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The Making of a Hollywood Blockbuster

Movies are big business.   Hollywood, Bollywood, and other niche markets gross massive revenues.  Oftentimes, these revenues are categorized as media and mass market numbers.  However, most movies need customer buyer in which is played and drawn on human emotion.  People need to identify and want to watch a movie – prior to going out and watching that movie.

2019 was a relatively quiet year for movies.  However, the big blow out movie for the year was The Joker.  The Joker is a biopic upon the antagonist villain portrayed in the DC Comics’ Batman.  Herein, The Joker was played by Joaquin Phoenix and was directed by Todd Philips.  The movie, is considered to be an origin movie.  Thereby depicting how the Joker became the Joker.  And, quite frankly – it’s brilliant, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Phoenix brought life to a comic book page villain, and did so with style.  While the character was clearly deranged – Phoenix did an amazing job to humanize the character.  This is not the first time a Hollywood star actor took on the role of The Joker.  One of the first occasions was when Jack Nicholson portrayed the comic villain in the eponymous story.  Nicholson brought charm charisma and character to the role.  But, Phoenix brought a 2019 draught and disdain that in this day and age can be viewed as relatable lunacy. 

The character is clearly deranged, and the plot is half fantasy/half comic book reality – but it works.  One feels the pain of the protagonist/antagonist – and the audience craves for a happy ending.  However, in true Hollywood ire – the fictional reality is almost more real than everyday life.  And that, in and of itself – is almost admirable, but also realistically frighteningly scary. 

The Joker is a madman.  And the evolution of a mentally challenged man to madman is brilliantly depicted on screen.  This evolution is frighteningly real.  A modern day villain is often portrayed in newspapers in a very similar vein as The Joker, due to his actions.  However, prior to The Joker “lashing out” he clearly was slipping away from reality.  And, this happens to people every day. 

This movie was not only playing on the origins of a broad and popular comic ecosphere.  It was also showcasing a glimpse in the mental health ailments of today.  For this reason, The Joker should not only be viewed as a piece or art – for it’s “comic” value, but also for humanizing the ugly side of mental health – and showing how the pain is more real than fiction, say Gaurav Mohindra.

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A Trip Down the Road

Gaurav Mohindra

I think Jack Kerouac was a far more impressive novelist than a poet, though he wrote his fair share of poems. His book Mexico City Blues sits beside me, and I look to it every now and again, but I don’t consider any of it real, serious poetry. I think his charm is more evident in prose, says Gaurav Mohindra. Poetry is too restrictive a medium for Kerouac. In his poetry, he tries to be too primal with sound play and line breaks, and it doesn’t quite translate. Kerouac typed the first draft of On the Road on a single 50-foot long scroll and in record time, though it wasn’t easy for him to get it published. Since the initial publication of On the Road though, the original, unedited copy, (the scroll,) has been published, and the first, most obvious difference between the first published edition and the Original Scroll (which is a recent publication,) is that Kerouac uses everyone’s real names in the Original Scroll. So Neal Cassady is simply called Neal Cassady instead of Dean Moriarty, and Allen Ginsberg is referred to as Allen Ginsberg rather than Carlo Marx.

Gaurav Mohindra

Another important distinction between the two is that the Original Scroll is uncensored. At the time of publication, 1957, six years after Kerouac finished drafting the novel, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, (friend and publisher of Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl,’) was involved in long, drawn-out trials over the poem, of which, copies were seized for obscenity by U.S. Customs. So, the obscenity and libel laws of the time being what they were, Kerouac’s publisher, Viking, who was afraid of being sued, had Kerouac either omit or soften some of the more explicit language and depictions of sex. They also were afraid of being sued for libel, particularly by anyone seeing themselves as being depicted in an unfavorable light, so they had Kerouac change all the character names as well, says Gaurav Mohindra. I always wondered how much revelation of others in one’s writing is fair. Kerouac’s friends and their personalities are on full display in On the Road, and while some of them are public figures who might have been accustomed to having their business out in the open, others, like Neal Cassady, are relatively private individuals who I don’t believe have much to gain from having their romantic and criminal exploits cataloged and immortalized in literature. One could argue that On the Road serves as a sort of legacy for Neal, but with the novel detailing some of the more unsavory moments in his life, I don’t know if it’s a legacy he would have signed off on.

Originally Posted:- http://www.gauravmohindrachicago.com/a-trip-down-the-road/

Gaurav Mohindra
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A Picture of Cancer

I, like Henry Miller, find beauty in the strangest of places; a streetlamp casting its light on the road, the soft fabric of the t-shirts I live in, or a carefully crafted sandwich even. I sit and type as my oven warms itself in wait of the bread I will feed it. My toaster lies useless on the counter in hopes of repair. Too busy to go out and buy another one and craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, the oven will have to do for now. I don’t often write about food, but right now I am. Henry Miller wrote a lot about food. He also wrote about prostitutes. I think he wrote about the things he craved most. He was hungry most of the time, as he seldom had a stable source of income, says Gaurav Mohindra. His bohemian lifestyle led him to prioritize food, as it was never easy to come by. In Tropic of Cancer, he details his meals so lavishly your mouth begins to salivate. He writes about food and its acquisition in the most tragic and epic language conceivable

Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn contain some of the most impressive prose ever written. I am perpetually moved by the writing in these novels, and I revisit them frequently. Miller’s writing is ecstatically lyrical—at times surrealistic and in others encyclopedic. He darts in and out of obscenities and pulls it off by sandwiching crude scenes in between long surrealistic rants filled with rapturous, mystical imagery. He’s a master novelist unafraid of scorn, daring to go where none have ever quite gone before.

henrymiller

Miller was hungry, perpetually. At least in the early part of his adult life before he managed to publish a few novels and secure a decent living. That’s the dream. It’s possible, but it certainly isn’t easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is. I think Miller understood this, but at the same time, I think he strangely enjoyed some aspects of his poverty. It seemed to serve as a sort of fuel for him, says Gaurav Mohindra. He seemed to thrive in a state of want. It fed his writing, so to speak. His hunger sharpened his vision, it focused his desire, and his writing is full of it—full of desire and its pursuit.

Miller is constantly looking up at the stars, always dreaming of new possibilities, new frontiers, new loves, new foods, new experiences. He naturally finds himself in novel situations because he leaves himself completely open to the world, open to the experience. He bumps into things and things bump into him, and he dives into the life and shares his experiences with us, and sometimes even the lessons he’s taken away from them. I admire his starry-eyed mode of living and his lyrical prose. It culminates in a perfect storm of lush language and rich experience. I smell my oven toast burning.

Originally Posted:- http://www.gauravmohindrachicago.com/a-picture-of-cancer/

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Ubers Continued Commitment to Safety

Uber has been proactively promoting new safety features throughout their platform to provide additional security and protection for users and drivers.  Recently they started raising safety awareness with college campuses as students return to school this fall, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Uber has been encouraging users to verify their drivers and cars, including car make and model and license plates prior to getting into the vehicle.  In addition, they encourage users to verify the driver’s photos.

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Uber is providing additional alerts and banners to remind users to verify their cars and drivers prior to embarking on their rides.  These new safety measures show Uber’s commitment to providing a safe, trusted, and secure experience for its users, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Uber has seen rapid growth over the past few years, and it’s expected to continue seeing consistent growth as it enters into new markets and provides new service offerings.  Uber is now available in over 65 countries, and in over 600 cities.  Their presence is worldwide.  Safety is a measure that is important in each market and territory that it operates in.   Roughly, there are over 14 million trips conducted through the Uber platform per day.  Reports indicated that over 10 Billion trips have been completed thus far.  All of these metrics reflected worldwide usages.

Reports indicate that Uber’s market share in the United States is nearly 2/3s of the market – (or roughly 67%).  Along with such wide adoption and usage Uber is seeing significant revenue growth.  In 2018, Uber revenue was $11.3 billion.  That is a significant increase from the previous year.  Having such large revenue, provides Uber the resources to focus and improve on core features – such as safety.  One of Uber’s earliest features was to provide the model and type, and driver details to users prior to a ride starting.  There are nearly 4 million Uber drivers throughout the world, and its Uber’s focus to provide a safe platform for users and drivers.

Raising awareness with Colleges provides reinforcement to users to apply best practices and the tips on how to use the App for built-in safety features.  These reinforcement techniques are important, as they serve as passive reminders for users.  Passive reminders help users remember the tips if they ever need to apply them.  Uber is routinely providing new safety techniques and tips to users, and provides notices throughout the App and via email.

 

Voice Interoperability
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New Standard in Voice Interoperability

Voice activation controls are garnering new interest amongst consumers.  Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have helped bring a new frontier in voice controlled device activation.  Accordingly, it is not surprising that new standards to shape this field are emerging, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Amazon recently announced that a consortium of technology companies are working together to devise an initiative to foster compatibility amongst devices and products such that users may interchange said devices.  The commonality between the companies is the understanding that voice driven commands will shape technology commands, and user adoption will rise.  Working together, such companies, can determine how one device can operate in a host of modalities for even wider reach and broader adoption.

 

At least 30 companies are said to be involved in the new initiative, including: Amazon, Baidu, BMW, Bose, Cerence, ecobee, Harman, Logitech, Microsoft, Salesforce, Sonos, Sound United, Sony Audio Group, Spotify and Tencent; telecommunications operators like Free, Orange, SFR and Verizon; hardware solutions providers like Amlogic, InnoMedia, Intel, MediaTek, NXP Semiconductors, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., SGW Global and Tonly; and systems integrators like CommScope, DiscVision, Libre, Linkplay, MyBox, Sagemcom, StreamUnlimited and Sugr.

It’s interesting such a wide, diverse array of participating companies.  Having consumer electronics companies working with auto companies and telecome – shows that a broad approach is key for wide adoption, says Gaurav Mohindra.

It’s not uncommon for companies to work together to build out such a mutually beneficial standard.  Typically such standard developments include the participation of companies having standard essential patents (SEPs).  These SEPs become mandatory for allowance to participate within the standard.  When licensing the standard, SEPs must be licensed in a fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (FRAND) manner.  This threshold is a legal principal well established in law. 

Companies participating in the Voice Interoperability Initiative will work with one another to ensure customers have the freedom to interact with multiple voice services on a single device. Amongst the other participating companies, Qualcomm chipsets will be foundational in supporting a wide use in CES, automotive, and audio/video devices to ensure the same or similar framework will be employed across a wide variety of modalities – such that consumers may be able to leverage their voice across a wide spectrum and yield the same or similar intended response and action, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Amazon is expected to release a variety of new hardware devices to support and comply with the new initiative, and in doing so help expand its reach and adoption rates.

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Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour

 

Chicago is a beautiful city having lots of options for sightseeing and experiences to enjoy. There is a lot for everyone in this beautiful town says Gaurav Mohindra. You can visit world-class museums, dine at Michelin-star restaurants or catch a show in one of over 200 theaters. It feels like there are nearly limitless options to experience and enjoy.

There are quite a few organized tours catering to various niches – such as city sights, sports, shopping, and other attractions. These tours are popular because they provide a curated guide to your particular interest. Chicago nightlife includes a variety of bars and nightclubs, live music and comedy clubs.

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A popular way to enjoy Chicago – and experience what it has to offer is through the Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour.  The CMS Tour make major city attractions accessible without any hassle.  You can travel around the Windy City in a smart, convenient, long windowed minibus, as you scope out the city’s cloud-skimming skyscrapers, art-filled parks, and charming neighborhoods. Along with the enjoyable tour around the city, you can get an expert guide who shares interesting insight into Chicago’s storied past and make lots of stops to take memorable photos.

On the tour, you will experience the view on the top of the Willis Tower, the biggest office building in North America, Picasso’s sculpture in Daley Plaza, and Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. You will also see Millennium Park’s reflective sculpture “The Bean”. The tour provides ample opportunity to stop and snap photos, capturing memories of the amazing skyline at Museum Campus, and then set a course for the historic architecture in The Loop says Gaurav Mohindra. The bus will also take you inside one of the world’s first skyscrapers. This is an experience difficult to plan for by oneself.

While on the tour you can admire the Chicago River, along Wacker Drive; hear for lions roaring in Lincoln Park’s renowned zoo, also you can learn a bit about Chicago’s mobster past including the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre. On your way back into town, the bus will take you through the scenic route along Lake Shore Drive for remarkable glimpses of Lake Michigan and the city horizon before arriving back to your hotel. This Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour is committed to making your visit to Chicago special and memorable. So if you don’t want to miss the major attractions of this city you should check out the Chicago Minibus Sightseeing Tour says Gaurav Mohindra.

Originally Posted:- http://www.gauravmohindrachicago.com/chicago-minibus-sightseeing-tour/

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Facebook’s Fight to Combat Online Bullying

As the internet has brought communications to closer and more personal levels, online bullying has become increasingly an issue.  A recent federal report released last week indicated that nearly 20 percent of students in middle school and high school were bullied.  This metric was capturing bullying events that took place during the 2016-2017 school year but also provides a glimpse as to how widespread the issue is, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Much of online bullying takes place within social networks – as kids often leverage such networks to connect with friends and peers.  Facebook, being the largest social network, has employed a strong initiative to combat online bullying on its own platform – and on Instagram – which a popular social network is owned by Facebook.

Facebook recently announced the release of new tools to identify and prevent bullying, says Gaurav Mohindra.  One such tool is a comment screener.  When a comment that appears to be hurtful is submitted to post, the tool will indicate that the message appears to be negative and request confirmation if they want to post the message.  Facebook indicated that early testing of the tool has shown that users have rescinded negative comments prior to posting as a result of the screen.

Instagram further announced a tool called Restrict to provide additional support to assist with online bullying and targeted harassment.  Currently – Instagram has always provided the ability for users to block or unfollow people.  However, users may be reluctant to do so as the blocked party may discern of this action which could lead to additional harassment or bullying.  For this reason, Instagram is rolling out the Restrict feature which prevents restricted users’ comments from being read by anyone but the restricted user.  This may help neutralize negative situations since the post owner will not be aware of any negative comment, and neither will anyone else who may view the post.  Only the restricted user has the ability to read the comments. 

Facebook’s commitment to combating online bulling and harassment is important and critical to creating a safer social network experience, especially for younger users, says Gaurav Mohindra.  Online bullying has become an important issue.  First Lady, Melania Trump, has been a vocal advocate and supporter of anti-bullying initiatives.  Even other corporations, besides Facebook, have taken up the cause.  Burger King recently released a widely accessible PSA against bullying.   Facebook and Instagram have conveyed that additional tools and support to combat bullying will be rolled out in the near future.

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Uber’s New Tools for Drivers

Uber’s growth trajectory is impressive. Within ten years the company has become a transportation behemoth and has disrupted industries along the way, says Gaurav Mohindra. One of the reasons Uber became so successful is because it created a livelihood for many people as drivers. Uber needs its drivers. And Uber knows how dependent it is on its drivers. Accordingly, it comes as no surprise that Uber recently announced the pilot launch of new tools for its drivers.

The new tools center around key areas drivers have asked for improvement, says Gaurav Mohindra. By Uber announcing this new release of pilot tools – they are clearly demonstrating their commitment to their drivers. The new tools are accessible through the driver’s app.

1) Simulated Trip: this new tool was developed to provide drivers the experience of picking up the passenger to dropping them off at their destination – so the driver can appreciate the entire route experience prior to accepting the ride.

2) Top Opportunities: Uber drivers know that certain times to drive are more lucrative than others. There are numerous factors that impact the differences. The new feature, Top Opportunities lets drivers know the best opportunities to maximize their value. This feature will empower drivers to better understand when they can generate the most revenue from their trips.

3) Auto Accept: this feature permits drivers to accept a trip they typically would – without the hassle of having to actively accept the trip. It is designed to help drivers not miss desirable trips, says Gaurav Mohindra.

4) Extra Long Trip Notifications: This notification will help drivers appreciate when they are about to embark upon a longer trip. Longer trips are typically those over an hour. By providing the driver with this information up front, the driver has the ability to accept (or deny) the trip offer with the appreciation of knowing the length of time of the trip.

5) Trip Cancellations Framework: This feature set permits drivers to convey when a cancellation is appropriate – too many passengers or another cancellable event. The cancellation would be remitted to the passengers as well.

Uber has indicated that it will pilot these features for some time and welcomes driver feedback on these features, as well as others, so they can continue to develop more tools and features to assist their drivers. The new Uber features will be deployed as a pilot at first and based on driver feedback it will be determined if they will continue as permanent platform features.

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San Francisco Ban’s E-Cigarettes

E-cigarettes, or vaping, have been receiving much recent attention.  Much of the attention is positive – in that e-cigarettes are safer than traditional smoking, but there is also much negative attention.  The negative attention is largely focused on a large number of teenagers who have adopted vaping on a regular basis, says Gaurav Mohindra.

Recently, San Francisco banned the sale of e-cigarettes within its city limits.  San Francisco is the first major city that has adopted such a ban.  The ban is being applauded by many vaping critics who admonish the industry for not combating teen-use and is criticized by others for still permitting traditional cigarettes within city limits.  As of now, an ordinance has been approved by San Francisco city leaders and the mayor intends on signing it.  The soon-to-be new law will prohibit e-cigarettes that have not been pre-market reviewed by regulators, from being sold within the city.  Currently, manufacturers are not being reviewed in this fashion, thus nearly all e-cigarettes will be prohibited within the city.

One of the largest e-cigarette manufacturers is Juul.  Juul is based in the bay area and will see a loss by the ban.  The concern for Juul in losing a city is significant because this ban may spread into other cities looking at San Francisco as a model, says Gaurav Mohindra.

The purpose of the ban to thwart teen-use.  The rampant scale of vaping in schools has been called an epidemic by many officials.  Recent surveys indicate that most high schoolers, and a majority of middle-schoolers have tried vaping in the past year.  The Center for Disease Control addresses kids and teen e-cigarette use on their website.  They specifically note that it is unsafe for kids, teens, and young adults to use e-cigarettes.  In addition, nicotine can negatively impact young brains.  E-cigarettes also contain other potentially harmful substances besides nicotine.  Young people using e-cigarettes may also become more prone to smoking cigarettes.  The vaping industry is trying to regulate unlawful use by young people.  Efforts have been made to prohibit marketing of flavored vapes to younger demographics.

The ban may seem like a drastic measure and rather broad, in that, it is addressing all age groups and not just young people.  However, such a ban will encourage the vaping industry to conduct more studies and improve their marketing campaigns, says Gaurav Mohindra.  So overall, this ban may lead to a better product.

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Blockchain Improves Shipping Supply-Chain

IBM has been actively applying blockchain in various areas where it can have a significant effect.  Recently IBM devised a blockchain solution for the shipping industry.  IBM collaborated with the global shipping company Maersk to devise the strategy, says Gaurav Mohindra.  Their collaboration started in 2017 and led to the launch of a new platform named TradeLens.  TradeLens is a blockchain platform that can track shipping containers.

Shipping companies have been signing up to leverage TradeLens, and as a result, the platform is accumulating more data to effectively track and improve its analytics.  One of the key features of TradeLens is that it is neutral and governed on open standards.  Neutrality and open standards are the basis of many blockchain platforms. 

Recently, shipping companies Hapag-Lloyd and Ocean Network Express, two of the largest shipping companies in the world, announced that they would join the TradeLens platform.  With the addition of these two new companies, TradeLens now has 5 of the largest 6 shipping companies on its platform.  These five companies account for roughly 60% of the ocean-going cargo.  Mediterranean Shipping and CMA CGM SA are two of the largest shipping companies in the world and had agreed to join TradeLens earlier this year.  Having large industry players join TradeLens is a big deal, it legitimizes the platform and encourages smaller companies to join the platform, says Gaurav Mohindra.

blockchain Supply-Chain

The platform permits users to share information on goods as it passes through trade supply chains.  The benefit of this is that data maintains its integrity and as result shipping containers can be traced from origin to final destination, with the entire journey and en route ports captured and validated along the way.  The platform will reduce the cost of the typical maritime supply chain administration such as paperwork and chain authentication.  The paperwork and administration of typical maritime supply chain is a significant cost metric of shipping.  As a result, TradeLens should reduce overall shipping costs, says Gaurav Mohindra.

TradeLens is not the only shipping oriented blockchain platform.  Cosco shipping, a large Chinese shipping company, is participating in Global Business Network (GBN).  GBN is a blockchain platform being leveraged by Asian shipping companies in a similar way as TradeLens.  As more and more companies become comfortable with such blockchain platforms, and interoperability and compatibility between competing systems will likely emerge.   The key to success for any such platform is to have wide-acceptance and participation from many companies, having more participants will increase the electronic ledger recordings and improve the integrity and validity of the platforms.