Monthly Archive February 2019

ByJayanthi

Mysuru, Karnataka, India

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ByJayanthi

Realities of life in the USA

After writing about ‘Myths about US’ I thought I should write about realities of life in the USA before all my memories of my once “home” ebb out…after all it has been 8 years since we returned and my stories still continue! 🙂

  • Layoffs are real

         Oh, yes – they are absolutely and totally real… India also might be feeling layoffs but not as pronounced as the ones in the US. I have seen my neighbours in the US being laid off and waiting for their next job… which is why, in the US – one is always advised to have 6 months of living expenses on reserve (mortgage expenses, bills etc) White collar jobs, blue collar jobs, best education – anything can be axed at any point of time!

  •         Indo-Pak grocery stores are real too 

              This is always nice to see in a foreign land…

  • Many people get stuck in the USA for prolonged period of time too(like 5 years or more)

            They would like to come home and visit India – but there is always something coming in their way like visas, parents visiting, in-laws visiting, immigration issues and other reasons. Many cannot return back to India even for a small visit for more than 5 years or more!! 🙁

  • Many couples have their baby alone

          Maybe I was very old-fashioned but I found this very odd – I have seen plenty of couples have their baby with no parents and in-laws to support them. Either the parents/in-laws are too sick to visit them in a distant land or their visit is deemed to be too expensive – either way, many couples welcome the next generation with limited pampering and love and no family at all… (Of course, they take the baby to India when the baby is 4-5 months old)

  • You become independent

          Once we move outside India – we become more independent with our needs and wants. We learn to cook our own meals, clean our own house inclusive of the bathrooms, mow the lawn, shovel the snow, even do our own woodwork and construction! All in all we reduce our dependence on manpower as manpower is expensive or it is not there at all!  

  • We learn the names of our distant cousins and families in a foreign land! 🙂

       The saying “Distance makes the heart grow fonder” is absolutely true in a foreign land. We might hardly know our distant cousins and families in India – but once in a distant land, the very same distant families and cousins will be a good connect! 🙂

  • Politeness is a beautiful feeling 🙂

         “Please”, “Thank you”, “Have a good day”, “You are welcome” , “How are you” and politeness of every possible way is visible all over the US and you are always greeted with a smile, whether we know each other or not.. 

  • ‘Where do I belong?’ is an all too consuming feeling that overpowers you after you stay there for a prolonged period of time…

     After you achieve all of life’s goals in the USA and you have stayed for more than 10 years, it is the next question that comes automatically. When we visit India – we feel India “has” changed in a lot of ways and “hasn’t” changed in a lot of ways too. We feel we cannot fit in with families and the ways there.

When we stay in the US,  we cannot merge fully into American culture either. We become a new generation of “Indian Americans” who preserve a lot of Indianess and adapt to our new country too!

  • And yes, many do return to India after staying close to 19-20 years too! 🙂

These a few of things that I could remember… have I missed anything?

ByJayanthi

What is Cryptojacking?

It just feels like we hear something new about  cryptocurrencies everyday, but let us delve into the concept of ‘Cryptojacking’ in this post.  Having blogged about cryptocurrencies and blockchain before, here are a few facts about them:

  1. ‘Bitcoin’ and ‘Blockchain’ are two entirely different concepts
  2. ‘Bitcoin’ is a cryptocurrency while ‘blockchain’ is the underlying technology powering cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin 
  3. Blockchain is a distributed, immutable and shared ledger
  4. Transactions on a blockchain cannot be edited
  5.  ‘Bitcoin’ is one of the more popular cryptocurrencies based on the ‘Blockchain’ concept. 

Bitcoin’s energy consumption:

Since bitcoin is based on the blockchain concept, where there is no central authority directing the stakeholders(or miners in Blockchain/Bitcoin lingo), the only way a new block(FYI – a ‘block’ is where transactions are recorded) can be created and agreed upon is by means by of mathematics. This is called ‘mining’, which uses humongous amount of energy. Bitcoin mining can be done by simple software and specialized hardware.

Bitcoin’s current electricity consumption is 46.74 TWh!!(Terawatt hours) (Source: https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption) To put this into perspective, according to one study in April 2018, Bitcoin’s energy consumption numbers were equal to the energy consumption of an entire country like Switzerland! (Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/shermanlee/2018/04/19/bitcoins-energy-consumption-can-power-an-entire-country-but-eos-is-trying-to-fix-that/#116123d81bc8)

Having understood that bitcoin mining is heavily energy intensive, we can understand that cyber criminals will look for alternate means to mine cryptocurrencies.

Cryptojacking:

This alternate and malicious way to mine cryptocurrencies is by means of a concept known as ‘Cryptojacking’. ‘Cryptojacking’ unsuspectingly makes use of an innocent person’s computer, tablet, phone or any other connected device to mine cryptocurrencies. The innocent individual is lured by means of suspicious email links or online ads which then runs the mining code in the background and drains your energy for wrong purposes.

The unsuspecting user continues to use his computer/connected without knowing that his connected device is being used for malicious purposes.

What do criminals gain from this?

They get bitcoins or any other cryptocurrency with minimal effort and electricity usage on their side. They can then use these cryptocurrencies to buy things that they wish.

How do we detect that cryptomining code is running on your computer:

The only way that we can detect if the cryptomining code is running on our computer is when the computer gets slow or gets heated up. 

How do we prevent cryptojacking?

We can prevent ‘cryptojacking’ by installing ad-blocking and anti-cryptomining extensions. Users should also turn off Javascript in the browser and be wary of phishing emails. It is also necessary to keep up with the latest in the security realm and install all patches as and when they are released. 

Future of cryptojacking:

The current damage caused by ‘Cryptojacking’ may only be slowing down of the device but this malicious attack may evolve further with time and pose a risk to personal and financial information. According to this report from eset.com, cryptojacking may not be slowing in 2019. So, it is necessary to take note of this attack and be knowledgeable about it and guard against it.

 

ByJayanthi

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!!

The title of this post either makes you smile or feel puzzled – either way, welcome to the musings of one of the sweetest times of my life… reading children’s books! 🙂 Once I had moved away from worrying about whether variables were static, private, public or private and whether methods were overloaded or overridden – there was a special time when we used to visit our local library to find children’s books and read them with great happiness! 🙂 Now, join me as I go to the kingdom of pure and gentle thoughts! 🙂

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!!

As you may have guessed by now, ‘Chicka Chicka Boom Boom’ is the name of a children’s book to be read to very young children. It used to be a classic for children as young as 2 and it was quite a rage then. My then, 2 year old son used to adore it and I did too, as I read it with him(now he is 17 and he might find it blasphemous that I still remember it!! :))

Children’s books have to be written in a special way to keep the little readers glued to it. The book should not have too much of content and have pretty and enticing  illustrations. The content should be engaging such that little readers don’t lose their little attention span(this of course, goes for all writings!) and move onto the next activity….

This book does that excellently by teaching the alphabets of the English language in a special and fun way.  It goes like this: “A told B and B told C, I will beat you to the top of the coconut tree…” (anybody, care to finish it? :))There are videos on Youtube illustrating this beautiful book too.

More Children’s books:

The other children’s books that I(or rather my kids!! :)) fondly remember reading are:

  1. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle
  2. “Brown bear, brown bear what do you see?” by Eric Carle
  3. “A House for Hermit crab” by Eric Carle
  4. “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr.Seuss
  5. “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr.Seuss
  6. “Jamberry” by Bruce Degen
  7. “If you give a mouse a cookie” by Laura Numeroff
  8. “Goodnight moon” by Margaret Wise Brown
  9. “Is your Mama a Llama” by Deborah Guarino

The Eric Carle series and the Dr. Seuss series of books for children were always winners. I couldn’t even imagine that such beautiful lines could be created by the move of a pen!! “Chicka Chicka Boom”, “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, “A House for Hermit Crab” and “If you give a mouse a cookie” are my all time favorite books. Even though it has been a very,very long time that I read them last – their sweetness and innocence is etched in my memory forever!

As my kids have grown and gravitated away from children’s books into teen series like Roald Dahl and more(for the daughter) and technical books like Java and Information security(for the son), I miss the innocence of the young age…I have also moved away from the blissful, innocent days into the serious horizons of Information security and beyond… 

Were/Are your young readers reading these titles too?