Category - News

Twitter Q&A with the Secretary to the President

For those of you who missed it, the first Q&A via the Presidents twitter account was held on Wednesday. Even though the questions were answered through the official @PresRajapaksa account, it was actually the Secretary to the President, Mr Lalith Weeratunga who took up the questions.

The questions were submitted through the #AskLW hashtag in all three languages, and Mr. Weeratunga started right on schedule. Each question was retweeted and then answered, so that both questions and answers are visible in an orderly manner. Around 20 questions were answered in topics from political, to personal to paypal.

Even though there were questions unanswered (Understandably due to the busy schedule of Mr. Lalith Weeratunga), this is a good start to social media engagement from the government. And hopefully will be the first of many more such Q&As.  Also in a subsequent release, Mr Weeratunga has stated that more answers would be provided in the coming days via twitter.

You can check out the Q&A on twitter below. And to check on all the questions, just search for #Asklw.

Twitter feed Asklw

CB Governor: PayPal soon to be available for inward payments

Central Bank Governor Nivard Cabraal said Sri Lankan bank accounts can receive inward payments from PayPal® very soon. He also mentioned that the Central Bank is considering relaxing some of the exchange controls which does not serve effectively in the new technology age.

PayPal is a cost efficient way of handling payments through internet. It supports all major credit cards and can be used effectively as an alternative to a high costly payment gateway account setup with a bank. Because of its cost efficient commissioning options, PayPal is attracted specially by the small scale internet business which can range from a small cake delivery business to a large e-commerce sites like eBay. Also, PayPal hides and manages some of the multiple credit/debit card management and bank account management from the users making it easier and secure as well.

Paypal graphic

As a country with emerging IT market, it is expected to have a positive impact in the long term because of this relaxation. A freelancer can now get their payments at the lowest commission overhead. Many small businesses can start their online selling at a lower operational cost. Other developing countries have gained significantly in their e-commerce based internet presence with PayPal.

With the feedback that we’ve got so far, critics hope these decisions will be effective sooner rather than later.  “It’s already late!”

(Photo Credits: http://www.businesstoday.lk

WSO2 qualified as “visionary” in Gartner’s magic quadrant research on web application development and integration infrastructure

Gartner Research in their 2013 research report “Comparing Vendors of Comprehensive Application Infrastructure Suites” has tagged WSO2 in the “Visionary” quadrant in their magic quadrant relative positioning with big players like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle. WSO2 is the smallest company of the 7 vendors selected. Yet, it is the only company selected among open source vendors with broad enough product suits in all the three application infrastructure sections under analysis. This research provides insights to today’s vendor market and offers basic profiles with the strengths and weaknesses of vendors considering the next three to five years time frame.

Gartner Magic Quadrant

Among many graphical representations of research statistics, Gartner Magic Quadrant is a graphical positioning based on the completeness of the vision and the ability to execute in the global market. It serves the bird eye view of technology providers for interested clients as a starting point of an analysis.

Magic quadrant

Vendor Selection

Vendors were selected based on the broader coverage of the application infrastructure suits and they were rated for the following aspects:

    1. Systematic SOA application projects
    2. Shared SOA interoperability and governance infrastructure
    3. Systematic and comprehensive application integration projects


While both IBM and Oracle secured Leader category in all 3 aspects, WSO2 was selected as Visionary in all of them. Visionaries understand where the market is going or have a vision for changing market rules, but do not yet execute to the same level.  Compared to IBM and Oracle who are the market giants who have hundreds of thousands of employees and many years of experience behind them, WSO2 have shown their colors with just 160 employees and 8 years since inception.

Gartner table

According to Gartner’s report, they recommend their clients specially for building systematic SOA infrastructures and for developing SOA applications and composites. Following are some of the strengths highlighted in the report.


1. With successful deployments in high-volume environments, WSO2 has earned credibility as a provider of solutions for larger enterprises and mission-critical systems.
2. WSO2’s highly standardized and open architecture gives substantial freedom for organizations to combine and enhance solutions with existing integration technology. Its minimalist approach, as well as its use of OSGi for integration of WSO2 product modules, simplifies deployment and operational complexity.
3. Offerings are available both on-premises and in the cloud. The multitenant and elasticity enabled for its cloud deployment are also available in its on-premises products.
4. The vendor is growing and has acquired capital, which it has invested in geographic expansion and field and support organizations.
5. By embracing the concept of providing a platform that includes only broadly required functionality and that can be tailored to the needs of individual deployments, WSO2 dramatically simplifies the onboarding and operation of its solutions.


About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. is the world’s leading IT research and advisory company. They provide the technology related insight for their clients to make the right decisions with up to date research findings.  Gartner is trusted by more than 12,000 clients worldwide including an incredible percentage of fortune 500 companies.

Please click here to access the full research report.

About WSO2

Founded in August 2005 by Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana, WSO2 is a global enterprise middleware corporation with offices in USA, UK and Sri Lanka. Providing the only complete open source middleware platform from on-premise to cloud, WSO2 is revolutionizing the industry by putting traditional middleware on a diet and introducing lean, powerful and flexible solutions to address the 21st century enterprise challenges.

Nvidia Tegra 5 engineering sample shows off its gaming power

Back in 2010 Nvidia released the world’s first ARM Cortex A9 dual core SoC called Tegra 2. After that, back in 2011 they announced the world’s first ARM Cortex A9 quad core called Tegra 3 which was manufactured under 40nm process. It was a huge success and still, most of the tablets and smartphones are powered by Tegra 3. This system on a chip had a 12 core GeForce GPU which can roughly produce 10 to 14 GLOPS, which wasn’t the best GPU compared to other SoCs at that time. However a few months back Nvidia announced the Tegra 4 (28nm) Cortex A15 quad core SoC which has 72 GPU cores and it can roughly produce 96 GFLOPS! If you compare that to the previous generation, this new chip has 6 to 7X improvement in GPU power and they didn’t stop there, in Antutu 3 benchmarks Tegra 4 CPU scored 36000 points while Tegra 3 scored only 12000.


You may know that Tegra 4 powered devices aren’t still out yet, but hopefully we will be able to see a device within 1 or 2 months. When it arrives it will surely be the world’s most powerful chip. However it is also quite interesting that a few days ago Nvidia CEO “Jen-Hsun Huang “showed off their upcoming Tegra 5 engineering sample which was running “Battlefield 3“. This new Tegra 5 (code named “Logan”) has a Kepler GPU inside. Gamers might be familiar with the Kepler GPUs as the powerful GTX Titan desktop VGA is powered by the Kepler architecture. Tegra 5 is a beast because it supports DirectX 11 with complicated shadows and lighting. Battlefield 3 is one of the most demanded PC games currently available, this game draws lot of GPU power. On a PC for example, if you are running this game at 720P high settings then you have to have at-least a GTX 4 series GPU to run it smooth. (Gamers would know)

As you can see from the above video, the smoothness of the graphics, the lighting, shadows and particles are truly awesome! Nvidia’s CEO explained “We want to get multiple years ahead of the competition, so the company made a strategic decision to delay other priorities in order to move Kepler Mobile forward” and while demoing the Battlefield 3 game he said “It had features such as high-dynamic-range lighting, while the latest iPad is capable of doing graphics that are “vintage 1999”. This is a bold statement because the iPad 4’s GPU is the most powerful GPU currently out there on handheld devices. However since Tegra 5 is still an engineering sample and might need at-least one year to get a stable release. Once released, it will surely be a treat and a big leap for mobile gaming. In the meantime we will have Tegra 4 to keep us entertained.

(Image credits:

10 things that you need to know about Maththala – Sri Lanka’s Second international airport

1. The second international airport of Sri Lanka was initially planned to build in Weerawila, southern part of Sri Lanka. Then, the plans were fought due to concerns raised on the environmental impact. Finallly, Mattala a small town 15 km north of Hambantota was selected. It was a lesser known area with shrub jungle of many square kilometers. When the engineers approached the area they had to use hand tools to cut open the shrub cover and make a foot path towards the location. They spend their first nights in tree tops to avoid attacks from wild animals.


2. Although Maththala Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport is commonly identified in media as MRIA, the International Air Transport Association(IATA) airport code is HRI. The International Civil Aviation Organization(ICAO) airport code is VCRI.

3. Super King 20 which features a dual engi,ne a test aircraft of Pakistan civil aviation department had landed on the new runway to test the facility on October 2012.

4. 23 international airlines have voiced interest in initiating flights to MRIA. At the initial stage, Sri Lankan airlines will fly to Beijing, Bangkok, Riyadh and Male. Mihin Lanka to Bodh Gaya. Fly Dubai will fly to Dubai and Air Arabia will fly to Sharjah.

Maththala Counters

5. The Runway dimensions are 3500m (11,482 feet) length and 60m wide with 7.5m paved shoulders either side and 260m Runway safety area on both runway ends. The runway is declared a code F from the ICAO, which allows Airbus A380-800 aircraft to use it. BIA airstrip does not have such facility.

6. In addition to the main airport facilities, MRIA will have facilities for pilot and technician training, aircraft maintenance and charter/private jet parking. Sri Lankan Cargo will manage MRIA’s 5,000-square meter cargo facility with the capacity of handling 60,000 metric tons. A 10-acre land has been allocated to Air Arabia for the construction of a 400 room hotel while a local company had also been allocated land for a hotel project.

7. The first phase of the new 800-acre airport was constructed by China Harbour Engineering Company at a cost of US$ 209 million (Rs 26.7 billion). It is built to handle 1 Million passengers per annum, 45,000 metric tons of cargo per annum, 30,000 aircraft movement per annum and 10 parking bays for aircrafts, two aero bridges in an 800 hectare of land.

8. The second stage of the project expansion work at the airport is to be completed by 2015. This includes expansion of the airport’s terminal building, aircraft parking apron and public utilities, full-length parallel taxi way, a flying school, an airport hotel and recreational facilities. With that it is expected to handle 5 Million passengers per annum, 150,000 Mt of cargo per annum, 45,000 aircraft movement per annum, 20 parking bays for aircrafts and 15 aero bridges in a 1200 ha of land.

9. MRIA will be developed as a primary destination for foreign employment departures, reducing the overhead on BIA. Out of 262,960 total departures for foreign employment in the year 2011, 28% of the departures (73,652) are of citizens of Hambanthota, Monaragala, Ampara, Batticaloa, Mathara, Galle, Rathnapura and Nuwara Eliya. Out of them, about 93% (total of 68,385) have departured to Middle East countries.

10. MRIA is built with few important goals in mind. Key is to play a supportive role in the development activity in the southern part of Sri Lanka and capture market share of the regional air traffic growth. Second, to promote air-sea transshipment hub operation in conjunction with the Hambantota Port. Third, to play a key component in the development efforts of the Eastern and Southern coasts. Fourth is to be an alternate airport to Bandaranaike International Airport. Fifth is to facilitate the establishment of a gateway for economic and investment infusion in Sri Lanka.

MRIA Tower


Photo Credits

US C++ developer caught outsourcing his work to China

In 2012, Verizone security team received a call from a US company specializing mission critical infrastructure services saying that they see traces of abnormal VPN activity. That company was promoting telecommuting instead of typical office environment for their workforce; hence they had a VPN solution for their developers to work from home in some days. They had setup a VPN concentrator solution sometime in 2010 and their IT department started actively monitoring its usage logs from May 2012. They were surprised to see an active and live VPN connection to their facility from Shenyang, China!


They were highly unnerved as they were one of the US’s mission critical infrastructure providers and they were probably under the threat of an initiated VPN attack initiated from China.

The security mechanism used is a fairly standard two factor method; User’s credentials and then rotating RSA token generated from a hand held token generator.

And surprisingly at the same time the user who’s credentials were used to login was seen in the office working at his desk staring at the monitor just as usual. Before coming to Verizone, the company security specialists were convinced that there is some malware routing traffic to China through their proxy by some strange means; they wanted Verizone to catch the malware.

The Verizone security team started digging into the issue and they found that this strange connection is not new. It was there active during working days for the past 6 months where VPN logs were available. Surprisingly it was active during the full span of office hours almost all those days. When the investigation team found that the connection initiation uses user credentials, they started studying about the employee as well.

He was a software developer in his mid 40s, experienced with C, C++, perl, Java etc. who was there for a while. He was a quite family man who is not very noticed, but was a good asset to the company. Verizon security team called him “Bob” in their case study.

As a basic forensic measure, Verizone wanted to check whether there was malicious software activity in Bob’s PC. So they managed to get an image of the hard disks and recovered many files from the free disk space which might have been freed after deleting those files. Hoping to see an accidently downloaded malware which could have caused this, they were astonished seeing hundreds of deleted invoice pdf files from a third party contractor in Shenyang, China.

It’s revealed that Bob has outsourced his work to a Chinese outsourcing firm and got his work done for just a 20% of his paycheck. No wonder there is an ever increasing trend to outsource! To cover the authentication, Bob has FedExed his RSA token generator to China so that the Chinese developer who is supposed to work on behalf of him could use the token generator along with his credentials to login to the VPN during each workday.

So what was Bob doing all day without doing his job? Investigators later found his web browsing history, which explains that. He was used to surf Reddit for a few hours, then watch cat videos until lunch. After lunch he starts browsing EBay, FaceBook and Linked in where at the end of the 8 hour day he send an end of the day email to the management before he leave the office.

Bob was smart enough to do the same across few other companies as well while earning few hundred thousand dollars by spending only $50,000 for the Chinese developers per annum. It was a well run outsource business!

This is the coolest part of the story:

Bob was identified as the best developer in the building; His code was well written and clean and always on time! Bob has received continuous positive remarks for excellence at work several years in a row.

Some say outsourcing can reduce efficiency, long term maintainability blah blah… but, Bob showed that it’s not the case with his case study! We never know what really happened after the incident.

Was he convicted of the breach of the company NDA policy? Or was he being promoted as an outsourced development account manager role and the development work was outsourced to the same Chinese sub-contractor?  Then you better find the name of the company and buy their shares! Cos, they are going to go profit this year with a fivefold cost reduction!

What was the highest risk that you’ve taken in your workplace?

If you are dare to open up, use our comments section to tell us your views.