October 29, 2006

Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter

Filed under: Life,Uncategorized — mifan @ 2:20 pm

Ever sat back and wondered about 2 of the greatest Fantasy books ever? I’m an avid Reader, and 2 of my favourites are the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and Harry Potter. A recent heated debate with a friend on which was the greater of the two (which didn’t result in any sort of sane conclusion), made us amused to realize some of the similarities between the two, of which I list some below (The order is Category – LOTR Example – Harry Potter Example):

  • Magical and mythical world: A world filled with magic and mythical creatures. Common creatures like elves and goblins exist, people who can transform into animals, flying creatures etc.
  • The Dark Lord: The source of all evil, whom’s destruction is the goal of the good guys. His name is not spoken, and he is referred to as the Dark Lord, He who must not be named, or We do not speak of him in these areas etc. – Sauron (LOTR) – Voldermort (HP)
  • The Innocent Looking Hero: The fate of the world/middle-earth depends on him. He is seemingly innocent, small compared to other powerful beings, especially his enemy. He is sometimes arrogant, and leads himself to trouble. Simple minded and modest, and trusts his friends. – Frodo Baggins (LOTR) – Harry Potter (HP)
  • The Worm Guy: The Bad sneaky guy acting as a good guy, with a slimy name. The slippery villian, who in the eyes of some is good but eventually turns out bad. Faithful servant to his master, even though the master isn’t always kind to him. Has another name, but is called by this name often. Name starts with ‘Worm’ and ends with a part of the body, : tongue or tail. – Wormtongue (LOTR) – Wormtail (HP)
  • The hooded Spooks: It’s all about fear when these dudes are around. No face, no physical form, no soul etc. Hooded figures who bring fear to all around.- Nazgul (LOTR) – Dementors (HP)
  • The good old wizard: The white wizard who is Wise and old, but is amazingly nifty and strong. The strongest of the good guys, and might have the ability to defeat the dark lord, but it is not his fate to do so? Very close to the hero, and like paternal adviser to the hero. Talks in a slow and steady tone, and mostly in riddles – Gandalf (LOTR) – Dumbledore (HP)
  • The Troublesome Creature?: Looks all slimy and troublesome, but helpful in the end. Small and slippery, and knows a trick or two. Sometimes talks to itself, or refers to itself in the 3rd person (or creature?). The movie spent a lot of time creating the creature using CG. Close to the hero – Gollum (LOTR) – Dobby (HP)
  • The Dark Forest: The dark and mysterious forest – Fangorn (LOTR) – Forbidden Forest (HP)
  • Fang the Dog: A dog named Fang – Belongs to Farmer Maggot (LOTR) – Belongs to Hagrid
  • The Tree: The tree that tries to strangle or hurt one of the good guys – Old Man Willow – Whomping Willow
  • I don’t trust him: A scruffy looking vagabound who earns the distrust of the hero and his friends. Eventually, he turns out to be the most trustworthy, who is loyal to the hero – Aragorn (LOTR) – Sirius Black (HP)
  • The magic of 1’s: The birthday that starts it all – 111th Birthday of Bilbo (LOTR) – 11th Birthday of Harry (HP)
  • The unhealing wound: Pain increases in Enemy’s presence.- Frodo’s wound by witch king (LOTR)- Harry’s forhead scar by Voldy (HP)
  • Giant Spider: Shelob (LOTR) – Aragorg (HP)
  • Deceased Parents: Frodo’s (LOTR)- Harry’s(HP)

Frankly, too many similarities.. A coincidence? You tell me 😉


October 21, 2006

Thank You, Google

Filed under: Development,FOSS,Life,Linux,Varsity — mifan @ 7:57 pm

All good things come to an end, and so must the Google Summer of Code, 2006. I was a successful recipient of the above, along with 8 other colleagues from Sri Lanka, of which 8 of us were from the University of Moratuwa, and one from IIT. I was waiting for my official certificate to issue a formal thank you note, and now that it has arrived, here it is:
Thank You, Leslie Hawthorn and Chris DiBonna from the Opensource office, Google, and Google as a whole, for the great Opportunity, the constant advice, the friendly tips and a chance of a lifetime. Many thanks also to my SoC2006 Colleagues from all over the world, My Mentor, My Mentoring Organization and My Umbrella Project for all the advice, support, help and fun. Even though it isn’t exactly summer in this part of the world, the sun was shining in all its glory the last 3 months. Hope we meet again in the future, possibly in SoC 2007? 🙂

p.s: The Bar Code on the certificate is real, and codes for S C 2006

Google SoC Certificate

Google Gadget Awards

Filed under: Development,FOSS,Life,Varsity — mifan @ 6:13 pm

The submission deadline of the Google Gadget Awards is nearing, a programming challenge to create Nifty Web/Desktop Gadgets. The expert panel to judge the event makes the competition a much sought after event. The following is an extract from Google:

What’s a “gadget”? It’s a simple tool that can be placed on the Google
homepage or on your computer’s desktop. How easy is it to build one? If
you can make a webpage, you can make a gadget. Why would you want to
enter this competition? Street cred. Bragging rights. The chance to
show your skills to millions, including a few famous folks in the tech

Which famous folks, in particular? A panel of world-class tech experts
including the editor-in-chief of Wired magazine and the founder of
Slashdot. Our panel will select the best gadgets: you could win an
award for best overall gadget, most useful gadget, most intelligent
gadget, prettiest gadget, or gadget most likely to help you get a date.
And your gadget can be used by Google users or anyone who has a webpage
around the world.

This, as was the Google Summer of Code, is open to Students only. Unfortunately, this time Students are limited to those studying in the U.S, and having a .edu email address. Me being a student in S.L and having a email address doesn’t help this time :(. Anyways, hope my colleugues from SoC 2006 can participate

October 20, 2006

Earth of Code in Summer

Filed under: Development,FOSS,Life,Linux,Varsity — mifan @ 7:11 pm

IMHO, The Greatest Opensource competition ever for Students, the Google Summer of Code, recently concluded, and I was one of its succesful recipients (Hip, Hip, Hurrah :)). As customary, the Google Team Released a map of locations of the Students and Mentors of GSoc 2006, and in contrast to Googlemaps of 2005, we are on the 3D Globe, a.k.a Google Earth (Thank the stars that Linux Support for Google Earth was made available earlier this year. You do require Google Earth to view the map, which is in KML format). Below is a screenshot of Yours Truly pinpointed at Colombo on Google Earth running on Ubuntu Drake. Unfortunately, my mentor is all at Sea, literally, at the southern part of SL 🙂

Lord of the Strings…

Filed under: Music — mifan @ 6:20 pm

I’m an A. R. Rahman Fanatic :). I’ve got nearly all his masterpieces, and listen to them daily. Recently, I discovered that YouTube was a treasuretrove of never before seen footage of this Musical Genius including Ad jingles for Airtel, WorldSpace, AsiaNet and Volvic Featuring Zinadine Zidane, behind the scenes footage of his Recording Studio and exclusive interviews. And what’s more, the site also contains footage and music of the world famous Lord of the Rings Musical, for which A.R.Rahman was lead composer together with the Finnish band Vartinna. And, yes, this is official LOTR, if you are skeptical. Make way for the Lord of the Strings ..

October 19, 2006

The Sahana Edge

Filed under: Sahana — mifan @ 6:54 pm

Whilst stability’s the game for Sahana Release 0.4 stable, its adventurous counterpart, Sahana Unstable, is trying to be at the forefront of technology. Whether its called Cutting Edge, or Bleeding Edge or Blood Pumping Edge ;), it involves a lot of features suggested by the community, and results of research in relevant areas. Some of the features we are working on, or planning to work on, or dreaming to work on are

  • Advanced GIS and Spatial Queries
  • Synchronization and P2P Sahana Support
  • Distributed Sahana
  • Sahana on a stick – Sahana version that runs on a USB stick, complete with the OS
  • RSS and GeoRSS Import and Export
  • Unified Messaging supporting CAPS and XMPP
  • Mobile Sahana that works on CLDC, CDC
  • Spatial Functionality using PostGIS
  • And Many more that I can’t remember 🙂

I am pushing to get a code name for this version, and then we can refer to this by a cool name 😉 See, I told you Sahana is great 🙂 The current Unstable Development version can obtained via CVS at Sourceforge

Towards rel_0.4 stable

Filed under: Sahana — mifan @ 11:00 am

Sahana phase2 version rel_0.4 beta has been in beta status for some time now, and its time we moved this to a stable state. Thus, rigorous QA testing is the order of the day, as the pesty bugs are hunted and shot down to pave way for a stable version of Sahana-Phase 2: Release 0.4. This should be followed (hopefully) closely by Sahana-Phase2: Rel 0.5 alpha. Oh, and did I mention that we intend to have a demo of the stable version online? 🙂

The following modules are supposed to be included in the stable version: Missing Person’s Registry, Organizatons Registry, Camps Registry,  Situation Mapping, Request/Aid Management, Synchronization, Inventory Management, Catalogue System etc.


Filed under: Sahana — mifan @ 9:59 am

I contribute to Sahana, the FOSS Disaster Management System. It’s great to be working for such a worthy cause, knowing that it would be used to help manage every major disaster around the world . What’s more,  its all FOSS :), and has been deployed succesfully in major locations around
the world in the past.

Sahana has seen its way through 3 phases since January 2005, and is currently labeled Sahana-Phase3. I have been a contributor since phase1, and am part of the core-team for phase2 and phase3. I do find time 2 days a hectic week to attend the Sahana lab based in the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. The rest of the week is spent on my full time priority, i.e attending lectures at the University of Moratuwa 😉

Hello Cyberspace ?

Filed under: Uncategorized — mifan @ 9:29 am

My friends have constantly been pushing me to make my presence felt in Cyberspace. Ok, so Opensource helps, but I was ignorant of the world of Blogging until recently, when I noticed many great Blogs around. Thus the venture, and my first step into Blogging.

As J.R.R. Tolkien puts it: “It’s dangerous business going out your front door“, so bear with me 🙂

Blog at