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G. M. Wijewickrama

G. M. Wijewickrama
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Software Engineer. Visiting Lecturer at University of Colombo. Former Sub-Editor of diGIT IT Magazine. .

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Word on the street is Korean technology powerhouse Samsung is gearing up to launch a competitor to Google Glass during the IFA trade show in Berlin which is scheduled to be held in September this year.

The wearable device, apparently called Galaxy Glass is expected to operate just like its counterpart, by connecting with your smartphone, allowing you to listen to music and displaying alerts and so on. The hardware specifications of this device is not yet confirmed.

The Korean Times cites an unnamed official of Samsung who claims, ‘The new smart glass to be introduced by Samsung is a new concept of wearable device that can lead to an exciting culture of communication. The smart glass will present our aim to lead the new market with proven capability. Wearable devices can’t generate profits immediately. Steady releases of devices are showing our firm commitment as a leader in new markets’.

This news is sure to raise few eye brows in Google.

Sources: Mashable and Korean Times

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    Phase two of the Sri Lankan national ICT initiative is about to get underway with the name ‘Smart Sri Lanka’. Smart Sri Lanka has been formulated as the next version of the e-development program of the government, as the e-Sri Lanka project under the guidance of ICT Agency (ICTA) came to a close in December last year.

    Premier objective of Smart Sri Lanka is to expedite the process for Sri Lanka to become a knowledge-based economy and information society, and eventually a knowledge hub in the region. Vital components of this phase include strategies for Smart Government, Smart Jobs, Smart Industries, Smart Information Society, Smart City, Smart Leadership and Smart Project Management.

    ICTA CEO, Reshan Dewapura, explained Smart Sri Lanka, “As a result of bringing e-Sri Lanka to a close, there will not be any stoppage or projects half-way through. Instead, they would be updated and continued in line with new technologies and revamped strategies under the Smart Sri Lanka banner”.

    Smart Sri Lanka project is to be implemented over five to six years, starting in the first quarter of 2014.

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    Google Summer of Code, one of the most globally recognized and competitive programs that challenges students to write code for various open source software projects, celebrates 10 years of massive success. Since its inception in 2005, GSoC as it is popularly known, has brought together over 7,500 successful student participants from over 100 countries worldwide. This mammoth force has collectively managed to produce over 50 million lines of code.

    To mark this special milestone, Computer Science and Engineering Department of  University of Moratuwa, one of the world’s premier contributors to GSoC, has organized a public celebration on 23rd of this month, which will commence at 3.30 PM at the Civil Auditorium in University of Moratuwa.

    Ms. Vishaka Nanayakkara, Deputy Project Director/HETC Project and Senior Lecturer at University of Moratuwa said, ‘Google Summer of Code is great initiative that has inspired student developers all over the globe. Sri Lanka, especially the University of Moratuwa over the years has performed remarkably well and has ranked at the top of the world.’ She furthermore invited students of other universities as well as institutes to contribute to GSoC and make use of this great opportunity to horn their developer skills.

    Andun Sameera, a GSoC contributor in 2013 said, GSoC helped him to communicate better and effectively in a large scale development project. ‘It also introduced me to FOSS and the large software stack  and tools that are enabling FOSS. Due to the success of my project I was fortunate enough to participate in world conferences.’

    diGIT is proud to be the Online Media Partner for this massive event, and we will be bringing you the latest information as it happens during the event.

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    If you are on social media, especially Twitter, road.lk is indeed a familiar name for you. It is a free crowd sourced traffic alert service that is extremely popular in the Colombo capital, and is also gaining momentum in other parts of the country. Road.lk has plans to extend their service to the entire South Asian region in the longer run.

    Whenever you tweet something related to traffic, anywhere in the country, road.lk is quick to Retweet and alert others about the current traffic situation in that region. Another impressive feature of their service is their prompt responses whenever someone inquires about traffic in a certain area. When one observes their social interaction, it is quite apparent that they are living up to the concept of proper crowd-sourced service.

    We want to highlight the most active participants. In the future we may award prizes based on your position in the leaderboard or for unlocking a certain badge.

    Now, they have decided to acknowledge the contributions made by the users and to give them proper recognition. They have said in their blog, “We want to highlight the most active participants. In the future we may award prizes based on your position in the leaderboard or for unlocking a certain badge.”

    So how does it work?

    • Each traffic alert that you send in to road.lk will worth 10 points.
    • If you have already sent in a large number of traffic alerts using Twitter, you can credit them by signing into road.lk with your twitter account.
    • If you already have a road.lk account, you can get credit for the traffic statuses you reported through twitter by making use of the ‘connect twitter account’ feature accessible from your profile page.
    • In addition to these points, people who have regularly contributed with traffic alerts will receive badges.
    • Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond badges are available to users who have sent in 10, 100, 250 and 1000 traffic alerts respectively.
    • Their next plan is to introduce another set of badges for sending in photos of road hogs and for using the GPS tracker.

    Here is the points table:

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    They have further said, “However you may still lose points and badges if you disconnect your social media accounts. If an administrator marks a traffic report as irrelevant, the points previously awarded for that alert will be deducted.”

    The leaderboard can be viewed here.

    Find road.lk a valauble resource? Want more such sites in Sri Lanka? Express your views below?

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    The highly anticipated annual gathering of Sri Lankan Tweeps, more famously known as TweetupSL is scheduled to be held on 07th December at the Mercantile Cricket Association (@MCA_SriLanka). This year marks the fourth TweetupSL and every year we have seen the number of local tweeps participating increase exponentially.

    The official TweetupSL Twitter handle (@TweetupSL) broke out the good news in a famous tweet (gave out a ‘false’ tease prior to this, we must also stress).

    There! Finally the date is fixed and the organizing team is working extremely hard to give everyone a memorable experience this time around with TweetupSL 4. Reliable resources have guaranteed that this year too, participants are in for a world of fun and joy. But tweeps as well as the organizing committee will be missing one key component this year though. The warm, inspiring presence of late Mr. Sarath Sathiamoorthy will be heavily missed. His contributions over the last three years to make this event what it is today, is well know and appreciated by everyone, everywhere.

    diGIT is extremely proud to be the online media partner for TweetupSL 4. We pushed a celebratory tweet few hours back to share the wonderful news.

    Keep tuned in with us and we will keep you up to date with the latest happenings related to this massive, fun filled event. (Thanks Nazly for the feature image from TweetupSL 3)

    Our earlier article( on 18th July) about the preparations can be found here and to find out more about ‘The TweetupSL Book’ follow this link.

    The very first TweetupSL back in 2010 is captured in a nutshell in this article. TweetupSL 2 is summerized here.

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    The modern technological enthusiasm among the younger generation has instigated a paradigm shift in the local business industry by inspiring them to form start-up companies providing technology based services. Square Mobile is one such Sri Lankan venture that has reached global recognition through innovative mobile applications. Tharindu Dassanayake, CEO of Square Mobile in an exclusive interview with GSMA Intelligence discussed the inception of the company and its progress over the short time span.

    When asked about how he conceived the idea to form his very own company, he explained, ‘I developed an application called Word Puzzle when I was in second year of college at University of Peradeniya. The idea came by chance when I participated in Etisalat’s Appzone Champions competition in March 2011 and won the intra-university level. I was interested in their workshops on app development and decided to participate. The success of Word Puzzle after the competition boosted my entrepreneurial spirit and the exposure I received through the competition events led me to launch Square Mobile’. Word Puzzle is an interactive SMS based educational service which aims to improve English language vocabulary of its users. It is also recognized as the first tri-lingual application of its kind in the country and is offered through Etisalat in Sri Lanka and Nigeria.  Application works by recording responses of each user  to questions based on English vocabulary and then ranks users relative to other players. This competition guarantees that the users are encouraged to perform well, hence providing an incentive to learn.

    Mr. Dassanayake further elaborated that since its launch in 2011, they have increased Sri Lankan subscriber base to 5000. By collaborating with Nigerian firm IntoMobile, Square Mobile expanded their operations to Nigeria in February this year. In Nigeria, Word Puzzle has attracted a staggering user base where almost 300 new subscribers are registering every day. With such a high user attraction, Square Mobile expects around 100,000 Word Puzzle users in the coming six months.

    Reminiscing the humble, arduous beginning of Square Mobile, Mr. Dassanayake stated, ‘We faced some issues in setting up partnership agreements because we did not have any legal expertise. Lawyers are not only expensive but very hard to find for our field of operation (IT and communication). However, getting initial funding was the biggest challenge. There are very few funding opportunities in Sri Lanka. We raised some initial money from our friends and family, and since then the revenue from Word Puzzle has helped us sustain operations. We also got $5000 from ICTA’s Spiralation competition to develop a travel app. Before we were selected by ICTA it was hard to find mentors. There is no ecosystem for start-ups in Sri Lanka yet. But the market is opening up and there will more opportunities in the future.’

    Seeing how ICT is boosting in Sri Lanka, Mr. Tharindu Dassanayake is hopeful that many more technology enthusiasts would venture boldly by starting up their own companies. The increase of smart phone usage and the improvement in mobile telephony have acted as a catalyst to inspire prospectful young entrepreneurs. ‘In the last two years, mobile developers have become interested in developing applications in the local context. Earlier there was no local language support for Android mobiles, but Sri Lankan developers overcame the problem and now there are more mobile apps in native languages. This is a good foundation for the mobile app industry in Sri Lanka.’

    Source:  Mobile for Development  - Country Overview: Sri Lanka (October 2013)

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    Twitter Premier League Sri Lanka reached its grand finale on 01st of September under the patronage of Etisalat Sri Lanka at the Wesley College Grounds. The cricketing buzz that engulfed the local Twittershpere culminated into one of the most well organized Social Media events ever held in the country. We have covered the preparations for #TPLSL in a couple of previous articles.

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    The structure itself for this year’s edition of #TPLSL was indeed revolutionary and technological backing Etisalat provided with a novel approach was commendable. The tweeps too responded with a huge enthusiasm from the very beginning and on last Sunday, they had one of the best days of their Social Media lives. It was indeed a great sight to see tweeps from different parts of the island converging to one place despite the distance that stood between them. Such commitment clearly accentuates that Twitter is very different and very real compared to other social media services we see nowadays.

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    Final twenty four teams battled for the TPLSL supremacy with utmost intensity, but never transgressed the comradary they have with one another. It provided immense entertainment for the spectators and the cheering squads added color and spirit to all the matches. Although the day was all about cricket, tweeps found this a very good opportunity to get to know each other, make new friends and consolidate their existing friendships. Even a loss of a game was not a disappointment, since TPLSL was all about having a good time with the fellow Sri Lankan Twitter fraternity.

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    After an intense battle, Binthenna XI emerged as the Twitter Premier League Sri Lanka Champions. Runners Up was the Malabe PumpKINGS who gave the champions a good run for their money. It was refreshing to see the cricketing talent local Twittersphere possessed and some of the shots played, balls bowled and the fielding displayed were indeed remarkable. It is safe to say that tweeps are eagerly waiting for #TPLSL2014. It too would be a great spectacle of fun and fellowship, one would speculate without hesitation.

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    Finally, congratulations to Etisalt for making TPLSL happen and to Binthanna XI for becoming the champs!

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    #TPLSL organizing team, lead by the Tournament Director Koshal Krishnakumar

     

    Image source – Etisalat Twitter Premier League Album

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    The Kingsbury Hotel Colombo was buzzing with enthusiasm and anticipation on the evening of 27th Friday (September), as many corporate and individual quiz teams gathered to battle it out at the ‘Quizathon’ organized by SLASSCOM. This was the second edition of the annual quiz competition that acts as a testament of SLASSCOM’s objective of acting as a catalyst for growth of the Sri Lankan IT and BPO industry.

    Forty teams in total took part in this year’s edition of Quizathon, which was immensely competitive and intense compared to previous year. Quiz teams representing IT companies, BPO/KPO companies, Schools and Educational Institutes, Finance and Banking sector were present. Individual teams and teams representing ‘Other’ category too had registered for the event. All the teams appeared to have done their home work and were prepared for a closely contested Quizathon.

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    The Quizathon consisted of five rounds and was hosted by Imran Furkan who himself is a prominent Quiz Master in the country and also the Executive Director of SLASSCOM. Every round consisted of ten questions that ranged from general knowledge to finance and accounting, from the exact age of papa Smurf to World politics. Every round produced a winning team, which had answered most questions correctly. In case there was tie, three more questions were presented as a tie breaker.

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    Vindhana Ariyawansa’s team emerged as the Overall Champions of Slasscom Quizathon 2013

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    IFS – Ostrinus became the Runners up of SLASSCOM Quizathon 2013

    After an intense competition that expanded for five rounds, the team led by Vindhana Ariyawansa emerged as the Overall Champions of Slasscom Quizathon 2013. IFS R and D International become the runners up and Nalaka De Silva’s team achieved the overall 3rd place. In addition to this, winners were selected from each team category after evaluating the aggregated scores after the five rounds.

    • Banking & Financing Sector – The Obvious Experts of Team Seylan

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    • IT Sector – IFS Ostrinus

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    • Business Process Management Sector – HSBC Team No. 1

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    • Schools and Educational Sector –  National Institute of Business Management

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    • Individual Teams – Vindhana Ariyawansha’s team

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    • Other Category (teams that did not belong to above categories) – Team Dialog

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    Most of the contestants were keen on winning another award that was exclusively presented for the ‘Best Dressed Team’ during the Quizathon.  Here we saw a brilliant display of imagination and creativity from the teams and after what appeared to be a tough decision for the judges, Team ‘SoWrong’ who were dressed in sarongs was selected as the team that dressed best for the occasion.

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    At the end of the Quizathon, teams and the audience had the opportunity to network, to make new friends and share a word while enjoying the sumptuous dinner provided for the event. It was indeed a wonderful event that lasted throughout the Friday night and ended on a high.

    For full photo coverage from the event, visit our Facebook Album here (Photo credit Sameera Wimalaratne).

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    CodeExpertz 1.0 is a 6 hour online school programming competition exclusively for the school children of Sri Lanka. As the prime technological institution of Sri Lanka, we have taken the initial step to provide a platform for the school children to showcase their hidden talents and improve their skills in the field of computer programming. This will be a new avenue for the school children to get the exposure to the real world technology aspects at a very young age, which we at IEEE Student Branch of University of Moratuwa (IEEE SB UoM), consider as a great privilege

    The competition was created to,

    • Motivate school students to be technologically sound in solving real world problems, especially using computer programming
    • To provide students an online competitive environment to investigate their talents in programming.
    • Give IEEE Student Members a challenge to embrace team work – an important skill to develop for career success. 

    Students, who are currently studying in a school(O/L & A/L) and students just finished their advanced level examinations, will be eligible to take part in this competition.

    We are hoping to conduct a series of workshops prior to the competition to give the students awareness about programming in general and the competition. These workshops will be held in selected schools and institutions all over the country, at the University of Moratuwa premises and selected centers in each district.

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    The first workshop was successfully held at Holy Cross College, Kalutara with the participation of almost 150 students from Kalutara District. Students from Holy Cross College, Kalutara Vidyalaya and Mathugama Central College were present on that day. This workshop was conducted by our high calibre undergraduates representing the technical committee. All of them are members of the IEEE Student Branch of University of Moratuwa. We were able to witness the enthusiasm of the students towards this competition and we are more than happy to receive encouraging feedback regarding this work shop.By conducting several workshops in other districts also, we hope to retain the momentum until the competition.

    We are extremely glad to have Digit.lk as the online media partner which will be supporting us and promoting our event throughout the entire duration of the competition. For more information regarding the competition and the registration process, please visit our Facebook page or contact Subodha Charles 071 4438868, Malintha Fernando 071 8874922.

     

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    In Sri Lanka, almost every student faces one common challenge after A/Ls – choosing the most suitable pathway in higher education. This decision is a challenging one due to many factors, such as personal aspirations, career prospects, and financial capabilities.  Additionally, there is the highly commercialized trade-show of higher education courses, diplomas and degrees promoted by third-party educational vendors.  The need for credible guidance to surpass the stereotypical options by having a more realistic and practical view on higher education opportunities is strongly felt now than ever before. 

    SL2College VOICES 2013 strived to achieve just that by bringing prominent, learned individuals together to share their views and experiences with the public. SL2College VOICES 2013 was organized by SL2College* and was held on 25th of August, 2013 at Professor V. K. Samaranayake auditorium, University of Colombo School of Computing. This one-day conference attracted over 230 attendees from different sectors, including parents, students and university academics.

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    The day began with the official opening of SL2College VOICES 2013 by the hosts, Arun Dias Bandaranayake, a veteran journalist and Ms. Dinasha Stephens. Thereafter, the keynote speech was given by Mr. Dian Gomes, group director of MAS holdings, who explained how decisions critical to his academic path contributed towards what he is today. He further discussed the need for commitment to and training for excellence without any expectations of financial reward. Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarna, software engineer and CEO of WSO2, spoke about the resourcefulness of SL2College that can be used as guidance, motivation and information at every step of one’s academic career. He assured the audience that it’s never too late to do what one is passionate about. Drawing from personal experience, Mr. Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, Executive Director of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), stressed the importance of connecting with the world since it is a critical component towards advancing one’s career.

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    Prof. Ajith De Alwis, Professor at the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Moratuwa, highlighted that career and academic development require continuous training for excellence.  He further added that carving a niche for oneself is essential to thrive in today’s competitive markets. A strategist and dramatist, Mr. Arj Wignaraja urged the audience to actively look for opportunities that can convert a passion into a career. Vidya Jothi Prof. Arjuna Aluwihare, Emeritus Professor of Surgery at the University of Peradeniya, remarked on how Sri Lanka has a lot to offer for graduates returning from studying abroad and encouraged the audience to work against the brain drain of Sri Lanka.

    Mr. Charitha Ratwatte, Chief Manager of Sustainability at Dialog Axiata PLC, explained how and why he selected his university programs and how learning from failures can lead to better judgment on crafting the next step in one’s career. Team Leader of the Human Capital Research Program at LIRNEasia, Dr. Sujata Gamage, educated the audience on why the legitimacy and track record of a  higher education institute should be examined before making a choice. There were question and answer sessions where members of the audience were actively involved in discussing their concerns with the speakers.

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    Several prominent organizations that are involved in higher education, such as British Council, The German Academic Exchange Service and Australian Trade Commission discussed the various undergraduate opportunities available in their representative countries. The attendees were served lunch and a snacks as the conference proceeded. The day ended with closing remarks from Mr. Nayana Samaranayake, software engineer at Google Inc. and founder of SL2College, reiterating that SL2College is the platform to use to empower people by guiding them to make smarter decisions in their higher education. He also thanked all the onshore and offshore volunteers for making the event a great success.

    The event was endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Sri Lanka, and supported by generous sponsorships from Dialog Axiata PLC and Brandix, Edex Career as the conference partner, Upali newspapers as the official print media partner, Elephant House as the official beverage partner, Virakesari and Metro News as the Tamil media partners, and diGIT.lk – The IT Magazine and Readme.lk as digital media partners.

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    In recognizing the need to resonate “VOICES” island-wide and thereby become the long awaited transformative voice in higher education in Sri Lanka, SL2College will organize similar events in other cities across Sri Lanka, thereby reaching out to a wider audience.

    Visit www.sl2college.org for more information on the organization, and if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email us at info@sl2college.org.

    *SL2College is a volunteer driven nonprofit organization that provides unbiased advice and guidance to Sri Lankan students to pursue their higher education.