authentication service priced for volume subscriptions….

What’s the Solution?

Companies looking to create more adoption and disuade piracy should look at Valve’s Steam platform. This service has continually shown how consumers will happily adopt a system that is priced fairly and yet still offers an extensive service. Yes, there are still cracked versions of software that bypass it, but it also has a pricing model that increasingly negates the hassle of using cracked software – I’ve even seen others posting on forums as such.

Adobe should consider a tiered approach to their Cloud offering (I suspect they are, but are waiting to catch the early adopters and business users with the premier pricing) and Microsoft need to consider that they are not the only player in the market, so should take a pragmatic approach – e.g. You can install games for a period of 24 hours (for example), after which it either has to be licensed to your ID or deleted.

Or they can try to grip the market and let consumers slip away.

Challenge to be Challenged – Guaranteed way to get group participation

I try to publish a summary of interesting links once in a while; this week I came across an article that talked about someone invoking their “McDonalds Moment” (see here). In short, the author says “When we’re trying to decide where to eat for lunch and no one has any ideas. I recommend McDonald’s. An interesting thing happens. Everyone unanimously agrees that we can’t possibly go to McDonald’s, and better lunch suggestions emerge.

I also have a similar technique that I use to create discussion or opinion; typically when facilitating a meeting or being involved in group discussion I will come to the table with an idea or suggestion that tries to solve the problem – it might not be the perfect one, but it causes others to react and give their thoughts.

Recently I used it when participating in a new product discussion where the problem statement had been laid out and the room was quiet when the (to-be) product owner asked “So what should we do?” Taking the silence as a cue that the group wasn’t sure how to navigate forward, I made a statement about how we could use some existing solutions in a different way so as to bend them in a way they almost fit – I knew it wasn’t the best solution, but it was a starting point. Consequently someone else used my suggestion with one of their own, but with a different twist. What followed was everyone participating in a group-driven solution.  Result!

Now there are some caveats with this approach as it’s not always going to be so effective:

  • You’re initial suggestion shouldn’t so outlandish that people discount you and devalue your participation – it should be reasonable and show a connection to the problem statement
  • You will get more traction from people that know you – if you do this to a room that you are new to, you may be seen as a know-it-all, aggressively challenging, or enforcing your idea on a group that doesn’t know you and therefore hasn’t got a grasp of your subject matter expertise.
  • For a group that doesn’t know you, remove yourself from the suggestion – rather than saying “I think we should do x”, try “You know, I have seen a group solve this problem by doing x” – that way you’re not being the opinionated outsider

So the next time you think the group you’re working with is going to greet you with silence, you have a new weapon to your arsenal.

Notes of Interest – May 1, 2013

How To Prototype In Xcode Using Storyboard

The purpose of prototyping in Xcode is to be able to create a super high fidelity flow using the exact same software that builds iOS Apps… Storyboard, a powerful tool in Xcode that allows you to build an App without a single line of code. You will be able to create a functional prototype in a matter of hours.

Trello Business Class

Trello is a collaboration tool that organizes your projects into boards. In one glance, Trello tells you what’s being worked on, who’s working on what, and where something is in a process. Business Class extra features like Google Apps integration, extra administrative controls for boards and members, one-click bulk data export, and a new, view-only observer role.

How to overcome stage fright

As humans, we’re hardwired to worry about our reputation above almost all things. There are primitive parts of your brain that control your reaction to threats on your reputation, making these reactions extremely difficult to control.

Touch interfaces are over-rated

Gesture based interactions without touch are the next innovation hot topic

Learn coding by video – CodePlayer

HTML5, Javascript, CSS3, etc.

Intro to Data Science

Commerce and research is being transformed by data-driven discovery and prediction. Skills required for data analytics at massive levels – scalable data management on and off the cloud, parallel algorithms, statistical modeling, and proficiency with a complex ecosystem of tools and platforms – span a variety of disciplines and are not easy to obtain through conventional curricula. Tour the basic techniques of data science, including both SQL and NoSQL solutions for massive data management (e.g., MapReduce and contemporaries), algorithms for data mining (e.g., clustering and association rule mining), and basic statistical modeling (e.g., linear and non-linear regression).

Why Node and Scala will dry up and Go will take the slack

Node and Scala are quickly becoming languages of choice for building scalable, asynchronous web services and applications. However, Go, the language designed and in use at Google, presents a compelling alternative with few of the warts of Node and Scala. While Node and Scala are specifically targeting developers as the tools of choice for server side architecture, Go is actually a better tool for the job and will prove to be the ultimate winner.

Notes of Interest – April 24 2013

Curated links of interest – April 24 2013

SailFish OS

Open Source Mobile OS based on Linux core and the QT Framework – SDK avaialble for Linux, Windows, OSX
While Mozilla is offering its’ own OS, this could be a outlier that creates a movement for budget devices

Why Excel has been the bane and core of my business life

28 Year old Econ Grad publishes paper “Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth? A Critique of Reinhart and Rogoff,” that took aim at a massively influential study by two Harvard professors named Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. Herndon found some hidden errors in Reinhart and Rogoff’s data set, then calmly took the entire study out back and slaughtered it.


Don’t Send Me a Message

One of my pet peeves too – Don’t send me a message to say I have a message!!!


Pony – ORM for Python

Pony is a Python ORM that lets you query a database using Python generators. These generators are then translated into effective SQL.


How Hyphens can hurt your SEO

Experiments in SEO and why hyphens can impact you


Javascript demos

Pushing the boundaries of traditional javascript, these demos show how far we have come – and the potential of where we can go

 JQuery 2 released

Drops IE 6-8 Support. Performance improvements.


Which Javascript Frameworks are getting more interest?

What people are searching on (sourced from Google)


HTML5 apps are still the red headed step-child

HTML5 is great, or would be if it had tools to support it (and why native mobile apps still win)
Link Link

Please don’t deploy your app on a Friday

As someone whose life was Friday night app deploy focused, I can relate


O’Reilly Free Books

Free books from the famed tech publisher


App Developers Leaving Facebook

Why Developers are leaving Facebook – sometimes its’ own success can be its’ ultimate downfall