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Showing posts from 2008

Arts vs Sciences

I was talking to a friend recently, and he was saying how all those aesthetic subjects he learnt at school were completely useless. He went on to say that 'Arts' isn't as important and useful as Science or Math. His objection to aesthetics was that there wasn't any particular form - Art, Music, Dancing, Literature - that he wasn't really good at. So he says he was quite fed up at school being forced to learn useless things.

I for one disagree. For several reasons.

Firstly, you cannot compare two subjects and say which is more important. That's just like saying a doctor is more important than a plumber. Each subject is important and interesting - yes to different people - but just because something does not appeal to YOU doesnt mean it wont appeal to ME either. It's perfectly fine to say you absolutely HATE Eng.Lit or Math or Music - but that doesn't make it less important. Most troubles in this world are made by and because of people who think their point…

I want a new phone! Any ideas?

Its been 2 years since I got a new phone. Technically I didn't even pay for it so this is going to be my first. This is my current phone on the top left. A Motorola L6. At the time it cost only 13,500 and it came with its software cd with this Multimedia centre thing that lets you make ringtones from mp3s ..which was cool.
Its still functioning right as rain but I think its time to let go..*sigh

Now I want something that's got some cool music apps and a good radio..oh and at least 2M camera? And possibly 3G (though why I need this I cant imagine) and of course bluetooth. And be small and light - basically fit into my jean pocket. And have smooth soft curvy sort of design...I hate phones that look like boxes. ew. And it shouldn't break when fallen from a high altitude. Such as few feet. (I ALWAYS drop my phone at fit-on rooms in clothes shops. Shop assistants frequently pick up the pieces that land out of the fit on and wait for me to re-emerge)

Oh and I dont want an iPhone o…

Presenting my first paper at IITC

Last Wednesday I got to present my paper titled 'Morpholocal Parser for Sinhala verbs' at IITC, BMICH. It was based on my undergrad thesis... which I realized I'd almost forgotton about on the morning of the presentation. I was of course too lazy to go through it during the weekend and couldn't go through the slides on Monday coz Ugly Betty was on and they were showing the trial. So its not like its my fault is it?

Aaanyway I was originally planning to go to office and leave for bmich by 12 but I had this panic attack that I didnt remember anything I was gonna talk about so I decided to take the whole day off :( And spent till like 11.20 poring over the slides at home.

So to cut a long stressful story short I went there by 12.15 but spent 15 more minutes trying to find 'Commitee Room A'. Those people at the front sent me a regular 'Parangiya Kotte giya vage' tour around the darned bmich. At noon in Colombo this sort of excursion can make you really annoye…

Purely selfish reasons to donate blood ...

Yes! I've finally done it!

No, I have not been given a full scholarship to some hoity-toity hi tech university.

And no, I havent won the Nobel prize either.

What?? NO I did NOT get married to a tall dark stranger.

*sigh. The ignorant world has yet to discover and come to terms with my brilliance.

No. What I've done is, finally put on enough weight and enough haemoglobin count to donate blood.
OK so I didn't set the world on fire...but its something I've been wanting to do for quite some time and it feel mighty darn good I can tell you!
Which brings me to the title of this post - of course I can tell you quite frankly that most of my reasons for giving away a pint my blood were quite selfish:

1) Feel good to have done a good deed to help others
2) Gloat over those very able bodied young men (and women) who are afraid of needles and the sight of blood
3) Look pityingly at stick insect-like specimens of humanity who are illegible for donation
4) Being able to tell my mother th…

To be a Kite..

I wonder what it would be like to be a kite..A kite riding the winds in the August skies. *Sigh*

You could be a really big one with multi coloured tissue paper and a looong flowing tail flying high in the mighty gale at Galle face, or perhaps a sturdy little yellow kite climbing the skies over a village paddy field.

You could be held by an excited little boy flying his first kite, or a seasoned teenager expertly leading you to a 'kite fight'.

You might fly higher and higher and never break your string. Or you might get caught in a strong gust of wind and be bustled away to a strange new land.
Or you might get caught up in the mango tree next door and the evil next door kid will pull you down and feed you to his dog.

Dont YOU ever wonder what it would mean to be a kite? Just think what fun you might have!

My computer makes me stupid?

Once there was a time that I could write up a 300 odd words of decent prose in no time all. Without spell checkers. And grammar checkers. Or auto completion. Or a google search.
Or a keyboard dammit!

Ah me those were the days!
Now I have reached a point that when I start using an actual pen to actually 'write' my fingers feel weird. And when I make a mistake, instead of cheerfully cutting it off and getting on with it, my brain starts screaming CTRL+Z! CTRL+Z!
As if thats not silly enough, just the other day I was adding a new method to this class , REPEAT a NEW method, and I just typed the first few letters and pressed CTRL+SPACE..waiting for Eclipse to do its auto completion for something that was inside my brain.

Oh the horror of it!..

I wonder if all programmers fall to this sorry state...If all computer users for that matter.

Well it stands to reason doesnt it? If you have this wonderful slave who will take care of how to spell 'sacrilegious' and will find out for you …


Since its been a little over than a year since I've first started blogging I feel its high time that I do a little re-decorating.. The old black minima thing felt boring anyway..Soo I'm still playing around with templates (from blogger and other free hacks) and free banners and stuff..So please bear with me for the time being :)
BTW heres a fun site with cool templates that are free to use..

Trials of Win Word

Although I generally use Windows platform and hence Word for most of my document writing, I have always used Latex for academic writing purposes.
One reason being of course that back in uni, formatting using Latex was mandatory. In fact for my undergrad thesis I used a Sinhala Latex called SinTex since I needed to include Sinhala fonts which were not included in the general MikTex distribution.
But mostly I find Latex to be much more easier to use since its a pretty well structured way of doing things.
You dont need to worry about floating tables and images with captions randomly appearing all over the place...well sort of. :) Latex mostly takes care of them for you..So you dont have to spend time dragging and right-clicking and answering wizards. Latex is basically mouse-free!
However due to the fact that I dont have my favourite Latex editor LEd and the MikTex distribution on my (new) computer I have been reduced to seek the help of Mr.Word 2007 to write this research paper :(

Weell i…

Blogging under your real name...

I blog under my real name. Actually I started by posting as 'Niro' which is what everyone calls me ... Having a 10 letter name tend to do that to you. :) But then there was someone else named 'Niro' on the blog sphere already and to stop confusion I decided to use my actual name.
Lots of people have expressed mild surprise at this though..And looking at several other blogs I realized very few people actually blog under their real name. A friend of mine says using your real name is potentially dangerous. Especially for women since it invites abuse. Like what happened to Kathy Sierra
Others have said that a pseudonym is way cooler than your actual boring real name. Sort of like Clark Kent takes off his glasses and becomes Superman?

Some just feel that its easier to express your opinions hiding under a nickname. I guess this might be true if you're dealing with really controversial topics.

So should I ditch my boring old name and adopt a uber-kool name like ... hmm lets s…

Twenty-something (quarter life?) crisis

No I dont mean midlife crisis. I mean quarter life.

People talk all the time about their 'midlife crisis'. But when I came across this book I realized there's such a thing as a quarter life crisis as well!

Basically it seems to be a phase that anyone in their early to mid twenties could go through. I guess what happens is this:
You leave school/graduate from uni and suddenly you are out in the world. When you were a student/undergrad somehow life seemed like a fun game that had undo functionality. Plus you could speed it over boring bits like earning money and pick up bonus points just by attending college parties. And you get to complain over everything in the system and dream the big dream of doing things differently when you do it.
Sure you dont really have money but who cares if you've been wearing the same jeans for ages? You're an undergrad/student. You're supposed to look messy. In fact its cool to be messy.

And then suddenly, it all ends. You graduate/leave…

Kelaniya Flyover Opening and the Fun We Had in Traffic

7:10 am -> office van still not in the vicinity. Traffic in Kandy road even near the campus.

7:15 am -> van still missing. Start to have a panic attack. Did I get left behind?

7:16 am -> call buddy at van. Van still on the way. Blood pressure back to normal.

7:20 am -> van approaches.

7.30 am -> van turns from Kandy road on to a narrow and even more trafficky alternate route

7.40 am -> van is following a huge line of other vehicles which crawl at snail pace. Still in Kelaniya.

7.50 am -> van (along with other vehicles in the line) stops, kills the engine and waits. Occupants of the aforementioned van start to bake in the hot March sun. Still in Kelaniya.

8.00 am -> Occupants experience severe stomach pains aka hunger. Several people get out and buy bananas and bread from a petti kade and have their breakfast by the road side with the magnificent view of huge line of vehicles as scenery.
Still in Kelaniya.

8.10 am -> Some responsible people in van start calling their …

Randomness Vs Cause and Effect

One of the lessons I have learned while bug fixing is that there is no such thing as Random events in a computer program. A computer program is, when you think about it - very boring. I mean it has several hundreds or thousands (depending on the program size) of rules laid out, and it behaves in a preordained manner - well at least in theory!
This is the golden rule to remember when you're debugging a seemingly unpredictable program which seemingly crashes in random situations. It is not that its behaving randomly: rather its just that you're not seeing the pattern. Sometimes its like those weird pictures that have crazy lines and shapes that make no sense what so ever, but if you stare at it for a while you see a pattern emerging and voila! there's a picture of a sad woman gazing at you ( hmm i wonder why its always a sad woman).
I mean a computer cant even generate a random number for gods sake. How can it behave randomly?! I can recall several hilarious moments when the c…

Music & Personality?

At last! I have had the luxary of staying home on a saturday! No work, no parties, no get togethers, no shopping sprees, no trips, no nothing. Basically I got to just laze around the house today. Like when I was twelve and was having school holidays.
So what does a girl do when she has too much time on her hands?
Well I WOULD love to go bungee jumping but since that would mean stepping outside the house its not a viable option.
Surfing, on the other hand was entirely viable.
Surfing the net i mean.
Anyway after some random sites I landed on some research papers on music and personality. Intrigued? So was I. Still more random clicks and I got to this quiz which promised to give a personality discription based on my musical preferences. Hmmm
I'm basically a Rock music chick. Hate rap. And not that into hip hop. Sooo what does this say about my personality?
Well, according to the site:
I am "Edgy & Aggressive" and also "Fun & Simple"

The Edgy & Aggressive …

January : Red Pill down my throat

January! The whole sound of that month makes me feel as if I'm supposed to be sensible and face the facts.
Something along the lines of "Wake up and smell the coffee"?
December was more like "Stop and smell the roses"
And November? Oh November was .... my sweet sweet November. If I could relive a month I would go back to that last November when everything was beautiful. When I was deliriously happy. When I actually quite literally danced in the rain...

However due to the inefficiency of current quantum physics grad students the world is denied the luxury of time travel.
Thus I am forced to face January. I shall face it but I don't have to enjoy it do I? Well I shan't! And YOU cant make me! So there.
Huh A Rebel without a Pause?(not Cause. Pause)

I wonder if Morpheus offers me a choice of the Red Pill or the Blue Pill what choice I'd make?

Given the choice of :
feeling like Susan in Meet Joe Black and having to tackle a whole year (and possibly an eternity)…

How to fit into your old jeans without starving yourself

Despite the fact that I am now a few extra kilos heavier than when I started uni, I can still quite easily fit into my old denims. Some of them I've been wearing A/Ls? Thats like 5 years!
Since this seems to be an amazing feat when compared with most of my friends, I have decided to take pity on all you poor celluloid battling mortals and instruct you all on the art of not getting fat without starving. or going to a gym.
Basically the key to this methodology is procrastinating. and daydreaming.

When you get up in the morning, what do you do? Do you jump out of the bed ready to tackle the new day?
If you do, DONT!
If you have to get up at 6, set the alarm at 6. Then set a second alarm at 6.30. This will ensure that you get up at 6.30, thus making you 30 minutes late. Also never ever iron your clothes the night before. Leave the ironing till morning.

At about 6.45 you will suddenly realize that you're really really late - again - and you will automatically shift into hyp…