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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.
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
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.
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.
Today’s session of IT Pro Forum is scheduled to start at 6 PM. We will be Live from Microsoft Sri Lanka Office. Till then stay tuned. more info and the agenda about the event can be found here.
At the Northshore College premises “ROBOCOM 2014”, the first ever Robotics Competition for the college is to be held on the 24th of April 2014 from 10 am onwards.
Realizing the potential that Robotics possessed, “The Northshore College Robotics Society” with the ultimate goal of instilling the very essence of Robotics in Northshore College, was created. In order to expose students to the robotics era of technology, “ROBOCOM 2014” has been organized , the first ever Robotics competition at Northshore. ROBOCOM is a challenge that which tests participant groups on some of the basic principles of Robotics. Essentially the Bot needs to be able to place/pick an object and follow a line. With the announcement of ROBOCOM, almost all Robotics Enthusiasts or “ROBOMANIACS” within the Software, Electrical and Electronics respects of Northshore have collaborated and formed powerful teams, each comprised of no more than five individual. Almost all the teams have completed the construction of the Bot.
To make the competition a true race to the finish line, cash prizes will be offered to the First, Second and Third teams of the competition. DMS (PVT) Ltd. are the prize sponsors for the competition with Digit being the media partner.
All who are interested in Robotics are cordially invitedo to joins as Northshore puts first steps into the world of Robotics.
Fb event page here
Twitter community of Sri Lanka is unique! They have been arranging various community building activities online as well as offline including events such as TweetupSL and Tweeps Iftar. The most recent event of Sri Lankan Twitter community was its blood donation camp, which was named #iDonateLK. Twitter in Sri Lanka is regularly used as a methodology to communicate requests for blood donors where Twitter accounts such as @BloodLK and @BloodNeedSL push updates on urgent blood requests and Tweeps regularly engage in such donations. Taking this practice a step further, few tweeps got together and organised #iDonateLK exclusive blood donation camp for tweeps to donate blood. This event was held on 6th of April 2014 at the National Blood Transfusion Service. This is the very first time the Sri Lankan Twitter community organised such an event, going beyond typical events of networking and fun.
How did it Start?
Like in the case of most the Twitter event, iDonateLK also started simply with a tweet, which was posted by Gayathri Seveneviratne (gsenev).
Proving the point that a simple tweet can do wonders, there were many tweets acknowledging the idea which led to another ‘social media for social good initiative’ by Sri Lankan Twitter community.
Who was behind iDonateLK?
Organising an event of this nature is challenging because all the coordination and communications happen online. But, there were tweeps to accept this challenge and be a part of this great initiate. The team behind iDonateLK include @milindat @MoAwesomeSauce @udithaumesh @SNSalgado @BuduMalli @nisald @Yeheshan @ShafrazKhahir, Vishmi and @gsenev. @dialogLK was the sole sponsor who backed the event financially.
What Happened at iDonateLK?
Proving the point that social media can be used for social good, there were many Twitter users who made themselves available on that day to donate blood. 44 donors succeeded in donating blood at iDonateLK and there were many who were turned down in the donor filtering process.
The diversity was the most interesting element of iDonateLK where differences such as religion, age, social status and gender did not have any impact on making social good through social media. They all came together as ‘tweeps’ to donate blood and support the needy people.
What do Tweeps Say about iDonateLK?
As I told you before, organizing an event of this nature is challenging and we spoke to the main personality behind to iDonateLK, Gayathri Seneviratne @gsenev on her experience and this is what she had to say:
“I am excited and so extremely happy that we were able to record 50+ donors today. Why it is so is that first, it happened to fall on the day of the finals and promotion of the event was done solely through Twitter. A lot more than 50 turned out but most of them were rejected due to various causes. This meant that not everyone knows a lot of the prerequisites of donating blood and among other plans of having another event of the same caliber, we’re also hoping on building a system to improve this knowledge and awareness among the young people. I also want to thank the team for all their efforts both online and offline. On behalf of the team, I thank all the donors who donated and to everyone else who made an effort to be there.”
Not only the organisers, but also the donors consider this event to be an exciting experience as they were part of a social good initiative. One of the donors of iDonateLK, Udara Dharmasena (@udaraumd) says “It was the first pint of blood I have ever donated. I was not planning to donate yesterday since I’m barely passing the minimum weight required for blood donation. But suddenly I felt like giving and Umesh encouraged me. It’s a great feeling to donate blood and physically I didn’t feel that I have lost 450ml of blood from my system at all. Anyway It was a great effort by the tweeps of Sri Lanka. I’m very happy to be a part of this social good activity.”
There were many first time donors and many were inspired fellow tweeps to donate blood. Sri Lankan Twitter community has embarked on something extra ordinary and this is not the end! The organizing committee of iDonateLK is certain that there will be many more similar events happening in the future. In the time of negatives about social media, Sri Lankan Twitter community has set an example that social media can be used to generate social good, if it is used in the right manner.
For full pics from the blood donation, see our fb album
Central Bank of Sri Lanka released its annual report for the year 2013 revealing statistics about the economic and the industry conditions of the country. As per the statistics provided by Central Bank of Sri Lanka, the gross inflows to the computer and information services sub sector increased by 7.2 per cent in the year 2013 which means that the industry has been growing at a significant rate. The annual report also reveals that the gross inflow from the IT, BPO and KPO industries account for USD 604 billion indicating that there is lot more to be done, in terms of achieving the industry revenue target of USD 1 Billion by 2016.
Nevertheless, the annual report of Central Bank of Sri Lanka acknowledges that Software and Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) such as BPO and KPO have emerged as a sector with high growth potential in Sri Lanka, generating significant inflows in 2013 compared to the previous year. Further, it also states that Sri Lanka has been able to win the ‘Outsourcing Destination of the Year’ by the National Outsourcing Association (NOA), UK in October 2013 as a result of increased inflows to the country. In addition to these factors, Sri Lanka is recognized for having the ability to produce skilled human resources needed for Information Technology (IT), BPO and KPO sectors.
Considering the activities of the government to support the IT, BPO and KPO industry, the government has put forward a proposal to facilitate corporate entities engaged in BPO services while offering a 5-year half tax holiday for the new companies who are establishing operations. In addition to this, a project proposal was made to develop an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Zone at Hambantota as the emerging ICT Hub of South Asia.
Download the full report here
Last month we reported how 2013 became the year that saw annual smartphone sales surpass that of feature phones, globally. Well, that may not be reflected in the Sri Lankan market yet, but smartphone sales are surely on the rise in Sri Lanka, according to the latest quarterly Sri Lanka Mobile Handset Market Review by leading Market Intelligence and Advisory firm CyberMedia Research.
As of today, there are already more LTE-based devices shipped into Sri Lanka than India!
Compared to 2012, smartphone sales (percentage of number of units) in Sri Lanka have seen 80% year-on-year growth, according to the report. There are multiple reasons for this exceptional growth. More and more people are moving to smartphones. Communication, Social Networking and workplace productivity play a huge role in this move. This is fueled by the increasing number of “affordable” smartphones available in the market now. Mobile service providers are also investing more on launching and promoting smartphones with special offers and services, especially on the “data” front. The chart below will give you an idea on the changing trend in mobile phone sales in Sri Lanka. The rise in smartphone sales have clearly contributed to the decline of feature-phone sales, even though feature-phones still maintain the highest number of sales in the local market.
Nokia is still king of feature-phones
According to the CMR’s report, Nokia ended the year 2013 with 27.3% of feature phone market share which was enough to retain the top spot. Nokia was followed by global market leader Samsung in the second place and Micromax in the third spot. Interestingly Samsung had a bigger competitor in Micromax in the local market, when it comes to feature phones. The market share margin between the two brands was less than 1%. This is also evident by the fact that Micromax actually sold remarkably higher number of feature phones than Samsung in the 4th Quarter of 2013. Micromax had 21.4% market share in Q4 2013 (up from 16.1% in Q3 2013) compared to Samsung’s Q4 2013 market share of 12% (down from 17.4% in Q3 2013).
Samsung remains market leader of smartphones
When it comes to smartphones, Samsung showed its global dominance in the local market too, by leading the list with a comfortable 37.7% of market share. But one should also note that Samsung’s Q4 2013 share (21.2%) is noticeably lower than its Q3 2013 share of 39%. We are not aware of the exact reason that could have affected the sales, but we guess it’s due to availability of larger number of smartphone options from different players at highly competitive price points. Huawei followed Samsung in the second spot with 11.9% of market share while Micromax, with 10.3% share ended up at the 3rd place. But if you take Q4 2013 alone, it’s E-Tel which took the 3rd spot (16.1%) beating Micromax. Introduction of multiple Android powered smartphones at relatively cheaper price points might have contributed to the success of E-Tel.
The future looks bright for smartphones
As you can see in the charts, quite a large amount of market share was dominated by brands/vendors who could not make it to the top 3 list. For instance, Nokia has been promoting affordable Windows Phone devices as of late. Launch of Android powered Nokia X series will also give Nokia a chance to shine in the smartphone department in 2014. It should also be noted that a large number of Sri Lankans use Apple iPhones. Recently Dialog Axiata became an authorized seller for iPhones. Even though we could not find any reliable data on Apple’s market share in Sri Lanka, we can be certain that it is fast becoming one of the widely used smartphones in Sri Lanka. Samsung’s latest flagship, the Galaxy S5 and LG’s G Flex are also expected to launch in Sri Lanka, in days to come.
According to CMR’s analysts, “the share of entry level smartphones in the Sri Lankan market is expected to increase, along with a matching uptake in 3G and 4G data consumption”. They also expect more Indian handset brands to enter Sri Lankan market this year. To quote a more interesting fact from the report – “as of today, there are already more LTE-based devices shipped into Sri Lanka than India!”. CMR’s analyst said that “this reflects the technological advancement achieved by the island nation’s market”
Source: CMR’s Sri Lanka’s Mobile Handset Market Review – 4Q 2013, March 2014 Release and 3Q 2013, December 2013 Release
Imagine Cup is the world’s largest and most famous software development competition for Computer Sciences & Engineering, Information Technology and Information Systems undergraduates. Imagine Cup competition is called the Oscars or the Olympics of software development competitions for the IT undergraduates around the world. For every IT undergraduate, wining Imagine Cup is their biggest dream in their life.
Imagine Cup was an idea of Microsoft former CEO Bill Gates, who strongly believes that young and fresh talent can create innovations and change the world taking it into another dimension. Based on his idea, the world’s biggest software development company Microsoft launched this competition for the first time in 2004. Since then millions of students around the world compete each other with impressive innovative ideas and projects not only to win this competition, but also do some change in the world.
Over the years, many mind-blowing innovations, charity projects, fancy games were build by the most talented IT Undergraduates creating great impact to areas like mechatronics, healthcare, Smart Phone apps and many more. Thousands of new startups started because of these projects and now they earn millions and millions of money out of them. Some projects are running as a charity and serve the millions of people around the world to uplift their life standards.
Since 2004, Imagine Cup has happened nine times up to now, so in year 2014 Imagine Cup is going to be the 10th Imagine Cup and its a cause for cleebrations. Microsoft Sri Lanka also conduct this competition over the years and this year it will happen on 25th of April at Peradeniya University. There are 14 teams in three different categories which compete with each other to win the competition in each category. For each category, there will be only one winner, but other teams can also consider themselves as winners too for coming thus far.
I told many stories about Imagine Cup in this article, but why? Because I’m also a competitor of Imagine Cup Sri Lankan finals in 2012 and also 1st runner up in innovation category in 2013 and finalist of this year Imagine Cup finals too. Since I was a finalist in 2012 to now, I have lots of stories to share with you. But apart from them I’ll tell you some important things that you may need to know about it. Because it may help you, may be your friend, even your institute to win this competition and do some good thing to the world.
- Find a great business idea which can be executed well in the challenging world.
- Find ways to build that business idea into a real world solution.
- Don’t worry about the technology, it will come to you when you try to find it.
- Be smart to find the necessary skills and resources for your project.
- Assign the tasks according to the skills of the team member.
- Sacrifice little bit of your life for your project, which will earn not only money but also the recognition.
- Think, Think and Think. Finally brainstorming with your team.
- Never give up when you face failure, keep concentrating and try it in another way.
- Don’t go behind success, then it will not come to you. But go behind the goals that you need to go. Then success will come behind you.
- Learn everything in your project 100% and share among your team.
- Never underestimate your competitors and prepare everything for the project.
- Teat your team members equally and work with them in a friendly manner. Stress may create conflicts between team members.
These things helped me a lot to achieve many milestones in this Imagine Cup. Not only Imagine Cup, but also any project in your life can be successful if you follow above mentioned things.
Don’t worry about it if you are not selected for any competition like Imagine Cup. Keep trying to find the mistakes that you had done and try to mitigate them. Imagine Cup is kind of an exam which test your technological skills, business skills, management skills and confidence to achieve your goal.
Let’s make this world a better place through sustainable technological revolution. Wishes to all competing in Imagine Cup 2014, let’s bring glory to Sri Lanka!
Google is making its presence known in Sri Lanka in various ways starting from supporting entrepreneurs, assisting universities to many other activities including policy development. Under the Google for Education initiative, Google Students Ambassador (GSA) program is an exciting opportunity for undergraduate/postgraduate students to act as liaisons between Google and their universities. GSAs have the opportunity to enhance their professional development, leadership, and communication skills, and access to a unique network of Google Ambassadors across the world. Google is calling for applications for GSA in Sri Lanka!
What do GSAs do?
Google Student Ambassadors get involved in various activities, which are exciting as well as learning experiences for the students. If you are an undergraduate/post graduate student with a passion to learn about technology, this is an exciting opportunity for you, because one of the key focus areas of GSA is to learn about innovative Google products and programs. Are you a fun loving person with passion to organize and host events? GSAs also get involved in planning and hosting fun events in their universities. In addition to these, GSAs also act as a campus contact for Google teams, which means there is a potential to network and also be exposed to Google’s culture. Google wants to understand how universities work in the local context and such understanding is also facilitated through GSAs where they help Google better understand each university’s culture.
GSAs also have the opportunity to participate in various student events organized by Google at international level. Search Summit 2013 was one such event, which was held in Hyatt regency Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and ten GSAs from Sri Lanka participated in this event. Check out our article on Experience of Search Summit 2013, written by a participant.
Want to become a GSA? Here is what you need to have!
- You need to be a full-time undergraduate/postgraduate student. This does not mean that you need to be an IT student. This could vary from majors in Computer Science to Anthropology, Business to Zoology!
- You also should be able to commit 10 hours per month for Google evangelist work.
- GSAs also require familiarity with Google products including but not limited to Google Docs, Chrome, Search, and YouTube. You need to be enthusiastic about Google products! You should be someone who is thrilled by technology. This means you need to know the Google product portfolio in and out!
- GSAs also need have an active social media presence where you need to be an active user of Google+, which is Google’s own social media platform.
- In addition to this, ideal GSAs are also involved with student organizations and activities.
Have you got what it takes to be a GSA? Click here to apply.
More information can be obtained here. Applications are open until 7th April 2014.
$50,000 is the target by 16th May 2014
Asoka Handagama is no stranger to the film industry in Sri Lanka, a director known for his controversial films has embarked on a new mission, this time using part funds from the film lovers themselves. A budget of $120,000 of which $50,000 would be raised via crowdfunding, this new methodology could be the new wave for young filmmakers to make their films a reality.
Handagama is first to experiement with this and you could make his attempt a reality. Funding starts from a mere $20 and goes upto $1000. Rewards from the smallest contribution await for the public who help out.
What Handagama says about his journey so far
Since childhood, I have always been ahead of my peers. The first time I was in love, my contemporaries hadn’t even thought of starting such an affaire. My first literary exercise was about my own love. I wrote and directed my first theater work during my high school days. When I first directed an episodic TV feature, I had never stood behind a camera. It was through my first cinematic exercise, that I realized a radical approach was needed in the ‘form’ to portray contemporary socio-political issues effectively.
Being in cinema is a painful exercise, but I enjoy this pain.
I find my my true heaven, only when I am in cinema, behind a camera, weaving a new narrative.
A university Professor appears to be having an affair with a young female student; his behavior threatening the carefully established routines of his middle class family. Through their unusual correspondence, the student keeps the professor’s wife informed of the affaire and activities.
The professor seems torn and confused as he at times denies and then admits to seeing the girl. The wife caught in the middle is not sure what to believe. The young student claims she is willing to die for their love and wants the Professor at any cost.
As her carefully composed life starts to unravel, the wife makes the ultimate decision: she brings the girl home to live with them.
Fantasy seeping into reality, we delve deeper into the complex maze that is human desire only to see how far we go in order to suppress it so that we may make room for civilization.
For more details, see CRIMSO page
Sri Lanka is one of the countries with the highest volume of blood donors in the world. The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS), better known as the National Blood Bank has been awarded international recognition for being the best of its kind in the region. Despite the hard work of the NBTS, blood is in short supply with the Cancer Research Institute in Maharagama needing the most. This is in addition to the number of requests that private and national hospitals make for blood for regular surgeries such as bypass and openheart surgeries.
The Sri Lankan community on Twitter wanting to make a difference in the lives of Sri Lankans through the use of technology, community and networking have decided to channel their energy towards organizing blood donation campaigns to ensure a steady supply of blood available to the general public through the blood bank for surgeries and emergencies in addition to building a strong donor base in the country.
Only one Tweet had to be posted. The response was immense and encouraging. Within a week, #iDonateLK was created, a date was confirmed, the NBTS was informed and each of the Tweeps in the organizing crew had their piece of responsibility.
Awareness of the programme, as what was decided was going to be purely on Twitter through tweets and retweets and pockets of information about blood donation.
Administrators of some of the more popular and engaging accounts were very keen on sending out the message to as many as possible within their networks.
A rough registration process will be carried out for an approximate count. Those on twitter can register via following form.
The camp will be held on Sunday, 6th April 2014 from 8:30am to 4:30pm at the National Blood Bank. It is an open event and you are most welcome to bring anyone with you who could donate and please, retweet!
For more information, you may contact @MoAwesomeSause, @gsenev, @milindat, @BuduMalli, @Aye5ha, @SNSalgado, @gihangamos, @udithaumesh, @Yeheshan, @ShafrazKhahir
Compiled by Gayathri Seneviratne.
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