The day is here when all tech companies are on a field day trying to pull up the best tech prank. They have been some real impressive stuff in the past few years, so take a look at some of the best April fools jokes in tech 2014!
Nest + Virgin
The two CEOs of Virgin and Nest(thermostat innovators) come together in this video explaining their groundbreaking thermostat that allows each passenger in the plane to have their own customized temperature. A tan on a plane 🙂
Nokia 3310 with 41M pureview Camera
The below image posted on the Nokia India facebook page shows the popular(in the last decade) nokia 3310 upgraded with the new windows OS and pureview camera.
Chrome emoji translation
Chrome introduced their new browser translation algorithm that translates words into emoticons taking into account the context of the word as well. We won’t be surprised if something similar is actually implemented
What better way to take selfies than through a flying robot! Even though this is an overkill of the trending selfies, it is a fun video to watch.
Nawala, Sri Lanka (February 10, 2014) – enTrust & Title (Private) Limited, a leading provider of E-Signature & Document Forensics for information security – a patented technology, today announced they are opening a new “Center of Excellence” facility in Nawala, Sri Lanka for its product Research & Development.
“Back in 1996, I launched my first company here, in Sri Lanka. The quality of education, intelligence, ethics of IT professionals and their desire to keep learning new technologies are the very qualities every Silicon Valley start-up looks for. Hence, the decision was easy to set up our R&D facility here due to our positive experience with the people.” said Aziz Valliani, Chairman of enTrust & Title (Private) Limited, in his address to the gathering at the opening ceremony.
The Company is in process of assembling a team of most talented software developers and application engineers for its Center of Excellence. The team will be led by Roshan Amadoru, a Sri Lankan citizen.
Anuradha Tennakoon, Director/Country Manager for Motorola Solutions commended Aziz Valliani by saying, “It is people like him who have the vision and foresight to explore and take risks to create opportunities worldwide.” Dhushy Thillaivasan , General Manager of Ambiq Technology Private Limited agreed by saying that he recalls that “Aziz and his team developed the concept of the document forensics technology using his previous employer in 2009.”
About enTRUST & Title
enTrust & Title Group of companies develop and market state of the art E-Signature and Document Forensics technologies for private and public enterprises and for consumers through its Cloud service. Document Forensics (4n6) is the patented technology which can flag a document if it has been tampered with, revised or its validity has expired. It also enables the owner of document to make the contents of the E-Signed document private, semi-private or open for public to view. Established in 2008, the American founders of the company are also pioneers of the first E-Signature technology which was introduced in 1992.
The 10th anniversary of GSoC ‘Decade of GSoC’ was celebrated at the University of Moratuwa on the 23rd of January 2014 with the participation of Chris DiBona, Director Open Source and Out Reach at Google, Program Managers Stephany Tailor and Mary Radmiol. Ananda Jayawardhana, Vice Chancellor of University of Moratuwa and many Sri Lankan distinguish guests also participated.
Chris DiBona said that he was offered to go to europe to celebrate GSoCs’ 10th year but he chose to come to Sri Lanka. Chris recalled where things have begun 10 years ago. He came up with the idea of Google Summer of Code Program in 2004. Out of 6000 applications for the 1st ever GSoC and around 600 were shortlisted to participate. “If you have open source, it helps to make better computer systems. You should be so proud, and it is from the Google and the world” He concluded.
If you can remember “Chris DiBona” from his interview to Linux Format who made positive remark about Sri Lanka and University of Moratuwa, here is what he said there:
“Every year that goes by we see more people from outside of the US take part. The US still has a healthy proportion – 250 or something – but it’s amazing to see where people pop up – like Sri Lanka. Even during the civil war we still had Tamil and other Sri Lankan students taking part in the Summer of Code; it’s like, how did it transcend borders in that way in that country? And so, Sri Lanka has always been really interesting to us in ways that even India and China are not.
Here’s basically a very small nation, and if you look at it, there’s a couple of universities that really glommed onto Summer of Code as a way of expanding their curriculum. Think about that. 79 Computer Science students in a small university in a small country in the midst of a civil war, all doing remarkable work. This is the promise of the internet and computer science made flesh.”
Stephanie Taylor explained how does GSoC work and how they choose organizations and students for the competition. Process is such that first, Google chooses organizations and students can research organizations through their idea pages and submit project proposals to the organization. Then organizations catch students with their mentors for a bonding period of a month and there will be coding during the whole summer (40 hour a week, for 3 months) to execute the proposals. 5500$ for the student and 500$ are up for the winner and the winning organization will be given in cash!
She also explained the ‘Google Code-in’ program, which is a GSoC for younger students aged between 13 and 17. It’s a new program which applies classroom skills to real life projects. More details are available here.
Dr Sanjiva, probably the top open source figure in Sri Lanka told that he is contributing to Apcahe projects and to Open Source since last 25 years. “If not for Open Source, I could not get to meet these wonderful people and wouldn’t have been here” he continued.
Students who took over GSoC projects and succeeded presented their success stories as well. There was a panel discussion with Sanjiva, Chrish, Mary, Stephanie and Rohan moderated that session.
Image credits : Akila Panditha and Vipula Disanayake
At the beginning of the year, SLT gave their broadband users a new year gift with additional quota (both peak and off peak) for their broadband packages. However many users were saying that the increase in quota is only for the off peak hours. The problem stems down to the fact that even though SLT had peak and offpeak quotas in 2013, they were never applied. For example, the user who had a quota of 20GB peak and 5GB off peak, had the ability to use all 25GB at peak times. So effectively the total quota is the peak quota. Now with that context lets take a look at the below comparison of packages after the quota increase.
From the above table it is clear that the earlier total quota is now the peak quota while there is additional off peak quota. So practically yes it seems there is only an increase in the off-peak quota. However theoretically there is an increase in both quotas, just that the off-peak wasn’t applied earlier.
Bottom line is that SLT ADSL users can experience more quota in the off-peak hours. Being off-peak should not be too much of a problem as most users would schedule their downloads at that time. However it may not be too much use for corporate connections and internet cafes.
For more information on SLT ADSL broadband click here.
Team of young undergraduates (Team Firebird) from IIT (Institute of Information Technology) has won a special award in the Imagine Cup 2013 finals held in Russia. i-Chum, a product that helps visually impaired through augmented sensory aids won the “Digital Native Award” sponsored by Samsung. The team also won $10,000 in prize money.
i-Chum allows visually impaired to interact with and experience the “unseen” world through digital sensory input. By the look, it is a pair of glass with built in earphones and microphones. It reminds the “Google glass” in a way. But it’s not just a glass with more gadgets in it! When connected to a smart phone or tablet PC running MS Windows 8, user can use this gadget to navigate indoor and outdoor environments with facilities for obstacle avoidance, object identification without touching, generic reading and writing. Using its wide range of sensors and the camera, it communicates with the user and the user can also communicate back with the device using the microphones.
“285 million people are visually impaired worldwide. 39 million are blind and 246 have low vision. About 90% of the worlds visually impaired live in developing countries.”
It’s a neat gadget that can make a significant leap on how the visually impaired “looks” at the world.
Team consists of Stefan Udumalagala, Amal Gunatilake, Mohamed Shehan, Kishore Kumar
“With our product “I-Chum” the visually impaired will no longer be impaired, they could be just as independent and normal as their next door neighbor who has perfect vision.”
Some useful information about this years competition is summarized in the following infographic.
In their fourth consecutive year, ROBOFEST annual robotic competition organized by SLIIT goes to rural areas in finding hidden talents. There were workshops carried out for school children in Jaffna and Trinco June this year. This is their story of finding hidden talents!
The Electrical & Computer Engineering Department of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) organizes ROBOFEST. Organizing team is headed by Dr. Lasantha Senevirathne. ROBOFEST 2013 competition takes place under three categories; school, undergraduate and open. The final competition will be hosted at the Malabe campus premises on the 13th & 14th September this year.
To encourage young minds on the very popular field of “robotics”, ROBOFEST committee decided that they want to go out of Colombo. Jaffna workshop was held on 17th May. Trinco workshop was held at Kinniya Central College on 14th June. Many enthusiastic students around Jaffna and Trinco areas respectively were gathered for those events.
“Since the school category of the competition is open for school students island-wide; we believed that we needed to give more attention to schools in rural areas as they do not have sufficient exposure to modern electronics and robotics. When we held workshops last year, we saw many enthusiasts from areas far from Colombo participated. And on the day of the competition, it was clear that, they had to work harder to get down the parts to build the robot compared to students around the capital. But they were equally talented. They’ve been having a hidden talent all along and all they needed was a “little push” and a “friendly hand” to help with putting things together. And that is exactly what we did during our workshops. And now, it’s good to see a new enthusiast joining us every day” said the media correspondent of ROBOFEST.
Last year’s competition school category was won by the project “Tinker” by Mahanama College Colombo 03. Second and third places were secured by projects representing Maliyadeva College, Kurunegala. More details of the last year’s competition can be seen here.
Hutch announces their exclusive partnership with Nimbuzz the widely used social messaging app this month. So, what’s it for you?
The good news is that, Hutch will enable all its subscribers to use the Nimbuzz app free of data charges till December 17th 2013. That’s 6 whole months!
Nimbuzz is a Chat Application which is popular amongst friends and their regular contacts that allows them to communicate super-fast through any of their IM Accounts such as yahoo, GTalk, or Facebook.
There is more good news! Nimbuzz app can be accessed on both 2G and 3G handhelds, allowing a large user base to access and experience advanced mobile messaging application.
‘‘Our exclusive partnership with Nimbuzz is another great value addition in our recent series of tie-ups with some of the top local & international Application developers’’ said Hutch CEO Thirukumar Nadarasa.
“We are delighted to be a part of the exclusive Nimbuzz partnership that would revolutionize Mobile messaging in Sri Lanka, making communication more affordable and convenient,” he further added.
Vikas Saxena, CEO of Nimbuzz, commented “We at Nimbuzz are extremely excited about our exclusive partnership in Sri Lanka with Hutch. We strongly believe that the future of the mobile communication space is going to be led by close collaboration with others in the eco-system including Telco’s. I am confident that this partnership will help Hutch further strengthen its foothold in the country as Nimbuzz provides the best experience to the connected generation.”
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.
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.
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!”
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.
Vendors were selected based on the broader coverage of the application infrastructure suits and they were rated for the following aspects:
Systematic SOA application projects
Shared SOA interoperability and governance infrastructure
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.