Archive for the ‘free software’ Category

Making a movie of your Facebook Timeline – whats Timeline ?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Facebook Timeline view

Facebook Timeline view

Timeline is currently being rolled out to all accounts (watch out for the change if you haven’t been switched over yet). To coincide with that Facebook have announced Timeline Movie maker for making movies from the timeline feature.This adds an interesting narrative element to Facebook, and adds functionality you may have looked to image apps like iPhoto, Live Photo Gallery or Picasa for, or the venerable  Photostory.

Timeline has been an opt in feature up to now, but is about to be made the way Facebook works for everyone, replacing and combining your profile and wall. If you support people who use Facebook be prepared for some confusion and a bit of a learning curve. When you get switched over you have 7 days to set up the what appears in your timeline (content that was much less visible may now appear in your main public view) before it is made your public face – but this will be made public in 7 days whether you make changes or not.

Top three tips for moving to Timeline and another good non Facebook write up of the pros and cons of Timeline.

Google I/O adopts Arduino for ADK

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

Interesting announcement at Google IO last month about support for usb devices connecting to Android phones and tablets (so you could plug a game device in to control it), and an open way of developing custom devices to plug in called the Android Open Accessory Development Kit based on the open source Arduino platform.
Rather than making people sign non-disclosure agreements to find out the hardware details (like another well known manufacture of tablet and phone devices), and making them pay large licensing fees, and submit devices for approval they are basing the initial development kit on a popular, well used open source project that anyone is free to make. A number of low volume manufacturers are making boards to use already.

There were already a ways to connect devices to Android devices, but none were officially sanctioned, so could be blocked or changed at any time. Having an open route that is officially supported is great. On the day of the announcement they made all the details available, including the design files you need to make your own (one of the requirements that makes hardware open source)

While there are some quirks in the way that they are doing this is an exciting development and could lead to a lot of interesting devices and prototypes.


I have got as far as getting the software example that talks to the board onto an Android tablet – as my tablet didn’t have the latest version of Android on it I needed to update it. As it is open source there were versions online i could try (legally).

Using a joystick to control an android mobile

Friday, November 19th, 2010

The Tekla project has produced a an open source interface to enable an electric wheelchair user to use the device they control their chair with to control an Android phone using a bluetooth connection. They produced some early prototypes that worked as one off solutions for people, but were difficult for others to replicate. Tekla is trying to make something that is more widely usable, and can be freely shared.

The receiver is based on the arduino board, an open source hardware initiative that I have used for a variety of projects. It is still at the alpha stage. Komodo openlab is looking into making them available, but as its open source you can make own if you have access to the facilities to produce them. If you can’t wait then the project repository has all the technical information to make your own from scratch.

Great to see open hardware moving into this field.

chroma cam

Friday, September 3rd, 2010

Hope you had a good summer.

chroma cam is simple camera based movement game that two people can play over a network (could do it between classes in a school).

Unfortunately you need two twitter accounts to start a two person game, but you could set up two twitter accounts just for that (its free).

VLC are working on a movie editor

Friday, March 5th, 2010

We have always wanted a cross platform free video editor, and it looks like the VLC people might be about to come up with the goods. Only available as source code at the moment – I haven’t had the time to build it and try it yet, but looks very promising in the video

symbolsurfing project on The Big Tree

Friday, January 8th, 2010

The symbolsurfing site on the big tree is now live. The research project is working with five places looking at the use and development of the software with people who use their services. We are also making the software available for anyone to download and use.

The site has links to download the relevant software and instructions for setting it up. We welcome your feedback and ideas about it. As the project continues we will be adding pages with more information and ideas.

Have a good weekend.

The symbol surfing project is made possible by a grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

The Good News that I mentioned in the last post

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

is that we have secured funding to do a years research and development on the Symbol Surfing Project.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation we are now in a position to support trialling of the software that we currently have at a number of places around the country, and making the software freely available for people to download and use.

In addition we will be developing new ideas of uses of the technology with people. We are very excited about this and look forward to a busy time over the coming year.

We will have a site up by the end of the month for anyone who wants to download the software and try it. We are packaging it up to make it as easy to set up as possible at the moment.

I will post here when it is ready.

If you have ideas for its use then feel free to get in touch.

Cooliris next version beta available

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

cooliris page inviting beta testers

There is a beta version of the next release of Cooliris available on the main page of their website.

It adds a few new things, and is in danger of moving into feature overload.

One of the welcome additions is you can look at folders of pictures on the the hard drive directly (and on a Mac it hooks up to your iPhoto library too)

One of the unwelcome additions is that it adds more text below the thumbnails when you are looking at things. This is some of the meta data you get along with the media, but I can’t see an obvious way to turn it off unfortunately. I have put in a request to have the option of turning it off to keep the screen clean and empty of text. Please request that as well if you think it matters, as the more people who ask, the more likely they are to take notice.

Testing the beta means you don’t mind if it is still broken a bit, and they expect that it will be, but you get to try out new features early. Its the last stage of testing before a new version is released to the general public. It can be a good way to check if the next version that will be released breaks or changes anything you rely on before it is the version that everyone uses.

I have tested the beta with the things we use it for and they are all still fine, which is a relief.

New versions of software always brings mixed feelings – I hope they have improved the features I use and may depend on for the things I use the software for. But there is also the worry that they may have removed or changed features so they don’t work the way they used to (especially keyboard shortcuts).

This time it looks like its ok.

Opera browser beta using face recognition technology

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

More details at this page. I suspect you will need to look today as the page may only be up temporararily. Check the date.

Control your computer using objects

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Camera tracking is a big growth area in computers.

Heres some software that will enable you to control things using coloured objects. Its free, Windows only at the moment but Mac version is also in development. They are pushing it as a way to play games, but it isn’t limited to that.

Its a bit fiddly to setup, but the advantage of that is that there are alot of options in what you can get it to do. Bottom line is if you can do it on the computer using the mouse, keyboard or joystick then you can get this software to do it.