The winners for the Bestweb.lk 2013 competition were announce last week with anything.lk taking gold as the overall winner for 2013. The website for DFCC bank(www.dfcc.lk) came in second while the local cricket site Island Cricket (islandcricket.lk) was placed third. The Category winners are as listed below. Bestweb.lk is a competion organized by the LK registry in order to recognize top sites in Sri Lanka.
What is the Internet ? Simply speaking the Internet is inter connected networks sharing information using standard protocol stack. However the modern internet is much more than inter connected networks. The Internet has become platform rapid and accelerated human evolution. It has been invaded into every aspects of our lives making both positive and negative consequences.
In despite of advancement in technologies and impact on our lives, fundamentally speaking the Internet is an inter connected networks even after 30 years from its birth. Computer networks depend on two different kind of protocols for traffic propagation.
1. Routed Protocols
2. Routing Protocols
TCP/IP is the well known “routed protocol” used in modern networks. It is also responsible for majority of global Internet traffic. It can carry almost any kind of internet based services including but not limited to world wide web, electronic mail, secure connectivity and streaming media. On the other hand, “Routing Protocols” provide path to propagate TCP/IP and similar transports (e.g. UDP, ICMP).
Well known routing protocols are OSPF, IS-IS, EIGRP, RIP and BGP. All the routing protocols (except BGP, which we are going discuss later) provide reachability information for each other networking hop so end hosts can reach remote service at network address. RI or reachability information is passed to each networking hop so individual hop can take the decision on packet switching towards remote service.
So what is the uniqueness in the BGP? Instead of passing reachability information from hop to hop, BGP passes reachability information from network to network basis. BGP a.k.a Border Gateway Protocol is the de-facto routing protocol of the Internet. We can not have working Internet without BGP.
Individual network can consist of hundred of thousands of network devices. Each and every network is managed, administrated and operated by independent autonomous entities. These autonomous entities could be either ISP (i.e. Internet Service Provider) or Company/Organization/Government participate in data origination and trafficking.
Similar to network addresses are assigned to individual network hop, BGP introduces numbering mechanism for each independent network. These numbers are called “Autonomous System Number”. Worldwide ASNs are assigned by “Internet Assigned Numbers Authority” or IANA through “Regional Internet Registries” or RIR. The word “Autonomous” in ASN emphasizes autonomy in decision making inside individual network. However, Inter Autonomous System connectivity policies must be mutually agreed between connected parties.
In summary, the Internet is highly autonomous networks inter connected to create global information super highway. Absolute autonomy can be expected inside individual network in related to traffic propagation policies and paths. This autonomy secure the Internet’s distributed architecture while preserving freedom of the information propagation between networks.
Last but not least, Let’s look into few real world examples for Autonomous System interactions in the Internet.
Get you websites polished up as the Bestweb.lk 2013 competition is about to kick off. This competition which is organized by the LK domain Registry aims to create recognition for top Sri Lankan web sites as well as increasing the quality level of them. To be eligible to compete, your website should have a local presence as well as a .lk domain name.
The registration is web based, quite simple and would probably take you about 5 minutes to submit. Registrations are open from today: 3rd June till 31st July. Awards will be given category wise as well as an overall winner. The winners will be announced in August. (The list of Awards is given below)
– The Overall Best three Sri Lankan websites.
– Three awards for winners in each of 8 categories and additional Merit awards.
– Three special award of “Best website developer”,“Best Sinhala website” and “Best Tamil website”
So if you have a decent eligible site, go forth and submit here.
The streets of Sri Lanka have beautifully been lit up during Vesak by Pandals(Thoran) and Vesak lanterns. Meanwhile Hiru FM and Hiru TV have created an online Vesak Thorana to light up the web space. The digital Thorana developed through Flash looks quite beautiful and displays the Maha Kapi Jathaka Kathawa. When accessed you get a voice intro on the Thorana, and subsequently you can click each separate sections in order to listen through the Jathaka story.
Telemedicine is the term used for the process, where healthcare advises and services are provided when the patient and the doctor are far apart. Even though there are discussions and trials on this area it is not practiced in Sri Lanka until recently.
One such initiative is eDoctor, mainly an internet based medical consultation service lead by a team of Sri Lankan medical practitioners to provide initial medical advice remotely at a family doctor level.
With today’s busy life schedule, people tend to neglect their minor health issues due to time restrictions in visiting a medical consultant, which might raise pretty serious medical conditions. eDoctor is a very relevant service for such people specially to receive advises and guidance at the initial stage of any medical condition. People can contact eDoctor from their homes, offices, while at work or even while travelling. It’s just a matter of being online and sending the issue through web site www.edoctor.lk. Medical consultations can be done in many forms such as through a filled form through web site, text chat, voice and video chat depending on the registered package.
edoctor service offers following three packages for people to choose from.
Number of Advice
Time Period [DAYS]
Comprehensive information is available in edoctor website www.edoctor.lk and further updates on edoctor services are avaiable via their eMagazine, eNews-letter, blog (http://edoctorlk.blogspot.com/), Twitter feed (twitter.com/eDoctorLK) and facebook page (www.facebook.com/eDoctor.lk)
It is fascinating how the internet has progressed in the last 10 years while providing us information and entertainment in ways we couldn’t have imagined. The below infographic displays the turnaround in the internet considering many aspects. It also highlights the importance of businesses adapting to the internet in order to survive. (Infographic created by www.bestedsites.com)
Babel was a city (now thought to be Babylon), where legend has it, the people attempted to build a tower that would reach into heaven. As this was an enormous task, it required much time and cooperation among the people who incidentally all spoke the same language.
Hearing of this endeavour, God is said to have come down to see the city and declared, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”
And so God confounded the attempts of the builders by confusing their language into many mutually incomprehensible languages. Soon discord arose, the tower was left unfinished and the people of Babel scattered across the world.
Whatever your theological belief may be, this story is an interesting allegory. While used as a reason for the existence of the numerous languages in the world, it also illustrates how differences in language often lead to loss of cohesion.
The Babel fish
In his entertaining novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, science-fiction writer Douglas Adams came up with an unusual solution to the problem of understanding multiple languages across the universe – the Babel fish.
Described as “small, yellow, leech like and probably the oddest creature in the universe the Babel fish feeds on the energy of brain waves around it, and excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them.
The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear, you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.”
First steps towards a Babel fish
While text and voice based translation applications have been around for a while, NTT Docomo made a giant leap late last year with the launch of an Android based voice translator for phone calls – the Hanashite Hon’yaku app. This app provides voice translation of the other speaker’s conversation into a required language as well as providing text readout.
The free service is already being used by Docomo customers, with translations possible on any smartphone, because the app utilises Docomo’s cloud servers for processing. However, the user must be a subscriber to one of Docomo’s packages to be able to use the service, so sadly it is not available on other operator networks.
Docomo will soon face competition from France’s Alcatel-Lucent which is developing a rival call translation product, named WeTalk. The service is to be compatible over any landline and is said to be able to handle Japanese and about a dozen other languages including English, French and Arabic. The firm said all this could be done in less than a second. However, it has opted to wait before the speaker has stopped talking to start the translation after trials suggested that users preferred the experience.
These applications are far from perfect, with errors occurring due to inability to recognize various accents and nuances in a language. The best voice translators typically have an error rate of 20-25%, which is just not good enough especially in business environments.
Microsoft Research and the University of Toronto made a breakthrough in improving translations by using a technique called Deep Neural Networks, which is patterned after human brain behaviour. The researchers were able to train more discriminative and better speech recognizers than previous methods.[ 1 ]
Back in October 2012, Microsoft researchers demonstrated software that translates spoken English into spoken Chinese almost instantly, while preserving the tone of a speaker’s voice – an innovation that makes conversation more effective and personal.
The demonstration was made by Rick Rashid, Microsoft’s chief research officer, at an event in Tianjin, China. “I’m speaking in English and you’ll hear my words in Chinese in my own voice,” Rashid told the audience. The system works by recognizing a person’s words, quickly converting the text into properly ordered Chinese sentences, and then handing those over to speech synthesis software that has been trained to replicate the speaker’s voice. [ 2 ]
As Rashid explains in the Microsoft blog, “it required a text to speech system that Microsoft researchers built using a few hours speech of a native Chinese speaker and properties of my own voice taken from about one hour of pre-recorded (English) data, in this case recordings of previous speeches I’d made.”
As IBM’s Jeopardy champ “Watson” has shown, with enough information computers using neural networks can identify puns and wordplay in languages and learn to respond to questions involving them.
With further improvement in translation technologies, real time perfect translations could move from science fiction to science fact in the very near future. Wearable technology such as Google glass may soon be able to incorporate real time translation using cloud based services.
In a country where linguistic differences have and still affect such a significant portion of the population, such translation applications could be very useful. There should be some significant effort and backing put into developing translation services in the local market – an example of which is the website translation services developed by Dialog which, however, is only available for English to Sinhala translations. It is a small step but should be used as motivation for local developers to get involved in including Sinhala and Tamil to existing translation technologies – voice and text – in order to create applications that can help break language barriers.
While not so fantastical as a tower that reaches heaven, we may soon be able to embark on the next great project, which will hopefully help in understanding one another a little bit better in the future.
With the amount of digital documents we work with, we frequently require to do some image editing. Paint would be fine for very simple edits, but most of the time it falls short on features. More advanced image editors such as Photoshop or fireworks are the preferred choice when there is a fair amount of editing to do. However sometimes you find without any of these softwares and in urgent need to do some image editing. Enter Pixlr, an online image editor that provides you a powerful set of image editing tools directly on your browser.
You can launch the Pixlr editor through http://pixlr.com/editor/. You are initially prompted whether to start from scratch or open an image. From then you are brought into the image editing workspace which anyone who used Photoshop will find familiar. On the left side your favourite tools from magic wand to clone stamp are available. On the right side the important layer panel and the history panel are placed.
The standard image adjustment options and standard filters are provided giving quite a powerful range of editing choices. We were quite pleased to find layer styles are available, however they are limited to Shadow, Glow and and Bevel. The features we missed the most compared to Photoshop were the other layer styles(such as stroke) and a Save to Web option.
Once your editing is complete you can save your image as .png, .bmp, .jpeg or .tiff. To preserve the layers you will have to save it as a layered Pixlr image (PXD). Just tried to see whether the PXD format is compatible with Photoshop but no such luck.
All in all Pixlr provides a very powerful image editing capabilities for an online browser. Remember to bookmark the site as we are certain you will find it useful.
In celebration of the 65th Independence day of Sri Lanka, Google has rolled out a Doodle for Google.lk . The Doodle contains the Sri Lankan lion holding the kastane sword with the Google letters in the colours of the Sri Lankan flag. To our knowledge this is the first Doodle relating to Sri Lanka. The Doodle is only visible in Google.lk and for Google.com viewed through a Sri Lankan IP.
A simple but powerful infographic on the web trends that will become mainstream in 2013. Some of these trends you can already see surfacing through the more recently launched sites. Any other web trends that you think will be important to note down for 2013?