Change and learning
Techno Page By Harendra Alwis

One conspicuous trend in the last decade has been a speeding up of the rate of innovation and change. The world came closer together through the internet and social networks while friends and relatives became more accessible through mobile phones.

Change and learning are two sides of the same phenomenon. The acceleration of change and innovation has in turn steepened learning curves. New tools are being developed to solve new problems and new skills are required to make use of those new tools. The selection by employers of more learning-oriented employees and the market selection of change-oriented firms accelerate further innovation and change etc. There is nothing to indicate that the process will be slowed down in the near future. Rather, deregulation of markets for services and entrance of new competitors in world markets will give new momentum to the process.

The most crucial challenge for a knowledge economy in this context is not only to keep up with the changes and innovations in the technology and tools that it depends on, but also to be a driver of innovation and change to increase productivity and growth. For this reason, the education system of a country plays the most crucial role in gearing the population to solve the problems of its time and better its position in the face of global competition.

Last month, 24 student projects from Sri Lanka`s University of Moratuwa were accepted for an open-source software development competition conducted by search engine giant Google. www.lbo.lk reported that it was the highest number of accepted entries from any university in the world. However, University of Moratuwa was also the only Sri Lankan university listed among the 1125 projects that were accepted validating once again the famous words of William Gibson that "The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet."

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Improve your computer literacy

Swivel chair interface is a slang term for a common interface work-around that involves manually entering data into one system and then entering the same data into another system. The term is derived from the practice of the user turning from one system to another using a swivel chair. The swivel chair interface can be eliminated with better network management and unified interfaces and data integration.

Fire in the barrel

Firefox 3, which was released last week, has achieved significant reduction in memory consumption relative to Firefox 2. It is also snappier and more responsive when switching between tabs and performing other operations that typically lag in Firefox 2 when the browser is experiencing heavy loads. Mozilla developer Stuart Parmenter has written an overview of the tactics that were used to reduce Firefox's memory footprint and also reveals the results of a memory benchmark he performed to compare Firefox 3 with other browsers.

Firefox 3 used less memory than Firefox 2, Internet Explorer, and Opera, and it also freed more memory than the other browsers when pages were closed. The results of this experiment, which others have been able to consistently reproduce using the same tools, represent a big victory for Firefox, which has previously faced widespread criticism for its high memory consumption. The small memory footprint in the latest Firefox 3 has already fuelled claims that Firefox is ready for mobile environments.

Firefox 3 has much to offer in addition to a smaller memory footprint, including an improved user interface, new themes that increase visual platform integration, a completely revamped bookmark and history system that uses an SQLite database, a Cairo-based rendering backend, full-page zoom, support for JavaScript 1.8, and many other new features. These improvements will likely continue to push Firefox's climbing market share.

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