Testing Out Drivel From Malawi

Hey, all! As you've noticed, posts have slowed to nearly nothing on this blog--but that doesn't mean I'm not blogging! Check out the lively OSI Fellows blog to see what Chuck, Eric, Jon, Linh, and I are up to.

I'm about half way through my stint in country. I'll be heading up north to Mzuzu and should be taking lots of pictures. Be sure to check the OSI blog on Thursday to see what I've posted.

Also, I'm trying out a new piece of software called Drivel. I like it because I can work offline and write, rather than having to spool up the interface from the web. Connections are flaky and slow here, so it's a good tool to have in my kit.

Malawi or Bust

Almost exactly five hours until chocks away! Staying up all night getting my stuff together and generally trying to wear myself out so I can sleep on the plane.

I'll be working for the Malawi Health Equity Network as part of my fellowship with the Open Society Institute's Public Health Program. I'll be doing a variety of design work in country for the next month, with more work for several months thereafter.

Off to the Warm Heart of Africa I go!

Scratch and Release

Beaten to the punch by MIT on this one: Scratch. It does most of what I had in my first Design and Education project, which itself was a proposal to extend MIT's Logo Blocks into a more general-purpose multimedia programming application. Admittedly, mine was more of a game than a toolbox, and had a specific narrative structure in mind, but as far as using graphical means for exploring programming goals, Scratch does a really amazing job.

I'd like to spend a few days with this and try to work past the visual bling to get into it as a teaching tool. But I'm encouraged by it and I'd like to see how well it could be used for intro programming classes like CDT Bootcamp.

The Final Project

Pleech Video CapturePleech Video Capture

The Pringles Wind Turbine (a.k.a. Power Leech or Pleech) is an attempt to turn simple items found at the hardware store and elsewhere into a working low-voltage power supply. It is also the process for creating the turbine, designed so that other people may reproduce the product themselves.

Final paper pdf is attached below. The accompanying website for the instructable is here.

Made Make!

The Pleech Instructable appeared on the MAKE: Blog today.

This is great for the project. One of the points I drove home during my presentation was that I wanted the Pleech to be as much about the process of building one and sharing improvements with people as it is the end product. Hopefully wider public exposure will help bring more people into this process and start a good debate on the best way to build things like this.

Design and Psychology Presentation

Attached below is my final presentation PDF for the Design and Psychology class. My experiment was to review how users interacted with Psiphon and to see how anxiety may have affected their performance on a simple interface task.

Preaching About Sydewynder

I had a great time at the Mobilized conference this past weekend. I taught a brief workshop on Sydewynder to the folks there, and I got a pretty good response. Here's a Flickr photo from the event:

Thanks again to Paul Notzold for sharing his computer and running

The Process for the Product

It is finished:

Pringles Wind Turbine (Pleech) - Version One

Well, actually, it's only just now getting started, really. The instructable is part of a hopefully ongoing process for refining the Pleech concept by harnessing the power of the instructables community. It's only been up for a few hours and already has a fan! Woowee!

An HD-DVD Fairy Tale

Lovely flag:
Free Speech Flag: The free speech flag, whose colors are: #09F911 #029D74 #E35BD8 #4156C5 #635688.  Thanks to badmouth.net for that.Free Speech Flag: The free speech flag, whose colors are: #09F911 #029D74 #E35BD8 #4156C5 #635688. Thanks to badmouth.net for that.

And now it's time for a little more freedom of speech:

0nce upon a time, there were 9 little fairies. These 9 could cast wonderful spe11s that could unlock any secret and reveal the magic of any st0ry.

But, one day, 2 ogres, claiming to represent the storytellers, entered the land of the 9 fairies, the magestic Free Woods. For 7 years, the ogres made it 4bidden to tell stori3s or to even 5peak. These bad creatures even 8 up all the magic m4ch1nes that the fairie5 used to work their craft.

Then, one day, 6 adventurers came from over the Publik Hill5. These 6 h3ros 5lew the bad ogres. Then the 6 held a great feast for everyone, where people could listen to their own stories, view their own movies, use their own software. They feasted and 8 and 8 and no more were corporate ogres heard from again.

0, what a lovely story that was!

Groklaw - 2 Major Patent Rulings from the US Supreme Court

Groklaw - 2 Major Patent Rulings from the US Supreme Court - [My del.icio.us]

Finally, finally, FINALLY some sanity from on high about our screwed up patent system. This is the money quote from one of the decisions:

And as progress beginning from higher levels of achievement is expected in the normal course, the results of ordinary innovation are not the subject of exclusive rights under the patent laws. Were it otherwise patents might stifle, rather than promote, the progress of useful arts.

Copyright Mike Edwards 2006-2009. All content available under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike license, unless otherwise noted.

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