Imagine Cup 2011 Sri Lanka – 6 Finalist teams

As most of you are already aware Imagine Cup 2011 Sri Lanka Software Design round is OOONN! and the 6 finalist teams are preparing for the big day. This year the Sri Lanka finals event will be held at the Moratuwa University Civil Engineering Auditorium as Moratuwa is our event hosting partner.

Sri Lanka finals : April 27, 2011

Project: makePossible, Team: Vishwa, From: University of Moratuwa

Team Members: rumalp, Pasan, akiladarshana, Gayashan

Project: Savior, Team: Team Titan, From: University of Colombo School of Computing

Team Members: Tharidu, Moditha, Chandula, Kalindu

Project: Child@EDU, Team: Sentinels 2.0, From: Universiy of Moratuwa

Team Members: Madhusha, Thuru, Vimukthi, Yasoda

Project: V-Labm Team: CR-Coderzsm From: Informatics Institute of Technology

Team Members: Sabry,  Renien, Raathigeshan, Thiru

Project: Hear through Eyes, Team: PeraSoft, From: University of Peradeniya

Team Members: Dinushan, Lahiru, Lakshitha, Madusanka

Project: Project Amma, Team: MISL, From: Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology

Team Members: Mastercpj, Pahanimg10, Nim.sathsara, imalkacg

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Announcing Windows Azure Jump Start Training Videos!

Just before the Holidays, Microsoft hosted another new and exclusive Jump Start virtual training event, this time covering the Windows Azure Platform. What a success! “Building Cloud Applications using the Windows Azure Platform” was tailored for application architects and developers interested in leveraging the cloud. We are now pleased to announce that the professional videos recorded during the online class are available on Channel 9 and MS Showcase and soon the Zune Marketplace (Jan 21) and iTunes (Jan 24)!

Who is the target audience for this training?

  • Application Architects and Developers
  • Customers and partners already building a Windows Azure pilot project or planning to migrate an application to the Windows Azure Platform
  • Companies searching for real-world answers as they consider whether or not the Windows Azure Platform fits their needs.

What’s the high-level overview?

  • The entire course is 12 hours long.
  • Every section is about an hour length, so it’s easy for you to find just what they need.
  • Every section is led by two of the most respected authorities on Microsoft development technologies, David S. Platt (popular Microsoft Press author from Rolling Thunder Computing ) and Manu Cohen-Yashar (Professor and Senior Consultant, SELA Technical College, Tel Aviv, IS) plus their dialog and banter is quite engaging!

Where do I go for this great training?

The link to session one below will provide you with everything you need, but if you want to pick out a specific topic a link to each topic is below:

For about anything Windows Azure, including links to trial accounts, available offers, and all Windows Azure training & certification options, go to the Microsoft Learning Windows Azure Training Portal.

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Happy New Year 2011

Wish you a very happy new year folks!

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What the hell happed to my small phone?

14 years ago when I first saw a mobile phone the perception was ‘AWSOME’ by every means. But it was out of reach those days due to the mammoth price tag. Remember this is not a sophisticated phone as you and I see today. It was almost the size of a brick, weights as much as a brick, and had 1% of the features of a modern phone – which is the ability to make phone calls, but this was perfect at the time as it served the purpose.

But few years later a sudden rat race became the name of the game – to make the mobile phone smaller - while the rest of the world I think was trying to make things bigger. In few years’ time the good old brick phone became a ‘dinosaur’ antique gadget and the new phones that was like 1/10 the size dominated the market. Smaller once were packed with many more cool features also. Now! who the hell said ‘bigger the better’.

As I see it this trend continued until the mobile phone became too small. Too small to hold in a hand comfortably and make a button. A person with big fingers for sure had a tough time getting to press the correct button. Anyways there were choices.

Today! it seems like things are going backwards. Are you using a Windows Phone 7, Apple iPhone or Google Android? Look at the size of it. Even though these new smart phones and several other phones in the same league are big in size compared to the trend few years ago – it seems like nobody is worried. I’m not for sure.

Eagerly waiting for my next phone Smile

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What have I missed?

dang! 2010 is just about to end. On several angles its been a great year. On work front there were couple of interesting events. Great thing is there was never a dull moment … it has always being very challenging and dynamic. Have made tons of new friends. I’m not talking about just Facebook friends (now! no offense to all my FB friends) … tons of new friends who I have really met.

But on another angle things are not too great.

I have missed tons of movies … Backlog has about 50 movies that I have to watch. Given the current situation cant see a way to find time for this. There are other more important things which need my attention. Wela Junior is not 1.6 years old and occupies most of my time when I’m home. Anyways it’s all good.

Cant even believe that I have gone only 3 trips during the whole year … previous years there was an average of 12. In some good years there were like 20. This is a terrible situation so I have set things in motion for 2011. Jan 1st and 2nd I’ll be starting the year with a trip with family.

Anyways … looking forward for the new year … for bigger tougher challenges. Bring it on baby!

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Replying …

What is your practice when you reply an email? I’m sure your answer would be Click REPLY and type and send away. Have you seen replies without the original mail contents … I get these all the time.

Most cases University students reply mails without the original mail. the reply comes to my inbox as a new mail and I have no way of relating to the original mail. I think to save bandwidth or something they just delete the original body contents. I just have received about 10 replies from 10 people to an email which I sent yesterday and now I have to open and compare which one is which as each of these mails had personalized contents. … you know what… I’m just going to ignore them all … even though these mails are important. no time to waste Smile

Put this in a context where I deal with couple of hundred emails every day. It’s time wasting. So folks … for god sake please make sure to KEEP the original mail contents when you reply.

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1919

Brilliant! is what I can think of. I just got off a call with the National Information Center and my requirement was answered 100%.

It was regarding the process of obtaining a temp VAT certificate and an Import License. Everything was explained perfectly. To a detailed level on which documents to submit, times that I can submit, location, etc.

Actually this is not the first time I have called them to find information. about a month back I called to find the process to obtain the NIC as I have lost it. And the person who answered provided all the information necessary … even to a detailed level of the photograph size I need, form submission date etc.

In March I called to find the process to transfer my vehicle registration and everything was spot on.

I still remember the first time when my MVP award and the MSDN Subscription was delivered and detained at customs, the trouble I had to go through to get it cleared. about seven times in and out from Inland Revenue because every time … one more document was required. This was about 5 years back and and I had no clue about the process. When asked someone gave the information, but when asked from someone else to clarify a different answer was given confusing my brain head to toe. But now I don’t have to worry about having wrong information about ANY of the public services as 1919 is there to help.

I think this is by far the best public service offered in this country. Thank you!

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Last hope for Broadband goes BS?

As all of us know only SLT provided true unlimited broadband facilities. Every other service provider implemented this thing called the ‘Fair User Policy’ which is a load of crap putting barriers to heavy internet users  like me. I have tried WiMax connection from Dialog which after couple of months they applied this FUP. Also I have tried dongles from Dialog, Mobitel and Airtel which is the same … Some of them without a shame advertise saying they are providing 7.2 mbps connections which is actually the speed of the device not the speed of the connection.

My SLT ADSL connection started giving problems 3 weeks ago and when I called the support center they informed that there is a known problem which they are attending to and to wait 1 week till they fix it. After one week when I called back it was like I called a different planet. They were telling me to upgrade to a higher package if I want a higher speed and still it might give me higher speed. So they wanted me to start paying Rs. 5500 instead of the 2900 I’m paying currently to see whether it works. Don’t customers in this country have a thing called right?

I have a feeling that they are purposely reducing the resources in the current package to push customers to go for a higher package. WTF?

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New one hits the billion $ club

Toy_story_3_Woody_posterI just checked IMDB after a long time and woo! hoo! Toy Story 3 has grossed over a billion dollars. Too bad I still haven’t had time to watch it.

So all in all there are seven movies who has done this. Avatar is leading the bunch while Titanic is in the second place. Lord of the Rings: Return of the king, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Alice in Wonderland and The Dark Knight are the rest in the group.

What do you think the next one in line to make this big number? I think the upcoming Harry Potter, Transformers III and Avatar II etc will be good candidates.

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Windows Phone 7

windows-phone-7It’s just around the corner … As you might already know it was announced that ALL Microsoft employees will get a free Windows Phone 7 when it is released in each country. However since it’s not officially going to be released locally I have no clue when I will get it Smile.

Simplicity is given a new meaning with this release of Windows Phone. Home page UI looks extremely simple and my grandmother should be able to use it.

As always it is way before anything we have enabled the developers to start developing applications way before the device comes out to the market. You can download the free developer tools from http://developer.windowsphone.com/. One thing really exciting here is that the UI is based on Silverlight. I cant even imagine the kind of possibilities this will enable for Windows Phone. Silverlight has done some wonders in the web since the first release. I was going to download the tools for a very long time, but never got the time to do that. Since tomorrow is a holiday I just started downloading (internet connection @ home is messed up these days) and going to develop a demo app tomorrow.

Despite my previous bad experiences of using several Windows Mobile devices I’m very much looking forward for this.

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Are you confused?

As of now we have 6 technical communities in the country. Now! don’t panic if you have registered only in few of these. Yesterday a dude called trying to figure out which one he should register. So for his sake and for many others who might have similar confused sentiments I just thought of writing this.

In a short summary we have 4 Technical communities, but 6 Technical Community Websites represent them. Total member count goes over 8,000 as of not and expected exceed 10,000 registered members by end of 2010. Student Champ Community is lead by Microsoft Student Ambassadors and currently we have 10 of them. Other technical communities are lead by the Most Valuable Professionals.

Among these .NET Forum, IT Pro forum and both MSDN and TechNet sites are developed using Community Server. SQL Universe was originally developed using the same but recently was migrated to DotNetNuke. Student Champs websites is 100% developed by students using ASP.NET 3.5.

site_dotnet

Sri Lanka .NET Forum
.NET Forum is the largest Technical Community in the country with over 6000 registered members, and dedicated to talk about .NET and other related technologies. Started in July 2004 with few enthusiasts and have grown at a phenomenal rate due to the commitment of couple of passionate individuals.

Monthly Meeting Date: Every first Thursday of the month
URL: http://www.dotnetforum.lk

site_itpro

Sri Lanka IT Pro Forum
This community currently have a approx. 1000 registered members. Started in 2005 as the Tech2Guys community and was later renamed to Sri Lanka IT Pro Forum. Dedicated for discussions on Microsoft Server Technologies.

Monthly Meeting Date: Every last Wednesday of the month
URL: http://www.itproforum.lk

site_sqlSQL Server universe
Started in 2007 by couple of SQL Server gurus, this community now have about 600 registered members. Dedicated to discuss about Microsoft SQL Server and related services such as Reporting Services, Analysis Services etc.

Monthly Meeting Date: Every third Wednesday of the month
URL: http://www.sqlserveruniverse.com

site_msdnMSDN Sri Lanka
This was is a new addition to the developer community in the country with the focus on adding more blogs and resources into the community. Launched about a year back and this has already grown to a base of 200 members and 20 active bloggers.

URL: http://www.msdnsrilanka.net

site_technetTechNet Sri Lanka
This also was a new addition to the IT Pro community in the country providing more resources. This was also launched parallel to the launch of MSDN Sri Lanka portal.

URL: http://www.technetsrilanka.net

site_champsMicrosoft Student Champs
Currently being the largest student technology group in the country this has about 200 student champs as active members. There are 10 Ambassadors who lead the community.

Monthly Meeting Date: Every first Friday of the month
URL: http://www.champs.lk

So to summarize … if you are a developer go and register in .NET and MSDN Sri Lanka Forums, SQL Universe also can be recommended for developers. If you are an infrastructure professional you should register in IT Pro Forum and TechNet Sri Lanka forums. If you are a hard core database guru you should take the SQL Universe, Since SQL is not integrated with .NET it might help in registering in both developer forums as well. If you are a university students you can register in the Student champs community,in this case your registration will be activated only after considering by the Student Ambassadors.

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Imagine Cup 2011 Theme: Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems.

IC11_USA_LogoImagine Cup turns a new chapter with 2011. Once again we are inviting students around the world to use the power of IT to solve the real world problems. Registrations are already on www.imaginecup.com. Local Software Design category will be announced later. Stay tuned for more details. Meanwhile feel free to write to me for further details.

About the Competition
http://www.imaginecup.com/about/theme

Competition Categories
Software Design http://www.imaginecup.com/competitions/software
Embedded Development http://www.imaginecup.com/competitions/Embedded%20Development
Game Design http://www.imaginecup.com/competitions/game-design
Digital Media http://www.imaginecup.com/competitions/Digital%20Media
IT Challenge http://www.imaginecup.com/competitions/it-challenge

Competition Rules
http://www.imaginecup.com/about/imagine-cup-2011-official-rules

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WTF?

nobigmacIn case if you guys have noticed McDonalds don’t have any of the beef meals these days. This has been the case for about a month now. When asked both Kolpity and Rajagiriya restaurants said they don’t have stock of the beef slices. For a day or two I can believe that … but for a month … I’m not stupid. Something else seems wrong here.

At the end right now McDon don’t have their signature meal the BIG MAC … I mean … just think about it for a minute. How on earth can you have a McDonalds with out a BigMac?

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FIFA 2010

I’m (was?) not a big football fan but watched many world cup matches during the last 4 weeks. Head is still on echo mode after hearing that Vuvuzela for so long. At time it sounded very annoying but then again the tune in the entire FIFA 2010 was that. Wonder how a normal football match will look and sound like without the Vuvuzela. It became so popular … even YouTube added a special button to play the sound on the video player.

Anyways … couple of us got together to watch the finals and during that I was thinking. A FIFA comes once every 4 years. Same goes for Olympics, Cricket world cup and I don’t know what else is out there. If a human lives an average 60 years and if we consider only 40 years of that … the fella gets to see only 10 of these world events. In my memory … in the parts that I can recall … I have watched/seen three cricket world cups, three FIFA’s and three Olympics … anything before that I barely remember. Dang! only 7 left for me … I’m not going to miss any of those in the future.

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Chicken-and-Egg Mystery Finally Cracked

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/07/14/chicken-egg-mystery-finally-cracked/?test=faces

British scientists believe they have found the answer to an ages-old question: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Scientists cracked the puzzle after discovering that the formation of eggs is possible only thanks to a protein found in chicken's ovaries. That means eggs have to be formed in chickens first.

The protein -- called ovocledidin-17 (OC-17) -- speeds up the development of the shell. Researchers from Sheffield and Warwick universities in England laid out their findings in the paper "Structural Control of Crystal Nuclei by an Eggshell Protein."

They used a supercomputer to zoom in on the formation of an egg and realized the protein is vital in kick-starting the crystallization process. It works by converting calcium carbonate into the calcite crystals that make up the egg shell.

Dr Colin Freeman, from Sheffield University's Department of Engineering Materials, said "it had long been suspected that the egg came first -- but now we have the scientific proof that shows that in fact the chicken came first."

"The protein had been identified before and it was linked to egg formation, but by examining it closely we have been able to see how it controls the process," Freeman said.

"It's very interesting to find that different types of avian species seem to have a variation of the protein that does the same job."

It is hoped the discovery leads to the invention of new materials.

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