Monday, May 15, 2017

India still in denial of WannaCry

 

The second wave of the wannacry ransomeware attack is in full swing this week. Computers in 150 countries have been affected, specially China. But the Indian government , like always, has chosen to go to denial mode. Government and media are reporting that the threat is minimal, and systems are not affected. Reality is that lakhs of systems were already affected.

Just check the real time tracking of this attack.

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Crude reality is that due to mass use of pirated software in India, reports of attacks will go unreported.  Meanwhile, ransomware incidents were reported from Kerala, Kolkata and Andhra Pradesh. However, no corporate office or institution came forward fearing that their brand image will take a hit if the news of their computers being infected goes public. The real impact of cyber attack in India can be only assessed later this week. The government too tried to dispel rumours about banking telecom or aviation being hit by the outbreak

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

Today I read about ETOPS certification for planes

 

“It’ll be a cold day in hell before I let twins fly long-haul over-water routes.” Those were the words of Lynn Helms—administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration during the Reagan administration. At the time, no commercial american airplane with two engines was allowed to fly anywhere farther than 60 minutes from a diversion airport. The belief was that, if one engine failed, the other could only safely fly the plane for about an hour, but this rule severely limited what smaller planes could do. On North Atlantic routes like New York to London, twin-engine planes could only fly in these areas but a direct route looked like this. The options were to either fly a twin-engine plane on an inefficient routing or fly a inefficient three or four engine plane. There was no place for long-and-skinny routes between smaller cities using smaller planes since airline couldn’t legally fly those smaller planes. This one simple rule changed the very way airplanes were built. Now, in the 60’s, this 60 minute regulation only applied to planes with two engines. Of course aircraft manufacturers could build quad-engine jets but those had to be huge for airlines to make their money’s worth with their high fuel consumption. The 747’s of the time could carry more than 400 passengers. They could therefore only fly on super high-demand routes like New York to London to have any hope of being full. In order to start flying more convenient non-stop routes from smaller markets, planes had to get smaller while still being legally allowed to hop the pond.

That’s where trijets came into play. With three engines, these planes weren’t subject to the same 60-minute regulation as twinjets. They could easily fly any transatlantic route. That’s why in the 70s or 80s, the long-haul jets you’d see at airpots were, for the most part, either 747’s or trijets like the DC-10.

This 60-minute regulation was inconvenient for Atlantic Crossings, but in the Pacific it actually changed how Hawaii developed. There are zero diversion airports between California and Hawaii so the route isn’t even close to covered under the 60-minute rule. As a result, airlines could only fly huge planes between the mainland and Hawaii which meant that planes could pretty much only fly to Honolulu. Puttakke puttakke karimeen puttaakkee. There was virtually no service between the other islands and the mainland which meant the other islands were severely isolated. That’s part of the reason why the tourism industry only picked up on the other islands in recent decades. Luckily, change was coming. The 60 minute rule originated from the days of piston driven propeller aircraft.

With these, it was far more common for engines to just stop working mid-flight. That’s why there were contingency engines. The regulations just didn’t adapt to the increased reliability of jet engines. Statistically, for every failure of a jet engine, there are 117 piston engine failures. Once the jet age rolled in, engine failure just wasn’t as much of a concern, so, in 1985, the FAA begrudgingly granted permission to Trans World Airlines to fly their twin-engined

767 direct between Boston and Paris—a route taking it up to 120 minutes away from diversion airports. This was the first example of a brand new FAA certification called ETOPS—“Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards,” or more colloquially, “engines turn or passengers swim.” Before an airline can fly a long over-water route they have to buy a plane with what’s known as an ETOPS type rating. Basically that means that the plane was built with adequate redundancies, communications systems, and fire suppression systems to fly safely if one engine fails. For example, the 767—the first plane to get an ETOPS certification—has a type rating of 180 minutes meaning it can fly anywhere as long as its 180 minutes from a diversion airport.

But just because a plane has a type rating doesn’t mean an airline can fly it ETOPS. They have to have a special maintenance plan, a special flight crew, special cabin crew, special dispatchers, special fuel quantities, and special passenger recovery plans since, just because there’s a runway doesn’t mean that a plane can safely divert since the emergency doesn’t end once the plane lands. Cold Bay, Alaska, for example, is a perfect diversion airport for routes between Asia and North America. It only has six commercial flights per week nowadays but as a former Air Force Base it has an enormous runway. The only issue is that the town of Cold Bay has a population of 108—its tiny—so any diversions automatically double or triple the amount of people in the small town. There certainly aren’t enough hotel rooms or restaurants to house and feed stranded passengers so, if airlines plan to use Cold Bay as a diversion airport, they need to make a plan for how to house, feed, and recover passengers within 48 hours of landing. Last year an American Airlines 787 was flying from Shanghai to Chicago when its right engine had an issue halfway across the Pacific Ocean. The plane quickly took a left turn diverting to Cold Bay. Even before landing the plan was implemented as flight attendants served a second meal service early. Just a few hours after safely landing in Cold Bay, American’s mechanics took off from Seattle bound for Cold Bay to start fixing the plane while Alaska Airlines, American’s partner, sent a 737 from Anchorage to pick up the stranded passengers. Meanwhile, flight attendants served the third set of meals they had stocked while waiting on the ground and the coast guard opened their heated hanger to passengers.

Just 10 hours after the emergency landing, passengers were on their way to Anchorage where they spent the night before taking an American 757 to Chicago. That was a perfect example of how the passenger recovery plan worked. The quick response and defined plan helped the airline get passengers out safely and quickly. Now, because of the solid engine reliability, numerous redundancies, and well-designed passenger  recovery plans, airlines and airplanes can now receive insane ETOPS certifications. The 787 Dreamliner, the plane that diverted to Cold Bay, has a type rating of 330 minutes. That means it can fly up to 5.5 hours away from a diversion airport. Certain routes over long-ocean stretches in the southern hemisphere were theoretically possible in the past with four engine planes but were economically impossible since airlines could never fill the large planes on the low-demand city pairs like Melbourne to Santiago.

With the ETOPS 330 certification, LATAM Airlines can fly their small 787 economically on this relatively low-demand route across the South Pacific. The Airbus a350 is even rated for ETOPS 370—it can fly 6 hours and 10 minutes away from diversion airports. This plane can therefore fly everywhere on earth except directly over the South Pole. Because of this simple rule change, three and four engine planes are largely a relic of the past. Boeing and Airbus’ largest jets are both their only four engine planes in production—the 747 and a380. Nearly all North Atlantic traffic today is on twin-engined planes as smaller and smaller planes get ETOPS certifications. Air Canada, for example, flies their tiny 120 passenger a319 with ETOPS certification daily between St Johns Airport and London Heathrow. British Airways even sends the even smaller a318 between New York and London City Airport. These routes would have been unimaginable 30 years ago but the reliability of the airplanes of today mean we need not fear flying small planes over big oceans.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Uninstalled redundant Apps

 

I just figured out I had a lot of redundant apps on my phone, and I could take them all off, and still carry on. There are a lot of apps there competing and providing the SAME features, and they just stay on the phone and take up space.

Like IMO. I uninstalled it today. IMO provides video calling services, and they actually offered this way before Facebook and Whatsapp. I still feel IMO’s video quality is better that Whatsapps, specially on restricted bandwidth networks, but very few people know about it and use it. Now that Whatsapp provides full video chat, there is no point in keeping IMO around. Uninstalled.

Second one to go, facebook messenger. Seriously, its a lame app. The video quality is worse on slow networks, and takes up so much time to start and run. Mutlitasking sucks. Uninstalled.

And the last to go today….Dropbox sync. Dropbox’s sync works great on desktop systems. But on mobile, they take up a lot of time to run and sync. If you are not on Wifi, it just drinks up all the network and battery juice. Now that whatsapp provides desktop interface, I use that to share all documents I need. Awesome sync. Dropbox…Uninstalled.

 

So that leave me with a leaner, faster phone. More space for my movies !

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Uber Model Doesn’t Translate

 

 

So do a lot of other apps offering services across a number of industries. They are super convenient, but the convenience comes at a premium, which seems here to stay. Some of these services could make for fine businesses, but it is hard to call them groundbreaking. After all, paying extra for convenience isn’t really innovative — it is pretty much how the world has always worked.

Before we get to why many on-demand apps have struggled to achieve mass-market prices, it is important to remember why anyone ever thought they could: Because Uber did it. The ride-hailing company that is valued by investors at more than $60 billion began as a luxury service. The magic of Uber was that it used its growth to keep cutting its prices and expand its service. Uber shifted from a convenient alternative to luxury cars to an alternative to taxis to, now, a credible alternative to owning a car.

Investors saw Uber’s success as a template for Ubers for everything. “The industry went through a period where we said, let’s look at any big service industry, stick ‘on-demand’ on it, and we’ve got an Uber,” said Hunter Walk, a venture capitalist at the firm Homebrew, which has invested in at least one on-demand company, the shipping service Shyp.

But Uber’s success was in many ways unique. For one thing, it was attacking a vulnerable market. In many cities, the taxi business was a customer-unfriendly protectionist racket that artificially inflated prices and cared little about customer service. The opportunity for Uber to become a regular part of people’s lives was huge. People take cars every day, so hook them once and you have repeat customers. Finally, cars are the second-most-expensive things people buy, and the most frequent thing we do with them is park. That monumental inefficiency left Uber ample room to extract a profit even after undercutting what we now pay for cars.

But how many other markets are there like that? Not many. Some services were used frequently by consumers, but weren’t that valuable — things related to food, for instance, offered low margins. Other businesses funded in low-frequency and low-value areas “were a trap,” Mr. Walk said.

Another problem was that funding distorted on-demand businesses. So many start-ups raised so much cash in 2014 and 2015 that they were freed from the pressure of having to make money on each of their orders. Now that investor appetite for on-demand companies has cooled, companies have been forced to return sanity to their business, sometimes by raising prices.

Look at grocery shopping. Last year the grocery-delivery start-up Instacart lowered prices because it thought it could extract extra revenue from supermarket chains, which were attracted to the new business Instacart was bringing in.

That has panned out only partway. A representative told me Instacart’s revenue grew by a factor of six since the start of 2015, and it has been able to use data science to find efficiencies in its operations. But the revenue from supermarket chains wasn’t enough to offset costs, so in December, Instacart raised delivery charges to $6 from $4 for most orders. It has also reduced pay for some of its workers.

The changes are in line with a drive toward profit. The company said it had stemmed losses in its biggest cities, and aimed to become “gross-margin positive” — that is, to stop losing money on each order — across its operations by year’s end.

Or consider delivery services. Postmates, one of the most established on-demand delivery start-ups, began as a premium service that charged extraordinary markups — a 50 percent fee isn’t unusual — for the convenience of getting just about anything delivered anywhere. That premium has kept the company’s unit-economics in the black. Postmates does not lose money on the bulk of its orders.

But high prices left the company vulnerable to lower-priced competitors, including the relatively newer entrant DoorDash, which has received piles of funding from Silicon Valley venture firms (the company announced a $127 million funding round on Tuesday after struggling to raise some of the cash).

Last year, Postmates began offering a cheaper service in which restaurants kick back some of the delivery fee in return for the promise of more orders; that price is $3 or $4 for a food order, not including a tip. But so far, that service represents only a fraction of the company’s orders. DoorDash, which charges $5 or $6 an order, has a similar business model which charges restaurants a commission for each order.

Is a fee of $3 to $6 for deliveries of groceries or food a mass-market price? For many people, the savings in time is worth the price. But the median American wage is around $20 an hour, so a fee of even a few dollars is a costly premium.

Instacart, Postmates and DoorDash say they see opportunities for lowering prices as they grow. They are hoping for efficiency gains that come with volume, like bundling two or three orders in each delivery.

But it is wise to be skeptical of claims of future price cuts. Last year, Tri Tran, the founder the of food-delivery company Munchery, told me he expected prices for most dishes on the service to come in at under $10 a person. Today Munchery’s prices are pretty much unchanged. When I asked the company what happened, I got no real answer from a representative.

That brings us to Luxe. A spokesman told me that the problems I was seeing were caused by high demand. The company is growing at 40 percent every month, which has caused hiccups in service. Luxe has no further plans to raise prices and thinks its current model can generate significant profit margins, and lead to lower prices, as it scales.

As a user, I hope so. But I wonder. The lesson so far in the on-demand world is that Uber is the exception, not the norm. Uber, but for Uber — and not much else.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Something good happened this year.

 

 

Something good happened this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

..damage to the perceived value of software..

 

 

 

 

Read further

http://mattgemmell.com/damage/

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Today is International Noise Awareness Day

 

Today is International Noise Awareness Day. Is anyone listening ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Nice google image

 

 

 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Schadenfreude (from Juicero)

I learnt a new word today. Schadenfreude. It is borrowed from German, it seems. No surprises there, those guys have words for everything. Schadenfreude means pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.  And I read it here, an article about the juicer debacle last week.  It’s the story of how somebody raised 120 million to make and sell what was a simple mechanical press, and all it could do was press juice out of packets. I thought these smart investors are hard to impress, apparently they will fall for anything, if its connected to the internet. Check this out:

 

 

 

 

 

I feel so Schadenfreude !

 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Next, they will make Aadhaar mandatory to enter...

 

Saw this today.

 

 

 

 

 

Next, they will make Aadhaar card mandatory to enter the temple.

 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

In the long term, automation will kill more jobs

 

All the Indian IT companies are now focussing on automation, too much actually. More and more companies are quietly reducing their workforce - especially the lower rung - as many of the processes are getting automated.

For companies, the move is welcome as it saves them cost, while boosting efficiency at the same time. The automation of course has hit entry-level workforce the hardest, but it is not as if senior and middle rung employees are spared either. This is where senior employees take the hit. Many employees post 40 find themselves unemployable and have to be extremely good or equipped with a specific skill set to get a job. Otherwise, companies find it easier to hire three freshers for one tenth of the senior’s salary and willing to work 16 hours a day.

And the worst way countries have found to this problem is basic income. The cybernation revolution has been brought about by the combination of the computer and the automated self-regulating machine. This results in a system of almost unlimited productive capacity which requires progressively less human labor.

Alreay, 80% of engineers passing out of Indian colleges are unemployable. And IT has always been  the largest absobers of all those graduates.  Future engineers , and eveyone by extension, are going to hav to fight robots to keep their jobs. For once I feel mankind took a wrong turn on the ‘disruptive’ road, and future generations are going to pay the price.

 

 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Titanic continues to fascinate us

 

A hundred and five years ago, a mammoth shipped named the Titanic, struck an iceberg and sunk in the the middle of the Atlantic ocean. But even a century later, it continues to facscinate us. Albeit for different reasons. Today its aura is due to the 1997 blockbuster movie, which captured hearts and the box office. For me it is still hard to believe that this movie is twenty years old. First time watchers, even today, are sure to fall in love with the doomed couple and awe at the CGI in this movie. And don't forget the music !

Right up until its premiere on December 19, 1997, Titanic was expected to be the biggest disaster since the actual ship went down. (The CGI-laden movie, which was wildly over its original budget, got bumped from summer to winter.) Instead, the James Cameron film spent a ridiculous fifteen consecutive weeks at the top of the box-office charts, eventually blowing past Star Wars to become the highest-grossing release of all time, a record it held until Cameron’s Avatar displaced it twelve years later. Because of Titanic's unprecedented reach, its impact on popular culture was immediate and enduring. Not only did the film made household names of its young stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, it embraced marketing opportunities by packaging every possible aspect of the film for sale: the historical research, the legendary production process, the clothes, the jewelry, the music, the actors. And the film greatly benefitted from a new type of fan culture emerging on the Internet, one that allowed anybody, no matter how young or technology-challenged, to create a personal webpage documenting his or her obsession.

 

 

 

It is hard to believe that twenty years have nearly gone by since the release of James Cameron’s Titanic. The director already became famous by directing established low and high budget action films such as The Terminator and True Lies. But the Canadian had a keen interest in the famous oceanic tragedy that occurred in 1912 a couple of years before the creation process of the big blockbuster movie that cost in the region of $200,000,000 to develop.

The pre-release hype, at least in the UK, was quite minimal. But all that changed when the picture was unleashed!

Future movie stars Kate Winslet and Leonardo Dicaprio were still relatively unknowns. Winslet was born and bred in the UK in Reading. She had made a couple of British made movies but it wasn’t long before she was thrust into global stardom when she was elected to play Rose Dewitt Bukater, the troubled teenager who was engaged to be married to a millionaire, Cal Hockley who had a rather unsparing streak.

Dicaprio had previously got his taste for fame when he acted in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet, a modern day telling of the famous Shakespeare play where two star crossed lovers meet a tragic ending. His first movie was Critters 3, the second sequel in the monster furball horror franchise. Before Titanic, Dicaprio had a tendency to pick roles that depicted challenges in relationships and life itself. They may not be everybody’s cup of tea but the now 42 year old actor was certainly on the right path if he wanted to showcase genuine acting talent.

James Cameron showed his attribute for persistence when he pitched the idea of Titanic to 20th Century Fox. They originally requested Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt for the role of Jack Dawson since Dicaprio was still quite unknown and was possibly seen as a financial risk. However, the director held out and won over the studio. The actual pitch itself, in Cameron’s own words was, “Romeo and Juliet on a boat.” Understandably, again, Fox was pessimistic but they gave him the funds to dive to the actual wreckage in the North Atlantic Ocean and grab some footage. During this time, he wrote the script and impressed the studio so much with what he produced and captured that they were eventually persuaded!

The lavish first class dining room, the grand staircase, the cabins and more were all recreated with uttermost accuracy. Even compact items such as dinner plates and breakfast bowls contained the White Star Line logo’s, just like they did on the original ship now more than a century ago. Special water tanks were built to simulate the flooding and sinking of the ship that fictitiously took place during the second half of the movie.

However, the film did not just depend on special effects to impress. The story of two people from two different classes of life coming together not only provoked the audience into caring for them, it was also the key to make people feel sympathy for the rest of the passengers onboard when they eventually meet their doomed fates. But did Jack have to die at the conclusion? Cameron seems to be of the view that killing off one of the main characters is necessary for maximum emotional impact, as proven when he did so for The Terminator and even the ending of it’s sequel in the “chain of death” moment.

Gloria Stuart provided the occasional narration in telling of the events, both authentic to the actual disaster and also for some of the movie’s more imaginary moments. If the ill fated fling between Rose and Jack was to make people care, then perhaps older Rose was the second piece of the puzzle in finalising the process in informing viewers of some of the facts about the sinking. One particular moment would be immediately after Rose makes rescuers aware of her existence and the movie fades into the present with older Rose telling of how many people unfortunately perished and were recovered. A perfect but profound moment.

When the film was released, it can be recalled that it seemed as if the world had gone mad for a sinking ship! Copious amounts of memorabilia were released for retail. Some of the most corny pieces were school bags, stationery and costumes. Then there were your usual t-shirts, lobby cards and posters. Reports of people seeing the movie more than once on the same day were apparently reportedly substantiated. The Titanic marketing machine was certainly a force to be reckoned with! Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On was a chart success although time has not been too kind to it. Even Kate Winslet, herself, has stated that she dislikes the song, even going so far as to say that it makes her want to “throw up.”

There really was not another movie out there back in 1997 to compete with it although ones such as Men In Black and the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies were successful in their own right. Titanic was in a league all on it’s own!

Depending on one’s point of view, Titanic has unfortunately, and fortunately, gotten the reputation over the years as a “chick flick.” It has also been so successful that it seems that there are certain people that hate it for hate’s sake. Let’s get it right, though.The film is not perfect! James Cameron usually had the assistance of others writing scripts for his films but decided to pen Titanic all on his own. And the faults evidently show themselves, including the trite dialogue. Still, the man proved that he is not one dimensional and can take risks and venture into territory not previously experienced.

Behind the (necessary) romantic aspect was a look at the contrast of two social classes of people and the treatment they received. And were perceived. Rose was somebody who was trapped, and forcibly so by a domineering mother, in a situation that she was blatantly not happy with. So not happy that the thought of committing suicide by jumping off the Titanic almost became a reality! On the other end of the spectrum, 3rd class ticket holder Jack was a happy go lucky type of chap who always had to fight to make ends meet, but at the same time had a heart of gold that was eventually recognised by Rose, who could not care less for materialism. Only the genuine love of another soul.

The second half of Titanic is anything but a “chick flick,” although females were, and are, inevitably drawn by Rose and Jack’s affair and the boyish good looks of Leonardo Dicaprio.

What of the movie’s legacy 20 years on?

The film no doubt still, and always will, retain the tag of ‘classic.’ The epic also inspired many to take an interest in the case of the 105 year old sinking of the ship that was claimed by the media to be “unsinkable.” A number of documentaries about it are often seen screen on television, at least here in the UK, covering a wide range of angles and going so far as to offer up different conspiracies regarding what caused the ship to descend into the murky cold waters in the early hours of April 15th, 1912.

James Cameron, himself, was inspired by his own movie to eventually take a deep (pun intended) interest in deep sea diving. He managed to capture footage with 3D cameras when embarking on a record breaking expedition in 2012. The last film he directed was Avatar, released in 2009. Directing still does not seem to be at the top of his list of priorities as of writing in 2017, although Avatar sequels have been mentioned.

Titanic was also given the 3D treatment and was re-released in cinemas in 2012, getting a 3D Blu Ray release shortly afterward although it is debatable as to whether the effort to convert it was worth it. Nevertheless, the re-release managed to rake in nearly $58,000,000 extra, domestically, after spending $18,000,000 for the conversion. It has been reported that the re-release made over $2 billion worldwide!

There have been a fair number of parodies and jokes aimed toward the movie that have been made and seen over the years, mainly directed at the well known “flying scene” and Jack’s venerable “King of the World” line. But it is all in good fun and contributes toward the cultural impact that the film has and probably always will.

Titanic is a timeless piece that inserted itself into that special category that only belongs to a select other few. In terms of filmmaking, it is something other filmmakers can look upon and feel encouraged to make the effort to reach heights they never have before. And some of the movie going public will always look at the film with despair.

JANUARY

January 1: National Geographic releases a collector's edition of its 1986 “Secrets of the Titanic” special on VHS.

Leonardo DiCaprio appears on the covers of People magazine and Vanity Fair.


 

Kate Winslet, break-out star, does a whirlwind TV post-release press tour, appearing on The Rosie O'Donnell Show … and Access Hollywood  and Entertainment Tonight ... and Good Morning America … and Oprah. Meanwhile, Leo DiCaprio stopped by Entertainment Tonight.

January 10: Saturday Night Live runs a sketch about fifth-class black passengers trying to evacuate from the Titanic, starring Tracy Morgan and guest host Samuel L. Jackson.

January 16: Entertainment Weekly editor (and future top editor) Jess Cagle publishes an anti-Titanic piece called "When the Ship Hits the Fan: Why I Hate Titanic."

January 18: Kate and Leo go together as "buddies" to the Golden Globes, where each is nominated. Neither actor wins, but Titanic takes home four awards: Best Drama, Best Director, Best Original Score, and Best Song. While accepting the Best Drama award, James Cameron snidely quips: "Does this prove once and for all that size matters?"

January 26: Deja Vu releases its dance remake of “My Heart Will Go On.” The peppy track peaks at number 69 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart on May 30.

January 31: Twentieth Century Fox estimates that 7 percent of all U.S. teenage girls have seen the movie twice.

FEBRUARY

February 1: Newspaper comic "Fox Trot" begins a weeklong arc about the mother's obsession with Titanic.

February 6: EW runs a cover story called: ”Titanic: How It Will Change Hollywood.” The author's conclusion: "And there it is — what may be the biggest sea change of all in Titanic-shaken Hollywood: the ascendancy of a new post-ironic, neo-romantic era of mainstream, big-budget filmmaking. Or, if you prefer, the return of schmaltz."

February 13: Fox airs the hour-long promotional documentary Titanic: Breaking New Ground that reels in 7.7 million viewers on a Friday night opposite the Winter Olympics and new TGIF episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch and Teen Angel.

February 10: Titanic receives fourteen Oscar nominations, tying All About Eve (1950) for the record.

February 10: Curly-haired smooth jazz saxophonist Kenny G releases an instrumental version of "My Heart Will Go On" as a promotion CD single. The following year, it is nominated for a Grammy in the Best Pop Instrumental Performance category, losing to the Brian Setzer Orchestra song “Sleepwalk.” (Celine Dion won Record of the Year for her vocal version, edging out Brandy and Monica, the Goo Goo Dolls, Madonna, and Shania Twain.)

February 10: Thirteen-year-old Edith Hoag-Godsey launches her Tripod page "Titanic Rules." Her profile specifies that she has already seen the film six (”6!!!!!”) times.


 

February 12: Celine Dion’s "My Heart Will Go On" breaks the record for most radio plays in a single week, with 117 million plays.

February 14: The movie scores the highest Valentine's Day grosses of all time: $13,048,711.

February 17: A collection of 32 telegraph distress signals from the Titanic, including one that says "we have struck an ice berg," sells for $123,500 at a Christie's auction.

February 24: Titanic beats out Jurassic Park to become the all-time leader in worldwide theater revenue. The film pulled in a total of $920 million internationally in its first ten weeks.

MARCH

March 1: Winslet appears on the cover of Rolling Stone. The accompanying profile, in which Kate talks about getting her period on set ("If it suddenly looks like Jaws, it's my fault") and trading sex tips with DiCaprio, is described as "the last non-star interview she gives."

March 1: Kate and Leo are the "most-searched Oscar nominees on Lycos."

March 6: Following Leo's Oscar snub, more than 200 fans call and e-mail the Academy to demand a recount. ''The calls did not just come from teenagers," says the spokesperson. "One older woman called and said the whole state of Florida was upset."

DiCaprio has moved on to promoting Man in the Iron Mask, but he still only gets asked about Titanic – much to the amusement of co-stars Gabriel Byrne and GĂ©rard Depardieu.

March 8: Gloria Stuart wins Titanic's only SAG Award. (Winslet was also nominated.) In her acceptance speech, she says, "I've waited 60 years for a moment like this."

March 13: Celine Dion rides a boat on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and announces her plans to pursue an acting career. Also in this issue: the headline "Yoga Becomes the Latest Craze in Hollywood."

March 13: A British travel company called Wildwings announces that it is now booking Titanic-themed vacations, in which voyagers will travel 12,460 feet into the ocean in Mir submersibles to see the wreckage.

March 13: From a political humor page last updated on March 22, 1998:
Q: What is the difference between Clinton and the Titanic?
A: Only 200 women went down on the Titanic.

March 15: Nine books about the movie, the ship, or Leonardo DiCaprio make the top 25 best-selling books on the New York Times nonfiction list.

March 23: Titanic wins eleven of the fourteen Oscars for which it was nominated, tying Ben-Hur's record from 1960. The telecast is the most-watched ever, with 55 million viewers. At 3 hours and 47 minutes, it is also the longest. Some highlights:

March 23: Host Billy Crystal opens the ceremony on a Titanic set and sings about the film to the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme song.

James Cameron declares himself "king of the world" when he wins Best Director, endearing himself to nobody.

Madonna lauches a shot at the bow (at 2:35).

March 23: Accurately predicting Oscar night results, The New Yorker runs this cover.

March 26: Leo files a lawsuit against Playgirl for obtaining unauthorized nude photos of him. The magazine settles and the pictures are never published.

March 28: James Cameron attacks Titanic-hating L.A. Times critic Kenneth Turan in an editorial: "Nobody's interested in the vitriolic ravings of a bitter man who attacks and rips apart movies that the great majority of viewers find well worth their time and money."

APRIL

April 2: The J. Peterman Company, which is selling licensed Titanic film props and reproductions through its catalog, announces that they are back-ordered on their $198 Heart of the Ocean necklace. Meanwhile, Fox sues Ohio's Lindenwold Fine Jewelry, which has received "tens of thousands of orders" for a $19 knock-off called Jewel of the Sea.

April 4: Saturday Night Live turns the doomed boat into a chipper Disney character named Titey for an installment of "TV Funhouse."

April 4: Titanic ends its run at the top of the U.S. box office, after fifteen consecutive weeks at No. 1.

April 14: Celine Dion performs "My Heart Will Go On" at the inaugural VH1 Divas concert.

April 15: Thirteen-year-old Joey Russell makes national news when he sells his most valued possession, a 1912 postcard of the Titanic, to fund his friend's mother's cancer treatments.

An urban legend about a cursed mummy aboard the Titanic makes the e-mail rounds.

Apr 24: Tourists flood the removed Fairview Lawn Cemetary in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where 122 Titanic victims are buried. From an EW article: "Kayla MacLellan of Wellington, Nova Scotia, took her friends to Fairview for her Titanic-themed 11th-birthday party before they all headed to see the movie again. Two of the girls ran between the graves shouting, 'I'm the king of the world!'"

April 24: Leonardo DiCaprio is introduced on the cover of Entertainment Weekly as the leader of Hollywood's new "Frat Pack" (which includes Damon, Affleck, and … Van Der Beek).

Fundamentalist Christian group United Church of God includes an article called "Lessons from the Titanic" in its March/April newsletter. Excerpt: "This age is like the Titanic. We naively assume society to be unsinkable. Yet it is destined to go down. But we don't have to go down with it. By establishing a relationship with God and upholding the way of life He calls us to, we can locate a lifeboat."

MAY

May 11: DiCaprio is the cover boy for People's "50 Most Beautiful People in the World" list. Gloria Stuart also makes the list, and tells People that Hollywood beauty regimens have changed since the 1930s: "I don't even remember knowing about personal trainers. We played tennis on Sundays and went to Palm Springs and lay in the sun and swam."

May 15: Leo joins the grand Hollywood tradition and shoots a fifteen-second commercial in Japan for a $4 million payday.

J. Peterman releases its Spring/Summer catalog, offering reproductions of Titanic costumes like Rose's "jump dress" ($35,000, only one available) and the "heaven dress" from the last scene ($2,000, recommended for brides).

May 16: Conservative media group ChildCare Action Project declares that "there has not been a more subliminal, far-reaching theft of innocence of such scale and dimension in the history of childhood than Titanic!"

May 17: Titanic surpasses Star Wars to become the highest-grossing film ever, prompting George Lucas to take out a congratulatory full-page ad in Variety.

May 18: Opening of a People article: "Created at great expense and delivered with feverish hype, it may be the most remarkable thing ever to happen to romance. No, not Titanic; we're talking about Viagra, the sky-blue, diamond-shaped pill for men that treats sexual impotence."

May 21: Two feature-film Titanic parodies go into pre-production: Titanic Too — It Missed the Iceberg (set to star Leslie Nielsen) and Gigantic (about a ship that's two-and-a-half inches shorter than the Titanic). Both are dead in the water a few months later.

May 30: The MTV Movie Awards award Titanic Best Male Performance and Best Onscreen Duo, though it loses Best Kiss to The Wedding Singer. A highlight of the ceremony: Stiller and Vince Vaughn pitch a sequel to James Cameron.

May 31: Dave Barry publishes a humor piece containing the script to his own Titanic sequel.

JUNE–AUGUST

June 20: Ozzy Osbourne debuts his Ozzfest video intro, in which he pulls a Billy Crystal and gets swapped in for Kate Winslet via editing for the nude-portrait scene.

June 25: Dan Akroyd brags to People about his new film Pearl Harbor, saying, "It is going to be bigger than Titanic ... the biggest movie in the history of the film industry."

July 24: After nine rumored film leads (including American Psycho), DiCaprio announces that his next project will be Danny Boyle's The Beach. His salary, which was $2.5 million for Titanic, is now $21 million.

July 30: Leonardo DiCaprio pays a well-publicized visit to paralyzed teenage gymnast Sang Lang.

July 30: "Titanic: The Exhibition," featuring salvaged artifacts from the ship, debuts at Boston's World Trade Center.

August 16: The Family Channel premieres "Leo Mania," an hour-long documentary about DiCaprio's fan following.

Aug 21: Leslie Nielsen parodies the "King of the World" scene in the film Wrongfully Accused.

August 25: Back to Titanic, a sequel to the bestselling soundtrack album, is released. 

SEPTEMBER

September 1: The Titanic double-cassette VHS box set hits stores.

Blockbuster chains stay open until 2 a.m. in order to start selling at midnight. In Bay Ridge, a video store promotes the release with an 8-foot ice sculpture of the ship; in Dallas, stores offered a free rental to the customer who brought in the largest chunk of ice.

September 2: A Utah video store offers to cut the racy scenes from Titanic VHS tapes for $5. More than 50 customers take them up on it in the first day.

September 5: The Mariners' Museum in Virginia opens an expansion of its exhibit "Titanic: Fortune & Fate," which has been visited by 200,000 people since opening in January.

September 13: Katie Holmes shows off the trend in Titanic-inspired ladies' fashion with her cap-sleeved lace gown at the 1998 Emmys.

September 11: The Starr Report goes public, revealing that one of Monica Lewinksy's last gifts to Clinton was "a romantic note that she had written, inspired by a recent viewing of the movie Titanic. In the note, Ms. Lewinsky told the President that she wanted to have sexual intercourse with him, at least once."

OCTOBER–DECEMBER

October 30: Director Steve Oedekerk announces that filming is near completion on Thumbtanic, a Titanic parody in which all the characters are played by thumbs. (The 26-minute film doesn't see release until 2002.)

October: Galoob releases a limited-edition collector's doll of Rose DeWitt Bukater.

November 3: "James Cameron's Titanic Explorer," a three-disc CD-ROM reference guide to the ship's history, hits stores.

November 13: DiCaprio reportedly crashes Kate Winslet's wrap party for Quills, wearing a Dennis the Menace mask.

November: A series of Titanic trading cards is released in a limited-edition box shaped like a steamer trunk.

November 22: Celine Dion guest stars on the CBS drama Touched by an Angel.

December 6: The new Titanic Restaurant in London opens its doors for the Tatler magazine Christmas party.

The long-running Las Vegas burlesque show "Jubilee," which features a thirteen-minute dance sequence about the sinking of the Titanic, is now playing to capacity crowds.

December 28: People announces there are "more than 500 web pages" dedicated to DiCaprio. These are joined by the many sites with Titanic-inspired humor, poetry, fiction, passionate defenses, passionate takedowns, and art.

By the end of 1998, the name Rose has risen 100 spots on the Social Security Administration's list of most-popular baby names. Jack, Leo, and Kate also increase in popularity.

 

 

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Ways to secure your google account

 

Today I came across a post which explains all the different ways you can secure you all important Google account. The post describes three different ways, not including the two-factor authentication method which is now the most popular. Apparently, Google can use your fingerprint to secure your account.  

 

 

With the highest number of online accounts, google is now the target of choice for hackers. So it only makes sense to further secure your online account. It might turn out to be a little inconvenient, but at the end of the day, it will  be the account holders that are going to benefit the most from this.

 

 

Its been 20 years!

 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Kozhikode trip

 

Two weeks back we travelled to Kozhikode, to attend a wedding of a friend, and to catch up with others too. Kozhikode is a city in north Kerala, situated right on the west coast in Malabar. I was not looking forward to this trip, partially because I knew how the weather there would be like at this time of the year. But also because I have my own history with the place. The last time I was here was...what..11 years ago ? For my undergraduation I went to an aided college in this district, and had to travel frequently via private buses on this route. There was no direct bus to my college, I had to switch buses at Kozhikode private bus stand, with those half ring curves for its roof. While there, I have had snacks and tea between buses, and very rarely, lunch. And I hated college. Really hated. So when I finally I secured my degree and certificate , I had decided I will never have to come back to this place again.

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Well after 11 years I can proudly say the city has not changed much at all. I remember the traffic was always this bad. Specially around the bus stand, those roads are the arteries of the city traffic. And the weather was always this hot. Being so close to the beach, the humidity is always high. The city has this strange habit of clinging on to its past, modernization comes so slowly. Even in this day and age, most of the establishments do not accept credit card or e-wallets for payment. Except only the high end ones. And people still stare at couples walking together in the big city.

And the hotels, they still cling on to their 12-pm-checkin time rule from last century. We had to pay extra on OYO to ensure we could check in at 7 in the morning. Maybe they take up the entire morning to clean up, thus mandating that checkins are only after 12 noon. But what about early morning travellers ?

It is a similiar irony at the city's most well known shopping mall, the 'Focus' mall. Surprisingly, this is just opposite the private bus stand I used to travel through as a student. There are a few other malls too, but this one seems to be the most well equipped. Puttakke puttakke karimeen puttakke. All the youngsters are there, and even a lot of families. Kozhikode has a majority muslim population, and they dress conservatively. I still cannot understand how they wear those long black burqas under such a blazing heat. So it was ironical that the branded readymade showrooms in the mall were advertizing and displaying a lot of western wear, things which no body in this city would dare to wear. All those shorts and tights and straps, anybody wearing these would turn heads of the 'traditional' population. Neverthless, people were still checking those clothes out.

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The autorikshaw drivers in the city maybe charge the lowest fares in the country. I hope that stays like that for a long long time. We travelled 8 times in autos and paid a total of only 200 rupees ! We would have had to pay about 500 had it been in Bangalore. There is really no need to own a car here, these autos are dependable enough to get around , and they know every nook and cranny and all the secret roads of the city, some I could not even find on google maps !

As always, the city still serves up the best food. Wether it is vegetarian fare, or their cuisines borrowed from Arabia, or their famous biriyanis, the food is lip smacking ! Do visit on an empty stomach. Also one has to visit those famous halwa stands to sample all those colorful halwas, now available in modern flavors of mango and grape !

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And another thing which is thankfully still the same, is the cleanliness. It is still the cleanest cities I have visited in my country. Even the beach area is clean and well maintained. The rest of this country and learn something from it.

 

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

A series of flops

 

Rangoon

Rangoon revolves around Rusi Billimoria (Saif Ali Khan), Miss Julia (Kangana Ranaut) and Jamadar Nawab Malik (Shahid Kapoor). The film is set in the era of World War II. Contrary to all the hype created for the film, Rangoon soon ran out of the fizz and failed to make a mark. The film was made on a budget of INR 80 crore and satellite, digital and music rights were sold in INR 15 crore. So, to break even, the film had to earn INR 65 crore. But, the film could only manage to collect INR 21.57 crore at the box office. And hence, Rangoon turned out to be a huge debacle at the box office.

Ok Jaanu

Produced jointly by Karan Johar and Mani Ratnam, Ok Jaanu is the remake of successful Tamil film from 2015, Ok Kanmani. Ok Jaanu stars the Aashiqui 2 stars Aditya Roy Kapur and Shraddha Kapoor in the lead roles. Made with a budget of INR 28 crore, Ok Jaanu couldn't even manage to earn to recover the cost of production. It collected INR 23.64 crore and hence comes in this category.

Running Shaadi

Adding to the list, next up is Taapsee Pannu and Amit Sadhs's Running Shaadi. It is a romantic comedy and revolves around three character who start a new website called Running Shaadi which helps couples in Amritsar elope with their lovers. Well, the film itself had to elope from the race of becoming an earner at the ticket windows. The film could only earn INR 50 lacs at the box office, but was expected to rake in around INR 3 crore.

Trapped

Directed by Vikramaditya Motwane, Trapped is about a guy who gets locked in his own apartment and the whole story revolves around his tactics of survival and how he manages to make his way out. Ever after Rajkummar Rao's brilliant performance couldn't attract the audience to come to the theatres. Trapped is made on a very low budget of less than INR 10 crore,  but would still struggling to recover that money. The film earned only INR 2.59 crore.

Aa Gaya Hero

Govinda's comeback Aa Gaya Hero had to return to the pavilion before even making a 10 runs on the field. The film was made on a budget of INR 8 crore, but could only earn INR 1.30 crore at the box office.

Machine

Directed by Abbas Mustan, Machine features Kiara Advani, Carla Dennis, Eshaan Shankar & Mustafa in lead roles. The film couldn't make a mark and even viewers weren't interested watching the film. Made on a budget INR 25 crore, the film could only earn INR 3.12 crore at the box office.

Anaarkali Of Aarah

Swara Bhaskar's Anaarkali Of Aarah was in news ever since it was announced. It made headlines for its tussle with CBFC and how the film's scenes got leaked online, But, none of these factors really helped the movie mint money and it ran out of steam as soon as it released. The film was made on a budget of around INR 5 crore and it collected only INR 0.80 crore at the ticket windows.