Neuralink: Hacking the Brain and Era of New Medical Sciences

Year 2020 has just progressed 65% so far and we have witnessed so many strange, heart-breaking, unprecedented things in just matter of months. But such uncertain times always mould humans to come out strong and with greater will. Among all of these bad news, there are still some stories which hit the right chords. One of them is announcement made by Elon Musk on 28th August 2020, for his just-another-thought-converted-to-startup, Neuralink.

Product – The Link

When Elon launched Neuralink back in 2016, although it was made public in 2017, everyone knew he would do something amazing within a short period of time. This wasn’t the first demo Neuralink has shown but the product they have built (v0.9) certainly has real life application possibilities. He has that unusual ability to iterate and ship fast, just like this humongous space vehicle – Starship.

Neuralink has developed a coin sized implant, which will replace part of your skull, yes. They call it Link and it looks like this.

The Link

Architecture

The circular enclosure contains all the electronics and it has 1024 electrodes for connection with brain. It obviously has a battery which can be charged via inductive charging ( thought of being Neo? 😁). It has multiple chips and sensors for on-board computation and it could possibly run algorithms to detect, process the data. Details of the electronics are not yet available.

These 1024 threads will be inserted in the outer layer of cortex of brain. They are 43mm in length so those are not too tight and not too loose and can support pulsating movements of brain. These threads will carry current to and from neurons which are essentially special cells which can be triggered by very small amount of electrical current. You can call these threads as I/O pins connected to brain. Yes, Link can not only read but will be able to write into your brain.

As claimed by the engineers, the packaging will be able to absorb external forces and pressure. As their micro-fabrication engineers claimed, it can also withstand internal threats to electronics from body such as temperature, fluids etc.

It transmits data wirelessly to the receiver. A mobile app can be used to read the signals generating from it. In future they are planning to develop an implant which can go deeper inside and can reach important areas such as motor control.

How it will be implanted ?

The Musk’s way of doing things is minimum human intervention. They have built a robot which was sharing stage with Elon in presentation. V2 of robot looks much more improved than last year’s version.

This robot will do the surgery to install the Link in your brain all on its own. You just have to walk in to the hospital (for now it is hospital but I can already imagine Apple like store for this), sit on chair, put your head in the place. Robot will cut your skin, drill a hole in the skull, remove the bone, insert threads in brain, fix implant their with superglue, close the hole by sewing everything back. All this will be done without using general anaesthesia and you will be able to walk home in an hour.

This is precisely why they made a robot, it drastically reduces the time required to carry out the surgery by a surgeon and added advantage is accuracy. It increases customer satisfaction and make it one hassle-free experience.

Neuralink V2 Robot

But what if you had installed it and you no longer need it or want to get an upgrade. Well, implant can be removed and you can have a new one in future. You can also have multiple Links installed at the same time.

They are testing on animals and were able to predict the movements of limbs by tracking the signals generated from specific neurons and predictions were close match.

Elon calls all the problems such as spinal, motor control, blindness, deafness as electrical failures. So to fix an electrical problem you need electrical solution. So let’s see what this means.

Applications

  1. Motor Control
    Consider a person who has lost a control of a hand, if he gets an implant, it will detect movement signals from neurons which are failing to reach the hand, and he will be able to move it probably with the help of some more hardware if required. This is really a breakthrough in medical sciences.
  2. Blindness/Deafness
    The Link can also write to your brain which mean, if a blind person gets it, Link will be able to write the graphical data received from a camera to brain in the form of electrical signals to specific sections of brain which performs analysis of visual inputs from eyes and he will actually be able to see! Same goes for deafness with the help of a microphone. Imagine how big the impact will be on society.
  3. Spinal problems
    Spinal injuries are often root cause of many problems. All these can essentially be solved with implant.
  4. Memory
    Link will help you to record your memories and you can store it into your hefty hard drives. And you can see those anytime if you are feeling low, you can enjoy your childhood again or see what your teacher taught at school or see your crush smiling at you as many times as you want.

    If anyone looses memory then you can write it back to brain so no memory loss. How amazing that would be for elderly people.
  5. Health Predictions
    Neuralink will be able to predict the health problems such as heart attack more precisely. And of course by feeding the data to external AI, there could be many other possible predictions which can save lives.
  6. Conceptual Telepathy
    It can write to your brain, that can be applicable if two persons having an implant can do a sort of telepathy just by using thoughts. Musk called this as ‘Conceptual Telepathy’. So if you want to talk to your friend, you can just think about it and application in your phone linked with your implant can send that data across to your friend’s phone which will instruct implant to write thoughts to his brain.
  7. Visual Artistry
    Now at this point we can’t teleport ourselves but when we close the eyes we can go virtually anywhere or imagine anything. But it is very hard to explain it to others what you are imagining. If you have The Link, you can fetch that visualization data from your brain and send it to a screen or VR for others to see. Imagine the use cases of this in manufacturing sector.

    If this becomes possible then I believe you would be able to record your dreams as well.
  8. Military (inevitable)
    Of course how can military maintain distance from such an awesome piece of technology which can essentially create super soldiers or even Terminators. A soldier can benefit from this as it will help him to minimize or forget pain for a temporary duration in case of any injury.

    If it can give blind man a visual treat then it can also provide different types of visual inputs to a soldier like infrared, thermal and even X-Ray feed with using respective cameras and some extra hardware. Which can become very useful in the field.

What it means for developers?

Neuralink is already planning to launch the APIs for accessing the data. Developers can access the signals received from your brain and will be able to do more productive things with it. The possibilities are endless. When that data is fed to AI and ML algorithms we will be ushering into the new era of medical sciences which will transform how we see and use human healthcare.

Issues and Concerns

Anything can be hacked if not done right. Although engineers at Neuralink have mentioned they have taken care of security and privacy. But there could be many ways it can be exploited.

What if someone hacks the APIs and read from or write something to your brain without you knowing it? What if someone send signals bursts causing the device to heat and explode since it has a battery?

Concerns are many and Elon Musk will have to clarify these things before public launch. But if Neuralink makes it possible this will go down in history.

Konkan Trip: The Coastal Ride

On the auspicious morning of 68th Republic Day, on 26th January 2017, me and my friends, went for one of the most awaited road trip of my life, the ride on the coastal roads of northern Konkan.

For me, this tour was all about — simple bikes and crazy friends, sleepy nights and energised days, exploring beautiful aquamarine sea and moon white sand beaches, naughty waves sparkling in silver sunshine and soothing your soul by tickling your feet, golden sunrises and orange sunsets, thinking about dreams and thinking about life on a seashore, talking with friends and forgetting all bad things, switching off mobiles and watching the thousand stars in the sky lying on a beach, hot striking winds and cool humid sea breeze, potholed roads and silky smooth mountain passes, kneeling on crazy curves and revs on straight highways, wide open dry wastelands and ever green mangroves-coconut trees, dark black and shiny red soil, testing and extending limits, cement jungle with people and actual jungle with real monkeys, our present and our proud history, creating moments and writing unlimited memories.

This is just a simple travelogue, about the routes, roads, stops, stays, food and of course the ride. I wish I had a GoPro to record everything.

How did it happen?

Well, this was my first long ride. (I am a novice when it comes to long distance riding.) Since I started riding, I always wanted to do a ride along the never ending blue waters of sea. Some three months back, I felt like, this is the right time to go for it. So I started researching for the best possible route. I was actually planning this for the year end, but due to lack of availability of time for few friends, we had to postpone it by a month.

In the initial plan, Goa was on the itinerary, obviously. 😀 But you know, only couple of days would have been like injustice to legendary Goa. So, I had to drop Goa from the list and now whole four days were wide open for exploring the ever green Konkan. I went back to Google Maps, started looking for more detailed route, which passes through small villages and from where we will be able to see the sea as we ride. After some rigorous research, meticulous planning ( 😆 ) of the waypoints and some conference calls, the excel sheet was ready in Google Docs. (Because, for software professionals like us, sprint planning is really necessary before starting any project, otherwise we don’t feel the pressure of deadline 😀 😆 ) Okay, I noted down all necessary contact numbers, name of places to visit, villages and waypoints, saved the route area as offline in Google Maps, because I did not want to take any chances.

Here is the screenshot of plan from the Google Docs.

As per plan, ride was stretched across three nights and four days. Total distance covered was 790 kms approximately. I ended up with this plan so that, on the last day we would have to travel minimum distance while coming back home, it felt more logical.

Which is why, on the first day we decided to go the southern most waypoint of our list, which was Ratnagiri. And then decided to ride till Alibaug, all the way up to the north, along one of the best coastal line in the world. But you know, something always happens and things gets delayed. Luckily, delays were relatively minor, we just had to skip few spots on our watch list, nothing major. Positive thing is, the delay gave me more time to spent on road with my bike, what else you want. 🙂

Here is the actual route and stays we had after some run time alterations.

Ultimately, it is the ride that matters, not the destinations
— Me

Day 1: Pune to Ratnagiri

We were supposed to leave Pune by 5:00 am, but my friend Dinesh couldn’t make it to Pune, a day before due his work, instead he arrived in the morning of 26th Jan. One more friend Hrishikesh, came from Kalyan to Pune on 25th by late night train, I had to sleep so I asked him to grab an Ola. He reached my home at 1:15am on 26th. He’d already dropped his Rosy Pulsar at my home a week earlier.

Everything was packed and we were all geared up and ready. Said temporary good-bye to my family, went downstairs and cold started our bikes. Cold starting is necessary to keep the engine in good state, it warms up the machine and gives you good performance, especially on highways and helps in avoiding unnecessary load during start of ride.

We finally started from my home at 7:15 am, fuelled up at Shell. (I always prefer Shell because of relatively high octane fuel and they don’t cheat you in quantity like others, they also have digital air top up machines, so you don’t have to visit any fraud Tyre/Puncture shop) We had two bikes, mine was 2013 Honda CB Unicorn 150 (Black) and Hrishikesh’s was Pulsar 150 (Red) and there were four of us. So each rider had a pillion and we did not have any saddle bags. I know it makes things bit uncomfortable but Chalta hai yaar. 🙂

Skies were clear and flaunting the best hues of blues, sun had started parade on the horizon and it was a beautiful shiny morning. On the auspicious occasion of 68th Republic Day, students were going to school holding small flags, people were in hurry to reach the flag hoisting ceremony. We saw few RE riders twirling the throttle to make Tirangaa wave, overall it was very energetic environment to ride.

Picked up fourth friend, Raunak, near Swargate and we officially kicked off the journey in full swing at 8.15 am. Riding through the little annoying morning traffic of Satara roadfrom Swargate, we reached Katraj ghat and the road in ghat section was just at very bad condition. Damn, all the big sized gravel was resting there and we went on a NUTTERTOOLS like vibration mode. I am not sure whether the road was under construction or not, but there was no sign of tar or construction equipments. Anyway, we reached my favourite spot on curve in Katraj ghat from where you get to see beautiful view of Pune city, bid a good bye in mind and moved ahead. Before merging on Bengaluru highway, the road goes through the Katraj tunnel. When you enter any tunnel suddenly everything becomes more beautiful, the scrappy truck looks more amazing, all lit in yellowish-orangish lights and road becomes noisy due to sound echoes and if someone shouts aloud then it echoes like hell. After few minutes we were on the Bengaluru highway. From this point onwards, it was just like cruising on wind for next few hundred kilometers.

In about an hour, after crossing Kapurhol, we reached our first stop Shirwal. We stopped at Shriram Wada Pav for breakfast and tea/coffee. It was a perfect time for breakfast so it was very crowded and every Punekar travelling on Bengaluru highway was halting there. If you haven’t tasted the Wada Pav and Misal here then you should, it is one of the best on the route. They have the token system so it doesn’t take much time to get the food, but you need eagle eyes to grab the table and chairs during peak time. We ordered 4 Misal, 2 Wada pav, others had their teas, I had my coffee, I generally prefer coffee while on road. Our half an hour break turned out to be 50 minutes break.

One thing to remember that when you do long ride, you should eat light and drink more to keep your body hydrated enough. The more you eat, the more tired and sleepy you will feel and you will miss the enjoyment of ride. If your are a novice like me, then it would be good to take break after every 70/100 kms, do little stretching, have water/tea/coffee, try to avoid artificial sodas like coke, sprite as they will make you more thirsty, instead go for lemon water.

Okay, after snacks, we resumed our journey towards our next stop Satara which was 60 kms ahead. Road was amazing, we were cruising on 85 kmph. After Shirwal you should be more careful about people crossing highway at undesignated places. On the way to Satara we reached Khambataki ghat. During monsoon this ghat looks more beautiful at the same time it is little dangerous too due to landslides. It is one way ghat, so you don’t have to worry about vehicles coming from opposite direction, but some people drive like idiots causing traffic jams at turns. Once you cross this ghat, it is like straight road till Satara.

After crossing Satara, we took a break near an Indian Oil petrol pump as my fellows were feeling little hungry 😆 , later we decided just to have teas. After 20 mins break we were back on road. From here Karad was 52 kms. After some 40 mins we reached Karad. From here, we had to take a right according to google maps. We took an exit from Bengaluru highway took a halt and had a fruit plate and lemon water. It was feeling very hot due to the Jacket and gloves, but lemon water did its job, it is like ‘coolant’ to our ‘engine’. 😀 Google map was very confusing, so we asked directions to the lemon water guy, he said go straight for 2 kms and take a similar right below the flyover. We decided to go via service road as from Map, it was not sure if there is an exit or not. We rode for some 1.5 kms and took a right, but it was wrong turn. 😆 We asked a person — a typical old man, he was wearing big lense glasses, had stick in hand and a Shela wrapped around the head — he gave us correct directions. We thanked him and merged on Bengaluru highway again; after 1 km there was an exit and finally we were on the right track. That junction is called as Pachvad Phata.

Now, we were on a smaller road, soon the typical village area started. It was the Kale-Pachvad road. At many many spots, road is so damn spooky that you would never want to travel there in night on a bike. It was all jungle on both sides, except the area near villages. There are many bad patches, at some places there are only potholes, gravel and no road. After riding some 40 kms till Kokrud, there is one ghat section. I am not aware of its name, if you know then please comment down below. The ghat was looking amazing though road condition was still okay-okay. I am sure this ghat would look very beautiful in monsoon. We mistakenly took it for Amba ghat but after checking the Maps we found that it is different. Aamba ghat was still around 40 kms ahead from there. We immediately resumed the ride.

This road takes us to the T junction at Malkapur and there it connects us to Kolhapur-Ratnagiri highway. I would recommend you to come here via Kolhapur, as you would reach here half an hour hour earlier due to Bengaluru highway, plus the road will be good from Kolhapur. From T, We took a right towards Ratnagiri. The road still had some bad patches and unwanted speed-breakers, but still it was better than earlier. We rode till Aamba ghat, this is one of the most scenic route on Sahyadri. I think the ghat section was around 12 kms in length. To my surprise, the road in ghat was freshly tarred and it was looking beautifully black. There is a dense jungle on left hand side and mountain on right and the black road lies in between. There are many view points on this ghat, but from one point you get to see a wide panoramic view of Sahyadri and the villages below. This stretch must be looking damn beautiful in monsoon, when clouds and fog would touch the road and rain pours like no tomorrow. I am sure the tar will break up with road by next monsoon. 😆 We stopped at one view point clicked photos. Meanwhile, Dinesh was taking an important work call and we didn’t miss the opportunity to recreate the scene from ZNMD. ( 😆 just replace SUV by bikes and Spain by Sahyadri-Satara 😆 )

Till this point we were just doing an ascent. After some time descent started and that was a treat for me. The corners there were so awesome that I forget I had a pillion and started cornering hard on a freshly tarred road. I had never kneeled like this before, that too with a pillion. You will feel them similar to Lavasa but still these have different characteristics due to the jungle on left and the mountain on right. If you have a super bike then you must visit this place just for the sake of cornering pleasure. Loved it <3

We rolled down from Aamba ghat and touched the Konkan. You will feel the change in environment with the red soil, steady winds and heavy wind blast on bike, increased humidity and greenery everywhere. After sometime we joined the Mumbai-Goa highway, you have to go up north from here for around 10-12 kms to reach the junction for Ratnagiri. We were really confused by seeing Mahad and Panvel on milestones and no Ratnagiri, so just to double check we asked someone if we are on correct route. Thank god we were on right path and reached junction for Ratnagiri, took left and Ratnagiriwas just 12 kms. As we were closing the humidity was increasing and wind blast was becoming heavy though I was only at around 55 kmph.

We entered Ratnagiri city at around 5:45 pm. We stopped to search for hotels on Google Maps. Went to one hotel near Bhatye beach, but it was too costly. Meanwhile we witnessed very nice view of sunset over Bhatye beach and from a bridge over a creek. Finally, we found a cheap lodge located at main street near Patwardhan high school. The guy took 700 bucks for 4 of us. They gave extra mattresses, room was okay, had AC but no remote, 😀 he said there will be hot water at specific time but wasn’t available. Don’t recommend this lodge if you are travelling with family.

We checked in and freshened up and went to Bhatye beach to check out the place. After reaching there, we saw that beach was like no mans land as it was already dark, but the time was just 7:30 pm and we didn’t expect the unmanned beach so early. There wasn’t any light source except a distant light house, so there was no point to stay there. When we lit phone torches on beach we saw some small white crabs in sand. I have seen crabs in Ganpatipule when I was in school, but didn’t know about Ratnagiri. ( Poor joke alert: If you ever take Pune’s students to Bhatye beach after sunset they will create Z-beach there 😆 ) From here we directly went to Hotel Vivek for dinner, it had both thali and à-la-carte menu, we ordered Kaaju Usal but wasn’t better than the one I tasted at Mathura, JM road, Pune. Unfortunately, I could not taste the fishes and other pure Konkani food as my friends were not comfortable with it. ( I am quite used to it by now 😐 )

Alright, this was the first day, we came back to room and slept. Stay tuned for Day 2, it was legendary and there are many beautiful pics.

India and World: History, Geography, Economy and Politics – Part 1

If we look back at history, India has come a long way to stand firmly in this selfish world. Every other major country goes after its own self interests but not us. Our deep rooted history tells us that, we have always been a sensible, emotional and dignified region on earth; the fact that India never attacked any other country for the sake of territory expansion, supports this very argument. But we have always retaliated strongly, if someone ever tried to put weight on our neck and destroy our cultures.

Here is a verse from Bhagvad Gita, which Lord Shri Krishna told to Arjuna during Mahabharata, which ethically supports the last sentence of above paragraph.

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत ।

अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ॥

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् ।

धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ॥

Swami Vivekanand translated this as,

Whenever virtue subsides and wickedness prevails, I manifest Myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good I come from Yuga (age) to Yuga.”

Key events that created the modern world

  1. Discovery of US continent by Columbus and American revolution
  2. Mughal and British invasion in Indian sub-continent
  3. Rise of Maratha empire in Indian sub-continent
  4. World War I and II
  5. Independence movement of India and Partition
  6. Rise of USA and its influence in world politics
  7. Chinese communist revolution
  8. Cold war between USA and USSR
  9. Rise of Terrorists organisations in middle east of Asia
  10. Dissolution of USSR
  11. Nuclear proliferation
  12. Increase in terrorist attacks and violence

This is just an analysis of historical events through bird’s eye view with facts and their impact on India and rest of the world geographically, politically, historically and economically. If I am missing anything then do let me know. Alright, let’s see each of these events one by one.

1. Discovery of US continent by Columbus and American revolution

If Columbus had not went on the voyage and found America, the world would have been very very different now. Probably no Electricity, no Telephones, no Computers, no Internet and no WordPress 😮

Europeans used to trade via sea route that was passing through the middle east (see the blue lines). But post 13th century due to rise of Islamist powers in middle east (Persians and Arabs), they wanted the alternate silk road to continue trade with Indian region (read south Asia including todays China) as Islamist rulers in middle east were creating hurdles for them. So, they used to send sailors for explorations to find new sea routes. Columbus was sent for the same reason by King of Spain. Instead of India, he reached the east coast of America and met the native tribes, he called them Indios (Indians in Español). It is believed that till his last day, Columbus was not aware of the fact that he has landed on another region but not India.

You can refer this answer on quora.

Why America became so strong?

Well there are few things which I can think of.

  1. Newly found American continent was full of natural resources, as it was not inhabited before except by the tribals. So, Americans had probably lesser dependancies on other countries in terms of natural resources.
  2. Europeans who went to America, were already wealthy (probably) and knew industrialisation, education and had well established links for trade with Asia and Europe.
  3. America got independence on July 4, 1776, probably the first country to get independence from British in modern world. The democracy is one of the oldest and well established from the beginning. I will not go on explaining how Abraham Lincoln led the successful American Revolution assuming you know it already.
  4. Though it was ruled by British, it might not had much larger negative impact on lives of its people in terms of culture and economy, since the people were British/Europeans themselves. British in those times, never cared about native tribes, in fact till today, tribal people are having some issues with US government.
  5. World War II, through which America came out stronger and established Her supremacy over the world. I will write about this in detail in next posts of this series.

If there would not have been India, then believe me, America’s existence would have been similar to the star in the sky on full moon night.

2. Mughal and British invasion in Indian sub-continent

India or the whole Indian subcontinental region was super rich till 14th or 15th Century. (India was known as land of Gold.) It was biggest stable economy in the world with Vedic education, culture and traditions. But after invasion of Mughals, Europeans and British things started to decay. Culture, religion, traditions and Education systems were contaminated by the invaders, specifically British rulers. Divide and Conquer was their art of ruling. They looted (including the Hindi word ‘Loot’!) the country and piled up their huge treasures.

In July 2015, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, a well-known orator and former MEA of India during Congress regime, had delivered a brilliant, factual and fiercest speech in debate organized by Oxford Union Society in UK, which was commended by many all over the world. He explained how British looted India with historical facts and demanded reparations.

At 5:17 in below video he quotes,

And no wonder that, the sun never set on the British Empire, because even God couldn’t trust the English in the Dark.

It is believed that total wealth, Mughals and British looted from Indian region, can be approximately calculated to several hundred trillion Pounds. But there cannot be any valuation of the losses for moral, educational and cultural values, which is very very huge. Britain will have to sell themselves if they decide to repay the debt, but that is highly impossible. And of course, today’s Britain is not responsible for colonization, but they should never forget that foundation of their nation is laid upon blood and wealth of Colonies.

One more thing, if there was no Mughal and British invasion, then we would not be having this conversation and the world’s business language would have been Sanskrit and India would have been a biggest precious jewel (larger than Kohinoor!) of the earth.

I hope, someday, we will be able to restore our values by filling in the gaps and take back India to the same or even greater heights of glory in future of civilization.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for the next posts.

Dump Free Basics, Support Net Neutrality

 

Last year, when TRAI published some rubbish papers on differential pricing and all. We Indians opposed it by sending huge number of responses and ran an amazing #savetheinternet campaign. Resulting Flipkart to sign off the internet.org and Airtel to trash ‘Airtel Zero’.

But what happened this year?

Facebook picked same idea to let its users email to TRAI in support of ‘Free Basics’. Many people, actually huge number of dumb (sorry if you are one) people sent the email happily without even reading and thinking what it is. So clever Facebook, well played!

TRAI received 18 lakhs emails for Free Basics and only 5 Lakhs for Net Neutrality. Seriously, what the heck, what’s wrong with you guys. So, people just stop sending those bullshit emails to TRAI in support of Free Basics via Facebook; instead support Net Neutrality, its good for you.

I even saw some users getting really confused in between Free Basics and Net Neutrality, they sent email for free basics without reading/understanding what it is and at the same time they shared posts/videos for net neutrality, that’s ridiculous and exactly what FB wants. May be its not user’s mistake, its Facebook who mislead them and provided false information. Called it ‘Digital Equality’, beautifully wrapped and so decorated, isn’t it ? Digital Equality my foot. (angry)

I think, Free Basics is like free drugs. Now they are distributing it to you freely so you get addicted and become permanent “addict”, though it may not be necessary for you (those who are not on internet) at this point. It absolutely violates principles of net neutrality and in turn will burn your pockets and ruin the growing Indian internet and start-up culture.

What would facebook get?

  • It will make Facebook a giant hunk putting sole/major control in its hands, which could impact the entire social structure.
  • Another thing is, the companies who fail to comply with technical guidelines (and participation guidelines) of Facebook, might get hit, as their rivals would get a more wider audience. Which is not a fair competition.
  • As noted by Jitesh Goswami mentioned here, Free Basics app would get access to all your personal information including SMS, phone calls, gallery, history etc., more data.
  • Facebook will know whatever activity you will perform inside Free Basics, again more browsing data.
  • Technical guidelines are not easy to suffice. As you can see here, JS, images, videos are not allowed.
  • Though Facebook says that privacy is preserved, there is a concern as it can officially intercept all the traffic in between user and app/service provider which will be relayed through their servers. Resulting, more analytical data available to Facebook and decreased privacy/trust for your service and your customers.
  • Key point is, eventually people will go for ‘paid’ internet which will benefit the specific cellular service providers (Currently Reliance). And Facebook will get another millions of users (though its targeting for next billion users in India since Facebook blocked in China 😉 ) to its various services/products and importantly will be next targets of monetization.

Why Facebook rebranded the old internet.org to Free Basics?

May be because when internet.org came to India, it was just considered as some random organization/initiative which did not take off. So they thought what Indians and probably all other people like? Answer is ‘Free’. And that would have been eureka moment for them. So, they slashed internet.org and renamed it to Free Basics, just the same old wine in new bottle. Those 18 lakhs people proved ‘Free’ thing works in real. That’s insane. When would people grow up and think of the longer run?

As per Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Indian internet user base grew up by 49% in 2015 than that of in 2014. India was on 3rd position in 2014 and it replaced USA to be on 2nd in 2015, for user base figures. In 2015 alone, Indian cellular companies put approximately 75 million people online without any ‘Free Basics’ just through smart phone revolution. And that’s not just in urban or metro areas but in rural areas as well. This number is supposed to get double or triple by 2017.

So, why Facebook is going aggressive to make that happen?

I know, its a public company and they have to satisfy their shareholders and investors. But being a leading entity in this world they have the social responsibility and precisely that’s what their policy is (was?). How can they force people to get online and control what sites/services they should use? Who are they?

So, dear Facebook just stop those full page annoying advertisements and big banners and people please think over this. Period.

You should read this as well, from creator of world wide web.

कविता – केवढे हे क्रौर्य!

 

कवी न. वा. टिळक यांनी लिहिलेली, एक अतिशय सुंदर कविता. पूर्वीच्या पाठ्यपुस्तकात होती. गप्पांच्या ओघात अचानक आली आणि मायाजालावर थोडेसे धुंडाळल्यानंतर गवसली.

या कवितेतून कवीने एका पक्षिणीची व्यथा,  माणसाचा क्रूरपणा आणि आईचे महात्म्य अशा विविध विषयांची अगदी सहज गुंफण केली आहे. ही कविता पृथ्वी वृत्तात लिहिलेली आहे.

( चाल: बालक-पालक चित्रपटात घेतलेल्या मोरोपंतांच्या ‘सुसंगती सदा घडो‘ या कवितेसारखीच. फक्त शेवटच्या कडव्याला चाल जरा मंद होते कारण त्यातील प्रसंगच तसा आहे. )

केवढे हे क्रौर्य!

क्षणोक्षणी पडे, उठे, परि बळे, उडे बापडी,
चुके पथहि, येउनी स्तिमित दृष्टिला झापडी.
किती घळघळा गळे रुधिर कोमलांगातुनी,
तशीच निजकोटरा परत पातली पक्षिणी.

म्हणे निजशिशूंप्रती, अधिक बोलवेना मला,
तुम्हांस अजि अंतीचा कवळ एक मी आणला,
करा मधुर हा! चला, भरविते तुम्हा एकदा,
करी जतन यापुढे प्रभु पिता अनाथां सदा!

अहा! मधुर गाउनी रमविले सकाळी जना,
कृतघ्न मज मारतील नच ही मनी कल्पना,
तुम्हांस्तव मुखी सुखे धरुन घांस झाडावरी
क्षणैक बसले तो शिरे बाण माझ्या उरीं

निघुन नरजातिला रमविण्यांत गेले वय,
म्हणून वधिले मला! किती दया! कसा हा नय!
उदार बहु शूर हा नर खरोखरी जाहला
वधुनी मज पाखरा निरपराध की दुर्बला!

म्हणाल, भुलली जगा, विसरली प्रियां लेकरां
म्हणून अतिसंकटे उडत पातले मी घरा,
नसे लवहि उष्णता, नच कुशीत माझ्या शिरा,
स्मरा मजबरोबरी परि दयाघना खरा.

असो, रुधिर वाहुनी नच भिजो सुशय्या तरी
म्हणून तरुच्या तळी निजलि ती द्विजा भूवरी.
जिवंत बहु बोलकें किति सुरम्य ते उत्पल,
नरे धरुन नाशिले, खचित थोर बुध्दिबल.

मातीत ते पसरिले अतिरम्य पंख,
केले वरी उदर पांडुर निष्कलंक,
चंचू तशीच उघडी पद लांबवीले,
निष्प्राण देह पडला! श्रमही निमाले!

– ना.वा.टिळक

आवडली तर आपल्या प्रतिक्रिया नक्की कळवा.

DDLJ: 1000 weeks of romance

Yesterday, on 12 December 2014, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, one of the greatest love story of bollywood, celebrated whooping 1000 weeks of uninterrupted shows in Maratha Mandir, a theater located in heart of bollywood, Mumbai.

It released on 19, October 1995 in India and soon enough reached the top of the film industry. Crowd went crazy to watch it and till the last date, theaters saw long queues and houseful signs. Though there were no mobiles, social networks, hell there was no internet in India (it was just 2 months baby), it managed to attract thousands people. So, what was in it, that enchanted people’s hearts and spread over it’s charming, stylish, foolish, loving, never ending, dramatic yet realistic charisma.

Magic of DDLJ

ddlj2

Though I am not a die-hard DDLJ fan like others, I still like it. As far as I know, this film brought fashion of short-form naming conventions in Bollywood. After Heer-Ranjha, Romeo-Juliet, Laila-Majnu it was Raj-Simran who turned out to be ever hit couple.

People used to rush to theaters again and again, to take glimpses of their newly born love idols. Many times, they used to go so much crazy that, theater security personnel had to use bamboo sticks, bi-cycle rubber tubes to charge them. (Well, that was a totally different era, they can’t use it now in posh and polished film houses, so called multiplex, its 2014.) I didn’t go to watch it, when my family visited theater. Back then, I was not really a go-to-theater guy, but a study loving, astronomy-science oriented kid, seriously. My sister still teases me on not watching it in theater.

Aditya Chopra, son of legendary director Yash Chopra, directed DDLJ and pushed it to the ultimate level. Story of DDLJ came on to paper, when Aditya thought to create a new love story for the youth of 90s. He decided the baseline of story, where couple and their families residing abroad but Indian by heart, boy and girl meets in train, they fell in love, but they still wants to marry with permissions of both families, and all. Striping out the dramatic parts, it was and became reality in 90s and have had happened with many such pairs. Raj was named after legendary actor-producer-director Raj Kapoor. He chose Europe, where Raj-Simran travels with their friends and meet each other on train at an awkward moment. Aditya had shoot many awesome shots like, Raj-Simran while boarding a train, palat-palat-palat scene over a bridge in Switzerland, Raj lands in Sarso-ke-khet and welcomes Simran like in above picture and many more. Music given by famous pair Jatin-Lalit still feels melodious. Everyone remembers that ear-catching and tune of DDLJ. Anand Bakshi wrote the ever green songs which Lataji, Udit Narayan, Kumar Sanu, Ashaji put on to very next level and were good enough to make crowd go mad an fall in love…again and again…<3

Effects on people

ddljDDLJ was truly a trendsetter, not only in bollywood but in other sectors of India too. It started many trends in market and one of the biggest was Europe tour. It turned out to be extremely beneficial for Indo-European tourism and hotelling industry later. Youth loved and followed Shahrukh’s cruiser bike ride, goofy hairstyle, floppy leather jacket styles.

Dilwale-Dulhania-Le-Jayenge-shahrukh-khan-25741330-1280-528

I hope it continues to enrich the screen and our life and break its own records in upcoming years. At last, I just want to quote couple of lines of awesome poetry by Anand Bakshi and awesomely sung by Kumar Sanu..
(I bet you will actually hear that mandolin tune while reading them..)

Tujhe dekha to ye jaanaa sanam…
pyar hota hai deewanaa sanam…
ab yaha se kaha jaayein hum…
teri baahon me mar jaayein hum….

After all, it says, come..fall in love again..<3<3 …which is never gonna end… 😉

WordPress rewrite rules

Well, few weeks back, I was working on this particular WordPress project. It was previously developed by third party vendor and later it came to us for further maintenance and enhancements.

I got to say, I didn’t like the way project was developed by those people. We got no requirement specifications and zero knowledge transfers. I would say, it was best example of a totally messed up code and one heck of the system. Just to give you an idea, I would like to give you an example of problem. Whenever, I went into the wp-admin and hit the save permalink button, the site used to go down and system used to show 404 for every page. This only one example of the many such totally weird and mind twisting things.

So, that site was having some serious permalink issues on which we were trying to find out a ‘permanent’ solution. It was becoming headache to manage the permalinks manually. Every time I used to add new taxonomy or custom post type, I have had to add around 16 permalink rules manually, not all were required but I didn’t want to take any chances of getting it broken. Not only for taxonomies and CPTs but new pages also needed manual permalink settings.

By using WordPress function add_rewrite_rule you can write the rewrite rule like this:

<?php

/* add_rewrite_rule($regex, $redirect, $after); */

add_rewrite_rule('^nutrition/([^/]*)/([^/]*)/?','index.php?page_id=12&food=$matches[1]&variety=$matches[2]','top');

?>

But, in this case this didn’t help us. So, we have had to put the rewrite rules in wp_rewrite_rules() which is located in /wp-includes/rewrite.php. I know, we never have to touch the core files and that’s not right but it was a quick fix which did work and made us through.

Example of custom rules is shown below. I hope you never have to go through such odd things.

<?php

function wp_rewrite_rules() {
	$this->rules = get_option('rewrite_rules');

	if ( empty($this->rules) ) {
		$this->matches = 'matches';
		$this->rewrite_rules();
		update_option('rewrite_rules', $this->rules);
	}

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mypage/?$' => 'index.php?page_id=52989' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^path/to/my/new/page/([^/]*)/?/page/?([0-9]{1,})/?$' => 'index.php?page_id=29020&categoryID=$matches[1]&paged=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	// Rules for custom post type
	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/[^/]+/attachment/([^/]+)/?$' => 'index.php?attachment=$matches[1]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/[^/]+/attachment/([^/]+)/trackback/?$' => 'index.php?attachment=$matches[1]&tb=1' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/[^/]+/attachment/([^/]+)/feed/(feed|rdf|rss|rss2|atom)/?$' => 'index.php?attachment=$matches[1]&feed=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;
	
	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/[^/]+/attachment/([^/]+)/(feed|rdf|rss|rss2|atom)/?$' => 'index.php?attachment=$matches[1]&feed=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/[^/]+/attachment/([^/]+)/comment-page-([0-9]{1,})/?$' => 'index.php?attachment=$matches[1]&cpage=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/([^/]+)/trackback/?$' => 'index.php?mynewcpt=$matches[1]&tb=1' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/([^/]+)/page/?([0-9]{1,})/?$' => 'index.php?mynewcpt=$matches[1]&paged=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/([^/]+)/comment-page-([0-9]{1,})/?$' => 'index.php?mynewcpt=$matches[1]&cpage=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/([^/]+)(/[0-9]+)?/?$' => 'index.php?mynewcpt=$matches[1]&page=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/[^/]+/([^/]+)/?$' => 'index.php?attachment=$matches[1]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/[^/]+/([^/]+)/trackback/?$' => 'index.php?attachment=$matches[1]&tb=1' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/category/([^/]*)/?$' => 'index.php?mynewcpt=$matches[1]&categoryID=$matches[1]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	$my_new_rule = array( '^mynewcpt/category/([^/]*)/?/page/?([0-9]{1,})/?$' => 'index.php?mynewcpt=$matches[1]&categoryID=$matches[1]&paged=$matches[2]' );
	$this->rules = $my_new_rule + $this->rules;

	return $this->rules;
}

?>

Bull is waking up..

Year 2008 brought crucial time for many people around the globe. Exactly 7 years after, when people witnessed World Trade Center’s biggest crisis in history of America, Lehman Brother’s, the fourth largest bank of US, announced $3.9 billion loss on 10 September 2008, and filed for bankruptcy protection 5 days later. Which is considered as the largest bankruptcy case in history US investment banking, as it was holding around 600 billion assets.

This spark went big and spiked a wave of fear among all large financial institutions. Though governments tried to prevent it, by bailout of banks/organizations, but still stock markets dropped worldwide. This wave hit many markets like real estate, software businesses and manufacturing industries and caused them to collapse. It reduced the consumer wealth drastically and led to downshift in economy activities all over the world. It’s called as 2008 financial crisis or 2008 global recession, which is considered as biggest after world war. It lasted for 4 years from 2008 to 2012 and took jobs of millions of people. The wave started from US hit Europe in late 2009 causing to collapse European economy. It’s known as Eurozone crisis.

Why India survived 2008-12 crisis?

Well, its an interesting and debatable topic. Many says it did affect India but not Indians whereas some says it didn’t.

I too believe that, crisis did affect India but not Indians. If you observe the causes of this financial chaos, then you will find that only countries which were dependent on US or Europe economy got hit.

If you look back in history, India opened doors to globalization in 1991. Former Prime Minister of India P. V. Narsimha Rao spearheaded the economic liberalization policies in early 1990s. Much before that, in 1969, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had taken a brave move of nationalization of banks. She nationalized 14 major banks of India including the oldest State Bank of India. This move was first criticized by many, even by Supreme Court, but later stood fruitful for growth of overall Indian economy. It improved the geographical coverage of banks and cause to rise in number branches nationwide focusing on rural regions. This decision increased household savings and encouraged investments in small-medium scale enterprises (SMEs) which in turn filled the gaps and brought growth in industrial and agricultural sectors. It led industrial and agricultural areas to ground their roots firmly, which then became the pillars of growing Indian economy. I feel, these were the strong reasons behind survival of India from crisis. ( But things will not be similar next time. )

However some manufacturing and automobile industry does saw little slowdown in growth rates but time to time ‘relief’ packages released by government and RBI saved them from drowning. Software industry felt a gentle impact as many of software business were working for clients half across the globe, but somehow, it also managed to stay above the water.

New Government, new policies

It is now well-known that, policies laid by new government are changing the scene dramatically. Prime Minister Modi is the playing CEO like key role and trying to make India, the center of gravity for all. Due to his still-going efforts to establish and increase relationships with other countries, while staying at the frontier like High King Shivaji, the global investment sector is being stirred and attracting the flow of billions of dollars in the market.

After years, our stock markets has seen the great rise in numbers and increase in GDP. New investors are coming in which will start new projects and generate new opportunities for career seeking youth. So, let’s hope it continues to rise and lasts forever.

MODIfication

Today, Narendra Modi, pulled a historic win over a highly unpopular ruling party. Today, he is India’s most talked politician. 282, of course, pulling such a clean and sure shot number was not that easy. It took many years of efforts to prove himself as strong leader and a wise foreseer.

#NaMo: The  Iron Man

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Actually, in last Loksabha elections, Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) would have won, if they had right and trustworthy candidate. But, due to lack of right leader, BJP lost and Congress won again to let the country suffer.

Meanwhile, in the far-west corner of India, Narendra Modi has risen like diamond among all coal-stones by accomplishing commitments which he made to people of Gujrat. When he became Chief Minister of Gujrat for the Fourth consecutive time, he captured attention of whole country, so BJP oldies felt him as the only hope to stay float.

Many senior BJPians were not happy, as until then BJP was considered to be Bramhin led and RSS (Rashtriy Swayansewak Sangh) supported party. They were not ready to accept Modi like person as Prime Ministerial candidate, but they had no other option, as party was already on the stage of dying and it’s future was so uncertain. So, with lots of discussions and ‘sacrifices’ BJP’s core commity proposed his candidature for the most powerful position of world’s biggest democratic country.

His not only talking but also thinking style is so awesome that almost every Indian got attracted by his magic. Talking corporate, his attitude, personality and representational skills has really blown my mind.

Though he is 63 year old, but his dashing and development foresight made him the Youth icon of young India. According to his own manifesto, he has plans to build skills among young Indians, letting youth participate in future India development activities. In Gujrat, since 2009, he is running a CM fellow-ship programme where youth can participate to contribute in social activities and future development. This programme received such a great response that few young minds working abroad left their big packages and joined CM’s hands in activities.

#Super Powers, NaMo and his mind blowing tactics

After 2002 riots, Modi was besieged by every other political party, Human Rights Commission and you can count on. There were some countries which abnegated Gujrat government. As a reaction to this abnegation US, UK, Germany and some other European superpowers banned Narendra Modi in their own ways.

In 2005 US banned his visa  and disallowed him to put foot on US soil. UK made no direct contact policy to abnegate Modi. Other European countries stood against him in trade markets.

When US banned him, he said, “One day will come when US will stand in line to get Indian visa”. To bring down US, he knew exactly what to do. He silently started to increase personal contacts with People’s Republic of China. At the eve of 2011, he went on five day visit to China for one of his project Vibrant Gujrat. As usual, US was closely watching all these things. After NaMo was declared as Prime Ministerial candidate, US started reciprocating efforts to get Modi in favour. As a part of this, they sent US Ambassador in India, Nancy Powell to discuss issues with Modi and turnaround his favour back, and later she was called home, everyone knows why.

For UK, NaMo played different move. What he did to check and mate one times world ruler, is pretty interesting story. There is UK based firm, British gas group in Gujrat which owned Gujarat Gas Company Ltd. (GGCL), India’s biggest private sector gas distribution company. In 2011 Gujrat government lodged two complaints against GGCL about hiking gas prices to industries but Competition Commission rejected both. Later, in December 2011, BG was about to dissolve its shares from GGCL to invest that money in other domains. Now here is a twists, Modi smelled out importance of this chance and he purchased GGCL, officially led by Gujrat government’s Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation (GSPC).

Before that, he intentionally asked other private companies to stay away from the bidding and then GSPC bought 65.12% of the stakes of GGCL at the rate of Rs. 295 per share. Deal was signed off for around 2500 crores. Whereas, BG was expecting price of around 4500 crores but due to no more private bidders, the deal was successfully brought down to 2500 crores, likely to be half of the expected price. 😉

As a result of this, Great Britain invested in Gujrat during Vibrant Gujrat campaign and today US president has called him to visit White House on A-1 visa. 🙂

#Modification: Change we need

Yes we need change, in all aspects, political, economical, procedural, educational etc. 2014 elections will remain very special in many ways. Very first I would say is, in these elections India voted for one person only and not for the party. By casting their votes, people have put their faith in this one man. I hope, our dearest Prime Minister will fulfil the commitments he made to us in the nearest future. Soon, Modi will form a new government and there will be many such faces which are not eligible to do so. But, PM should be strict enough to control them in order to achieve even growth and stability in India.

India has great history than any other country on earth, I think India should have great present also to have a great future, so that no other person should ever think about talking against us. This was always the legacy of India right from the Lord Krishna, Rama, great King Shivaji Maharaj to the freedom fighters and now there is a bright ray of hope that it will continue in more stronger and prominent way. Let the world see real power of India again m/m/.