Optimal Backup Strategy

by Yash 0 Comments

Take backup of your data. Your hard drive will die some day and will take your data along. You might get hit by a virus or malware which will destroy your data. You may lose your computer to theft or other damage.

Keep multiple backups. Online and Offline.

Buy two external hard drives. I recommend Western Digital My Passport. They are good and have built encryption so you can protect entire drive with a password. Install a program called FBackup. It is free. Use it to take backup on these drives. Take this backup manually. On both the drives. You may take the backup daily or weekly, depending upon how frequently you generate new data. FBackup will create exact mirror image of your local file structure on the external drive.

Keep one drive at home and another at your workplace. Keeping multiple drives at different physical locations is necessary in case one of the location is burgled or is destroyed in fire. External drives will also die someday, so multiple backups is must. A photographer lost lifetime of work when all his backup drives were stolen from his home. Avoid a similar fate.

Apart from offline backups, also keep online backups. Get a paid account of any of the online backup services – IDrive, DropBox, OneDrive, Google Drive, iCloud any of them. Take backup of your most important files on them. Online backup is slow. It took me months to upload my 300GB of photos online, but it is worth it.

Do not keep your external backup media attached to your computer all the time. If your external drive supports encryption, use a password to protect it. Do not carry your backup media in your laptop bag along with you everywhere. If you lose your bag, you lose your computer as well as backup.

Protect yourself against ransomware

by Yash 0 Comments

You might have read about the recent worldwide ransomware attack. Ransomware is a very serious threat. This is a type of malware or virus which encrypts all your files and demands money to decrypt them. If you do not pay within a stipulated period all your files are deleted. The only solution is to either pay or format your computer and lose all your data.

How to protect yourself against ransomware or any kind of virus/malware?

A virus is nothing but an application. It does not execute itself. It needs to be execute by the user. The most common ways a malware gets executed when it is embedded in another type of file. Most common ways to execute malware are macros in Office documents and auto extracting rar files.

If you receive an email from an unknown source which says you have received an invoice or a receipt for a payment with a Word document attachment, DO NOT OPEN it. Delete it immediately. The Word doc is probably containing a macro which will download the malware on your computer and execute it. Similarly, if you get a rar or zip file in attachment, do not open it. Rule of the thumb is if you receive an email from an unknown source with an attachment or a link to download something – DELETE IT. No matter how tempting or threatening it is. The mail may claim to be from your bank, income tax department, CBI, FBI, Trump or Modi. Don’t open it. Just delete it.

Same precaution must be taken while downloading files from Torrents or file sharing websites. If possible avoid it. Do not insert pen drives or external hard drives from your friend’s computer or from a cyber café/stationary shop. Your data is not more important than that movie or MP3 file.

Do not keep writable shared folders on your computer. If one computer on network is affected it will scan the entire network and encrypt all the writable shared folders it can find.

Take regular backups. Keep online and offline backups. Do not keep your physical backup media attached to your computer all the time. Take a backup and detach it. The ransomware also encrypts the data on all the attached /mapped drives it can find. If that happens even your backup is gone. If you keep online backup in Google Docs or Dropbox, it will sync your encrypted files as well so even that data is gone, so keep multiple backups.

If your computer gets infected, the first thing you should do is shut it down. Just pull the power cable. Disconnect it from the network. Disconnect all the connected drives. Start the computer in DOS mode and try to salvage whatever data you can.

There is no cure for ransomware. Prevention is the best option.

The connection between milk and beef

by Yash 0 Comments

Dairy cattle like cows and buffaloes are mammals. Humans are also mammals. Females of mammals produce milk for their offspring for a short period after giving birth.

Other than humans no other adult mammals consume milk, definitely not of another species. Only humans do that. Even in adult humans the ability to digest milk is limited. As many as 60% humans can’t digest milk!

Milk is not our food.

And how do we get milk? Cows and buffaloes are not benevolent. They do not produce milk for us humans. Their milk is for their calves. So we get them to give birth and then separate the newborn from the mother and milk the animal for human consumption.

We give dairy cattle hormones to produce additional milk. Far more than they would produce in nature for their calves. And since they give milk only after giving birth, the cows are impregnated again within 2-3 months of giving birth for the next cycle. So a cow spends pretty much all of its “productive” life as constantly being pregnant. About 5 years. Imagine being pregnant for 5 years!

The farmers and commercial dairy farms that raise these cattle treat them as machines. Machines that take fodder at one end and produce milk at the other. After 4 or 5 pregnancies the milk production starts to decline. The cattle does not remain economically viable for the farmer. What do you do with a machine which is no longer productive?

You sell it.

Who would buy a cow that cannot be milked? Enter slaughterhouses.

Slaughterhouses buy the unproductive cattle from farmers. Farmers use the money to buy new cattle and the cycle goes on. Slaughterhouses kill the animal and sell the meat and leather. That’s how the industry works.

If you shut down slaughter houses, it breaks the chain. Farmers are now suddenly left with unproductive cattle they cannot sell and can’t afford to feed either. What do they do? There aren’t enough cow shelters to take care of the millions of cattle we have and nobody would be willing to bear the economic cost of feeding all those cows. Farmers will turn to cattle that are still slowed to be slaughtered like buffaloes.

Data shows that as ban on cow slaughter spread through various states of India, milk production from cows declined and that from buffaloes increased. Because farmers could sell buffaloes to slaughterhouses.

Milk and beef are two sides of the same coin. Milk and beef industry are dependent on each other. If you shut down one of them the other will suffer. Simple economics.

Milk production is cruel. It has traumatic effect on the cattle and their offspring. If you really care for cows, you should stop consuming milk. And if you can’t give up milk then you have to allow slaughter as well.

Free Speech

by Yash 0 Comments

Freedom of speech is the right to articulate your opinions and ideas without fear of government retaliation or censorship, or societal sanction.

Free speech gives you the right to say whatever you want. However it does not mean people have to listen to it, let alone agree to it.

If you own a communication medium, a platform then you do not necessarily have to give space to anyone who wants to express their opinion.

If you own a newspaper and you refuse to carry my article that does not take away my right to free speech.

But if I write my article on my blog or on a website I own and you ask the government to block the access to my website, that does attack my right to free speech.

In simpler terms, I can print my opinions on a pamphlet and distribute it outside a railway station. That is free speech. If you don’t take the pamphlet, or take it and throw it away or wipe your nose with it, it does not affect my right to free speech.

So I can write a book, give a speech, write a poem, make a movie, draw a cartoon about whatever I want to convey. That is my freedom of expression. You DO NOT HAVE to read it, listen to it or watch it.

However there is a difference between free speech and hate speech. If you espouse hatred through your speeches, you can be prosecuted.

Here are some examples of free speech vs hate speech

I am a proud Hindu – Free speech
All Muslims are terrorists – Hate speech

Kejriwal is an idiot – Free speech
Kejriwal is a traitor, send him to Pakistan – Hate speech

Barkha Dutt is disgusting – Free speech
Someone should rape Barkha – Hate speech

There is no god – Free speech
Let’s burn all the churches – Hate speech

Identifying hate speech is just a matter of plain old commonsense. If you encourage violence through your speech it is hate speech. If you target a person or a group of people based on their race, colour, caste, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or any other criteria and your intention is to cause them harm – it is hate speech.

It’s as simple as that. Everybody is free to say anything as long they don’t intend harm to anyone. You don’t have to listen what they are saying, you don’t have to agree to what they are saying and you don’t have to provide them a platform either.

The business of taking offence

by Yash 0 Comments

We Indians are imbecile, immature, thin-skinned and just plain stupid. We take offence to anything and everything. Getting butt hurt over tiniest of issues is India’s national pastime. In House of Cards the producers can use the names of Republican and Democratic parties and no one bats an eyelid. If a political drama was to be made in India I doubt if anyone will dare use names of BJP and Congress. Here Shahrukh Khan had to drop “barber” from his film’s title, Maharashtrian Brahmins are unhappy with Sairat, Teli ka tel was replaced with Dilli ka tel in the song because the telis had an issue with it! Some or the other group in India has an issue with a movie, a book, a play, a song or some other form of art. And the creators often have to bend to the whims and fancies of such loonies.

Indias are just waiting to get offended. People even take offence to things that didn’t even involve them – like a bunch of celebrities getting together and abusing each other in front of a paying audience! And courts too are too eager to muzzle any voice which hurts the wafer thin sentiments of jobless jerks. Free speech inherently comes with the right to offend. Every joke is offensive. Whenever we laugh, we are making fun of somebody’s illogical actions or somebody’s misfortune. And the remedy to getting offended is very simple! Don’t watch the movie that offends you! Don’t read that blasphemous book! Don’t listen to the hurtful song! Just don’t participate in the activity which rankles your sensitive ass, instead of being an asshole!

We have startup India, clean up India. It’s time we also get Grow up India.

Nexus 6P

by Yash 0 Comments

Nexus6p

It’s time for a new phone and it is Nexus 6P. After Nexus S and Nexus 5 this is my third Nexus. It’s bigger and better. Got a 32 GB version in silver. I really wanted to get the gold one but it was disappearing from everywhere (today it is back in stock on Flipkart) and at 40K it was more than I was willing to pay.

Specs are stellar, phone is gorgeous, the fingerprint sensor is blazing fast, camera seems to be fine, screen is super sharp owing to the Quad HD display. Got it for Rs. 33,480 after 7% discount from ebay. Not a bad deal I reckon.

Nexus all the way.

Kids prefer logical explanations

by Yash 0 Comments

When my 4 year old daughter demands something which I think she does not need, she acts like a typical child. Being stubborn. If i refuse her without giving a reason when will continue her demand, but if I give her a logical explanation she will stop.

One day at a mall she asked for one of those air filled plastic balloons which come in various shapes and sizes. The balloons are sold on the road side for 20-30 rupees, in the mall it’s 150. She asked and I said no. She kept at it, so I explained it to her – look this uncle here will take a lot more money from us for this balloon. The same balloon can be bought outside of this mall for far less money. We can actually buy 5 of these from there. She understood. She has never asked for the balloon at the mall since then. Whenever we pass the balloon shop in the mall, she reminds us that we have to buy it from the vendor outside.

She clearly understood that the balloon sold in the mall wasn’t worth it. If I had just said no without explaining why I am saying no she wouldn’t. I hope it would have also instilled a little sense of value of money in her tiny brain.

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Last week me and Yaashi went to watch The Jungle Book. My wife had gone to attend a seminar.

Yaashi (while we were leaving): “Let’s pickup mom as well”
Me: “We can’t. She’s at the office.”
Yaashi: “Why is mom at office today? It’s Saturday!”
Me: “Well, she had some work”

Her office is on the way to the cinema hall, as son as we passed it Yaashi said, “Stop, let’s pick up mom”
Me: “Mom is not here, she is at another office”
Yaashi: “So let’s go there”
Me: “We can’t go there.”
Yaashi: “Why?”
Me: “Mom has gone to attend a seminar on international taxation, if we go there we will not understand anything”
Yaashi: “OK”

That was it. We went for the movie and enjoyed it. I am sure Yaashi had no clue where and why did her mom go, but she surely got some idea that whatever it was, it was clearly not for me and her.

So I think kids demand logical explanation. Why can’t I wear this dress today? Why do I have to brush my teeth? Why should I share my food/toys? Why I should not hit other kids? Why should I not waste food. If you try to be dictatorial with them – they won’t listen! They’ll rebel. If you tell them the reason – it doesn’t matter if they are too young to grasp it fully – they will understand.

What has been your experience with your kids?

The problem with prayer

by Yash 0 Comments

Assumption 1: Some god/gods exists and he created the universe.
Assumption 2: That god is omnipotent. He can do anything.
Assumption 3: That god is omniscient. He knows everything – past, present and future.

So a god created humans and he knows what each of them is going to do. So if a human kills another human, god knew it all beforehand. Since the god is all powerful it must that’s how he wanted things to go. So essentially we humans are just characters acting according to a script – for god’s entertainment presumably. So what’s the point of praying? If everything is predefined, how is your praying going to change it? And you think the god will just change the script because you request him to do so? And since god is omniscient he ought to know you were going to pray for it. Well then it means the act of prayer itself is scripted! So the god puts you in a tight situation, makes you pray to himself and then bails you out – all according to a well crafted plan.

Looks like this god dude was getting bored, so he created a world full of creates who would endlessly go on praising and praying to him – just to massage his ego! Classic example of a narcissist psychopath who likes to surround himself with an army of sycophants.

So if you believe assumption 1 above to be true, just think of what and whom you are praying to.

Intelligence and grammar

by Yash 0 Comments

For last many years I have been using an online logical reasoning test to recruit programmers. I see a lot of candidates writing their names with proper capitalization and many others who don’t care about capitalization, signifying poor grammar. I was curious to see if there was a correlation between the scores and proper capitalization of the name. The test has 10 questions and scores range from 0 to 10. I mapped the scores with the percentage of candidates who have written their name with proper capitalization.

Yash Gadhiya is proper capitalization. yash gadhiya or YASH GADHIYA is not.

Here are the findings

10    100%
9    100%
8    78%
7    77%
6    75%
5    81%
4    80%
3    77%
2    56%
1    54%
0    All – 73%, test completed – 61%

Everyone who managed to score 9 or 10 had written their names properly. There was a fair amount of consistency between scores of 8-3. Only at scores 2 and 1 did the percentage dip around 50%.

0 is an interesting case where the numbers are in live with higher scores. But it also includes candidates who have abandoned the test. If I take into consideration candidates who had submitted the test then the ratio is 61%.

So apparently there is some correlation between logical and analytical skills and grammar. However it does not mean everyone with higher intelligence has proper grammar and those who don’t care about grammar are idiots. But if I was comparing two candidates who have similar scores and similar educational background, then I would rate the one with better grammar a tad higher than the one who doesn’t care about proper capitalization of his/her name.

Starting a new innings

by Yash 0 Comments

I am hanging up my entrepreneur boots (for now) and beginning a new phase of my career. I have joined Schoolguru Eduserve as their VP of technology. SchoolGuru partners with leading universities and provides end to end online learning solutions.
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I have run Uconomix for 10+ years and I have spent 13 years in the  building software applications for various platforms. Building software is my passion. I love it. I did that at Uconomix but my last idea PhotoKeeper did not take off. So I think it is time for me to take break from the rigors of entrepreneurship and utilise my skills at another organisation and luckily I found an opportunity at Schoolguru.

A new journey begins.