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human rights


Sydewynder is an open-source SMS receiver and sender application written in Python for the Nokia S60 phones. It can automate the responses of messages and can be used as a mobile application server in areas where setting up a traditional server may be difficult or illegal. It also is very useful for prototyping mobile applications, such as games, without the burden of expensive hosting. As such, it works very well in educational settings. It even includes an emulator for developing scripts off of the phones.

The Sydewynder LogoThe Sydewynder Logo

Sydewynder requires the latest version of Python for the S60 (>= 1.4.0). If you are using earlier version of PyS60, please update your phone with the latest software.

To install Sydewynder, copy the contents inside the "sydewynder-x.x" directory into the E:\Python\ directory on your S60 phone (this should be the memory card). Sydewynder comes with "Pig Latin", "Ask Tom Cruise", and "We Feel Fine" as example scripts, as well as arcade.py, which will run all of them from a single server instance. Feel free to look at how the files are constructed and modify them for your own purposes. Pay special attention to the comments, as they will make developing new apps for Sydewynder much easier.

Scripts developed off-phone can be run like any other Python script if the syde_emu.py module is in the same directory. When you run your script from the command line, a crude emulator will appear and guide you through a typical interaction between cell phone users and the Sydewynder app you have created.

This project was featured on the front page of the CDT department website.

It was also part of Paul Notzold's Ask Tom piece, which was on display at the Chelsea Art Museum for the Parsons 10 Years Running show. Participants were asked to text a question to a number and received back a random (or is it?!) quote from a famous celebrity whose name rhymes with Bomb Booze. The phone "server" running Sydewynder stayed up for about two weeks straight without much of a problem.

If you're using Sydewynder, be sure to drop a comment on the Sourceforge forum and let us know what you've done with it. And be sure to post there if you need help or run into any bugs.

Sydewynder is copyright 2007 Mike Edwards and is licensed to you under the GPL version 2.0. "Ask Tom" was developed with Paul Notzold. "We Feel Fine" uses the amazing wefeelfine.org API to work its magic.

Who Failed With #amazonfail?

I just read two very interesting articles from two commentators I respect immensely: Clay Shirky's The Failure of #amazonfail and Mary Hodder's Why Amazon Didn’t Just Have a Glitch. I won't do their arguments justice here, but I'll try to summarize as best I can.

CC Lecture Presentation and Sydewynder 0.1.1

I presented an overview of the Sydewynder application to Sven Travis's Creativity and Computation lecture class today. I've attached the PowerPoint and PDF below (and an OpenDocument presentation can be posted, if anybody wants that).

Also, I've released Sydewynder 0.1.1, which has the option to take screenshots of the apps as they run (useful for putting together the presentation) and a new "Round Robin" sample app that shows how to send a single SMS messages to multiple recipients and multiple messages to several recipient lists.

Sydewynder 0.1 Is Loose!

The latest version of Sydewynder, our mobile application server for the S60, has been released! With Sydewynder, any S60 phone, like the Nokia N80, can become an automated SMS gateway. You can grab version 0.1 off of the SourceForge site.

This new version features:

  • scripts can now connect to WiFi, making Internet-enabled responses possible!
  • emulator for off-phone development. Now students don't need to have a phone to develop mobile apps for it
  • two tabbed pane view for logging and status indicators
  • start up screen -- very pretty!
  • a much better UI
  • a new example application using WiFi - "We Feel Fine". It taps into the wefeelfine.org API

And these bugs were fixed:

  • recipients in the address book could not receive text message responses
  • unicode text problems

Much thanks for Sven, Colleen, Chuck, Eric, Albert, and Chloe for their support, ideas, and code.

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!

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!

Free Speech Flag

Free Speech Flag

The free speech flag, whose colors are: #09F911 #029D74 #E35BD8 #4156C5 #635688. Thanks to for that.

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.

The Chronicle: 2/9/2007: Caught in the Network

The Chronicle: 2/9/2007: Caught in the Network - Very interesting development here with academics using Tor, software created for keeping your Internet usage private. A professor at Bowling Green, who teaches about the social implications of authorities censoring Net usage, was asked not only to stop using Tor but to not teach his students about it. Apparently, the university's IT policy doesn't have an entry for irony. [My del.icio.us]

Yahoo, Regulation, and Constraints

Slashdot | Why You & Yahoo Should Like This Human Rights Law - [My del.icio.us] This is a pretty good article, not only for the human-rights issue, but for government regulation in general. I've blogged about this in the past. This is one of those frequently occurring cases where not only does an industry need regulation, in some ways, it may want it. Since any one company can't act ethically, because of its shareholder obligations, regulating the entire industry allows the "good" companies to do the right things, as well as making the others toe the line.

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

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