Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our best product yet! LetGo already making impact!!

Can there be a mobile app which could change individual minds and make the world a better place ?

Well, if the answer is a Yes, it will have to be a step by step journey... a marathon not a sprint!  (although one will have to make certain specific laps a lot quicker!) We have taken the first step and it is nice to see the positive feedback we are already getting.

Here's our winning pitch at TWIST Colombo Meet Up. This Week in Start Up is a Live internet show run by famous host Jason Calacanis. We are thrilled about the way the show hosts (Jason, Tyler and Shamal)  has shared our enthusiasm and passion.

For more information on LetGo, see here.

If you have any specific feedback, input, criticisms for us, please feel free to post them here. All thoughts are welcome and we will answer all comment you have on LetGo.

We are excited and planning to launch with a big bang! pretty soon too!! stay tuned.......

BTW, those who like to join with us on this exciting venture, do write to us. We are hiring, graphic designers, Android developers and iOS developers. Let's change the world!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Finally, the gaming site is online and free for all!

It comes with 3 board and puzzle titles for a start and a forth one would be added soon with more to follow.

Current games include the award winning (IESL - Cruncher 2011) Elephant Trap.

Enjoy playing with freinds, chat while playing, get yourself ranked...

Give it a try!   (choose 'Play Now' from Araaya site)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Back to Blogging with a vengeance ?

Well, not quite. I have an unfinished business to settle down first, so please bare with us. Apologies for failing to post anything for some time now...

However, we have not wasted time doing entirely nothing in last month or so. For one, we are doing not too badly at the Google AI competition .

Current ranking page is in here.

Secondly, our long promised online free gaming site is just around the corner! You can already have a glimpse at the Araaya web site. Official launch will happen really soon too!

Thirdly, we have done some porting of our games into Android platform lately and doing same for iPhone. For this we got 2 phones, an iPhone 4 and a Motorolla Atrix. We have been playing with these 2 great phones lately which are easily the best in their categories at present, that I thought it would be useful for few to write a review and a comparison on them.

My last post about a similar subject (about Toyota Prius) was welcomed by many and judging by comments have helped few people... so probably I should do that more. After all, how often do we bloggers get a chance to actually help someone, (except for helping readers to kill their time) :-)

So, that (on iphone and Android) would probably be our next post. Meanwhile, some of interesting games from the AI competition can be found in this link. I'm regularly update that page with game links. Stay tuned....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

That time has come again! Worlds best programming contest is back!

Google AI challenge is back! (well, at least about to. Beta server is there and folks are already slugging it out!) Can feel the competition heat is already building up!

Last year competition (Planet Wars) was a tremendous success for this competition to catapult it into arguably the worlds best programming contest. My experience, misfortune and the way I compensated for it, is found in here.

This year competition is about building up and growing a colony of Ants. Ants have two major functions, spawning and fighting (killing enemy ants). In a 2D battlefield we get food randomly but fairly placed and continuously supplied in various locations. Players have to program their bots to compete for those food resources which will help them spawn more ants and then command your ant armies in battle to conquer the whole field! It's a multilayer game, meaning there are several players competing at the same time.

As in the last year, the API is very elegant and simply done. One could master it and deploy a sample bot in a matter of minutes! The game server is arranging a continuous tournament contesting bots all the time and one can see the games being played (like this one here!) and the ranking / leader boards in near real time! Can you imagine the thrill this can generate ? well, you can just find out!

After I entering the last year completion only in last few days and made to curse my fate, this year I have made a head start. You could see our bots fighting with worlds best!

This is lot of fun! Challenging and a dream challenge for a programmer who is up to it.

Why don't you give it a try! nothing to loose!!

Warning : This is very addictive and sometimes even more so than just playing a game. You would loose  weeks of your time hacking away clever ways to beat the other programs. Only consolation is your programming/analytical skills are going to get a definite boost!

See you in battle!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just formatted our last remaining windows desktop. Welcome Ubuntu!

We all were using Windows about 5 years ago. My office desktop was also Windows, even though I was enjoying OS X in my MacBook. As we began to develop enterprise applications at ITF (IT Front), slowly and one by one desktops began to get converted into Linux. Ubuntu was the winner. By about 2-3 years ago, everything got reformatted. Everything except my desktop machine which was running windows XP!

Something kept me from formatting that machine. Was it some unknown fear/hesitation that we should not totally depart from Windows world, or was it a reasonable judgement that we may need to run certain Windows only applications once in a while, or was it just the inertia working against change... ? I don't know but I kept that machine going, I was working with Ubuntu at office, comfortable with Open Office, very impressed with stability and performance Ubuntu gave us while in development. Above all, we were free from viruses, malware and system crashes. Come to think of it, there really wasn't a very critical windows application that I couldn't do without. In that sense this outcome was always something which was written on the wall. On yesterday night, it happened!

For some urgent task at Araaya, I needed to install Python in my home desktop machine, the Win XP one. Installing python was never an issue in anywhere. In fact, in my office Ubuntu desktop, it was there by default. However, Windows installer didn't work. It just stopped without giving any output when I double click on it. I downloaded a different, newer version of Python and picked the so called 'very good'  windows installer, a MSI. Then tried an older version too but all with same result. No error messages, no clues, just hanging up. I had to go to task manager and manually kill the running process. I was in a hurry to get my task going and it was just a matter of time me realizing that installing Ubuntu and work with Python there is going to be a lot surer and possibly quicker way than further investigating why the installer failing on XP.

A critical point! Should I try to keep both OSs ? no I didn't have enough hard drive space left for that. Also, there was so much junk in the windows installation which has accumulated over time that the mere thought of cleaning it up was a refreshing thought. You all know how Windows get slower and slower as the time goes and so many left overs from past applications have accumulated etc don't you ? Well, I suspect my machine had few viruses as well! Not series ones but when I use my pen drives in other Windows machines with paid proper virus guards (I didn't want to pay for a virus guard and haven't had much success with downloaded free ones after my old McAfee auto update stopped responding, a result of another virus) they always complained about a virus or two.

So in the end that seemingly mighty hard decision which put me off for 2 years just happened in the course of few minutes! I carefully copied my content in Desktop, My Documents etc into another drive and all was ready in just 10 minutes! C drive was ready to give way to Ubuntu 10.10. ! Just put the installation CD in and after a few more minutes I had a brand new, blazing fast, hassle free, easy to use operating system in my old machine! And I had enough time in the night to do some Python and Java code too!

So, there went the last windows machine in our office... I really liked windows XP despite some of it's obvious weaknesses. However, enough was enough! Ubuntu is actually not even my favorite OS, that honor goes to mac OS. We are waiting for our laptop to arrive with Mac OS X - Lion, (on which we will develop iPhone versions of our games) but I will continue to work with Ubuntu too.

There is really nothing special to say or hints to give about Ubuntu installation or usage, just put the CD in and all very simple! no hassle at all! If you want to download and install anything on Ubuntu, Just use the built in Synaptic Package Manager and it will be ridiculously simple, while staying clean, fast and legal all the time!

Having said all that, once our Mac OS one arrives, We will still have to install a parallel Windows 7 or a XP there using Bootcamp. Why ? because for our users! For those who going to use our game site in IE browsers. We need at least one machine where we can get hold of a IE for testing. So Windows will still be staying with us, after all.

Talking about the game server, good news is that it is now in the amazon cloud going through final round of testing! It will be available for all for free and pretty soon too! stay tuned....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Games, Algorithms and Code

Thought of publishing a new post with links to some of our earlier posts to help the users who have joined us from syndicate sites we have recently got listed into.

BTW, all algorithms, some code we produce, analysis in solving some gaming puzzles etc are in the coding blog which is iq-games Our starting puzzle Towers of Hanoi was just complete there (with a staggering series of 10 posts!) That series takes one deep into the world of Hanoi Towers with general cases (what we know most is just a one specific case of the puzzle), multiple towers etc After analyzing the puzzle and sharing ideas and explaining of algorithms, finally the source code has also been shared there, have fun! For absolute beginners on towers of Hanoi, this link should be the starting point. Those who already know the puzzle and the code to solve the basic case of it, can start from here to dig deep. More game analysis, algorithms and code for different games/puzzles will appear in this blog, stay tuned....

At this blog we have discussed about the future of Thin Client and Javascript. We placed our bets on web application to over take desktop applications and similarly languages like Javascripts together with technologies like HTML5 and AJAX are poised to become next big things in the programming world. Like to know more ? hop in!

Newest programming Language! Ceylon!! will it overtake Java ? what's the secret reasoning behind naming it as Ceylon ? (of all names for god's sake!) read Here to find more...

Can meditation help improve programming skills ? What's in common with programming meditation and Chess ? You will find few more questions and even fewer answers in here.

Finally, what we are about. The Free for all online gaming site!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Can Meditation improve programming skills ?

Positive influence of meditation in emotional well being, mental faculties and general mental/physical health is well known and well supported by research too. Therefore, one might think meditation will greatly help software engineers to develop their mental skills which are related to programming skills. However, as far as I know not much research is done on this subject yet and hence we don't have evidence yet to prove this hypothesis.

Looking at it from a different angle, games like Chess which require players to concentrate for long durations and help them become objective and develop their analytical thinking can also help people to improve their mental faculties. This is well acknowledged around the world and in many countries chess is already in the primary school curriculum, sometimes even as a mandatory subject!

Recently Word Chess Federation, FIDE has signed a interesting agreement with the World Meditation Academy. Among other things, FIDE will from now on offer scholarships for chess players to  attend meditation courses. Many other sports are also using mediation as a part of trainings, but this I think is the first time a sports governing body has so openly endorsed meditation as a tool which can help the game. In fact the connection between Chess and Meditation should not be a surprise. More about this piece of news can be found in here.

Now, I have personally seen good chess players also performing well as good software engineers (computer programmers). So, can there be a link between meditation and programming too. Will it be a good try for kids who like to become good computer programmers in future to pay some attention to meditation and chess or at least one of them ?

I personally think there (judging by my own personal experience all 3 fields and judging by what I have seen in others) is a good healthy relationship between these fields in terms of the mental skills needed to excel in those. While meditation can help in Chess and programming, will the reverse of that be true as well ?

If anyone have evidence or know about any research done on these, feel free to share it with us. This is one such place I know of where similar discussions are already happening.

PS : It seems like there are already initiatives to get programmers into meditation. Google for instance is conducting Mindfulness workshops at their campuses.

Mindfulness with Jon Kabat-Zinn
Cognitive Neuroscience of Mindfulness Meditation
How the Essence of Mindfulness Parallels the Nuts and Bolts of Science

Thanks Black_Irish at reddit for providing above links. More on this can be found at the discussions at reddit