Juggling Jack

Using the Olympus C450Z I shot this video of my bro juggling a soccer ball and added some background music. It only goes for 15 seconds so even dialup users should be able to enjoy this one. Click on the image below to watch it or click watch Juggling Jack Video.

Mark McCahill: The living dead: Robots/Animatronic Avatars/NPCs for Croquet

Sorry for the blockquote again but checkout Mark McCahills Blog.

Mark McCahill: The living dead: Robots/Animatronic Avatars/NPCs for Croquet

Besides working on better looking avatars, my group has been exploring easy ways to get robots into Croquet. There is a movie of this here.If we are going to build synthetic worlds, it makes some sense to populate them with both live people and simulated characters. The simulated characters can be a sort of automated tour guide, among other things. Beyond the obvious, recordable avatars give you a way to capture the interactions in a social setting and play them back for later study. Even better, during playback, you can hop from one avatar’s viewpoint to another, and do things like replace the audio track. This fits in nicely with the work we are doing for the immersive language instruction project. Being able to watch a scenario from different viewpoints, play it back and reflect on what is happening is powerful. I keep realizing that this sort of mutable time is at least as important as the 3D visuals for creating learning environments.

The architecture of Croquet makes it straightforward to capture all the messages for a given avatar as you drive the avatar around the space, and then later inject those messages into a robot avatar to do the playback of what happened. So… a sort of robot by recording live interactions was pretty easy. What helped a lot was realizing that this could be thought of as a virtual multitrack recording session, but instead of music, we are recording sound, motion, and gesture. I need to get some of the dance and theatre people interesting in all this…

This verges on desktop animation movie making but with the difference that you can walk through the world that the movie is taking place in while it is playing. So instead of just using the synthetic world to create movies (which is the normal approach to machinima) we can do much more interesting things by NOT dumbing the virtual world down into a non-interactive movie.

Next steps: getting a way to edit/tweak the motion/sound that we record/playback, getting a programmatic scripting method in place to augment the recorded motions/sounds. I still need to create the immersive Croquet world version of the immersive language demo movie we recorded a while ago, but now the tools are fairly functional. Our user interface is still clumsy to use, but overall this feels like a good approach to making it possible for anyone to create robots/NPCs. But maybe we should call them Croquet zombies instead?

Dutch city of 175,000 people drops Microsoft Office for OpenOffice.org

From Digg.com

Dutch city of 175,000 people drops Microsoft Office for OpenOffice.org

This link is in German, but basically says that the Gronigen, the capital city of the Province by the same name, will save a net of 140,000 Euros by the move in the first year. I’m sure someone can translate the full article and post it in the comments section.

For Educations Sake

Richard M Stallman-What should it mean to promote free software? Richard Stallman Curitiba 2003

Towards the end of this speech Richard explains why its important to use libre software in education, below I have transcribed the deepest reasons, you’ll have to download the video or download the audio for the whole speech.

Non-free software prohibits education, non-free software is the opposite of education. it says you are not allowed to learn because everything inside the software is secret. When students are in their teenage years some of them become fascinated with machinery with software, they want to learn everything and these are the people that are going to become the great programmers, they’re the natural born programmers and all you have to do to enable them to become great programmers is give them free software, and say to them you can learn anything you want, its all exposed, nothing is secret because their going to want to learn about the software they’re using, they’ll type the commands to do something and wonder “how does the program do this when I give the command”, if they’re using non-free software the answer is “its a secret, your not allowed to learn, your not allowed to learn anything, all your allowed to learn is how to run it, your supposed to be ignorant” but with free software the school can say, the teachers can say “oh your curious, well go ahead, the program your using right now is this one and the source code is here, and I’ll even help you find the part of the source code that relates to this problem so that you can start learning”, and the next thing the student will do is say “I don’t think this program is exactly right, I’d like to try changing it”, with non-free software your helpless, non-free software keeps you helpless that’s what it means that its non-free, you cant study it or change it, with free software you can change it, the teachers can guide the students until the students don’t need any more guidance because they’ll learn, by the time they graduate from secondary school they can be accomplished capable programmers, capable of taking a job to do powerful programs, I’ve seen this happen plenty of times. But the deepest reason applies to every student, schools are supposed to do more than just teach facts and skills, the most important thing for schools to teach is a good attitude towards other people, an attitude of cooperating with other people, helping them out when they need help so schools should say to the young students, to the kids when they first come to school “if you bring software to school you cant keep it for yourself, you must give copies to the other kids when they want copies”, of course the school has to practice its own rule, it has to practice what it preaches so the schools should supply only free software to these kids and that will teach them good habits of living, habits of sharing with other people, if I had a child who was in school, and the school starting trying to teach my child not to share with other people I would tell the teachers “don’t you dare say that to my child, I want my child to be a helpful, kind, cooperating person, don’t you dare say that sharing is wrong”, you know what they say, they say that if you share with other people your a pirate, they’re saying when they use that word what they mean is that helping your neighbor is morally equivalent of attacking ships and that is the opposite of morality, attacking ships is very bad, sharing with your neighbor is good and we should all encourage other people to share with our neighbors and anyone who says that sharing with neighbor is piracy , we have to say loud and clear that they are wrong.

A little while back I was interacting with a group known as TALO and some of their members recently watched this movie so thanks for finding the time to watch it, maybe more about them later. I worry that some of the people in adult online education are like the Don Kings of elearning and I don’t want to get dragged into that so we’ll see what happens.

Dead Children, Absolutely Heartbroken

I read Pascals Blog mostly for FOSS news, one of his recent posts really caught me off gaurd and messed with my head. I want to you to see what I’m talking about. I have to warn you that its absolutely repulsive.
It really breaks my heart to see children educated like that. Sorry if this is a bit much. I’m not taking sides in this and when I try to take a neutral point of view, all I see is dead children.

Croatian government adopts free software policy

I have a few Croatian/Australian friends so check it out guys time to break out the Velebitsko and Ozujsko Pivo.

Croatian government adopts free software policy

The Croatian government has decided to adopt a free software policy and move entirely to Open Source. Proprietary software leads to too much dependence on suppliers, which can damage the market competition..OSS makes the government’s business more transparent, it will save tax payers huge amounts of cash and strengthen domestic industry.

Screencasting in Edubuntu and windows with Libre Software

I finally looked at Cortado and got it working, a bit of a milestone, it means I dont have to bother doubling up anymore with the flv(flash video). The screencast shows and tells you all the details. Here’s the main topics.

  • Screencasting in Edubuntu and windows with Libre Software
  • Converting AVI to Ogg and flv
  • Displaying the video on a webpage using Cortado for the Ogg and an open source flv player for the flash video(flv)
Libre Screencast

Click on the image or watch Cortado playing the Ogg on my Mediawiki and/or watch the flash video. You can also download the Screencasting with Libre Software Ogg. You can also watch them on my blogger blog.
I decided to setup an account with the Internet Archive and Ourmedia.org because I simply cant afford to host all the screencasts I plan to create. If your not familiar with either of those sites then just look them up in Wikipedia. I’m a little disappointed with the Internet Archive because you can only choose a creative commons license or public domain and I prefer to use the GNU GPL or GNU FDL, Ourmedia has the GNU GPL as an option. Here’s the Ourmedia pages for the Screencast with libre software and I’ve also added the Tux Paint video. They’ve already been downloaded 31 times.

I thought about using the Wikimedia Commons because Ogg is the official file format of Wikipedia but I’m not so sure the screencasts are suitable for an Encyclopedia project. Ourmedia has a personal learning centre project and I think it would be good to contribute my work, for a grassroots media project you would think they wan’t to use Ogg multimedia container format. Maybe I could have a section something like Screencasts for learning with libre software and libre knowledge.

I would like to stream live video on the internet and display it on the web using Cortado, I’ll have to try and convince Noiesmo to look at doing that or get a webcam.

So please watch the Screencast and also watch the Tuxpaint video on mediawiki, I want to only use Ogg and Cortado but I really need some feedback about things like the sound and picture quality, do people have Java installed and I want to get a general idea of what I need to work on. The wonderful thing is with libre software comes freedom and freedom is produced by control so I can try to adjust my setup till its really nice. I think I’ve been doing pretty well, the screencast is 8 minutes 25 seconds long 504×392 and only 7Mb.

TuxGuitar (ver. 0.7)

The guitarists might find this useful. Screenshots

TuxGuitar (ver. 0.7)

TuxGuitar is a multitrack guitar tablature editor and player written in Java-SWTAbout this version
*Score Viewer added.
*Transport added.
*Clone Track option added
*Move up and down Track option added

Here’s the about section from the page.

About TuxGuitar
TuxGuitar is a multitrack guitar tablature editor and player written in Java-SWT

With TuxGuitar, you will be able to compose music using the following features:

* Tablature editor
* Multitrack display
* Autoscroll while playing
* Note duration management
* Various effects (bend, slide, vibrato, hammer-on/pull-off)
* Support for triplets (5,6,7,9,10,11,12)
* Repeat open and close
* Time signature management
* Tempo management
* Imports and exports gp3 and gp4 files

If you make use of TuxGuitar, you’ll find it to be a complete program for editing, listening, learning or even writing a complete song… you’ll be able to realize your dream of playing with style and accuracy all the stuff that you ever wanted to.

Bring down the RIAA lawsuits!

Ray Beckerman, one of the leading attorneys standing up to the RIAA, will sit down for a conference call with DefectiveByDesign.org members and supporters. Ray will explain how we can fight 3 critical court cases, and he will demonstrate how the record labels collude to produce defective products — defective because they are crippled with DRM.

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