Thursday, December 23, 2010

Strong name validation failed. on 64bit windows - 32bit Visual Studio

If you are running a 32bit version of Visual Studio on a 64bit Windows version, and want to add a strong name exception for a delay signed assembly, the usual methods of running

"sn -Vr *, [public key token]"

sn -Vr *,89845dcd8080cc91

or adding the registry key manually to


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

would not work.

The reason being that the 64bit windows registry has a separate area for 32bit applications. And, the sn.exe is not updating that.

To work around it, you have to add your strong name exceptions to the following location of the windows registry.


Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Taking free education forward - Part 2

In my last post (almost a month back :(); I concluded that contributing factors for better standards in an educational institute are the financial capital, expectations of students and parents, and the commitment of faculty staff and the management.

So what do we need in the system to make things right? What can the government do? What are the successes and failures of other countries?

Government, no doubt, can put in a little more money. But is that money going to be enough? How much money do you think is required to take Moratuwa University to the level of Chicago State University? And what would be the cost of staffing and maintaining? If the government could put the 2008 war budget (166 billion rupees) to education, may be it would be sufficient to build one or two universities and few schools. But that’s not going to improve things immensely, would it? And could the country afford to allocate such funds every year on education?

What’s wrong with vice chancellors, professors, lecturers etc.? What’s wrong with principals and teachers? To start with, I think they aren’t being paid enough. Then, there aren’t any strong enough consequences for their actions; they can choose to work or idle. Thirdly, it seems they set their own standards, and have no competition.

Most parents, put aside students, don’t know what they are entitled to and what they should expect from an educational institute. They just go with the flow. Those few, who actually do care about the quality of education, don’t have much choice or voice to change things around.

How can we improve all this?

First of all, we need to bring in money to the system. Government can invest a large capital to uplift the standards for couple of years. But the running costs should be covered up within the system itself. There are enough people in Sri Lanka who can and will pay for quality education. And, if the university students had to pay for their education themselves, may be they would be more serious about it than now. So I think it is certainly an option for the government to start charging for the education - at all levels.

For primary and secondary education, the government could provide scholarships for the economically challenged families. But there’s no reason why university students can’t earn for their education themselves.

The second option is to bring private investors in to establish educational institutes and utilize the tax money on government schools and universities. There are private schools in existence even now but I don’t think they are generating enough revenue to fund government schools. Judging by that, establishing private universities - even though is a good step towards expanding capacity and creating competition - would not provide enough revenue to fund government universities.

So I believe, in order to provide quality education, we should provide it free only to those who actually deserve free education.

With money in the system and faculty staff being well paid, it is only a matter of setting up standards, regulations and strict discipline in place that is required to get the management right. With private schools and universities competing with government institutes for better educational facilities and lower course fees students would receive greater benefits.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Taking free education forward - Part 1

Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the world offering free primary, secondary and tertiary education. The high literacy rate of 97.3% in the country shows that free education has worked out well.

The government, no doubt, is putting a lot of money every year in to the educational system to provide free education, but as it is evident, that money is not enough. Only 16% of eligible students get to enter the government universities. May be about 2~3% of the remaining get to obtain degrees from private institutes like IIT, SLIIT and APIIT. (Note almost all of them are providing IT degrees - leaving not much of a choice for students interested in other fields) Another 1~2% of students based on financial strength of their parents get to go abroad for their studies. Almost 80% of the students who qualify for tertiary education are deprived of their right.

Even though some students like the ones who are members of Inter-university student bullshit union do not appreciate the opportunity given to them for free education; depriving that from many others who would have embraced that opportunity; free education is still a good thing. It’s just that, if we can give that opportunity to only 16% of those who are eligible, selecting them through a competitive examination is not the best solution. That discourages the students in engaging in extra-curricular activities and essential personality building activities. From the 40 odd students who were in my advanced level class, those 2 or 3 who got through to the universities were the guys who had their heads buried in books 24X7 and didn’t had enough self-confidence to look someone in the eye when they were talking. That certainly is not the sample of academia we should have in a country.

Those who have seen class rooms and facilities available in international schools may attest for the difference in standards between them and an average school in north central province or central for that matter. Putting aside international schools, comparing leading schools in Colombo with schools in other parts of the country yields the same differences in available facilities and maintained standards. Moving on to universities; comparison between an average American university and the best universities of Sri Lanka shows greater difference in standards and available facilities than the above comparisons. Note that it is not money alone that has brought those institutes to the high standards; but also the will and expectations of the stakeholders involved, including pupils, faculty staff and of the government body.

So what do we have to do, in order to bring the standards of average schools to the same level as - say Ananda or Royal College of Colombo? And what do we have to do to get University of Moratuwa to the standards of Chicago state university - an average state university in America?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Prostitution and Porn

Bunch of jesters at the police women and children bureau and some court in Battaramulla or somewhere has published a set of photographs claiming to be of Sri Lankan “porn stars”; I saw them on gossip lanka website and I bet some of those photos are from 1980s and some are not even Sri Lankans - some of those Latin American porn stars even have Wikipedia pages dedicated to them. Yet; our police and the courts are searching for them and need public assistance in doing so...

Current situation and the stupidity of the law enforcers aside; I thought of writing down how I feel about the whole thing - prostitution and porn.

Sex sells. Just like liquor but with much more demand; it sells all over the world. And it’s been selling ever since mankind invented trading - in one form or another. Why? Because it’s in our genes to need sex; humans are a species that enjoy sex. No cultural bullshit can really suppress that need; there may be people who’ve suppressed it by some mean, but that’s not the natural state of humankind. And when sex is not available for free, there are always people who are willing to buy. And when it’s not available to be bought; there would always be those who’d just take it anyway. (Any females in here taking public transport, who’ve noticed a recent hike in molesters in buses?)

When there’s such a huge market available; there always would be people who are willing to supply to that market; legally or illegally. And when things go beyond the boundaries of law; the boundaries of imagination widens for those outlaws. Illegal sex would cost more for those who are willing to pay; and as there always is, there would be those who’d just get it themselves - since it’s illegal anyways. Those who’d run the businesses would find their own ways of recruiting and handling their “merchandise” and there would be no justice or guarantee of safety for those who would be traded - by their will or not.

The greatest tragedy in our society is that we fool ourselves over a culture that exists only on the surface and folktales. Underneath; we all have the same needs, lusts, obsessions and hatreds that any other human would possess; but we pretend to be saints outside. We make laws based on this nominal culture and break those very laws at the very moment we get to hide it away from others.

Even now; a lot of women and children are drawn in to prostitution in Sri Lanka; and most of their fate is ill-ridden. Much more innocent children and women would be victims of sex crimes in the coming years if we don’t legalize and control this. But I don’t see that coming in Sri Lanka... so suffering it is... Take good care of your children and women...


Sometimes, I think about death. Of mine and of others. How would I die? Would it be painful? I hope not. How is it like to witness the death of a loved one? Is it better to die than be sick and suffer at old age? And, what happens after you die? Why are all people and animals scared of death?

I was raised as a Buddhist, so I was taught that the dead would be born again as another life unless they have achieved nirvana. The re-birth happens based on what karma we’ve done in this life and what thoughts we’d have in our last breath. Fascinating; a little scary too.

I’ve also heard of re-incarnation stories – of people speaking of their past lives and they being matched with true incidents; and then I’ve heard of ghost stories, of people who’ve died years ago and still haunt the living. Somehow; they don’t go together really well though... because, if someone dies and become a ghost, and that same someone also get re-born in another life; then the ghost seems pretty stuck being a ghost till the eternity...

I’ve heard some Buddhist monks explain ghosts as another life; not human, not animal but some super human life, that like any other, would end someday. I think I like the lives that end than something eternal. Personal choice though ;)

Anyways; what really happens? Religion aside; I really don’t know - I don’t remember of a previous life. I guess that not knowing what happens after death is what scares us all. And; may be; evolution has built it in to our genes, to fear death, so that all animals would strive to live; instead of just give in whenever death is on one’s way.

I’ve had an out of body experience in my childhood. I was sick and was in my mom’s arms. I was in pain and I wanted to move; and then, I passed out. Everything that happened thereafter until I woke up again are still in my memory in vivid detail. And; I was observing all that from outside of the body. And my parents say; I explain the events exactly the way they happened.

Looking back, I don’t think I died or was going to. I was in so much pain; my brain must have disconnected the consciousness. Because; all the while I was unconscious, I didn’t feel any pain at all. How did I see from outside of my body? I don’t know, but maybe my senses apart from eyesight were working quite sharply and my brain must have created the visual impressions through them.

I’ve read in some science journals that say; that’s exactly what people in near death experiences have experienced. The process of the body dying is a very painful process and that makes the brain - while it still lives - to disconnect the consciousness. Depending on the functionality of other senses and the amount of brain death happening; they might either see what’s going on around them or bright lights / their past / loved ones etc.

All this; doesn’t explain the phenomena of ghost stories and re-incarnation stories. But; just because science doesn’t explain that doesn’t mean religious explanations are correct. Most religions taught that the world is flat until they were proven otherwise. Buddhism, even with my biased opinion towards it, has had its share of myths associated with it.

So; when it comes to death I think I’ll take my chances with it and discover the unknowns myself; and that’s if my consciousness survives - which I think is highly unlikely. I think that would be the end of me and my consciousness would cease to exist. I hope to have a smile on my face when I die; so I hope I would realize the moment has come and have control over my facial muscles for that one last smile...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Animal sacrifices, protests, religion and morality...

I've been reading news on the animal sacrifices in Halawatha. I just think that is an inhuman, barbaric and savage act by a bunch of retarded psychopaths. Those poor animals had a right to their lives just as much as any of us. But; it happened. The bastards killed those helpless creatures in hundreds. Neither law makers nor law enforcers intercepted. In fact; I think the police were supportive of that bloodshed.

Some activists - mostly under the Buddhist flag - protested for no avail. I think it went wrong because of the religious label. No law maker could support it because that could label them as religious extremists who discriminate against other religions. Sri Lanka as a country does not want that right now.

What we should realize is that those savage animal sacrifices should stop - not because of we are a Buddhist country - but because we are a nation with high moral values (that is independent of our individual religious beliefs). Not because it’s taught in our religions that it’s wrong to kill animals; but because we realize and respect the right of the animals to live as much as we humans.

What we need, what the innocent and helpless animals in this country need is not a religious group racing their voice for them; but an animal loving, free thinking and independent animal rights group working to safeguard the rights of the animals without any other agenda or a label. Like PETA.

Religion, no matter how much humble and sincere, just bring too much of a burden to any controversial issue. Religion should leave morality alone - we should have high moral values independent of our beliefs. Had it been so; and had we had an organized and independent group who stand for animal rights (for which I doubt we do) we could have saved those poor animals.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What gear you use - and what gear you want?

I have some money put aside for camera gear; and, in the recent times, I've been trying to decide want I need.

What I want is a D700 and a 105mm macro preferably with 24-70mm F/2.8 and a couple of SB-900s. But to think of, I'm doing fine with the gear I already have and I do not need any of those, unless I do real professional photography - which I don't.


I shot the above picture using the 18-200 VR on my D80; and I think it's a pretty decent macro regardless. So is the one below:


And for portraits; the 50mm f/1.8 has been producing decent enough shots.

Photo Shoot


And even the 18-200mm is not that bad:



Landscapes? 18-200mm again is enough.

Ambewela Farm


I have a SB-600, which is enough to be creative with light and to light up things...



Of cause 70-300mm VR is hardly a tele, but again; for my occasional wildlife photography and outdoor portraits, it's enough.

Near Thalangama Lake

Central Park

Near Thalangama Lake

So; what would I buy? I think nothing. May be another SB-600 if it really gets itching. But most probably nothing.

If I didn't had any of these; I would have probably bought a D700 or a D3s with 24-70mm f/2.8 and probably a 105mm macro.. I doubt if I would buy a tele and if I would, it would still be the small and light weight 70-300 VR which I already have. Not a super expensive super fast and super heavy pro lens. I'd also throw in a couple of SB-900s in to that list with a decent manfrotto tripod and a ball head.

If I was on a budget; which I probably would be, I'd settle for a D90 and a 18-200 VR together with a SB-600 and a cheap $30 tripod from Walmart. That is more than enough for some serious hobbyist photography.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

On Politics...

Reactions to recently concluded drama by Wimal Weerawansa titled “Fast unto death” had been a good gage of the political maturity of my colleagues.

Some actually thought he would actually fast till he die! And he's doing it for real patriotic reasons etc. They couldn't really tell if Mahinda was with him or not till the last moment. They were touched by the resignation letter and some would have actually sacrificed their own lives for the cause of Wimal... These people sympathized with him and actually thought Ban Ki Moon would actually give a shit about it... Their history has close ties either with the JVP or UPFA; they voted Mahinda just because he's their candidate... They fought each other when JVP and UPFA parted, became allies when they formed governments together etc. etc.; And the JVP fraction followed Wimal when he left the JVP.

The second category actually thought Wimal ate munchie lemon-puff biscuits out of a big brown cardboard box which was marked “Manchie lemon-puff”! Lemon-puff? Really? Why not cake from Hilton? They have labeled cardboard boxes too.. And they genuinely thought that scanned piece of paper with an stupid agenda in hand writing is a real leak! This is the category of people who voted Sarath Fonseka just because Ranil or Somawansa asked them to. Wimal was once a hero for the JVPers but as soon as he left JVP he became their traitor of the decade. UNP never liked Wimal; he was a pain for them. But their ingenious brains simply could not put together the pieces of the puzzle to understand the amount of planning that went in to Wimal's drama. They didn't really understand whether it's staged or not; they just wanted to shout that's false...

The third; actually understood what's going on. They laughed; They predicted and they laughed again. First laugh was at Wimal's act; they predicted what's going to happen with it even to the detail of Mahinda offering him water... and the final laugh was at those from the above two categories. These are the people who made their own decisions in the presidential elections. They could have voted either Mahinda or Sarath; but not because of party affiliations but because they made informed decisions and actually cared about the outcome.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Photo per day progress

I just posted at for the 46th consecutive day! I'd like to think that my photography has improved; but I know for a fact that now I'm more satisfied.

I no longer feel limited by the gear I have; I'm quite confident that 80% of the time I could make the photo I want with my existing gear. For the remaining 20% of the time; it's simply not worth it to invest thousands of dollars to capture those moments on digital storage.

I also feel that my 70-300 VR is quite obsolete in my camera bag. Its use probably fall in to that 20% of the times above so my success level with the current gear should be something like 80.5% and the limitations should be 19.5% or something. I only use it to take pictures of birds and; to make any decent picture with its light hunger, I need to shoot at ISO levels above 1000; which simply isn't fair by my old D80. I'm not going to buy a better body only to satisfy a single lens.

All that said; I've also come-up with a list of two things (he he) in a precise order by which I would benefit from having them.

1.) One more SB-600 Speed Light
2.) Nikon 105mm Micro (I would also settle for the 60mm Micro)

Now; I do have some cash which I've preserved for something of that sort; but the problem is, I don't have a friend coming down from the US to bring that for me..

Anyways; I would still kill to get myself a D3s or even a D700.. But I wouldn't spend my hard earned money on them yet. I simply don't need them.

Brushes Bread Parrot on a mission Cashew Slightly Different TimeZones Wild Flowers Sunlight thirst Fruits! Tom Cat

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kubuntu/Ubuntu: "hda-intel: spurious response" on Intel Atom and D945GCLF

If you are going to install Ubuntu / Kubuntu on an Intel Atom based computer with the D945 based chipset; be aware that there is a bug in the linux kernal which leads to printing of following line continuously on screen, preventing you from logging-in. Sometimes when you reset the machine, it goes away but not at most of the times.

       hda-intel: spurious response 0x0:0x0, last cmd=0x000000       

The error looks as if it's from the sound driver; but the workaround for it is in the graphics department :)

In the BIOS setup, Video Settings, Set the IGD Aperture size to 256MB (The default is 128MB; in which the above error occur).

P. S. You can get to BIOS setup by pressing F1 key at computer startup.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Getting ZTE MF100 from Mobitel Lanka to work on Kubuntu 10.04

It's much easier than you would imagine. You need not use "wvdial"; the KNetworkManager works like a charm. This should work the same for other plug and play 3G modems by Sri Lanka Mobitel and Dialog too.

First; plug in your MF100. Kubuntu would auto detect the modem and show a mobile icon in the system tray. If you are already connected to a network, the icon would appear in the context menu of the KNetworkManager like below.

Click on "Mobile Broadband - Create network connection" to get the following dialog

Fill the information as follows:

Connection name: any name
Connect automatically: check "Connect automatically" if you wish to establish the connection automatically when you plug the modem

In the Mobile Broadband tab:

Number: *99#
User name: anything but blank
Password: anything but blank
APN: "mobitel3g" (without quotes) for Mobitel. I think for Dialog it's please verify.
Type: Any (try "Prefer 3G" or "3G UMTS/HSPA" if you have better 3G reception

Leave other fields as they are.

In the PPP tab:

Check "PAP" under Authentication and de-select every other option.

Click OK to save settings and connect to the internet, and if you did not use auto connect; you'll have to click the icon in the system tray to activate the connection.

It's that simple! :)