Endhiran – Tamil Cinema 2.0 : DOT!

image ‘Where there is a will there is a way’ – Applies to Endhiran and also getting a ticket to Endhiran on second day of release. Getting a ticket to Endhiran itself was an experience. Having never planned to buy a ticket and searching for the ticket on second day of release for evening show is real madness. With all the media hype pre and post release it is near impossible to book a ticket online. But to our (Me and Priya) luck we found 2 tickets at INOX Jayanagar. We were appreciating our luck without common sense. Oops! No matter how many times we tried that ticket could never be booked. We drove to the theatre to find out if these tickets could be released for us. To our surprise we found a dozen people complaining about the locked tickets and get them issued to them. They were complaining several issues including the jammed INOX website and SMS booking. It was easier for INOX management to complain the Ayodhya verdict for the issues they were facing with online and sms booking.

We called the manager and told him that the ticket got blocked because of us and asked him to release the tickets to us. After several arguments he insisted to come 2 hrs before show when he will have the authority to release the blocked tickets. I left my mobile number with him. We came 2 hrs earlier to the show just to find that the manager was having problems releasing the tickets. Then came in one gentlemen with a bundle of tickets (around 10) as his plan for watching the movie with his friends got cancelled. People surrounded him like a swarm of bees but we managed to get two tickets to the evening show.

We entered the cinema hall at last. When you watch a movie or review them, especially when they are Indian and Rajinikanth’s there are few things you need to switch off (Logical Analysis and Common Sense). A film is meant for entertainment and purely entertainment. It would be your mistake if you try to apply the laws of the physical world.

Having known tamil cinema one would be curious to know how certain contrasting features were matched (Science Fiction and Masala, Scientist and Rajini, Rajini and Aishwarya). Kudos to director Shankar. The film goes so well that you never think about these till the end of the film. First the movie is not a normal Rajini movie as one would expect. It is a different experience, a Hollywood movie with Indian masala flavor. It is purely an evolution of Tamil Cinema taking it to the next level as in one of the very few punch dialogues in the film (Upgraded Version 2.0). But it is difficult to match with first grade Hollywood movies as seen in many reviews. The special effects are superb for Tamil movies but not without flaws. The stunt scenes in the train are excellent. The climax action scenes are good but exhausting. If something is very bad about the movie it is the editing. One could judge well ahead if a song is about to begin and which song would that be. For a film at this budget poor editing can no way be justified. The song sequences do not go along with the movie. The BGM is not noticeable and is poor.

With all its flaws Endhiran is still superb. With a three year waiting and huge expectations it would be really a challenge. It still impresses for all the hard work, the constraints of Tamil Cinema, the performance of a sixty year old man, the dreams of director Shankar, the vision of Kalanidhi Maran. It has given a message, A movie at this budget is commercially viable and could be made successful. It is has opened the gate for a new breed of Indian movies.

It has also proved that piracy is not a constraint for a good movie to be successful. I still remember when I paid 15 SGD in Singapore for Sivaji none of my non Indian colleagues believed as by the rule and by their experience no movie ticket can cost beyond 10 SGD. And for Endhiran I have legally paid something near by that price. DOT!

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Stuxnet – The New Generation Control Systems Computer Worm

Stuxnet is a Windows-specific computer worm first discovered in June 2010 by VirusBlokAda, a security firm based in Belarus. It is the first discovered worm that spies on and reprograms industrial systems. It was specifically written to attack Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems used to control and monitor industrial processes.Stuxnet includes the capability to reprogram the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and hide the changes. (Ref: Wikipedia)

It is the first-ever computer worm to include a PLC rootkit.It is also believed to be the first worm to target critical industrial infrastructure. Furthermore the worm’s probable target has been said to have been high value infrastructures in Iran using Siemens control systems. It has also been said that the infestation by this worm might have delayed the start up of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant. (Ref: Wikipedia)

As of end September 2010 the virus has widely affected Iran, Indonesia and India (Source: Stuxnet Under the Microscope)

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(Image Source: Stuxnet Under the Microscope)

A high volume of detections in a single region may mean that it is the major target of attackers. However, multiple targets may exist, and the promiscuous nature of the infective mechanism is likely to targeting detail.

With its ability to attack industrial control systems, Stuxnet is the first computer virus that causes real-life harm.

Being a control systems professional I can imagine how much damage these little piece of software can create. It is beyond the imagination of Hollywood movies. With its ability to modify the engineering done in Control or Safety systems it can defeat the very purpose it was built for by turning the Plant to a potential weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD). The disaster may not be a boom & fire as shown in movies. A poisonous gas leak or nuclear spill can be more dangerous, Bhopal Gas tragedy an example of it. Oops! this is more threatening than the Google Threat discussed in my earlier blog. And yes, there are new themes available for Die Hard, War Games, Enemy of State, Eagle Eye……

This also calls for nations to strengthen their Cyber Security. And soon cyber security will become a multi bullion dollar industry, multiple times its current volume. I feel the control systems should move back to proprietary operating systems. Gone are the days when these systems were designed and considered to be more secure. With these systems getting more open day by day with insecure implementation of Microsoft dominated OPC (OLE for Process Control) and integration with upper level solutions like ERP the probability of risk is even higher. The strength of the chain is as strong as the weakest link. With new versions of Windows coming up there has been no increased security. A better solution may be to design Windows operating systems catering to automation platforms.

While it is being claimed that there is remedy for Stuxnet, we really need to wait and see if it is yet to unfold. While this worm has been discovered for Siemens systems and if it is true that it is a nation state sponsored project there are many to come targeting all platforms taking a nation’s defense and economy to its control.

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What to Blog!

Its quite a while since my last post. Life has kept me very busy! Too many things happened in my life during this period that many blogs can be expected on these happenings. Nothing could be a perfect gift as my son’s birth just 2 hrs before the clocks strikes 12:00 to celebrate my birthday. He gave us a surprise visit just a day after ‘valaikappu’ with a nail biting suspense. Thank God our rules do  not allow to know the sex of a child earlier. There is nothing as thrilling as waiting long to know if your first child is a boy or a girl. Those crazy old wives tales! they didn’t work 🙂 .

And my visit to Taipei. Short visit it was; but a wonderful experience. I should admit that I was over confident with Taipei’s food due to my Beijing experiences. Taipei food is nowhere near Beijing. We didn’t miss out our visit to Taipei 101 and the famous night market. 

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And my website crash. Oops! For three years I have regularly taken backups. Exactly when I have forgot to do it for more than four months my website crashed. Luckily since there was not much activity I was able to restore it with minimal loss. I never expected someone would break into my database and clear the records. Big lesson learnt!

And so many fun filled dramas in life and at work. But I am still thinking for a topic, for a reason to blog. What to Blog?

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Chinese Vegetarian

My first visit to China was short and all I could risk to enjoy local experience was to take the local train instead of an boring taxi. I wrote down the hotel address “Hotel Regent, 99 Jinbao Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100005, China” on a piece of paper and started from office along with my colleagues to the hotel. Ignoring warnings of my colleagues I dared to take the subway and got down at WangFuJing station. It was only then I realized I am in a real foreign country. Nobody was able to read the address from the slip of paper, neither they were able to identify the hotel name. And thanks to one gentleman who showed me the wrong direction. I almost walked two kilometers in the wrong direction when one European victim trying to locate his hotel helped me with the right direction. I managed the visit with continental and Indian vegetarian food so I didn’t have a feel of Chinese food.

It was during my second visit I ventured Chinese recipes. My Indian colleagues always warned me taking Chinese food worrying it might not be vegetarian and may not suit my appetite. But curiosity didn’t leave me. My Chinese colleagues took me to restaurants and helped me find the best vegetarian dishes. I was surprised to see them explain the restaurant personnel for at least ten minutes each time they order for me.  I could member only a lots ‘bu sha’s’. Curious I asked them what these ‘bu cha’s’ are. It is a form of ‘no’ and they were ordering something with ‘no meat’, ‘no fish’, ‘no sea food’, ‘no egg’, ‘no pork’ etc… I wondered if there is no single word for vegetarian. True, if they forget any of the bu sha’s you can expect the left outs to be there in your recipe. But it is really worth it, I should say chinese vegetarian is really that good. For Indians, Chinese vegetarian would be a surprise in China as all that we get in India named as Chinese is only Indian.

The tempting Chinese dishes forced me to try them myself even when my colleagues are not there around me. One weekend in the Hotel I stayed (this hotel was Chinese) I ordered fried rice that was supposed to be vegetarian as explained in the menu. When it was served I was surprised to see egg along with it. So explained her bu sha mutton, bu sha chicken, bu sha egg, bu sha seafood, bu sha fish. The item was brought back with pork in it. Oops! I forgot the bu cha pork. I explained her again and she asked me ‘like goat?’. No! I screamed, bu sha goat (mutton?). A few seconds later I recognized that she was mentioning me as goat for eating only the greeny stuff.

Next time in a restaurant I explained all the bu sha’s without fail only to receive a reply ‘bu sha food. Get out!’. They are quite sentimental about food. I still wanted to try. I carried a pocket dictionary with me which had the Chinese word for vegetarian. Guess what! no body could understand what it really meant even in Chinese. Now I understood why it was hard for my colleagues to explain vegetarian food.

Chinese McDonalds, Pizza Hut and KFC do not have vegetarian meals. I have to manage with fries and fruits pies. However surprisingly Domino’s has a all vegetarian pizza (http://www.dominos.com.cn/english/pizza/pizza.asp# Look for Tomato Vegetable) . He looked surprised at me and mentioned that I was the first to order that particular pizza in his experience. I don’t know how long he was working at Dominos but it’s a comment worth mentioning.

The best of all Chinese dishes in the ‘Gan Bian Dou Jiao’ (Green beans fried with ample dried red chilli). Spicy and lip smacking it was a part of my every order. Next on the list would be sauted mushrooms, stir fired vegetables and the pumpkin cake.  But beware! if you forget the bu sha’s you can expect some pork sprinkled on the dishes!

Chinese Vegetarian in an real experience! You cannot buy it, you have to earn it!

Note: People travelling to Beijing need not worry as there are some few Indian restaurants that serve good north Indian food (veg & non-veg). The Taj Pavilion at China World Trade Center is a good one.

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