Microsoft’s HoloLens is no joke. We’ve now tried the company’s latest revision of its unreleased augmented reality headset and even built an app for it. The new hardware, which Microsoft also showcased during its Build developer conference keynote yesterday, feels very solid and the user experience (mostly) delivers on the company’s promises. Read More
Its a very well known fact that the indian cuisine is at times complicated and time consuming. Westerners typically associate the Indian dishes with attributes such spicy with calorific value etc.
Neverthless the cuisine is unique in itself and carries a specific taste or flavor of its own which is much different than fellow Asian cuisines which use spices as well. Considering the number of ingredients put into the same, and the expertise required to mix them in the right amount at the right time while cooking brings a price. This special is one of the reasons why dishes tend to be costlier.
The following post describes a study done by Indian Institute of Jodhpur on Indian cuisine where in they have tried to put up a mathematical explanation of unique taste associated with the Indian cuisine.
I detested any form of exercise since my childhood. As I a child I had been an avid follower of sports and played a few of them including Cricket, Badminton, Volleyball to name a few. However when it came to standalone exercises I always managed to find an excuse to avoid the same. This attitude did continue as I grew up and as a result of this lackadiasical attitude I had put on some weight as I got into a sedentary job. Like every other honest soul I made several new year resolutions to change the same – but later I accepted that these resolutions are kind of shortcomings one has to accept and live with. It wasn’t like I never tried to do something. I did make few other tries – to register myself ever year for a 5.6 KM marathon only to take the free runners T-Shirt because I never really ran in the event. I have no qualms in accepting that though I was ashamed a bit every time I wore the same.
Then came the month of June 2014 and something changed then. Suddenly my inner self woke up to the fact something is not right and I got to do something about it. I allowed myself to give it a try this time by going one level higher. Apart from registration I decided to run a few 100 metres daily to see if I can cope up and observe my capacity.
2nd June 2014
I still remember the date it was 2nd June 2014 – I tried my first run. One lap in the par nearby was around 1.5 kms. I ran the first lap with lots of motivation only to feel exhausted at the end of the lap. But then I looked up my timings. I had taken around 6.2 minutes to run the 1st kilometre. The first thought was “not bad, huh”. Lets try another one to see if I can manage. Then I finished the half of the second lap with full adrenaline only to stroll in the second half. Somehow I managed to finish that lap as well. The time showed 3 kms in 20.41 minutes. By then I had enough of it and decided to take the next exit towards home. However on the way back I thought rather than walking why not just run but at a lesser speed. I did that and the result was 4.94 kms in 36 minutes. It was an incredible result considering the first day.
On that day before sleeping I thought to myself, was there some kind of a miracle today ? Or really I am fit enough to cover that much distance on the first day. However the paining legs were telling an entirely different story.
3rd June 2014
The next day morning still I couldn’t get over it (had still paining legs though :-)). I went to office that day and whilst coming back I thought of giving it an another try just to confirm if that was just not by fluke. This time I could not have allowed myself to settle for anything less than what I did yesterday. But then I was scared not to injure myself. Hence I decided to go for a couple of laps again. This time 2 laps took around 20:34 minutes (1 lap = 1.5 kms approx.) It was the time to take the exit route once again. But somehow I pushed myself to go for a 3rd one thinking that if I don’t feel like going I will abort. I had already achieved my target of 2 laps and anything above that was going to be a bonus. At the end it was 5.06 kms in approximately the same time as yesterday 36:10 minutes. It confirmed that it was not a fluke but there is some truth in it.
Every alternate day
That day I thought lets try the same for another week and run every alternate day. This was at least to keep the motivation going until the Marathon day. Then every alternate day I would test myself to see if I can manage same/better than the previous day.
11th June 2014
This was marathon day – and a weeks’ practice had bore some results wherein I ran 5.6 kms in 37:06 minutes. I still remember how delighted I was as I had never imagined myself a couple of weeks before running even a kilometre.
The assessment day
After a couple days of getting over the feeling of super achievement it was back to reality. Still the puzzle how could I do it remained unresolved. I had to understand this. I had continue this practise as well – this time as I was afraid of going back to my old habits. That day I completed my 3 laps as usual but rather than going home I pushed myself for another one. I had decided to take the exit route after that. The 4th lap was really tiring however I kept going thinking that it was the last one and anyhow that’s my bonus lap. As I came near the exit point I decided to go for some more distance and take another exit. So I ran another half kilometre. Again as I neared the other exit, I thought why not to complete this one as well, anyhow I had achieved my target for the day – hence the 5th lap. At the end I was really exhausted and didn’t have the energy to walk home. So I decided to lie on the green portion of the park around half a kilmotere away. By the time I reached there I had covered around 8 kms. in approximately 55 minutes.
The self realisation
While lying down there as I looked up in the sky I thought – “Wow that was something !!” A couple of minutes later I realised that my most productive time was after the 3rd lap. First 3 laps were obligatory for me and later on everything was a bonus. Vola !! I had resolved the entire puzzle !! I realised that all the laps I ran after the 3rd one – I was thinking of them as Bonus Laps. So there wasn’t really any pressure or obligation on me to finish something. I had a small target to start with (of 3 laps) and once that was reached, I had further smaller targets each time – 1 more lap each time. This way essentially (and unknowingly) I had broken down a large work of running 8 kms into smaller chunks which I could digest at a time. I understood that as a result I was never overwhelmed by the bigger milestone and took a sense of accomplishment at every smaller step towards it.
Hence in the end it was not really a miracle or something to do about physical capacity but it was more of a mental tenacity. It was all about how long I can stretch myself before I hit a mental block.
Isn’t it analogous to a real life scenario wherein break and make approach works? That day I learnt a lesson of life – The Key is to remove the Mental Blockage before physically attempting something deemed as un-attainable. Using the same logic until now, I have been able to motivate myself to keep continuing my runs (even in inclement weather). And I am proud to mention that within first 6 months I could hit 10 kms consistently.
I still thank myself for having the (Bonus ;-) ) thought on that day to go for a Bonus Lap – as it completely changed my perspective to look at things, typically considered as unachievable.
In real sense I had run my first RUN of life.
After all – Its All Mind Game – isn’t it ?
Last week I heard the news about one of my acquaintances passed away owing to cancer. It was always on the cards , but was just a matter of time that the inevitable occurred. The family did whatever they could, however considering their limited resources – it turned out to be not enough wherein they could avoid the eventuality. Everyone more or less knew what’s in store for them, still they were hoping against the hope for a miracle to happen and in the process exhausted their valuable economic resources which could affect their very survival in future. I was very sad to hear that.
It got me into a thinking process and realization that inspite of large technological advances we have made, there are still many areas to conquer. We live as if we are never going to die and suddenly we come to about know the worse. And this is not the only instance, in recent times I have come across such news a lot and it is really quite disturbing. I am not writing this to scare someone out, but it is more about a reflection of the thought process I got into after the very incident.
The questions like,
- What is cancer?
- Why cancer occurs ?
- Are there any specific reasons for the same?
- Can we then avoid it somehow ?
start hammering with each such news I hear.
Okay I’m not an expert into this field but it’s a layman’s point of view and I’m sure everyone must have gone through the same at some point in time.
In general terms Cancer is not a disease caused by an external agent living/ non-living. In simplest terms it is something to do about malfunctioning of cell maintenance system wherein cells simply multiply without any inhibition. It can be likened to a Computer System wherein a corrupted/affected file spreads throughout the system ultimately bringing it down.
There are many causes put forward for the same like,
- Exposure to certain chemicals
- Unhealthy diet
- May be Alcohol
- and last but not the least Heredity
However these are just the possibilities and no one can concretely say a particular reason. Cancer has been known to human beings since 1600 B.C. where Egyptian and Greek civilisations have reported such incidents. So this is something which is not new to us, but alarming rise into the deaths reported during the later part of 20th century raises a question
“What have we done wrong ?”
A logical thinking says, since as mentioned above its a malfunctioning and not a disease per say, the malfunction is generally caused by excessive use/misuse of “something”. Now what’s that “something” is a question.
The Earth in itself is a balanced ecosystem and we all are parts of the same. Every other entity keeps it in a balanced state which is quite critical. However in the past century,
- Heavy industrialisation
- Radioactive waste
- Rampant Urbanisation and removal of greenery to acquire land
- Unhealthy foods habits like canned foods and usage of preservatives
- Unhealthy life and work styles
all in my opinion have contributed some or the other way to unbalance the same. We have accepted many things which are not so natural like food habits as mentioned above which might have caused a disturbance leading into problems. Too much canned food and use of preservatives aren’t contributing to our healthy well-being. The sedentary lifestyles and resulting obesities have come into existence. Why are we making it difficult for ourselves ?
On the top of that Cancer is not a single ailment which can be easily cured by a specific medicine. It is known to be a collection of varieties of such ailments. There are as many as 100 different cancers that can affect human beings and can occur right from Brain to Groin area. Hence it is very difficult to find out a one solution that fits all.
Having said that the picture is not as bad as it looks now. There are techniques like,
- Alternative medicine etc.
available to cure the same. Still early detection holds the key and removal of the problem part is an assumed solution. The survival cases of acclaimed silver screen stars Robert DeNiro, Sheryl Crow, cyclist Lance Armstrong, cricketer Yuvraj Singh do provide a hope that we can beat it.
The following statistics from SEER also show that though we have managed to better the survival rate, the number of new cases reported have increased as well.
|5-Year Relative Survival||48.7%||49.1%||52.5%||57.7%||61.0%||64.0%||67.3%||68.5%|
We lose many precious souls on this planet every other year. Though there is lot of research going in this area and scientists are trying since years to fix the same – the knowledge and the requisite awareness hasn’t still reached the thousands affected. The treatment and the cure in itself is not easily available and is very expensive.
Though there are organisations and NGOs working in this area – we as in a system have still failed to co-operate and deliver the results by making it easily available to the needy. Specially Governments in the developing world haven’t done enough – these treatments should be heavily subsidised and there should be a pool of money to assist the affected. Special advisory cells should be setup who should act as a trouble shooting guides and providing right kind of guidance. This is one of areas where probably NGOs should come forward and advertise themselves. A better co-operation and transfer of knowledge between developed and developing/under-developed world is finally going to help us, The Human Beings.
In the end, it leaves me deeply saddened to see that,
a happily living lower middle class family, by the time come to a realisation that one of their members is affected by Cancer, its too late wherein they can do something about it – either due to the lack of knowledge and/or requisite resources – finally succumb to the ailment.
The title of this post might look a bit out of place or absurd. I haven’t cracked the riddle to that as yet :) however it has definitely flummoxed the best from human race. No one knows about what happens after Death. But today I want to touch upon a more subtle subject and sooner you are going to understand the relevance of the same. But before that lets start with something else.
We are bound by time ! None in this universe is Immortal or lets say put it this way every living, non-living entity in this universe is bound to change into some form or other. As we tread through the different stages of life we meet people, visit new places, make or try something new, innovate, bring up a thought process etc. In way we leave our footprint in some way or the other and are remembered by the same. Hence there is a well known saying that “A person dies however his/her belongings, ideas, thoughts, deeds survive”. As a result we do care a lot to ensure that all these belongings are carried forward in a rightful manner.
Now without being too philosophical here, the point is that accordingly we try to organise our lives in a way to align ourselves with the same and make suitable arrangements at different stages in life. We try to cover the risk factors in case of eventuality, make adaptions to make sure that our legacies are carried forward. To summarise we have an idea about our “Will”.
During the last decade there has been an explosion in the area of consumer electronics. Right from the mobile phones, TVs, computers, laptops, tablets and loads of digital equipments – the list is endless. First there were devices and then the devices were made online “always connected to the internet” and now “connected to each other” – its called “Internet Of Things”or IOT. The point is as the digital electronics gains more and more significance in today’s life – so even we start living in two different worlds at the same time. The one is a “Physical Life” whereas the other is sort of let’s call it a “Virtual of Digital Life“.
Now drawing an analogy here have we ever given a thought about our “Digital Footprint” or to say our “Digital Life”? Since we belong to the First Generation Digitally Active (FGDA) group, I believe there has been a little awareness about the same.
Let me try to put the implications of the same. In today’s connected world we voluntarily or involuntarily share a lot of information about ourselves.
- The social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr belong to the first category.
- When we surf the internet, make queries, look for holiday destinations, choose and shop a pair of shoes online, purchase a book etc we are involuntarily contributing to the later category.
In a way, if all the digital information is to be plotted then,
– We can be visualised as Actors/Entities acting as the Nodes of a Large Connected Graph – where each node is generating loads of information
– And our relationship with each other node forms the Edge of the graph
Now each node has zero to many relationship with other nodes and that aggregates a whole lot of information about us. And it goes without saying that internet giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook etc. thrive on this information and pursue their commercial interests. Whether its right or wrong is totally different debate altogether. In general we don’t care but we are an active critic whenever the debate arises.
But if you ask me then my answer would be, if you give away your information freely on internet, you want to be socially active and liked persona, you want to avail free services on internet – then you don’t have a right to complain about it. Your views may differ !!
However you should responsibly think about,
How much do you care about such leftover information or traces ?
Have you ever though about checking how do I look on Internet ?
Are you aware of your digital presence ?
Can we or anyone else simply unplug the same ?
The whole idea here is to increase the general awareness about our online presence and take it more seriously as we do in our non-digital life.
In my opinion, we should
- make ourselves equipped with privacy details made available by every other social networking site
- know about how the same can be passed on when we are not there anymore
- be critical about what we share and be aware of the consequences
- keep an eye on silent watchers when we surf the internet
At the moment there is no perfect recipe to address the same. However some companies like Facebook have realised the same and have started providing unique offerings like a “Digital Will” to pass on the information to a known person as a part of legacy.
The company will let you choose who, if anyone, has access to parts of your account after you die. Conversely, you can also tell Facebook to delete your account in the event of your death. You can choose whether that person is allowed to download a file of all your pictures and posts for safekeeping. To trigger the will, your friends or family will need to put in a memorial request to Facebook. The person you grant access to will be able to add new friends to your profile, update your profile and cover photo, and write a memorial message that appears pinned to the top of your page. But they won’t be able to log in as you or view your personal messages.
The more aware we are about our “Digital Life” the more we can ensure that our information is in the safe hands. Currently even there aren’t any concrete rules governing the same. We, as in customers/users, take this up seriously the stricter rules will follow sooner or later.
Though everyone seeks a long life however making arrangements for the D-Day are should not be forgotten !
परदेशात आपल्या लोकांपासून दूर राहणे हा वेगळा च अनुभव असतो. लहान पणा पासून “अभ्यास कर आणि आपल्या पोट-पाण्या ची सॊय कर रे बाबा” असे शब्द कानावर पडून मोठे झालेलो आम्ही. त्यामुळे उमेदी च्या काळात बाहेर राहून हाताशी असलेल्या वेळेच सोने करणे हा परदेशात राहण्या मागचा उदेश्य. बर हे सगळे प्रापंचिक उंबरठे ओलांडत्ताना मागे आपण बरेच काही सोडतोय ह्याची जाणीव होत जरी असली तरी त्यावर विचार करायला वेळ कुठ. तरीही आपले लोक, आपली संस्कृती शी सांगड ठेवणे कुणाला नाही आवडणार !
बरेच दिवसां पासून काही तरी करावे जेणे करून आपल्या सारख्यांना एकत्र आणता येईल, वेळ घालवता येईल अशी भावना मनात घर करून होती. प्रत्येक जण आपल्या दिनचर्येत व्यस्त अस्तो. अशात मातृभूमी शी निकट नेणारा विरंगुळा कुणाला नाही आवडणार !!
पण म्हणतात ना ” मना पासून वाटत असेल, तर इच्छा पुर्त्ती चा मार्ग आपोआपच मिळतो “. अगदी तसेच झाले ! काही दिवसांपूर्वी अशाच एका उत्साही चमू सोबत काम करायची संधी चालून आली. एक मराठी चित्रपट प्रदर्शित करायचे ध्येय होते. विशेष आकर्षण म्हणजे चित्रपटातील मुख्य कलाकार पण सोबतीला असणार. अशा प्रकारचा प्रसंग प्रथमच अनुभवायला मिळणार ह्या विचाराने काम करायची एक वेगळीच प्रेरणा मिळाली. कॉलेज नंतर मोठ्या प्रमाणावर काही आयोजन कराची ही पहिलीच वेळ.
मराठी सिनेमा साठी प्रेक्षक वर्ग शोधण हे जरा कठीण च काम होत. त्यात परदेशातील चित्रपट गृहात मराठी सिनेमा दाखवायचा म्हणजे तारे वरची कसरत होती. आम्ही सगळे जोमाने कामाला लागलो. टिम मधील प्रत्येकाने कामे वाटून घेतली. पण ऑफिस मधील कामा चा धामधुमीत हे नवीन काम अंगावर घ्यायचा त्रास अजिबात नव्हता. सगळ्यांनी होते नव्हते ते संपर्क वापरलेत, ओळखी काढल्यात. टार्गेट होते ते कमीत कमी ५० प्रेक्षक जमवायचे. तर कुणी खजिनदार झाले, काहींनी मार्केटिंग चा मोर्चा सांभाळला, कुणाच्या हाती यजमान पद आलं, तर कार्यक्रमाची समालोचन आणि सांगता करण्याच काम काहींनी मन पूर्वक स्वीकारलं. मग दर रविवारी मिटींग्स, नोटस, कमिटी इत्यादी सुरु झालं.
पाहता पाहता दिवस निघालेत आणि प्रयत्नांना यश येऊ लागल. ५० चा आकडा तर कधीचाच पार झाला होता. एका वेळी प्रेक्षक मिळतील की नाही असे विचार करणारे आम्ही आता इतक्या प्रेक्षकांचं समाधान करू शकु कि नाही ह्या विचारात पडलो. अगदी शेवटच्या दिवसा पर्यंत फोन्स येत होते आणि आम्ही ७५ तरी पार केली. हाउस फुल्ल चा बोर्ड वाचून प्रोड्युसर्स ना नक्की कस वाटत असेल हे आम्हाला जाणवलं.
शेवटी कार्यक्रमाचा दिवस उजाडला आणि दिवस चालू झाला जरा उशिराच. चित्रपट गृहातील कर्मचारी उशिरा आलेत आणि प्रेक्षक वर्ग बाहेर आतुरते ने गर्दी करू लागलेत. तरी पण संयम न सोडता आम्ही कामाला लागलो – प्रेक्षकांचा नोंदणी च काम आणि तिकीट वाटप सुरु झाले, ऐकी कडे फिल्म ची ब्लुरे च सेटअप सुरु होत. आम्ही सोबतच खाद्य पदार्थ ही वाटणार होतो त्याची तजवीज सुरु होती. असे करता शेवटी सगळ्यांनी आप आपले स्थान ग्रहण केले आणि मुख्य कलाकारांनी येऊन प्रेक्षकांना आम्ही अगदी आपल्यातील च आहोत अश्या पद्धतीने संभाषण केले. प्रेक्षकांच्या प्रश्नांना विनोदाची जोड लावत माहोल बांधला.
चित्रपट सुरु झाला. आम्ही आतुरतेने प्रतिक्रिया जाणून घेण्याचा प्रयत्नात होतो. त्यांचे स्मित हास्य मधूनच टाळ्यांच्या कडकडाट ऐकून समाधान वाटले. त्यांचा चेहऱ्या वरील आनंद बघून हायसे वाटले. जणू काही आपणच चित्रपट चित्रित केल्याचा विचार मनाला स्पर्श करून गेला. परदेशात मराठी भाषिकांना एकत्र आणण्या चा प्रयत्न सफल झाला होता.
बऱ्याच दिवसानंतर काही तरी छान केल्याची भावना मनात येउन गेली. त्या रात्री ची निद्रा मागील काही वर्षातील सर्वात सुखद आणि आनंददायी अशी होती !!
महत्वाची बाब म्हणजे ह्याची दखल मराठी वृतापात्रांनी सुध्दा घेतली !!
If you are staying in Germany you might be very well aware that most of the services here are governed by signed fixed term contracts. It could be anything right from a Gym enrolment to Library subscription or an Internet or a telephone connection. There exist multitude of such contracts varying in duration from 3 months to 6 months upto a year or so.
As a result one has to be very careful whilst getting into any of such contracts without knowing or rather being aware of right termination rules. Any wrong step of non-fulfilment of obligation may result unwanted attention causing a dent into your credit worthiness.
Typically companies or I should say service providers should be aware of the risk factors towards default associated with their prospective clients. In order to align this understanding countries over the years have developed various mechanisms.
The real SCHUFA
In Germany SCHUFA (stands for German: Schutzgemeinschaft für allgemeine Kreditsicherung; English: Protection company for general creditworthiness) Holding AG is the private company or authority which does the job of recording and calculating the credit statistics or simply credit worthiness of the citizens. It not only protect its clients from credit risks but also offers protection from insolvency to borrowers.
How does it work
The company will track all bills or fines you might have left unpaid and put in your credit record history. That’s why when people say “schufa” , they often mean the record held by the company. Your record will be check by companies when opening a phone account or by your bank when you apply for a credit. They will then be able to tell if you have debts or not and if you can be trusted as a customer. The company is basically rating your ability to pay your bills. This record (called Schufa Auskunft) will follow you everywhere as consumer in your everyday life, you‘d better keep it clean !
As a foreigner, it will be automatically created when you have completed your anmeldung and subscribed to a first contract like for a mobile phone for example. The cleanest schufa score you get at the beginning is rated at 1000 points. If you don’t pay your bills, this score will decrease accordingly to how much you have been naughty. If it does, it can limit your ability to undertake other contracts which can be annoying. However, this system is preventing that you become overwhelmed by debts overtime.
As per the Wikipedia, Schufa has 479 million records on 66.2 million natural persons, amounting to about three-quarters of the German population. Schufa processes more than 102.9 million credit checks each year. Of those, 1.5 million are self-checks by citizens. Schufa employs 752 people (as of 2010). In 2009 it took in 1.9 million Euros (about $2.5 million USD) in revenue from ordinary activities and a total of nearly 108 million Euros (about $150 million USD).
The Schufa will hold information about you long after you leave Germany and at a European level too. If you plan to leave unpaid bills behind and then come back to Germany, you might have to think twice before doing it. It could become harsh back fire in the near future.
Understood, but how do I get my credit report (may be for free) ?
So the point is this is something one can’t ignore in order to be credit sane in the views of potential service providers. But then how should one know where does I stand in terms of my credit rating ? The answer is simple, get a report on your credit worthiness. How many of you know that since 2010 regulation SCHUFA is obligated to provide on free report per year. Any subsequent reports are based on again “subscription model” (pun intended).
Now when you visit the MeinSchufa you are presented with various monthly options to subscribe. But if your are one time visitor and may be don’t need reports more than once a year, you need to look for the application for free report. Schufa has been quite clever in presenting this in a stealthy manner. You don’t right away see the link for the same. However you need to navigate to,
Main Page -> Auskuenfte -> Datenübersicht nach § 34 BDSG
Basically since 2010 there is law (Bundesdatenschutzgesetz) to allow one free report per year. And the SCHUFA has put this in a convoluted manner. Just click the link and you will be presented with a page asking to choose language (between German, English and Turkish). Once you select the same, you land into PDF which has to be downloaded and filled appropriately to be sent together with your passport and visa card. If you don’t want to go ahead with subscription don’t check or sign the Alternative section/box. Finally post everything to SCHUFA Holding AG Postfach 10 25 66 44725 Bochum as mentioned.
If all documents and form are alright, you should be getting the report within a fortnight !!