Author - Kalpa Gunarathna

Android – M is released

Google has announced that they have released next developer version of world’s most popular mobile operating system, “Android – M” starting from this month. The have made this announcement in Google IO annual developer conference held at San Francisco. Just like the last years Google IO annual developer conference held at the same venue, Google has kept the Android users guessing about the name of the new version. All we know for now is it starts from “ M “.

So far with Android’s alphabetical order of sweets we have,

Alpha (not a sweet)

Beta (not a sweet)







Ice Cream Sandwich

Jelly Bean



M ????????????

Lots of guessings are going around the internet. Most highlighted ones among those areMilk shake, Moon pie, Marmite, Mentos, Melon , Mint and Marshmallow. Like most of others I personally I prefer Milk shake one and I have a hunch it will be the name because last year also my hunched worked 😉

One thing you will have to remember about this version is that Google has only released the developer preview not the consumer version. Meaning if you are an Android developer you can download Android – M and can play with it. As this is the developer preview Android – M can be very unstable and developer preview cant be tested on any Android compatible device. So far Android – M supports for  Nexus 5 (hammerhead) , Nexus 6 (shamu), Nexus 9 (volantis) and Nexus player (fugu). For more technical information on Android – M visit Android developer site. To get an idea about installing Android – M developer preview see this. Rumours has it that the final version of consumer preview will be released by October or November this year. Some of the consideration in Android – M are as follows.


Quality battery life

it seems that in Android – M, Google has focused more on the battery life of the device. Considering with Android kitkat and lolipop, 15% battery saving was achieved in lollipop. Still Android was not fully able to control the power draining unwanted applications running in the background. But with Android – M, they have introduced an intelligent power saving mechanism called Android doze.

Google photo

With introducing Android Photo smart app you will be able to organize your photos and videos without laying a finger on them. Google Photo is intelligent enough to organize your photos and videos the way you want. With Google Photo, you will get unlimited storage of high quality photos (up to 16MP) and videos (upto 1080p). With Google Photo storing, sharing and organizing will be easy as never before.


Improved privacy and security

Just like in lollipop version they have again not forgot about the security features. Normally when we download an app from the play store, app permission to use the device features and components is granted there. But with Android – M, these app permissions will be granted when you are using the app not when downloading. The reason behind this is somewhat unclear to me. But hey, it`s Google we are talking about here. There must be a good explanation for this.n Plus they have also standardised the fingerprint sensors used with Android OS. With these enhancements online mobile payments can be done in a very simple and secure fashion. Their next focus is iris authenticated online mobile payments. It seems like all of our sci-fi fantasies will come to true with Google.

3 best paid Online learning sites you should know

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever” said Mahatma Ghandi. This is simply ture. We never stop learning until we die. So better learn most of the things while you can. 🙂 Now with the technology is all around us, learning has gone to a whole another level and learning now has more paradigms more than ever and we can hope it will increase with this rate of technology advancements.

Back then when there were no computers and technology was at a minimum level, there were few learning methods like traditional classroom learning and face to face learning.But now when we look at in a learning perspective online learning, e-learning,distance learning, m-learning new paradigms has arrived and established well with the users. Today we going to introduce some paid online learning sites which a great from my experience although I am not a member of those sites I had the chance of learning from some of the materials and they have turned out to be pretty good. Except for the last one. One of my friend has tried that and told that was quite helpful too. One other thing. Literally you can learn anything from online sites in the internet. But these are some tech related sites that I found.  🙂 . So here we go.

  1. Lynda


Lynda is one of the biggest and known online learning courses available. It is popular for its wide variety of courses offered to the members. Currently they 3441 courses and initially you can start a free trial for 10 days and if you feel the interest you can  subscribe to a basic subscription plan for 25$ a month. It has a wide range of course including programming, multimedia, photography, 3d animation, business and education. These course are carefully designed, modularized and categorized in beginner,intermediate, advanced levels and you can track your progress during the course and even better you can have a hands on experience while you are learning by playing with the exercise files provided. They have group subscription plans and academic subscription plans for academic institutes which is pretty much interesting.

  1. CBT Nuggets


CBT Nuggets is the best place if you are interested in computer networks and systems. it has wide variety courses including network,system administration and engineering, cloud computing, programming and also project management. It offers some vendor certification training courses for Cisco, Juniper, Microsoft, AWS also. I have followed a very few course there but I can personally guarantee you that they are very descriptive and touches all depths of the subject. Two downsides are that nugget videos are too lengthy and it can sometimes be boring and even the basic subscription can go as high as 99$ a month. Thats like 10000 + rupees for month :/ .But they also have 7 day trial and individual and group subscriptions as well.



In SilkShare , more focus is on creativity rather than hard core technical courses. One interesting thing rather than teaching in courses they have class concepts which you can take if you are interested and these classes are more interactive than plain old courses. It has classes for creativity,crafting,entrepreneurship,fashion,music,photography as well as arduino,web programming, email marketing, mobile development and so on. In SilkShare you can either learn or you can be a teacher and teach stuff as well. With SilkShare you can start with a 14 day trial period or have basic subscription for 10$ a month.

These courses are followed by the academics and industry professionals all over the world. Some companie use these materials to train their employees also. Of course everything has a price these days so education or learnings doesn’t come free always. Have sign up for the course and try the trials. If you feel it just by the courses. Most of the time it will be the cost of 2 t shirts you are wearing right now. Anyways money spent on knowledge is not going to be a waste. May be thats why Mahatma Gandhi said   “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”.


Now Turkey can tweet and youtube

For internet users, especially social media users who uses Facebook,twitter and Google in Turkey this is surely a grey time period for sure. According to two famous news sites the guardian and bbc,this is because earlier this week as for the Turkey court order, Turkey government took a decision to ban and close all sorts of connections to Youtube,Facebook and Twitter from their general public and threatened to do the same to Google also.


The main reason for this is some propaganda images circulating among the social media sites across Turkey. Those images showed Istanbul prosecutor who was taken as a hostage  and held at gunpoint  by an armed gang. Few hours later the hostage situation, the prosecutor was shot dead by the gang and they was shot down by Turkey special forces. Government related authorities had commented that these images can have a misguided idea that the Turkey government has connections with terrorists groups like ISIS and therefore the sites has to banned.


After the ban, twitter, youtube and facebook has agreed to remove the related images and content from their sites and therefore the government has lifted the bans for now. Although this is not the first time Turkey has banned social media from the general public. Last year also the Turkey government banned twitter and youtube and after a time period the ban was lifted. The internet users say that there is a good chance for history to repeat in Turkey with in coming government actions.

Bill Gates anniversary email to Microsoft employees

It is extremely impossible to find a person on this planet who uses a laptop or a desktop computer and hasn’t used Microsoft office suite at least for once in their lifetime or hasn’t worked with any operating system of Microsofts. That much Microsoft is popular among day to day computer users. This Saturday(4th) was very special to Microsoft. They celebrated their 40th anniversary on that day. That is something remarkable because it`s quite a difficult task for a company who started their business as a startup from the age where computers started revolutionizing the world and stand still head high for 4 decades.


Bill Gates mugshot when he was arrested in New Mexico in 1977 for a traffic violation.
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That`s right. At first Microsoft was a startup built by Bill Gates and Paul Allen on 4th of April 1975. Bill Gates the co-founder of Microsoft has a reputation for doing extraordinary things from time to time.History has proven that. From the start Microsoft took a different approach for selling their own operating system to the market, they had an quite interesting  history with Apple and Steve Job, Bill Gates has the most nerdiest mugshots of all time, according to Forbes he is the wealthiest man on the planet and he is co-chair of one of the wealthiest funds of earth, Bill and Melinda Gates fund. Thing can infinitely prove that he is one of the extraordinary among the extraordinary.

On Microsofts 40th anniversary this Friday, he has done an quite interesting thing. He has sent a congratulatory email for all the Microsoft employees. It is quite interesting to read this email which highlights their journey for the past 4 decades and the future path. This is copy of the email originally tweeted by Amit Roy Choudhari.

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A written version of the email can be read here. This email worth reading and by the look of the trends  I`m pretty sure Microsoft will continue their journey for many more decades to come.


Google`s amazing way of utilizing office space

If you are really in to tech stuff even though you are not a hardcore tech geek, you must have at least gone through once in your lifetime what silicon valley is. Its a picturesque land portion in California, San Francisco , United States. Silicon Valley is the source of innovation. In simple words it is the kingdom of worlds cutting edge technology and fountain of billion dollar businesses. And also not to mention home of lots of tech startups.

Google, who is renowned for its genuine raw creativity each and everyday also had its headquarters built in Mountain View, silicon valley since  2004. Google has 70 plus offices in over 40 countries and recently they have redeveloped four of their sites. One thing about Google is that they try to do things differently and from time to time they come up with something cool that can bring a  great deal of change and often it is a success story. This time they going to change the architecture of their headquarter because it is just a headquarters and they want something different to be done.LANDINGS_INT_MIR

Every Google office is nourished with natural landscaping and all of them are surrounded with raw natural beauty. With the new headquarters proposal they have been creative and want eliminate the distinction between buildings and nature. So the Google employees will feel no difference in nature and office.The new office space will be large greenhouse with adjustable space. This large greenhouse is made up with transparent fabric glass like shelter where it will light up the office space with natural light. Building consists of moveable components instead of  squared box structures because Google want their office space to be moveable especially where they can have multiple work environments in a single space because Google has lots of different projects going on in a any given day.

With this they want to do something creative in construction and architecture field where something world hasn’t seen so far. The mastermind architects  behind the scene are Bjarke Ingels, architect and founder of big and Thomas Heatherwick, founder of Heatherwick studio. You can read more about this Google new proposal via their official blog.

Next internet revolution is coming

The next revolution of internet and connectivity is coming and all around the world it has already created a big buzz. This hot topic is Internet of Things (IOT).

What is IOT?

With the widespread of the technologies, data is all over the world. Nowadays everything including vehicles, your pet, mobile phones and your house is literally a data source. Take you for an example. Your blood pressure rate is a data. Cholesterol /glucose level is a data. If a man is walking, running, sitting or eating that can be interpreted as a potential data source. Even when you sleep that stage itself is a data source and we can implement various kinds of applications that can be used on that data. On the other end, because the need of connectivity is emerging and bursting, internet is useless connecting just only webpages, web applications. It is said that in 2008, number of things connected to Internet exceeded the number of people on this earth. Check out this cool infographic by CISCO. So Internet should be able to embrace this revolution and become a platform not just have client server machine to machine connections but connect with everything in the world. That’s what IOT basically means. A platform where everything is connected.

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In IOT everything is interconnected. It is a system of systems or can be seen as a one large eco system. Imagine your home is equipped with 3 systems. You have a security system which is connected with windows and doors. You have a water system which is connected with your taps and water line and you have the electricity system which is connected with the electricity plant and electronic items in your house. So your house is a system which has 3 systems. When you take the whole city, it is also a collection of houses which makes it again a system of system where your house security system can be interconnected with town’s police system. That is a one large electronic eco system.

What are things in IOT ?




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In here “things” means objects that necessarily don’t have to be computers. They can be your pet, your door lock, your water bottle or even your rain coat. These objects have to be smart enough to connect and network with other systems and communicate with them. How do we make them smart? That’s why there are embedded systems. Typically things in IOT should have the following features.

  1. Unique addressable ID – Just like in a normal TCP/IP environment, IOT entities should have a unique address. Thanks to IPv6 we can have 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 address space. That is 100 addresses per every atom in this world right now.
  2. Communication ability –  Embedded systems and wireless networks can easily do that
  3. Sense – Embedded systems attached with sensors is the answer.


In the future …

On a perfect IOT implemented environment let’s say you went for a jogging and your trainers are about to be worn out. If you run another 200 meters at your current pace it is surely to be broken. What if your trainers or slippers can tell that to you. What if your slippers can tell you the nearest shoe shop once it is broken? What if your house itself can stop unwanted electrical items in your house considering that your income this months will be somewhat low. What if you are having a heart attack and there will be an immediate notification going to the nearest ambulance and your loved ones notifying about the situation. Possibilities are endless and, IOT can be heaven on earth.


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Is it implemented yet ?

It is not fully implemented yet but there are some partial applications built using IOT concepts. Lot of JIT(Just in Time) inventories in the world have inventories equipped with  sensors notifying them the stock levels to various related entities. But everyone seems to be moving towards IOT environments. Very recently Canonical announced that they will be partnered up with Microsoft and amazon so that their IOT API s can be used on Ubuntu.

is it as good as they say ?

Well, every coin has two sides. Most people believe IOT has lot of good than bad and it is true. But this article is worth reading too.


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Change the way you see the world with Microsoft HoloLens

 Never before, technology is pouring out to our day to day lives constantly with a fascinating rate. With this technology revolution lot of science fictions have already become science facts. As seen as iron man movies, star wars series one more science fiction is about to be a fact. Now with HoloLens, Microsoft is ready to change the way you see the world with the help of hologram technology.

Wearable technology in terms of eye wear is becoming quite a thing with Google Glasses and Oculus Rift making a lot of buzz in the world. Microsoft entered the arena with their own potential product, the Microsoft HoloLens. In Google Glass you see a screen in front of you. In Oculus Rift, you are immersed into a virtual reality setting. HoloLens differs from existing virtual reality technologies because in existing virtual reality technologies, the environment users has to engage is  completely computer generated and for better experience for virtual reality it is better users do not engage in physical collisions. This is where HoloLens becomes game changing. It takes a different perspective by a more integrated augmented reality approaches. Meaning, with HoloLens it will project interactive objects on to the world around you and you can interact with them while you are jogging, working or even eating.

As shown in the video above, this would be an amazing tool for product design, 3D graphics, gaming, entertainment and communication. In the recent Microsoft event, they provided a demo for people to explore Mars, which makes this ideal for us to experience different parts of the world and beyond which would never get a chance to visit.


According to Microsoft, HoloLens is the first holographic computer running on Windows 10 and it has no attachments to any physical devices. Which means no wires, no connection to a pc is needed. Just wear HoloLens and enjoy the experience. HoloLens is equipped with advanced sensors to understand the beautiful world around you and it even has a Holographic Processing Unit(HPU) to interpret that amazing world to you. The device is still some time away from being available as a commercial product and hopefully it will be available in 2016. If it would be anything close to the demo video, it would definitely be worth the wait.

You can learn more information on HoloLens here.

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Hybrid hardware acceleration at Millennium IT

Hardware Acceleration (HWA) can be described as using computer hardware to perform certain operations faster than by using software on general CPU. Over the past few years, Millennium IT has pioneered a hybrid hardware acceleration system, in order to reduce transaction time on their capital market software. We were able to catch up with Thayaparan Sripavan, who is the Lead – Hardware Accelerated Systems at Millennium IT, to learn more on this.

Let’s start with the beginning of this journey…

” We started exploring hardware acceleration around 2007 and that’s the time when everybody else also started doing the same. Algorithmic trading and broker side systems were gaining so much of traction because of Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) and General Purpose Graphics Processing Units (GPGPU) that gained relevance in the financial sector. In the year 2009, we formed a team to explore where this could lead us; that’s how we started off. ”

“And then, being a part of the London Stock Exchange (LSE) group, our parent company was keen on becoming early adopters of hardware acceleration. We started working on a ‘Group Ticker Plant’ project which embodied hardware acceleration. That happened to be a successful proof of concept of taking new technology from conceptualization to production deployment. We are now exploring various avenues in this field. ”

In simple terms, how does this platform provide an advantage?

” FPGA based hardware acceleration platform per se doesn’t give  any breakthroughs. It gives  broader scope to design  systems the way we want. CPUs  traditionally were optimized to process sequential tasks. FPGAs, on the contrary, provide massively fine-grained parallelism. So every problem that’s solved by software cannot be significantly enhanced by hardware. However, if you have a problem that has inherent parallelism, such that various computes can be done without reference to other pieces of information, then that naturally lends itself for hardware acceleration. ”

” So in the financial world, the benchmark happens to be on compute intensive and less data intensive applications like Monte Carlo simulations and various pricing simulations. Generally, any form of compute intensive applications can be easily done on FPGAs.”

” FPGAs  give complete control of digital hardware, where there is no sharing of resources. Therefore responsive systems like medical equipment, signal instrumentation systems and mission critical control systems are traditionally done on FPGA. I think hybrid systems are the least popular of the lot, up until quite recently. Thanks to the manufacturing technology, we can pack more transistors into the same die, which continues to accommodate more and more  complex functionality. ”

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Where would you fit hardware acceleration in the high performance computing?

“HPC is a very vast area. At MillenniumIT, we give solutions based on our products. Some parts of those solutions can be on hardware and some parts being on software. We would try to mix and match between hardware acceleration and software in the most optimal manner in order to satisfy the requirements of High Performance Computing (HPC) for financial applications. Today it’s centered around 3 major values ”

1. Speed

2. Capacity

3. Determinism.

” Speed refers to the minimum time taken for processing/transmission. Capacity refers to the amount of information that can be processed and transmitted in a given time period. Determinism refers to the certainty of  the level of performance under different operating circumstances”



Is it fair to say that Millennium IT is a HFC solutions provider?

” Most of our high profile clients fall into that category. I would say that is one of our strong holds. We have small to medium sized markets solutions as well.”

How well the 2007’s initiatives have paid off?

” I think the years 2007 and 2009 are more significant in the technology landscape where highly dense FPGA chips came to the market. The shift in their application from consumer electronics to hybrid systems started around this period of time. . The year 2009 is a year of significance because that’s when FPGA mounted PCIe cards came to the market, enabling tight integration with software. We were lucky to explore our options at the right time when this shift happened. We have targeted at least a 10x gain in performance as a proposition to  step into   hardware acceleration.  It was a big change in technology for us as well as to our clients. So, we had to make sure that the benefit is worth the pain. That really paid off when we had our first product out in the market.”

What are the technical challenges encountered?

” We had to face a challenge that was very specific to this solution. FPGA or any hardware development lifecycle is normally lengthy. It always starts with clear requirements and methodical development, which leads to testing and certification. But to adopt FPGA into a hybrid system and to make it co-exist with software in an environment where there are constant changes, we had to balance  the best practices of hardware development with agile software development processes. There is no way that one process could exclusively displace  the other; they had to coexist. We had to maintain the quality standards required by tier-1 stock exchanges whilst being accommodative to changes in the requirements. . That class of problem was very specific to us. ”

Where is your roadmap heading for HWA?

” In the last 2 to 3 years, there has been a lot of development happening around  FPGA and GPGPUs. Today we have FPGA chip providers talking of higher logic densities and System-On-Chip platforms. That being said, major computer manufacturers like IBM and Intel have also taken certain steps. IBM is proudly promoting the Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) for tight integration between CPU and FPGAs.  Intel is talking about their next generation processors having FPGA in the same die that could be in close proximity to the CPU acting as a co-processor. So technology seems to be evolving in the direction to enable us to do hybrid functionality more easilyIt looks like we will have a good  unified development eco system in the future to do methodical development of tightly integrated hybrid solutions ”

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What career opportunities are there for graduates?

“Hybrid system design spans across different areas. Today we have Engineers  who design and implement application specific digital systems .Verification and validation of digital systems are done based on standard methodologies like the Universal Verification Methodology. To bridge a piece of custom hardware and software, different Operating System specific device drivers need to be put in place. So we have people who work on  FPGA design, verification , Operating Systems, Device Drivers  and application software to make that integration happen. ”

There are people who like software and hardware, this would be suitable?

” Definitely! you always have that breed of people in software who like assembly language. Likewise, those who like to be close to the bare metals of computer architecture are the people who would be excited in working with this stuff.”

Evolution of FPGA technology

Has any of your competitors use this technology?

” Some of them do claim to have hardware acceleration. However, I have rarely come across anyone at this juncture, offering a hybrid solution to the mass market.  Most of the giants like the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and NASDAQ have their own proprietary technology developed in-house. Others are more focused on selling appliances.”

Final thoughts on the development of this technology at MIT ?

” I think it is more of an overall exploration process for the entire organisation. From where we started to where we are now, successfully getting hybrid systems out to our clients was not simply development work.  There was a lot more effort involved in getting from prototype to production, and to support a tier one stock exchange. Most of that is centered around reliability, robustness, availability, spares , debug simplicity, remote trouble shooting and turnaround time. All that needs to be ironed out before a system can creep into a client environment. I think that ride, at times, of course was hard, but in the end it was worth riding.”