Monday, January 25, 2016

OneDoesNotSimplyStealMyWifi - Wi-Fi Names in Lisboa :D

So today I was at S. Domingos Benfica bus stop waiting for the bus to go to my lab. I opened my laptop since there was a considerable waiting time. Then I found a lot of Wi-Fi connections - all protected. Some Wi-Fi names are funny. :D 

Are you the owner of the "OneDoesNotSimplyStealMyWifi "? The Wi-Fi name sounds more like a challenge though. :D

Studio Chhaya Wellawatte, Colombo, Sri Lanka - A Review

Sometimes, online reviews can be deceiving. Chhaya studio (also known as Studio Chhaya), Wellawatte is one of the most popular studios in Colombo for wedding/reception/engagement photos, with near 5-* review in the Facebook rating. However, how much can we trust these ratings? My experience would just give them 1-*. The final CD they gave us did not even have the registration photos. Just the crazy outdoor photos. How can we even trust these guys?

1. They did not respect the time. I was promised that the photos will be sent by email in 1.5 months (means, 22nd Dec). They eventually sent on the 22nd Jan (one month late), after several international calls from Portugal.

2. Chhaya studio agreed to offer the soft-copy of the photos by email. But the most important ones sent were in fact very low quality ones (they look like taken in a toy camera or a potato). When asked, they are requesting more payment for higher quality photos.

It is funny that when we were discussing the prices, they mentioned that they will offer the photos by email in 1.5 months. They did not mention a word about 2,500 LKR or that we will have to wait till the last day of album delivery. They surely did not indicate that the photos sent by email would be of very bad quality. So we had already paid the full amount even before seeing the photos.

Now their reply when asking for the photos soft-copy was,

"The quality of the images were increased as per your request. These images are not at their best quality, that is they are not in HD.These images are sent to the customers only to check if they want the particular image printed. The quality of the printed image will be at its best. As per our company norms, we do not mail customers high quality edited images. The high quality images are only given on the day of the album delivery, after an extra payment of Sri Lankan Rs.2500/= "

Also the photos were initially sent to another person Pradeep Chandran (kkpradeepan@gmail.com). Now a random guy also has our photos. :S They even claimed that I gave them the wrong email address, instead of accepting their mistake (which is the biggest joke, as if I do not know my name and email address).

My advise is, do not trust the web reviews. Discuss in detail when you are choosing a photographer/videographer. Try to see and understand whether there is some trap or fine-print. Not sure whether they treat all their customers in this way (probably not, since I did not see much negative reviews on them yet). Probably only us, just because we are not in Sri Lanka? Please let me know in comments, if you have had faced similar issues with your photo studios and how did you handle it.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Broken Links in Paypal

Broken Pages.
[24/01/2016] Paypal is a site I would least expect to have broken links.

Not just one broken link. I found 4, from the page,

"Add money from your bank to your PayPal account"


 The links lead to funny pages with the page content.
Pointer to the broken links.

Not Found

The requested URL /cgi-bin/webscr was not found on this server.
Additionally, a 404 Not Found error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request.

All of these pages were leading to a 403 Forbidden Site https://www.paypalobjects.com

Forbidden

You don't have permission to access / on this server.


It is interesting how these crucial links such as Privacy, Fees, Legal Agreements, and Contact Us form are left broken in such a critical web site involving money.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Lisbon - Week n

[10/01/2016] There was a time when I used to blog my week in Lisbon. I have written blog posts till the Week 43. However, following my return to Sri Lanka in the 2013 summer, I stopped the weekly posts. I tried again in Stockholm. But it did not go quite well. Eventually I also started to believe that this is mostly because now I am used to this city and life style that there is nothing new to blog about any more. Another point is the busy life of the PhD student. However, it is fascinating to note that even in our most familiar environments there are some places that we have failed to visit or activities that we have failed to do.

Today we visited Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, which is a museum on my way to the university from my home, right along the bus route, close to Praça da Espanha. It is free for visitors on Sundays. It however opens on every day except Tuesdays. It was refreshing to see there are still some places left to be explored even after a 3+ years of stay in this city.

[15/01/2016] For some unknown reasons, the city buses in the evening are getting delayed these early days of the year. When I got into the bus this evening, I had a feeling of getting into a bus from the hell. For some reason, many of the passengers were shouting at the driver, and he was shouting back at them even louder. I understood nothing, because the conversation was loud and clear; but in Portuguese. I guessed it must be something regarding the delayed bus arrival times. Something is wrong. But I have no clue yet.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

OpenDaylight Research from INESC-ID Lisboa

As a PhD student focusing on SDN, I have been researching on OpenDaylight. I have also created OpenDaylight Lisboa User Group and coordinated multiple meetups in Lisboa. As an OpenDaylight developer, I am featured in today's OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight. Have a look. :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

JikesRVM: Internal Mechanisms Study and Garbage Collection with MMTk

"JikesRVM: Internal Mechanisms Study and Garbage Collection with MMTk" is a research paper we wrote in 2013 after studying and doing some minor research implementations on Jikes RVM, the research JVM. This was part of our Virtual Execution Module (AVExe) course requirements. The paper was quite good to satisfy our course requirements, offering us a grade of 19/20. Today we published it, to ArXiv. I know it is pretty late, considering it was written 2.5+ years ago. However, better late than never. Also we will upload revised versions to ArXiv when the requirement arises.

Abstract — High Level Language Virtual Machines is a core topic of interest for the researchers who are into virtual execution environments. As an open source virtual machine released to 16 universities, as early as 2001, Jikes RVM has been a major drive for many researches. While working on this project, we studied the JIT compilation of Jikes RVM as well as the Garbage Collection (GC) which is handled by the Memory Management Toolkit (MMTk), a part of the Jikes RVM. We also studied the Compressor Mark-Compact Collector algorithm and implemented it for MMTk. We have also implemented a micro-benchmark for the GC algorithms in Java, named “XPDBench”, for benchmarking the implementations.


You may find the full paper here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Creating .ps from tex

I did not know that creating a postscript file from the latex sources can be time consuming. The commonest option is to convert tex -> dvi using latex, and then dvi -> ps using a comment such as,
$ dvips -y 1200 -o main.ps -p 5 -n 3 main.dvi

In fact, traditionally it has always been tex -> dvi -> pdf.  However, latex command often gives errors and issues in including the images, such as the below:
! LaTeX Error: Cannot determine size of graphic in deployments.png (no Bounding
Box).
See here.

Using pdflatex package avoids the issue with the images in tex to PDF conversion. However, I could not find a way yet to create a dvi or ps using pdflatex.

So for now, I am left with the option of tex -> pdf -> ps, using pdflatex and pdftops (I know it does not sound smart).

$  pdftops -level3 main.pdf main.ps
produced 18.2 MB of ps for a pdf of 863.6 kB.

For the same pdf,
$ pdftops -binary -level3 main.pdf main.ps
produced a ps output of 14.6 MB.
This was the smallest size I was able to go, without making the ps unreadable. The output ps is still not perfect, and the other packages and options provided an even worse ps.

Monday, January 4, 2016

ShareLatex - Life of a PhD Researcher..

Seriously. I am addicted to sharelatex.com. YouTube comes second (overtaking Facebook, since my deactivate last year). I even noticed when the ShareLatex servers went down for maintenance, which is not something that happens frequently.
Emergency Maintenance at ShareLatex

LinkedIn 0 Notification

Notification for "0 Messages"
Found something interesting. A LinkedIn notification indicating that I have received 0 messages. :P

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Tales of Currency Conversion.

Enjoying my dinner at a restaurant in Rocky Point, Mexico.
Each travel teaches us something new. When I live long enough in a country, I get used to the environment and life style, and start to feel the pattern. A travel to a foreign country makes us question our own assumptions. Till last year, I was not aware that currency conversion can be complicated. Interestingly, I learned that during my trip back to my home country. When I queried how much would they give me for 1 Euro, the guy at the reception of Prasanna Money Exchange in Wellawatte mentioned 157 Rupees. I said, "ok, I have 400 Euro". He said that is fine. When I showed him 20, 20 Euro notes, he changed his word "No, I can only give 155 Rupees". I could not understand. He said, 157 Euro for 100 and 50 Euro notes. For the notes below (such as 20 and 10 Euro notes), he can only give 155 Rupees per 1 Euro". I did not understand. He did not like my questioning, and stopped serving me. So I decided to go to the nearest money exchange, "Royal Money Exchangers". 

They also said, "157 Rupees for 1 Euro". I asked, "Is it the same for 20 Euro notes?" The cashier mentioned, "No, it would be a bit lesser". I asked how much that would be. He checked and told me "156.50 Rupees". I accepted that offer. So I recommend, Royal Money Exchangers. They give more value, and more polite, compared to Prasanna.

Another interesting observation. While I was waiting in the queue, a western couple jumped the queue, with their local host. I told to my mom (in English), "When westerners come to our country, they also learn to jump the queues". Embarrassed to hear what I said, the gentleman from the western country looked back and said "oops, sorry. I did not notice you were here", and he moved backwards to follow the queue. We, humans, are the best adaptive systems in the world.

When I told my Serbian friend how I was charged more at Mexico when paid in USD, she reminded me, "You should just have paid using your bank card. Usually the card machines charge in the local currency". It just did not come to my mind. All I was thinking - it was unnecessary to convert some USD to Mexican Peso.