Christmas Party 2009

Returned from workshop in Hyderabad on christmas eve. Took a long hot shower to recover from the 26 hour train journey and drove over to Thapovan for the christmas party.

Fort Cochin Heritage Walk Mapping party

Sajjad blogs about yesterday's Fort Cochin Heritage Walk Mapping party in Cochin. We had to wind up the two day mapping party on the first day itself. We had to leave the city immediately, a political hartal (strike) was due to begin the next day. The city transport system would grind to a halt leaving us stranded in the city.

Living on the fort cochin island itself was too expensive, the cost of rooms skyrocket around the fort cochin carnival time. Perhaps we hope return to the Fort Cochin soon to continue mapping the whole island. Perhaps better prepared next time guys! .

Fort Cochin is marked for one of the earliest establishments of foreign trade in Kerala. The heritage walk is an awesome 6 KM journey on foot, which takes us back to the 1700’s when the Dutch, the Portuguese and the English was busy trading the wealth. The island provided them a very wonderful place to trade and refresh. The heritage walk meets us at different monuments which reminds us of these historical landmarks. I met Arky at the Ernakulam Boat Jetty, from where we collected few maps and other resources.
Arky and Sajjad at mapping party photo by Prinson Joseph

Read more about the Fort Cochin Heritage Walk Mapping party

Linux at Sanskrit Computational Linguistics Symposium workshop

Last week I traveled to Hyderabad to talk about 'Linux for Linguists' at the Sanskrit Computational Linguistics Symposium workshop. Department of Sanskrit studies, University of Hyderabad organized this national workshop titled "Sanskrit and Computers, Getting equipped to face new challenges". University of Hyderabad Main gate Sanskrit computational linguistics workshop poster

Few years ago I spent sometime working with newly created department of Sanskrit Studies learning the fundamentals of computational linguistics. I return to the department every year to work with the researchers. They use Ubuntu Linux for their work, the Ubuntu logo kolam at the entrance of the workshop was a surprise. Ubuntu logo kolam

Linux Talk In Sanskrit

The event had yet another surprise in store for me. Thirumala Kulkarni introduced Linux in the Sanskrit, one of oldest language of the world. Can you match that ! . Thirumala Kulkarni linux talk Prof.Amba Kulkarni and Thirumala Kulkarni the participants of the workshop

Linux For Linguists Slides

The first part of my talk was a demo of Ubuntu Linux LiveCD and how to install Ubuntu Linux on their personal computers. In my talk I introduced Linux and its numerous toolset that can be used for linguistics research. The talk was peppered with humour rather than technical jargon and I ended my talk asking the research to contribute back to the Ubuntu Linux project.

Prof.Amba introducing arky the geek q arky giving the lecture

The response from the participants of the workshop was very positive and inspiring. The event did generate a lot of interest and hope it will help more people adopt gnu/Linux for their research work.

IISE Christmas Greetings

Its Christmas eve, the IISE campus is now a very lonely place. We miss our friends who returned to their countries to pursue the dream projects. I hope this audio greeting would bring joy and many warm memories.IISE Graduation 2009
Merry Christmas !!

Orca on Ubuntu Mobile Internet Device (MID) Edition

After trying various gnu/Linux distributions for mobile devices, I choose Ubuntu MID (8.10 Intrepid Ibex), a keyboard / mouse driven distribution from Ubuntu. It was possible to use a spare PC laptop as my test development platform instead of a MID Development kit. The idea behind this experiment to try running Orca screen reader on devices other than gnu/Linux personal computers.

Ubuntu MID distribution is targeted at new Mobile Internet Device (MID) devices, though it doesn't include gnome-orca package. But don't let that stop you, you can get the packages and its dependencies from main repositories and install it manually with dpkg. Right now not possible to install the gnome-orca packages from the main repositories due to 'lpia' architecture package tag conflict.

The list of needed packages are given below.

  • at-spi_1.24.0-0ubuntu3_i386.deb
  • gnome-orca_2.24.1-0ubuntu1_all.deb
  • libatspi1.0-0_1.24.0-0ubuntu3_i386.deb
  • libbrlapi0.5_3.10-0ubuntu2_i386.deb
  • libgail-gnome-module_1.20.0-1ubuntu1_i386.deb
  • libgnome-speech7_0.4.21-0ubuntu5_i386.deb
  • libxevie1_1.0.2-3_i386.deb
  • libxevie1-dbg_1.0.2-3_i386.deb
  • python-brlapi_3.10-0ubuntu2_i386.deb
  • python-gnome2_2.22.3-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
  • python-gnome2-desktop_2.24.0-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
  • python-gnomecanvas_2.22.3-0ubuntu1_i386.deb
  • python-pyatspi_1.24.0-0ubuntu3_all.deb

Once the packages are installed with 'dpkg -i *deb'. The orca can be enabled via the accessibility menu or by setting the gconf settings. Though the interface is not yet accessible, I was able to use midori browser with Orca without any trouble.

Documentary on Rural Internet Kiosks in Africa

Few hours ago I heard that my friend Jawahar Patani finished the documentary about Rural Internet Kiosks(RIK) project. I have been helping this project for while now. I hope that this documentary would spread the word about this wonderful initiative.

Please visit to learn more about this project.

About the Documentary

This short documentary features ICT development in Africa with emphasis on how the Rural Internet Kiosk (RIK) is changing the way rural Africa communicates. The Rural Internet Kiosk is 100% solar powered and is connected to the Internet via Satellite using Astra2Connect VSAT technology.

You can watch the part 1 and part 2 of this documentary on youtube.

Trivandrum Mapping Party 12 December 2009

After the first Open Street Map (OSM) mapping party in Calicut few months ago, we decided to organize more such parties. I suggested to have another one during the Scipy 2009. We are going meetup on sidelines of the conference and have a mapping party. Please join us here in Trivandrum (Kerala) on 12 December 2009.

More information about the event is available on the Trivandrum Mapping Party wiki page