Saturday, November 19, 2011


Just saw this from my twitter feed.

NCIT is looking for an OSS consultant or people with the experience. Great move, which I fully support but the pay is like 12k to 15k. What shocks me is the long list of requirements they have put up. You need to be a consultant, developer, a project manager, a trainer and a sys admin. This is a bloody joke.

Seriously how does our government expect to get good people to get things done by paying peanuts? Even the basic rent of an apartment in Male' is 15k.

This is like the initial stages where you need to build a good foundation. The key to the success of such projects is good people. Moving to open source is something that will benefit everyone and I guess should be given high priority. We need people with experience to come in and contribute to these projects. To attract that you can't just offer a 1000 USD! Its lame! F* stupid!

ICT needs to be given more priority in this Maldives; this is almost 2012 and the Maldivian government is still operating in the stone ages when it comes to technology.

A good start will be to replace the leadership of NCIT and the communication ministry! Get proper people in there! The government already got good talent and great people. Someone needs to identify these people and given them the authority to get things done!

Just cos someone carries an iPad around does not mean he is the right person to be given such a responsibility. Honestly whatever said here, I don't have much hopes that there will be any future for IT professionals in Maldives. There is great potential for a new industry too , but again this will never happen! Our leaders don't have such visions and its never possible!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

printf(“Goodbye world \n”);

More bad news today. Dennis Ritchie, the inventor and founder of ”C” language is reported dead. Dennis Ritchie is also part of the team who created the UNIX Operating System.


Dennis Ritchie will always be remembered and thank you for your contributions to the computing world. May your soul rest in peace!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Goodbye, Steve Jobs

Its a sad day. I woke up this morning and the first news I got on my iPhone was the passing away of Steve Jobs.

RIP Steve Jobs. You will be missed and always remembered. We all know that death is inevitable but what makes a difference is how we live our lives and what we contribute back to the world. That is how we will be remembered and that's what makes a difference.

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

-Steve Jobs [1955-2011]

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The NEXT Level?

It would really be cool if Maldives has one or two centralized data center that services the whole government. This can possibly be established under the current NCIT or it can be privatized?

We already have a good (reasonable) data network established nation wide. This is one of the biggest challenges moving to such a model in other nations. All most all ministries are located in Male' and this makes things so much easy for such an establishment. If we can improve on our administration via utilization of technology, we can provide better services to our citizens. We can cut down on spending, better transparency in governance, etc. Often we ignore all these factors, or we fear the change. Such a model sometimes is a threat to the people in power as they fear loosing control and reduction on corruption.

Often we send so much and replicate the resources. Example so much money might have been spend on establishing services like mobile banking by MMA and e-goverance by NCIT. All these can be established under one roof, instead of having individual data centers. I am sure we have enough computing power (existing) to cater to our needs in governance. We have so many trained IT guys who are just wasted. We can bring all of them under one organization and cater to the government. This is simple logic and we don't need the technical knowhow to figure this out. If we get rid of the hypocrisy and be logical a lot of these things can improve.

We don't need to spend millions to develop software from 3rd party vendors when we have spend on training people to write them. If they can't do it; I guess the government needs to rethink and stop spending anymore money on human resources. Parents need to stop spending money in educating their children in IT. If this argument that Maldivians can't handle such jobs today. I seriously feel we have a major problem. Why are are guys asking for pay raise when they don't work or just act as store keepers.

Just talking about such changes won't do us any good. Having 100's of meetings in air conditioned rooms, talking in formal languages , taking minutes of the meetings and emailing to all does not solve any of our issues. Some people need to step in and do this or take the initiative. Those people are the elected leaders and people who are getting paid with public money. I don't understand why we can't provide better services to our people when we are a population of just 300,000 people and 10% of our population is in the civil service. We seriously have issues and they won't be fixed on their own. We are almost at 2011 and just concentrating on environment and building flats is not good enough. That won't sustain us, we need better plans and people need to contribute and start acting. We need to find alternative revenue sources, we need to start facing realities of todays world. Just depending on tourism will not be enough when this wealth is only distributed and enjoyed among only a few people. Our leaders need to start thinking and planing beyond just 5 years and our oppositions need to grow up and be more responsible. Now we just fight over power and who gets to rule. This is bringing us all down and we will soon be in great disaster.

The recent political fights are so stupid and we should really consider the motives behind our politicians. I don't see any future in Maldives at this rate and I don't feel it will hold any future for my children. At this rate I feel anyone who has the capability to run away and settle down else where will do so. Its proven that mostly the politicians are just focused on staying in power or getting back to power and just making money. Maybe there are a few who are really concerned and genuine but not the majority. If this goes on like this may god help us. We are doomed.

I guess everyone is a politician today and no one is willing to do the dirty work of fixing things. Everyone wants to give speeches and host press conferences and point at each other. Shame on these people and shame on the people who hit the streets behind these people. What we need now is solutions not more problems.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Off to the cloud

You don't need to own your own infrastructures to support your IT needs. You don't need to take the headache of maintaining your infrastructure. You don't need to spend on capital expenditure. You don't need to be worried about your operational costs for your data centers and IT staff. Think about power failures and backups. Its as easy as getting any other utility service. Electricity or Water. Just get it connected and pay as you use. That is the future of computing.

Today in Maldives too we spend so much on IT. Buying expensive servers, firewalls, routers, etc. Changing PC's every other year. This is a big business. The finance guy takes a cut, the IT guy takes a cut, the vendors make millions. Its good business. This applies to many nations not just Maldives. The IT managers loves to collect servers and other toys to play with. Not even 5% of the servers in Maldives will utilize even 20% of the CPU. This is all normal. This is very common in the government too. Every ministry has its own data center / server room. Its own IT people, etc. We replicate the same data in multiple ministries. We just take quotes from the hardware vendors and let them dictate our infrastructures. Its again all good business. Everyone is happy this way?. Yet we have send millions (of USD) on e-government project mainly the network. Which we use to access a Microsoft SharePoint server. Which is again good. Took us a few years to get this up and running, but it's there. We should be happy. Again 2011 we'd spend a few millions on IT hardware. A few of the MDP members are hardware vendors; need to keep them happy. Some of the DRP members too, they would shout , need to keep them happy too. This is business as usual.

If someone would propose a solution, you can always say IT guys are lazy they just talk and we move on with business as usual. Things like moving to open source is bad, cos there is no vendor behind it who will charge millions. We need someone to be accountable. Even if there is open source service providers they don't charge as much as Oracle and Microsoft. So that is important. Anyway we don't need all that, all we do is word process, facebook and maybe do some spreadsheets. We have enough civil service staff so we don't need automation. That will leave a lot of employees with no work at all. Of course we should talk BIG about plans for IT and automation from cabinet meetings to press releases. That is part of the show.

We will spend a few millions training our people in IT. They will come and install Windows and clean virus for us. That is a hard job. Research and Development is just for the west, we are Maldivians. We only worry about the environment and our beaches. So yes, we live in the cloud. We are happy people. Why should we worry about cost cutting and things like centralized data centers, etc. We have better stuff to worry about like the drama that goes in the Majlis and the "bandaru/falhu konun" projects for islands with 200 people. So many other important things. I hope that explains it all for those who complain on the topic. We can say and write a lot more but would be a waste of time; already is by posting this.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Apps Apps Apps

Last few month at work we have been working really hard to get some of the projects completed. We have been able to release two small projects out so far, both of which were listed on Apple app stores "New & Noteworthy" list. The next batch of apps are almost completed now. Above screenshots are from one of them. Can't tell much about the project now, but it's a useful tool and an exciting project.

Been working on a few more ideas, which I hope to start work soon on. Working for a start up is always challenging and demanding. I don't think many people are good at handling the pressures of working for startups. It always sounds exciting (and is too) but from experience I can tell it's not easy.

From coming up with an idea, developing the concept and getting that converted into an app is no easy job. There are thousands of competitors out there and you need to ensure that yours gets the needed attention. That's a huge challenge.

I guess the success factors are a creative, hard working team and staying focused. Obviously the financial factors is one of the most important part of a startup, but that can also be the most stressful thing too. While ensuring the ROI's and keeping a team of developers happy and motivated; that again is not an easy job.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Thaana OCR Development

The engine used is tesseract OCR.

After a few hours of training the engine the following image was passed to be processed.

The result is :

ށްރަވަ ލަސައްމަ އެ ންމުބުލި ންސަޓިމެ ށްނަސަމިކޮ އެ ނީބު ންނުޝްމިކޮ އެ
ދިއ .ށެވެމަކަ ވީރުދޮ ށްނަންހުލުފު ށްމަރުކު ގުއީހުތަ ލަސައްމަ އެ އިލަބަ ށްޅަނގުރަ
ށްމަކަ ނެވާއިފަދީ ންލުއ ންގެދިއެ ންހުލުފު ތުމާނޫއަމަ ރުތުއި ޅޭގު އާލަސައްމަ އެ
.ވެއެ ނެބު ންނުޝްމިކޮ އެ ސްވެ

As you can see it's not even close to be perfect. The next stage is to do a more systematic training so that the accuracy levels will improve.

The idea is to improve on the training and develop a small tool that help do Thaana OCR which will be available for FREE and as an open source project. Tesseract presently does not even support RTL languages and that is also something that needs to be handled.


I tried another OCR test and below is the results. This time it shows clear improvements (can conclude it's 40% accurate?). This was after including 2 more training files.The processed result is below:

ގެތުލަދައް ނީދުވަންގެ ންމުވަޅުދާވި ންރުބަމްމެ ޅުކޮދިއި ގެހުލީޖިމަ ކުމަކަ
ނެހޭޖު ންދަހޯ ންހުރު ގެހުލީޖިމަ ރުއި ނަގާ އްޓަންރަދަ ތަނުވަ ނެއްހޯ ށްކަޓަންފުލް
ންނޫ އްމެކަ ތްއޮ ންރަކު ންކުޓަންފުއްކު މެންކޮމެންކޮ ކީމަތުއޮ ނަންއޮ ށްމަ
.ށެވެމަކަ އްމެކަ ހޭންޖެރަކު ރުއިނަގާ ނުހޯ ށްކަމަރިފުންކު ގެތުލަދައް އީއެ ށާއިމަ

Note: Look at the text in reverse order.

If any of you want to try out here is the traineddata file.

If you are on Ubuntu try apt-get install tesseract-ocr now copy the downloaded div.traineddata to /usr/local/share/tessdata/

To test maybe you can download the images (thaana news) from this post or (take a block of text) and do a
tesseract example.tif outputfilename -l div
once done, do a cat outputfilename.txt that should show you are processed text. 

The training files used and training data is here