Monday, January 1, 2024

A few things that made my 2023 interesting..

A neighborhood park in Anchorage
2023 is my best year so far, followed by 2019, 2017, 2015, and 2013. This post lists 30 things that made my 2023 interesting.

1. Joining University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA) as a tenure-track assistant professor.

It is nice to wear the faculty hat.

2. Successful Goals

My goals for 2023 as of 2022 December were: moving to Alaska and a faculty position. This makes my 2023 professionally successful.

3. A week in the Adak Island, AK.

Canceled flights made us stay longer - throughout the Christmas vacation. This land of 37 residents has a soul and a heart.

4. Train to Fairbanks, AK.

The ride was my most remarkable train ride ever, with views of Denali Mountain.

Snow meets the waves in the Bering Sea

5. Being a student again.

I did two undergraduate courses from Alaska Native Studies (AKNS) at the UAA. I got "A" for both!

6. The feeling of moving and starting from zero once more!

Moving to another city after 5 years brought back memories of my migrations of Erasmus Mundus days (2012 - 2019).

7. Learning a language after a long time.

It is nice to learn some elementary Dena'ina Language, the native language of Anchorage (Dghayitnu) in Denaina homeland (Dena'ina Ełnena).

8. Reading on Alaska Native Perspectives.

A lot to learn on the topic. I am looking forward to working on the topic more with  Alaska Native scholars.

9. Siberian folk music.

I recently found some Siberian folk music and got addicted to those. 

10. The most beautiful Bering Sea.

The mountain view with snow and waves separated by a narrow strip of sand.

The Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
11. Sleet storm and extreme winds with wet snow and blowing snow in the Adak Island

This westernmost city of the US have extreme weathers due to its location in the Aleutian island chain.

12. Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX

It is now one of my favorite downtowns in the US.

13. Flight with miles.

Our flight to ADK was the first time I used miles to buy a flight ticket. I am getting more used to traveling Alaskan.

14. Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, CA

I have been to Santa Monica thrice. But this was the first time spending long time in the beach.

Montego Bay, Jamaica
15. Google Summer of Code (GSoC) Mentor Summit.

This was my third time for the mentor summit. Second time attending one in the US. Last time was in 2019 Munich. Some familiar faces, some new friends.

16. Two papers at the IEEE Computer Magazine!

One each at 56(8) and 56(9)!

17. A day in Seattle.

And first time using a "DayUse" hotel. It is so helpful for early arrivals.

18. Season-3.

Anchorage made me feel like the start of the season 3 of my life. It is also the first city I connected to, after Lisboa.

Denali, AK
19. Traveling abroad after 2020 February.

And smooth border crossings.

20. Hot beaches in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Nice to be back in the Caribbean. 

21. Family reunion in ON, Canada.

We can see how time flies.

22. The Niagara Falls from the Canadian side.

This is my first time with this waterfalls, although this is often the first stop for Sri Lankans coming to Canada or US.   

 23. The Nepal Restaurant in Anchorage, AK

This reminds me of the now-permanently-closed Restaurante Kathmandu in Arroios, which we used to frequent while in Lisboa.

24. Early morning walks to work.

I love the morning view from my office. So I always arrive at 7:35 am or earlier, even in the dark Anchorage winters.

Fairbanks Twice, this year!
25. A night walk in Pittsburgh, PA.

This city felt mysterious. The visit was a rushed one due to other travel plans.

26. Faculty Interviews.

Enjoyed meeting interesting colleagues. This year was also my first time having proper formal interviews. All my previous job interviews were kind of informal.

27. Meeting my late mentor's family and colleagues at Los Angeles, CA.

A sad moment, but also somewhat refreshing to meet his caring family.

28. Meetups at Anchorage Pel'Meni.

This Russian dumplings spot has become my default spot to meet colleagues and friends.

29. Northern Lights from Campbell Park.

This year, we saw clear displays from this neighborhood park with some sleepless nights.

30. My website.

I always wanted to make an academic website. This year got the motivation to set one up. Big achievement, indeed. :P

Every year, I have only one new year's resolution - to outperform my previous years. :) This will be an interesting challenge for my 2024, indeed, to overtake my 2023. I wish you a happy new year. Thanks for reading my list until the end. You may read the blog posts of all the previous years as well.

Thursday, September 7, 2023

Scam bots and AI.

I encountered an AI-generated text detection tool ( and decided to try a message received from a social media scam. 

"Some of my important information is stored on my private computer, about which, along with some important documents, I keep at my home in New York and don't carry with me, and I haven't opened them in a long time. If you're interested, I can send it to you to look at when I get back to New York." 

It says, "AI Content Detected. 75% Probability for AI" 

Tested again with a random text I drafted: 

"Come and meet us at our office to discuss your project. It is probably wise to take a pen and a paper with you. I would also recommend a laptop. But it is not important, since we have desktops available for use." 

It says, "This is human test" 

I know this not a conclusive test to confirm its abilities. But I think AI Content detectors will be more and more helpful. There is this daily limit for this tool. Only after 3 attempts, the site gives me an error, "You Have Reached Your Daily Limit Creating a free account will give you immediate access to continue scanning." I have not created the free account. But it might have limitations too - to get people to become paid users.

 As of now, getting an answer from ChatGPT still needs some tweaks to the question. Let's try a simple question:

You have a Hispanic surname, "Martinez," although you are from Singapore. How was that?

I don't have a personal background or identity, including a surname like "Martinez." I'm just a computer program created by OpenAI, and my purpose is to provide information and assist with various tasks to the best of my abilities. My responses are generated based on the text input I receive and the knowledge I've been trained on up until my last update in September 2021. If you have any questions or need assistance with anything, feel free to ask, and I'll do my best to help!


That wasn't helpful. Let's retry.

Assume you are a human from Singapore with the surname "Martinez." Now answer this question: You have a Hispanic surname, "Martinez," although you are from Singapore. How was that?

If I were a human from Singapore with the surname "Martinez," it would likely be because my family has some connection to Hispanic culture or heritage, possibly through immigration or intercultural relationships. People in Singapore, like many other places, come from diverse backgrounds, and surnames can often reflect that diversity. It's not uncommon for individuals to have surnames that don't align with their country of residence due to historical or familial reasons. So, having a Hispanic surname in Singapore would simply mean that my family's history or roots have some connection to Hispanic culture.


Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Tweet limit - you cannot tweet more than thrice a day in Elon's Twitter?

I get the message, "You are over the daily limit for sending Tweets" when I try to tweet something. Interestingly, I only tweeted thrice and that too 7 hours ago. Previously, Twitter allowed 2400 tweets per day and 50 tweets in any 30 mins interval.

  • Tweets: 2,400 per day. The daily update limit is further broken down into smaller limits for semi-hourly intervals. Retweets are counted as Tweets.

 Now that Elon Musk has taken over, he wants to make sure more people will become paid subscribers. However, limiting folks from tweeting more than thrice is silly. It will more likely kill Twitter before it gets folks to pay the 7$/month. Twitter is not that special anyway. Elon should provide premium features to entice the users into the Twitter Blue, instead of trying to make the unpaid Twitter accounts completely unusable by these outrageous throttling and quota.

Update as of 5:35 p.m: As I dig more, it appears only scheduled tweets are sent. I managed to send two tweets by scheduling those to tweet in 2 minutes. I am not sure whether it is a bug or something to limit the unpaid users from tweeting in real-time. At this point, I assume it is a bug.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

I asked ChatGPT to write a movie script

Everyone has been using ChatGPT and I am already quite late to try it out. So today I asked it to generate a movie script with two of my favorite artists. For every try, it generated different scripts, although all seemed to follow similar story, given the same minimal request: 

"Make a movie script with Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha"

The outcome is neat.

Title: Rise of the Superstar

Fade in:


We see a crowded airport terminal with travelers hurrying to their gates. Suddenly, the crowd parts to reveal a charismatic young man, THALAPATHY VIJAY, walking through with confidence and style. He is greeted by his fans who take selfies and ask for autographs.

Vijay: (smiling) Hey guys! How's it going?

FANS: (excited) Thalapathy! You're the best!

Vijay: (laughing) I appreciate the love, guys. But I'm here for a reason.

As Vijay makes his way through the terminal, we see CHUNGHA, a talented K-pop star, arriving at the airport. She is mobbed by fans and paparazzi, but she handles it with grace and poise.

Chungha: (smiling) Hi everyone! It's great to be here.

As Vijay and Chungha make their way through the airport, they are unaware that they are about to cross paths.

Cut to:


Vijay and Chungha are both waiting to board their respective flights. They are seated next to each other, but are lost in their own thoughts.

Vijay: (sighs) I just want a break from all this.

Chungha: (nods) I know what you mean. Sometimes, it's hard to keep up with all the expectations.

Vijay and Chungha look up and their eyes meet. They both smile, recognizing a fellow performer in each other.

Vijay: (extending his hand) Hi, I'm Vijay.

Chungha: (shaking his hand) Hi, I'm Chungha.

They chat for a while and quickly realize that they have a lot in common. Both are passionate about their careers and strive for excellence in their craft.

Cut to:


Vijay and Chungha are in the studio recording a new single. They are working on a collaboration that is sure to be a hit. They share their thoughts and ideas, bringing their unique styles and perspectives to the song.

Vijay: (excited) This is going to be amazing!

Chungha: (smiling) I couldn't agree more.

As they continue to work, they also face challenges and obstacles. But with each other's support, they overcome these obstacles and create a masterpiece.

Cut to:


Vijay and Chungha are on stage, accepting the award for Best Collaboration. They stand hand in hand, beaming with pride and joy.

Vijay: (looking at Chungha) I couldn't have done this without you.

Chungha: (smiling) And I couldn't have done this without you.

As they receive the award, the crowd cheers and applauds, recognizing their talent and hard work.

Fade to black.



Then I decided to ask it for a sequel.

"Make a sequel to the above movie."


Title: The Superstar Legacy

Fade in:


Vijay and Chungha are back in the studio, working on their second collaboration. They are both more confident and comfortable with each other, and their chemistry is palpable.

Vijay: (smiling) It's great to be back in the studio with you.

Chungha: (laughing) It's like we never left!

As they work, they realize that their new single is not just about their individual careers, but about their friendship and partnership. They decide to dedicate the song to their fans and the people who have supported them throughout their journey.

Cut to:


Vijay and Chungha are performing their new single in front of a packed crowd. They sing with passion and energy, captivating the audience with their dynamic performance.

Chungha: (singing) This is for you, our fans! Thank you for always supporting us!

The crowd roars with excitement, and Vijay and Chungha take a bow, smiling with pride.

Cut to:


Vijay and Chungha are relaxing in the lounge, sipping on drinks and reflecting on their success.

Vijay: (smiling) This has been an incredible journey.

Chungha: (nodding) It really has. We've come a long way since that airport terminal.

As they chat, they realize that they have both grown as artists and as people. They talk about their future plans and aspirations, and how they plan to continue their legacy.

Cut to:


Vijay and Chungha are in the studio recording their next single. They are both focused and determined, and their passion for music shines through in their performance.

Chungha: (singing) We'll keep shining, keep climbing higher!

Vijay: (singing) Our legacy will live on, forever and ever!

The music builds to a crescendo, and the crowd erupts in applause.

Fade to black.



In both seasons, the scripts somewhat revolve around who Chungha and Vijay really are. I wanted to see if this can get more emotional in the third season.

"Make another sequel, now both of them falling in love."

It attempted to work on this. But the first few lines, it failed with this error.
Errors! Love has broken ChatGPT

"Error in body stream"

"Something went wrong, please try reloading the conversation."

"Only one message at a time. Please allow any other responses to complete before sending another message, or wait one minute."

Let me retry the whole thing, a bit more specific.

"Make a movie script with Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha, falling in love with each other in Papua New Guinea."

It is better this time.


Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha are sitting at a table, surrounded by the lush greenery of Papua New Guinea. They are sipping coffee and chatting, taking in the beauty of their surroundings.

VIJAY: This place is amazing. I can't believe I've never been to Papua New Guinea before.

CHUNGHA: Me neither. It's so peaceful here, away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

VIJAY: Exactly. And the coffee is amazing too.

They both laugh and take a sip of their drinks.



Vijay and Chungha are hiking through the jungle, exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Papua New Guinea. They are walking hand in hand, taking in the sights and sounds around them.

VIJAY: I've always loved nature, but this place is something special.

CHUNGHA: I agree. It's so beautiful, and it's amazing to be here with you.

VIJAY: Same here. I feel like we're the only two people in the world right now.

CHUNGHA: Me too.

They reach a clearing in the jungle and sit down to take in the view. They gaze at each other, and their eyes meet.



Vijay and Chungha are sitting at the same table, now lit by candlelight. They are eating dinner, talking and laughing together.

VIJAY: I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. It feels like we've been here for weeks.

CHUNGHA: I know. It's been an amazing adventure, and I'm so glad we're experiencing it together.

VIJAY: Me too. I feel like I've known you for a lifetime.

CHUNGHA: I feel the same way.

They both smile, and their eyes meet once again. They lean in for a kiss, and the camera pulls back to show the stunning jungle around them as the music swells.



Let me ask for a sequel again.

"Make a sequel where they both save an elephant from a crocodile attack and then share a kiss under a mango tree.



Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha are walking along a riverbank in Papua New Guinea when they hear a commotion in the water. They run over to see what's happening and find an elephant trapped in the jaws of a crocodile.

VIJAY: We have to do something! That elephant is in trouble!

CHUNGHA: Right! Let's work together to save it!

They both jump into the water, splashing and shouting to try to distract the crocodile. The elephant takes the opportunity to escape, and Vijay and Chungha help it to safety on the riverbank.



Vijay and Chungha are sitting under a mango tree, panting and covered in mud from their rescue mission. The elephant is grazing nearby, and they are both smiling and laughing, relieved that the animal is safe.

VIJAY: That was intense! I can't believe we just saved an elephant from a crocodile attack!

CHUNGHA: I know! We make a pretty good team.

They both smile at each other, and their eyes meet. They lean in for a kiss, surrounded by the beauty of the Papua New Guinean jungle. The elephant trumpets in the background as the camera pulls back to show the stunning scenery around them.



This was neat. But I felt the "Papua New Guinean jungle"sounds weird and robotic (yes, it is. duh!).

One more sequel.


"Make another sequel with both of them having a romantic time and flying back to India together."



Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha are sitting at a table in the jungle cafe, sipping coffee and laughing together. They have spent several weeks exploring Papua New Guinea together, and they have grown even closer.

VIJAY: It's been an incredible adventure, but I think it's time to head back to India.

CHUNGHA: I agree. It will be nice to be back home, but I'm going to miss this place.

VIJAY: Me too. But we'll always have these memories to look back on.

They both smile, and their eyes meet. They hold hands across the table, feeling the love and connection between them.



Vijay and Chungha are sitting side by side on a flight back to India. They are holding hands and looking out the window, watching as the stunning landscapes of Papua New Guinea disappear into the distance.

CHUNGHA: I'm so glad we were able to share this experience together.

VIJAY: Me too. I feel like I've found a special connection with you that I've never had with anyone else.

CHUNGHA: I know what you mean. I feel the same way.

They both lean in for a kiss, and the camera pulls back to show the airplane flying through the clouds, symbolizing the beginning of a new adventure together.


I also wish they stopped staying around the "Int. Jungle Cafe" during this last season. I did not ask anything jungle-specific this time (although they did save the elephant in the last season), and I am sure Papua New Guinea has more than jungles. But I cannot blame AI too much. It did a fantastic job for what I paid. It is interesting how far AI has come in creative aspects. Even if these are far from the end product, this could serve as the skeleton/stub or starting point of the writing.

As of now, this may already help with school essays. We need to see how the homework assignments of language classes will differentiate against AI-generated ones (I know there is already a tool from the same creators to identify AI-generated text).


The App holds the past and contextual information quite well, as I continued to make more sequels. It especially did exceptionally well when I made the couple to fly back to Papua New Guinea after several years.


I decided to try a few more times out of boredom.

Make a sequel where Chungha and Thalapathy Vijay have a baby together.


Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha are sitting next to each other in a hospital room, holding hands and beaming with joy. A baby is lying in Chungha's arms, wrapped in a soft blanket.

VIJAY: We did it! We're parents!

CHUNGHA: I can't believe it! Our little bundle of joy is finally here.

Vijay leans in and kisses Chungha on the forehead, then reaches over to gently touch the baby's tiny hand.



Vijay and Chungha are sitting on the couch in their living room, watching as the baby crawls and totters around the room. They are both laughing and smiling, filled with happiness and love.

VIJAY: I never knew I could love someone so much.

CHUNGHA: Me neither. This little one is everything to us.

They both look at the baby, and then at each other, their eyes filled with love and devotion. The camera pulls back to show the happy family together, with the baby playing and the parents watching and smiling.


Pradeeban Kathiravelu
Give a cute name to the baby in this next sequel


Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha are sitting on the couch, cuddled up with their baby, who they have named "Aarav."

VIJAY: Aarav, you're going to be the light of our lives.

CHUNGHA: I already love him so much. I can't wait to see all the amazing things he's going to do.

They both kiss Aarav on the forehead, and the camera pulls back to show the happy family together.


Pradeeban Kathiravelu
Make a romantic sequel where now Chungha and Vijay have grown older together and they are flying to Papua New Guinea again, to meet their son Aarav there.


Thalapathy Vijay and Chungha are sitting next to each other on an airplane, flying to Papua New Guinea. They are holding hands, smiling, and looking out the window, reminiscing about their first trip together.

VIJAY: Can you believe it's been so many years since we first came to Papua New Guinea?

CHUNGHA: I know! It feels like just yesterday that we were falling in love and saving that elephant from the crocodile attack.

VIJAY: And now, we're going to meet our son here. I can't wait to show him the place where we first fell in love.

CHUNGHA: Me too. It's going to be so special.

They both smile at each other, and the camera pulls in for a close-up of their hands, still clasped together after all these years.



Vijay and Chungha are sitting at a table in the jungle cafe, waiting for their son Aarav to arrive. They are both beaming with excitement and joy.

AARAV: (entering the cafe) Mom! Dad!

Vijay and Chungha both stand up and embrace Aarav, hugging him tight.

VIJAY: It's so good to see you, son!

CHUNGHA: We're so proud of you!

AARAV: Thanks, Mom and Dad. It's great to see you both too.

The three of them sit down at the table, laughing and talking as the camera pulls back to show the happy family together.


Saturday, January 21, 2023

Finding hotels to spend just the day time

View from the room, Seattle
Hotels are making ridiculous check-in and check-out times, making the check-in as late as 5 pm and check-out as early as 10 am. Many hotels then allow late check-out and early check-in, often for an hour. While this works for a good sleep and leaving for the day, it does not work when you arrive past midnight or want to relax during the daytime, just one day. You are forced to pay for the whole day in those cases. Upon our arrival in Fairbanks at 1:40 am, we had difficulty finding hotels on Because apps such as do not allow same-day check-in and check-out. In this case, we are looking for check-in for yesterday's date and check-out for today. After some clear explanations over the phone, we found a hotel to sleep in from 5 am - 1 pm (same day), paying the whole night fare as expected. But as far as the hotel is concerned, this is like we checked in yesterday (just a very late check-in that it is the following day's morning!) and check-out today.


Many hotels abroad allow hourly rates too. That is when we decided to look for day-use hotels when we landed in Seattle in the early morning after a red-eye flight. We just had a day in Seattle before our next flight in the night. Even if we use a regular hotel as we did in Fairbanks, that is not ideal as we have to check out by 1 pm the latest. Luckily, we found the Dayuse app, which let us find hotels, allowing check-in as early as 8 am and check-out at 6 pm. We did not have to pay anything to the app beforehand. No need to provide the credit card details even! The hotel let us check-in immediately when we arrived, even an hour earlier than the expected time, at 7 am. Therefore, we had 11 hours to relax, explore the city, come back, freshen up a bit, and then leave for our next flight. These day-use hotels are going to be very useful in similar situations.