Thursday, June 25, 2009

Imagine Cup 2009

This post shares my experience in competing in Imagine Cup 2009 by Microsoft.

My friend Bhagya (from the IT Faculty of the University of Moratuwa ) and I signed up for this competition in the Mashup category. We made it to the semi finals from among 259 teams worldwide. We did not however make it to the finals in Cairo ( big sigh...). Only 6 teams got selected out of the 16 that were in the semi finals. However competing was a great experience and i learned a lot.

The mashup we created was based on the UN Millenium Development Goal of Universal Education. The idea was to mashup Facebook and Google Calendar to recruit volunteers to run virtual sessions on education and host discussions to raise awareness on issues related to the MDGs.

The project proposals we submitted for the Rounds 1 & 2 can be found here..

Round 1
Round 2

Monday, June 8, 2009

Why I hate the internet!:D

I love the internet so i cannot explain how i came across this article but i thought it really funny so posting it here. This is an article from 1995 , i guess the internet was not too popular back then and facebook and twitter and gmail and blogs and all those things were never heard of. Perhaps years from now people will laugh at what we wrote in blogs because its so primitive.. Who knows..:)


by Kim Bond, TG co-op student
The central evil in the universe today is people's obsession with the internet. Or at least, I think so. Everywhere I go it seems that people are falling all over themselves, drooling at the new technology that lights up like magic before their eyes. I can imagine the scene in the corporate men's washroom, with all those technology freaks standing around comparing the size of their hard drives. But no matter how many people tell me that the internet is the information highway to heaven, I can't help but wonder, why?

Now, before I go any further I guess I'd better explain what the heck I'm doing writing an anti-internet article to be posted on the internet. Yes, it is hypocritical and no, it doesn't make any sense. Maybe deep down my Catholic roots are trying to vent themselves by subconsciously driving me to try to secretly convert all of you internet junkies. Maybe I just feel sorry for all those readers who are being forced to log on for some assignment or work requirement (actually that - unfortunately - is my real reason for doing this. By some insane twist of fate this ranting and raving is actually a part of my job here).

Every argument I hear in favor of this seemingly amazing technology fails to convince me of it's worth. Of course, I'm just like everyone else in that if something comes along that can make my life more enriched, interesting, and above all easier, I'm going to appreciate it. But I'm just not sure that the internet offers any of these things.

Let me point out, for example, one of what I consider to be the most misleading pro-internet arguments, namely that the internet is the key to free information for everyone. Excuse me, but the last time I checked nothing about the whole set-up was free. The internet, like any communication tool, is a service provided by a reasonably limited number of companies which charge users according to the amount of time they spend worshipping this lovely invention. And that's for those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to shell out the three thousand bucks to get a computer in the first place. More than any other technology before it, the internet allows only the upper class of society to participate, making the whole "free information" spiel seem more than a little flawed.

Equally ridiculous is the idea that the future of education will involve link-ups from home computers with which students will communicate with teachers via the internet. How brilliant. The one thing that keeps most teenagers in school to begin with is the opportunity for daily social interaction with their peers. Ask any red-blooded teenager what it is they like about school and they will undoubtedly list friends, gym or art class, school clubs or teams, driver's ed., or other such aspects of high school life which could never be delivered direct-to-you through the internet. Surely stripping school down to the barest, driest facts will lead to a sudden surge of interest in lessons by teenager around the world (I know I'm planning on joining this trend right after that date I have lined up with Brad Pitt).

The one convincing argument I've heard in favor of the internet claims that the internet will make those long frustrating trips to the library a thing of the past. The idea is that with millions of articles on everything from Moroccan snail population trends to the history of beets, future research will simply be a matter of searching the internet for facts, all from the comfort of your own living room. But even this argument can be easily shot down, as the information posted on the internet has virtually no proof of reliability. Any knucklehead with a computer and half a brain can write anything he or she wants on the internet.

Wait a minute. Any knucklehead with a computer and half a brain can write anything he or she wants on the internet. Maybe that's the point, after all.
Copyright © 1995 TG Magazine/The Students Commission