New Poll and some notes about GNU Emacs

I’m using a different WordPress plugin for my poll, its called Democracy AJAX Poll. It uses AJAX and I think its nicer. The last poll I had was “What is the best system, Free software or proprietary software and out of the 28 votes, 21 of you voted for Free software and the funny thing is out of 7 votes for proprietary software, my good buddy Mike made 6 of them, it just goes to show that even when they try to corrupt the process, they still lose 🙂

I’ll leave the default Poll for a while, someone rated my site and said their grandma could do better, so thats good.

I’m happy about using GNU Emacs regularly again, Its easily the best editor I’ve ever used, I think it would be a great teaching tool. I’m using it to write and publish this post, I also use it in combination with MVS to edit my wiki and Wikimedia projects. Here’s the links for people interested in those things.

There’s so many other things I use GNU Emacs for that its just too much effort to start listing them all off so I’ll try to keep my notes on the wiki.

I’m also running Erbot. We’ve been having a bit of fun with it on IRC.

I also have 2 lessons that are usable. News Aggregator lesson and Videoblogging lesson.

Teachers and Social Responsibility

There’s some really nice software for teaching game making as a way to teach young students programming and mathematics like Squeak which is also the programming environment that serves as Croquet’s foundation. My research is here. But there’s more.

Kay and Papert consider Croquet and Squeak just one part of the two parts necessary to help humanity. They hope that Nicholas Negroponte’s $100 laptop effort, which they co-developed with him, will help distribute such learning, discovery, and communication software for youth around the world to use to supplement and improve the students’ own learning environments. In turn, they hope that these students’ discoveries and “powerful ideas” can be self-published by the same interconnected software to be made available to the rest of civilization.

Earlier today I discovered something that I never would have expected, its a very long story and I think its better to keep looking forward.

Bill Kerr joins the Free Software Foundation.

So kids, Happy Learning.

FSF Campaigns and Support

Bad Vista

The BadVista campaign is an advocate for the freedom of computer users, opposing adoption of Microsoft Windows Vista and promoting free (as in freedom) software alternatives. RSS feed of this listing

Fight DRM, Join the Free Software Foundation

DefectiveByDesign.org is a broad-based anti-DRM campaign that is targeting Big Media, unhelpful manufacturers and DRM distributors. The campaign aims to make all manufacturers wary about bringing their DRM-enabled products to market. DRM products have features built-in that restrict what jobs they can do. These products have been intentionally crippled from the users’ perspective, and are therefore “defective by design”. This campaign will identify these “defective” products, and target them for elimination. Our aim is the abolition of DRM as a social practice. RSS feed of this listing

Freeing a MMORPG – Free Ryzom

The Free Ryzom campaign represents a unique opportunity for the free software movement and the emerging free gaming field. A fully free MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) engine and client/server architecture would allow the development of a myriad of universes, each one evolving its own philosophy and unique content – but sharing in general technical improvements. If successful, this campaign would allow any user to create their own universe and produce their own content based on the Ryzom/Nevrax architecture.

You can support the campaign by joining the FSF.

Support the FSF

Eben Moglen: A message about the Free Software Foundation

From www.FSF.org:

Watch a video appeal from Eben Moglen, Board member and General Counsel of the Free Software Foundation, covering the Novell and Microsoft deal, GPLv3, the FSF’s campaign against DRM (DefectiveByDesign.org) and software patents. You can help us save bandwidth by downloading from Internet Archive and Coral Cache.

From the video:

Freedom is more precious than anything else we have and we need to protect it while we still can.

Codev2 and Eben Inspiration

Lawrence Lessig updated his book “Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace“. Download Codev2.

Recenlty we read Eben Moglens speech “Free Software and the Death of Proprietary Culture” and now lets check out his keynote address, titled “Software and Community in the Early 21st Century” presented at Plone Conference 2006 on October 25, 2006 in Seattle, WA. You can read the transcript by Geof Glass on his blog “Eben Moglen on Free Software and Social Justice“.

Heres a look at some of what he said.

We have brought forward now the possibility of distributing everything that every public education system uses freely everywhere to everyone: true universal public education for the first time.

You and I, and the people who came before us, have been rolling a very large rock uphill a very long time. We wanted freedom of knowledge in a world that didn’t give it, which burned people for their scientific or religious beliefs. We wanted democracy, by which we meant originally the rule of the many by the many, and the subjection of today’s rulers to the force of law. And we wanted a world in which distinctions among persons were based not on the color of skin, or even the content of character, but just the choices that people make in their own lives. We wanted the poor to have enough, and the rich to cease to suffer from the diseases of too much. We wanted a world in which everybody had a roof, and everybody had enough to eat, and all the children went to school. And we were told, always, that it was impossible.

In other words, the free world now produces technology whose ability to reorient power in the larger traditional economy is very great. We have magnets; we can move the iron filings around. We can also change the infrastructure of social life. That OLPC has every textbook on earth. That OLPC is a free MIT education. That OLPC is a hand-powered thick-net router. When you close the lid as a kid and put it in the shelf at night, the main CPU shuts down – but the 802.11 gear stays running all night long on the last few pulls of the string. And it routes packets all night long and it keeps the mesh. The village is a mesh when the kids have green or purple or orange boxes. And all you need’s a downspout somewhere, and the village is on the Net. And when the village is on the Net, everybody in the village is a producer of something: services, knowledge, culture, art, YouTube TV.

But a little more political consciousness about it and a more attempt to get other people to understand not just “what” but “why” would help a lot. Because people are getting used to the “what”.

“Oh yeah, Firefox, I use it all the time.”

“Why?”

“Why, cuz Internet…”

“No no no no no. Not why do you use it, why does it exist?”

“Oh I dunno, some people did it.”

That’s the moment, all right, that’s the moment, that’s the one where that annoying Stallman voice should enter the mind, okay. Free As In Freedom, Free As In Freedom, tell people it’s free as in freedom. Tell them that if you don’t tell them anything else. Because they need to know.

We’ve spent a long time hunting for freedom. Many of us lost our lives trying to get it more than once. We have sacrificed a great deal for generations, and the people who have sacrificed most we honor most when we can remember them. And some of them have been entirely forgotten. Some of us are likely to be forgotten too. And the sacrifices we make aren’t all going to go with monuments and honors. But they’re all going to contribute to the end. The end is a good end if we do it right. We have been looking for freedom for a very long time. The difference is, this time, we win.

Visit the Internet Archive to download the video/audio. You have to check this one out.

Spoken Wikipedia

I was looking at Wikipedia bots and stumbled across the rss feed for Spoken Wikipedia.

The WikiProject Spoken Wikipedia aims to produce recordings of Wikipedia articles being read aloud. See Spoken articles for articles that have already been recorded, and Requests for instructions on how to request a recording of a particular article.

I modified bashpodder to try and make it easier for my friends to download all the files. If you use a graphical interface then after you download spoken wikipedia.tar.gz, you can probably right click on it then select extract then go into the wikipedia_spoken folder and double click spoken_wikipedia.sh or open a terminal and copy this command.

wget http://ia310142.us.archive.org/1/items/Blogs_01/spoken_wikipedia.tar.gz ; tar -xzvf spoken_wikipedia.tar.gz ;./spoken_wikipedia/spoken_wikipedia.sh

From then on just run ./spoken_wikipedia.sh when you want to continue downloading. It will continue where it left off so maybe run this one before bed. This is another nice thing to distribute in your local area.