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Thursday, January 9, 2020

Heart ♥ reacts

Do you remember when people were afraid to display affection, to express love was taboo and the FB HEART REACT changed everything?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020


Nancy woke up on a weekday, perfectly rested, refreshed and ready to start her day. She woke up to a gentle nudge on her wrist by her newest smartwatch. Ever since she started using the perfect sleep time prediction application that mined data from her schedule, health monitoring devices -- her smartwatch, shoes and the whole lot, she has lost count of how many times she has experienced a perfect sleep. Humans sleep in cycles of time periods characterized by a lot of physical and mental attributes. Sleeping at the perfect moment to gain an integer number of sleep cycles. People wake up from this perfect sleep with a minimum disturbance. Waking up has never been this "easy"  or "perfect" ever before. Waking up is the best when she did not have any reason to wake up in the morning before she had to go to school. Every kid has to wake up to leave for school for more than a decade. Waking up for school is torture! Looking back, it was not all torture. There was mother's love waking her up, mother's tea "really" waking her up and sometimes her cat’s soft purrs near her ears. Then there were alarm clocks. The sonorous beating of metallic drums beeps in digital clocks and artificial rooster sounds on mobile phones. Clocks have sounds, but that was all. She bought her first smart band a little before a decade. It could nudge her wrist rather without the rooster in the mobile phone having to shout  --  not irritating, but not perfect either.

This seemed like the best waking up that could be. But things changed with the sleep monitoring feature update. The application let her know if she has slept enough last day, or if she has had deep sleep and what is not. She tried her best to sleep early so that the app will show  "enough sleep"  the next day.  Three other smart bands and millions of scientific breakthroughs in health sensing and pattern recognition later  --  sleep was perfect now! So perfect that she no longer missed her mother nor the cat. Given the choice, no one would have chosen the messy, late waking up. Almost no one would. Nancy would. Or would not. It did not matter because there was no choice. Perfect sleep was there. Her mother nor the cat was needed. Her mother, back at a faraway nursing home with the best health facilities and the cat, in the infamous barn where all cats go to spend their eternal lives once the veterinary surgeon decides to.  At least when the prediction algorithm in the veterinary surgeon’s workstation decides to.  Sometimes, Nancy wonders if her mother's doctor's workstation will be able to calculate the exact break event point of life's worth and suffering to decide a perfect time as to when she should go knocking on pearly gates. She wishes it would not happen in her mother's natural lifetime. Just like she sometimes wished the veterinary workstation was at least a little late so she could have woken up to the soft purrs of her cat for a few more times, neither perfectly rested nor full of energy to face the new day.

Not knowing GCP

A few days back, a friend of mine asked my help in getting a speech-to-text Google cloud service up and running. Trying to do that, I figured out how I know nothing that a Com.eng student is supposed to know. I have no idea about compiling a project with maven, setting up GCP authentication or sessions!

This opens doors for two possibilities:
(1) Jobless future!
(2) I will always work in big teams with people of various skills and background (because I don't know shit). The work will be collaborative and co-dependent! I will work with interesting people and their ideas as much as I will be writing code.

50% chance of this interesting CS career ahead is a decade worth looking forward for!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Internship predictions

This post is to archive a set of hilarious hypothetical scenario where a few students in our batch will go for internship, will piss off all the coworkers and be scolded in the following words!

මේ පණ්ඩිත කතා කිය කිය ඉන්නේ නැතුව මොනවා හරි කරපන්කෝ!

Podi rama
දෙයියනේ දැන්වත් ඔය බොරු කිය කිය ඉන්නේ නැතුව මොනවා හරි කරපන්කෝ!

ඔය කෙල්ලෝ කොහෙවත් යන්නේ නෑ. වැඩක් කරපන්කෝ උන්ට පාඩුවේ ඉන්ඩ දීලා!

යකෝ දැන් දවස් 5ක් මොනවාද ඔය පොඩි වැඩේ කරන්නේ. උඹට කිව්වේ printf එක හදන්ඩ කියලා නෙමෙයි තියන එක ගහන්ඩ කියලා.

මැනේජර් මහත්තයා මාරු වෙලාද?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Sentimental inclinations

Operating systems lecture:

Lecturer: Are there any advantages of writing threaded programs for a single core computer with no hyper-threading capability?
Me: There is! We humans have a sentimental inclination to implement the human thinking as if the problem could be solved in parts and threaded programs satisfy this sentimental need.
Lecturer: I don't think the compiler writers thought about the sentimental needs of people.
Me: But why didn't they leave computers at machine code? That was the sentimental attraction towards human like languages.

Some random discussion with pure mathematics lecturer:

Lecturer: Patterns within integer sequences exist in the universe. Humans have a special ability to find these patterns than any machine.
Me: Are integers or their patterns that important to the universe?
Lectuer: Must be. We can use the integer set to extend up to the rational set and probably the reals.
Me: But don't you think that integers looks important to us because of our sentimental attraction towards them?
L: How come?
Me: We developed this sentimental need to interpret everything based on integers because we were a counting civilization. Think about corals! if not for fish they would not have any reason to count integers. Corals are not individuals. The water around them is continuous. They would not have fallen in love with integers the way we did. For them, integers would not be something important out of reals. There are two books by Arthur C Clerk and Ian Stewart discussing this.
L: Interesting.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

My Computers

I have owned 4 computers for my use this far.

The first one was a Pentium I, 200MHz, 64MB RAM, 2MB VGA, 2.25GB Hard disk computer with windows 98 running on it.

Next was a Pentium III, 933MHz, 128MB RAM, 32MB VGA, 10GB hard disk one. I ran Windows xp side by side with Red Hat Linux. Later I updgraded the computer to a 40GB hard disk and a 384MB RAM and still ran the same operating systems.

Third in line was Core 2 Duo, 2.4GHz, 1GB RAM, 128MB VGA, 160GB hard disk system. I ran windows 7 and Ubuntu (I think it was 8.4) on it. Later I upgraded it to windows 8 and then to 8.1.

Today I use a Core i5 2.7GHz, 4GB RAM upgraded to 8GB, 2GB VGA, 500GB hard disk system. I ran windows 8.2 and then upgraded to windows 10. Along with it I ran Linux mint, replaced by Ubuntu 14.04 and then replaced by xubuntu 16.04.

In most of these systems even though I has both windows and linux operating systems I used the GUIs. I had no idea what the command line was capable of!

Things changed when I had to use the HP-GPU server at the university. I HAD TO do everything with the SSH. It took some getting used to (I tried a lot to work with small apps in place of SSH --  a file client to drag and drop instead of scp, window forwarding instead of the command line etc:). But somewhere down the line I understood the command line to be more comfortable than all the GUI stuff.

Today, I dont have desktop environments installed in anything except my laptop. All the servers and the single board computers I use are running with command lines. A large amount of work on the laptop is done with the command line as well :-)

This is the fun part. If I had learnt the power of the command line when I had my first computer, the chances are I would still be using the Pentium I!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

ආදර වස්තු

I have been to stage dama's at Prof. Ediriweera Sarathchandra open air theater at University of Peradeniya only for only a very small number of dramas. Despite the "wala" being all that prestigious and everything I find the 2 hour buffering period (have to stay there from 5-7 until the drama starts) and the 30 min non-skip-able advertisement period too much for a 90 min drama.

But this week was special because the drama had Thumindu Dodanthenna in it! (and the drama was staged on 14th February).

Notable lines :-)

"ඔයා ඇතුලේ හිටපු රැඩිකල් කෙල්ලට නම් මම තාම ආදරෙයි. ඒත් ඒ දවස් වලත් ඔයා ඇතුලේ හිටපු සාමාන්‍යය ගැහැණිය මතු වෙද්දී නම්, මම කියන්නේ නෑ එපා උනා කියලම. ඒත්..."

I have a lot of friends who claim to be /seem to be /are out of the box thinkers -- The misfits, radicals, revolutionists, poets, writers and all sorts of cool ones. And this is the story of most of them!

Most of these people are in love with the idea of being in love with a special person or having an "unusual" relationship. But when it comes to the actual person they are with, they ignore the not-so-interesting parts. They fail to notice how the radical girl (or boy, or the relationship) is intertwined with the usual/average parts -- and how they should accept both parts equally; if they are to ever make it work. Best case, they consider the relationship with the not-so-interesting personality as the "price" they pay for the interesting bits. Sad! Isn't it?

Heart ♥ reacts

Do you remember when people were afraid to display affection, to express love was taboo and the FB HEART REACT changed everything?