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Showing posts from 2014

Fedora 21 Release Party Mumbai

On Sunday, 21st December 2014, we had the Fedora 21 Release Party at Homi Bhabha Center for Science Education (TIFR). I thought I would put together few major points from the event as a report and follow-up. But it seems few participants have already done a good job of writing excellent reports on the event. So just wish to pass on links to their blogs for detailed reports. If you are wondering what's there to report on a small party like this, then please do read them, they may seem interesting and educating.

1. Trupti Kini's take on the event

2. Praveen Kumar's report as a speaker

Thanks to both Trupti and Praveen!

Special thanks to HBCSE and the team in Gnowledge lab, and especially Dr. Nagarjun who has been our inspiration for working on free software, for helping us out in managing the event, letting us use the space, and most importantly guiding us for future directions.


[P.S. Will write separately about the contemplation over and ideas that emerged during the wonde…

Teach how to think and not what to think

With the changing times and across levels of education, one thing that might have remained constant is that good teachers always teach how to think instead of being just the source of information on what to think. They use all the resources around them to help student's build their personalities. The goal of education cannot be mere preparation for earning livelihood in future. Coaching and training are enough for that purpose and anyone with proper access to the information can gain enough knowledge to earn a living. Better society is not formed by better earning future generation alone, it is formed by better ideas, innovation and evolution of human values, generation after generation. 
Given the technological advances and access to enormous information, students of 21st century are not dependent on formal coaching for making ends meet. Before a teacher starts teaching a topic in classroom, some of the students may already have number of different pieces of information on the t…

Launching the project 'i18nWidgets for Android'

A lot of Android devices, platforms and apps have several issues regarding rendering of non-English text especially that of Indic text. Though many of them claim to support various Indic and other languages, it usually either means that they have a font for that language included or they have some of the native apps supporting all these languages. But this does not mean all the app will be able to render the non-English text properly. This usually happens for one of the following problem being present:
1. No fonts added in the device (or the native android system) 2. Fonts are not accessible by the third party application 3. App has its own Unicode font, but the native android system does not support text layout rendering for the language 4. App has the font and the android system also supports the language, but the sdk for the particular platform does not have widgets integrated with the complex text rendering features.
This problem gave birth to the idea of developing and extending…

Installing fonts on Android, simple yet unnecessarily tricky

Most android devices come with set of fonts already installed for all the general purpose use with variety of styles and various languages. There is also something called 'fallback' font which ensures that in case a required font is not available, the system falls back to this font with wide range of characters and more generic style to display the text. But sometimes, you really want to use that specific font which is not there on the device or you just 'have' to use a some non-english font because the system by default does not have the font for the language you wish to use. Though upfront it looks like a simple task of installing the font, unfortunately android does not yet provide a simple way of doing it in user space. It is possible for an application to provide a custom font and use it within the application, but that's not really installing it on the device, its applicable only within the app.
Recently while working with some Indic languages on android, I …

15th Aug, Independence Day, a Beggar and a Tea

On this 15th August, afternoon, I was sipping on a tea at a roadside stall, sitting on a bench, waiting for a colleague, when I heard an aged female voice over my head, 'चहा पाजतु का दादा' ('would you help with some tea'). Before I could realize that there was a fairly old couple, woman having a limped leg, and old man, mostly her husband in 70s, were asking the two cab drivers for some tea, the cab drivers responded, 'पाजतु ना' (sure why not). I generally have a strict rule of not heeding to the pleas of beggars (and I have my moral position on that considering the beggar mafia openly ruling the streets in Mumbai), but once in a while some one catches your attention and you just can't help stopping yourself from doing something if not just giving away 2 rupees. This time the instant assurance of the cab driver to buy them two cups of tea caught my eye and especially ear. The old couple did not look exactly like beggars, their clothes were fine for someone…