Interested in taking GRE CAT test in India? Readon..

March 15th, 2010 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

(I’ve wrote this post some time ago and was in drafts until now :( )

Few days ago, I did GRE Computer Adaptive Test(CAT) in India (Still the “CAT” is not available in Sri Lanka). It took sometime to plan and figure out the costs and things to be done. I must thank Kooti (My Indian friend whose home town is Chennai), Ruchith and Saliya who provided a lot of information about the trip. Also, I thought following might help someone who is planning to take the GRE test in India.

First of all you need to have following ready,
1. Register for the GRE test at Prometric Test Center at Chennai.
2. Buy A return air ticket.
3. Get Visa (Tourist Visa, Single Entry, <3Months)
Have a look at http://www.vfs-in-lk.com, for information on visa: requirements, fees, time for processing etc. It would be much easier, if you download/print/fill the visa forms before going there. No need to take photographs/photocopies in advance, you can get them from there for a fee. Usually it takes a week or two. So allocate some time for that.
4. Reserve a Hotel to Stay
There are few hotels around, and I found Palmgrove at Chennai is an OKAY TO STAY hotel. Prometric Test Center is 10minute walk from Palmgrove. However, I took an Auto (3 wheeler) for INR 50/-, by asking the driver to take me to VIJAY TV, which is next to Prometric.
Address:
Hotel Palmgrove
13, Kodambakkam High Road
Nungambakkam,
Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600034
Phone: (44) – 28271881
URL: http://www.ballalgrouphotels.com/index.asp?name=palm
I made a reservation through their online form. Although they have confirmed by an email reply, they couldn’t find my reservation when I reach there. However, it wasn’t a problem since they had enough rooms left :) . So It is better to CALL them and make a reservation. And NO Internet there.

Approximate Cost (As of November, 2008 – INR: Indian Rupees, SLR: Sri Lankan Rupees)
- SLR 15000 – Return Air Ticket -> Colombo – Chennai – Colombo
- INR 300 – A government prepaid cab from Chennai Airport to Hotel Palmgrove (INR 200 – for 3 Wheeler)
- INR 1500 – Breakfast provided, A/C Room Single, including 12.5% tax, approximated, per day.
- INR 150~300 – Lunch + Dinner + Mineral Water per day.
- INR 300 – A cab from HOTEL to Chennai “International” Airport. (INR 200 – for 3 Wheeler)
In addition to this, you need to have some cash to pay for Tips etc..

Important:
- Drink only Mineral Water.
- Take US$ with you and you can change them to INR at Chennai Airport. They will comeup with funny calculations about the commission they are getting during the INR to US$ conversion, well you can’t do much about that.
- INR 10000 is the maximum amount they convert to US$ on the way back.Confirm the price before getting into a 3 wheeler. (yeah same as in SL)
- If possible, visit the exam center, one day before the exam date, to have an idea of the location, so you won’t be lost on the exam date.
- I am not sure whether you can claim the GST you paid, but no harm in trying. For that you may need to keep the receipts and provide them in the Airport, on the way back.
- If time permits, don’t forget to visit places like, Marina Beach, Besant Nagat beach, Kapalieshwara Temple in Mylapore, Santhome Church in Mylapore.

A Scam – HSBC Credit Card Bill Pay through EasyPay – Sri Lanka

January 15th, 2010 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

Yeah! I am a “proud” customer of HSBC. Yeah!! I also know you’ll laugh at me for my stupidy for keeping a HSBC Credit Card. But still, I want to share my “latest” experience with HSBC bill payment.

I paid my last credit card bill on the due date using HSBC EasyPay[1] machine at Moratuwa Branch. I got a receipt having the date (which is the due date), time, and the amount I paid. However when I got the next bill, I realized I was charged Late Fee and Interest. Altogether it was around Rs 5000/-. I called the customer “service” and the response was that I have to pay before 3pm to credit on the same day. Yeah, it is fair enough, only if it is mentioned somewhere clearly. But HSBC clearly wants the customer to be mislead!

Reason #1
If the machine says that I have paid it on a given day, why can’t HSBC accept the fact, even though they open those envelopes in the following day?

Reason #2
In tiny letters the machine carries the message “The payments received before 3pm will be credited after 7:30pm in the same day.”. Okay!, does this only mean, “payments received after 3pm will be credited in the following day”? Can’t I assume, the payments received between 3pm and 5pm will be credited after 10pm? My question is, why do they only just “imply” the message? They could have just said, “The payments received after 3pm will be credited in the next working day

Even the EasyPay site[1] boasts about “24 X 7 availability”. Why can’t they say the above in a line or two?

They asked me to send a Fax. The rep “advised” me not to use the term “mislead”. Instead, asked me to “plea” for a refund. Then they’ll consider to refund atleast a fraction of it. My answer was “Go to hell!”.

[1] http://www.hsbc.lk/1/2/personal/services/hsbc-easy-pay

Old Anandians and Nalandians who put an end to the war in Sri lanka

May 6th, 2009 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

Today someone forwarded me a mail on the $subject.

  • President of socialist republic of Sri Lanka – Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse (Nalandian)
  • Prime Minister of Sri Lanka – Hon. Ratnasiri Wikramanayake (Anandian)
  • Secretary of Defence – Gotabaya Rajapakse (Anandian)
  • Army Commander – Lt General Sarath Fonseka (Anandian)
  • Navy Commander – Vice Admiral Wasantha karannagoda (Anandian)
  • 57 Division Commander of SLA – Major General Jagath Dias (Anandian)
  • Civil Defence Force Director – Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara (Anandian)
  • 53 Division Commander of SLA – Major General Kamal Gunarathna (Anandian)
  • 55 Division Commander of SLA – Brigadier Prassana Silva (Anandian)
  • Commander for 2nd Commondo Battalion of SLA – Brigadier Chagee Gallage (Anandian)
  • Commander for Naval East – Rear Admiral Ananda Peiris (Anandian)
  • and Ministers like Mr. Basil Rajapakshe (Anandian) Mr. Dallas Alahapperuma (Anandian), Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama (Anandian), Mr. P. Dayarathna (Anandian)

Furthermore, check this song by Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera (Anandian)

Ananda College Students Sending Stuff to War IDPs
http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20090430_12

Of course, I am proud to be an Anandian!

Ananda Geethaya

Finding Naked People (Image Processing)

May 2nd, 2009 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

lolz, have a look at this blog on Keeping Abreast of Pornographic Research in Computer Science

Lenna and Image Processing

May 2nd, 2009 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

len_std

The Lenna (or Lena) picture is one of the most widely used standard test images used for compression algorithms. The comp.compression FAQ says the following:

For the curious: ‘lena’ or ‘lenna’ is a digitized Playboy centerfold, from November 1972. (Lenna is the spelling in Playboy, Lena is the Swedish spelling of the name.) Lena Soderberg (ne Sjööblom) was last reported living in her native Sweden, happily married with three kids and a job with the state liquor monopoly. In 1988, she was interviewed by some Swedish computer related publication, and she was pleasantly amused by what had happened to her picture. That was the first she knew of the use of that picture in the computer business.

for more information please visit http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~chuck/lennapg/

Sixth Sense : A Nice Fluid Interfaces Project

April 3rd, 2009 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

Today I came across a nice project: Sixth Sense, by MIT Media Lab. More than anything I would love to buy that tiny projector!!!! Wonder how much it cost. The project web site[1] says,

‘SixthSense’ is a wearable gestural interface that augments the physical world around us with digital information and lets us use natural hand gestures to interact with that information. By using a camera and a tiny projector mounted in a pendant like wearable device, ‘SixthSense’ sees what you see and visually augments any surfaces or objects we are interacting with. It projects information onto surfaces, walls, and physical objects around us, and lets us interact with the projected information through natural hand gestures, arm movements, or our interaction with the object itself. ‘SixthSense’ attempts to free information from its confines by seamlessly integrating it with reality, and thus making the entire world your computer.

References
[1] http://fluid.media.mit.edu/projects.php?action=details&id=68

Computer Vision to determine the shape of your unclad body ;-)

November 3rd, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

Extracted from [1],

The newest computer vision technology can’t literally see through your sweater and slacks, but it can determine the shape of your unclad body.

Brown University computer scientists have developed software that takes ordinary images of people dressed in street clothes and digitally peels away the layers to determine their 3-D body shape.

In a partnership with Rhode Island State Police, Brown computer scientist Michael Black developed tools to figure out a person’s basic physical attributes from a grainy surveillance video.

[1] Boston News, Science Article.

Robotics Software

November 3rd, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

robotics.youngster.com has compiled a nice list of Robotics related software. Have a look at here

http://robotics.youngester.com/2008/11/robotics-software.html

Treat your keys like you treat your credit card and “keep it in your pocket unless you need to use it.”

October 31st, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

University of California, San Diego computer scientists have built a software program that can perform key duplication without having the key. Instead, the computer scientists only need a photograph of the key.

In this “Sneakey” Computer Vision project, features of the key is extracted from the photograph and accordingly a duplicate of the key is produced. Most importantly, photos can be taken even 200 feet away from keys without the owners knowledge.

So it is time to blur out the your keys in the photograph, like you did for number plates, credit card numbers before publishing to facebook, flickr etc. :) )

For more information have a look at here

Learning OpenCV from Gary Bradski & Adrian Kaehler

October 30th, 2008 by Ruwan Egoda Gamage

If you are new to OpenCV or If you want to expand your knowledge in OpenCV you would find following book is useful. I’ve been using OpenCV for almost 6 years up to now. It is “the” Open Source Computer Vision Library out there.

Learning OpenCV

The book includes:

  • A thorough introduction to OpenCV
  • Getting input from cameras
  • Transforming images
  • Shape matching
  • Pattern recognition, including face detection
  • Segmenting images
  • Tracking and motion in 2 and 3 dimensions
  • Machine learning algorithms

[1] Learning OpenCV Book at Safari
[2] OpenCV Library