Monday, November 28, 2016

All of Westworld’s secret was out, thanks to the internet

 

The Internet is amazing. Ever since the first episode of Westworld came out, people have been discussing, and sharing ideas, hunches and numerous clues which appeared on the show. Thanks to some very sharp eyed viewers armed with magnifying glasses, nearly every secret on the show was leaked. By episode 2, fans had worked out that William is the younger version of Man in Black in an ealier timeline, and that Bernard Lowe is Arnold Weber. A redditor called it out as early as episode 4. There are still other secrets they had called out, but I guess these two are the grandest of them all. Reddit is really a curious place, full of spoilers.  When today’s episode reveled that Bernard is actually build in Arnold’s image by Ford, I guess it really didn’t surprise most fans. Now the only secret remaining is what is Dolore’s role in this whole time.

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The creators of Westworld had already revealed that they have written enough of the story for five seasons. I had assumed that their plan was to expand this whole storyline across 5 seasons. But now that they plan to reveal most of the secret in this first season itself, I wonder what more they have in store for us.

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Dolores' scenes from episode nine were spread across three different time frames in the "Westworld" universe. In chronological order, the scenes with her in a blue dress were the earliest - likely about 35 years ago.

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I am sure Maeve will escape from the facility, along with some more of the hosts. But still not sure what Dolores plans to do. She still has no idea she is a host…just that she keeps on confusing her memories with her real life in the park.

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Bad day

 

I had a bad day today. I was wondering where I could write about it, and decided the best place is here. Cause nobody else would read it. Maybe.

But today was a bad day for a lot of people. First, it has been 8 years since 26/11, the most devastating terrorist attack on this country in this century.

Then, the trending news of today is the death of Fidel Castro.

But I had a big fight today. And it was mostly my fault. I was trying to achieve multiple things at the same time, and prioritized in the wrong order.

But the package on route. Should be delivered to Kalahandi this week.

I hope I will get another chance.

Sorry, M. i apologize. I am truly sorry.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Winter is not coming...soon

 

 

 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Westworld Clue

This image is from a trailer for an upcoming episode of Westworld. It shows William removing knife from its sheath on his belt. Notice the design of the hilt.
 
 
 
 
 
Now this is from an already aired episode, showing Ford handling a knife belonging to the Man in Black. Notice the same hilt.
 
 
 
Swarms of Westworld fans are debating on both sides of the theory that William becomes the Man in Black. I am just wondering when will the writers reveal the last secret they have to offer. Apparently, they have written the stories for at least 5 seasons of the show. Surely they would not reveal all their secrets right in the first season ?
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Please wait, you are in Queue

It has been a week since the chaos began, when the Government of India ‘demonetized’ currency notes of Rs 500 and 1000 denominations. And the rush is in no hurry to calm down. The majority of the country is still waiting in queues, lines to the bank, lines to the ATMs.  Most of the cash dispensing machines ran out of cash within hours after being stocked, while thousands of ATMs are still not functional. Adding to the customer woes, there have been reports of bank servers facing technical glitches.

 

The techies of the country have now rushed in to help, creating apps and sites to search for nearby working ATMs. And new age e-cash startups have descended to ‘cash-in’ (pardon the pun) on the serious lack of cash in the economy. And after sleeping for an entire week, both the courts and the government is now discussing the legality of the ban in their respective houses.

 

Seriously ? They are discussing it only now ?

 

 

And in an attempt to bring down the rush, they are going to now implement an indelible ink system, like that in our elections.

 

Like most things in our country, passing the law was easy. Implementation if totally faulty.

 

India does still live in her villages. And one would be surprised how many of them still are not digitally connected.  They are the ones most affected by this demonetization. Media reports now that 33 people have died as a direct or indirect result of this demonetization rule.

 

On the flip side, the gamble  seems to have paid off in the cities, and better towns. Humungous amounts have been collected in bank deposits now, more than the amounts declared during the actual black money declaration window.

 

Anyway, there is no denying the fact that business has definitely gone down across the country. Everyone from small shops to large multiplexes are seeing lesser transactions. Simply because people have run out of spare cash. Or are too busy withdrawing money from ATMs. Or at least waiting for that in a queue somewhere.

 

I for one support this initiative, as it will weed out the filthy cash from the hands of hoarders, smugglers and the mafia. But it is disheartening to see the vast majority of honest, law abiding citizens having to face this otherwise unnecessary hardship.

 

Hope it ends fast. The country needs to get back on its feet.

 

Friday, November 11, 2016

Chaos for Cash

 

In its effort to bring out black money, the government overestimated  the efficiency of banks, and underestimated the time it will take to deliver new notes. Its now day 3 of the ban on high value currenty notes, and banks and ATMs have gone dry in the nation.

Meanwhile new generation plastic and e-cash startups have upped their ante, pushing new ads to market their services. And people are still converting cash into gold paying inflated rates.

The only good thing which happened to me was that Bangalore elevated tollway stopped charging their entry fees. So the tollways were free for all. And that lead to reduced traffic too.

I guess it will take at least a month to get fresh cash in circulation again.

Thankfully, cities like Bangalore had already gone majority cash-less. All supermarkets and most restuarants already accepted plastic money. In the wake of cash scarcity, they have reduced the minimum amounts required to make the transaction, and are letting people swipe cards for even Rs 50/-. Cab services which accepted cards and e-cash services had brisk business. But auto-drivers were left in the dark. There are talks of black marketeers charging upto 40% commission to exchange out the older notes in the system. There is also news of a person contacting the beggars-mafia to arrange for hard cash !

Somebody even made an Unboxing video of the new 2000 Rs/- note !

Sometime back I had read an article on gloomberg arguing why a cashless society cannot exist. I guess its author needs to take a second look at India.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Its a whole new world

 

I hate the open office configuration, what’s designed to facilitate communication sometimes leads to communication mayhem. Like today. The whole office floor was buzzing with bad news. The dual attack of bad news in the day. The biggest breaking news of this year.

One was the fact that Trump is leading in the US election results. And the other big bang was the Indian Government's decision to discontinue high denomination currency notes. And the third news was that the stock market was under attack , and the sensex was headed down.

When Election Day dawned, almost all the pollsters, analytics nerds and political insiders in the country had Hillary Clinton waltzing into the White House. Headed into Election Day, polling evangelist Nate Silver’s 538 website put Clinton’s odds at winning the White House at about 72 percent. By midnight, the site had more than flipped its odds making, giving Trump an 84 percent chance of winning.

This was the biggest 'error' statisticians had committed in centuries. It’s amazing how with all the latest analytics systems and big data and social media..and all those nonsense..they still got it wrong. By a huge margin.

I feel so bad for Stephen Colbert. And John Oliver. And Jimmy Fallon. And James Corden. And Trevor Noah. Even Bill Maher. And Jimmy Kimmel. The past many months, I have devoured their sketches and news and bits whole heartedly, knowing and trusting their hints that the Democrats would win. Here's hoping they are around for a lot more time.

Anyway, back to my office, it was clear there was cause for concern. A lot of Indian IT companies depend on US enterprises as clients for outsourced work. Trump and the republicans in power would mean its the end of it all. This could be end of Indian IT as we know it.

And back home, the incumbent government's struggle to contain blackmoney took a new turn when they announced the de-monetization of high value currency notes. Indian citizens now had 50 days to deposit all their de-monetized currency with banks. Keeping in mind there are over a billion citizens in the country, 50 days seems like too little time to get through it. But this short window is definitely required, to prevent people from converting all their ill-earned wealth to legal, 'white-money'. Its amazing how a decision of such high importance was kep top-secret till the Prime Minister got to personally announce it on an unscheduled address to the nation.

Kudos to the government for this ultra-quiet, sneaky, 'surgical strike'. This time, nobody is asking for proof.

Now just to be clear, no-one in the IT industry will have to worry about their wealth. It is probably the only industry to pay correct taxes upfront, with tax deducted right at the source. All IT employees are paid online, and they have their Form-16s and TANs and PANs to show. For once it turned out honesty indeed is the right policy to live by.

Historians are going to remember November 8th, 2016 as the day everything changed. The most unpredictable happened right in front of our eyes.

And no one saw it coming.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

India’s bold move to stop BlackMoney

 

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced that the currency notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 denominations will not be legal tender beginning November 9. Prime Minister also added that all banks will remain closed for public work tomorrow. ‘Terror strikes at the innocent. Who funds these terrorists’ Across the border, our enemy uses fake currency and dodgy funds to sponsor terror - this has been proven repeatedly. The process of cash circulation is directly related to corruption in our country impacting the lower classes of our society. From midnight November 8 today, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes are no longer legal tender,’ Prime Minister Modi said while addressing the nation.

‘You have 50 days (From November 10 to December 30) to deposit notes of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 in any bank or post office. Respite for people for the initial 72 hours. The government hospitals will accept old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes till November 11 midnight,’ he added. Prime Minister Modi said notes of Rs. 2000 and Rs. 500 will be circulated soon.

‘The RBI has decided to limit the notes with higher value. There will be more purification the more we get support from you. Let’s continue the process of cleanliness and work together for successful completion of this initiative. We want to take this fight against corruption even ahead,’ he added. The Prime Minister further said that on November 9 and in some places on November 10, ATMs will not work.

Here are some imporant takeaways:

Less bang for your black bucks: Those with large amounts of large-denomination black money in cash will be hit hardest, since offloading this cash will become extremely difficult. Exchanging crores of rupees at banks will likely attract the attention of the taxman.

Less counterfeiting: These denominations were the most easily and widely counterfeited notes. Taking them out of circulation will eliminate a big source of fake notes.

Terrorism funding: A significant amount of terrorism was funded using counterfeit and/or high-denomination notes. This will also be hit badly.

Election funding: It is an open secret that elections in India are largely bankrolled by massive amounts of black money, typically in cash that are often used as direct bribes to voters. This spigot will now be shut off, disrupting the electoral system. The UP and Punjab elections will the first to face the brunt of this move.

Corruption: Most bribes across the system are typically paid in cash. While smaller amounts will not be affected, large amounts of bribes will now be limited, at least until the new denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 2000 are introduced in large numbers. But again, those will already accumulated cash will be hit hard.

Watching America vote was eye opening

 

I was watching Beme’s Exit Poll Live today, and it was awesome. Eye opening.

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I was expecting something like this for this year’s election. But surprise, surprise. The app came from the most unlikely place. Casey Neistat’s Beme is the brainchild behind this one-day-only app.

 

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Every user had a different perspective, the one reason why they based the decision on whom to vote for. It was amazing to see how this election has really skewed American’s thoughts this year.

A surprising number of people voted for neither of the two party candidates. Many voted for Garry Johnson and Jill Stein.

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A whole lot of people voted for Trump because “he is not a politician”. Again a lot of small business owners voted for Trump, expecting relaxed taxation.

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Most women and parents voted for Clinton. A lot of younger ones too where going with her.  And eveyone else just voted for her because they wanted the lesser of two evils.

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This black guy voted for Trump !