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Teshan Nanayakkara

Teshan Nanayakkara
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Graduated, PHP Web Developer, Blogger, Composer, Music addict, Swimmer, and a silent human being who seeks good friends and opportunities on-line.

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It has been more than two years since the mobile game known as Ingress was introduced to the world by Niantic Labs, a subsidiary of Google and despite being a small nation, Sri Lanka has played a noticeable role in worldwide gameplay. It is quite rare to see a gaming community step up to carry out community service activities for the benefit of all society in the interest of humanity. Ingress as a community based social gaming experience encourages an initiative called #MissionsForGood, with local players meeting up for community activities to help charities and so on. As a growing gaming community, Enlightened Sri Lanka have stepped forward, gathering themselves through the Ingress gaming network to help save real lives by organizing a blood donation campaign, with aim of doing something good for the people of the country.

Blood is an important and very rare resource in terms of life. Local hospitals occasionally face difficulties in finding various blood types to cater to various severe situations that occur in hospitals to meet the needs of patients. Therefore the need for blood arises daily and the Sri Lankan Enlightened community decided to pull off this event to help maintain the blood transfusion capacity within the country. The Sri Lankan Ingress community currently consists of 200 or more active players scattered across the island and we expect more than 100 eligible donors for this blood drive. This is an open invitation for everyone who wishes to donate for this worthy cause to join us.

Here is the information regarding the Ingress Blood Donation.
Date: Saturday, 17th of October 2015.
Venue: National Blood Transfusion Center, Narahenpita.
Time: Starting at 8.30 AM and will end around 3.30 PM.

FB Event page – Click here

Please spread the word and gather as many people as possible to help in saving lives.

Ingress Blood Drive

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Ingress is a location based mobile game popular among Sri Lankan youngsters and it now has its own community that keeps growing each day. This game has two teams or say two factions, the ‘Enlightened’ and the ‘Resistance’. The game is all about destroying enemy builds and territories, claiming them to your team and expand your faction’s ground area by actually traveling places around the country and world using mobile phones.

For the Enlightened faction, some of the agents (players) came up with a team activity to increase motivation and enthusiasm of Enlightened members. In January 2014, there was a global event organized for the Enlightened agents around the world to actively participate in Ingress as a motivational and an effort of uplifting the Enlightened network and statistics in a global scale. It was named after Summer Olympic games and the event was ultimately launched as ‘Ingress Enlightened Olympics’ that had nine Ingress related activities which were matched to the exact Olympic sport names.

Inspired by the internationally organized ‘Ingress Enlightened Olympics’ event, those Sri Lankan Enlightened agents was able to organize and execute the first ever Ingress competition called ‘ENL Games LK’ in Sri Lanka for the local Enlightened community.  (ENL for Enlightened)
After weeks of elaborate planning and discussions, they successfully finished the said community build up project ‘ENL Games LK 2014’, an event that commenced on 22nd of August and ended on the 29th. Sri Lankan Enlightened agents who participated in this event had shown their game skills in various ways and they played very enthusiastically to compete against each other to win places. But ultimately it was team play, enthusiasm to level up and mind blowing stats that decorated agent profiles.
The eight-day event consisted of the following ten Ingress sporting events.
  1. Sprint - Gain maximum points during one hour.
  2. Marathon - Gain maximum points during the Games week.
  3. Hurdles - Create the highest number of control fields during the Games week.
  4. Relay - Make the highest number of overlapping control fields as a team of two to three Enlightened agents.
  5. Shooting - Score the largest points gain from a single attack on an enemy portal.
  6. Boxing - Highest energy loss through attacking an enemy portal.
  7. Long Jump - Make the longest link inside Sri Lanka during the Games period.
  8. Triple Jump - Create the largest control field by geographic area.
  9. Javelin - Create the largest control field measured in Mind Units.
  10. Taekwondo - Highest points gained for destroying enemy resonators, links and control fields during the Games week.
From among all the participants, only twenty two agents could make their way to the top ranks in the leaderboard at the end of this event. A community meetup was held at Independence Square on 30th of August to mark the end of this event to give away prizes to those Enlightened participants who won in aforementioned ten events. The meetup ended with a farming session (excessive walks around several high level portal clusters to gain more items beneficial for the game play by hacking them), to strengthen solidarity among agents and spotted new faces too.
As a whole, ENL Games LK 2014 was a huge success for Sri Lankan Enlightened community and it wouldn’t have been this successful without the organizing team and the judges who worked till late night finalizing scores.
ENL Games Prizes

ENL Games Prizes

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ENL Games LK 2014 Stats Infographic

ENL Games LK 2014 Stats Infographic

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Ingress is a mobile game made for Android handsets that needs more physical strength to play than any other mobile game. It is a game not only for men but also for women. If you are a member of any Sri Lankan Ingress community, you may find how low the number of female appearances are and you will realize how important it is to have a good blend of men and women in a team since Ingress is not for lonely and male players.

Women too are as important as men in this society and so too in cyber world. As a result of the vast penetration of information technology to the masses, it made local women more powerful on par with equally skilled men here today. Sri Lankan Ingress community is a good stage to show off women’s power to the world, because Ingress is a globally recognized mobile game played by millions of people around the world.

It has now grown up with female players from both factions, say the Enlightened (Green) team and the Resistance (Blue) team. Two months after the International Women’s day, when one of the renowned Sri Lankan Ingress team was able to secure the Colombo cell in Interitus global anomaly, they have once again made a big leap by taking the initiative to gather all local female players of Enlightened faction together who have been individually playing Ingress to make the first ever ladies only Ingress portal in Sri Lanka on 23rd of May at Independence Square, Colombo. This attempt could clearly highlight the female power of Sri Lankan Enlightened team and it was a 100% Sri Lankan effort without the aid of any foreign players.

Eight ladies from Enlightened team who made the first female only portal in Sri Lanka.
Agents @anuRoX, @SuperNando, @lightwillow, @doomblastic, @unsalgado, @tizzyrubix, @Kveykva, @Zensus
(not shown in order) participated for this meetup.

First female only portal in Sri Lanka

First female only portal in Sri Lanka

 

In Ingress, portals are the main base of the game and they are described as statues, unique architectures, special outdoor buildings, historical places, monuments and places of worship. Therefore players have to physically travel near such portals. Hacking a portal provides beneficial items to players and the ownership of a portal can be claimed by attacking a portal owned by the enemy team. That is called capturing a portal. To capture, a player has to deploy up to eight resonators to give life to a portal. These eight resonators can either be placed by one player or a group of eight players.

Some chit chat during the Enlightened women’s meetup

Unlike in other countries, Sri Lankan Enlightened and Resistance teams are mostly male dominated and due to day-night traveling around the country and lack of understandability on first sight, there is a difficulty of attracting women towards Ingress. Having such a situation, the Enlightened team was able to recruit local female players to their faction and the final outcome was making the first ever female only portal following the aforementioned way by placing eight resonators by eight Sri Lankan ladies. This attempt has brought so much public recognition plus honor to Sri Lankan women and it was a better attempt of inviting more women to play Ingress.

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Last week was a tremendous and a tiring week for the Sri Lankan Ingress community because for the first time ever Colombo was selected as a connected cell for the global anomaly called Interitus 02 by Ingress. It was a 31 septacycle (checkpoint) mission or simply put 31 battles against the opponent faction to win the anomaly that might add 20 points to the respective faction globally. Unlike all other Ingress cycles monitored by Google, this main cycle of 5 hour 31 checkpoints made both Sri Lankan Enlightened and Resistance teams work harder than ever before and those who participated had poured a tremendous effort to make their team win this and ultimately Sri Lankan Enlightened team got the chance to win the anomaly for Colombo.

For those who do not know what Ingress is, briefly it is a location based strategic augmented reality game introduced by Google that needs an Android smartphone with GPS and an internet connection in which the player has to physically travel from place to place and capture ground areas for their team/faction making fields by linking portals such as statues, archaeological buildings, and unique signs around the country. The more you cover the more points for the faction according to the population density of the covered area. And the tactics can immensely increase or multiply those area points called ‘Mind Units (MUs)’ by using multilayering fields across the ground.

Ingress Interitus final marks

End of the 31 battles across the country to cover the biggest area inside Colombo cell globally known as AS10-GOLF-01, local players from both teams had to travel around Sri Lanka to execute their quick and massive plans several times during the past week that cost time, sweat, thirst, travelling costs, fines and injuries too. If you need to know how precious a minute is, you have to play Ingress and see how it counts to the final decision of who won the cycle with how much score. For this, both teams, Enlightened and Resistance kept communications with India and Maldives players to cover Colombo cell by making bigger fields with multiple layers. This sort of work needs so much planning and final moment decisions when executing plans or to mitigate risks from the opponent team, which might turn the whole situation upside down.

Sri Lankan Enlightened cross-country mega field made with India

Sri Lankan Enlightened cross-country mega field made with India

However Enlightened team in Sri Lanka managed to create multilayer cross-country fields connecting Ambalangoda, Bible Rock and Coimbatore in India, plus some inland fields covering one fifth of the country with the help of Indian players, adding around 20 million mind units (points) at the very first battle to the Enlightened team and the team was lucky enough to repeat the same plan twice more to keep Resistance team behind the winning line. Knowing that, Resistance team too planned and executed various missions to block Enlightened from making mega fields and their plans too were blocked by Enlightened many times. However Resistance team came up with a massive mind unit gain plan by connecting Jaffna, Udawalawe and Maldives covering half of the country, but just a few minutes before the Google’s checkpoint (two checkpoints before the last around 0630 hrs), a lower level Enlightened player managed to destroy the 20 million worth cross-country fields letting the Resistance team lose their last hope of winning. Both teams tried hard to block and distract opponent plans in many ways that lead many players run here and there across the country sacrificing time, money and sweat.

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So we wish all the best to both the teams for taking part in this global anomaly by shedding tears and sweat to win against opponent team by carrying out mission after mission. Congratulations to the Sri Lankan Enlightened team for securing the Colombo (AS10-GOLF-01) cell for the Enlightened faction.

Download Ingress from Play Store here.

Read more about growing Ingress community in Sri Lanka here.

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If you are a daily user of the internet or you are so interested in smart devices and related news or trends, you may have seen that the majority of the smartphones, tablets can be shopped online going through a virtual cart and bring them down to Sri Lanka using a standard or an expedited shipping method. Apart from following that route, you can basically visit a retail mobile store in Sri Lanka and buy your most needed mobile device, a phone or a tablet PC that suits your wallet. There are numerous known authorized dealers for those devices  as of now established in Sri Lanka for consumers to go and shop. Availability of mobile devices from popular and well known brands like Nokia, Samsung, Apple, Motorola and HTC in here, is truly tremendous and if you wish to have a walk in a shopping center, you may discover a bunch of shops and stalls that showcase a heap of mobile devices bearing those branding.

However the same tale about accessibility of Nexus devices changes assuming that you are living in Sri Lanka or any viable country, where device purchasing is restricted on Google’s Play Store. You scarcely discover a shop or any retail store that offers Nexus devices, particularly as of recently released Nexus for somewhere close to the original price point. That being the main reason behind less popularity and availability of Nexus devices among Sri Lankans and the trouble of getting one in hands other than importing them here through some individual who lands here. In this manner, Nexus units might be classified as uncommon and versatile devices, which makes just a lucky few to have a chance to own them inside Sri Lanka.

A solution for this has recently been sorted out that allows Sri Lankans to buy items online and bring them down here without costing more or waste much time on receiving the paid items especially from country restricted foreign web stores like purchasing devices from Google’s US Play Store. The suggested workaround for this is using an online service that receives and then forwards shipments from US to anywhere in the world called HopShopGo.com, to buy your items and get them conveyed to your doorstep in a few days. Other alternatives which serve in the same way are ReShip.com, us2me.com and myusa.com however they charge an initial payment to sign up to procure their services. Apart from those outside-the-country solutions, visiting global shops established here might seem easy yet the compromised services they offer could be not worth the time and penny we spend. So here goes the easiest method explained in a simpler way chosen from aforementioned first method, using HopShopGo to ship items to Sri Lanka from country restricted online web stores.

Here’s How:

Blocked Nexus buying page

Figure A – Blocked Nexus buying page

Step 1 - Accessing blocked shopping site – In this step you have to actually be some sort of computer literate and familiar with internet usage and services. To do this you need to install some software on your computer that bypasses the access block to the online store your item is listed. For this you can either try ‘Hotspot Shield‘ (figure B) or ‘Tunnel Bear‘ applications on your computer by downloading and installing them. If you are using ‘Tunnel Bear’ then register for a free account worth of 500MB data.

Figure B
Photo courtesy – https://hsselite.zendesk.com/home

After following either way, run one of those applications and try to access your online Nexus shopping page at Google Play Store from your favorite web browser and you will have the ability to gain entrance to those blocked stores (figure C). (Make sure that these applications can only spoof your access location as you are surfing the web from US or UK) Now we have access to see and place an order at Google Play Store. What’s next?

Figure C - Unblocked Nexus shopping page Photo courtesy - http://sourcex.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/ps-2.jpg

Figure C – Unblocked Nexus shopping page
Photo courtesy – http://sourcex.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/ps-2.jpg

Step 2 - Go to HopShopGo.com and signup for free, but you will be asked to specify a PayPal account (b in figure D) with your credit/debit card connected to it. At the end you must login to your account and you will find a U.S. mailing address for your name (a in figure D). Then what? 

Hop Sop Go sections

Figure D

Step 3 - Now go back to Google Play Store and pay for your phone. During this process remember to specify your HopShopGo U.S. address for both shipping and billing addresses and complete your payment process without any hiccups. DONE.

Step 4 - Once the shipment is received at your U.S. address, the company will usually notify you within a day via email along with the estimated cost for shipping to Sri Lanka based on the type of shipping you choose (standard in 5-6 days or expedited in 3 days). There you may pay the amount they say online and you will be given an air waybill / tracking number. You can login to HopShopGo and check your package status and more information or pay shipping charges (c in figure D).

Step 5 - NOW WAIT FOR YOUR PHONE :)

Step 6 - When your phone arrives here you will be given relevant documents either by DHL or FedEx to get the approval from TRCSL, which doesn’t take more than 15 minutes. Upon approval, you need to inform DHL or FedEx and the next day they will deliver you your Nexus at your doorstep. No waits, no wastes.

Unboxed Nexus 5

Figure E
Photo courtesy – Ho tHardware

This method is not only valid for buying Nexus devices but you can also use these steps when you buy and ship items from any U.S. based shopping store and perhaps you may not need to go through the first step if the web site is not blocked for your region.

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    It’s been more than three months since the Nexus 5 has made an official public appearance, to be precise its release on October 31st last year, allowing people to place orders directly from Google’s play store and the pure Google experience that is stuffed inside this gorgeous flagship device has dramatically changed the way people look at mobile devices.

    The Nexus story was quite a little bit old by now but when you look back how it has changed over time was pretty amazing. We have come a long way since the first Nexus device suitably named to the Nexus One announced in 2010. Now we are in the new generation of apparently, ultra powerful, ever evolving smartphones at this point. Nevertheless for whatever reason, when Google was going to release their new version of the Nexus device along with their sweetest version of Android layered around it into this new era, they didn’t make a big deal about it with announcements and subsequent releases. For this search engine giant, publicity was never needed to be sought and still their recent Nexus devices sold out in minutes like hot dogs out of the stove.

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    The Nexus 5, with its sleek and smooth look managed to captivate the prospective users even before it hit the market officially.

    After the successful Nexus 4, it’s clear that Google has built up a relationship with LG for the following Nexus, which made both devices sold out in first few minutes as it was first released for placing orders. Unlike other flagship contenders like Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One, everybody was quite anticipated to see how would it look, what features would it sport and who would take the challenge to cater the demand by manufacturing it for Google. Speculations twirled around the tech savvy people letting them wait for the successor to the previous Nexus, the 5th of its kind.

    Nexus 5 was made after LG’s own flagship smartphone named LG G2, designed with a minimal yet more premium and sophisticated look and feel, having almost of all its features trimmed a little bit down to match the Google’s low price point starting at 350 dollars for the 16GB version. It first came with two color choices say black and white and now it’s available in bright red too. The competitive specifications of Nexus 5 were good enough to bring a great smartphone experience as a reference device for the industry and for developers or general consumers, bundled with pure and powerful updated Android experience currently available unlike the predecessors. Most importantly the main advantage in Nexus devices is quick over the air Android updates.

    nexus-evolution-video

    Evolution of Nexus series has been extraordinary. The look and feel as well as the hardware specification have improved over a short period of time.

    Google uses their Nexus line to introduce the latest version of Android operating system and this time they released the tastiest Android experience they have ever made Android 4.4 KitKat with new user interface improvements and other eye-catching features that comes only available for the Nexus 5 at the moment. The new Google Experience launcher provides translucent notification and navigation bars with a second home screen fully dedicated to ‘Google Now’ with the ability to initiate voice searches by simply saying “Okay Google” when you are in any home screen. The updated camera was improved to produce better image quality with clear and saturated colors as a result of optical image stabilization plus incremental updates to Android KitKat in order to make the imaging experience more serviceable. Initially the downside of the Nexus 5 was its battery life and it’s not as pathetic as it seems on average usage, but someone would feel like reaching for the charging cable earlier than any probably it should compared to competitors.

    With the Nexus 5, you are getting exactly what you are needed without having any bloatware or heavy applications that provides sky high features. It is a phone that suits the daily drive, because it is simple and it does what you need to do without giving any fuss. A rumor which started circulating a few weeks back stated that we might have to rely on much expensive Google Play edition devices to get our hands on pure Android experience, as it seems the Nexus line might come to an end this year, which surely is not a good news for many consumers. So let’s have our fingers crossed until 2015 to see these rumors to get some backing. Till then enjoy pure Android on Nexus.
    Image Courtesy: Smart Droid and Techno Buffalo