Showing posts from 2004

Farewell Phil :'(

Today I got to learn that Philip Nicholas too was an unfortunate casualty of the tsunami title wave that hit Sri Lanka yesterday. At the time of his death, he was holidaying in Arugambay (located in Pottuville) spending Christmas at the Star Dust Beach Hotel . The wave that struck the area had completely destroyed the hotel. Phil was the founder and lead developer for Hibyte Co. , a UK based web development company. He came to Sri Lanka in 1999, to work on the Star Dust hotel's web site, and directly gone there at a time when going to Pottuville was unthinkable do to terrorist activities. Ever since then he had fallen in love with Sri Lanka and had worked and lived here since then. I met Phil towards the end of 2002, when my former company ITABS formed a partnership with Hibyte LK. I worked with him a little over an year on a few projects. He was a perl and DHTML genius. I would say most of my current perl writing styles and even some PHP generic functions were greatly


It started just like any other day.. I got up in the morning, burned a few calories on the road (road rage!) and made it to office. Fast forward roughly 8 hours -- it was time to go home, or was it! (This is where your supposed to hear the siren like sound from horror movies) I was never scared of the dentist. The sound of the drill nor the injection, which I now refer as to “Lethal Injection!”, didn't bother me. But my ignorance towards the dentist, has finally caught up with me! I finally share the sympathy, and plead forgiveness for I have laughed at you, while you were rightfully frightened to go to THE DENTIST! Removing my wisdom, took a little over an hour and a half, which is a bit longer than usual. Except for the pain of having to tilt my head slightly back for the whole period, the operation didn't really hurt much. There were some complications, as expected, since it is said that wisdom is difficult to obtain as well as remove :) My tooth was surgically r

A new day has come!

Welcome to virtusa is a phrase I kept hearing all day from many who gave me a warm welcome. Today was my first day at the new office. A new machine was already allocated with a sticker containing my login details. The machine boasted a 2.8GHz processor and 1GB RAM which made me quite content. It was as if they had been waiting for me. I spent the rest of the day remove that other OS, and reinstalling Debian Sarge Linux. The new Sarge installer , which is still beta, turns out to be very user-friendly when comparing with the previous Woody installer. Within a couple of hours I got a very good desktop linux running on KDE 3.2.3. There was a problem with Xfree86 probing the correct monitor frequency for the Samsung SyncMaster 753DF, so I was stuck with 60Hz at 1024x768. Now I must admit a secret. I have super powers which enable me to view 60Hz flicker. This also makes give me a headache so I decided to get the proper frequency values for the monitor. I was too lazy to go around and se

A Christmas LAN party...

Couple of us were invited for a warm Christmas lunch at the Hiran's residence. Myself, Asanga along with Kanchana had decided to meet up early to get a card and a gift since that's usually the hard part. But when I saw the Lava Lamp staring at me, I thought this is all that's missing from Hiran's high tech home! I mean after all how can a solar/wind powered, wireless, broadband home with a sound space system not have a Lava Lamp? Everyone else agreed so we got that and rushed off. When we got to Hiran's, Marlon and Andre had already arrived with a can of beer in their hands. Surprisingly we weren't that late as thought since these guys had also arrived few minutes earlier. I got myself into a cozy beer, while Kanchana sipped on a delicious home made Anoda drink by Maneesha, of which I too was lucky to have a sip. More guests soon arrived which, included Hirans beautiful sister, who'd come down from UK and Thilani who is sometimes called a crazy girl, if

Last Day...

Today is the last day I'm officially spending at ITABS, but I'm not feeling nostalgic nor sad today. After all this is the end of the week and the weekend is coming up right! But more than that, it's because I was feeling sad and nostalgic yesterday ;) Yesterday was my unofficial last day at ITABS, only because today some guys were supposed to be somewhere else and so they decided to do something yesterday instead. Yesterday, I was busy the whole day at a client's location and was hoping to come back to office in the evening for a Linux class. I've got a call around 3:00pm, as I was entering the network server room at the client, from Lakmal asking an odd question "which type of DVDs my writer supports?". Without thinking twice I answered "any type, plus or minus". He then immediately kept the phone. For a second I thought it was odd, but then thought may be he is researching again on the net for a good DVD writer to buy, and got back to work.

Need a 5,000 rupee ticket to use the Toilet!

That seemed to be the tone coming out of some of the security guards patrolling the "takaran" gates of CR&FC. Though I would have much liked to use different title for this post, considering the vibrant concert that followed, I can't help myself! If you weren't living under a rock, you would know that Air Supply is in town. I some how managed to squeeze a few minutes to go out and buy two 1,000/= tickets. Like most sensible people I couldn't afford paying 5,000/= a ticket even though Air Supply is such a wonderful band. Apparently the organizers hadn't anticipated that people who bought the 1,000/= rupee tickets just might need to use the restroom. When this scenario cropped up it was just sheer panic! The guard said "You have to go out of the gate and get in from the 5,000/= gate but once you come back we can't guarantee that we'll let you in. You might have to buy another 1,000 ticket". One of the organizers with a tag hanging

The Handover..

By now most of you reading this blog already know that I will be exiting my current work place to join Virtusa at the R&D dept. If you didn't know, well now you know why I was making various hints on previous posts! My appointment date at the new place is from the 20th of this month so there really isn't much time left. Today began the handover of things to friends who worked with me. I spent the whole morning with Janaka explaining him the firewall config tool that I was building over the last couple of weeks and getting him up to speed with it. I'm also working on setting up some infrastructure to streamline some of the redundant operations we currently have. Last week I setup a CVS server and today I started to install RoundUp an issue tracking system. I'm still going through the feature list and leaning to use it, but I'm hopeful we can track software bugs as well as customer issues with this. That way I wont have to install a separate bugzilla which

Exhibition Ends we Get-2-Gether...

Today was a busy day for myself and the other guys. I was busy at the UCSC, preparing few lecture notes that I didn't have time to do over the week, as well as conducting lectures and instructing the practical. The other guys were busy at BMICH explaining and demonstrating to the large crowd that turned up for the last day of the ASCIO exhibition. I got a call from Nadeeka around 6:00p asking me when I'd come over there. We had planned to meet up after the exhibition to go out and eat, drink and chit chat. "I'll be there soon" was all I could tell him. The class had just finished, but my good friend Vinesh had come over to UCSC and was trying to setup MRTG , a network monitoring tool for his new office. He had gotten some weird error on Redhat when he had tried it and now I was getting a similar error on a freshly installed Mepis (Debian like). Ah! it suddenly hit me... the FIREWALL, stupid dog ! Turning off the the Guard Dog firewall rules seemed to fix i

Its Exhibition time again

I've really been busy the last couple of days and didn't have any time to write my blog. But in any case except for a few developments, nothing exciting did happen.. that is until now! Asian-Oceanian Computing Industry Organization or in short ASOCIO is an exhibition that is usually held else where, and its the first time they are holding it in Sri Lanka. There was a BIG marketing campaign on the media announcing it as the BIGGEST exhibition in South East Asia, with big names like Intel, PC House, Suntel and oh.. almost forgot that company from Redmond sponsoring it. Yesterday I was running around to help setup the LKLUG stall, at SLECC (Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Center). I lent them my Wi-Fi USB gadget, a wireless Keyboard and Mouse, Sound Blaster Live 5.1 card and a power extension cord. Today was my day at the ITABS stall, which is located at the BMICH. Yes you heard me right! Its same exhibition, but held in two places. We've got a small corn

Walking down memory lane with Keith

1999 was the year! I was only 22 and boy did I party like "It was 1999!" One boat, Forty Sri Lankans, One Sri Lankan band, Three good friends, Two crazy girls, One hot mother and unlimited liquor, December 31, 1999, Long Beach California, somewhere in the middle of the lake where you'd least expect to be hit by Y2K. Ahh the good old days! When we working our butts off, sometimes 48hrs+ straight, on a novel project called Those were exciting times, when an idea can easily end up being turned into a dot com site, billboard everywhere displaying some new dot com name, which ultimately ended with the dot com crash back in 2000. Keith is in town and I was invited with a couple of other old friends to Hilton Colombo for lunch. I got a bit late getting there after the Python group presentation, but made it just in time to start lunch. It was nice seeing Keith, who I thought had got slightly thinner, and Manik (daughter) who looked pretty much the same excep

Working from home...

My office is a MESS! There I said it! With the amount of people we now have, being packed in to a small lecture room, means I usually have to get up from my seat when who ever is next to me has to go out. To make things worse finding a network cable that works, power source or a decent place to keep my notebook is sometimes very difficult. I've really found it very hard to concentrate on work, especially programming every since we moved in here. The only success I had was while wearing the ear phone and listening to some personal music :) The solution... welcome to "Work from home". Ok this isn't really a solution that I've even mentioned to my boss, but its something I've been doing the last 2 days. I went to office late while I worked on the project from home. I found that I was really able to do a lot of work, since I was planning to go and show some progress in the evening. I got up at around 7AM and first started working on my openOffice presentation (

Gray Monday ...

Such a boring and wasteful day it was! I got up late at 9AM and was slightly late to go for a meeting with our marketing guy, but luckily he had managed to set the meeting at 11:00, we made it just in time. After getting back and having a boring lunch, I decided to go for a small walk down to Tasty's and had a caramel. The walk wasn't much fun since it was drizzling through out and the sky was all gray. The rest of the day of the day sort of flew of the day sort of flue by till about 6PM. It was only after about 6 that I really got around to doing something for one of the projects that I am working on with another guy. So eventually we ended up working late till about 10:00. It really shouldn't have taken so long for the stuff I was working on but hey what can I say.. my brain was way underclocked! One thing I did managed to start on was dowelled a lot of gentoo sources. After failing to compile a kernel (that booted) with the genkernel utility, I opted to

Sri Lanka to flirt with Desktop Linux - Part2

After typing the previous blog, and having failed to fall asleep, I got up and ended installing some goodies on my Mandrake box. By about 3AM I managed to get a beta version of Suns Looking Glasses 3D desktop, DVD watching, CD burning and a 3D demo of UT2004 working. The next day (or shall we say after a couple of hours of sleep), I went over to the Narada center, where I heard Anuradha's and ven. Mettavihari's voice. Ven. Mettavihari suggested I bring the barebone and show it to Anuradha just before we left, and a good thing I did! It didn't boot. The most peculiar error was reported by LILO about some date problem. Oh well tried using the Mandrake CDs to recover the automatic method but that didn't seem to work either. Now time was running out, so Anurdha just opened a shell and installed the boot loader the old fashion way :) - using the Command line! Unlike the previous day,we did managed to get to ICTA on time. When we got to the conference room, there awaite

Sri Lanka to flirt with Desktop Linux

Today was an interesting day for me, as I was very much looking forward to joining with the LKLUG crew, to go and convince ICTA effort headed by Riza, that Linux was the way to go for their 100,000 Home PC initiative. Though nothing is official at this point, ICTA is planning to offer 100,000 personal desktops at a very reasonable price to Sri Lankan families in an effort to increase computer literacy among the population. It is rumored that after approaching Microsoft , and seeing their lack of enthusiasm to provide a cost effective and attractive price solution for Windows/MS Office suite, ICTA had decided to go with OpenOffice as the Office Suite and possibly Linux as the Operating System (OS). It is also rumored that once news got out of the possibility of going with OpenSource, Microsoft had decided to cut prices and reapproach ICTA. If these rumors are true, then it is really a good fortune that ICTA, despite the influence from one of THE biggest software giants (a.k.a monop

Fun @ millennium Park

Today was one of those 24 (TV series) days -- started out one way, ended in a totally different way. To begin with, today was my last MSc first semester paper on cryptography. This was a paper I was more confident of, and was hoping to bump up my overall averages. So I guess you'd understand why I didn't feel like driving back home from the junction after discovering I had left my cell phone behind. Now don't call me superstitious , but I just didn't want to take the chance of having to go back! .. Its BAD LUCK! But not having the cell, did bother me through out the day, specially when trying to communicate with my better half. As expected the exam was quite easy and most of us couldn't complain. After the exam Deep had organized to take a few of us out to celebrate his new found fortune (aka new job), so we headed over to millennium Park to find a couple of more MSc Friends had also independently shown up. NO problem, deep was paying, so the more the merrier!

A walking day it was ...

It's been a while since I started walking a bit more than usual. Back in the days before I had a car, walking was something I did more often since I hated going riding buses (specially when they are full). Anyway today I decided to service my car after a really long time. May be it was that last washout incident with the whole rain thing (see my previous post), that strengthened my bonding with the car, for I had neglected it far too long. Even cars need love :) Specially when they've gotten you home safely under tough conditions! So I went early as possible to the service station, hoping to catch an early time slot, but I guess people had already booked so I was either going to have to wait hours and hours or be more productive. My plan was to study anyway for the next exam (Cryptography) on Sunday, but I also had few things to do. So I set on my journey by foot. I walked from Pagoda to Nugegoda, then took a bus (walked inside the bus :P) to Thumulla. Then walked t

RAIN, RAIN go away!

Last night on my way home after a long idle day (office is still under construction), I experienced one of the worst rain storms in a long time. With my car wiper working at full capacity, I could barely see the tail light of the immediate vehicle in front of me. Roads were quite dark and the rain was just punching straight and hard to the ground (good thing there wasn't any major wind to go with that :^) If things couldn't get any worse, while driving I noticed a small trail of vehicles slowly moving with plenty of room for overtaking. So I slowly passed them and moved a couple of meters, to discover to my horror that most of the road had flooded upto knee length! I had gone too far ahead to turn back -- a couple of vehicles had decided to follow me :O So I slowly marched forward as I felt the water splash against the bottom of my car. SPHhhhhhhhhh! and there it was! a lot of while, grayish smoke escaping out of the hood of my car. There was also another diesel van in fr

A calm & lazy Sunday was what I had in mind...but

After going through a pretty much useless exam, my plan was to go home and get some much needed sleep and may be watch a movie....but I suddenly got a call. It was my BOSS Channa! All the guys are here when are you coming? And then it hit me... we were moving offices and today was the auspicious if not symbolic day. Since I was busy the last couple of days on study leave, I didn't really feel the whole moving process till now! I took my time and drove over to the new office, hoping things would be all setup, with a red-carpet awaiting to welcome me. Instead what I saw was a shocking place still pretty much under construction, where the walls were still wet with paint and the floors needed cleaning as well as setting up of the place in time for the evening event. But nothing is impossible when you have a dedicated (aka crazy, playful) team like ours and we managed to get the place ready within a matter of hours. The pirith chanting occation took place as planned followed by de

Struggling to find the M in Msc

Today was as expected a bad exam day. It was data structures and algorithms.. Considering I hadn't studies anything yesterday soon after the exam I knew what I was getting into today. So while I struggled to fit in with the crowd and pretend I understand what Red-Black Trees and the intricasy of dynamic programming, it soon became evident that the only thing I could do was to go home and sleep. So that is exactly what I did! When I woke up at around 5pm it was pleasantly raining and all I could think was sleeping just a tad bit longer :) Finally around 6p, I managed to get up and was ready do some studying. The bad feeling had died down and I knew one way or the other it wasn't going to be easy. That's when my g/f calls up and says ..What? Algorithms paper difficult? Why you been coding for 7 years! If only she understood that nowa days you don't go around implementing the algorithms found in Carmons book. But that did get me thinking... hmmm.. Since I am going