Jan 3 2012

Inevitable Mess

One day I picked up my wife (girlfriend at the time this happened) from her CIMA class and she related a story which her lecturer had mentioned during class. He had said, “everything in its natural state is in a mess and if we want to tidy up things, we need to put in some effort”.

The more I thought about it the more I realized how true this statement is. When I was a schooling I remember how messy my room was. No matter how much I tried to keep it nice and tidy, it automatically got transformed into a living hell. I remember how my clothes worked shifts. During daytime they were on the bed and when bed time approached they sought shelter on my desk! The same applied for my school books, sporting gear, newspapers, magazines and whatnot. I also remember how hard I worked the day before the new year to clean up everything and make my room a ‘room sweet room’. However the week after the new year the unavoidable will happen again and this goes on forever.

Now that I am married and live in a new home, I have to put in extra effort as I am no longer tidying up a single room, but a whole home. It’s quite surprising how things can get quite messy with no effort at all. I have a drawer at home which has my stationary, some keys and some bills which gets messed up almost every other day. No matter how much I tell myself that I need to keep it tidy, the drawer does not abide by it.

Well, as this is the natural state of ‘things’ I guess I have to live with it and remind myself daily to keep everything neat.  A simple thing I follow to avoid mess, is to keep something where it was after I have done using it. Following simple practices like  keeping the keys in one place, keeping the stationary orderly in drawers, folding clothes and putting them in the wardrobe will also help to avoid messy rooms. In this new year I plan to follow these acts and make less mess as possible because I am tired of spending days to clean up my home after it has become one huge mess.

Happy Neat and Tidy 2012 Everyone!! 🙂


May 6 2011

Scribbled Handwriting

Prescription

Ever gone to the pharmacy having no idea whatsoever about what’s written on the little piece of paper you are carrying? If you answer no, you are one lucky person and I guess you are one in a million.

Ever since I was very small I have seen prescriptions the doctors gave when I was sick and I wondered how in the world the poor pharmacist can decipher what is written on them. All I can make out is curls, lines, dots, squares and other geometrical shapes which I learnt at the Geometry class. When I was a kid I loved detective stories a lot and I had this pen friend in Germany with whom I communicated using a secret code. Those days I thought the doctor and the pharmacist is also communicating using a secret code of their own and there were times at which I sat down with prescriptions in my hand trying to unravel the secret code.

Anyway as I am all grown up now I understand that the doctor is writing the prescription in plain English and the poor pharmacist earns a living by combing these geometrical shapes and curls into words. In my opinion pharmacists should be awarded a Nobel price for doing this in a daily basis.

Recently I fell sick and my doctor ordered me to take some tests. So I happily went to a nearby hospital and gave the prescription to the laboratory and awaited to be checked. There was one line in the prescription which the lab could not make out. They said it was not a test and something else which they can’t really understand. So I ended up calling the doctor and reading out the two or three letters I could read of the entire sentence he had written. Luckily he remembered what it was and gave me the correct interpretation which put me and the lab people at ease.

I am sure I am not the only one who had experiences like this. If you just stand in a pharmacy for a few minutes you can see many prescriptions going in and out having scribbled handwriting. The thing I still don’t get is, why can’t our doctors who do an immense service to the mankind take an extra minute or two to write the prescriptions in clear handwriting? If they can do that they can put a stop to the suffering our pharmacists and people go through for which I am sure they would be thankful for.


Mar 29 2011

The Dramatist

William Shakespeare

The place where I work at got the help of several Toastmasters Clubs in Colombo and started conducting a training called “Speech Craft Programme”. This is a 10 week programme which was initiated with the motive of getting the participants to learn how to give effective speeches that give a ‘punch’ to the audience. Each participant has to do two mandatory speeches and the first one is called the ‘Ice Breaker’. The Ice Breaker is intended to break off the shackles of the speaker and make him/her more comfortable on stage when speaking in front of an audience.

I did my Ice Breaker yesterday and I titled it ‘The Dramatist’. The speech went really well and I received good comments from the evaluators. I thought of posting the speech I did on my blog just in case someone else wants to get an idea for their ice breaker. Here we go…

“All the world’s a stage and all the men and women are merely players. They have their exists and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many roles”. Toastmaster, ladies and gents. This quote was written by the famous play writer William Shakespeare and I truly believe in what he said. Each and everyone of us is an actor, acting in our own drama called life on this stage called Earth. In the next few minutes I will take you through the highlights of the drama in which I play the leading role.

Scene No one. Place: Private Hospital Matara. Date: 12th of January 1986. On this day I, Nimantha Baranasuriya, made my first appearance on stage with my parents, Thusanthi and Nimal. When I realized what was going around me I got to know another actress was in my play and that is my elder sister Chamilka. Two years later one more actress entered my play by the name of Chamali who is my younger sister. The three of us had a lovely time growing up together in my family. Being the only boy, I received lots of love from my parents. My father used to buy me all sorts of things which my mother never allowed me to have.

Days went by and it was time for another important scene of the play to take place. This was back in the year 1991 when I started schooling at Royal College, Panadura. However in 1993 I switched schools because my father wanted me to study at the same school in which he studied at. As a result from Grade three onwards till I did my A/Ls I schooled at Sri Sumangala College, Panadura. After I completed my A/Ls I was elated to join the Engineering Faculty of University of Moratuwa and that’s where another lovely scene of the drama unravels itself.

I loved the time I spent at my university. I got the valuable opportunity of working with a vast amount of students who came from all sorts of backgrounds and from all parts of the island. I specialized in Computer Science and Engineering and when I graduated I was awarded a gold medal for being the top of my batch and also the award for the most outstanding graduate of the year as well. Upon graduation I joined Eurocenter where I started acting in another new scene of the play.

I joined Eurocenter in 2009 as a Software Engineer and I have been here for about two years now. Each and every single day of those two years have been memorable ones for me. I have a cool set of colleagues with whom I have lots of fun amidst our busy work schedules.

Up to now in all of the scenes I laid out in front of you, I was the hero, but no play is complete without a heroine. I met my heroine while I was at University of Moratuwa. Her name is Dilini Perera and we were quite good friends at that time. I knew that she was the one for me and after we graduated I took a brave step, chose a good time, took her out for lunch and popped the question. Lo and behold we started our little affair in 2009 and last year in November we started acting together in a new scene of my play also called marriage. Now this scene was a little tougher than the previous one because the role I play in it is full of responsibilities, but the most important thing is that both of us spend a lovely time together.

So my drama goes..

Day by day we continue to act in our own little dramas. It is up to you to decide how well or how poorly you want to act in them. Remember that the output of your drama depends on how you acted in it. My only wish is that I will continue to act well in the remaining scenes of my play and by the time the curtain falls I will receive a standing ovation from the audience and perhaps an award for the best dramatist as well.

Well that’s it for the speech. I have to do another speech to complete the requirements of the Speech Craft programme and I will post that speech as well when it’s done. Bye bye for now!! 🙂


Dec 30 2010

Can’t move ‘.svn/tmp/entries’ to ‘.svn/entries’

SVNAt my office we mainly use Tortoise SVN to version our code bases. I usually take an update each and every morning and recently the update started to fail with the error “Can’t move ‘.svn/tmp/entries’ to ‘.svn/entries‘” and this kept on happening every day. After that when I issue the update command again, the code base is updated without further error messages. This was really troublesome and after talking with my colleagues at office I got to know that this error comes because the anti-virus software installed in my computer interferes with the SVN update.

When an SVN update happens the a lot of files are copied from .svn/tmp/entries’ folder to ‘.svn/entries folder and the anit-virus software (Kaspersky in my case) thinks that a malicious programme is doing some tricks and blocks the file copying thus causing the famous “Can’t move ‘.svn/tmp/entries’ to ‘.svn/entries'” to appear in the Tortoise SVN update window.

The simple remedy would be to add the folder which SVN is updating to the exclusion list of the anti-virus software that you are using. In Kaspersky you can add the folder to it’s exclusion list as in the following which I obtained from their support site.

Manage Exclusions

After that hopefully you will be able to solve the mystifying error;  Can’t move ‘.svn/tmp/entries’ to ‘.svn/entries’. Happy updating!!!


Oct 24 2010

Combat WordPress Spam Comments

So you have your domain and decided to have a blog as well. After considering some options you decide WordPress is the one for you. So you go ahead and install it. Cooool!! You write some posts and day by day your blog gets popular on the net and even Google Search hears about it. When you reach this stage the one enemy you will find hard to combat are spammers from all over the world.

In my blog I have chosen to moderate each and every comment I get and once a comment is submitted WordPress sends me an email asking me to moderate the new comment. Earlier I got only a few spam comments but as time went on this became a huge problem. My inbox was a huge mess. I usually get more than five spam comments daily and some days it’s even more than that. Today I said to myself that I should put a stop to this whole menace.

I did a fundamental research and got to know that a re-Captcha plugin is available for WordPress. The beauty of re-Captcha is that it provides protection against spam and also by using it we are helping the worthy cause of digitizing old books. I successfully installed it and if you want to try it out, you will need to generate a key for your domain which can be done here.

So if you have spam problems like I do, install re-Captcha and join hands with the rest of the community to help digitize books.


Sep 2 2010

Spring to the Rescue

Spring

The project I am working on these days, at office, uses Spring extensively. We use Spring for mainly to implement dependency injection and recently Spring transactions was tested to use for database transactions. One thing I love about Spring is the amount of flexibility it supports and the features it provides. I am not a Spring master, but the days I spent with Spring made me love it more and more.

During the last sprint iteration (we use the Scrum process for this project) we decided to go for a new algorithm called Nested Interval Set (NIS) to achieve efficient database searching. Doing so required a complete changeover in the back-end services to support this new algorithm and we needed to merge it with the existing code so that nothing will break. With Spring this was a breeze!!

Our services are always implemented for interfaces and in this case also we had an interface for the particular back-end service. All we did was create the new back-end service (implementing the same interface) which supported NIS and injected it using Spring by just changing an XML entry where the Spring beans and dependency injections are defined. The changeover was that simple. If we had not used any dependency injection techniques a change like this would mean a lot of cumbersome work for the developers. If you want to know the basics of Spring, just go through this simple tutorial and get to know the wonders you can do with Spring in your projects.

Spring certainly is a life saver!!!! 🙂


Aug 16 2010

Featured on Sunday Observer

Yesterday I was waiting and waiting for our newspaper delivery guy to come to my place in order to buy the Sunday Observer. A good friend of mine, Janani Amarasekara, did an article about my achievements at Department of Computer Science and Engineering of University of Moratuwa and as well as at my school, Sri Sumangala College, Panadura.

She obtained information for the article via an online interview and the photos were taken for the article by Kavindra Perera. Finally I appeared on the cover of last Sunday’s (15th August 2010) Sunday Observer Magazine along with a two page article inside it.

This is the first time I was featured on a local newspaper and it certainly was a thrilling experience. I got calls from relatives and friends who wanted to wish me luck. Today I went to office and found out that many had read the paper. It was even put up on the office notice board!! 🙂 I am really happy about this one of a kind media publicity that I got and I owe a big thank you to Janani. All in all it was great, and I hope I can continue to do perform well like this in whatever I do…


Jun 11 2010

A Random Act of Kindness

Kindness

Last Monday was a busy day for me. I had a huge refactoring task to do at office and by the time I finished work for the day it was past 7.30 pm. I usually travel to office by train but unfortunately there wasn’t one at my disposal in that late hour. So I turned to the other option which I hate the most; the bus. (damn I hate busses!!) After a tiring journey which lasted  about 1.5 hours (would have been 40 minutes if I could have caught a train) I finally reached my home town, Panadura.

When I got down at the bus stop it was raining cats, dogs, horses, bulls and some more animals as well. I sought shelter under my umbrella, which I luckily remembered to bring, and started my walk towards home. The roads were pretty flooded and even some of the drains were overflowing. The rain was coming down so hard and the tic tic noise it made when it hit my umbrella reminded me of the crackers that go off during the new year season in Sri Lanka.

When I was getting close to the Panadura roundabout the scene that stood in front of me made my eyes open with astonishment. It was surprising because I haven’t witnessed that sort of thing in my entire life time. Before me stood three people who were trying their best to get past the rain. ‘That’s not something strange..’ you would say. But what if I told that the person in the middle was a homeless beggar who was dressed in rags and the other two were helping the beggar to reach some sort of shelter?? Now that is not something you see everyday. Judging by the looks, this beggar woman was quite old. Her back was bent and she was poorly dressed without even a pair of slippers on. The two people who were helping this woman were a gent and a lady nicely dressed which contrasted sharply with the beggar. The couple was helping the woman walk while keeping her in the centre and holding her arms while she moved inch by inch to get out of the rain.

This scene moved me a lot. I was quite shaken by the power of humanity and how some people help others beyond any limits. Sri Lankans are famous for their hospitality and the helpful nature of the people. However that has been somewhat questionable with the busy lifestyles that have gripped us left right and centre. This sight reminded me that hope is not lost. There are still some people out there who believe in making the lives of others better and happier. Little acts like these are the ones that will spark the true nature of human beings and bring out our best qualities in the times of need. I end this post by hoping against hope that more and more people would follow this couple, ultimately turning our world into a better place…


May 28 2010

Blogspot to WordPress Migration

Before I bought my domain I used http://nimanthab.blogspot.com to host my blog. Now that I had my own domain I thought of being independent and was bold enough to create my own blog. (Take that blogspot!!!!) I am not a heavy blogger but to tell you the truth the thought of losing my old blog posts saddened me to some extent.

That is where Nimal pointed me towards a brilliant article which explained how to have your new blog on wordpress without losing your old blogspot posts, web traffic, yummy Google juice etc. I tried it out and it worked for me. You can find that article here. It even has a embedded screen cast video which you can watch if you are too lazy to read the text. Good Luck!! 🙂


May 28 2010

Revealing nimantha.info

People all around me seem to have their own domains these days. So I asked myself, why don’t you get one of your own?? With some help from my buddy Aravinda, I got to know about how GoDaddy.com provides domains at low prices. So after visiting GoDaddy I saw that they have a sale for .info domains and without thinking twice I bought nimantha.info at a very reasonable cost.

The next question was finding some server space on a high and mighty server located somewhere in the world wide web. Again another very good friend of mine, Nimal came to my rescue. He has a huge account at DreamHost.com and he agreed to share some of his valuable hosting space with me again for a very low cost. I am not going to write that amount here because it is so low and once you know it you’ll be bugging Nimal for some hosting space. 🙂 I might as well add that I am getting a ship load of features for that nominal fee.

The domain is bought. Hosting is found. One thing remains and that is to build a site for myself. Till I go about doing that I installed WordPress to create a blog and Gallery to host the snaps I take on my brand-spanking new domain. So my blog is located at http://www.nimantha.info/blog and my photoblog can be accessed at http://www.nimantha.info/photoblog. In the coming days I will be working on fine tuning my blog, photoblog and as well as creating a site to include my personal details.