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Pinterest – Latest Revolution in Social Networking Arena

Pinterest

Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp, for sure are not familiar names to most of us. But the company they started in 2008 has already revolutionized the social networking arena, although they are not as popular as Mark Zuckerberg, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, etc. Pinterest has already surpassed Twitter, as per a research result released by Pew Research Center. Release note says that more U.S. adults use LinkedIn and Pinterest than Twitter, which is a quite interesting stat.

Though it has been more than 4 years after the birth of the company most of the people around the world are not aware of Pinterest, I believe. For sure it is not popular among populations in developing nations. Pinterest is a simple and attractive photo sharing website with a colorful template. The specialty of pinterest is, it has a pin board – style photo sharing method. Pinterest gives the user the option of signing in through facebook and e – mail. The biggest advantage for the user and the specialty is, it allows users to create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, and hobbies.

Pinterest has its app on Play Store. Pinterest app for iPhone was launched in March 2011, and the iPad app was launched August 2011. It means that Pinterest is accessible from almost all the smart phones. Its influence is not as big as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc, when considering the world stage. But looking at the pattern, it has achieved an excellent growth from the day it was launched.

This seems to be a thing worth trying out. So why don’t you try it, at least once?

Smart Homes – A Concept Worth Looking At

Android, once more.

OpenHAB and HUAWEI connected home solution are two examples for smart home solutions. But both the solutions are in their initial phases of development. In my view both the solutions have its merits and de – merits. And by the look of them, they can be considered as mutually exclusive products. One of the common specialties of both the solutions is, Android devices are used in both the instances. It would be a good idea if telecommunications service providers can look in to the idea – Smart Home. I say so, because, it seems to be having the potential of becoming a breakthrough concept.

Overview of OpenHAB in comparison to Huawei connected home solutions

The Open Home Automation Bus (OpenHAB) is an open source platform with a modular architecture thus it is easier to extend or customize. The platform allows mainstream functionalities such as switching lights, sockets and roller shutters by connecting it to the KNX installation. In addition, openHAB allows monitoring states and handling events which is far more critical for smart homes than controlling.

On the other hand users of Huawei connected home solutions are provided with applications including dynamic games & controls, Internet applications (web browsing, audio visual) on TV, IPTV entertainment, SOHO Office, home security, home digital device content sharing, multi-screen switching and cloud access. It has been developed specifically for families, small to middle-sized enterprises, and end-consumers across the broadcasting and telecommunications industry.The solution can be implemented without additional network investment, which is particularly beneficial and cost-effective for commercial organizations.

In openHAB monitoring is enabled through a number of applications such as XMPP (enables chatting with the house through GTalk), Google Calendar (maintains a calendar for the automated tasks and define their state in the calendar), Dropbox (synchronizes log files of openHAB to be accessed from anywhere), iOS push notifications etc.

It is important to note that openHAB is not meant to reside on (or near) actual hardware devices and as thus to remotely communicate with many other distributed openHAB instances. Instead, openHAB rather serves as an integration hub between such devices and as a mediator between different protocols that are spoken between these devices

Architecture

OpenHAB project is fundamentally split into two parts, openhab-runtime and openhab-designer.

OpenHAB-runtime

This is the package that will actually be running on the servers. It is a set of OSGi bundles deployed on an OSGi framework. Being based on OSGi, a modular architecture is provided which enables extension of functionalties during runtime without stopping the service.

OpenHAB

The communication of openHAB is undertaken through two communication channels: an asynchronous event bus and a stateful repository, which can be queried.

All bundles except the ones that require stateful behaviour use the event bus to inform other bundles about events and to be updated by other bundles on external events.

To cover the functionalities that cannot be covered through stateless services, openHABhas offered the item repository, which is connected to the Event Bus and keeps track of the current status of all items.

OpenHAB1

OpenHAB Designer

The openHAB Designer is an Eclipse RCP application for configuring the openHAB runtime. It comes with editors for configuration files like the sitemap.

Bindings

The modular architecture of OpenHAB allows extensions to its functionality through bindings. Installation of bindings does not need a dedicated installation but they can be installed by simply copying the binding package to the respective folder and then configuring the basic settings for the binding. This is one of the major and critical differentiation factors between other vendor-supplied solutions and openHAB since the former solutions do not allow extensions to the system without additional costs.

User Interfaces

Similar to Huawei connected home solution, OpenHAB provides a touch optimized web UI interface for smartphones and tablet PCs. OpenHAB provides this feature with a native iOS client, a native Android User Interface and a SenchaTouch-based UI which can be used with smartphones and tablets.

By Darshika Fernando (Undergraduate, Faculty of Engineering, University of Peradeniya)

Professor Gehan Amaratunga’s University of Moratuwa Convocation Address

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Professor Gehan Amaratunga

“A commencement speech or commencement address is a speech given to graduating students, generally at a University”. This is how Wikipedia describes a commencement speech. The commencement speech made by Steve Jobs at Stanford University Graduation Ceremony 2005 is considered as the best commencement speech done during a graduation ceremony.

University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka had held their 2013 graduation ceremony on July 2013. The Convocation Address, as they say, had been done by one of the most sought after Professors in the world, when it comes to sustainable energy solutions – Professor Gehan Amaratunga.

I found his address as interesting and attractive as the commencement speech of Steve Jobs. It is with great pleasure I post his speech, while thanking to University of Moratuwa authorities for documenting his valuable speech and circulating it.

Speech Made by Professor Gehan Amaratunga at the General Convocation 2013 – University of Moratuwa

Salutations Vice Chancellor,

Graduates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all I would like to thank the University of Moratuwa for giving me the honour of addressing the graduating Class of 2013 in Engineering.

Graduation after the successful completion of your degree is indeed a watershed in your life.

In many ways it is a completion of formal education and a license to enter the world of work as a professional.

It is also a staging post in your personal adventure in the engagement with life. The twists, turns and ascents which lie ahead cannot be predicted.

But one can be prepared to take on a professional adventure. This you undoubtedly have successfully achieved by way of gradating today.

What I want you to expect is a sense of adventure and exhilaration which can lie ahead as you advance in your career.

In fact I would urge you to always seek a sense of professional adventure. This will keep you forever young in terms of intellectuality by always learning, learning not just to acquire new information, but also on how to use it wisely and in a timely manner for maximum benefit.

I can share you some of my experiences on how my career developed after I graduated in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Cardiff University  34 years ago!

After graduation I was uncertain of what I should do professionally.

But having got a First, I was in the fortunate position being offered a studentship to read for a PhD at Cambridge University, which I took on without really having any clear idea of what research entailed, let alone how tenacious, hard working, opinionated and dedicated one had to be to complete a PhD.

I also learnt that all the subject areas I had not liked in my undergraduate course, were the very ones I had to be expert at for research. I am certain that you too will find this out when you start working.

So do not throw away your 2nd and 3rd year notes – you will have to refer to them again! On competition of my PhD I discovered that I had enjoyed and been successful at research.

I had been trained to attend a problem which I did not have any specialist knowledge on, to acquire all the require background information across disciplines and to use it to come up with new insight and solutions.

The actual content of my PhD, which was on missile electronic systems, was not that important. But what was important was the process I had gone through and the skills I had acquired to achieve it.

My success at research meant that I was inducted in to the modern monkhood. That is to say, I became a University lecturer!

While the pay one got in the UK as a lecturer in the eighties was not attractive, what was is the freedom one had to follow one’s own ideas.

To be successful at exploiting such a freedom requires discipline and also a sense of entrepreneurial adventure to look at research opportunities which others have not identified or have ignored.

Research in Engineering, as in Medicine, is only really validated when it is applied for societal benefit.

Therefore extension of my research to application was something I started to passionately believe in. This in turn led naturally to formation of my first start – up company Cambridge Semiconductors (CamSemi), an IC company specializing power management, with venture capital investment.

To date it has shipped in excess of 1 Billion ICs and the chances are that if you have a Nokia or Blackberry phone, a CamSemi chip will be controlling the AC/DC charging of the battery.

My career after graduation had in 20 years taken me from academic to entrepreneur.

Over the past 10 years I have been a founder of a further 4 start – up companies spanning solar electronics, nano materials synthesis and wind power. Two of them have products on the market at present. One of these companies, Nanoinstruments, which makes equipment for the synthesis of carbon nano tubes and grapheme, was started in 2005 with a Sri Lankan student of mine who did Bachelors in Physics at the University of Colombo, Nalin Rupasinghe. We started the company without any capital and the first workshop was a garage/barn. In just two years after starting, the company was acquired by a major German semiconductor equipment manufacturer, Aixtron. Nalin became a millionaire and continues to work for Aixtron. I site this as an example of what entrepreneurial flair a new Sri Lankan graduate, such as your selves, can display when having to succeed in another country. It is time for you to release the same entrepreneurial spirit in Sri Lanka to make it a technologically exciting place.

My research has also thrive and allowed me the freedom look at new problems. It is currently focused on nano electronics and energy storage.

I am now entering the third phase of my career, which I can best describe as sharing wisdom and nurturing a future generation of ingenious innovators, such as those who will rise out of this very graduating class.

In this context I have taken leave from Cambridge to be the Chief of Research and Innovation at the newly formed Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology. What is really invigorating is that this has allowed me to be directly engaged with some of the most urgent problems for humanity to be sustained on the planet, such as green agriculture and enhancing food yields to water purification through the application of nanotechnologies.

The opportunities are immense and the problems are urgent.

You are starting your career at a time when the priorities are very different. For example, when I graduated no one could have imagined that the Soviet Union would not exist and the cold war would be consigned to history. The topic of my PhD missile electronics was influenced by the priorities which prevailed.

 Today the key priorities are sustaining the planet while we continue to enhance living standards for 4 billion people and growing in the developing world.

A key question which you will have to address and solve during your career is : ‘Can we have continued economic growth through consumption, for example such as ever more sophisticated and prevalent consumer electronics, without destroying the planet?’

The question is sobering.

But while we do not know the answer at present, I am certain that with your ingenuity and commitment we will be able to reinvent or transform engineering as we know it today to become sustainable and economically viable.

So to reiterate, what lies ahead is a career adventure.

Embark upon it with a sense of wonderment and enthusiasm.

Sustain your career by always being committed to enjoying what you are doing and having the ultimate aim of ‘making something better than what it is today’.

The most important thing is have fun in your career. Life will then automatically sort itself out!

I wish you all the very best for the future with all my heart.

Reference

  • University of Moratuwa General Convocation – Convocation Address Booklet

Telecommunication Equipment Vendors Performance – 1Q13

1.      Industry Overview

Global economic instability, intense competitive pressures, and decreased spending by communications service providers (CSPs) are all forcing networking equipment vendors to streamline and refocus their business strategies in order to maintain profits. According to recent research, eight of the top global networking equipment vendors are collectively generating an estimated $124 billion in 2012 revenue, or approximately 90% of total worldwide network infrastructure revenue. They are placing significant emphasis on professional