Modi visit to USA solved American concerns and not Indians

Mr.Narendra Modi’s visit to U.S.A has improved the bonhomie between Mr.Trump and India. However, it fell short of addressing India’s concerns. Major focus was on Infrastructure, Energy, Trade and Terrorism. Other key areas such as Climate change, H1B visa, Nuclear reactors, USFDA sanctions on pharmaceutical companies were kept out of the discussion. The joint statement issued by Mr.Modi and Mr.Trump contained more words than numbers. Absence of numbers indicates that no substantial discussions have taken place.

In the ever changing world political dynamics, Modi’s visit to USA has larger significance. Recent survey from Pew Research Centre showed that the trust on Mr.Trump is sinking. America’s image is also going down after Mr.Trump has assumed the Presidency. And at this particular moment, Mr. Modi visits America and got their work done in the form of Energy and Defence deals. Maybe he should have bargained more to push our interests. USA has would not provide further funds to India in the form of Green Climate Fund. A fresh deal across these lines would have been beneficial to India.

Of course, we could not expect wonders to happen in the first meeting. Sensible chemistry was clearly visible between the two leaders. Modi’s invitation to Trumps’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, for an Entrepreneurship summit is a smart move. She is one of the power centres in the White House. Engaging her in the negotiations will have wider and positive influence on Trump towards India. He also engaged First Lady Melania. It all looks like a good beginning. In the words of Trump, the relationship between India and USA were never better and stronger. The strength of his words is yet to be seen.

Petya Ransomware: All you need to know about the cyber-attack

It has been less than a month since WannaCry virus affected computer systems all around the world. On 27th June 2017, a new ransomeware called Petya ransomware has affected computer servers all across Europe, locking up computer data and crippling enterprise services in the corporate sector. Ukraine and Russia are the worst affected and it has also affected systems in US & other western nations.

What is Petya Ransomware and how it is different?

Petya is a ransomware, similar to the Wannacry attack. It locks down your computer files and asks for a ransom of $300 bitcoin to unlock the files.

According to Security Research firm Kasperksy, Petya could be a variant of Petya.A, Petya.D, or PetrWrap. In order get the credentials to spread, the ransomware relies on a custom tool called “a la Mimikatz.” This extracts credentials from the lsass.exe process, which is one of the crucial files in the Windows system. This stands for Local Security Authority Subsystem Service.

The attack is believed to have started against an update used on a third-party Ukrainian software called MeDoc, which is used by many government organisations in the country. This could be the reason why Ukraine was the worst affect in the lot.

What is different with WannaCry is the way it is spreading – multiple vulnerabilities and it is also locking systems, not just encrypting files like WannaCry. It drops people out of their standard Windows desktop OS onto a command prompt with a ransomware note on there and nothing else can be done with that system.

Who is affected ?

Many multinational companies like law firm DLA Piper, shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk, drugmaker Merck have been impacted. The US, Poland, Italy and Germany are some other countries affected by the cyber attack. In India, the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai has been impacted given Moller-Maersk operates the Gateway Terminals India (GTI) at JNPT.

What to do now ?

Unfortunately, there is no solution for decrypting these if you are affected with Petya. Looks like they have learned from the mistakes of WannaCry. There’s also no way of stopping the attack from the spreading, given it exploits vulnerabilities in the network.

For users, it is best to keep a backup of all their data. Don’t click on email links from suspicious ids or click on links asking for access to personal information. Also keep your Windows PC updated with the latest software.

Why Tesla needs to enter India

A series of tweets by Elon Musk over the months have excited as well as disappointed fans over the entry of Tesla in India. Let’s take a look at why Tesla needs to enter the Indian market

Tesla is an American automobile manufacturer known for its electric-powered vehicles. The company is also known for power backup systems for homes and businesses. The whole excitement over Tesla’s entry began when Elon Musk replying to a tweet, about a question over Tesla’s India entry, Musk said, “Hoping for summer this year.”

Later, Elon Musk tweeted that the roadblock to entering the country was India’s sourcing requirements. However, the Government responded with the “Make in India” twitter account quickly clarifying that the country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) policy does not mandate manufacturers to comply with any minimum local component sourcing norm.

Elon’s Tweet on 2nd June 2017 “India commits to sell only electric cars by 2030. It is already the largest market for solar”, drew instant response even from Anand Mahindra, executive chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra group. He replied by tweeting with a challenge “Time you got out here Elon. You don’t want to leave that whole market to Mahindra do you? The more the merrier — and greener.” According to his latest tweet, Tesla is in discussion with the Indian Government about temporary relief from import penalties/restrictions for Tesla until a local factory is built.

There is still no clarity on whether Tesla is planning to enter the Indian market with cars or battery packs. If Tesla plans to enter the highly competitive Indian market, they have to ensure that customers will have access to service support and charging infrastructure to the last mile. They will also have to tackle issues with pricey import duty on vehicles from other countries. Many top companies including General Motors have failed on understanding the Indian automobile market and it’s imperative that Tesla does some ground work before investing in India.

Mahindra is the only automobile manufacturer in India producing electric cars and has managed to sell only 1,100 electric cars last year. They currently manufactures 2,000 electric cars a year and targets 5,000 units by 2018. Thus, there is a substantial need for high demand for electric cars in India and Tesla should be prepared for it. By 2030, India plans to sell only electric cars. With Air pollution a major problem in all Indian cities, people will eventually shift to electric vehicles but the transition is expected to take time.

Tesla had a disappointing run in China when it entered the market in 2014 and the company will hope not to repeat the mistakes in India. It’s unlikely that Tesla produces cars in India any time soon, but Tesla has a huge opportunity in India to build a Gigafactory that can produce lithium-ion batteries for PowerWall and cars. With the government making huge bets on solar energy – India is committed to increase the amount of electric power from clean energy resources to 40% by 2030, Tesla’s PowerWall might find its success in India. There is a huge demand in India to store energy generated from Solar panels and Tesla’s PowerWalls will have the capability to store energy that can power an entire village.

It’s also an opportunity of Tesla to build their network of SuperChargers in the country, before selling cars. The future of solar power and electric vehicles (EV) in India are closely interdependent and Tesla must be ready to make its way to make in India.

Facebook’s new tool to protect women in India

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg announced the launch of new privacy features for Facebook focused on women in India. In India, given the social & cultural barriers and personal safety of women, many women don’t use their own pictures as profile pictures for the fear of safety and misuse of their images.

Facebook has worked with Indian non-profits focused on safety like the Centre for Social Research (CSR) India and the Learning Links Foundation to design the tools. Facebook Users in India will see a step-by-step guide to add an optional profile picture. Other people will not be able to share, download or send the Facebook profiles pictures. This also means that who are not friends on Facebook won’t be able to tag you in the pictures.

It will prevent others from taking the screenshot of your profile picture – starting with the Android devices. It will also display a blue border shield around your profile picture as a visual cue of protection. Facebook found that using a design overlay on the photo made other people “at least 75% less likely to copy that picture.”

In spite of the above protect, if a user still finds that their profile picture is being misused, they can report it. In that case, the design will be used along with other signals to verify that the picture has been copied or misused.

In order to promote this feature, Facebook will use video ads as well as translate the instructions for the feature in every local language in the country.

The Pandas feel that it a good initiative taken by Facebook. We expect that Facebook launches this feature in other countries as well. This feature is a significant game changer for Facebook in India. India is the fastest growing market for Facebook and the company can’t avoid addressing the issues. The Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan has hailed Facebook’s initiative to ensure online safety for women.

Cloning of profile pictures and the crimes related to it is increasing. In most of the case, the profile picture and publicly available information is stolen, and used later to hack financial data, morph pictures to distribute pornographic content, and to carry out terrorism activities. Quoting an article from the Hindustan Times in September 2016, according to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). “Every sixth social media user in India is a victim of online fraud, and 16% of online frauds are social media scams,” says Alok Mittal, inspector general at NIA.

One must also understand that the issue is more complicated that you can imagine. This feature might help reduce crimes against women and promises a “safer” Facebook experience. Facebook must consider adding the same feature to WhatsApp. Many people in the country use WhatsApp and the frequency of update of profile picture is higher in WhatsApp. Hackers will find a way to overcome the challenges and its Facebook responsibility to stay ahead in the race.

A Survival Guide for Chennai

chennai

6 years 10 months and 25 days. The duration for which Chennai has been my home away from home. From a prisoner life of engineering to a peaceful life of MBA, Chennai has shown me all possible shades of grey.

Having this experience, here are the few things that you need to adapt to / understand to be in Chennai.

  1. Call them Akka(sister)/Anna(brother) and your work is done. Behen or bhayya or didi doesn’t work here. Chennai people love to hear their mother tongue and if you are from another state and still try talking their language, it’s your day.
  2. Sunscreens definitely on. As I was from Andhra Pradesh I could not find a major difference in temperatures but for the “cool” people, it’s time to be “hot”.
  3. A city of many beaches and lesser breaches. Chennai is considered to be the safest city in India. Though I had very little experience of travelling at nights, all the examples I have seen had a very good feedback on the safety.
  4. Forget samosas and get used to sambar. Chennai is not a great place for chats. From whatever I have observed, every restaurant has compulsory drinking water and sambar. Chennaites have not got much adopted to Mexican or Italian or continental. There are multiple restaurants of other cuisines but hostel/home food never crossed its native boundaries.
  5. Get ready to swim on a rainy day. Though the city is one of the oldest in India, I don’t exactly know if it’s the altitude of the city or the attitude of the drainage system, heavy rains and roads become swimming pools in many areas.
  6. Driving is safer with a girl as a pillion rider. If you ever had the worst experience with police on smallest mistakes you made, then a girl at the backseat or a girl driving is the best option to not even get stopped.
  7. Survive with few thousands. Chennai has always been an affordable city to stay in. Chennai accommodates you well irrespective of your earning. There are always doors open for any salary you earn.
  8. No forts it’s all about boats. A day out here will generally be spent in a beach or a theme park or a mall. You have other interesting places like temples, planetariums, parks etc.
  9. Understand the fact that Tamil is not derived from Sanskrit. Though many of the Indian languages are derived from Sanskrit, Tamil has its own script and is not derived from any other language. If you ever try to argue, then definitely you are trying to dance on the edge of a cliff.
  10. Need not be a madrasee to be in Madras. The city welcomes all people and is quite friendly unless you don’t insult them. Though getting a home for rent will be tough for north Indians, the culture is slowly changing and adapting.
  11. Life with more salt than Pepper. As Chennai lies across the coastal line, the salt content in the air is very high. This will make the skin a little sticky if you roam around for long hours. Carrying tissues is recommended.
  12. Do not scold Politicians and Rajinikanth. People adore them. If you dare to, you would not dare to come back again! Do also understand who is Thala, Thalapathy (Ajit and Vijay, actors of Tamil Industry)
  13. If you use public transport, Get ready to get crushed. MTC (Madras Transport Corporation) provides most affordable transportation in Chennai. But, the number of people who makes use of it is as huge as the sand granules in Chennai beaches. Thanks to the government for providing half the bus only for “women”
  14. Learn to pronounce “Tamil”. It’s not Tamil it is “Tamil”. Ok, both are the same but sounding is quite different. Get a video which pronounces this word.

Having said all these experiences, as I mentioned earlier Chennai is definitely a home away from your home. Though you hate the city in the initial stages, I assure that you will fall in love with the city slowly. All the best for your stay.

Article Written by Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy

Wings of Women

A life between four walls!! Whom do you first get into your mind reading these words?

A girl or may be a women.

From centuries, mankind has been struggling to understand about themselves. We believe in god more than ourselves. Anything in the name of god has always worked better than a normal suggestion. Some traditions initially suggested for betterment of girl’s life has now turned to be the barriers for her prosperity and enrichment. As a part of this chaos we try to understand some traditions and the reasons why they were followed.

1. Girl’s should not visit temples during their periods.

For the current generation, The ultimate destination for peace of mind is generally a beach or a spa. The older generations preferred to go to temples. Given the fact that majority of the people are sensitive to sightings of blood, and women in older generations didn’t have safer options, they were restrained from visiting temples.

Now that the generation has changed and girls have better and safer options, it’s time to understand and take a step forward to question yourself “why’d god restrict you from seeing him if, he is the one who created you?”

2. A girl has to get married only to an elder a guy.

They say the perfect age for a girl to get married is 18 years old and for a guy it’s 21 years old. The explanation given for this is that the guy has to be 21 years old to match with the maturity level of 18 years old girl. The difference in the maturity level has been there because The girls then were mostly at home and understood the family situations better than a guy. In the age of gender equality, the difference in the maturity level is of minimum importance. So, sticking up to this norm is up to ones own interest.

3. Men are stronger than women.

If you have ever heard the story of rani Rudramadevi, she was never identified to be a girl unless they announced it. Her strength was compared to an elephant. The highest pain that the normal human body can bare is just half of the Labour pains. Having known all this how can a girl be considered less stronger than a guy? Masculinity and femininity depends on the nature of the person’s behaviour and not the gender.

4. Women can’t be considered to grow along in a family tree

A typical family tree shows the sons and their sons. The names of daughters are noted but not continued. When a child is born from a mother, how can he be a part of the father’s family tree? If it has to be continuation of mankind girls are to be considered as the important branches and not as the seed to grow on another tree.

The day when everyone understands that a Woman is to wings and not to walls, is the day earth would cherish and prosper it’s own beautiful creation. They say everything happens for a reason. It’s time for us to understand that whatever happened also had a reason. Find the reason, analyse it, alter it and then adopt it.

Article Written by Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy

Are you an Aryan or a Dravidian?

If you have already heard enough cock and bull stories, we have another interesting story about Aryans and Dravidians. Be it a story or a tale or a fantasy, it is definitely fascinating.

Ever wondered if you were a Dravidian or an Aryan?

As the truth is still a mystery, let this history be a story.

Long ago there lived Dravidians in India. Dravidians were basically nature loving and simple. Most of the communities lead a self-sufficient life in woods. Due to their life style and food styles, Dravidians looked masculine, tall and dark. Supreme and ultimate personality whom Dravidians idealised was Lord Shiva.

If you were never shown a god’s pic in your life, what will be your imagination of a person with extreme power and strength? 90% of the times we imagine a human whose looks and dressing matches the culture of your community or place. So they chose Lord Shiva, who was living a simple life in Himalayas with tiger skin as clothing. This was a pride or symbol of strength back then.

Aryans, relatively fair and short than Dravidians are said to have moved from central Russia to India. Aryans lived a more sumptuous life than Dravidians. They loved bright clothing and jewels. Their god was Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu is idealised in bright clothing and jewels.

It’s our natural tendency to fight back people who try to intrude into our house. So did Dravidians. They fought back Aryans from entering into the lands of India. But, the huge numbers of Aryan community had a stronger repel for every attack of Dravidians on them. Dravidians being scattered in different communities in different parts of country also reduced their advantage to build up a stronger army to fight back Aryans. Fighting Aryans, Dravidians slowly moved towards southern India. Now the concentration of Dravidians also increased as they moved further towards south and built up a force strong enough to oppose Aryans from further invasions.

Two strong forces, one country, two options before them. Either they could fight and eradicate one community or to live peacefully. Good that our ancestors chose the latter. They accepted Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu both to be their major gods and emerged as one single largest community called Hindus. As time passed people moved from north to south and south to north. It all became India and we became Indians.

No one exactly knows if they are Aryans or Dravidians now. That’s for our own good.

As usual the story ends with the words “and they lived happily ever after”….

Article Written by Bommineni Jyothirmaie Reddy

10 Things to do as a Chess player

Let me give some insights what a budding chess player can do.

  1. Love the game: Simple. Point blank. Chess players are not known for their “Stylish” demeanor. Play the game only if you like it 100%, else money is going down the drain.
  2. Play without pre conceived notions: When you’re a novice, say 1 to 15 months into the game, try to be fearless. You will be able to figure out what style suits you the most. Be shrewd and save emotions for post-match celebrations.
  3. Have an idol: This would motivate you and help you in understanding different styles. Analyze his/her matches. Keep a separate book for analyzing his/her game to entice your grey cells and constantly enhance your game.
  4. Start playing against bots: In today’s world of Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, you can find immaculate bots which finds millions of permutations and combinations while making a move. This will boost your creativity and widens the scope for learning. Online sites like Chess.com and King Chess enable you to play P2P for free.
  5. Make “Sacs”: “Sac”- is a short form for sacrifice. In games where you’re confident try something extra-ordinary. Doing this once in a blue moon will help you gain immense confidence and puts your opponent on the toes, forcing him/her to put on the thinking hat. Be prudent enough to understand the gravity of the matter though! Blunt Sacs are Suicidal.
  6. Play Different Formats: Try to play at different time scenarios. Blitz, Rapid and Classic are conventional formats. Try lighting as it speeds up the ante and makes you much more sensible before touching a pawn. (I was a District Champion at the age of 13). Lighting is 5 seconds per move. If you even touch the pawns before they call out your color, you lose the game!
  7. Adept and Adapt: These two words fit in a utopian manner here. You must be adept in using all 32 pieces effectively. (Including opponent’s pawns) Be adaptive in starting with different openings right from Queen’s Gambit to Great Indian Defense to Sicilian. This helps you think the breadth of the board.
  8. Think big: Getting a pawn is not a big deal. Think Big. Watch games of Judit Polgar, Magnus Carlsson, Vishwanathan Anand, Gary Kasparov and other Grand Masters (GMs). The entrapment should be your goal, not just acclaiming a pawn or a piece. Do not make mistakes if you’re a defensive player, instead wait for the opponent to make one. I was known for defense prowess. I used to kill games defensively with lethal counter attacks and have also lost some games as my defense didn’t possess a kill switch. Be at your ease while playing.
  9. Do not ask for a draw unnecessarily: Asking for a draw shows that you’re sheepish and cowardice, especially when the game is on a level playing field, even odds of 40-60 is a fair play. Play smart and ask when you’re sure that you would lose, if the opponent makes the ideal move.
  10. Keep your education ticking: Education must back your chess career as an alternative. This will make you eligible for Sports Quota (If it exits in your country) and a basic qualification should support Chess. Many players had advised me to make Chess and Education Prima Donna in life. Chess alone wouldn’t suffice most of the times.

I was a Professional Chess Player for 10 years. I have played over 900 games in District, State and National Level, winning 80+ accolades. I still play online, but have detached myself from competitions. Education and music confronted Chess badly in my life. I was unable to devote 100% of my time to Chess and hence I decided to call it a day.

Enjoy playing Chess and become Sharper!

Indo Pak Match – Bans, Betting and Business

Much hyped cricket match of the year is yet to be played in few hours. Prayers have begun across the country and so does betting. In a shocking move, Zee, one of the largest Indian media groups, has banned match. The match also acts as a centre of burgeoning businesses. Around 300 million viewers are expected to tune in to the match and all the Corporates are geared up to drag their attention. Amidst all these happenings, Indian team Captain, Virat Kohli, has played down the match and considered it as one of the other matches. This is how a matured leader would react to shield the team from external pressure.

Indo Pak matches have always been a matter of pride for both the countries. Particularly, when the relations between the countries are at the rock bottom, the match mandates much more importance. Cashing this Nationalistic tendencies, Zee media has exasperated the situation by banning the entire match. After all, Zee also needs some TRP ratings and cannot miss out on this glorified event. Star Network and Zee Network have always been arch rivals in the media industry. Zee could divert a portion of viewers towards its channels by taking the name of Indian military personnel. Shubash Chandra argument that Cricket and the war cannot go together is illogical. The ultimate aim of sports is to act as substitute to wars. If the humanity is devoid of sports, then it would have seen more wars by now.

According to All India Gaming Federation, around Rs.2000 Crore is expected to be gambled for the match. Cutting across all the sections, the betting is practised with much passion. Personally, I have seen the enthusiasm among the gambles during these type of matches. It’s the time the rich becomes poor and vice versa according to their luck. For every Rs.100, the person who bets on India gains Rs.147 and one who bets on Pakistan receives Rs.300. Hope the government legalises betting soon. Atleast, it could reap some benefits.

Coming to the business. Flipkart has already promised to install Televisions at discounted prices by the time match begins. Though the offers are the result of GST roll out, the cricket fever is not to be side-lined. Social media is filled with jingoistic posts to garner more likes for their pages. The more the Pakistan is criticized and trolled, the more are the popularity of the page. And the ultimate beneficiary is Mark Zukerberg who gains profit through advertisements. According to some news channels, restaurants in Delhi are customizing their menus to match with the game. New cocktails and special dishes are ready to be served by 3:00 P.M IST. We are missing the main business if the advertisement in the Television are missed. A 30 sec slot in the TV channel would cost Rs.1crore. This is 10 times that of normal rates. Now you could guess the cost of sitting in the stadium!!

A Bit of Coins

Video: What is Bitcoin? (v2) (Source: YouTube-WeUseCoins)

Rupee, Dollar, Euro, Pound, Yen are printed currencies and it’s certain that you might have one of them in your wallet. It’s also obvious that you could have traded them for goods and services. But, how will you react if I say that there exists a currency which you cannot see?

This virtual currency which can only be stored electronically is called Bitcoin. It’s called a coin but it’s neither a coin nor a note. Main difference between normal currencies and Bitcoin is – there are institutions or governing bodies which control or regulate these currencies. But in case of Bitcoin, it is decentralized i.e. No single institution governs the bitcoin network.

So, who created it?

Satoshi Nakamoto, a software developer, proposed Bitcoin. The whole idea was to produce an instantly transferable independent currency. Bitcoins are generated by community of ‘miners’ (which anyone can join). Talking about the transaction in conventional currencies, there are few checks which a bank does before processing a transaction, like –

  • Creating and storing a proof of the payment,
  • Does the sender actually have the amount he is sending?
  • Is sender the real owner of the money? Or confirming the identity of the sender.

Similarly, a bitcoin transaction having details like – Sender’s ID, Receiver’s ID and the Amount, is converted into a cryptographic message (a math puzzle) by a hash function and is sent to entire network of miners for verification. Here, these checks are attempted by all registered miners instead of one bank. ‘Miner’ who solves that mathematical puzzle first, gets extra Bitcoins for verifying the transaction. This process of generating bitcoins is known as ‘mining’.

According to a Bitcoin protocol there can only be 21 million bitcoins that can ever be created by miners. However these coins are divided into smaller parts and smallest part is one hundred millionth of a bitcoin. After transactions are verified, they are recorded in the transparent public ledger called ‘Blockchain’. This also means that all of the miners record and maintain all of the transactions at the same time i.e. have access to that public ledger.

Why Bitcoin?

Bitcoins are transferred from person to person, without going through any bank or clearing house. This means, fees of exchanging bitcoins is much lower than exchanging conventional currencies. Also, bitcoins can be used in every country and your bitcoin account can never be frozen. Lastly, there are no pre-requisites or arbitrary limits to use it.

Bitcoin opens up a whole new platform for innovation as the software is completely open source and anyone can review the code. It’s changing the entire finance in the same way internet changed publishing. If everyone has easy and affordable access to a global market, great ideas flourish. It’s a great way for businesses to minimize transaction fees. It doesn’t cost anything to start accepting them. The system is easy to set up plus you get additional business from the Bitcoin economy.

Originally Written by Saurabh Arora

Saurabh Arora is currently pursuing PGDM at Great Lakes, Chennai. He was a Corporate Trainer at Infosys and carries a rich experience in technolgies managing IT infrastructure. He did his summer internship at JP Morgan. Follow him on Twitter @Saurabh_Xtro