Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones – Series Finale Recap

The final episode of the wildly popular television series Game of Thrones aired on Sunday, May 19 to much anticipation and fanfare.  The series which ran for eight seasons on HBO attracted millions of viewers from around the world and gave way to countless blogs, podcasts, and analysis to determine the motives and motivations of characters and predictions for how the series will end.

The final season was widely criticized for seeming inconsistent with past seasons and some storylines feeling somewhat rushed, says Gaurav Mohindra.  But the series finale ended the story with a new king and provided closure for the main characters.

The episode commenced with Tyrion surveying the damaged caused to King’s Landing by Daenerys.  She, along with her dragon Drogon, burned much of the city causing widespread destruction and death.  As Tyrion walked through the city, his morose demeaning carried the shock and horrors caused by the battle (and largely of war, in general).  It came as no surprise that he resigned from his position as Hand of the Queen – which didn’t really matter since he was imprisoned for treason, nonetheless.

 While imprisoned, Tyrion had an audience with Jon Snow to convey his dismay in Daenerys and to convince him that her actions, while noble in her mind, were tyrannical and will continue.  This was the push that Jon may have needed to kill Daenerys.

Subsequent to her death, her last remaining dragon, Drogon, proceeded to burn the Iron Throne causing it to melt away.  This scene was rather symbolic that Daenerys’ death ultimately led to her motive to “break the wheel” and release people from tyrannical rule, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 806Credit: HBO
Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 806 Credit: HBO

The episode continued by dealing with the fallout of Daenerys’ death.  Jon Snow was imprisoned, and Tyrion was brought to the council of Lords to explain his actions.  The Council elected a new King, Bran Stark, of House Stark.  The election came as somewhat of a surprise, says Gaurav Mohindra.  It was rationalized that Bran had the knowledge of the past, and with that knowledge, he can successfully guide the future.

Sansa Stark successfully argued for Winterfell being a separate nation, and she ultimately was elected the Queen. Her sister, Arya, decided to explore unknown lands west of Westeros.  And Jon Snow was banished to the Night’s Watch as a penance for murdering Daenerys. Tyrion was selected by Bran Stark to serve as his Hand of the King.

It was great to see that all of the main characters had been provided an ending well suited to their storylines.  All in, Game of Thrones was an enjoyable series that captivated viewers throughout its run, and there’s no surprise that it will be remembered as one of the most popular television shows of all time.

Game of Thrones

Mixed Reviews of the Final Season of Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones has been a widely lauded television series on HBO.  It first aired on April 17, 2011 and the series finale is airing on May 19, 2019.  The series quickly became one of HBO’s most successful franchises and enjoys a large viewership around the world.  Numerous blogs, podcasts, reviewers, and chat rooms – provide detailed analysis of each scene and themes across the series.  The series comprises 8 seasons and the final episode of the 8th season is the series finale.  Most episodes last one hour long, but in the 8th season – some episodes were closer to 1.5 hours, thereby providing nearly a standalone film experience for the viewer.

While the series has received rave reviews from critics around the world, the final season has received mixed reviews.  This is largely in part to unexpected behaviors by key characters, and a perceived derivation in character arc and story development from past seasons.

Gaurav Mohindra:  The series is based on the books written by George RR Martin.  The producers of the television series have not followed the books entirely in past seasons as television being such a different medium from print requires specific customization.  But nonetheless, the producers (or show runners) did an impressive job bringing the books to life on TV.


However, the final Season, Season 8 – is airing on TV prior to the completion of the corresponding books.  Having outpaced the books, the TV producers shouldered the onus of having to continue the characters’ developments while concluding the series.  This may be one reason why fans are seeing such a disparate difference between the final season and past seasons, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Martin has been widely considered a master in richly weaving intriguing characters into his stories, and from their experiences illustrating the true human condition.  Many critics claim that the TV producers lack Martin’s nuanced approach and simply sensationalizing the final season for ratings.

The fan outcry has become increasingly vocal, and now a petition to redo the entire final season is circulating the web.  The petition has already garnered over 500,000 signatures.  The fact that there is so much demand to redo the series – even before the series is concluded – is a very telling sign of fan disappointment, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Despite the outcry and vocal criticism, Season 8 has been attracting a larger audience than past seasons.  And despite the criticism, there is certainty that the series finale will be a huge television event.

Apple TV App

New Apple TV App

Apple recently announced a new Apple TV app available in over 100 countries.  The new app provides access to shows and movies from Apple TV channels, iTunes and over a hundred video apps.  The wide release illustrates Apple’s commitment to video content, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The app will consolidate other viewing channels into one place to make it easier to access your paid subscriptions.  In the US, Apple TV channels include HBO, Starz, SHOWTIME, Smithsonian Channel, EPIX, Tastemade and new services.  Apple indicated that additional channels will be added on an ongoing basis around the world.

Apple further announced a family sharing plan which permits up to six family members to share subscriptions to Apple TV using their Apple ID authentications.  The app will provide solutions for viewers to watch content online, and to download content for offline viewing.  Apple will also provide a large catalog of 4k high resolution titles for viewing.

Viewers will have curated selections as viewing options based on the previous viewing habits.  There is also a dedicated Kids section for selected titles popular with children.  A dedicated Sports section will make it easier to follow your favorite team.  Having segmented sections makes it easier for viewers to identify and select the programming they seek, in an easy manner, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The new Apple TV app is available for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV customers.  The compatible operating systems are iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3.  Apple indicated that the app will be available for Mac later this year.

The Apple TV app will also be available on 2019 Samsung smart TVs and some 2018 Samsung smart Tvs.  

The new Apple TV app was announced in March at Apple’s big company event in March, 2019.  Since then they have been releasing new details around the content providers and compatible devices.  The new release shows Apple’s commitment to capture a larger share of the home entertainment market.  Apple’s new streaming service is definitely a competitor others such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube, and Hulu. 

Gaurav Mohindra: Apple also announced an AirPlay2 which will provide an improved streaming capability to view content on existing devices such as TVs.  Samsung is providing the capability immediately, with Vizio, LG, and Sony to provide the feature later in the year.

The layout of the app seems familiar to other Apple UXs.  The familiarity is a plus for users as they will find it easier to navigate the app to find the content they seek.  We are excited for this launch, and look forward to testing the service soon.


Controversy at the Derby

The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby was marred in controversy and disbelief this past Saturday.  What had appeared to be a decisive victory for front runner Maximum Security quickly turned into 22 minutes of confusion as officials considered protests that were lodged as a result of the running, says Gaurav MohindraAs the confusion subsided the victory was taken away from Maximum Security and awarded to Country House.

The protests lodged against Maximum Security resulting in disqualification stemmed from the leading horse, in this case Maximum Security, interfering with other horses.  The three stewards who were officiating the event found that Maximum Security had impeded the progress of another horse, War of Will, and in doing so – nearly knocked over that horse’s jockey Tyler Gaffalione.  As a result of this impediment, Maximum Security was disqualified.

This was the first time in Kentucky Derby history that the horse who won the race was not declared the winner.  The conditions of the track were very muddy due to the inclement rain and weather, says Gaurav Mohindra.  It made for a very messy race, in more ways than one.

Gary West, the owner of Maximum Security, was vocal about his displeasure in the ruling against his horse.  He criticized the lack of transparency by the stewards in making their determination and indicated that he may file an appeal with Kentucky racing authorities or possibly in court.

President Trump conveyed his displeasure with the ruling by tweeting “The Kentucky Derby decision was not a good one. It was a rough & tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”

Owner, Gary West, further conveyed that Maximum Security will not run in the next upcoming major horse race – The Preakness Stakes.  The Preakness Stakes, Kentucky Derby, and Belmont Stakes collectively make for the triple crown.  The triple crown is designated as the highest award in US horse racing as the horse that wins all three of the races in the same year is deemed the triple crown winner.  With Maximum Security being disqualified from the Kentucky Derby its chances of winning the triple crown no longer exist.  It’s likely that an appeal or court challenge will not change West’s decision to not run Maximum Security in the Preakness since that race is scheduled for May 18.

Apple 2019

Apple 2019 2nd Quarter Results

Apple released its financial results for its 2019 second quarter.  The quarter ended on March 30, 2019.  The company posted an impressive quarterly revenue of $58 Billion.  Interestingly, international sales accounted for 61% of the quarter’s revenue.  Apple is a strong global company and that it’s not surprising that most of its revenue comes from outside the US, says Gaurav Mohindra from Chicago, Illinois.

Apple Iphone

Wall Street took kindly to the positive news as Apple’s stock was trading higher at 214.21 a share in the morning of May 1.  This accounts for a 6.73% increase in share price based off the positive earnings data and positive future outlook.

Apple’s strong quarter was the result of having 1.4 billion active devices.  This number is simply staggering, says Gaurav Mohindra.  Few companies have such a strong existing base of users to promote new services and products.  Apple also referred to continued success in wearables and the Home Market.  Home automation is becoming increasingly popular for users.  Amazon’s Alexa, Google, and Apple – offer services to automate televisions, lights, and other home technologies by using your existing devices.  This market is still considered relatively new and there should be increased growth in this area.  Apple indicated that they will share further details on upcoming technologies at Apple’s 30th Annual Worldwide Developers Conference. 

Apple further demonstrated its commitment to shareholders by returning over $27 Billion to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.  This clearly illustrates Apples confidence in its company and brand. 

Apple provided the following guidance for its 3rd quarter, 2019:

  • revenue between $52.5 billion and $54.5 billion
  • gross margin between 37 percent and 38 percent
  • operating expenses between $8.7 billion and $8.8 billion
  • other income/(expense) of $250 million
  • tax rate of approximately 16.5 percent

As Apple enters into streaming they will start developing their own content – similar to Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.  But they have also negotiated content deals with HBO, Starz, and Showtime.  This new service will complement Apple Music and Apple Pay, along with other new services they will provide.

Apple is poised to move beyond the device everyone has in their pocket – to the provider populating those devices too.

Gaurav Mohindra from Chicago, Illinois: Apple family of products from phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, home devices, and others – have built an ecosystem for the continued growth of their services.  As they further enter into entertainment and other areas they should continue to see strong results and loyal customers.


Uber Expands Its Presence in The Middle East

Uber recently announced that it is acquiring ride-hailing company Careem.  Careem is an established company that operates in 15 countries and 120 cities in the Middle East.  This acquisition illustrates Uber’s approach to grow internationally and in new markets, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Uber announced the acquisition through a press release on March 26, 2019.  The transaction is expected to close in early 2020 subject to appropriate regulatory approvals.  Uber is acquiring Careem for $3.1 Billion.  The payment consists of $1.7 Billion in convertible notes and $1.4 Billion in cash.  Careem was founded in 2012 and quickly saw success as the ride-hailing economy expanded across the region.

It is anticipated that Careem will continue to use its brand and name in the region.  It is not unusual for acquired companies to become wholly-owned subsidiaries.  Careem is a recognized brand in its market and can continue to leverage the goodwill it has built over the years, says Gaurav Mohindra from Chicago, Illinois.  Careem CEO and co-founder, Mudassir Sheikha, will continue to lead Careem’s business.

It is not surprising that Uber entered into this transaction.  Uber is poised for an IPO soon and is continuing to expand its services offerings globally.  It would take Uber considerable time, effort, and cost to organically capture new regions.  When a company, such as Uber, seeks to grow quickly – acquisition is an attractive option.  In addition, Uber is a well-funded company and their access to capital provides acquisition as a good growth strategy.

Careem’s service offerings include mobility, delivery, and payments.  Their regional breadth ranges from Morocco to Pakistan, and major markets include Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. 

Uber’s presence in the region will expand the digital services Careem currently offers. 

Uber was founded in 2010, and its upcoming IPO is eagerly anticipated.  Uber’s growth over the past 9 years is simply amazing.  Uber has conducted over 10 billion trips since the company was founded, and has simply changed the way people move. 

It’s exciting to see Uber grow into new markets and provide new service offerings.  As Uber continues to grow, it would be anticipated that other acquisition similar to this one will take place.  Uber may continue to acquire regional players to expand their presence in new markets, but also acquire companies having new services than they currently offer.  As Uber’s infrastructure continues to improve, consumers will yield the benefit of having a seamless experience.

Game of Thrones

Game Of Thrones – Series recap

HBO’s wildly popular Game of Thrones has resumed for its final season.  The television series has spanned for nearly a decade and has closely followed the stories of George Martin’s book the Song of Fire and Ice and subsequent sequels, says Gaurav Mohindra.

As the series comes to an end, here’s a quick recap to catch up on past seasons.

Winter Is Here. The White Walkers have converted a dragon to their side and have effectively taken down the “wall”.  In doing so, they have been able to pass into Westeros and into the North.  While there are a number of houses in the North, there will likely be a big battle in Winterfell, says Gaurav Mohindra from Chicago, Illinois.

Jon Snow.  The series’ protagonist is Jon Snow.  One may imagine that he will clearly win the throne, it is after all – A Game of Thrones – and someone has to win.  But, it’s not that clear cut. Jon’s parentage was kept secret throughout his life, for his own safety.  He was raised as a Stark, but he is actually a Targaryen.  This has significant ramifications as he is the true heir to the throne.  However, this also complicates the plot as his aunt (and romantic interest) Daenerys is keen on capturing the throne for herself.  So it will be interesting to see how Jon reacts when he learns of his true identity, and how Daenerys reacts to the same.

Cersei.  Cersei Lannister is currently the Queen of the 7 Kingdoms.  Although she has seen what the White Walkers are – first hand.  She still scheming to retain control.  She has pledged her allegiance to fight the White Walkers but is also preparing to take control after the aftermath, much to the dismay of her brother, Jamie – who indicated that he will travel to the North and fight with the others. 

Starks.  The Starks of Winterfell seems to be the key around any upcoming fight – White Walker or otherwise.  It will be interesting to see Arya, Sansa, Bran, and Jon – together after so many seasons apart.

Regardless of what happens, Season 8 will fun ride.  The episodes will be longer, but there are fewer episodes in total.  There are a lot of loose ends that need to be wrapped up this season – who is the Night King, what does want? What will happen to all the key players – Tyrion, The Hound, Starks, etc?  Who gets the Throne…..

Stay tuned, and enjoy!

Apple Watch

Apple is Becoming Heart Healthy

Apple recently announced that its iWatch will include an electrocardiogram and irregular rhythm notification monitor.  The new features will be available across Europe and Hong Kong. 

Apple is one of many large companies betting big on wearable health-centric technology.  Consumers are becoming more connected to their health metrics, so the demand is certainly relevant for such features. 

An ECG and irregular heart rhythm are often utilized to assess for signs of heart disease. Apple is presenting its technology to be used in conjunction with routine healthcare practice, and leveraging the apps can be used as a monitor – rather than active care.

The technology will be available in the US once it receives FDA approval.  It has currently received De Novo clearance, so it’s just a matter of time until this technology is available in the US, says Gaurav Mohindra.

An ECG records the electrical activity from your heart.  Its typically recorded while the heart is at rest.  The iWatch is a perfect application for this test, as users are wearing the watch in a continued fashion on a regular basis says Gaurav Mohindra.

The ECG test may be used to detect various heart ailments, such as, detecting heart disease, heart attack, an enlarged heart, or abnormal rhythms that may cause heart failure.  Apple will likely alert the user if any metric does not appear normal and suggest the user receive medical attention when warranted.

Apple indicated that they engaged in numerous studies verifying the accuracy of its results prior to releasing the device. 

There are new electrodes build into the back crystal and Digital Crown on the iWatch that work in conjunction with the App to facilitate the test – which is akin to taking a single-lead electrocardiogram. It seems as though the entire test can be conducted within 30 seconds – so it’s relatively easy to access important health data in a fast and simple tool.

While tracking steps is an interesting tool – Apple has clearly shown that it’s seeking to expand wearable technology well into advanced medical testing and health, says Gaurav Mohindra. With this new foray into heart-healthy capabilities, it will be interesting to see what else Apple has in mind for the iWatch.   

iWatch users will be able to configure test results so various users can access the results too.  This would be beneficial for providing any abnormal results directly to healthcare providers so immediate attention can be triggered when required.

AI Business
AI Business, News

What are the Benefits of AI for Businesses?

From replying customer queries to propelling self-driving cars, AI is becoming an essential part of daily life. And AI in companies is no exemption. In fact, AI abilities are being used to advance how industries run says Gaurav Mohindra. This quickly rising technology offers considerable development opportunities that many businesses have already been quick to capitalize upon. Here, we look at some of the ways your company can take advantage of cloud-based AI.


• Real-time Assistance

AI is helpful for businesses that require continuing communication with clientele throughout every day. For instance, the transport and mobility companies which can have thousands of passengers each day – can leverage AI to interact with them in real time. Companies can send modified information such as notice of delay and any cancellation etc.

• Automating consumer interactions

These days, most consumer communications require individual interactions, including email, social media chat, phone calls, and online chat. However, with AI, businesses can automate many of these interactions. By scrutinizing data from earlier exchanges, interactions can be programmed to correctly reply to consumers and deal with their inquiries. Further, when AI is paired with machine learning, platforms become more Effexor time and effective, and as a result, they become much better at interacting with consumers in more everyday ways.

• Data Mining:

Artificial Intelligence apps are able to rapidly find out essential and pertinent information during the processing of big data. This can offer companies’ that already have vast user information new modalities and customer insights says Gaurav Mohindra. This is becoming increasingly popular in cloud-based AI.

• Outcome Prediction

One of the advantages of AI is that it is proficient to forecast the outcomes based on data analysis. By mining vast permutations of user interaction based upon data sets that predicate those interactions, AI (through forecast modeling) can effectively provide predictive interactions with confidence ranked results.

• Operational Automation

AI is capable to advance further technologies that boost automation in the company. For instance, artificial intelligence can be utilized to control robots in factories, and can preserve ideal temperatures or play music all based upon user preferences

Wrapping Up

As noted above, AI systems provide businesses with ample of benefits like customer service, inventory management, operational automation, etc. These are just a few of many ways AI can be used by businesses shared Gaurav Mohindra. Look out for continued advancement in this area with everyday application.


Blockchain is well on its Way to Become the New Internet

Blockchain technologies are still receiving a lot of attention. Looking back it was really an untamed journey on the crypto rollercoaster. Altcoins experienced huge growth, as well as attention, says Gaurav Mohindra. Part of this can be attributed to Bitcoin’s wild journey of all-time highs, massive investor speculation, followed by enormous amendments.  In fact, Bitcoin has already surged in early 2019 is trading over $5000 for the first time in 2019.

Despite the practical use cases of Bitcoin, one of its most beneficial attributes was introducing crypto-currency and Blockchain to the world. Whether or not one understood its utility, it most certainly attracted investment dollars and general attention.

Web 3.0 – The New Internet

Cryptocurrencies exist on Blockchain and some consider it a new form of Internet. Actually, the Blockchain technology will power Web 3.0 which some people refer to as the new Internet. For most the people this is an unfamiliar term. Here’s some particulars:

There are many definitions of Web 3.0. PC Mag calls it connective intelligence. Connective intelligence refers to the next generation of data, applications, and concepts where a trusted dealer like a bank or tech corporation in the center is not required to ensure solitude and most importantly security.

Digital currency is one highly discussed use case for Blockchain technology, but there are many applications where it can be equally powerful. Gaurav Mohindra has identified these industries most likely to be impacted by Blockchain:

  • Healthcare (Medical Records)
  • Real estate/Automobile transfers (Title Transfer)
  • Politics/Government (Voting)
  • Education (Transcripts, records and diplomas)

Until now, the focus has been mainly on cryptocurrencies, but soon, the platform and efficacy tokens will become the spotlight. Both of these components are essential as they help describe the next invention of the Internet.

The leading Blockchain podium is going to be the major building block for the latest Internet and as the present battle goes, Ethereum is winning.  Ethereum is an open-source blockchain-based platform and OS having a scripting functionality. A token, referred to as Ether, is generated by the Ethereum platform. Ether can be transferred between accounts and used to compensate participant mining nodes for computations performed.  Ethereum provides a versatile applicability that will be attractive to a many industries.

Wrapping Up

As above said, it is going to be a very interesting year. Decentralized apps will continue to flood into the market says Gaurav Mohindra. And we all can see the platform for the internet of the upcoming solidifies itself within the market.   There are numerous industries that can be positively impacted by Blockchain.  The healthcare industry, often an early technology adopter, can leverage blockchain for medical record management.  Similarly, real estate and automobile transactions can benefit from transferring title through a secure unique modality.

Look out for value creating enterprises who innovatively build out effective solutions.

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