Saturday, June 3, 2017

When a search giant abandons your country

Google "sri lanka news"
I am not sure what is going wrong. Is my country, Sri Lanka, just cricket, or is it something wrong with Google? When the entire country is suffering due to floods and land slides leaving up to 1/20 of the country's population affected, Google search on "Sri Lanka news" just returns news on Sri Lanka cricket.

I am not sure whether this is done systematically through some hidden involvement. It annoys me a lot. Are we really addicted to Cricket that much? Seriously? We have bigger problems and more important news at the moment. How can I trust the Internet, when the most popular search engine returns irrelevant news?

Please note that I used the private mode. So my results are not affected by my past views. So you cannot give the excuse that my search results are based on my previous clicks. If I want to read about Sri Lanka in cricket, I would search for "sri lanka cricket" instead. When I search for news, I want real news. Not stories of a certain sports or gossips about actors. This is not a one-time event. I tested Google several times for Sri Lanka news over the past years. It always disappointed me with cricket news. News is something that affects the people. At least they are the news that should pop up as the top stories. Google fails Sri Lanka miserably here.

On the other hand, duckduckgo, a newer search engine performs better, returning more relevant real news on Sri Lanka for the same search. Probably we all should switch to duckduckgo as our search engine.
duckduckgo "sri lanka news"

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

EMJD-DC Spring Event 2017

[30th May - 1st June, 2017] We had the Spring Event this year in Brussels. My presentation and the poster are given below.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

EMA GA 2017 at Brussels

May 26th - 27th: I have been a program representative (PR) of Erasmus Mundus Association (EMA) a few years for EMDC and EMJD-DC. However, unfortunately in the past, I missed the general assembly (GA) due to conflicts in schedules. I was the representative of EMDC master program in 2013. However, I could not attend the GA as I had the semester exams during the same days. In 2016, I was again the PR for EMJD-DC. I missed the opportunity to be present at the GA in Lugano, as I was waiting for my residence permit interview. 

This time in 2017, I made it to the GA in Brussels. I represented both EMDC and EMJD-DC this time! It is like 2013 (EMDC) and 2016 (EMJD-DC) combined. It felt nice to be there after previous failed attempts.

We had productive meetings and discussions on the past, current, and future of Erasmus Mundus. Good memories.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

ICTEAM Day at UCLouvain

May 23rd: We had an ICTEAM Day at Namur, where we presented our PhD work in 180 minutes as well as in a poster. My 180 minutes talk presentation is attached below.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

GSoC Regional Groups

This is the time of new students in GSoC. There have been some interests and discussions around GSoC regional groups in the GSoC mailing list.

The regional groups serve a purpose. They discuss country-specific issues, such as issue/delays in receiving the packages in certain countries, taxation in India, local meetups in different countries or regions, or discussions in your local languages (for example, discussions in Chinese in wechat China group).Many countries have their own group. If your country had little to no participation in the past, there is a possibility to have groups covering a larger regions. For example, the group for Africa:

You will need to do a Google search to find your local groups.

I understand some emails may be uninteresting for the audience. But pls avoid sending an email saying "can we pls stop this discussion? It is annoying to me" First you are contributing to the noise by such an email. Second, usually it comes across rude. So avoid sending them unless you are one of the moderators.

A worse case I noticed was an email I noticed asking to stop the discussions on what IM to use. The sender decided to create a separate email thread to express his point. Usually the emails are organized nicely into threads. Avoid creating new threads to express your opinion. Use the same thread. That will avoid too much distraction. If someone is not interested in that particular topic, they may ignore or mute the topic.

Feel free to join or ignore any country or regional GSoC groups. They were typically created by past-students like us. You are not obliged to join them, though they are usually very welcoming to their local students (and are more tolerant to noise).

If you are from Sri Lanka, feel free to join the Google Sri Lanka Google group. It seems to be very passive in recent years though. 

I believe there is a separate Google group managed by GSoC admins to announce the meetups formally to the GSoC admins and others - I did not see much activity in that group.

Good luck with your GSoC and related meetups.