Why I use a MacBook

Many of the Apple users, particularly in India, face this question- Why use an Apple device when it is so expensive compared to other options available in market. Here I intend to discuss in particular on why I use a MacBook, instead of a Windows PC.

In fact, I purchased a MacBook more due to my feeling that there is no other reliable system available in the market which suited my requirements, ever since my old Sony VAIO became obsolete in terms of performance. I would try to evaluate the experience I had with my MacBook Pro, my first of an Apple product.

Image Courtesy: https://www.maxpixel.net/Laptop-Mockup-Office-Macbook-Pro-Iphone-Business-1035345

Build quality

One of the best qualities when it comes to the Mac computers is the build quality. While most of the computers are built with easily damagable plastic, Mac computers are built with durable aluminium. In fact, during the very first week after buying my mac, a MacBook Pro 13” device, it slipped out of my hand and had a 3 feet fall. Much to my surprise, there was not even a mark left by the fall.

Uri: The what and how’s of the Indian Army surgical strike against Pakistan

Today (29 September 2018), is second anniversary of India’s much acclaimed surgical strike against militants in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK). There are many controversies doing rounds in the internet and social circles on the strike India carried out outside the its territories. However, a majority of the public remain unaware of what a surgical strike was, and how a multitude of events led to the strikes.

The Uri movie official poster from IMDb.


Ever since the NDA government came to power in 2014, India has maintained a very tough posture towards external and internal threats, whether it be against cross border firing from Pakistan or against the various terrorist organisations targeting civilians or armed forces of the country.

MacOS Mojave - Apple would need to improve on the dark mode and overall design consistency

Apple is well known for its attitude of having things the "way it should be" and its design philosophy is appreciated world wide. But the recent software releases appear to suggest that Apple has lost its legacy in the design perfection. Did they fire their chief designer? I don't know.

A much hyped and anticipated feature of the just released MacOS Mojave was the dark mode. Although Apple has experimented with several dark elements in the past - it's the first time they have brought something that would make the overall look and feel truly dark. And because of all the hype and my personal obsession towards the dark, the first thing which I did after upgrading to MacOS Mojave was to turn on the dark mode. However, the first impression was not as welcoming as I expected.

The appearance mode under the System Preferences --> General category

Dark Theme

Embossed Window Edges

The first impression which I had was that the dark mode looked a little like a few years ago. The embossed edges of the dark mode windows stands out unlike their light counter parts. While the light themed windows use a smooth border and shadow, when the dark theme is enabled, the border is solid and dark.

An exemplary story from an impeccable political career of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee

The word "politician” immediately brings certain adjectives to the minds of people- corrupt, ruthless, untrustworthy etc.- but cooperative, patriotic, and selfless are some very few would pick. Here is an exemplary story from the impeccable political life of the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee or Atalji- probably the best prime minster India has ever had, and sometimes would ever have. This is a story of a conspiracy by the top leaders of opposing political parties, “conspiring" to cover up a controversy for the cause of national insterest- a cause very rare to be heard of in these days of filthy political blame games.

Image source: http://punjab.bjp.org/leadership/shri-atal-bihari-vajpayee/

In 1996, when Narasimha Rao government was approaching the final days, a probable defence scam was brought to surface through a story by the Indian Express. It was the Sukhoi fighter jet deal with the Russians. As with any large scale defence deals, much like the Rafael jet controversy doing its rounds now, the opposition- BJP- was quick to take up the controversy and protests started errupting. The deal was perceived as a probable fund-raiser for the upcoming election campaign of Narasimha Rao. Else why was there a hurry to sign such a significant deal, which otherwise would have taken a sweet amount of time?

Make a difference by contributing towards the CM’s disaster relief fund for the ongoing disaster relief operations in Kerala

Dear Friends,

As some of you may already be aware of, Kerala is currently facing a major disaster owing to the heavy rains and the resultant unprecedent floods. The havoc has already caused immesurable devastation, causing a loss of 186 lives so far and rendering thousands homeless. For the first time in the history of Kerala, 27 dams in Kerala had to be opened, worsening the calamity even further.

The current estimate of the damages is as follows:
  • 164 lives lost
  • 33 of 39 dams opened
  • 12 of 14 districts severly affected and facing Red Alert (Alapuzha, Kottayam, Pathanamthitta, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Malappuram, Palakkad, Wayanad, Kannur and Kasargod).
  • 2 districts facing orange alert (Thiruvananathapuram and Kollam)
  • Kochi Airport (Nedumbassery) closed for 4 days till 18 Aug 2018
  • 211 landslides
  • 10000 kilometers of roads destroyed
  • 20000 houses damaged or destroyed
  • Estimated loss of 8316 crores (preliminary estimate)
  • 15 bridges collapsed

The unsung legend of Vaikom Padmanabhan Pillai

There are many heroes, their stories unsung, their legends forgotten. Neither do they hold place in text books, nor much in the popular culture. One such true legend was Vaikom Padmanabhan Pillai, an elite soldier of Tranvancore empire (parts of current state of Kerala and Kanyakumari) who is credited with defeating the extravagant army of Tipu Sultan twice in battle, and later attained martyrdom in fight against the British.

By Techsreekanth - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Vaikom Padmanabhan Pillai was the kochasan (similar to a teacher or a trainer) in the Nandyat Kalari of the Vadakkumkoor state of the Travancore empire. Kalaries are local training centres wherein warriors were trained in the legendary martial art of Kalari. The kingdom of Travancore maintained an army modest in number, and in case of any confrontation, an army of fighters are summoned from such Kalaries merging together with the standing army to form the glorious Travancore army. It was one such instance that kick-started the legend of Vaikom Padmanabhan Pillai- when he and others from local Kalaries were summoned to fight against an invading Mysore army, led by the Mysore Tiger - Tipu Sultan.

How the recent controversies like that in Meesa Novel propel radicalisation of Indian society.

A Malayalam short story writer, S Hareesh, recently ignited a chain of controversies with his feature novel- Meesa (meaning. Moustache) in a Malayalam weekly magazine- Mathrubhoomi. The said novel, in a conversation between two actors, alleges that hindu women goes to temples well dressed are making a declaration that they are ready for sex with the temple priest. He further comments about the lustful history of the temple priests. The dialogue goes on to say that they skip the temple visit for four or five days a month (allegedly during menstrual periods) to make it clear that they are not ready for intercourse. Even the second character seems to be of an approving attitude.

The novel was initially critically received, which I believe would be revolting to all staunch hindu devotees, especially women. Even several people who approach religions from a rational perspective, yet valuing the culture and traditions, have publicly expressed open opposition. Meanwhile several right-wing Hindu organisations have taken stands calling for the boycott of the novel as well as the magazine. Multiple threats were issued to the author and his family from such organisations. Eventually the author has declared withdrawal of the novel owing to personal safety and that of his family.

However, after these calls and threats to the author, the “practical” polical parties, which were initially mute on the issue, came out lashing the right-wing groups and publicly declaring support for the novelist on the grounds of freedom of expression. Many political leaders tried to cash-in on the situation even by offering publication of the feature novel under their publication company. It can be inferred that these outcries have come under the backdrop of the rising sentiments against the right-wing Hindu groups and the feeling that certain political organisations are trying to hyjack Hindu religion. Hence these days, other political parties take stands which is exactly opposing to the stand taken by the right-wing organisations. The same is visible in cases of several other cases of contemporary nature.

Put down what is in the mind with Mind Maps

Are you a content creator? Are you a designer, architect or a hobbyist who generally scribbles down ideas? Have you ever felt you get a sudden concept in your mind, and ponder over it and later only to be totally forgotten? You are not alone, there are many out there with you trying to recollect our own throughts at a later point of time.

It has been said for years that pencil and paper are the best friends of engineers, scientists and authors. While I completely agree to pencil and paper as the first responders and often most helpful, there are multiple tools currently available as replacements. And with the advent of ever growing technology and seamless integration between multiple devices, these are growing popular day by day. And perhaps the most usable out of those - a mind map.

Mind maps are nothing really software. It is an age old practice of systematically capturing thoughts by scribbling the concepts over a plain paper as nodes and drawing connectors and links between them. Any scribble can be a valid mind map, provided it conveys a concept or an idea to atleast the one who has scribbled it. However, with the advent of software systems, mind maps are getting more and more standardized and with all the features at hand, much more usable. Lets see a few frequently used mind map tools:

Create unique and secure passwords with this simple technique

Passwords are usually trouble-makers. People really get frustrated over keeping multiple passwords for multiple accounts, changing them regularly, all these while still maintaining the complexity of the passwords to be “strong” ones.

There are pretty long known recommendations for passwords, a few I shall explain first as a part of the problem.

  1. Passwords should be STRONG - create a password that is “impossible” to guess.
  2. Use alphabets (lower and upper cases), numbers and even special characters. Most of the standard websites mandate this PATTERN.
  3. Do not use a SINGLE password in all applications/websites. You don’t know which one of those is vulnerable, eventually leading to get all your accounts compromised.
  4. CHANGE passwords regularly, at least for the accounts with financial capabilities
Yeah, better said than done. Because an average person uses around 20-25 accounts on the internet alone, let alone the device passwords, ATM pins etc. So that would require a person to have at least around 100 (25 x 4) different STRONG passwords in his custody since most of the websites do not allow re-use of the last three passwords, some even more. Bit of impractical, huh?