Rockbox brings portable music to blind

iPod powered by Free Software
iPod powered by Free Software

You gotta love the Free Software community, you have to.’  The crowds of the Rockbox project make the Archos Jukebox and other common mp3/ogg players (including iPods) “the only “off the shelf” hard drive based MP3 player that offers accessibility to the vast majority of its features to the blind”. There is an audio file that describes how to use Rockbox on the iPod Video. I happen to know somebody that will surely like to hear that.

You can grab the latest release Rockbox 3.0, with a new multiplatform installer.’  I have to put this on my wife’s old iPod so that I can use it to listen to my collection of OGG files, since my Apple laptop is still defective (Apple’s fault), refusing to collaborate with my Samsung OGG player.

Links for 2008-09-12

  • R.Stallman Copyright vs community : braking new media news

    12-9-2008 ore 16:00 Accademia Belle Arti LABA via D.Vender 66 Brescia ingresso libero Richard Stallman copyright vs community in the age of computer networks

  • Home – Software Freedom Day Wiki

    Register your Software Freedom Day event for September 20th, 2008 in our new registration system, which makes it easy to find teams on an interactive map! The first 300 teams registered receive a SFD team pack including SFD 2008 tshirts, button pins, stickers and balloons, as well some useful resource CDs (some OpenEducation Disc, a resource DVD with artwork, documentation, presentation templates and video material, and the option for some Ubuntu CDs.

  • Why Mozilla is committed to Gecko as WebKit popularity grows: Page 1

    A nice recap of the Gecko-vs-KHTML/WebKit rendering engines. I wonder how Mozilla will do in the mobile world. I can’t wait to see the innovations coming.

  • Slashdot | The London Stock Exchange Goes Down For Whole Day

    The comments are just too funny (at least the first pages). They take me back to the good old days, of the Linux-vs-M$ battles. I feel the pain, though: this outage is a major one and bad publicity for Microsoft.

Cross-platform and interoperability is the key

When it comes to connecting people, the first thing you need to do is use the same language.’  That doesn’t mean force everybody to use your language, because that’s what dictators do (and dictators are wiped out by history). To connect people you have to adapt to people’s language, eventually learning many of them.

This post describes a user experience with new services launched by Nokia and he highlights the major issue I have seen with most, if not all, of the services offered by the big guys:

Nokia Chat I can appreciate because it’s cool new tech — but unless it’s going to support those cool features on a wide range of devices, including non-Nokia ones, it’s pretty pointless for me.

That’s hitting the nail on the head: how can somebody design a chat system that is not interoperable with the rest of the world? It’s the abc of networked economies. Like the fax machine or the telephone itself, more users more (squared) value.

Thinking that everybody will want to buy a Nokia (or Samsung or iPhone or you-name-it) to be able to chat with other that have the same system is arrogant, to say the least. Nonetheless, it’s a mistake that many incumbents are making and one that Funambol is trying hard to avoid. By releasing clients for all platforms Funambol demonstrates that it believes in cross-platform, open standards and interoperability.

It crashes, it crashes

The first time it crashed was when I first got it, brand new.’  I unpacked it, booted it, attached the Samsung OGG player… nothing showed up on the desktop, so I removed the player and BOOM!

Then it crashed again, but I couldn’t replicate the error. Today it’s the third hard kernel crash in eight months. Unacceptable, from an operating system without a decent ALT-tab function and only two mouse buttons.

I have to say though, that it crashes very very nicely. It’s beatiful even when it’s useless.

A nice screen of death
A nice screen of death

Happy birthday to GNU — The GNU Operating System

Five years have passed already since I and another bunch of Italians put together a 7 days of celebrations for the 20th anniversary of GNU.We went around Italy in a van, giving speeches together with guest stars as Richard Stallman, Mako Hill and other.’  I have very good memories of that week, eating cakes and drinking’  spumante. There are some pictures of Settimana delle libertà  digitali in April 2004 on the Hipatia website.

This year it’s time to celebrate the 25th anniversary and FSF has started already releasing a video of British comedian Stephen Fry whishing happy birthday to GNU the “tastiest operating system in the world”.

British comedian Stephen Fry talks about software freedom and GNU

Stephen Fry — Happy birthday to GNU — The GNU Operating System