Fresnel lens fun

Fresnel lens (pronounced fre-nel) are a very interesting variety of lens. They are a type of lens that enables the construction of large lens with short focal length while maintaining a low weight and volume in comparison to the traditional lens types. These lens are found in video projectors and are also a favourite science toy. They pack so much power in such a small and light package that a good quality fresnel lens of manageable size can easily be used to focus the sunlight so as to instantly vaporize/burn the many things that surround us. The careless handling of a fresnel lens on a bright sunny day can result in burns on the part of the body that the lens may accidently focus the beam on! Read this for some details on using a fresnel lens to melt asphalt and metal coins.

I had purchased an A4 size Fresnel lens earlier this year as part of my experimentation with building a projector on my own. I took out a left over lens today and had some "burning" fun with this (powerful) lens... ;-)

Focusing the sunlight...

The tissue paper burns entirely within a matter of seconds!

TCon 01

TCon is a Technology Convention I had planned to execute in Male' last year. However, several problems cropped up to stall progress in making it a reality - the final blow to the venture being that I had to leave for UK before things were finalised and organised.

Anyway, I am attempting again to hold the convention this year. Hopefully, this year can be first year of this educational, non-profit, non-commercial, tech convention. Current plans are to conduct the two-day convention at Dharubaaruge some time in early December 2006. The event will, ideally, be free for all to attend. The event will feature a set of lectures/presentations and a set of participatory workshops. It is hoped that local specialists and experts will volunteer to deliver the various lectures and lead the workshops.

Information regarding the convention will soon be placed on the event website The current website contains outdated information as it was prepared for the planned event for last year. Interested parties/individuals are requested to contact me. Lectures, workshops, demoes and event execution all need your help to be made a reality. This really is an excellent opportunity to have some wicked tech fun!

I met up with chopey and primary0 tonight to discuss the project and get their input - they've pledged to make this a reality. We discussed possible event items, topics and programme style. We all agreed to adhere to making it as much of a "technology" convention as possible, although I have no doubt that computer science topics will feature as the majority this time atleast. The event programme we formulated will be placed on the TCon site soon. Keep and eye for updates on this!

Dawiyani bas

I was quite perplexed when one of my kid cousins asked me recently if I knew "Dawiyani bas" (literal translation: dawiyani language). Dawiyani, being one of the letters of the Maldivian alphabet and never ever having heard of anything remotely close to such a dialect of Maldivian language, I answered with a puzzled "no!". The cousin then tickled my curiosity of this "bas" by telling me a little about how it is spoken.

Apparently, "dawiyani bas" is a method of speaking that inserts the letter "dawiyani" in between every letter in the normal Dhivehi language speech/text. Though this sounds utterly simple, I remained puzzled till she amazed me by successfully engaging me in meaningful replies to what I say with continuous speech in the said "dawiyani bas". So, to answer me for a question like "gadin kihaa ireh?", she would reply me immediately with almost a machine-gun fire reply of "midahaadaruda gadadinda edagaadarada jedahyda". The resulting speech comes out as meaningless gibberish and I was amused by the speed and ease with she was talking!

A little digging up about the origins of this neat speech trick turned up that this isn't something new. My cousin had learnt it from her mother, who in turn had learnt from her mother, who in turn still narrate vivid memories of how the children of her time engaged in this past time. It was a cute way of talking that amused children and children often found in it a practical method to speak to each other without being understood by the adults and/or other children. In fact, "dawiyani" was just one of the letters used. The letters "gaafu" and "tawiyani" is also said to have been a popular choice of letter to fill up the alternate character spaces - under the same principle with which the "dawiyani bas" operates.

Unless one has practiced and gotten used to this speech trick, decoding the "dawiyani bas" as it is spoken would rattle one's brain cells to and fro fast enough to result in utter confusion. It seriously is quite a tough operation. Anyway, maybe it is time to introduce a bit of ROT13 in the mix as a route towards an even more cryptic speech? :-P

For sale!

I am selling several of the stuff in my possession. Below are the items, their condition, a tiny bit of info about them and the price I am looking to sell them. If anyone is interested, please do drop me an email. I am in Male' at the moment so you can pick it up from me anytime.
Samsung SGH-S500i mobile phone
Condition: Brand new, still in the box untouched
Info: Triband 900/1800/1900, Two 262k colour screens, one on the outside and a bigger one on the inside, 1.3 Megapixel still camera with video support, MP3 music player, 80Mb internal memory, expandable with Transflash card, I-Mode support, Java support, Games, SMS, MMS/IMMS, Bluetooth, Infrared, GPRS, EDGE, WAP/XHTML browser, dual external speaks, Stereo headphone support.

External detailed reviews:,, O2

My price: 350US$

HP 5550 Pocket PC
Condition: Used, 2 Years old but in good condition.
Info: 400Mhz XScale Processor, Wifi (802.11b), Bluetooth, Infrared, 128Mb RAM, 48Mb ROM (of which 17Mb is available for user store), 3.8" TFT Color screen, SDIO Expansion port, Storage expandable with SD Card, Fingerprint reader, Windows Mobile 2003, USB desktop cradle, Charger, Leather carrying case
Note: 256Mb SD card included!

External detailed reviews:,

My price: 250US$ (note: these units, though old are still quite expensive on the market because of the sheer number of features included in the unit)

Packard Bell EasyNote M7 Laptop
Condition: Used, 2 Years old. Weathered but totally useable.
Info: Intel Pentium 4 2.8Ghz, 512Mb RAM, 80Gb Harddisk, Region-free DVD-RW/CDRW, PCMCIA slot, 6 USB port (USB 2 supported), Multicard reader, XWGA screen, large keyboard, touchpad, S-Video out, Dual monitor support, Built-in Modem, Built-in Ethernet, Firewire port, Built-in mic/speakers

My price: 500US$

India bounce photos

Here are a few photos from my recent trip bouncing around in India.

Ooty: Spotted deer at the wild life preserve

Bangalore: Lal Bagh Botanical garden

Bangalore: At the tech museum

Sunflower fields lay here and there on the way to Mysore

Mysore: Bull temple

Mysore: Most astounding Tippu Palace

Mysore: Fountains

Masal dosa for brekkie.

FortKochi, Cochin: Dutch cemetry

FortKochi, Cochin: Chinese fish nets still in use.

"Urine Prohibited" ?!

Coonoor: Monkey enjoying a meal?

Coonoor: Tea field reaching out to horizon all around

Coonoor: Houses

Coonoor: Mountain view

Bouncing around in India

Ah! I just got back after two weeks of "backpacking" in India. With my girlfriend as my travel buddy, we hit parts of the state of Kerala and Tamilnadu - Trivandrum, Kochin, Ooty, Mysore, Coonoor to name a few interesting cities. We were able to pull off the entire trip on a looowww budget of 200$ or so for the entire trip - minus the Maldives-India air tickets ofcourse.

We stayed at low class lodges; some had walls that were peeling off, some had bed covers of questionable cleanliness and all had bathrooms with low toilet seats accompanied by broken/no flushing mechanism. Despite that, for some weird reason, most of them had a TV. I kept to trying out and eating mostly Indian sort of food at standard Indian food stalls. Masala dosa and South Indian Idli passed my taste bud tests ;-). The India chai (tea) became one of my favourite drinks. It tastes heavenly compared to the normal "packet" tea we drink usually. The dodgier food stalls seemed to make better chai than the (better) restaurants - really!

Traveling around was what took the most time out of our schedules. It was a very tiring activity too. However, traveling around was easy thanks to their extensive bus system. We avoided the more expensive auto rickshaws and chose to acquaint ourselves with the cheaper-yet-crummier buses which turned out to be a really fantastic mode of travel in India. We traveled mostly during night time and spent daytime exploring and sightseeing. The buses make stops every few hours for food to fill the hungry stomachs and also for toilet escapades to empty up the screaming full bladders.

Fending off from all the "businessmen" that kept on popping up every now and then annoyed me heaps - they don't bugger off when paid a 1 rupee coin unlike the myriad of beggars that pound at you for some money. Almost everyone seems to attempt to swindle you out of some money - so when it comes to ANY monetary transaction one has to be on total guard. I reckon this is especially true when they figure out we weren't locals. Sadly, we spoke zilch of Hindi and thus were easily marked as being "foreigners". That said, the younger generation was admittedly more helpful - they kindly gave us directions and (most in Kerala) seemed to speak good English.

It was definitely a fun and enjoyable trip. The temples, the palaces, the gardens, the museums, the galleries, the backwaters, the tea and coffee plantations, the mountain tops, the waterfalls, the journeys to-n-fro, the people and the animals made the sightseeing very exciting. However, what impressed me most of all, was the harmonious coexistence of all that diversity that populates the land. It was very impressive indeed!

MTDC site goes live

We (Technova) just brought the (temporary) website for the Maldives Tourism Development Corporation online. We scored the project only a few days ago and had very little time to develop the website. I am handling the project at Technova and the current site design for MTDC is my produce.

Check out the site here.

MTDC at launch