Author Archive Jayanthi

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Pinkathon 2018!

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What began as a gentle whisper in our community, soon reached dizzying heights as more and more ladies joined in to run the Pinkathon on February 18, 2018, in Bengaluru, India. 

For the uninitiated, ‘Pinkathon’ is the run founded by Milind Soman and Reema Sanghavi specifically for women, primarily to give importance to women’s health issues particularly, breast cancer. It encourages women to lead a healthy life by running and doing other physical activities.

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January 2018:

It was just about a month back that one of our “Pinkies” decided that she was planning to run the Pinkathon and was preparing for the same. I was always a bystander in earlier marathons and acted only as a cheerleader! πŸ™‚ I never imagined I would want to do it and neither did many of us “pink sisters” in our community. 

But slowly, but surely, more and more people signed up to do the marathon. I also finally signed up though I never thought I would have the motivation to do it. Motherhood had made me rusty and I was not too much of a fitness freak except for my slow paced walks daily. We were finally a grand total of 22 ladies who had signed up for the run. 

But once we signed up, the positive energy rubbed off on all of us! πŸ™‚  We encouraged each other for daily practice sessions. I also tried a new fitness app(never a fan of all these digital devices that track every breath of your life)  to keep track of my daily walks and calories. New shoes were bought, appropriate apparel was chosen for the D-Day.  Our whole community wore a fitness look and one could see women jogging or doing a brisk walk everyday!

For many of us, it was the first “marathon” in our life! There were 3K, 5K, 10K and 21K runs. Most of us newbie marathoners, chose 3K – not knowing how exactly it would be.There were the healthy stalwarts who chose 5K and 10K too! πŸ™‚

Will I be able to do it was the big question tingling in my head?! (3K is actually not much of a distance – even if you “brisk” walk the distance – we can complete it in 30 minutes)  But still doing it in a marathon setting is a different experience. And the thought of getting up at 3:30 in the morning for the 6:00 a.m. run was more grueling than the run itself!! πŸ™‚

February 18, 2018:

The big day was here and as I woke up at the grueling time( a big thing for a night owl like me!! :))  all pumped up and excited !! All of us traveled to Kanteerava stadium and it was amazing to see the electricity in the stadium. There were 11,000 women eager to lead a healthy lifestyle and running was just a starting point! The day started off with some Zumba to loosen up the muscles. I do not remember swaying to any of the moves as I just wanted to get started with my run/walk! πŸ™‚

At approximately 7:15 a.m., we , the 3kers zoomed off with great gusto and enthusiasm! My 3K was more of walk than a run(did not want to take any risks there!) and most of us were done by 7:50 a.m. The run was amazing in that it had women from all ages. One could see the determined young mothers with their babies, elderly ladies,sari clad women, ‘madisar’ clad women amongst us.There were runs for the visually impaired as well. 

It was a fantastic experience for all of us and a week post the marathon we are still pursuing our fitness adventure! The experience empowered all of us – who went from  “Can we could do it?” to ‘Yes – we could do it”!! πŸ™‚

Cheers to the all the Pinkies in my community to make this happen! πŸ™‚

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Use cases of Blockchain

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Even as the concept of ‘Blockchain’ is bouncing off everyone’s radar and everyone is keen to know more about this trending topic – let us see more about this new and emerging technology. 

Introduction:

‘Blockchain’ is popularly associated with ‘Bitcoin’ cryptocurrency. The Blockchain system shot into prominence and more industry experts took notice of it only after Bitcoin’s surge and ultimately its downfall!

‘Blockchain’ as you might recollect from my earlier post is the shared ledger system. Each transaction is recorded and added to the shared ledger after being approved by the ‘miners’.  The beauty of ‘Blockchain’ is that each miner or node has a copy of the transaction. None of the transactions can be modified or deleted.It allows total transparency of the system with no central authority and promises complete anonymity and security.

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Why does each state of India have a separate language?

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Well, almost, each state…

And sometimes, I feel like I am answering questions on Quora… πŸ™‚ but I love to find answers for questions like these.

Now let us try to answer the question, first though some introduction. Each of the four(or is it five states, now?) southern states of India – Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka each have a separate language and there are other local dialects too… (amazing, isn’t it?! :))The Northern states mostly adhere to Hindi. The western state of Gujarat has Gujarati as its language and the eastern states of India have their own languages (Assamese, Bengali etc) India is stated to home to 23 official languages and another 1650 languages!! (can you imagine?)

India might be the only country in the world or one of the few countries that has so many languages. No sooner do we drive 5-6 hours(roughly – not perfect here) in India , are we in another state with a different language and entirely different customs and traditions. 

 

But how did so many languages come into existence in India? 

India is an old country with rich traditions and customs. It is shaped by a beautiful history from the Mughal empire, Ashoka empire, Hoysala empire and so on.  As each dynasty left, they carved out beautiful traditions and new languages. It mixed with local languages and new dialects must have been born. This might have passed down generations and ultimately that became the language of a particular area of land… till a new dynasty came to power. This is my thought to this question – what is yours?

The reason that the languages stayed for so many years and it is still living:

The only answer that came to my mind was that we could not move as much(new forms of transportation like cars, bikes, boats, air travel have been achieved only of late) – so the languages that mushroomed stayed where they were. Moving from one place to another is a chore even in this day and age – imagine how it would have been several years ago. 

So, if Tamil was spoken in the state of Tamil Nadu and if people could not move much, they stayed there and propagated the language there alone. The same might be the case for other languages too. This has been continuing till date and the beautiful languages of India have stayed, grown and have continued to embellish our lives!

 

 

 

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Video or Text?

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I am sure this question might have appeared in other forums – but after writing innumerable blog posts, I am always curious as to what should be the apt medium of communication for creating blog posts. Should it be videos or should it be plain text to get the point across? I am not going to be using any marketing terminology πŸ™‚ …but rather a layman content writer’s viewpoint…

Let us see the pros and cons of each type.

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What is Information security?

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After having dealt with a huge number of posts on Information security, I thought I will answer one of the fundamental questions about Information security in this post – “What is Information security?” πŸ™‚

Definition:

Information security or “InfoSec” is that discipline of study that broadly seeks to counter and prevent cyber attacks. It also seeks to keep data/information safe by employing different techniques and strategies.

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The toughest job in the world…

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I think most women might know it and most men might have guessed it too… πŸ™‚ 

Every job is nerve racking and highly demanding with its timings and different styles of working but this one job demands you to be a super juggler and the stakeholders in this career tug at your heart strings more! πŸ™‚ 

THAT JOB IS THAT OF A ‘MOTHER’! πŸ™‚

The transformation:

Right from the time when the child/children enter a woman’s life, her life is totally transformed a complete 180 degrees! It is amazing how one’s life goes from being a totally in-control life to a super busy life(really, that kind of ‘busy’ has to be only experienced!!) by a small human being who might be only approximately 21 inches long! This transformation of course, is forever, and will last a life time and beyond.

And for first time mothers, in spite of what you have read and re-read from all mom’s diaries, and all mom-preparations, the surprise might be huge! πŸ™‚ (not to scare any first time moms, though)

From raising a child from a new born baby to adulthood, each stage requires different skills and patience. 

The chaos:

Let us look at one chaotic situation in a mother’s life:

While kid #1, demands attention in homework, kid #2, would have injured herself terribly at school demanding an immediate doctor consultation. In all possibilities, it might just be dinner time and food might be half cooked on the stove and hey… the husband might be travelling too! πŸ˜‰ (Now, isn’t this a fine example of a mother juggling all the duties by herself) 

And if you are in the western world, you can add a fine hint of disaster weather to above menu too( a snowstorm might be a distinct possibility!! :()

Chaotic situation #2:

I am sure most mothers have faced this. When kid #1 falls sick with fever, cold, vomiting etc etc, in all possibilities , kid #2 will be down too and that too after a few days. It might spread to other family members and seeing the doctor becomes the norm!

Re-entering the work force:

Let us look at the mothers and work too. Now, most mothers are well educated and most “were” working before they became “moms”. Trying to get back to work, is a thought most mothers have at the back of their mind.

Most new mothers take a short/long breaks in view of motherhood. Some might think of taking a short break which might become a looong break! While getting back to work is much easier in India(or in your own home country) because of the excellent support system(grandparents, cooks, maids, baby sitters, drivers etc) In the US, it is mostly the grandparents who are the most trusted “baby sitters” (or “daycare” if you have the heart to put them in one)when the kids are young.

And even after re-entering the workforce after a while, many women choose careers based on their kids schedule rather than their own qualification or  experience(odd, but true!) Many mother’s do not opt for the same corporate grind…(while there are some exceptional women who do that – and hats off to them!! :))

In spite of everything, it is a beautiful profession and I love the toughest job in the world!! πŸ™‚

And as I conclude, I am reminded of the saying “God could not be everywhere, so he made mothers!”! 

 

 

 

 

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Social engineering

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Introduction:

” 22 bank accounts hacked, β‚Ή5.3 lakh stolen in 48 hours” scream the headlines in a local newspaper on 28th January, 2018 morning.(Source: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/22-bank-accounts-hacked-53-lakh-stolen-in-48-hours/article22538891.ece)

How did it happen? Two customers were duped of nearly 20,000 Rs and 50,000 Rs by a two conmen(or was it one?) who called the customers in the guise of “bank agents”. They were  asked for their bank details and OTP(one time password) The customers readily obliged since the call was from their “bank”. In a short time, they noticed, that their money was fraudulently withdrawn. 

This is the social engineering technique used by hackers and fraudsters.Let us see this in greater detail.

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The drive

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Years ago, a newly married girl in her early twenties stepped into the US with her  husband. After a number of tiring flights from India, she was finally at home in her new home in College station, TX. Life decently settled down after a while and  she had to master a few things before being comfortable in a foreign country. The first thing was to learn driving so that she could have her mobility.

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Unlike India, where one could learn driving from a driving school,  it was only cheaper and more sensible to learn driving from those around u in the US(friends, peers etc)  So, who else to teach the girl to drive but the husband! πŸ™‚ She had never driven any sort of motored vehicle in her life so, this was going to be an interesting experience! πŸ™‚ 

Most cars in the US were automatic but as luck would have it, the husband had a ‘manual transmission car’ or ‘stick shift’. She saw other newly wedded husbands teaching their wives on automatic transmission cars and they got licenses in a jiffy!(much to her misery!) 

The first day:

If anybody who knew the girl thought she was patient – the husband was patient++!! πŸ™‚ He was very methodical, there were diagrams for everything, from cars to family trees! πŸ™‚

On the first day, she was taught about the accelerator(“it was also called the ‘gas pedal’ in the US” – she was told! :)) , the clutch and the brake and their positions.  She felt her head totally spin – she could never remember the position of the clutch, the brake and accelerator.

He being a good Mechanical engineer wanted to explain all about the inner workings of the clutch, brake and the gas pedal – but the Computer science engineer would hear nothing of it! πŸ˜‰ Who really cared about the clutch, and other things when the mind was thinking about programming?!! 

It was decided that he would teach her driving every Monday, Wed, Friday for about an hour and the routine was followed in spite of a few emotional outbursts here and there! πŸ™‚

First day, First gear:

She was told to “press the clutch and then change to first gear”. Once she was in first gear, she was told to slowly remove the foot from the clutch and press the gas pedal….but once she removed the foot from the clutch and pressed the gas pedal, the car shuddered to a stop!! And she wondered why!! πŸ™‚ (any ideas?!) 

As the days went by the car was behaving erratically and understanding a newly wedded husband teaching you was even more amusing! (Was he pushy, was he slow in  teaching u, or was he harsh, she wondered!! )

Other gears:

A few days later, they moved onto the second, third and fourth gears and each gear change was an interesting experience!! The car never failed to unnerve her with its constant gasping, grinding and shuddering experience! πŸ™‚ The husband as methodical as ever, thought of appropriate routes for each change in gear(and corresponding change in speed too) in the tiny TX town. 

Soon, after a quite a period of time, she had graduated to fifth gear and what place to practice fifth gear, than the highway! They went to the highway just outside the city of College station, TX and practiced diligently. 

Finally!

Finally, after nearly 6 months(yes, this was an extremely patient couple!! :)) she had learned to change all the gears without the engine rumbling too much and all that there was to master was the ‘reverse gear’ and ‘parallel parking’. 

He would always praise   the “smooth change in gears of certain individuals” – but she wasn’t one of those “smooth changing individuals for sure!!” πŸ™‚

‘Reverse gear’ was equally nerve racking and she was told to strictly turn back and look and not just look at the rear view mirror before reversing! 

Parallel parking was a big story in itself and she was taught with the exact rules in the safety book. (In those days, the Internet was in its infancy and there was nobody else to teach her – but her husband!)

“Park by the side of the car, turn all the way to the left, and start reversing to the spot, and once you are in, start straightening and so on… “!! πŸ™‚ were the directions of parallel parking from him!

Finally, after a very, very loong period of 11 months, she was ready to take the driving test. She was given strict instructions on what to do and what not to do on the test and she did pass the test with flying colors on the very first try! πŸ™‚

And last but not least, I am sure you would have guessed the characters in the story! πŸ™‚

Dedicated to all husbands teaching their wives to drive or any wives teaching their husbands to drive too! πŸ™‚

Note: 

For those, wondering what is “parallel parking?” It would be good to read this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_parking

 

 

 

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Security policies

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‘Security policies’ are yet another aspect of Information security that is all around us – but we are hardly aware of it. We will see the meaning of security policy, the reasons for having security policies and some examples of security policies in this post.

A security policy in a nut shell is a document that lays out in detail how an organization is planning to safeguard its business and technological assets.

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Biometrics

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‘Biometrics’ is gaining more recognition in today’s world – thanks be to popular organizations embracing it. What is ‘Biometrics’ and what are the different types of biometrics? Read on to find out:

Biometrics – Definition:

Biometrics is uniquely used to identify a person by making use of the distinct characteristics of a person. According to the Michigan State University Biometrics research group, β€œThe field of biometrics examines the unique physical or behavioral traits that can be used to determine a person’s identity”.  These unique traits can be fingerprints, palm scan, hand geometry, retina scan, iris scan, keyboard scan to name a few of them.

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