Soft- and hardware
Jan 14, 2010
Bringing life to presentations with interactive whiteboards has been out of reach for our partners because of the high costs ...
Bringing life to presentations with interactive whiteboards has been out of reach for our partners because of the high costs involved. Since Johnny Lee hacked the Wii remote control in 2007 an alternative market for low cost interactive boards has developed. When i saw the video in YouTube I feel I had to try it and I did it!
Johnny Lee (YouTube 2007, at TED) discovered that the remote control of the Wii is in fact a very sensitive infra-red camera. And if we have a infrared pen, the camera will register the movements of this. Based on this simple concept he develop a software to track the movements of the infrared pen and voila, a low cost interactive whiteboard was born.
Reading literature, I got convinced that it was something doable for low-tech people like me. All you need is:
- a Wii remote control (known as Wiimote)
- an infrared pen
- a Bluetooth connection between your PC and the Wii
- the software to track the infrared pen movements
There were many stories on how to transform a felt-marker into a infrared pen using an old TV remote control but i was looking for a shortcut. Something very annoying from infrared light is that it is not visible to the naked eye. The risk that things won't work because the improvised pen was not emitting light at all was too much risk.
I started Googling to know if somebody had already post a product in the market and with great delight I found that indeed there was a market dedicated to Wiimote based whiteboards, they sell not only the pen (some are even pressure sensitive) but sophisticated software and grips for the Wii remote. Of course all for a price, but it is still low costs.
Wiimote are not made for pairing with PCs and that was my nightmare yesterday night. Somewhere i found that Wiimote works better with Microsoft BlueTooth and therefore by replacing the proprietary HP driver the problem was solved.
Being a PS3 fan, i was very ignorant of how a Wiimote works (like, how do I know when is on?). But after a short while things became clear. Because i didn't want to wait until the next day i starting testing with my laptop screen acting as a whiteboard, I pointed the Wii to my screen and and calibrating the "screen", it worked!
Today, i teated with a real beamer and it works great. The infrared pen act as a mouse for pointing and clicking or can be used as a marker (red, blue or white) or as a highlighting marker, etc.
This interactive whiteboard can be used in schools and training facilities and it can improve the quality of presentations for a little investment and easy appropriation.
Sep 04, 2009
Quito, is nestled in a long, narrow valley between Volcano Pichincha to the west and the precipitous canyon of the river Mach...
Quito, is nestled in a long, narrow valley between Volcano Pichincha to the west and the precipitous canyon of the river Machángara to the east. From this contrasting river ManchagaraSoft borrowed its name to create a technological park in the heart of the Andes.
MachangaraSoft (www.machangarasoft.com) is a technological park, created by the initiative of a small group of people some 7 years ago. Through their history they have counted an average of 10 enterprises each with 3 to 12 people, totaling 90. Some of them depart, and new ones come continuing with an organic flux. Where resides the success of this umbrella organization? It is hard to pin-point a single success factor but I can mention some attitudes that certainly are important. First of all their independence, they decided to go the hard way, and build up their prestige on the basis of their professional performance. In the long run this has become key to their sustainability. Another key element was its diversity; each company masters a different technology and all of these companies are certified in their field of expertise (Java, Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, Red Hat, etc.). Their expertise goes hand to hand with their innovative spirit, MachangaraSoft came into being by de-facto in an incubator experience, where coaching was given horizontally, peer-to-peer. And last but not least, their solidarian spirit, on one hand by taking into account the economy of scales, saving by sharing. But it is not only a matter of economy; it is the ideal of being a real collective.
This combination of diversity and togetherness has many advantages; among them the possibility to cover with the help of their sister companies the whole production chain, from infrastructure to software development, project management and training. Togetherness, diversity AND commitment towards development are conscious components when they look for new partners.
Among their latest success we can mention rolling out the whole IT component of the National Assembly in Open Source. A new project is the digitalization of the payroll system for the whole Ecuadorian public administration. Since the government requested the use of the Open Source in the government agencies, they have develop a successfully approach on migrating, for example, to Open Office. At the present they are working with universities and the government in different fields. And their services are been exported to other countries. In order to improve their chances they are piloting certification in a new methodology of developing software. Traditional methodologies (like the Waterfall) are too heavy for the economy of developing countries. Beside all this, they have contributed with Libre Software products, mostly in document management and project management tools.
MachangaraSoft might join us in the Associated Trainer Program of Ecuador, I am very much optimistic that this partnership will be a rich experience.
Jan 22, 2008
Web2ForDev 2007 is the first conference devoted to exploring the ways in which international development stakeholders can t...
Web2ForDev 2007 is the first conference devoted to exploring the ways in which international development stakeholders can take advantage of the technical and organizational opportunities provided by Web 2.0 methods, approaches and applications.
I sat in the green room this morning, thinking back to November 2006, our first steering committee meeting organized at and by CTA. Giacomo Rambaldi from CTA had contacted me. He didn’t know that I had sat next to him during the CTA ICT Observatory meeting in 2005 on RSS feeds, being highly impressed about what he knew about the web.
During our first meeting, CTA had prepared a lot, but there was also a lot of brainstorming going on, sharing of ideas, and a growing common interest for this event. We all left that meeting, with the promise to try and mobilize our organizations and fellow staff members to work on this together. It’s pretty amazing how some enthusiasts can get so much done.
Jon Corbett (from the University of British Columbia) joined us during that meeting via skype for a short while, due to the time difference. After almost a year of online remote collaboration, now we’re in Rome and we finally met and had a cup of coffee together.
Via the conference website (www.web2fordev.net) you can find:
- Streaming video of the plenary sessions
- Content being generated on the conference wiki
- Conference blogging
- Pictures on flickr
Feel free to respond to content, topics, posts, the plenary sessions on the conference blog or wiki.
Sep 25, 2007
On Wednesday September 19 th 2007 I attended the first Dutch Plone users day in Amsterdam. One of the presentations was abou...
On Wednesday September 19th 2007 I attended the first Dutch Plone users day in Amsterdam. One of the presentations was about the new features of Plone 3.0, which is, amongst other things, OpenID compatible!
The first time I heard about OpenID was about 2,5 years ago. A colleague of mine, who helps keeping me up to date on all sorts of things including web developments, showed this movie during a break in the web2.0 writeshop held at IICD.
OpenID is a sort of online passport. If you’re registered there, any other website which is compatible with OpenID, allows you to sign in with the OpenID profile. You don’t have to create another username and password combination for that specific website! For all the people like me, making use of web services like blogger, flickr, facebook, linkedIn, gmail, surveymonkey, etc. on top of your official accounts like email, network, ftp, cms’es, etc. it is such a hassle to have to remember all of those unique combinations of different usernames and passwords. Thank goodness someone out there is trying to find a solution to this problem, and thank goodness it seems to be catching on!
It was truly a feeling of “the future is here”, sitting there listening to the presentation, and seeing that Plone has now become OpenID compatible, something I had heard about once within the context of “this is what the future will bring”.
Another fun thing of that day was learning that Plone is becoming more Web 2.0. For example, without being a programmer, you can ensure that the content in your website is automatically pushed towards web 2.0 tools like delicious and reddit. Also, users can design their own member profile pages with widget-like portlets filled with content or RSS feeds of their choice. Besides the increased web 2.0 characteristics, Plone 3.0 also has great improvements in user interface functionalities and easing the task of content management through inline editing, OpenID, and link integrity. And of course, all the strengths of 2.5 remain, such as the use of resolveUID, RSS feeds and smart folders remains.
I also learned about Bungeni: “ It is a Parliamentary and Legislative Information System that aims at making Parliaments more open and accessible to citizens ... virtually allowing them "inside Parliament" or "Bungeni" the Kiswahili word for "inside Parliament". (Source: http://www.bungeni.org/)
It is based on open source standards and applications including Plone and is being developed in collaboration with eight national parliaments in Africa, including three countries IICD works in, namely Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. I hadn’t heard of Plone being applied in such a high profile project in Africa before.
It just goes to show, days like this Plone users day can lead to many unexpected new sources of inspiration and possibilities for finding synergies! Thank you to the “Stichting Zope & Plone” for organizing this day!
Jul 19, 2007
The Microsoft Unlimited Potential programme (‘Connections, Communities, Partnerships’ – they know how to sell the programme wit...
The Microsoft Unlimited Potential programme (‘Connections, Communities, Partnerships’ – they know how to sell the programme with nice slogans) is a new version of the human side of Microsoft; the company is putting an enormous effort into promoting this programme amongst others in Africa. One of the ways to do this are the ICT Best Practice Forums that Microsoft, together with ECA and national governments, this year organises on West, North and East and South-East Africa. The first edition takes place in June in Ouagadougou, and as an important player in Burkina Faso I am supposed to represent IICD. When I read the programme the first thing that gains my interest is the absolute lack of best practices of Burkina Faso itself and that while Burkina Faso is hosting the event… and a number of by IICD supported projects in Education and Agriculture are nice examples of how you can use ICT for local needs. Were this projects not good enough compared to those of best practices of other countries? Did Microsoft/CEA miss out on them? Did the local government not put them forward? The Minister of ICT is capable enough doing so out of disrespect for the civil society. .. However it may be, we have to deal with best practices of countries like South-Africa, Tunisia, Egypt and Nigeria – and there are a few interesting presentations to attend. Are the best practices applicable in Burkina Faso? I doubt it. All these countries are miles ahead with regard to governance, economic situation and infrastructure compared to Burkina Faso. And why do we always have to look at best practices? A Forum addressing worst practices would probably be more educative!