Happy Onam

Here is wishing everybody a fresh, fragrant and fun-filled Onam.

Note : The first one is a special Onam Poo Kolam is by our tenant who is a keralite !! ;-). The other one is at the ABT office in RS Puram.

Fixing your Sony DRU-710A DVD writer

The Sony DRU-710A DVD writer is one of the most crappiest and cranky DVD writers around. I had bought it becuse it was the fastest DVD writer at that time in the market.

But off late I have noticed that the writer doesn't write on some of the blank DVD-R medium. It stops with an error message "Illegal Disc". Now that is a totally odd statement considering that the disc is blank. lol

So in this post I will explain how I fixed my DVD writer. First lets understand the error message. Actually any DVD writer has information about manufacturers of the DVD medium and accordingly has some settings which adjust the laser head and other such parameters. When the DVD writer cannot identify the manufacturer from the DVD it gives the "illegal disc" message and does not write any data.

Caution : This is a dangerous procedure. Since the firmwares are actually not certified by SONY. It is purely an adrenaline rush exercise. Proceed further at your own risk.

To fix this we need to upgrade the firmware of the DVD writer so that the new firmware has the settings for the DVD-R, which in this case was a Moserbaer DVD-R disc.

The Sony DRU-710A DVD writer is actually a LITE-ON DVD that has been wrapped in a SONY casing. So inspite of SONY not providing a proper firmware for this issue, we can install a appropriate compatible firmware for LITE-ON DVD writers. This is known as crossflashing.

The website http://codeguys.rpc1.org/firmwares.html gives lot of info about cross flashing. Also it has the necessary resources (firmwares and tools for flashing firware) for the task.

So the steps that I followed were,
1. Picked up the latest CSOT stock firmware .
2. Picked up a patch for the CSOT firmware.
3. Download Omnipatcher tool.
4. Now run the Omnipatcher tool. Load the stock CSOT firmware.
5. Now Load the patch firmware on top of the loaded stock firmware.
6. Now save this new patched firmware. This should give you an exe.
7. Now run the exe file. Be patient. It will appear to freeze after programming reaches 100%.
8. Then it will ask for a reboot. Reboot the PC.
9. Once the reboot is done then the firmware upgrade is complete.

Note: It is possible to cross flash it again with SONY firmware that is available at the same page.

But it worked for me. Now I am able to write all my Moserbaer DVDs at a faster 12x rate as well. Although the 12x seems to give a Data verification error sometimes. 8x is pretty reliable. I hve flashed almost 10 to 12 DVDs after the cross flashing. Haven't found any problem with 8x write till now.

Changes in Bangalore Railway Station

I had been to the Bangalore railway station after a long time to receive my parents who were coming to the city for the first time.

Since I was visiting after a long time, I noticed quite some changes in the railway station. The main area near the entrance where used to be a deluge of passengers earlier has now been cleaned up. Now the place has been revamped with seats.

Also new ways of buying plaform tickets have been introduced. Infact I tried out buying platform ticket through SMS. With an Airtel connection, all you need to do is send a SMS "PFT" to 64629. The system sends you back an SMS with a code. Just enter this code on the machine kept in the main area( near the reservation counter ) and voila! you get a printout of the platform ticket. Hats off to the authorities for these changes, particularly the seats for the passengers.

But no matter whatever changes the notorious "Indian Standard Time" of the railways doesn't change. The Kochuveli express that was scheduled to arrive at 7:00 am finally after many a struggle arrived at 8:30 am ;-).