Kano Kit – An idea worth betting the future of your kids education

It was not long ago, when Kano announced their intentions through a Kickstarter campaign to build a “computer and coding kit for all ages” powered by a More »

Three open source apps that can replace everyday software

Google Chrome, iTunes, and Microsoft Word are only some of the most popular programs that people use every day on their computer. But did you know that there are alternatives to the More »

Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn Beta Released

In little over three weeks time Ubuntu 14.10 will be officially released to the general public. But, if you cannot wait that long, you can download the pre-release beta here.

The More »

Building a Baby Monitor on Raspberry Pi – Part 1

In order for us to build a successful baby monitor, we need our Raspberry Pi to perform the following tasks:

  • Capture live video feed of the baby
  • Stream live video feed to browser to More »

How to configure Raspberry Pi Ethernet with Static IP Address

In case if you plan to set your Raspberry Pi with a static IP address, then follow the steps listed below:

Kindly make sure that you are logged into Raspberry Pi on command More »

 

How to write Urdu, Arabic or Persian text on Web

unicode

Languages like Arabic, Farsi and Urdu (AFU) use Arabic fonts and write from right to left rather than the usual left to write. To make any browser display text from the right side of the browser one has to define the following within the HTML tag

html dir=”rtl” lang=”ur”

The DIR tag defines the direction writing on the screen. RTL (Right to Left) or LTR (Left to Write). The LANG tag defines the language specified. In this case it is Urdu (ur).

Inside the HEAD tag we need to add the following meta tag to make it support UNICODE characters.

meta charset=”utf-8″

This tells the browser that non-ASCII characters can be expected and therefore should not garble up text when displaying. Wikipedia defines UTF-8 encoding as:

UTF-8 is an 8-bit variable-width encoding which maximizes compatibility with ASCII.UTF-8 uses one to four bytes per code point and, being compact for Latin scripts and ASCII-compatible, provides the de facto standard encoding for interchange of Unicode text.

And that’s it. Now whatever you write will be displayed properly in the browser. Here is verse from Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s epic poem, Tanhai

تنہایٰ

پھر کوی آیا دلزار، نہیں کوی نہیں
راہ رو ھوگا کہیں اور چلا جاے گا

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Mozilla Private Eye

Mozilla Lightbeam PrivateEye

We live in a post Snowden era. Where privacy of an individual is compromised by secret and clandestine spy agencies like NSA, Mossad or MI5. At the same time, unprecedented information is gathered about our online activities by enterprises hoping to sell us something that we may want. This has led us to a point where it is really a frustrating experience surfing the web without someone trying to sell us something that was probably gathered from our browser history. Even behemoths like Google, Facebook and Microsoft are culprits in this act. Well, Mozilla wants to change all that.

Mozilla has built a little plugin for its Firefox browser called Private Eye. This little software tracks all those who are tracking us. And then displays a list of all those sites.

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Insights into Open Data Camp in Amsterdam

Web Foundation Workshop at ODC14

The Open Data Camp had many exciting sessions and workshops packed in two very hectic days at Debalie, Amsterdam earlier this month. Speakers lineup was impressive which included organizations like Web Foundation, Open Corporates, Google.org, Oxfam, UNICEF making the sessions engrossing and thought provoking.

Numerous exciting sessions were scheduled that showcased good work done in open data projects including Web Foundation’s Open Data Barometer and Web Index Project. which is measuring the use and adoption of IT in respect of Open Data by governments around the world. This year alone, over 80 countries were considered for the Web Index Project. During Day 2, Web Foundation team led by Aman Grewal and Carlos Iglesias discussed the data collected and issues pertaining to it.

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Kano Kit – An idea worth betting the future of your kids education

Kano Kit

It was not long ago, when Kano announced their intentions through a Kickstarter campaign to build a “computer and coding kit for all ages” powered by a Raspberry Pi. They asked for a meager US$100,000 to achieve their ambitious goal. The idea was an instant hit with backers. Within a short time, Kano amassed over 13,000 backers which ultimately resulted in 1.5million dollars successfully raised for the project!

The kit consists of a Raspberry Pi computer, hooked with a speaker, a wireless keyboard and connected to the internet through Wifi. The computer can be connected to any monitor/LCD screen through the provided HDMI cable.

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How to record calls over Skype

evaer video record on skype

When it comes to finding softwares for making online video/audio calls with reasonable voice quality and no cost to anywhere around the world, there isn’t any other software application which nears the monopoly that Skype enjoys. Regardless of what operating system you have installed on your computer, Skype is compatible with all of them and is used equally by their respective users everywhere in the world. With such extensive usage and hence the wide variety of circumstances in which its used, there often occurs a need to record the calls, and as Skype doesn’t provide call recording services itself, it allows access to some third party applications to do the job.

There are a number of Softwares in market developed exclusively to satisfy the said purpose, among which a tool called Evaer seems to tender the most useful and customizable features with a fairly simple UI.

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Three open source apps that can replace everyday software

Calligra Stage

Google Chrome, iTunes, and Microsoft Word are only some of the most popular programs that people use every day on their computer. But did you know that there are alternatives to the aforesaid programs that provide fantastic features?

Thanks to the accessibility of tutorials in the Internet age, hundreds of non-commercial programs have been developed to suit the needs of different end users. Indie game developers, for instance, have long jumped in on the bandwagon of using HMTL5 for the creation of games. Gaming Realms, one of the oldest software developers of casino games and operator of entertainment site Pocket Fruity, now uses the more modern HTML5 in the development of its titles to deliver high-definition gaming to its clients. HTML5 is widely used for its ability to port games to different platforms.

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Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn Beta Released

ubuntu

In little over three weeks time Ubuntu 14.10 will be officially released to the general public. But, if you cannot wait that long, you can download the pre-release beta here.

The new upcoming release, code named, Utopic Unicorn, is an incremental improvement over 14.04 LTS released earlier this year. Packages like LibreOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird mail client are upgraded to the latest as well as the internals like the newer version of Linux Kernel and Unity interface were upgraded as well.

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Harvard University just open sourced its Soft Robotics Toolkit

Soft Robotics Toolkit

Harvard University and Trinity College Dublin have just launched a pioneering initiative to open source Soft Robotics Toolkit to help researchers, engineers and robotics enthusiasts to model, design, build and operate robots made from soft and flexible materials.

Their mission as stated int heir official news blog is:

Using principles drawn from conventional rigid robot design, but working with pliable materials, engineers are pioneering the use of soft robotics for assisting in a wide variety of tasks such as physical therapy, minimally invasive surgery, and search and rescue operations in dangerous environments.

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Software Freedom Day Celebrated in Islamabad

Software freedom day

The open source users community in Pakistan has been growing steadily over the years. In 2013, Open Source Foundation Pakistan (OSFP) was established as a non-profit in Pakistan with the aim of fostering the use and adaption of open source technologies within the government, businesses and homes.

Its founding President, Mr Jahanzeb Arshad explains that “the aim of OSFP is to raise awareness about open source software. It’s not only about price but actually it’s the freedom.” He adds, “Freedom to use, share, change and distribute.”

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Building a Baby Monitor on Raspberry Pi – Part 1

raspberry pi with camera

In order for us to build a successful baby monitor, we need our Raspberry Pi to perform the following tasks:

  • Capture live video feed of the baby
  • Stream live video feed to browser to be viewable by any device (Phone, Tablet, PC etc)
  • Capture live video feed and save it onto a hard drive for later viewing (Nanny Cam)
  • Capture audio (optional) of the baby and stream it. For me, this is not a high priority.

We need the following hardware tools to build our baby monitor:

  • Raspberry Pi + Casing + Power supply (or battery pack)
  • Pi Camera + Casing (Some people have converted their USB webcams to do this, but I prefer the Pi Camera for this tutorial
  • SD Card preferably 8GB with Raspbian installed on it.
  • Wifi USB dongle (incase if you do not want to use the ethernet port for LAN connectivity)
  • A micro hard drive or a USB flash drive for video recording (optional)

The above items can be easily purchased from dozens of vendors across the globe and information can be sourced from Raspberry Pi website.


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