Random Thoughts

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

Tech Notes

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 email addresses,
Android Outlook Exchange Email Settings for QUT Connect Student

  • Username:
  • Server:

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:

Staff E-mails

For QUT staff email accounts that end with,
Android Outlook Exchange Email Settings for QUT Staff

  • DomainUsername: qutadUSERNAME
  • Server:

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,
Android Outlook Exchange Email Settings for QUT HRD Student

  • Domain\Username: qutad\USERNAME
  • Server:

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:
    • Port: 993
    • Encryption method: SSL
  • External SMTP setting:
    • Server name:
    • 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 for eduroam)
  • Anonymous Identity: [Leave Blank]
  • Password: PASSWORD
  • Connect!


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 only to connect to the ‘eduroam’ network. The following pages on the IT Services web page can give latest and more details.


Brisbane Festival 2011 – Jack Charles v The Crown

Today I had the opportunity to attend Jack Charles v The Crown, a moving performance by Jack Charles, at Brisbane Powerhouse. This powerful one-man show tell a sad tale with some though provoking moments.

Jack Charles is one of Australia’s highly regarded performers. An Aboriginal elder who pioneered Koorie Theatre in the early 1970s, he founded the first Aboriginal theatre company in Australia, Nindethana. Jack is an actor, musician, potter and gifted performer, but in his nearly 70 years, he has also been homeless, a heroin addict, a thief and a regular in Victoria’s prisons. A member of the Stolen Generation, Jack has spent his life in between acting gigs, caught in the addiction/crime/doing time cycle. In Jack Charles v The Crown, Jack returns to the stage to tell the story of his life with humour, warmth, song, truth and forgiveness.

I was thinking this show could be about Aboriginal culture, but rather it’s about the contemporary lifestyle of Aboriginal society. Jack Charles puts forward some strong points towards the Australian society, and I could see similarities within the Sri Lanka society and problem of total denial of any social issues.

Jack Charles v The Crown will be performed at Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse daily till September 10. Go to the event page for tickets and more details.


Brisbane Festival 2011 – Mortal Engine

Today I had the opportunity to attend a unique contemporary dance performance by Melbourne based dance company Chunky Move at Brisbane Festival 2011.

Mortal Engine is not just another dance performance. It is a dance, video, music and laser spectacular. More than the intriguing performance, I was amazed by the perfect marriage between art and technology.

Mortal Engine uses cutting-edge technology for movement detection and sound responsive projections. This triggers light and sound patterns based on dancers’ movements, and creates kaleidoscopic patterns and optical illusions. In this interview on Mortal Engine’s Artistic Director Gideon Obarzanek explains the inner mechanics of the show.

Mortal Engine will be performed at Playhouse, QPAC daily till September 10. Go to the event page for tickets and more details.


Brisbane Festival 2011 – Beautiful Noise

Brisbane Festival 2011 is all about portraying different art forms, and today I got a chance to experience a unique theater performance at the Brisbane Powerhouse.

Beautiful Noise is a stylised aerodynamic performance by Brisbane’s Raw Dance Company and Sydney’s Legs On The Wall. It is a truly spectacular production where performers scale the walls and flying acrobatic dancers draw all eyes up to the night sky, rhythm masters of tap set the beat, while hip-hop artists smash the stage.

I was so into the performance, I wouldn’t have bothered to take photos or video if I had a camera, (and no photography at the venue). Checkout this video to get the feel for it.

Beautiful Noise will be performed at QUT Festival Theatre, Plaza, Brisbane Powerhouse daily till September 10. Go to the event page for tickets and more details.