Saturday, September 27, 2008

Google Phone To Hit Stores Soon

Checkout the first smartphone powered by Google's Android operating system. This also happened to be the first hardware device with the Google Trademark on it.

Teaming up with the mobile carrier, T-Mobile, the specifications Google has laid out for devices suggest that manufacturers include cameras for photo and video, and built-in Wi-Fi technology to access the Web at hot spots such as airports, coffee shops and hotels. It also is recommending that the phones be designed to work on carriers’ fastest networks, known as 3G, to ensure that Web pages can be downloaded quickly. Google suggests the phones could include Global Positioning System technology that identifies where people are.

It would be interesting to see how iPhone will respond to this :-D

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Annonymous Communication On Internet

This paper describes some of the available techniques that are said to safeguard the anonymity of communications. Further, it looks into an analysis of these fore-mentioned methods so as to identify the pros and cons of each technique, and also what measures people can take to protect their privacy.

I also have an abstract of the paper for those who would like to read less and still be informed as much.

This also happened to be the first paper I have written to a conference, International Information Technology Conference (IITC) 2006 held in Colombo.

Takeaways from this experience...
  • Professional writing
  • Making sense while explaining technical content
  • Becoming a pro at using LaTeX
The paper was selected for the poster presentations at the conference. Hmm....should I write more?? Maybe not survey type of papers :-D.

Somebody give me a research topic!!!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Get Your Code Reviewed....Pronto!!!

The life of a software engineer is a tough one. Not at all a walk in the park, having to deal with many a bugs, fixes, new features, new products for customers. But when it boils down to where you have to hand over a quality piece of software, it pays to have a decent code that not only works but also screams "Hey....Look at me, this is how you write right code the right way!!"

Advantages of Code Reviews
Code reviews not only help the programmer to understand his deficiencies & show him how to improve his coding skills, but also helps the reviewer to get a proper understanding of what areas his team members need more help in, what technologies they are comfortable using, the design patterns they use (if at all they use it), if the design document reconciles with the implementation and so on.

From a sociological point of view, it improves communication between team members, negotiation skills, presentation skills and also provides a good platform for them to share technical know-how within the same work group.

Uh-oh! It's The Code Review Day...
Typically a review is conducted by a team. You have the developer, whose code is being reviewed, the review team, who would go through your code and identify the loopholes, better ways of doing the same task etc., a record keeper, who would keep minutes of the meeting and also a moderator who would facilitate the order and the flow of the meeting. A code review is generally not meant to provide answers for the problems in the code. It helps you "identify" the bugs and issues. Fixing the problems is done after the review and the fixed version is reviewed again.

It is this cyclical pattern of the review sessions which puts project managers on the back foot. Whatever said and done, a review does take roughly 2 or 3 hours. So, if the project is running on a tight schedule it may not be feasible for the managers to allocate much time as desired by the review team. Nevertheless like in everything else, it is a trade-off between delivering the product quick and delivering a quality product!

Read this article published by Microsoft on how to conduct code reviews, the process & also tips and tricks. There is no hard and fast rule saying that this is THE code review process. The techies are free to mould their own process to fit to their development environment.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Pretty & Poisonous

Who would not want a garden with loads of flowers in full bloom? As pleasing to the eye as they are flowers and plants can still be hazardous to your health.  How bad?? Here are the top 10 of poisonous plants:
At Number 1o...
Dining of the bulb of Narcissus in large quantities may result in:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea

At Number 9...

The leaves of
 Rhododendrons and azalea bushes (a variety of rhododendron) are toxic & so is honey made from its flowers' nectar. Consumption of either may result in:
  • Mouth Burns
  • Increased salivation, Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Tingling sensation in the skin
  • Headaches, weak muscles
  • Dim vision
  • Slowing down of heart rate
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
At Number 8...
The milky sap of the leaves & the stems of all Ficus (aka weeping
 fig, Benjamin Tree) is toxic. Ficus trees come in an assortment of sizes and is a preferred indoor plant grown in tubs & pots.
If come in contact with the sap the skin would itch & puff up similar to an aller
gic reaction.

At Number 7...
Every part of the Oleander plant is
 toxic. Even inhaling the smoke of burning Oleander can cause problems. Exposure to its poison may result in:
  • Change in heart rate (slowing down of heart-rate/palpitations) 
  • High potassium levels.

At Number 6...
The chrysanthemum is a pretty sight! Although it is sometimes grown to chase 
animals such as
 rabbits away,  flower heads are somewhat toxic to humans. The effects of exposure however are mild, ranging from itchyness to puffs.

At Number 5...

A common garden item, Anthuriums is a delight to the eyes.
 Coming in an assortment of colors, the flower just not merely sit in the garden, but also adorns many a functions & bouquets. However, th
e leaves and stems of this plant are toxic. Acc
idental consumption could result in painful burning senstions in the mouth, which would later swell and cause blisters.  Your voice could also become hoarse & cracked. You may also find it is difficult to swallow if you have been exposed to the poison too much.

At Number 4...
Lily-of-the-vally also falls into the poisonous category althoughthe flower looks too cute. ;-)
The entire plant is poisonous, from the tips of its bell shaped white flowers to the very water in which they maybe placed. Too much exposure to the flower may result in
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramps
  • Irregular heart rates

At Number 3...
The plant Hydrangea, if exposed or accidentally consumed will cause itchy skin, vomiting, weakness, sweating. Extreme cases may result in the patient slipping off to coma, convulsions & even breakdown of blood circulation.

At Number 2....
Although, the leaves of the plant Foxglove are used commercially to produce 
the heart drug Digitalis,  accidental consumption of any part of the plant would result in: nausea, vomiting,
 cramps, diarrhea and later would agrravate into heart conditions such as slow heart rate.

And At Number 1....
The plant Wisteria is entirely poisonous. Exposure to the plant  cause nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea that could require treatments such as intravenous hydration and anti-nausea pills.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

WSO2 Engineering Team Unveils WSF/PHP 2.0.0; A Web Services Development Framework for PHP

Armed with new features and fixes to existing bugs, WSO2's PHP team proudly released the latest version of WSF/PHP product V2.0.0. on September 12th.

WSO2 WSF/PHP is an open source Web Service development platform for PHP. It enables creation of Web services and clients to consume those services, having PHP as the implementation language. It also houses a comprehensive implementation of WS-* specification implementations. 

Nandika, WSO2 WSF/PHP engineering team member announces the release, its features, & the new improvements in the latest release in his blog.

Want to learn more on WSO2 WSF/PHP and how it fits to your SOA application? The webinar on WSF/PHP, hosted by Selvarathnam Uthaiyashankar will definitely provide answers to that question.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


This is old news, but thought of blogging about it anyway.

So I have been in an accident, a motor accident. It was exhilarating but hopelessly stressful at the same time because the car was gone when I needed it the most.

One fine Saturday, I was on my way home from uni. A couple of kilometers toward Piliyandala from uni & a wild thought engulfs me...."Hey, why don't I overtake this rickety looking bus...", and behold like an idiot I did just that.

The bus driver had stopped & just pulled off just as I was passing him and WHAM!!!!!!!!! He slams the right side of the bus into my car's doors.

After getting through the first 2 second shock, the rest of the episode unfolded quite well. No shouting, no yelling & having admitted that the fault was mine I was happily on my way after 10 minutes of delay :-D

Having had two doors replaced, painted & completely renovated the car is back in business now. What is weird is that the whole university staff seem to be knowing that I was in an accident. A fortnight ago one person(UoM staff member) who I have never seen before stops me in a corridor and asks how I am holding up after the accident. I have to admit I was a little embarassed my negligence has caused too many people to notice my existance :-D While I was talking to him he drags another person in, saying "See, this is the one I told you about...The one who was in an accident!!!"

So, there I was caught off guard, not knowing what to say to them & standing there grinning like a pig!

Chorme It

Google Chrome, the newest web browser of Google...tried it & liked it instantly. :-D I have been hearing that it is a piece of junk (from others who had tried it) but all that would be turned out all right once Google Chorme, comes out of the beta version.

Google is constantly trying to expose the Internet to as many people as possible, mainly because that is the cause of them being a multi-million dollar business! The business goal of Google is to provide information services over the Internet. And Google is slowly but surely tweaking the weak spots of information service giants. For example, Microsoft has been dominating desktop applications for decades, but their influence on Internet related services has not been quite up to the same level. With Google Chrome, Google has officially entered the browser wars.

The features of the browser include: [1]
  • It is based on Webkit and will include Google Gears.
  • It has a browser extensions framework that will allow it to make Adobe AIR-type hybrid apps.
  • It includes Javascript Virtual Machine called V8 that was developed by a team in Denmark. It accelerates the Javascript performance and is multi-threaded.
  • It has tabs, auto-completion, and a dashboard-type start page that can help you get going to the web services you need. Opera has such a dashboard.
  • It has a privacy mode that allows you to use the machine without logging anything on the local machine. It might be similar to a feature called Incognito in the latest version of Microsoft IE.
  • Malware and phishing protection would be built into the browser.

Opening a new tab on your will no longer result in a blank page. You will be able to see the browser history, the most frequently visited pages will all be available at a single mouse click. Allowing all the more space for users for a richer, user friendlier browsing experience which will in return encourage more people to use the Internet.

Asked if Google were trying to compete with Firefox[4], Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management at Google said "Our hope is that by adding our voice, we expand the overall pie. Our hope is that by adding our voice, more people realize there is a choice in browsers. "

Who said competition can hurt? ;-)


Play Ball....

The idea to hold a BB tourney between houses (WILD Boars, Titans, Cloud Bots & Legion) was a killer idea Sanjiva, CEO WSO2, & Hasmin cooked up. That certainly got everyone at WSO2 so worked up that no one can think of anything else but the game these days!

And so, it has been all BB all week! At lunch, at tea, corridor talk; you name it! Great thing is that we have got some serious competition going on around WSO2, both in the court & off the court as well ;-)

Two games down the line & drama already! We could not have asked for a better start than Titans Vs. Cloud Bots, in which the former took the nuts and bolts apart from the bots who went off the field limping & heads hung down :-D. Being the ever-so-cool CEO, Sanjiva pricked on the Bots' already wounded souls & went on to comment that the Titan victory was a "Landslide"!!! The Titan girl player, Praveena was awesome, not on the first half in which she was a mere spectator on the court :-D. Nevertheless, she recovered remarkably well in the second half & was seen busily passing the ball around to her team mates.

The second game was all heat, owing to many reasons. Sanjiva was playing & was also the captain of the Legions. Some folks were waiting to see the Legions go down in a "LANDSLIDE" owing to Sanjiva's comment on the previous match's score. Well, that was certainly on the cards considering the superior opponents, the WILD boars! To be honest, their name suits them well! WILD....& not to mention ruthless, pushing, shoving, elbowing & fouling their hearts out! Udeshika, their female player was a sensation. It was a tough job keeping up with her short self crawling her way between players to snatch the ball & also making a few spectacular baskets!! The guys in the Wild Boar Team was fabulous to watch & not so fabulous to play against. :-D Samisa, Sanjaya, Heshan, Asankha Abeysingha & Keith were real pros & were nearly impossible to outplay. Hats off to Legion team, who lost but gave them a pretty good fight & for not letting them win in a landslide ;-)

Well the tourney continues...& so does the action, the drama & all the heat.
May the best team win!