A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #35

Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.

Last week I recorded a podcast with my college friend, Porush Jain, to discuss his journey at Sportskeeda. It was a very interesting discussion with him and Rinat about scaling up a sports blogging website to a sports news website. Hoping to get the edited version out soon for everyone to listen to.

I also ran at a new park, Peckham Rye parkrun. With this, I have now run at 8 different locations across the UK and Japan as part of my 55 parkruns. And my plan is to run at a new park every week for as long as I can.

I have also been closely following the Tour De France (TdF’23) cycling race and the stages are becoming tougher and the battle for the Yellow jersey is intense. The leader of the race leads the runner-up by 10 seconds after 15 stages and over 2606 kms of cycling. With 6 more stages left to ride, the event can’t get more exciting than this.

And this week I finally have my appointment for the US tourist visa. Hopefully, I will get it. Also while checking my passport recently, I noticed it has 8 visas stamped on it. With the US visa, it would be number 9. So far I have been to 23 countries. 2 in Asia, 1 in Africa, 12 in Europe, 1 in North America and 7 in South America. The US visa itself can unlock a few more countries for me.

🔑 Multi-factor authentication (MFA)

“Multifactor authentication” (MFA) is an account security process requiring two or more separate steps for a user to prove their identity. It most commonly refers to logging into a computer, network, application, or other resources. To complete a multifactor authentication process, you must provide specific credentials or meet certain conditions at each stage. While “two-factor authentication” remains a popular term, MFA has increasingly become the umbrella term.

In the realm of authentication, a “factor” is something that can be used to verify a user’s identity.

These are the following types of authentication -

  • Single-factor Authentication (SFA): Requires users to provide one verifiable credential to access online resources.

  • Two-factor Authentication (2FA): Requires users to provide two verifiable credentials to access online resources.

  • Multi-factor authentication (MFA): Requires users to provide at least two verifiable credentials to access online resources.

The above factors can normally be categorized into the following -

  1. Something you know. For example - Passwords, PINs and security questions.

  2. Something you have. For example - Hardware or software tokens, mobile phones, security keys, and smart cards

  3. Something you are. For example - Fingerprints, facial recognition, iris scans, handprint scans and DNA.

  4. Your location. For example - Source IP ranges and geolocation

  5. Time of the day. For example - Access to the account only between 08:00 hrs to 18:00 hrs.

To check if any of the applications you use have MFA support please check the following directory.

Some popular authenticator apps are mentioned below -

I personally use Google Authenticator for all my personal/work accounts.

Also, some physical keys that you can use are mentioned below -

I personally own a YubiKey NEO key.

⚓ The Mexican Fisherman

The Mexican Fisherman story (sometimes told as The Brazilian Fisherman) is an adaptation of a short parable originally told by Heinrich Theodor Böll, a prominent German author in the mid-1950s. This version, which was adapted for the American reader, tells of a chance encounter between a Mexican fisherman and a successful businessman.

One day, a businessman on vacation was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village. He looked out and noticed a fisherman rowing his boat to shore in the afternoon sun. The fisherman docked his boat and hopped out, resting his fishing pole on the side.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The businessman complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, “only a little while.”

The businessman then asked why he didn’t stay out longer and catch more fish?

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family’s immediate needs. The businessman then asked, “But what do you do with the rest of your time?”

The Mexican fisherman said, “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nice afternoon nap with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, señor.”

The businessman scoffed, “I am an American Investment Banker with a PhD in business management, and I could help you. You should spend more time fishing in deeper waters, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat. With the money you make from the bigger boat, you could buy several boats; eventually, you would have a fleet of fishing boats.

Instead of selling your catches of fish to a middleman, you would sell directly to the processor and eventually own your own production plant for canned food. You would control the product, processing, and distribution of fresh fish to thousands of people. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA, and eventually New York City where you would run your expanding enterprise.”

The Mexican fisherman asked, “But señor, how long will this all take?” To which the businessman replied, “15-20 years.”

“But what then, señor?”

The businessman laughed and said, “That’s the best part! When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich. You would make millions.”

“Millions, señor? Then what?”

The businessman said, “Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos.”

The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, “Isn’t that what I’m doing right now?”

This story has stayed with me for a very long time and is one of my favourites.

I will leave it to you to decide the moral of this story as it is subject to interpretation.

🥊 Boxing 101

I have been watching a few videos on boxing lately thanks to the below video.

So I searched for the coach that trained Michelle Khare and found Tony Jeffries video on Boxing 101.

Below is a high-level summary of all the things mentioned in the above video.

  • Boxing stance

    • Orthodox - stand with left foot forward

    • Southpaw - stand with right foot forward

  • Switching stance - Not recommended unless you want to move back or confuse the opponent

  • Basic movements

    • Move forward - front foot first then back foot

    • Move backward - back foot first then front foot

    • Move left - left foot first then right

    • Move right - right foot first then left

    • Always land on your toes while moving

  • Punches

    • Jab - Leading hand forward

    • Cross - Back hand forward

    • Hook

    • Combination - one hand after another

    • Counter - defend a punch from an opponent with your own punch

  • Harder & faster punches

    • Stay relaxed

    • Transferring your weight

    • Stepping into the punch

    • Thinking about speed

    • Put arms a bit forward to punch faster

  • Defense

    • Parry - block the front hand of an opponent with your back hand

    • Lean back - lean back from straight punches from an opponent

    • Block - Both hands on your head to block punches from an opponent

    • Blocking body punches is better than head bunches

    • Roll - transferring weight from front foot to back foot

    • Slip - take your head off the centre line

    • Step back - back foot first and then front foot

  • Pivot - spin back foot around with pivot on front foot

  • Breathing

    • Exhale with every punch

    • Take control of your breathing - Inhale, hold your breath for 3 counts, then exhale.

  • Head movement - moving head before and after every punch

  • Feinting punches

    • Making the opponent do what you want them to do

    • Acting as if you are about to punch but not punching

    • Acting as if you are about to move but not moving

  • Hand wrapping - take care of your hands

Now when you watch any boxing match, you will understand a lot more about what each boxer is doing.

❤️ Things I enjoyed

This section has been inspired by Ali Abdaal’s wonderful newsletter.

🎬 Video - The bio-inspired 'transformer' that crawls, rolls and flies is about a Multi-Modal Mobility Morphobot (M4) developed at Caltech. This robot can do all the things that are described in the title of the video and it’s incredible to see human ingenuity being applied to solving a problem like this where a single robot can navigate through multiple terrain conditions. A whole paper has been published on this robot in Nature.

📝 Article - How do we know how smart AI systems are? is a wonderful read. It talks about three problems with AI systems. They are data contamination, robustness and flawed benchmarks. To scientifically evaluate claims of humanlike and even superhuman machine intelligence, we need more transparency on the ways these models are trained, and better experimental methods and benchmarks.

📱 App - KeePassDroid is my most used app to manage all my passwords. I keep a copy of my KeePass database on OneDrive for desktop/laptop use and update the same to Google Drive for smartphone use.

📰 Newsletters - Some newsletters I have subscribed to but am not yet sure if I will keep following are Tech Brew, ByteByteGo, Contrarian Thinking, Tom Scott and Morning Brew.

🎞️ Movie - I recently saw Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One and absolutely loved it. The villain this time is an AI and the second part is yet to release. The first part sets up the stage for the villain, the hero and the premise. The second part should hopefully resolve all the problems faced by the hero. One interesting thing I picked up from the film was that the AI that can potentially destroy humanity will come mostly when it’s trained on military data. Data on the internet won’t pose much threat except for misinformation and impersonation. But AI systems trained on military data and warfare will pose a real threat to humanity.

Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.

If you want to follow me around the internet, then please do so here.

Until we meet again next week, learn to control your breathing, stretch more, eat more protein and go outdoors.

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