Thursday, December 31, 2015

A few things that made my 2015 interesting..

The beautiful view from the Mayan Palace, Mexico
2015 was a wonderful and probably the best-so-far year for me. This year had traces of a few previous years, remarkably 2013.

Abiding to my tradition of writing an annual summarizing post, I am listing below a few things that made my 2015 interesting. The list is in a random order, and the order does not represent anything.

1. Data Quality (QD) module. 

ok, I never thought I will start this list with a course I did at the university. But there are multiple reasons.


3. Graduating. Twice!

This year, I graduated from my masters double degree, from IST Lisboa and KTH Stockholm, and attended two graduation ceremonies (in Portugal and Sweden) to receive the degree award.

4. My comeback to FOSS.

It was always in my new year resolutions in the recent years. This year I got active with OpenDaylight community, leading the Messaging4Transport Project, and also created an OpenDaylight user group in Lisboa.

5. The HOT Summer! More beaches, across continents - in Portugal, Spain, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Sweden, Italy, and Croatia. Portimão beach in Portugal was unexpectedly pleasant.

6. Floating in the water with fish, in the clean water beach of an uninhabited island of Maldives.


8. OpenDaylight Summit in Santa Clara. I never thought I will have this much of information from a single conference. This was my second time to SJC, and first time to encounter a delayed flight and changing the flights to avoid missing the connecting flight.

9. God Ganesh Temple and getting soaked in the rainy night in Colombo.

10. Cooking for my parents in Sri Lanka.

I have cooked for friends many times before. But first time for my mom and dad. That was truly remarkable. I missed this during my 2013 visit (and I was not capable of cooking before 2013. :) )

11. A long walk in a burning day in Belgrade. Till that point, I was under the impression that nothing can burn me.

12. Ljubljana. I was impressed by the river side wifi and game meat. :)


14. Backpacking to Andorra. Never thought I would be able to go light weight. An achievement of the year for sure. 

15. A helicopter ride in a pleasant winter day.

16. More presentations! First time I presented my work in another university as a guest speaker.

My presentation at ASU, in Tempe for IC2E 2015 was remarkable. Loved that conference, and active involvement and enthusiasm from the participants during many of the presentations.

17. A late summer vacation in Sri Lanka. Not really a vacation. I was getting married. ^_^

Also experienced being a 'tourist' in Colombo. Never felt like a tourist in my own country before.

18. My first short-term scientific mission (STSM) at the University of Rijeka, Croatia. Sounds fancy, isn't it? :)

This also includes working with my computer with the noise of frogs, while sitting outside the University of Rijeka in the stair case, in the mid night! They just close the faculty by 10 pm, and I did not have internet connection in my big and beautiful apartment (that was supposed to be a professors apartment. The topmost floor of the students' dormitory. Loved it).

All the COST actions of the same program are listed here, including mine.

19. Long flights. This year I had many long flights.

I enjoy watching movies in the long flights, because they have English subtitles for foreign language movies. Sometimes I just fall asleep in the flight while attempting to watch a movie. :D

This year, for the first time, I got my luggage delayed (by a day, and it was in PHX). Another first - this year, when I reached SJC after completing a trip, I was informed that there is a flight delay that might lead me missing my connecting flight in LAX. Hence, I was given a free shuttle ride to SFO and sent to LIS in an alternative route. :)

20. Stockholm, once again! It was loads of loads of loads of memories! I actually went to Stockholm twice this year. But somehow missed Kista during both trips.

21. Kayaking once more from Fejan! Never did I guess in 2013 that I would visit this place for another EMDC Summer Event.

22. An unhealthy lunch at Trst, Italy. All while keeping an eye at the hungry, persistent, and bullying seagulls.

23. Planning for the events in 2016 starting from early December!

Already have 3 confirmed events in my list in Berlin, Portland, and San Francisco.In addition, have a planned trip to Shenzhen, and planning another long term journey to Atlanta. Many of these events are outcomes of the collaboration with Emory BMI. It was a pleasant surprise that we got many papers as outcomes, which I am in fact going to present in 2016. We have 4 accepted papers; 3 to be presented - MediCurator, Data Cafe, and SPREAD, and MEDIator already presented.

24. Barcelona once more. This was my first EMJD-DC Spring Event. Nice to meet all the colleagues for the first. We are so distributed - In Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Sweden.

25. Renting an own apartment. No more apartment sharing, at least as long as we are in Portugal. More privacy.. ^_^

26. Random walking in many new cities alone. Often with a map. Often without; asking strangers for information. It felt like a virtual reality game, finding random places with no knowledge of the local language.  May be an increased level of confidence? Well, to be fair, many of the youngsters I met in these cities speak better English than me.

27. Some successes (xSDN, ∂u∂u, Cassowary, MEDIator, Data Cafe, MediCurator, SPREAD, ..) and some failures (SDCO, S²DN, RAVANA, SMART, FIRM, ..), and... some mixtures (SENDIM, ..). I am talking about my projects, if you are confused.

28. Spring flowers in Frankfurt, Germany.

29. International border crossings by land, and long bus rides. 

This includes US <-> Mexico, Croatia <-> Slovenia, and Croatia <-> Serbia. Never really did this before this year (not counting Sweden <-> Denmark (2013) and Spain <-> Andorra (2015) as real borders due to the Schengen open visa policy).

30. Multiple plots and locations. Spent most of the time in Portugal, with one month each in Croatia and Sri Lanka, in the mid-year.

Other short-term locations include US (twice), Mexico, Germany, Sweden (twice), Spain, Andorra, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, and Maldives. This made 2015 a year full of travels for me.

Thanks for reading my list till the end. If you are really interested, you may also read the blog posts on the previous years (2015 - 2012) as well.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Moments with Twitter - IV

It has been a while since I wrote a post on the series of Moments with Twitter. You may find the previous 3 posts by checking out my blog label,

A short term COST action in Croatia. Very remarkable! This gives the entire list of successful STSMs under the same European Project.
  • ~~ Election results of the @Erasmus_Mundus PR election for 2016 https://t.co/wXhF2cUYqc Best wishes to all the EMA Program Representatives! Dec 25, 2015
I am going to be a PR once more. Previously I hold the post for EMDC in 2013.

  • Date Ariane, an interesting "dating simulator" game that has become a YouTube sensation. https://t.co/bZVVFSodx0 Works also in Linux #NSFW Dec 23, 2015
This application is interesting to try once or twice. Irrespective of going viral in YouTube, this game/simulator/application is so depressing. It does not give you much controls, except going on a predefined set of actions in a loop, often random. The "date" in the game itself is more complicated and unfair than the real life scenarios. You may try for fun. If you take it too serious, you will be left irritated.

Erasmus Mundus is surely one of the best things happened to me so far. Actually not one. It is two, as I have been awarded two Erasmus Mundus grants so far - one for masters, and the other (the current one) for doctorate.

  • ~~ Today I presented my work at FCUL. This was also my first guest talk in a university outside Sri Lanka. https://t.co/HJK5isoSTw Nov 20, 2015
I surely love meeting new people, specially the smart ones.

  • The satisfaction you get, when your paper's title has unicode characters that make the editor's job more interesting. :P #∂u∂u -> ?u?u Sep 29, 2015
That tweet was a bit sarcastic. Not sure whether that was a good idea to include Unicode characters in my paper. However, happy about the outcome.

  • #Facebook was down, and now it is apparently back. Reporting real time from #Portugal. :P Sep 28, 2015
Social media has its adverse efforts on the users. I like social media for the network I have built, more than the features it has to offer. I am not actually addicted to any of the sites though. I never check them when I am out. I like to post some interesting updates. However, this year the remarkable events increased significantly, which made me fail to update social media networks altogether. 

  • Thanks @OpenDaylightSDN for reminding me the periodic table again. Hydrogen, Helium, Beryllium, Boron, and more.. :D Jul 30, 2015
Effects of actively participating in the Beryllium release.

  • Listening to the @OpenDaylightSDN VPN Service presentation, while reading on Quagga Routing Suite integration (http://t.co/2FH0spj3wy ). Jul 30, 2015
Updates, real time from the OpenDaylight Summit 2015.
More updates from the summit. I really loved the summit that I did not go out on sight seeing at all, as I did not want to miss any of the sessions. Also since I was in a tight schedule, I could not extend my stay before or after the summit.


Seems pretty interesting to dig the history.

At some point in this year, I really felt  Lisboa airport was like my second home.

  • #MEOCloud, a good alternative to #Dropbox. It gives 16 GB free space, and also has a Dropbox-like referral system. https://t.co/KOAmagkAlB Mar 28, 2015
May be because of its Portuguese interface; it is not that popular. Probably it is intentional as they want to limit their user base to inside Portugal.

This year, in fact, Dropbox introduced the Campus Space Race again for 2 more years. Predictably, this year the universities (at least the ones that I am affiliated with) underperformed compared to the previous, the first time they introduced this. Probably, just like me, many others got annoyed with the migration requirements at the end of two years. In 2013 race, my university was able to secure 25 GB out of the 25 GB maximum advertised. This time, it was just 15 GB.

I love maps and data.

  • I never get any message in #Twitter #Messages #Inbox. Whenever I get one, it is always a spam message. Dec 28, 2014
 Except when I initiate the communication myself. This is not even an exaggeration, though it sounds like one.

Some fun stuff.

The Internet offers an unlimited amount of learning resources.

  • A guide to sleeping in the airports - http://t.co/unTcJgB5IJ This comes handy in deciding the transits.. Sep 14, 2014
I am not really good at sleeping in the airports. I often stare at the small "vehicles" that move the elderly or differently-abled, or the ones that clean the airports in the nights. Often I just go into a long train of thoughts.

  • Found that it is a spam company called @AdCeylon is who spamming me using @madmimi. Created a filter to delete all the mails from adceylon. Aug 08, 2014
That was a heavy spamming that time. Like a few mails a day, directed to my inbox, short-circuiting many of my unsubscribe and filter attempts.

  • I scored 26012 points at 2048, a game where you join numbers to score high! #2048game http://t.co/vcQmTxIDr8 via @gabrielecirulli Jul 10, 2014
Another way how I spend time in the airports during the long transits, specially the ones that come in the nights where the shops in the air-side are often closed. I have a love-hate relationship with the airports. Often loving it for holding strong memories and nostalgia, while hating for the long wait specially for check in and other procedures.

This is to combat scammers.

Mozilla's yearly effort.

  • Read #Tipitaka online. Collection of Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of #Theravada #Buddhism. http://t.co/3NZsMEtfYh Apr 12, 2014
  • Download the free #school text books provided by #Sri #Lanka government from http://t.co/oJdhfnZHFg for grade 1 to grade 11. So convenient. Jan 17, 2014
Memories. Old memories. (Should I say, young memories?)

  • China's first moon rover lands — and rolls onto lunar surface - http://t.co/XrEW93ra8f After almost four decades. First time in my lifetime. Dec 14, 2013
Must have been a cool feeling when the man landed on the moon for the first time a few decades ago. Not much new exciting breakthroughs recently, compared to that. I would consider a Mars landing equally ground-breaking. Nothing else.

I tweeted this long ago. Have to re-read now, as I have forgotten what was this about. After a few minutes of scanning the page again, I still hold the respect for this hero, after 2 years.

  • ~~ Someone is trying to reset my #twitter password. Considering I am a harmless and no-politics person, that is really funny.. :D Dec 06, 2013
After my somewhat political posts in social media in the recent past, I am not sure whether I am still a no-politics person. However, I am still a harmless person, and always will be. I just want everyone to be happy!

I am still not a master.


  • What is the origin of name Pradeeban? Probably Switzerland. According to http://t.co/cLtm55JhMQ :D #smh Nov 10, 2013
Seems it is US now. There are pros and cons of having a long name, that is hard to remember and pronounce. Not sure whether pros outweigh the cons though.

I used to buy colouring books as a young kid.

Just like I developed this habit of booking seat number 55A in the flights, recently.

  • It's not normal to get your testicles bitten off, of course, but it can happen, especially now in Sweden. http://t.co/pJGz1scaU1 Aug 14, 2013
ouch! I love the Swedish lakes. Should be more careful. lol.


  • Closed #Railway stations of Sri Lanka - http://t.co/AZavXMCFcl || It seems previous generations had a better railway in the country. Aug 07, 2013
Luckily the northern lines are back in service now.

The days before clickbaits were mainstream.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Pretty Printing Algorithms and Pseudocodes in Latex

Latex is a very useful tool for the researchers in making research publications. In this post we will see writing algorithms/pseudocodes in Latex, through an example.


\documentclass{article}
\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}

\title{Sample}
\author{Pradeeban Kathiravelu}
\date{December 2015}

\usepackage{algpseudocode}
\usepackage{algorithm}
\usepackage{xcolor}

\begin{document}

\maketitle

\section{Introduction}

\begin{algorithm}[ht]
   \fontsize{9}{9}\selectfont   
 \caption{\textit{$\partial$u$\partial$u} Initialization}
 \label{alg:init}
 \begin{algorithmic}[1]
\Procedure{\textit{$initialize$}}{$nodes$, $policy$}
 
 
 \State \colorbox{blue!10}{$blockingKeySet$ $\gets$ $policy.getBlockingKeySet()$}

  \ForAll { \colorbox{red!10}{($node$ \textbf{in} $nodes$)}}
  \par \Comment {Let all the nodes join the coordinator cluster.}
  \State  \colorbox{green!10}{$joinCluster(node,coordinator)$}
   \EndFor
\State  \colorbox{green!10}{$adaptiveScale(blockingKeySet, policy)$}   
  \par \Comment {Monitors the health and scale the clusters accordingly.}
   
  \ForAll { \colorbox{red!10}{($blockingKey$ \textbf{in} $blockingKeySet$})}
   
 \State \colorbox{blue!10}{$index$ $\gets$ $generateIndex(nodes.count())$}
  \par \Comment {At least one node joins a cluster.}
  \State  \colorbox{green!10}{$joinCluster(nodes.get(index),blockingKey)$} 
 \EndFor
\State  \colorbox{green!10}{$initDataSourcesIntegrator()$}   
\State  \colorbox{green!10}{$initDataWarehouseIntegrator()$}   
  
  \EndProcedure
 \end{algorithmic}
\end{algorithm}
\end{document}  

The outcome will look as below: 

Here,
Green background denotes executions. Blue background denotes data and data structure initializations. Red indicates a condition. The above code segment also includes the line numbers and comments.

The above Latex code segment and the respective algorithm are borrowed from the publication:
"Kathiravelu, Pradeeban; Galhardas, Helena; Veiga, Luís; ",∂u∂u Multi-Tenanted Framework: Distributed Near Duplicate Detection for Big Data,On the Move to Meaningful Internet Systems: OTM 2015 Conferences,,,237-256,2015,Springer International Publishing. link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-26148-5_14

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Facebook Delete

I have deleted my Facebook as I am getting busier these days. Not sure how long this delete will last.

These are the few things I did / did not do for the delete.

1. I did not announce the delete in the Facebook itself. This will further delay the delete as it will increase the communication.

2. I contacted the very few Facebook friends via email, who I will lose contact with when I delete Facebook. This includes the close friends that I met in Facebook and hence did not share my email address or phone number with, before. I am sure I may have missed a few.

Now I do not have to deal with the celebrities who post just to increase their monthly social media reach. I had a golden era of Facebook in 2009, when it was used mostly for fun, and rarely for propaganda. Also I do not have to click the posts that have the clickbait style title "X did this. And the reaction was priceless".

My friends kept inviting me for Hi5 and similar sites before Facebook from 2005. That time, I could not convince myself to put more effort beyond owning an email account.

Since majority of my friends are connected with me through multiples media (such as google hangouts, LinkedIn, Email, ..) I am not going to miss them.

However, I may have to reactivate at least once in a while, during the "challenging times" such as, 
1. When a conference/event organizers actively promote Facebook log ins as a way of communicating.

2. When I get introduced to people, and they prefer to be in touch via Facebook.

Facebook and social media is pretty cool. Just they are getting too much of negative energy these days. One example would be, asking to share devastating photos because "1 Like = 1 Prayer", or "Mark Zuckerburg will pay 1 USD for each like", or probably "My dad will quit smoking if this post gets 1000 likes".

These diseases are now spreading to LinkedIn as well, actually since early 2014, as I noticed. Let's see how long I could sustain this delete.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Next Slide Please..

It is annoying to hear "Next Slide Please" frequently, when you are attending a webinar through a service such as WebEx. These tips may help you avoid falling into the "Next Please" pit.

1. Try to operate the presentation yourself. If someone else such as a moderator had initiated the presentation, he can pass the operator rights to the presenter, in many systems such as WebEx. Use this effectively.

2. If for some reason, you are not comfortable with operating the slides yourself in the system, keep the moderator next to you, so that you can signal verbally instead of announcing "next please" to all the attendees.

3. If #1 and #2 could not be achieved due to the technical and other difficulties where the moderator has to be remote, practice and sync, so the operator/moderator knows when to go to the next slide just by listening to you talk.

4. If time pressure prevents you from #3, try to avoid putting too much bullet points in animation mode inside the slides. This will at least avoid or mitigate the requirement to say "Next please" inside a single slide.

Overall, just avoid the need for next please.

Friday, December 11, 2015

You will realize you are traveling pretty frequently, when..

Colombo, Sri Lanka
This year I had an unlimited number of travels. Well, that was an exaggeration. But at some point, it did feel like that. Specially when I came back from Croatia to Lisbon, to rush to Santa Clara, US, the very next day. I did travel frequently this year - more than the previous 3 years combined (2012, 2013, and 2014)!

I have also travelled to more new countries - totally 8 countries, including first border crossings by land. It also include my longest bus journey outside Sri Lanka - An all night bus to Belgrade, Serbia from Rijeka, Croatia.
This year, I also had many planned trips that were cancelled due to the clashes with other activities.


I had opportunity to visit Singapore, Australia, Canada, and Greece this year. Missed them due to various reasons, including clash in conference schedules - means, two events at once (Singapore clashed with my PHX, US trip for IC2E 2015), Sydney travel was cancelled due to the visa delay - my friend Denis luckily is there, and presented my paper MEDIator for us!, Vancouver for a middleware workshop - my supervisor presented the paper for me. Similarly, I had to miss the Greece because I had already bought flight tickets to Sri Lanka. Again thanks a lot to my supervisor to present my work. If he was not available, I may have had to cancel and re-book the Sri Lankan flight.

I like to travel along with conferences. It is good to learn something while travelling, I feel. Or probably I am just boring.

Data Quality and ∂u∂u

Data Quality is a course I did at the university, as part of the 5 courses requirement for my PhD.  This course was remarkable at so many levels. 

First, I had to go to Taguspark after two years, for this course. Second, I really learned a lot. Third, I was the only student for the course. Usually individual courses are expensive. Perks of being a PhD student. Finally, we had a full paper at CoopIS 2015 (CoopIS is an "A" rated conference), as a result of this course work, which was awesome. I scored 19 out of 20 for this course. I read a lot of papers for this subject, and I spent majority of my time for this module in my second semester. Good memories. :)

Read more about our paper here. The full paper can be accessed here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

[Middleware 2015] Cassowary: Middleware Platform for Context-Aware Smart Buildings with Software-Defined Sensor Networks

Today we are presenting our paper titled, "[Middleware 2015] Cassowary: Middleware Platform for Context-Aware Smart Buildings with Software-Defined Sensor Networks" at the 2nd Workshop on Middleware for Context-Aware Applications in the IoT (M4IOT 2015), co-located with ACM/USENIX/IFIP Middleware 2015. I could not attend the conference due to the limited time I had to apply for the visa and multiple other reasons. My supervisor and co-author Prof. Luís Veiga presents the paper today. 

Please find the full paper here.

You may cite the paper as below: Kathiravelu, P., Sharifi, L., & Veiga, L. (2015). Cassowary: Middleware Platform for Context-Aware Smart Buildings with Software-Defined Sensor Networks. In 2nd Workshop on Middleware for Context-Aware Applications in the IoT (M4IOT 2015), co-located with ACM/USENIX/IFIP Middleware 2015. Dec. 2015. ACM. pp. 1 – 6. http://doi.org/10.1145/2836127.2836132

You may find the presentation slides below.


Thursday, December 3, 2015

git core.filemode set to true in .git/config files

I notice that in all the project .git folders, core.filemode property is set to true. So I encounter so many unmodified files reported as modified when I run git status, and conflicts leading to an abort of git pull.

This is what I found.
OpenDaylight/integration$ git diff test/csit/suites/openflowplugin/Flows_OF13/306__eth_ip_qos.txt
diff --git a/test/csit/suites/openflowplugin/Flows_OF13/306__eth_ip_qos.txt b/test/csit/suites/openflowplugin/Flows_OF13/306__eth_ip_qos.txt
old mode 100644
new mode 100755
  
While I am not sure why git core.filemode set to true in .git/config files in OpenDaylight, setting it false helped me fix this block on git pull.

Changing the author name for git/gerrit commit

So this was my second time having some adventure with gerrit for OpenDaylight (also read about the first time, if you are curious). This time, I pulled the remote changes and tried to commit my new changes by adding my changes. This created a merge as the commit from the remote repository and my local commits merged in a single pull request, and hence my commit failed with the below message.

$ git review

You are about to submit multiple commits. This is expected if you are
submitting a commit that is dependent on one or more in-review
commits. Otherwise you should consider squashing your changes into one
commit before submitting.

The outstanding commits are:

fe17631 (HEAD, master) Fix bug 4535/4541
475fae6 Use odlparent-lite as artifacts parent

Do you really want to submit the above commits?
Type 'yes' to confirm, other to cancel: yes
remote: Processing changes: refs: 1, done   
To ssh://pradeeban@git.opendaylight.org:29418/messaging4transport.git
 ! [remote rejected] HEAD -> refs/publish/master/bug/4535 (you are not allowed to upload merges)
error: failed to push some refs to 'ssh://pradeeban@git.opendaylight.org:29418/messaging4transport.git'

Now,
$ git statusOn branch master
Your branch is ahead of 'origin/master' by 2 commits.
  (use "git push" to publish your local commits)

nothing to commit, working directory clean
 
So it indeed shows as 2 commits - one mine, and the one pulled from the remote repository.

I had to rebase to the master fix this.
$  git rebase origin/master

However, this left my commit attributed to the author of the previous commit in the commit log, when I try to git review.

I had to amend the author to finally fix the commit message successfully git review following that.
$ git commit --amend --author "FirstName LastName "

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Docstoc is Closed

Sorry WE'RE CLOSED
Today, Docstoc service is closed - shut down permanently, after a few weeks notice. Docstoc is a service that is used to store documents such as reports and presentations. Since they informed in advance, I have migrated the files and presentations previously hosted in Docstoc to SlideShare, and fixed the links throughout this blog. Hence there should be no broken links in this blog post, unless I somehow missed something. 

This made me think: what if slideshare is closed one day as well? I have used SlideShare to host documents more extensively. So if they are too forced to close down one day, that would require more effort for me. Worst fear of all time, what if the services from Google close down during our life time? However, I hope, in that case, they will provide a seamless migration to some alternative platform that would be taking over by then (such as a migration tool from blogger to wordpress).

Monday, November 30, 2015

Memories of 2013

The pair of train tickets to Porto, from Lisboa
This year resembled 2013 in many ways. I visited Stockholm again after 2013. Similarly, I also returned to Sri Lanka, 2 years after my last visit in 2013. This time during my visit to Colombo, I was taking a few of my clothes back with me to Portugal since I could not take them with me at the last moment in 2013 to Stockholm from Colombo, as at the Colombo airport the Qatar Airways staff was too strict in the luggage allowance.

Going through my things untouched for a long time brought back some old memories. Among them was a pair of train tickets I found in a pocket in one of my winter suits. Those were the train tickets to Porto Campanha train station from  Lisboa Oriente. I have been to Porto only once, that was in 2013. Porto is a beautiful city. But for some unknown reason, I did not go there once more after 2013.

I had come back to Lisbon from Porto just 2 days before my departure to Colombo, completing my first half of EMDC in Lisbon. It was all good and sad memories, leaving Lisbon. Little did I know that I will in fact spend many more years in Portugal, that time. Right now, I am continuing the second year of my PhD in Lisbon, the 4th year of my stay in Portugal.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

White Chocolate Wine..

White Chocolate Wine and Coffee Wine.

Everyone loves white chocolate. Everyone loves Porto Wine. How is it to have a Chocolate Wine? Enjoying the weekend with some! :) It is 12% alcohol, but does not feel like alcohol at all, thanks to the white chocolate in it. It looks and feels like milk. :D I have not tried the coffee one yet. It will be next. :D

Prisoners of Time

I recently watched this amazing video. "Otis Johnson went to jail at the age of 25. When he got out at 69, he rejoined a world that was starkly different from the one he remembered. This is his story."

We often have strong memories when we go back to a place that we have enjoyed before. This year, I had the opportunity to go back to Stockholm after 2 years. Lots of memories. I, in fact, went to Stockholm twice. The second time I went to both Stockholm and Fejan. However, both times I failed to go to Kista, the place where I stayed for 4.5 months, during my entire stay in Stockholm. Our student apartments were located on top of a shopping center. Almost all the shops in the shopping center would close at 9 pm, which I dearly disliked. Other than that, we enjoyed an instant shopping whenever we wanted to. We did not have to walk for shopping.

As I was enjoying Farsta, Stockholm city centre, and Stockholm old city, Kista somehow slipped to the last of the to-visit list. Now, Kista has come back to the top of my places to go when I go back to Stockholm in the future. This is all to re-create the memories of 2013. I can feel the bittersweet feeling Otis faces in the above video. Losing freedom to stay in prison is harsh. While not judging his action and the judgement as that is neither my duty nor the intent of this blog post, I admire the way he expresses himself. This video has become quite popular and viral. I truly hope Aljazeera shares revenue from this video with him. He was quite entertaining and his voice was soothing to listen.a

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Third OpenDaylight Lisboa Meetup

This time we had the OpenDaylight Lisboa meetup at FCUL, Lisbon. We had a productive discussion, and I learned a lot from the fellow researchers at FCUL. Given below is the introductory presentation slides I prepared for the meetup.
 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Cassowary: Middleware Platform for Context-Aware Smart Buildings with Software-Defined Sensor Networks

Today I presented my work** at FCUL - the Faculty of Science, Universidade de Lisboa. Though I have presented my work in conferences, this was the first time I presented my work in another university in Portugal. I have always enjoyed presenting in different universities when I was in Sri Lanka. However, this marked my first in Portugal, ever since I left Sri Lanka in 2012. I always enjoyed visiting other universities (the universities that I am not studying). I have previously been to ISCTE-IUL, and today it was FCUL. Visiting new universities is like invading a new country. ;) I loved my audience - it was interactive and I learned a lot from the audience myself!

** Kathiravelu, P., Shari , L., & Veiga, L. (2015). Cassowary: Middleware Platform for Context-Aware Smart Buildings with Software-De ned Sensor Networks . In 2nd Workshop on Middleware for Context-Aware Applications in the IoT (M4IOT 2015), co-located with ACM/USENIX/IFIP Middleware 2015. Dec.2015. Pages 1 - 6.
doi>10.1145/2836127.2836132



Abstract: 
Smart devices sense the environment through their sensors and leverage the contextual information derived from the sensor readings to satisfy system requirements such as energy and carbon efficiency and user preferences. Smart buildings compose of smart devices, and local sensors of the devices and device controllers in a coordinated network. Software-Defined Networking (SDN) offers a centralized view of the entire networking data plane elements to a logically centralized controller. While smart buildings and ubiquitous computing are heavily researched, later advancements in networking are not exploited in achieving tenant-aware smart buildings.

This paper describes the research for the design, prototype implementation, and preliminary assessments of Cassowary, a middleware platform for Context-Aware Smart Buildings with Software-Defined Sensor Networks. By extending SDN paradigm and leveraging the message oriented middleware protocols to seamlessly connect the smart devices of the buildings to the centralized SDN controller, Cassowary enables context-aware Software-Defined Smart Buildings.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Broken wheels and the policy of Sri Lankan Airlines

The new entries to our travel life!
As we took the luggage from the belt in Male, we noticed that the wheel of the suitcase was broken. It was not a good signal to begin with, when we reach a new country that we have never been to before. 

Sri Lankan Airlines have been always popular in damaging the checked in luggage. We went to the Sri Lankan airlines complaint center in the Male Airport. Interestingly, the staff at the counter pointed out to the policy statement of the Sri Lankan Airlines that the wheels and handles are not covered by their system. That means, you cannot ask for a replacement or repair, if the handle or a wheel is damaged. As a saddening coincidence, on our trip back to Portugal from Sri Lanka via Rome, the wheel of the other suitcase was also broken - this too was in a Sri Lanan Airlines flight. So far in my hundreds of travels, I have encountered broken wheels or handles thrice - all from Sri Lankan Airlines. Since our suitcases are damaged, we bought two new ones in Lisbon finally. As we do not foresee a Sri Lankan Airlines flight in the recent days, these will be safe for while, we hope.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Facebook Emotions

Facebook has rolled out its new emotions - "Love", "Haha", "Wow", "Confused", "Sad", "Angry", which it calls its attempt towards offering empathy with the posts. Interestingly, many users from different countries have claimed that they do not have this functionality yet. Interestingly, many people (including me) from Portugal have reported to seeing the Facebook emotions. Others from other countries, including the US and Finland have reported not seeing them. That means, they cannot see these emotions, except the regular "Like". Moreover, if you offer one of these "emotions" to their posts, they would not receive even a notification. Now this explains why I did not see an overwhelming use of these emotions. It seems Facebook is beta testing with a few of us.

Confusingly large list of emotions.
I still do not have the "yay" emotion, that I can see displayed in many of the items shared by others. I must admit that it now gets a bit confusing with all these emotions listed under the posts as seen above.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Colombo by tuk-tuk

[14th November] My 2016 diary
I had some adventures in 2012 from my journeys in New Delhi by tuk-tuk.. Usually tuk tuk drivers have been nice to me in Sri Lanka, and specially the ones with meter never asked for more than what is shown in their meters unlike in New Delhi. They often claim that they do not have change and try to keep the 10 - 20 rupees change with themselves. But usually that is it.

This time I experienced some differences as I was travelling with a foreigner. First, we were going from Bambalapitiya to Thurston. The driver diverted the three wheeler to Dimbrigasyaya - Jawattha. I asked him "Why are we going here, when Thurston is not this side?" He claimed that he was avoiding the traffic. He took a round trip and came back from Reid Avenue, Colombo Campus, and back to Thurston. It took me some time to realize that he intentionally took us on a long ride to charge more money. However, since this was my first negative experience, I decided to be more careful. The next time another three wheeler driver started the ride without actually resetting the meter, and hence charged for 1.9 km that we did not really travel. After that I always ensured that they reset their meters.

From my overall negative experiences this time, I realized, wherever the country, there are people who try to cheat the foreigners. Their logic is usually the foreigners have more money - and charging them more is  reasonable. I hope for a world where people treat everyone equally without such a double standard - foreigner or not. I have always been under the impression that Sri Lankans treat the foreign visitors better. It was a bit disappointment for me to observe the contradicting behaviours from my fellow citizens. 

After 2 years away from my country, I felt many differences in the country. Also feeling a bit more like a tourist in my own country. This was just a short trip of 25 days, and finally I returned to Lisbon to continue my regular daily life. This year was full of trips. I am now waiting for 2016 - full of events and travels, I suppose.