February 11, 2002

There’s been no updates from me in a long time and so I decided it was time to change the trend :p The reasons for my silence are many but the main one is that I’ve been away from Colombo since the middle of last week and had no Net access all that time. I did get back yesterday and thought of doing an update but was too busy catching up on all the missed e-mails and sorting out all sorts of other stuff. Finally, I have time for a nice long update on what I’ve been doing, how things are going so far and my plans for coding etc.

First, the consensus about life in Sri Lanka after about a week – it’s basically a lot of good and bad <vbg> Does that make it fifty-fifty? I’m not sure since I feel that it is mostly good even though it might not seem so to somebody from outside :p For instance, one of the worst things about being here is that Internet access is prohibitively expensive due to the fact that local calls aren’t free (unlike the US) and so I can’t remain online for too long. This would count as a major minus but then again, staying offline probably gives me more time to do other stuff :p The good: some of the best cellular facilities (and phones) in the whole of Asia – if not the whole of the world. The bad? You have to pay for each facility (like WAP, GPRS, SMS etc …) and so the costs mount up. The good: you can get almost any software on every street corner <vbg> The bad? Nothing I can think of :p The bad: power cuts every day due to lack of rain. The good? Nothing I can think of :p

A really funny thing happened soon after I got over to Sri Lanka. I wanted to buy a multi-region DVD player since I had quite a few US DVD’s but was sure I wouldn’t get US DVD’s once I got here. I enquired at the duty free shop at the airport and was told by the Sony authorized agent no less that their DVD player played discs from all regions. I was kind of nonplussed since I didn’t believe that Sony made multi-region DVD players since that basically defeats the whole purpose of having region specific DVD’s. The guy at the shop was insistent however and so I bought the player since I was told I could return it if it didn’t work the way I wanted it to. I take it home, set it up and put in a US DVD and sure enough the message pops up saying that I couldn’t play it due to region restrictions! I took the player back to the Sony agent’s workshop and was told to take it to their service center. I did so and was asked what the problem was, told them and was told it was a minor adjustment. They took the player in, did some stuff and returned it to me. I didn’t have a US DVD disc with me and so I took the player home and what do you know? It now worked with US discs! I am surprised that the Sony agents themselves would do this but since I now have a Sony DVD player which plays discs from any region, I’m not complaining :p

I also had some problems with the game consoles I’d brought over with me. I had bought a multi-system TV at the duty free shop as well since I knew the consoles all had NTSC output whereas the TV signals in Sri Lanka are in PAL. The TV worked fine but all the consoles needed 110V power whereas they only have 240V in Sri Lanka! I’d brought along a few converters for just this purpose but I hadn’t read the instructions properly on them and realized only when I tried to use them that the converters could not be used with electronic items! I went out and got a step-down transformer, hooked the consoles up to that and the tried them and voila! It worked fine :-) At least it seems to work fine but since there are so many power cuts and I’m not at home much, I really haven’t had much time to play games. Oh well …

What about coding and the promised releases of my apps? Well, so far I haven’t spent a day at home – either I’m not in Colombo at all but don’t have access to my computer since I had to leave it behind or I’m in Colombo but am out getting stuff done or searching for work. I do want to get to work on some code but I fear that it’ll be some time before I actually do so – especially since there are power cuts at night and batteries can run only for so long. So, while I do not intend to stop working on any of my apps, I fear that I won’t get to work on any of them soon either :-(

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Posted by Fahim at 8:45 pm   Comments (2)