Thesis Acknowledgements

Today I submitted my PhD thesis for external examination. It’s been a long and at times daunting journey for the past three years and nine months. This would not have been possible without the support of many great individuals. As a note of appreciation, the following is from my thesis, Acknowledgements.

This thesis would not have been possible without the inspiration and support of a number of wonderful individuals — my thanks and appreciation to all of them for being part of this journey and making this thesis possible. I owe my deepest gratitude to my supervisors Professor Ed Dawson and Dr Jason Reid. Without their enthusiasm, encouragement, support and continuous optimism this thesis would hardly have been completed. I express my warmest gratitude to my associate supervisor Professor Robin Drogemuller.
His guidance into the world of building information modelling has been a valuable input for this thesis. I also want to express my gratitude to my colleague and my associate supervisor Dr Farzad Salim. He has made available his support in a number of ways, especially towards the completion of this thesis.

I gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Joerg Kiegeland who was instrumental in developing the demonstrator. His expertise in building information modelling and his commitment towards the project was a significant influence in shaping many of the concepts presented in this thesis. I would like to thank my friend and colleague Khalid Eisa for his frequent help and support.

I am forever thankful to my colleagues at the Airports of the Future project for their friendship and support, and for creating a cordial working environment. I thankfully acknowledge the contributions of Dr Paul Barnes in formulating a number of access control scenarios discussed in this thesis as well as for his insight into addressing real world problems. I would like to thank Dr Clinton Fookes and Dr Vikas Reddy for organising required resources and liaising with industry partners.
I would also like to thank Ruth White and Anne Krupa for taking care of all the administrative matters.

I am thankful to the Airports of the Future project for giving access and valuable insight into the airport world that has immensely influenced this research. I would like to show my appreciation to all our project partners for sharing their expertise and experiences, and for providing valuable feedback throughout this research. I acknowledge the contributions from the Brisbane Airport Corporation and its staff for making it possible to carry out this work based on their airport environment.

It is a pleasure to thank my friends at the Geeks’ House, Janaraj, Hajananth, Mayooran, Jatheeshan and Kesawan, for the wonderful times we shared, specially the Saturday night dinners. In addition, I would like to thank all my friends in Brisbane and Melbourne who gave me the necessary distractions from my research and made my stay in Australia memorable.

Finally, my deep and sincere gratitude to my family for their continuous and unparalleled love, help and support. I am grateful to my sister for always being there for me as a friend. I am forever indebted to my parents for giving me the opportunities and experiences that have made me who I am. They selflessly encouraged me to explore new directions in life and seek my own destiny. This journey would not have been possible if not for them, and I dedicate this milestone to them.

The 2013 Recap

It is almost 2014 and for me personally, there is a lot of uncertainty as for taking the next steps, lot of plans from last year still to be realised, and yet a lot more hope for the new year. The year 2013 was an entirely different year for me, with many new beginnings and few endings. So this is me just recapping the past twelve months of my life and contemplating what is onset for the next.

The New Year

It was the third new year for me in Australia and having spent the previous two years in Brisbane, I decided to go to Sydney for this time. The difference began from the very first day of the year with spending the New Year’s Eve with Couchsurfing friends in Sydney. It’s not just the spectacular fireworks that made that day special, but all new ‘friends’ from all over the world whom you have just met hours before and having a great time till dawn. It was just the beginning of the year of making friends.

The Friends

I’ve never been a social animal. I always had few friends around me, but making new friends is not something that comes easily to me. In 2013, I made a conscious decision to make new friends going out from my current circles. A random Couchsurfing meetup at New Farm park turned into a solid group of friends in Brisbane, especially during the first half of the year. These folks were based in Brisbane for a few months at least, not just a transient group of people common with Couchsurfing. I spent the fun part of my year with this group of friends, mostly travelling, exploring, and partying. I also got connected with another social meetup group, through which I made few good friends and met few ‘characters’. Overall, these experiences enabled me to slightly redefine social persona (at least I guess so.).

Couchsurfing Friends 2013
With Couchsurfing Friends at Byron Bay lighthouse (February 2013).

The Thesis

The year 2013 should have been the year for completing my studies, but as with any normal PhD student procrastination took over and extensions followed. However by the end of the year I’ve almost reached the final stage of my candidature. I think I would have spent more days (aka nights) at university than at home this year. I started working more in my alternative hours, where I would come to office at 9pm and leave at 9am. There was a mix of Avicii, Beethoven and Chopin that became my writing playlist during these days. I was able to finish writing my thesis towards the end of the year and managed to do my final defence seminar with no major arrows thrown at. It in no way the end year, but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.

The Artist

The best way to procrastinating is letting the artist in me to do silly things, and it helps keeping me sane. I didn’t do any personal project this year apart from finishing off couple of short sketches shot last year. The few scripts I started working on are still in drafts, and I’m not planning on proceeding with any of those in near future. The main thing in terms of my creative side was my involvement with a YouTube channel for a health coach in Brisbane. This was a regular project where I shot, edited and directed weekly and later fortnightly videos for YouTube. This in some ways compensated for me not doing any personal videos, and it also helped keeping sharp with my editing skills. Hopefully I’ll be able to do more personal projects next year.

The Beginnings

One of the most satisfying experiences this year was spending time volunteering with the Australian Red Cross. It was mostly with migration support services for clients who are recent migrants and asylum seekers. The engagement with a range of clients through these programs gave the sense of doing something useful. The insight from this volunteering experience motivated me to be more socially active for many related causes. In no way I’m an activist, but being part of grassroot movements for social change has shaped my views on many social issues. These beginnings are ongoing any I expect to have a greater engagement with these organisations and causes in years to come.

The Endings

With some new beginning, 2013 also marks few endings in my journey. I decided to drop my regular engagement with the community radio program to avoid the internal backlash, and towards the end of the year I said final goodbye to our listeners on air along with my co-host. The leaving was not pleasant, but this experience has taught me to be wary leaders with a false persona and hidden agendas. It seems like I’ve stopped blogging and vlogging all together. There were few random posts from previous drafts, but it’s not what I want and hopefully it’s something I can catch up on next year.

The Next

I rarely have my life figured out and it’s the same this time. I don’t have much as for plans for next year apart from finishing my studies, graduating, and continuing with things I’ve started in 2013.
The one thing I want to do is a bit more travelling. Even though there was a bit of travelling in the first part of this year, I haven’t done much travelling lately. So possibly a motorcycle journey around Australia, or even few interstate trips through country towns is in my list. I managed to dodge the bullet on relationships and marriage this year, and hopefully I can do the same for few more years to come. Apart from that I have no major plans for 2014 and it just about going with the flow as always.

Happy New Year

How to make watalappan in a microwave?

Watalappan (or wattilappam or vattilappam) is a popular in Sri Lankan desert seemingly with a Malay in origin. It is more like a custard or pudding made with “jaggery“, coconut milk and eggs as the main ingredients. Traditionally this is steam cooked and would normally take about 45 minutes to 1 hour to prepare.

Here is my take on the same recipe with a little twist where I cook it in a microwave, which takes about 5 minutes for preparation and 5-8 minutes of cooking time. This is a quick and easy recipe for a delicious dessert, even for a guy like me.

Watalappan - Made in a microwave

Ingredients:

  • 5 Eggs
  • 250 ml Coconut milk, thick
  • 250 g “Jaggery
  • 1 Cinnamon quill, broken
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cloves (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Grated nutmeg (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Ground cardamom seeds (Optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla extract (Optional)
  • Butter, to grease
  • Raisins and roasted cashew nuts, to serve

Directions:

  • Add the eggs to a bowl, and whisk them well
  • Add the coconut milk to the egg mixture, and mix well
  • Add grated “jaggery” and all the spices, and blend them well
  • Add the mixture into a greased microwave-safe bowl
  • Cook it in a microwave, covered for 5-8 minutes
  • Sprinkle some raisins and roasted cashew nuts
  • Let it cool before serving

Notes:

  • “Jaggery” is an unrefined sugar typically made from sugar cane or date palm sap and often used in Indian and Sri Lankan recipes. You can substitute it with grated dark palm sugar
  • Cooking time can vary on depending on the microwave power or amount of the mixture. I would suggest start at 5 minutes and increase by a minute each time while checking if it is cooked.

My Riding Log: The Pretext

It all started about a year ago when I decided to buy a scooter to commute to work. The idea was to buy a 50cc scooter as it can be driven with a car licence in Brisbane and it was the only licence I had. I had never ridden a motorcycle or scooter before, so a 50cc scooter sounded easy to start with. I had the money and I should have bought one straight ahead, instead I opted to delay.

Scooter in Paris 1991
Photo taken by Barbara Mürdter

Time is the enemy for any thoughts, especially mine, and 50cc was not enough for me anymore for no clear reason. Now I wanted a bigger scooter, may be a 100cc. The problem was I didn’t have a motorcycle licence, and you need to one to ride anything above 50cc in Queensland.

Motorcycle Learning

So I decided I should get a motorcycle licence, and then came the new problem. The car licence I had was from Sri Lanka, and can get a motorcycle licence only if I convert that to a Queensland licence. This would have been straight forward, if the original licence is from the US or Singapore or few other countries. For a Sri Lankan licence, the only option is to do written and practical driving tests.

Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Wynnum

Somewhere towards the end of 2011, I did the written test and passed on the second attempt (the first blind attempt didn’t go well). Then I had to go for the practical test. By that time, I might have driven on road for about 18 months and 4,000kms, but I have never driven regularly. So I thought doing some lessons with a driving instructor might help, and it did. After few hours of training I had my Queensland car licence in the post box.

Honda HART QLD

Now I could get a motorcycle licence in Queensland. There were two options. You could go straight for a practical test if you can ride a motorcycle as for cars. But it was not an option for me. So I decided to go the Q-Ride way. It is a specially designed program to learn to ride and get the licence at the same time. It took me another couple of weekends of training and one epic fall before I had my Queensland motorcycle licence in the post box.

Yamaha Virago XV250

What started as a simple wish for a 50cc scooter was now a motorcycle licence after nine months in early 2012. Then I went and bought a Yamaha Virago XV250 cruiser, a 250cc motorcycle, not a 50cc scooter. Now I’ve been riding it to work/uni almost every day and I think I’m enjoying it. I hope to keep on writing on this blog my experiences of riding as ‘My Riding Log’. I won’t be regular or informative, just another random log.

Nimal's Virago 250

Everything changes around us every day, our thoughts, our perceptions, and our likes and dislikes. I always want to think ‘I’m living in the moment’ and I try to do so.

Setup QUT Student, Staff Email on Android Devices (and IMAP/SMTP)

[The information on this post was last updated on July 1, 2014. Most of these will become obsolete with the migration of HDR and Staff emails to the cloud (Microsoft Office 365). For details on setting up with the new system head on to this update: Setup QUT Cloud Email. Thank you.]

Having access to my work/school email on my smart phone is important for me when I am ‘working from home, away from home’. I recently switched to my Nexus S and upgraded the OS to the latest Ice Cream Sandwich. But when I tried to add my emails, there aren’t many guides on the QUT website on setting up exchange email accounts on Android devices. As always, after a bit of Googling and guess-work I was able to set up my two accounts on my Nexus S. And this is how I did it…

  1. Undergraduate Student E-mails
  2. Staff E-mails
  3. Research Student E-mails
  4. IMAP/SMPT Settings for QUT Hosted Email
  5. How to connect to a QUT Wireless?
  6. Additional Notes

Undergraduate Student E-mails

For all QUT undergraduate and non-research degree students who have @connect.qut.edu.au email addresses,
Android Outlook Exchange Email Settings for QUT Connect Student

  • Username: firstname.lastname@connect.qut.edu.au
  • Server: pod51000.outlook.com

Note: These settings can sometimes vary based on account settings. The best place to find the latest settings is the options tab on the web mail page at: http://www.qut.edu.au/email

Staff E-mails

For QUT staff email accounts that end with @qut.edu.au,
Android Outlook Exchange Email Settings for QUT Staff

  • DomainUsername: qutadUSERNAME
  • Server: outlook.qut.edu.au

Research Student E-mails

I’m doing my PhD at QUT, and all HRD (ie PhD and Masters Research) students have a different type of email account (similar to staff emails) which end with @student.qut.edu.au,
Android Outlook Exchange Email Settings for QUT HRD Student

  • Domain\Username: qutad\USERNAME
  • Server: outlook.qut.edu.au

IMAP/SMPT Settings for QUT Hosted Email

For staff and research students whose email are hosted internally within QUT, the following IMAP/SMTP server settings can be used for setting up using email software other than Outlook, such as Thunderbird in Windows or Linux environments, or alternative email apps on your phones.

  • IMAP setting:
    • Server name: outlook.qut.edu.au
    • Port: 993
    • Encryption method: SSL
  • External SMTP setting:
    • Server name: outlook.qut.edu.au
    • Port: 587
    • Encryption method: TLS
  • Authentication
    • Mode: Normal Password
    • Username: qutad\USERNAME
    • Passowrd: QUT Login Password

Note: POP access is limited to QUT internal networks only, so IMAP would be the best option if you are setting it up on your personal devices.

How to connect to a QUT Wireless network from Android?

QUT wireless networks offers two different Wi-Fi access points to connect across all campuses. The ‘QUT’ access point is usable for all students and staff, while the ‘eduroam’ access point can additionally be used by visitors from participating institutions. Setting up the ‘eduroam’ network can enable us use our devices when travelling to other participating institutions.

QUT & Eduroam Wi-Fi Settings for Android

  • Menu -> Settings -> Wireless -> Wi-Fi
  • Choose a network: QUT (or eduroam)
  • EAP Method: PEAP
  • Phase 2 authentication: MSCHAPv2
  • CA Certificate: [Leave Unspecified]
  • User Certificate: [Leave Unspecified]
  • Identity: USERNAME (or USERNAME@qut.edu.au for eduroam)
  • Anonymous Identity: [Leave Blank]
  • Password: PASSWORD
  • Connect!

Notes:

The settings pages and options may sightly vary depending on the device, OS version, and applications. The USERNAME is what you would normally use to login to a QUT computer. We should use USERNAME@qut.edu.au only to connect to the ‘eduroam’ network. The following pages on the IT Services web page can give latest and more details.