Friday, December 22, 2017

A look back

It has been almost two years since I have started learning PPD. At the very first, since this is a non GPA subject, I honestly did not pay much attention, but after doing few activities, I started to like this, maybe a little bit better than some of the boring theory lectures. It did not take me much time to realize that having a good academic knowledge is not the only important thing that matters in your life or career. Your skills and most importantly your attitudes do matter too. PPD was the place for me where I improved myself a lot.
Among the many things I have learnt, PPD taught us to,

  • be creative
  • be a strategic thinker
  • identify our own strengths and weaknesses
  • identify our life goals and work hard to achieve them
  • be a team leader
  • work as a team, negotiate with others and to listen to other people
  • how to manage our time
  • how to work under stress
  • improve our presentation skills
  • work with different people and to respect each one's ideas
  • how to take immediate decisions
  • how to behave in a situation
  • how to make a proper CV
  • how to face an interview
  • how to be a better person and many more
The above mentioned ones are just a few things among many others that I have learnt in PPD. Overall, PPD taught me to be a better person attitude-wise as well as skill-wise. It helped me a lot to improve my personality. Another one of the many important things it has taught me is to be a dreamer, and to work hard to achieve those dreams. This subject also helped me a lot to identify people, interact with people and be socialize among them. It taught me to look at something with different angles of views and to understand a situation better.
I believe it is important to have such a subject included in all the undergraduates' time table. I have gained many things to my life and thank you very much to all the lecturers and facilitators for giving us such a wonderful opportunity. It was not just another subject to me, it was a place which taught so many life lessons as well as a place we had fun and enjoyed ourselves.

Out bound training

For the out bound training we decided to visit the Naval and Maritime academy in Trincomalee. It was quite a long journey and we got the chance to spend two days there.

Day 1

We reached the camp there around 10 a.m. and after welcoming us we were offered a delicious lunch. The camp was truly beautiful and it was a nice experience to work with our junior batch as well. After the lunch, we were divided into groups, "Alpha", "Bravo", "Delta" and "Charlie" which I got the team Charlie, and they have planned a set of leadership developing activities for us at the beach. 
First one was to go through a small rectangle made with ropes. But the catch is if we touch the rope then we die and any one holding you at that time also dies. There were so many we learnt from that activity. In such activities we have to make someone a leader and listening to the leader is very important. We had to have a good strategic plan as to how to go through the rectangle and everyone had different ideas. It is important that we listen to others and finally picking up the best ideas and make a plan. 
The next activity was to roll a small ball through set of pipes without dropping it to the ground. We also could not touch the next person's pipe before he got the ball. It was not as easy as it sounds. You need to have a bit of patience and a very good focus to do such an activity. Listening to your leader is very important. Finally our team was able to win that game, because all our team members worked together cooperatively and we were not in a rush to win the game, but to end the game successively, and I believe that itself helped us to win the game since other teams were so focused on winning.
As the next activity, we had to fill water to a cylinder having holes everywhere and the catch was that we could only use our body parts to cover the cylinder. Even filling it with water had to be done using our hands and mouth. So we chose one person and asked him to lay on the beach and hold the cylinder on his tummy. Other people went running to bring water filled to their hands and mouths. As the water level increased, it started to came out through the holes, so we used our fingers to prevent water from coming out. Anyway we could not win this game due to lack of proper coordination.
The next activity was to carry out some wooden logs which were given to us not using our hands but using our tummies! So we made a line and pressed to each other so that a log was in between two members. We were also asked to keep our hands on the head and through out the journey, for any reason we were not allowed to take our hands off, if we did so we had to start the game again from the very beginning.  This activity, my team was able to win. We had a very good leader and all the members listened to him. There were so many distractions from other team members. They were shouting and trying to make us laugh. So you really need to have a good focus without letting it get distracted by outer disturbances. 
Our next task was to throw a volleyball over the net so that one person was there on the other side to catch it and four people had to throw the ball to him using a rug. Initially we thought the game was quite easy, but once we started to do it only we realized how difficult it was to throw the ball using the rug. At first we did not have a proper strategy, but then we held the rug so that two people at the back held it little higher than to the two people at the front. The strategy seemed to work but anyway we could not win that game.
The last activity was a tug of war. Everyone had so much fun during this activity. Encouraging your team members, listening to your leader and working together became very important at this game

After all the activities and freshening up in our hostels, we had a talent show and a campfire at the night. It was truly a beautiful night and we sang, danced and enjoyed a lot!

Day 2

On the next day morning after having a delicious breakfast, we were taken to the forest for a compass march. We were taught on how to use a compass to find your way if you get lost in the forest. It was an exciting as well as quite exhaustive journey! After walking some distance, we met a person who had got injured himself by falling down from a tree. There our navy officers explained to us on what we should do on such a situation, how to give basic first aid and also emphasized that how much strategic thinking is important in such a situation. After quite a long walk in the forest, we finally managed to come to the beach.
Next we went to see the Maritime and Naval Museum where we saw some ruins and leftovers from the war and we were given the chance to see some of the technologies that the navy has.

After lunch we set to leave the camp and go back to the university with a bunch of new memories to last our lifetime. The navy officers were there has put a lot of effort to make that journey memorable and thanks to them and the staff we had lots of fun, learnt many things and enjoyed those two to the fullest.

Table Etiquette & Ethics

Today the session is quite different than others. We went to the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) to learn about table etiquette and ethics.

Table etiquette and ethics are very important especially when it comes to the corporate world and high class social gatherings. People usually tend to judge you by observing your manners. Thus, knowing proper table etiquette and ethics helps you to make a positive impression on others.

The first half of the session was spent on a presentation teaching us about how to dress for the occasion, how to behave properly, how to hand shake properly, different table manners followed by different nations and many more. It was a quite interactive session, and the facilitator did a great job on explaining to us and we honestly learnt lots of new things.

 The next half of the session is a practical session. We got the chance to practically do everything what we have learnt in the morning session during the lunch. The staff there was very charming and helpful. First they served us a three course meal. Mix Hors'd O euvre bread rolls and butter as the appetizer, sea food in cream sauce, braised rice and green salad as the entree and finally a fruit trifle as the dessert. The food was really yummy and we enjoyed a lot! Our facilitator did not forget to walk around and correct mistakes we made. It became very helpful in learning how to use all the tools properly.

It was such a wonderful experience and as students we really love such outdoor class activities. We got to learn so many new things which we would not have been able to learn inside a class listening to a lecture.

Latest Software Engineering Trends

Today the session is about the latest software engineering trends in industry which was conducted by the hSenid mobile company. Unfortunately, I missed the session since I had to attend to a technical exam on that day.
Nevertheless,  different trends come into the software engineering field from time to time.

One such latest trend is Artificial Intelligence. Today, most of the leading companies are moving towards AI to stay competitive with other businesses as well as to improve their business processes. If I am to simply describe what is AI, it is all about making machines intelligent. This technology enables machines to show cognitive functions like "learning" and "problem solving". Even Facebook, has recently announced their plan for moving towards AI. There are so many benefits a company could attain through this technology. Some of the well popular benefits are,

  • virtual assistance
  • generating insights on business and market 
  • system automation
Another latest trend in the industry is AR and VR which stands for Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Augmented Reality is supplementing a live, direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment by computer generated sensory inputs like sound, video, graphics, GPS etc.
Virtual Reality is referred to as immersive multimedia or computer simulated reality which replicates an environment that would simulate a physical presence in the real world or imagine world enabling the user to interact with that world. These technologies are heavily used in Gaming industry. Other applications are;

  • Military applications such as virtual shooting, bombs disposal etc
  • Healthcare sector to perform virtual surgeries for novice doctors and medical students
  • Media and Telecommunication
  • Cinema 
  • In Engineering to make 3D models of buildings
  • Fashion design
  • Tourism and many more.
IoT which is also known as Internet of Things, is also a huge trend in the field nowadays. What is IoT? Simply we can say it is a network of physical devices embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators and network connectivity which enables these objects to connect and exchange data. Some of the applications which use this technology are;
  • Intelligent shopping systems which could monitor customer's purchasing habits and track their mobile phones
  • Home automation such as Smart Homes
  • Energy management systems which could monitor heat, light, electricity etc.
  • Smart wearables
  • Smart supply chain
  • Smart farming and many more

Nowadays, most of the businesses are moving to "Cloud", thus we can say, Cloud Computing is also another trending field in the industry. Cloud computing is all about running workloads over the internet remotely in a commercial provider's data center. Through this,

  • people will be able to access data at anytime from anywhere in the world.
  • can reduce the hardware cost greatly because the company does not have to spend money on buying fast computers with more memory space.
  • organizations can get company-wide access to computer applications
  • company could save money spent on maintenance of hardware.

These are some of the latest trends in the software engineering field. Staying current with the latest tech will help companies to gain lots of benefits in the long run. Not only for the companies, it is equally important for people in the software engineering field as well as people who are hoping to enter into this field.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The Art of Living

Today for PPD we had a visiting lecturer, Dr. Ajith Colonne. He is such a talented and intelligent man from Mathematical background. His ideas and theories are really amazing and at the end of the day I'm actually glad that I attended today's lecture.

He started the lecture first by asking "What is the purpose of your life?" which made the whole class dumb stuck 😅. He gave 3 points to the above question.

  1. Happiness
  2. Success
  3. Enjoyment

Then he moved on to his next question, "What do you need to live a happy lfe?". He mentioned 3 points.

  1. You should be able to appreciate nature
  2. You should be able to think philosophically
  3. You should have a good companionship
  4. You should have good health

The happiest people in the Earth are not those who have no problem, but those who learn to live with things that are less than perfect


There are three inner strengths one shall possess and develop, in order to accomplish difficult tasks and achieve success in life
  1. Perseverance
  2. Determination
  3. Endurance


Next he talked about Positive thinking and Self-confidence.

Both of them are highly important to lead a successful life. 
Positive thinking would make you focus on good things, happy thoughts, and successful outcomes.
Before doing anything in your life, you have to believe in yourself. They say self confidence is the foundation to all great success and achievement. 

However, positive thinking and self confidence alone are not sufficient to move ahead. Still, things can go wrong. You may need strategic thinking, knowledge, support from others as well.

His next topic was about Vision.

"What's your vision?" 
Everyone has their own vision in their life. But just having a vision is not enough. You have to go towards that vision and achieve it.

Through out his lecture he gave many advises on how to become successful, sharing his own life experiences. 

Financial success is just one percent of your total success. Even though you are financially successful, it doesn't matter at the end if you are not happy inside. The very best example is the death of Chester Bennington, the famous singer in the musical band, Linkin Park.

He said his dream is to win the Nobel prize. I wish him from the very bottom of my heart that he would be able to make his dream a reality, because people like him are rare and especially in a country like Sri Lanka. It's quite sad that Sri Lankans don't value the importance of such intellectual people. 

My Dream Trip

If I had an unlimited budget and one month vacation where would I go?
Well that was a hard thing to decide at first, because I want to travel all around the world! I want to eat new types of food, experience different cultures and their traditions, to see the beauty of places that I have never gone and to meet new people.

I will start from the closest place, that's India. There are couple of beautiful places that I have always wanted to visit in India.

The very first thing is Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal was made by King Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his wife Mumtaz Mahal. It is a place that reflects so much of love. It is an ivory- white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. I would like to spend some alone time near the river Yamuna as well.

Next stopping point is the Red Fort in Delhi.

It was the main residence of the emperors of the Mughal dynasty for nearly 200 years. It is located in the centre of Delhi and house a number of museums.

If I have enough time I would go to visit the India gate as well.Spending  around four days in India, then I would move to China. My plan is to cover some most important parts of China within four days.

Huairou would be my first place to go, becuase I want to see the Great wall of China.

It's a series of fortifications made of stone, brick, tamped earth, wod and other materials, built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the country from invasions and attacks.

Next stop would be at the Forbidden city at Beijing.

It was the Chinese imperial palace for about 500 years, now houses the Palace museum. It has served as the home of emperors and their households as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government. UNESCO has declared it as one of the world heritage site and said to be the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world.

Moving little bit of South from Beijing, there I'd be able to visit the Temple of Heaven.

It's an imperial
complex of religious buildings, visited by the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to heaven for good harvest.

One of another world's heritage site is the Terracotta Army located in Shaanxi.

It's a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of the first emperr of China. It's a form of funeral art buried with the emperor whose purpose was to protect him in his afterlife. The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being the generals. The figures include the warriors, chariots and horses.

It's time to get back on my world tour, even though I'd like to spend more time in China. My next destination is Russia.

My first stopping point would be at the Cathedral of Vasily the Blessed commonly known as Saint Basil's Cathedral. It's a church in the Red Square in Moscow. The building is shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising int the sky, and it's perceived as the earthly symbol of the Heavenly city. 

Next, I'd like to visit the Hermitage museum.

It's a museum of art and culture located in Saint Petersburg. It's the oldest and the largest museum in the world and contains the biggest collection of paintings in the world. 

All and all Russia is a one beautiful big country which would need months to fully cover all the beautiful places. But since my time is limited, it's high time to say goodbye, and moving to the biggest part of my trip, Europe!

I'd go to Poland first. 

With all the tiring few days I had in India and China, I want to have some leisurely time in the beautiful city, Prague.

My next point would be on Romania. From my childhood, Dracula is a one scary fictional character that I have got to know. I have watched so many movies, even cartoons veiled around the blood drinking man who can't walk in the sun have superstitious powers. It'd be one of my dreams come true, if I get a chance to visit his palace, the Dracula's castle. So my first stopping point in Romania would be Transylvania. The castle is also known as the Bran castle. The fortress is situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia. The castle is now a museum dedicated to displaying art and furniture collected by Queen Maria. After spending another day in Romania, I'd move too Greece. Having read so many Greek and Roman mythologies veiled around gods and goddesses it'd be a great deal for me to actually go there and see all the temples, buildings, paintings and statues made for them.Parthenon would be my first stop. It's a temple dedicated to the goddess Athena whom the people of Athens considered their patron.Next stop would be at the Temple of Zeus, also known as the Olympieon or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, located at the center of Athens. It was dedicated to Olympian Zeus, the head of the Olympian gods.Before leaving Greece, I'd visit the Acropolis museum which displays the findings of the archaeological site of the Acropolis of Athens.Next target would be Italy.Colosseum is an oval amphitheater in the center of the city of  Rome built of concrete and sand. It's the largest amphitheater ever built. It was used for gladiator contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles and dramas based on classical mythology.I'd also spare some time to visit the Vatican museums which are Christian and art museums located within the city boundaries of the Vatican city displaying works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the word.St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican city is the largest church in the world. Catholic tradition holds that the Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, the first Pope. Saint Peter's tomb is supposedly directly below the high altar of the Basilica. It's famous as a place of pilgrimage and for it's liturgical functions.Among many other places I'd like to visit in Italy, I'd somehow spare my time to go to the Florence Cathedral, Pantheon and Milan Cathedral.Another must visit place is the Grand canal in Venice, which forms one of the major water traffic corridors in the city. It'd be a shame to say if you didn't visit the Leaning tower of Pisa after going to Italy!

My next destination point would be France. Eiffel tower and the Louvre museum are must visit places. 
Next destination point would be Switzerland, where I'd like to get have some leisure time eating bulk of Swiss chocolates till I put on at least 2 kilos 😉

The next big destination point, United Kingdoms.

The Big Ben, the London Eye, Stonehenge and the Buckingham are must go places. 

Having spent around twenty days in Europe, it's almost time to go back home. Even though I'd want to travel to United States, there's no time. So I'd leave that for another unlimited budgeted one month holidays 😉

A look back

It has been almost two years since I have started learning PPD. At the very first, since this is a non GPA subject, I honestly did not pay m...