Image courtesy Daily Mirror

Many (unfairly) criticize the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) saying that they “exploit” students by providing services when the students use internet for online education. I have been teaching online for the last 8 months and I did a comparison of the two main ISPs (Dialog and Mobitel) that provide the widest mobile broadband services in Sri Lanka. This is what I found out. For 25 GB of Video Conferencing through Microsoft Teams and Zoom and unlimited YouTube, social media and instant messenger services monthly fee is 512 LKR for Dialog and 604 for Mobitel. (There are slight differences of the services they offer but these are more than enough for online education.) When considered the kind of money the students spend on traveling, snacks, make up, etc., for regular learning activities at private tuition classes, this cost is negligible. While a student or a few students in a family can get all these facilities for an insignificant amount of money, if they use small top ups or recharging cards, or go on data add-ons it is either their fault or ignorance. Telcos advertise these enough and at least the teachers should enlighten the students about these very cheap services. (There can be slight changes in the above prices and packages as I did the comparison some time ago.)

I have listed the two ISPs on alphabetical order. You can select the service based on your trust with them and their coverage capacities.

N. B. Please note that I am not addressing the coverage issues, etc. here as it is not my intention here. I only want to say that there are extremely cheap solutions that the students and their parents are not aware of. They just waste their money. TRC should make the masses aware of these options but I wont expect such a lethargic organization to do this as they have worse things to do.


1. Fun Blaster – Unlimited WhatsApp, YouTube & Facebook, only Rs. 347/=

2. Video Conferencing Plans – Office 365 (Microsoft Teams included) & Zoom (25 GB) Rs. 165 only

Total 347 + 165 = 512 Only Rs. 512/= per month WITH TAXES


  1. Unlimited YouTube Rs. 275/=
  2. Unlimited WhatsApp, Viber, IMO Rs. 54/=
  3. Unlimited Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn Rs. 110/=
  4. Video Conferencing Plans – Office 365 – (Microsoft Teams Included) & Zoom (25 GB) Rs. 150 (With taxes Rs. 165)

Total 275 + 54 + 110 + 165 Only Rs. 604/= per month WITH TAXES

Radella Relay Station of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation

With Sudarshi Madanayaka and the staff of the Radella Relay Station

I had the pleasure of visiting the Radella Relay Station of Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation on September 22, 2018. It was my good friend Mr. Sudarshi Madanayake took me there.

I am publishing the pictures I took during the tour. The station is situated in a beautiful mountanous terrain in cold and amazingly attractive Nuwara Eliya district.

The beautiful mountainous terrain outside the relay station

Most of the equipment in the station are very old but they still work well. These are mostly German equipment.

The old building that houses the relay station

Chromebook Computer – Join the Bandwagon

An Acer Chromebook

An Acer Chromebook – From

Nanda Wanninayaka

After chaos of an impending – but – not-too-sure – unexpected General Election, here I am back to some sensible blogging, deviating from political blogging. This time I am going to talk about some tech stuff. In fact, this was written some time back but got held up in my BLOG POSTS UNPUBLISHED folder for some reason or other till today. Hope this is not stale news by now.

Till I was given a Chromebook laptop computer as a gift by my long-time friend, Mr. Lionel Balasuriya from Orange County, California, USA, I was never interested in cut down versions of any computer. I easily transformed myself into a fully loaded laptop from a desktop, but I was never convinced about using OLPCs, tabs, handheld computers and not even smart phones at the beginning.

But now using this Chromebook computer for a while, I have changed my mind.

Mr. Balasuriya who gifted me the Chromebook computer became an e-friend of mine for 14 years, since 2004. He visited Sri Lanka twice since 2004 but I missed the opportunity of meeting him during both these visits. But this time, I was not going to miss him for the third time.  So, we met at his temporary residence in Uswetakeyyawa, aka UK, in Western Sri Lanka. I never expected him to surprise me by giving me a Chromebook computer.

What he gave me was an Acer-brand Chromebook but on the web, I found there are other producers of this mini laptop too. Check this link if you are interested in.

It is so easy to carry the Chromebook. It is only a little bigger than a regular woman’s purse. You can carry it in your hand easily. No backpack is needed. Kids could take this to school with their books. You can open it and work even in a not-so-comfortable place. Even this post is being written inside a Colombo bound train from Jaffna. Even though I am in a shaky third-class compartment, I have no problem in compiling this post with the Chromebook. It is soooo comfy.

You need a Google e-mail account to open a Chromebook. None of the others can access your Chromebook and steal your data or sabotage all your work as nobody can access your data without your password.

Android is the operating system in Chromebook and it is more or less the very same software (apps) you see in an Android-run smartphone. Since I have been using many a model Samsung smartphone run with Android, I took no time to get used to this device. It is pretty smart, handy, small, and … err … cute. Chromebook saves your data into your Google Drive in the clouds and you don’t have to worry about timely data backing up. Replacing hardware can be done with some money. A data loss could make you very uncomfortable and leave you devastated. But what is good about the Chromebook is, it prevents an even worse risk: your data being in some idiot’s hand when you lose a laptop and your privacy being compromised. But with your Chromebook, you don’t have to worry. Your data is being stored in your Google Drive safely as ever and even though your Chromebook is stolen, it is automatically switched off and goes to sleep. Once opened, the thief cannot access any of your data and play havoc with them.

Since, I am not much of  technical person, I am just copying and pasting the technical part below sent by my friend who gave me the Chromebook, Mr. Lionel Balasuriya. Read this if you are interested in knowing more before committing to buy one for yourself, for your kids or maybe even to your spouse, girlfriend or partner, who knows? Decision is yours.

Children with a Chromebook

Children with a Chromebook | From

“A Chromebook  is a laptop running the Linux-based Chrome OS as its operating system. The devices are primarily used to perform a variety of tasks using the Google Chrome browser, with most applications and data residing in the cloud rather than on the machine itself. Some Chromebooks can also run Android apps.

One big advantage of Chromebooks is that they update automatically in the background and they start up fast so they feel like new, long after you’ve bought them. Plus, with the best of Google built-in, the Google Play Store at your fingertips and multiple layers of security, you can be sure they’ll continue to feel fresh.

College Students with Chromebooks

College Students with Chromebooks

With apps from the Google Play Store, flexibility to go anywhere, and the hardware you need to get things done, the Chromebook is a new type of computer for everything one loves to do. It’s easy to use, has virus protection built in, and keeps going with a long-life battery. The chrome book laptop is equipped with built in virus protection and updates automatically when one is on line. So, you will have the latest features without slowing down. Plus, one can sign-in with your Google account. 

Grownups with Chromebooks

Grownups with Chromebooks | From

The Google Play Store is filled with apps that can help you do everything from work to play. The best of Google is built right in. All the Google apps you know and love come standard on every Chromebook, so you’re ready to go from the moment you log in. Chromebooks let you seamlessly move between your favorite apps on the desktop and in your browser, so you can always pick up where you left off. You can work offline on a Chromebook. Read your Gmail and compose new messages? Sure. View your Google Calendar? No problem. Edit documents in Google Drive? You got it.

Beyond the basics, one can download Kindle eBooks videos, music and PDF’s to view off line. Use a Chrome app like Google kept compose notes or manage your ‘to do’ list with an app like “Wunderlist”. You can even purchase TV shoes & movies from Google Play Movies & TV and download them to watch them offline. Also, you can install games that run offline. 

Sure, many things on a Chromebook can only be done online, but let’s stop pretending that’s unique to Chromebooks.

Adults with a Chromebook

Adults with a Chromebook | from

Google isn’t only focusing on the bad stuff happening on rival platforms, but also makes sure to actually promote its latest product, giving the viewer plenty of examples of why Chromebooks are a better choice than Macs and Windows 10 PCs. Google is working toward allowing all Android apps to run on Chrome OS. They recently released just four Android apps for Chrome, but enterprising hackers (the good kind) have found ways to make (almost) any Android app run on a Chromebook. Yes, this means you can now use Skype on a Chromebook. Microsoft likes to trumpet how Chromebooks don’t have the full desktop version of Microsoft Office, and that’s true. But unless you’re an accountant, you probably don’t need all those fancy features.”

Does e-ticketing in Sri Lanka Serve its Purpose?

A Railway Ticket in Sri Lanka

A Railway Ticket in Sri Lanka

Printed e-Ticket the Railway Department Issue to the commuter

Printed e-Ticket the Railway Department Issue to the commuter

The message you get once you buy the e-ticket through your mobile phone.

The message you get once you buy the e-ticket through your mobile phone.

Does e-ticketing in Sri Lanka serve its purpose? In the first picture you see a regular paper ticket issued for train commuters by the Sri Lanka Railway Department (more commonly known as Sri Lanka Railways (SLR)), which is littler than a credit card. in the next picture you see a printed version of an e-ticket the same department issues at the counter once you show the e-ticket details that is sent to the commuter’s mobile phone by the said department. It is bigger than an A5 paper!!! The very purpose behind the e-ticket system is to reduce the paperwork and make the ticketing process faster and more efficient. Not to mention the ease for both the department and the commuter. There shouldn’t be any paper work at all since there should be a way that the department can confirm the authenticity at the railway station itself with using technology. If they still insist on the papers, shouldn’t the e-ticket be reduced at least to the size of a credit card?

(Also see the image below and read the paragraph below it.)

Railway Department's Train Schedule with False Information

Railway Department’s Train Schedule with False Information

Above is the screenshot of the Train Schedule published online by the same department in its website. Here it says the Intercity Express train (number 4022) has first, second and the third-class tickets. But this is false information misleading the unsuspecting commuter. There is no 2nd or 3rd class compartments in this train. I checked and double checked with the department a short while ago. See how a tourist feels once they trust the department website and go to the station with the false information.

As far as I know, it is the Information and Communication Technology Agency (ICTA), the apex government body for ICT-related developments, that spent huge amounts of monies granted by the World Bank and the South Korean government for creating, maintaining and updating these government institutions’ websites. But it looks like that money was wasted than invested.

ICTA was a well-planned institution established by the then U. N. P. government which came to power in 2002 for a very short period. It had a vision, goals and a well-thought-out plan which was designed by the professionals and experts in the field. Unfortunately, once SLFP-lead coalition government came into power in 2005, things changed. When Mahinda Rajapaksa became the Prime Minster and took the ICTA under his office, things went worse and once he became the President of Sri Lanka and took the ICTA under the President’s Office, things even deteriorated. President Rajapaksa changed the original master plan designed by the experts and started interfering into the ICTA’s domain. He ensured the race, religion and the allegiance to the ruling party are the criteria to the staff selection, funds disbursement and what not? Professional staff members were replaced with the ruling party’s henchmen (and henchwomen for that matter.) The utter waste and the lethargy became the norms at the ICTA to stay. The ICTA was formed with a young CEO in the capacity of Mr. Manju Hattotuwa with the right qualifications and an open mind towards the constant changes in the field of ICT. But, the ruling party installed a very old, cunning and vile carnivorous dinosaur whose knowledge in the field in question was obsolete as a result of old age and utter incompetence, as the Chairman of the so-called apex government body for ICT-related developments. Earlier it was the CEO of the agency who ran the agency productively and the post of the Chairperson was more of a formality if not ceremonial. But the obsolete dinosaur first got Manju out of the ICTA and changed the agency from a private sector-model efficient organization to a lethargic government department. (Not to mention the couple of buffoons installed as CEOs of the agency from time to time who came nowhere close to Manju in terms of public relations, efficiency and productivity.)  So, when the dinosaur died of old age, the position of the Chairperson went to a lady who new anything but ICT. The dinosaur reduced the ICTA to rubble but this ignorant lady ensured the rubble became dust.

The SLR website is only one tiny example when it comes to incompetence. Almost 99% of the other government institutions’ websites are equally obsolete and hardly serve the very purpose of launching them at the expense of the taxpayer. Those websites are also obsolete with eons-old information, email accounts that are not checked, contact numbers that don’t exist anymore and links that don’t work from the very day of creating those websites. Most of the responsible officials in the said institutes use Yahoo! Email IDs let alone Gmail IDs if not for the email IDs with domain names of the institutions! Furthermore, you have to call those officials and tell them that an email has been sent and it is high time they checked them. That is “e-Sri Lanka” or “Digital Sri Lanka” for you and your tax rupees are at work!!!

Professor Rohan Samarajiva, the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka

Professor Rohan Samarajiva, the Chairman of the Information and Communication Technology Agency of Sri Lanka

At least now the agency is chaired by a non-corrupt, efficient and experienced futuristic visionary in the capacity of Professor Rohan Samarajiva who won’t be fooled by flattering or sycophancy. So, Sir, it is your time to make things right at the ICTA if it is not too late as yet.

Kernel PST Password Recovery – Free Outlook Password Recovery


We have all faced this problem at least once in our lives, well, if we have used Microsoft Outlook – the best MS Office tool I have come across. We forget the password we used when exporting Microsoft Outlook mail file to a .pst file. If you forget your password for MS Outlook mail file, (.pst) just download Kernel PST Password Recovery, it is free and it works. Well it worked for me. There are other recovery tools but they ask for money. So, good luck if you want to use this.


Blogging through a mobile phone.


In Japan 2008

This is my first blog post through a mobile phone. It looks quite easy to use with WordPress flatform. I can upload images link hyperlinks and write texts easily. It is quite painful to typpe with the on screen keyboard but for those who have a good speed, this would be fun. This is good for short blog posts. I usually don’t write very lengthy blog posts. My average size is one A4 page in point 12 letters.

I am using a Samsung Galaxy S Duos phone.

Nokia Asha 501 and Nokia Care Center, Colombo

Nokia Asha 501

Nokia Asha 501

I happened to buy a Nokia Asha 501 dual SIM mobile phone as my previous Samsung Duos got stuck suddenly. There wasn’t any other decent option for me. Had there been a Samsung Duos I would have gone for that definitely but limited options in the shop made me buy the Nokia phone. I don’t say Nokia is bad. I have used two Nokia phones in the past and both worked perfectly well. But I prefer Samsung ever since I used Samsung Duos.

The problem with this Nokia unit is that it doesn’t allow me to copy my back up telephone numbers at once. I have to do it manually one by one. It is not nice when you don’t have such a simple option. The other thing is it allows me to use only two tones for two SIMs. Earlier I used different tones for different people who talked to me often.

The other main problem with this phone is that we can insert only small sized SIMs in it. I had to cut my two SIMs to suit to phone’s slots. I don’t know whose bright idea is it to introduce a smaller size SIM to the market. It doesn’t serve any purpose. The regular size is small enough. It is not as big as a credit card. So, everybody can use it without trouble. At a time we are struggling with different types of battery charges, earphones, this new small sized SIM has created another problem to the users. We expect all phone makers to design a common charger and common ear phone slot. But without achieving that now we have two sizes of SIMs. Once you start using a smaller sized SIM you cannot enter it to a regular sized SIM slot even at an emergency. You have to paste it to a regular sized SIM with sellotape and insert to the slot which is a risky thing to do.

Nokia Asha 501 comes with a free 4 GB memory card which is a plus point. Other than that I can’t say any single feature that attracts one to the phone. My advice to you is don’t buy Nokia Asha series. It is difficult to use and there is no special features that it offers you.

My Nokia phone started giving troubles from the moment I bought it and had to contact Nokia Care Center in Colombo. I gave several calls and all the calls went unanswered.  After trying for a whole day I finally caught one call center employee and she asked me to take the unit to them. Nokia Care Center is in Bambalapitiya, between Hutch headquarters and Mannapperuma Traders. They wanted to keep the phone to repair and offered me a spare phone to use. That was nice of them.

Nokia Care Center

Nokia Care Center

Once the phone is repaired they don’t call you. With other places like E-tel, they call you as soon as the phone is done with. Here you have to call and see if the phone is repaired. When inquired about this (not calling) from one of their Care Center employee, he explained that the system is updated after 24 hours and we have to wait till system is updated for the call center operators to call us. Technology is there to expedite things, not to slow down.

ටෙක්නෝප්ලස් මොබයිල් ෆෝන් රීලෝඩ් යන්ත්‍රය

ටෙක්නෝප්ලස් රීලෝඩ් යන්ත්‍රය

ටෙක්නෝප්ලස් රීලෝඩ් යන්ත්‍රය

Techno Plus, Badulla. Telephone 071-2307307 (Local) 0094-712307307 (IDD)

මම මොබයිල් සිම් දෙකක් පාවිච්චි කරනවා. එකක් මම මුලින්ම ගත්ත ඩයලොග් පසු ගෙවීම් පැකේජය. අනෙක මොබිටෙල් පාවිච්චි කරන යහළුවන්ගේ පහසුවට ගත්ත මොබිටෙල් පෙර ගෙවුම් පැකේජය. මොබිටෙල් එකට විටින් විට “රීලෝඩ්” දාන්න ඕනේ නිසා ළඟදී ෆෝන් කඩේකට ගියා. සාමන්‍යය ක්‍රමය තමයි සල්ලි දීලා රීලෝඩ් කරන්න ඕනේ අංකය එයාලගේ පොතේ ලියන එක. එතකොට එයාලා අදාළ මුදල රීලෝඩ් කරනවා.

ඒත් මෙතන ඒ වෙනුවට පුංචි පෙට්ටියක් වගේ යන්ත්‍රයක් තිබුණා. මට කරන්න තිබුණේ මගේ මොබිටෙල් අංකයයි අදාළ මුදලයි යන්ත්‍රයට ඒ සඳහා තිබුණ බොත්තම් මගින් ඇතුල් කරන එක විතරයි. එතකොට එහා පැත්තේ ඉඳගෙන ෆෝන් කඩේ කොළුවා බොත්තමක් ඔබලා ගෙවීම තහවුරු කරනවා. හරි ලේසියි. අපිම කරගන්න නිසා වරදින්න තියෙන ඉඩ කඩත් අඩුයි.

යන්ත්‍රය හරි හුරු බුහුටියි. මිලනම් ටිකක් සැරයි. ඔබත් මේ සඳහා උනන්දු නම් හොඳම දේ තමයි එයාලට කතා කරලා බලන එක. Techno Plus, Badulla. Telephone 071-2307307. හදන්නේ Techno Plus කියලා ලංකාවේ කට්ටියක්. සම්පුර්ණ ශ්‍රී ලාංකික නිෂ්පාදනයක්.

යන්ත්‍රය හරහා ගෙවීමක් කළාම බිලකුත් එනවා. මේක ඕනෑම ජංගම දුරකථන ජාලයකට පාවිච්චි කරන්න පුළුවන්.

Yarl IT Hub


During my last visit to Jaffna, on the invitation of Ms Gowri Ananthan, one of the founder members of Yarl IT Hub of Jaffna, I had the pleasure of attending the Yarl IT Hub’s January 2013 meeting with my friend Wasantha Wijewardhana. The event was held on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at IIS (Institute of Informatics Studies) City Campus.

Gowri is trying to make a prototype under the name of Himalaya Creations, so that there would be a proof of success and it could give courage for others to come back and form an industry in Jaffna, Gowri believes.

She further says that the Silicon Valley / an Industry will not form by itself, and someone should work on it. As per the vision states, Yarl IT Hub is formed to make Jaffna the next Silicon Valley.

There were around 50 youth at the meeting, mostly from ICT institutes in Jaffna. The organization’s vision is “To make Jaffna the next Silicon Valley.”  There is nothing wrong in dreaming big.


This is the agenda of the meeting.

  1. Introduction to mobile computing

Presenter: Bala

Team Lead

  1. Student answers to 4 questions with respect to future of mobile computing – Gowthami from IIS
  1. Introduction to Android Programming

Presenter: Vanjikumaran

Senior Software Engineer

  1. Augmented Reality

Presenter: Vimal

Senior Software Engineer

Demo: Sujeewan (Demonstrated his final year under graduate project)

  1. Arimaa team update – on the progress of the implementation of their concept)

Presenter: Jayakrishnan Rajagopalasarma (Leader of the team which won Yarl Geek   Challenge – Season 1)

  1. Yarl IT Hub Update

Presenter: Sarveswaran


We listened to the first 4 presentations and out of them only the first two sessions were in English. I wished the rest of the programs also would be in English. But if the youth are more comfortable with Tamil, presenting in Tamil can be justified. I found the participants’ English was good enough though.


The presenters were very energetic and knew their subject areas well and the attendees also were very enthusiastic and actively participated in the sessions.

Their blog is quite resourceful and you can download past presentation slides and articles as well. I think they should also upload the presentations of the January event also as quickly as possible.

It is high time that Refresh Colombo people invited members of Yarl IT Hub for their presentations and vise versa. We can achieve a lot together.

Please find the photo album of the meet up at In case you cannot access it, please join the group at so that you can access it.

My New Laptop, Singer SINX-243AT

Singer SINX-243AT model

Singer SINX-243AT model

I have been using laptops since 2002. During all these years I have been given laptops as gifts or received them from my workplaces. But as my last job assignment was over a few weeks ago, I had to buy a laptop myself. I went to several stores and checked the prices. At last I decided to buy a Singer laptop. You would be surprised of my decision as Singer is not the best of brands for laptops or any electronic item for that matter but I stuck with them simply because they offered me an easy payment scheme. I was not known to any other sellers and they wanted salary sheets, guarantors, etc. which I could not provide since I was without a job and was waiting for my next. So, Singer was my savior and I bought a Singer SINX-243AT model laptop. Its cash price was 44,999 LKR but with the interest it cost me around 56,000 LKR. I don’t repent as it came as a blessing since I could only afford 15,000 LKR as the down payment.

It has the following features.

• Intel Celeron ULV 847 Dual Core Processor


• 320GB Hard Disk

• 14″ Display

• DVD Writer

• Wifi / Bluetooth

• 1.3MP Camera

• Intel® NM10 Express Chipset

• Intel® Graphics Video Controller

• High Definition Audio Interface

• 2 x Built-In Speakers

• Built-In Microphone

• Built In Touch Pad with Multi-Gesture And Scrolling Function

• External Monitor Port (VGA)

• RJ-45 LAN Jack

• 3 x USB 2.0 Ports

• Multi-In-1 Card Reader

• Microphone-In Jack

• Headphone-Out Jack

• No OS (Purchase Genuine Windows 7 Starter Edition Or Home Premium Or Professional)

• Carrying Bag

The laptop didn’t come with an operating system and I had to pay an extra 750 LKR to get a Windows Ultimate pirated copy installed. It works fine and it allows me to download all the Windows updates as well. They also installed Microsoft Office 2007 for me. I installed Avira free antivirus.

Performance of the machine is fine. It gave me a problem with its DVD tray within the first week but it was resolved by itself and is in fine working order now. I mainly do web browsing and writing with MS word and do some work with Adobe Photoshop. So far everything is fine with it. Few advised me against buying a Singer laptop but I don’t regret the decision I made.