Sinhala in Windows 10

I am usually pretty skeptic about Microsoft’s upgrades to its Windows OS. I’ve been using Windows 7 in my laptop ever since I bought it about over a year back. Windows 8 nor 8.1 appeal to me at all! However, this time, with all the hype for Windows 10, I was curious to try it out.

After obtaining a copy few days back, I was still hesitant to install it, mainly because I didn’t wanna go through the pain of having to comb through the internet for drivers and workarounds for softwares I used to use on Windows 7 (the memories from the switch to Vista from XP was haunting me ๐Ÿ˜› ). ย After asking around a few who had already installed it, and after checking it on VMWare, I finally decided to give it a go.

The installation process was pretty smooth, though I expected it might be troublesome. I used a bootable USB to install a clean copy of Windows 10. For creating the bootable USB, I used the tool given by Microsoft for creating Windows 7 bootable USBs. I decided on this because my laptop is dual boot and when installing Ubuntu Gnome on it before, I ran in to trouble with UEFI vs. BIOS. The bootable Ubuntu USB given by my friend was a UEFI installer and it caused a boot-loader nightmare when installed along Windows 7 (which was BIOS based). So in order to avoid facing those problems again, I used the Windows USB/DVD Download Tool. It allowed me to create a BIOS based bootable Windows 10 USB.

Happily for me, the software I used on Windows 7 runs without problem in Windows 10 as well (well, at least so far! ๐Ÿ˜› ). However there was a minor annoyance in Windows 10, in my short experience with the OS. It does not seem to support any other language pack, other than the pack you selected initially, when starting the installation. I found this out when trying to browse websites containing Sinhala text; the pages simply didn’t render the text. To fix this, go to the language settings of the control panel and download the Sinhala language pack. If you were already using any browsers etc. restart them to let the changes take effect.


Software Engineering Project (SEP): Introduction

In our 5th semester, we have a module called Software Engineering Project, in which we have to carry out a Software Engineering Project, individually. The purpose of this project is to put the knowledge we gained on Computer Science and Software Engineering in to practice. We could either select a project of our own or select from a list of ideas given to us. For my project, I selected a project given to us. It is a project of LIRNEasia, a regional organization which carries out various researches.

The project is to develop a web-based tool to visualizing propagation of information/disease in networks with the option to overlay such visualizations on a map. Such a tool will give valuable insights to researchers upon visual inspection of the data. There are actually 3 other projects related to this project, which in combination will give researchers and policy makers a valuable tool.

In my project, the aim is to provide a visualization overlaid on a map for researchers studying disease/information propagation through network-based models. When overlaid on a map, such models provide the ability to simulate scenarios and identify vulnerable regions etc.

There are several challenges to be addressed when going ahead with this project. First, the scalability. The tool should be able to handle large volumes of input data, without crashing the browser. Secondly the input file format is generic and not completely specified, which means the tool should be capable of handling input files with data formatted in various ways. Third problem is the extensibility of the tool. The tool needs to be designed in a way that it enables other developers to add features to it or build other components or services on top of it. At the moment, I haven’t really figured out how to tackle these problems. But I feel the right sort of modular architecture will sort out or at least make it easier to tackle these problems.

Using Apache Jena With Netbeans

So it is GSoC time and I came across an interesting project which deals with linked data. In order to apply for it, I had to get Jena, a Java library for handling RDF graphs. The documentation provides info on how to configure Eclipse to use it. But Eclipse is not really my choice for an IDE. I prefer Netbeans. So I wanted to configure Jena to be used in Netbeans. Most of the resources I looked up suggested using Maven. But I wasn’t interested in that. After a bit of tinkering around, I managed to get it configured as a library in Netbeans. It is quite easy actually.

Go to Tools -> Libraries and create a new library called Jena. In the classpath tab, go to ‘Add Jar/Folder’ and navigate to the path where you extracted Jena and go to the ‘lib’ folder. Select all the jar files in the ‘lib’ folder and add them. Then, optionally, you can add the Jena source files and Java docs as well. And that is it.

Screenshot 2015-03-25 02.35.57

To use Jena in a new project, right click the libraries directory in the created project on the ‘Projects’ tab and select ‘Add Library’ and select Jena.


So last Tuesday marked the end of the Video Production module which we took as a humanities elective for the third semester. The end goal of the module was to produce a 20 min documentary on a subject matter we chose initially. For this, we learnt of the thinking process that goes behind the making of documentaries and movies in general as well as techniques used when shooting the documentary.

However this post is not about the module nor the documentary we made (which is still work in progress ๐Ÿ˜› ), but about something our lecturer, Mr. Ravin drew our attention to. The Tuesday before last, we had our edits of the documentaries critiqued by Ms. Anoma Rajakaruna, a distinguished documentary maker. An interesting outcome of the critique was that the documentary which had the highest production quality and which was near completion (none of the other 3 were at least half done) was criticized for being a TV programme and not a documentary. Continue reading