The Expanse - S03E06 - Immolation

Lot of things have been happening in The Expanse universe. In one end, the show has been cancelled by SyFi. Us The Expanse fans are hoping another TV would pick it up and bet is on Amazon. In middle of all the struggles in the present day came a great episode happening in the 24th century in The Expanse universe.

The Crew Saves the Mei & Other Children

The show starts with our stars breaking in to the research facility positioned in Io (a Jupiter moon) owned by Jules-Pierre Mao to save Mei, the daughter of Prax. To buy time, the scientists release a Protomolecule hybrid. Bobby engages the hybrid to buy time for the team to save the children. That is when my favorite line of the episode took place.

Concerned Chrisjen Avasarala (Deputy Undersecretary of Executive Administration of the United Nations) tells her “Bobby, don’t be an idiot. This won’t bring back your dead marines.” and she replies “Ma`am, for the first time in your life, please just shut the fuck up”. Damn, I love this girl! Chrisjen had it coming!

In the early days I favored Holden, but now Amos & Alex are my heros. When Prax goes to kill the scientist researching with the children, Amos stops him saying “you are not that guy”… then turns to the doctor and says “but I am…” and splatters his brains all over the airlock. Damn Amos!

Errinwright in trouble

I have been conflicted about Errinwright (Undersecretary of the United Nations). I think he is a good guy. It is unfortunate that he is in a resource deprived planet, doing his best to keep her competitive and secure in the face of an advancing Mars. In the other hand Secretary General Gills is a spineless politician.

However Chrisjens revelations about Errinwright killing Martian defense minister takes its toll on him. He goes down putting one hell of a line about the Sec-Gen…

Hybrids Heading to Mars

Behind all that Admiral Nguyen fired the hybrid pods to mars. The Roci emptied its PDC rounds trying to destroy them. Both UN and Martian ships fired on them too. One hit the UNN Arartha King. Many die and some get infected and go nuts.

In an attempt to stop the Protomolecule getting control of a UN flagship and possibly contaminating more, one of my favorites, Cotyar, dies detonating the nuclear fuel by turning off the magnetic containment. Just before that Alex and Naomi are able to turn on the transponders of the missiles heading to Mars. Naomi gets Fred Johnson (Belter) to shoot them down with the Nukes he stole from the UN.

The Protomolecule Rise

The show comes to an end with Holden and Naomi kissing and hugging, Fred Johnson nuking the Protomolecule hybrid pods… While it seemed a victory for a moment then came Venus. A structure emerges from Venus making Amos respond “What the fuck is that”.

Conclusion

Damn! It was one heck of an episode and congratulations to all the crew.

I hope the SaveTheExpanse campaign bares fruit and we get to see an awesome show survive at least another season.

God bless you all!

MyDeals.lk - I am disappointed!

I was interested in getting a paint remover. Searching online, I found some thing good on MyDeals. Without hesitation I created an account logging through Facebook and placed an order. I decided to pick it up from the store as I was in a hurry.

Lack of communication

I checked my mail and there were no emails. I checked the order and stated no sign that it was ready to pickup. To confirm I gave a call to the help line 4 times. I was greeted by a message. I choose both Sinhalese and English but neither options gave me to a handler.

Pickup by 3rd party

Since I was busy today I sent a guy working for me to pick it up with a printed receipt. He was told that he can’t take the item. He gave me a call and I talked to a girl. They had an issue giving the item to a different person. I told the girl to give me a call to my cell and that I will confirm to give it to the guy in the store. She said they don’t do it and that I had to send them an email. One problem is that the Facebook login created an account with an email I don’t use. During the conversation I got pissed and told “Get me your bloody manager”. I am sorry for hurting her feelings, but I was pissed about their inability to answer a phone or send emails.

Then they gave me a call, asked for my ID card number, and gave the item to my guy.

Step up your game!

MyDeals guys need to step up their communication. The most important aspect of business is communication. Send an email when an order is placed. Send an email when the order is ready. Does it cost a nickle to send an email?

They have to understand not every one is free to pick things up in person. If a 3rd party has a printed receipt, they can confirm by calling the customer to hand over the purchase to the bearer of the receipt. Don’t need to have a pissed off customer to do it.

Conclusion

I still think Sri Lanka is not ready for e-commerce. There are many people who have complained about rough edges and difficulty to procure purchased items in Sri Lankan e-commerce. I hope they step up the game. Until then, I will be visiting stores.

Japan Bus Strike - Learn Sri Lanka

A group of Japanese bus drivers in Okayama are on strike requesting improved job security. Unlike in our great Sri Lanka, the Wonder of Asia, they didn’t cripple the public by not running their routes. Understanding the inconvenience to the general public, they settled to do their jobs as usual but refusing to charge customers for their rides.

If this was Sri Lanka, things would be drastically different. Not just in an area, the brainless, heartless and honorless shitheads would have crippled the entire country. They don’t care about the people. How ever, the same shit heads will should when the doctors are on strike.

What are doctors problems… there are a lot…

  • Taxation
  • Car permits
  • Prevent private education
  • and many more…

And what do they say they strike for… “Save health care”… My ass!

Yah… this is Sri Lanka and here we are in quite literally a “pathetic state”

SLT Free Fiber To Home (FTH)

The Internet keeps me connected with friends, family and work. The latter since I am a freelance software engineer working at home. During the New Year season Thilini from SLT Kotte called me and offered a fiber connection for free with on hidden fees on a Wednesday. I was very busy and only got free time to go to SLT to sign documents on Friday. Today was the day I got to enjoy 100 Mbps downlink and 50 Mbps uplink for the first time in my personal life.

Special Mentions

I would like to thank every one involved in general. Some honorable mentions would be…

  • Thilini - the girl who reached out to me
  • The lady in blue T-shirt who seemed to be in charge of Thilini
  • Manuja Galgamuwa (fiber contractor) & his team

What I plan to do

ADSL in 2008 was primarily used for education and entertainment. I have grown old such that even some of the best TV and Movies seem boring to me. I am interested in making video content in domains DIY and IT. I want the quality to be high, starting at FHD.

So yah, I am going to benefit of the 50 Mbps uplink to upload content I create. FTH uplink is 5 times of what the previous downlink was, damn :D !.

My history with ISPs

  • DialogNet (Dialup: 2000)
  • EWIS (Dialup: 2000)
  • SLT Net (Dialup: 2002, ADSL: 2008, FTH: 2018, currently my primary ISP)
  • Mobitel (GPRS: 2005, 3G: 2008, 3.5G: 2011)
  • Etisalat (3.5G: 2016) (currently my fallback ISP)

Freelancing in Sri Lanka

I am Ziyan Junaideen. I graduated from the University of Peradeniya as a computer engineer. Unlike my peers I choose to be a freelancer. It has been 6 years and I thought of writing about my experience.

Why freelancing?

Its a a good question.

I have always been curious about flexibility. I loved the idea of been able to work from any where at any time. Freelancing gave me the flexibility to earn a buck as a university student to cover at least some of my expenses.

Following graduation, I had even more of a need for flexibility. Mums Downs-Syndrome sister was getting ill. To help take care of her, I had to be home at least 10 hours apart. Ideally I would be able to come home early and finish the rest of the work there. There were companies giving this degree of flexibility, but only after getting established.

As a result I choose to continue working as a freelancer. It opened the possibility for me to work any where, any time.

How do I find work?

I look for work through online freelance marketplaces like UpWork. This has been the only means of finding work in the initial days. But today, at least few times a month, I get invited by headhunters to consider job openings directly.

Invitations I get directly come from both local and foreign companies. I respond to them for curiosity. I have noticed that local companies do their best to match salaries to meet the international competition resulting higher wages than their usual employees.

While I am considering local job offers seriously, my current clientele is 100% foreign.

How do I get paid?

Getting paid as a Sri Lankan can get tricky. How ever you would like to dream about Sri Lanka, it is a corrupt country with difficult to work with financial regulations and negligible economy. As a result most international financial platforms like PayPal, Stripe etc don’t fully support Sri Lanka.

In the early days I used Payoneer. It is a neat platform used by many to get paid. I would agree with the client to complete the work in stages (or milestones). At the end of each stage we will review the work. Then I send a payment request through Payoneer to the client. Once the client pays, the card is ready to use any where in the world. Payoneer also supports withdrawal to local bank accounts. Its cheaper than using the card.

Another possibility is to use some thing like Moneygram. Its fast and effective. I have used it many times.

Currently I only use international wire transfers. The main reason I choose wire transfers is to maintain a USD account. If I function in Rupees and I need send significant amounts abroad again (ex: a refund) I have to have central bank permission. But it turns out that if I have my money as US currency, this restriction doesn’t apply. But there is a catch. Wire Transfer using US currency costs me about $30.00 per transfer which is close to Rs. 5500 which is a lot. So it may not be your ideal method to get paid.

The Risks

Yes! Freelance work has occupational risks. Once I got my laptop almost soaked in rain working in an open area. One there were a bunch of guys I think were interested in mobbing me. I looked them in the eye and said “Can you make up your mind, so that we can get started, I don’t have all day” and they walked away.

Jokes aside, there are some risks.

Firstly you may not get paid. This is why I normally work in milestones and get paid for each step. This reduces your exposure.

Secondly, there might not be a next job. Getting the next job depends on availability of work and your ability to cope with competition. Availability of work could fluctuate with government policies directly or indirectly. Competition comes in many aspects. Most of the time it is the man-to-man competition. But competition may also come indirectly. For example a new technology may out compete an existing technology and competition for work in the latter will increase as the number of available work reduce.

What are the benefits?

The main benefit of freelancing is the flexibility. Firstly you can work from any where, probably at any time. But then there is the flexibility of finding work you like.

Sri Lanka is a small country with a small market. I found out that technologies I like to work with (like Ruby) have negligible opportunities in the local market. While I could have found work in Java or .NET it wouldn’t have been the same.

The other is the financial aspect. If you have a skill and if you are dedicated you will find work and you will get paid well. Some times many times the local wages.

Conclusion

I love been a freelancer. It gives me the flexibility I desire. While there are some risks involved in freelancing, it is easily outmatched by the benefits it provides.

I think you should try it! If you would like some advice, feel free to contact me.