Monday, April 14, 2014

Homemade' at a Store

By Rajitha S - HYDERABAD

Published: 14th April 2014 09:25 AM

Last Updated: 14th April 2014 11:26 AM

In summer, ladies of the house preparing mango pieces for making Avakaya (pickle) was a common household tradition that was passed down. However, today, hardly anyone from the latest generation even know what goes into making pickle, let alone do it at home.

With many shops specialising in ‘homemade’ pickles and other traditional foods like vadiyams and other pindi vantellu (flour-based deep-fried snacks), summer has lost the charm and aroma that usually envelops the house.

Says Sudhani Nalini, a home-maker, “I have never made these items in my life. It has been 25 years since my mother stopped making them. Owing to the space constraint in an apartment complex and other factors that need to be catered like want of sunlight, it becomes impractical.”

While making pickle requires at three days in the sun, with no moisture around, boiled rice flour needs to be laid out in the sun to dry to make vadiyams. With terraces becoming a luxury, and balconies shrinking by the day, hardly any home prefers to go through the extra care, especially when you can just pick these off the rack at a store.

But there are some who still cherish the summer season for the excitement of these pindi vantellu.

Sudhani Ahalya, a 75 year-old, has been making these summer delicacies for 30 years now and recalls how she learnt them from her grand mother.

“My grand mother would make all the ingredients from scratch, starting from selecting chillis that would be ground for the chilli powder,” she shared.

Mustard powder, the basic ingredient for mango pickle, was also ground at home back then. However, over the years, plenty of lifestyle changes have diluted the tradition of making these summer delicacies.

Today, Ahalya picks up the basic ingredients from stores but insists on still making the pickle at home. “Everything is available, and the grounding process needs special grinding stones. There is no place where I can dry these ingredients before hand. That is why I opt for readymade ingredients,” she explains.

Other preparations were also made at home, much to the excitement of the rest of the family.

“Vadiyalu were made from Bombay rava, rice flour, pumpkin, rice, sago and potato. The most sought after variety then was the ones that are made out of milk from wheat. We don’t make them anymore as it needs to be soaked for three days and then dried,” she laments, adding that she makes some for her children as well who haven’t picked up the cooking technique.

“They probably will buy the readymade pickles and vadiyams that are available in the market since all of them are working professionals,” she says.

In the market, the options have exploded from just the typical recipes to everything under the sun – bittergourd, mixed vegetable, amla, chicken, prawns, fish and what not! These are also a favourite among those who currently live abroad. Companies like Swagruha Foods, Joshi Pickles and Vellanki foods all owe their market to this community.

G Subhadra, branch in-charge of Vellanki foods in Madura Nagar, Ameerpet tells us that there are 180 orders on an average every month that are couriered to UK, USA and Canada from a single branch. They have four branches in total in the city. “We have tied up with DHL courier service. People from these countries can order online and we deliver within two to three days,” she informs.

Source: The New Indian Express

It's Heartbleed Everywhere

By Kota Saumya - HYDERABAD

Published: 14th April 2014 09:25 AM

Last Updated: 14th April 2014 09:25 AM

Most of us take the necessary precaution when it comes to keeping our personal computers safe with the usual anti-virus softwares available. And keeping up-to-date with the latest troublemakers is part of that. However, for two years, the Heartbleed bug has gone undetected and yet has affected millions of websites, wreaking havoc.

Actually a loophole in the programme OpenSSL software version 1.1, the open-source encryption standard used by the most of the websites, hackers across the world have been using this vulnerability to access personal information uploaded by users on to these sites.

Google’s security researcher and security firm Codenomicon discovered the culprit last week, by which time most popular websites that use this encryption software like Facebook, Instagram and Dropbox and Gmail were affected, including certain bank transactions.

Now in damage control mode, code experts are working overnight to reign in the bug. While word is some of these sites have managed to mitigate the problem, there isn’t any official confirmation yet.

What makes this such a deadly vulnerability is the rather late wake up call.

Explaining the issue, Kiran Chandra, general secretary, Free Software Movement of India, says, “Websites use this to transmit data which users want to keep secure. The encryption comes into play by making the information appear unreadable for anyone except the intended person. It helps provide a secure connection when one is chatting on Gmail or using any other application, working from point to point.”

So when one computer wants to check if there’s still a computer at the end of its secure connection it will send out what’s known as a ‘heartbeat,’ a small packet of data that asks for a response. The twist in the story comes here: researchers at Google and Codenomicon found that one can send a well-disguised packet of data which looks like this heartbeat to trick a computer at the other end into divulging data stored in its memory.

“Due to this loophole, hackers can access information like usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, etc, that are stored on servers. Hackers have been able to access encryption keys of websites which turn the unreadable information into valuable information,” adds Kiran. With encryption keys at their disposal, hackers can access the information from the site’s server and read it without establishing a secure connection. Unless websites change their encryption codes, users and the future traffic will continue to remain affected, he opines.

Most popular sites are powered by the Open SSL inlcuding Twitter, Tumblr, Yahoo, GoDaddy and Minecraft to name a few more. While sites try and secure their users information in the mean time, you can check if you are still vulnerable by taking the Heartbleed test on to

Source: The New Indian Express