19 Reasons Why I Love My iPhone 6S Plus!

I’ve flirted with a glut of Samsung smartphone products (I really did love you, at one point, Samsung Galaxy Note 2…) but nothing (honestly!) compared to an iPhone. Period.
This post is subjective (well, kind of), but I don’t care. Love was never an objective thing, and frankly never will be.

19 reasons why I love this phone? Here they are:

1. iOS is just a work of art. The whole process is buttery smooth. iOS 9.3 is a technological masterpiece. The phone and software work is symbiotic fashion. It’s truly a well-fitting glove.

2. Touch ID is super fast. I mean it’s really really really fast. And the best part? It works even when my fingers are wet!

3. Reading ebooks is such an intuitive experience. I’m a bookworm; I never thought that I’d choose an ebook over a ‘real’ book. Oh but guess what?

4. 3D Touch makes multitasking a cinch.

5. The screen size is just awesome. It’s perfect for gaming, and great for surfing.

6. The camera is cool. I love the 4K video features plus the various filters that the camera already comes installed with.

7. My iPhone 6S Plus has NEVER crashed. My Samsung Galaxy Note 2? Well, that’s a different story with a very bad ending.

8. This iPhone has fallen once, twice, thrice etc. My Galaxy just fell down once…and died.

9. Damn it, this device is so versatile. I mean here I am procrastinating, and writing this on the iPhone!

10. Have you seen the iPhone 6S Plus?! It’s goddamn sexy! It’s so smooth, it’s crazy, man! It’s big without being clunky; it’s wide without being ‘in-handleable’; and pulling it out of your pocket at any function makes me feel as if I’m on the hottest date ever.

11. Everyone is a little bit jealous when they know you’ve got a top-of-the-range iPhone, and everyone else is armed with something-Android-whatever. Pull it out when you’re at a business meeting, and it’s equivalent to you having parked a Merc in front of their noses.

12. Using Pages and Numbers is really really easy. Believe it or not, I write all my articles on this phone, and the experience is great.

13. The App Store is a comprehensive temple of amazing apps. Love it. Can’t live without it.

14. Live Photos offer an ephemeral and memorable moment that’s something I truly treasure.

15. It’s not an iPhone 6. I don’t even consider it an upgrade just because there’s a S at the end. As far as I’m concerned it’s an iPhone 7. It’s beautiful. Period.

16. That screen, though! The resolution is ultra cool. If Steve Jobs were alive, I know this device would’ve made him proud.

17. Ironic, I know, but there’s a lot about Google that I like. For instance, Google Maps, Hangouts, and Sheets. Dare I say it? Ok I will. Google apps look and feel better on my iPhone.

18. The iPhone is crap: the iPhone 5S, that is. It was small, and the battery was horrendous. It lasted for as long as a bottle of Lion Lager, which was around 10 seconds. This iPhone? The 6S Plus lasts well over 12 hours with some serious multitasking, game playing, YouTube, and productivity tasks going on.

19. It’s durable and reliable. All my iPhones were. I really wish I could say this about other smartphones.

As mentioned, this post is biased. What do you expect? I’m an Apple fanboy. But do tell us in the comments on your experiences with your smartphone. Who’s first?

Third Space Global: Revolutionising The Art Of Distance Learning

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Here’s a question: Why would a British-born teacher take a 50% pay cut to venture off into the unknown and start life as an entrepreneur? Here’s a list of possible answers:

  1. He wants to follow his passion, which is to teach and disseminate the art of learning via technology, thereby creating more rewarding opportunities; or
  2. Maybe because life is too short to be loitering aimlessly in your comfort zone; or
  3. Quite possibly learning is part and parcel of his ethos, and teaching the next generation and crafting them into a vibrant workforce, which will in turn create a vibrant economy is a philosophy he strongly embraces; or
  4. He really wants to make a difference by creating more jobs for the world’s youth, starting in his native Sri Lanka.
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    Roshan Nilaweera, CEO, Third Space Global

     

So which is it? It’s all of the above. Roshan Nilaweera, CEO of Third Space Global, which is a new startup nestled within the confines of Orion City utilises technology and native talent to invest in future generations via distance learning. Saying that he only regrets the things he hasn’t done, Roshan let me in on a small secret: He wants to traverse a journey from Sri Lanka to England via motor bike. Firmly believing that life is too short, he highlighted the struggles and challenges he faced in setting up Third Space Global. The name itself is a description of the virtual learning space that is created between tutor and student.

A London-based company, this startup despite being only three years old, has signed over 330 schools in UK. The company’s main aim is to teach students who lack confidence in Mathematics that are in Years 1 – 6 who find themselves with the need for special attention. I was told that the success rate of their tutoring programs has increased by a whopping 70% ever since its inception! Roshan went onto explain how proper planning has been integral in crafting such a successful company. The entire staff in the Lankan office is native undergrads and post grads that undergo a stringent clearing process that focuses on quality.

It was interesting to note that the ambience that’s created between student and tutor is one of affection, where the process of learning is made more effective since all lessons are based on real life examples that focus on students’ passions, such as football. All tutors undergo two-week training with UK trainers. Additionally these trainers will sit with the tutors and evaluate based on 27 criteria. Critical thinking is something that is championed at Third Space Global, and it forms the foundation of these lessons.

In addition to being a certified snowboard instructor, Roshan also has a MEng in Computer Science and is an Ambassador of the UK’s Teach First Leadership Development Programme. His current focus is on expansion as he plans to increase the local workforce to 500 within 4 years. Having travelled to over 45 countries, he left me with some advice for those who do wish to pursue their entrepreneurial desires –Develop your idea and test it; Identify what works and what doesn’t by being objective, not emotional. Failing fast and pivoting can save time, money and lead to greater outcomes. Finally and most importantly… remember that you, have the power to change the world.

Here’s Why YOU Should Be A Part Of GBG Colombo!

Remember Google, when it was just a browser? Who’d have thought it would’ve turned into the monolith it is today; but a monolith it did turn out to be. While Microsoft and Apple have been spreading its tentacles far and wide, Google stepped into the scene and changed the game in a hurry. While Microsoft has its own evangelist group for enterprise customers, Apple too has its little fanboy club, but just not in Sri Lanka. Google though is a different story. How so, you may ask.

I sat down with Sajini Jayawardena, Community Evangelist at GBG Colombo and Indulekha Nanayakkara, Co-Manager for GBG Colombo and got investigating. Google started its GBG in Colombo four years back, and it hasn’t stopped spreading its influence and garnering a steady stream of fans. But what exactly is GBG? Well, it was started by Google to evangelize Google products, and it’s also the perfect forum for those who want to start a business, and Google will tell you how.

With almost everyone including your neighbor’s cat and dog jumping on the entrepreneurial bandwagon, Google is ready at hand offering you a chance to truly follow your passion and shine. The good folks at GBG Colombo will gladly help you get your business on Google Maps, open a G+ Page, offer bite-size info on Google Alerts etc. All this for free. How’s that for a deal?

I for one was skeptical. Think Google and I think Android. Think Android and I think of my disaster of a smartphone that boasted more crashes than the entire history of Formula 1; and which turned warmer than a HP laptop (a brand that I not-so-fondly call Hot Plate). But Google and Android have evolved and sharpened their abilities and advantages. Google Android’s latest OS is a formidable opponent to iOS, and is not what it used to be. And so too is GBG.

GBG has evolved and it offers an excellent fulcrum to making your ambitions come true. One year ago, the Google Success Stories Challenge was launched where startups get to leverage Google products and showcase their talent. Not impressed? Just ask the creator of Mogoreader, a Lankan startup, which won against 378 teams from over 200 countries. Google has taken this intuitive news aggregator app under its wing, and has offered its backing with training and advice.

What’s truly admirable is that all GBG events are free of charge, and provides a bucket load of incentives for the passionate few to get their business game on. Trust me when I tell you that 2016 is the year to wander off towards an entrepreneurial pursuit. With a theme aptly called — Growth Hacking — GBG will be offering neat tips and tricks for startups to reach out to customers. None of this is public domain information, and is completely exclusive. Tickled your curiosity yet? It should. Oh, and did I mention that it’s completely free?

Interested in enrolling for GBG? Head on over to the GBG Colombo G+ Page.

Note: This blog post is specifically about GBG, Google Business Group. However, there are various other groups catering to various other segments as well: GDG, Google Developers Group; GSA, Google Student Ambassadors; and GEG, Google Educators Group etc. For more information, please visit the G+ page mentioned above.

Thriving Orion City fast tracks Bellatrix Building project to meet market demand

Responding to rapidly increasing demand for modernized, high-end commercial office space in Colombo, Orion Development announced the continued expansion of its pioneering IT Park, Orion City, with the development of its latest project, the Bellatrix Building.

The six storey building will house an expansive 95,000 sq ft of office space set on large 27,000 sq ft footplates. The new facility is housed within a modern glass façade that is designed to incorporate modern aesthetics within a function driven layout. It employs the highest quality infrastructure and utility services to meet the stringent requirements of the numerous dynamic companies already operating out of the sought-after IT Park. The facility will also comprise a private lobby and lifts, a spacious rooftop area and covered parking within the building.

Construction on the project is already well underway with the building being ready for fit-out by August and occupation by October of this year.

Notably, Bellatrix Building’s developers will offer multiple pricing models that include guaranteed parking at competitive rates, while early reservations will be offered discounts on bookings before 31st March and 30th June 2016.

Established in 2009, Orion City has rapidly built a reputation for excellence having repeatedly set the Sri Lankan benchmark in terms of sophisticated, commercial space and office infrastructure. 32 high caliber, local and international corporates now base their operations out of Orion City including giants such as Virtusa, Pearson, and WNS – a testament to Orion’s unwavering reputation.

The extensive facilities offered within the Bellatrix Building will be further complemented by the wide range of services offered at Orion City. This will include comprehensive banking services, a Hemas Wellness Centre, a fully-equipped Gymnasium and popular food franchises such as Subway and Coffee Bean.

The Bellatrix Building is situated on 16 acres of prime land on Baseline Road, Colombo 09, where approximately 550,000 sq ft of land has already been developed for the Park’s existing commercial space. Further large-scale developments are already in the pipeline for Orion City over the medium term; most notably, the Orion Towers project – an ambitious 22-floor development that will incorporate state-of-the-art technology as well as the prestigious Gold LEED certification in environmentally friendly standards.

The completion of Orion Towers is part of a masterplan from Orion Development to create Sri Lanka’s first one-stop hub for innovation and collaboration, ultimately growing from IT Park into a veritable micro-city that caters to a spectrum of service sector companies while also leading the way in terms of true eco-friendly construction and processes on par with the highest international standards.

Unveiling the blackphone 2: privacy without compromise

Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Vanessa Hudgens and Kate Upton have something in common. They were victims of an incident called the The Fappening, where naked pictures of 100+ women were leaked on 4Chan and Twitter in September 2014.

Big data never forgets! What do photo leaks have to do with the launch of a new smartphone? You might ask. Privacy along with the promise to completely secure your data is the answer.

Mr. Michael Berg, Channel Director, of Silent Circle showing the blackphone 2

The CEO of Chelcey Telecom, Mr. Asela Waidyalankara, along with Silent Circle announced the release of blackphone 2, at Cinnamon Grand on Thursday , 3 March 2016, which mainly focuses on the aspect of privacy. Hon. Harin Fernando, the Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, graced the occasion and impressed upon the audience that innovation and creativity is the way forward when it comes to this island nation. While being visibly impressed with the amount of work, time and effort which has gone into the blackphone 2, the minister went on to state his support for such ventures that promoted futuristic innovations.

Hon. Harin Fernando, the Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, being gifted a blackphone 2 by Mr. Michael Berg, Channel Director, of Silent Circle.

Hon. Harin Fernando, the Minister of Telecommunications and Digital Infrastructure, being gifted a blackphone 2 by Mr. Michael Berg, Channel Director, of Silent Circle.

Mr. Michael Berg, Channel Director of Silent Circle, stated the importance of privacy in general, but more so when it came to enterprise customers. With a backdrop of celebrity photo leaks, and the NSA accessing private data, there seems to be nothing called – privacy. The truth is people with wealth, power or authority will always be a target for blackmail. The blackphone 2 seeks to change this by making communication and personal details secure. Mr. Berg spoke of how Mr. Phil Zimmerman, the Co-Founder & Chief Scientist, of Silent Circle, is an enthusiastic encryption law activist who fought the U.S. government in the 90s, and built a solid reputation on exporting technology to the rest of the world.

Democratizing the whole process, Silent Circle offers its source code, and requests the public to find out vulnerabilities. The public are paid to find out bugs and since the blackphone 2 runs on Android, Silent Circle works with Google to fix everything within 72 hours. No other company does this. In this day and age, the smartphone is a device of vulnerability. Feeling doubtful? Consider the degree of access rights the apps demand, and you will find, it reaches to ominous proportions.

Aimed squarely at enterprise customers, the blackphone 2 is crafted to ensure complete privacy. When apps can listen to what you are saying, take pictures, and listen via a smartphone’s microphone, the blackphone 2’s Silent OS can shut off surveillance and location tracking with a few quick clicks. With a plethora of nifty tricks up its sleeves, the blackphone 2 promises secure calls, SMS, and file sharing. The blackphone 2 is multiple phones in one phone; it’s secure from the start. It was launched at the end of last year, and is brought down to Sri Lanka by Chelcey Telecom.