Joining the Nokia N810 maemo device program

A few weeks ago I applied to the Nokia N810 maemo device program, as I’ ve become more and more interested in mobile devices. I thought my profile would fit their description of candidates fit for the program.

My close friends know a thing or two about my obsession with mobility (and, consequently, VoIP). I often have enough in my backpack to set up shop (or office) most anywhere and colleagues often come to me with unusual requests for adapters, connectors or accessories that I locate quickly among my desktop chaos. Unless you have lots of free time you don’t want my advice on the subject (including what kind of backpack best carries it all).

Last week I got an email announcing I had been accepted in the program, which means I’ll be able to buy a (discounted) device! Living in Montreal will no doubt help as we have a large free wireless network provided by Ile sans Fil.

My application basically proposed to work and contribute in the following areas, from a non-developer, end-user point of view:

  • Making the N810 work flawlessly with Ubuntu: syncing, access to data, etc.
  • Look for language support problems
  • Abuse the device’s VoIP and video capabilities
  • Obsessively use and abuse Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora content
  • Share the device with colleagues & friends and collect input about all the above
  • Report bugs, document and review this device on my blog based on all the above

I was clear in my application I won’ t be doing any dev work, and I have never contributed to the maemo project before, so I am happy I got accepeted and hope I will make the best of it.


Contribute to the Free and Inexpensive Adaptive Technology Database: get Ubuntu listed

I got an email from the FACIL « forum » mailing list telling me about Dawson College in Montreal putting together a Free and Inexpensive Adaptive Technology Database through the Adaptech Research Network.

The Adaptech Research Network consists of a team of academics, students and consumers. We conduct research on the use of computer, information, and adaptive technologies by Canadian college and university students with disabilities. We are based at Dawson College and are funded by both federal and provincial grants.

Our work is guided by an active and enthusiastic cross-Canada bilingual Advisory Board. Our goal is to provide empirically based information to assist in decision making that ensures that new policies, software and hardware reflect the needs and concerns of a variety of individuals: college and university students with disabilities, professors who teach them, and service providers who make technological, adaptive, and other supports available to the higher education community.

I am not the usability and accessibility expert for software in Gnome or KDE that is included in Ubuntu, but I am going to contact them and make them aware of it. I’d also like to ask anyone more knowledegable about this to also contact them. Here’s the quick explanation of what this resource is:

One concern that has been repeated throughout all of our studies has been the issue of the high cost of adaptive software and hardware. In response to this, we have undertaken the compilation of a list of free and/or inexpensive hardware and software alternatives that might be useful. Some of these are long-running demos, while others are fully functional.

We in no way are suggesting that these replace the higher end hardware and software currently on the market. However, as a short-term solution, or for the purposes of trying out different adaptive technologies, we think they are a good place to start.

How can you help? If you use or know of software that is either free or inexpensive ($200 or less) that you feel would be beneficial to students with disabilities, we want to hear about it. Please send the name of the software and, if you have it, the name of the company which makes it and a web site to Read more about Adaptech’s search for free and inexpensive software. View our Free and Inexpensive Computer technologies video (WMV support required).

Most of the listed software has no clear indication on its licensing or is clearly non-free/open-source, which I believe would be another way to help them.

And I know the videos are not in any open format. I’ve already contacted them offering help in transcoding them. 🙂