I couldn’t resist the urge to create a visualization while playing with gephi for my GSoC project over the weekend. The Netvizz Facebook application was used to get the data extracted from the Tweeps group, a hangout spot for Sri Lankan Twitter users. Imported the gdf file to gephi and did the coloring based on the clusters. Did slight modifications to the Radial Axis layout for legibility of labels. Gimp was used to add the final touches. Node sizes are proportional to the degree of each node (the number of people each person is connected to, within the network). Colors represent the sub networks identified within the social network by the Modularity clustering tool. Click on the image for a larger version.
I used to read a lot when I was small. But didn’t get the chance to read much after I started my higher education. Had no time to hangout in libraries and it was exhausting to stare at PDFs in a monitor after working with computers whole day, and mostly I couldn’t take my laptop on to bed like a physical book.
I had the dilemma of going for a smartphone/tablet or e-Reader. (That debate still continues online, whether it’s worth to spend that much money on a single-purpose device) After a little reading on the goodness of e-Ink technology (no back-light so no strain on eyes, readability on direct sunlight, battery life) made up my mind to go for one. Then there was the final decision to be made, Kindle, Nook or Kobo.
Kindle was the famous one and Kobo was cheap. But Nook had the capacitive touch-screen panel at the bottom, so browsing the web and navigating among bookshelves was easy. Furthermore it supported the standard ePub format among many others. But the biggest reason for me to go for a Nook was, it ran on Android, and could be rooted to install various applications like Twitter, Facebook clients, custom launchers and file managers etc. So if anybody is not planning to hack and void the warranty, its better for them to settle for a Kindle because the latter has a faster refresh rate and a better battery life. (Touchscreen of the Nook eats up the battery a bit, although the touchscreen is not lit up when reading)
Price was $149 for the wi-fi only version and it cost me around LKR18000 including shipping and taxes. Unlike the Kindle, Barnes and Noble are not shipping to SL. So I had to get it down via a friend who was visiting SL.
A year has passed away since then and I’m enjoying reading on the Nook a lot. I can say its the best value-for-money device I have used after my laptop. I read anything, that I can get hold of, in ePub or PDF formats, mostly Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Popular Science and Technology genres. For converting and transferring books I use the Free and open source software, ‘Calibre‘. Sometimes large PDF books or research papers with complex lay-outing and graphics are not properly displayed in the 7-inch screen, so I convert them to ePub or tweak them a bit via a custom shell script (which cuts and rotates pages to fit the screen).
Sometimes I miss the tactile feel and whole experience of flipping through the pages of a real book. And I think an e-Reader works well with the books having a linear flow, so it might not be the best device for referencing when you are doing homework. It’s hard to keep track of several pages and go back to them quickly, as and when you want, like in a physical book. But nothing beats the ability to carry around, all of the bulky books in your reading list and some more, in a cool device with size of one book. Simply I just love my Nook.
Based on my answers for the interview with The Sunday Times. You can find that article, written by Smriti Daniel, here
The demise of the cinema legend Elizabeth Taylor took me back in history in search of few cool facts about movies and Sri Lanka. If you are a history buff and a movie geek combined, here’s some interesting trivia, with some links to more related stuff.
Elizabeth Taylor, when she was 22, came to Sri Lanka (Ceylon at the time) to perform in the 1954 film, Elephant Walk, with Dana Andrews and Peter Finch. It is said that because of her preganancy Elizabeth had to reject the offer for Elephant Walk, a role which had been created just for her, at first. Instead, Vivien Leigh, who was 20-years older than Elizabeth, won the role. But, while filming in Sri Lanka, Vivien had suffered a nervous breakdown and Elizabeth had won the role back after giving birth to her first child, Michael Wilding, Jr.
Here‘s an interesting review about the movie, which later hillariously turns into a debate about caste system in Sri Lanka and drama on its own. This is a note about filming the movie in Sri Lanka with some pretty vintage posters.
In all the three international television series, from 1980 to 1994: Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World, Arthur C Clarke’s World of Strange Powers and Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious Universe, his segments to camera were all filmed in Sri Lanka. In his own words.. “The island of Ceylon is a small universe; it contains as many variations of culture, scenery, and climate as some countries a dozen times its size.”