You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category.

Sri Lankans elect their next president today.

Judging by what I’ve seen on the net, I’m not alone in despising the election campaigns and politics itself, but it is a necessary evil.

For me, it boils down to the one candidate who stands to get the vote in spite of those around him, and the other who stands to lose the vote because of those around him.

And so, I too spent about 30 minutes standing in a long queue and cast my vote this morning. If the queues aare any indication, this time the turnout is good (as echoed by Samisa too).

Let’s hope we have all made the right choice for our future.

It’s been over 7 months since my last post, and a lot of things have happened since then.

Most important, perhaps, is that the Sri Lankan government managed to defeat the LTTE terrorists. I shall leave the political commentary to those more qualified than I am; but I can certainly comment on my beliefs.

Like everyone else I know from Sri Lanka, I was no proponent of war. I have tons of Tamil friends myself, and I believe we can all live together as citizens of one united country. Being a minority in Sri Lanka myself (as a Catholic), I understand that minority communities might not always feel that their rights are protected. The problems may have been there, but democracy is unfortunately not perfect and for me the terror campaign of the LTTE can never be justified. If the JVP joined mainstream politics, and so did Karuna Amman (the LTTE defector who is now effectively the 2nd in command of the President Mahinda Rajapakse’s party, the SLFP), I don’t see why the LTTE could not lay down their weapons and take things up politically.

While I was fortunate enough to not be in the midst of the war, I certainly saw its impact. The anxiety anytime someone stepped outside; the killings of moderate and well respected Tamil leaders like Lakshman Kadirgamar    because they did not say the things the LTTE wanted Tamils to say; the horrific slayings of civilians around the country – and towards the end the killings of innocent Tamil civilians escaping from the LTTE areas. 

In the end, I completely believe that the Sri Lankan government’s actions were correct and timely, if not long overdue. The world has been ridded of a most terrible cancer, but certainly a long road of reconstruction, integration and dialogue is ahead of us.

Secondly, since January I’ve been on a 6-month internship at SeaChange International, the leading Video-on-Demand and Advertising solutions provider. The work experience has been great so far too.

A reading group at work was discussing Andy Hunt‘s excellent book Pragmatic Thinking & Learning: Refactor Your Wetware, and one of the ideas in it was to constantly write down thoughts and ideas. I started using EverNote, and wanted to resume blogging, but it just took me way too much time to put enough thought into a proper post, and so I was thinking of micro-blogging for a while. Finally it was Scott Hanselman‘s howto that pushed me over. Anyway, I am tweeting now, and hopefully I’ll be able to sustain that as a regular habit.

Some welcome news, at last, came 4 days ago in the form of an article announcing Microsoft’s budget software strategy.

This echoes sentiments that my dad and Tariq, among many others, have expressed for a long time. If publishers of books (especially Computing etc.) can make a not-so-fancy-but-complete edition of their books available for sale inside the subcontinent at a reduced price, a lot of people would buy them. The spread of software piracy in this region is more likely the result of software priced beyond the reach of the average consumer, rather than a purely sinister desire to obtain a product illegally. Finally, it seems that Microsoft is also picking up these vibes. While I have never been Microsoft’s biggest fan, I think this is one of their smartest moves. Make it affordable, and then you have a serious tool to market your stuff with. A little healthy competition never hurt anyone, now did it?

My dad was tring to download a very interesting video to demo at his Unit: Quantas CEO Geoff Dixon on CNN’s Boardroom, speaking about, among other things, his lack of a paper ‘degree’.

While hunting around, I came across KeepVid (via CNET), a web based tool that allows the downloading of streaming video. I tried a few YouTube videos and it works very nicely. Neato!

I couldn’t actually get it to download the CNN video, but for that dad found another tool: Replay AV 8. The demo version only allowed capturing 5 minutes or 5 MB, whichever came first (effectively cutting off the bit dad was after – the bit about not having a degree!), but it worked really well. The learning curve was a bit steep, but the product appeared solid, and well worth the 50$ price tag.

The CNET article has more info on the topic.

Incidentally, this is my first post using Windows Live Writer. So far it looks pretty cool. Thanks, Janaka, for the heads up!