LibreTaxi – Opensource alternative to Careem and Uber

LibreTaxi – Opensource alternative to Careem and Uber

LibreTaxi takes out the giants from the game and connects the taxi directly with the passenger. The passenger uses the app to hail a taxi, haggle a mutual agreeable price and then More »

Mozilla launches US$ 2 Million Wireless Innovation Challenge

Mozilla launches US$ 2 Million Wireless Innovation Challenge

Partnering with National Science Foundation, Mozilla Foundation has launched an ambitious US$2 million  Wireless Innovation for Network Society, (WINS) Challenge. There are two broad categories where the US based entities can apply. More »

Open Source Repositories of Tech Giants

Open Source Repositories of Tech Giants

tech giants have now organized their software into repositories that are easily accessible and downloadable from their website or GitHub. We can not only use it but also build our own versions More »

UPSat – World’s first Open Source Satellite launched into space

UPSat – World’s first Open Source Satellite launched into space

UPSat is a joint initiative of Libre Space Foundation and University of Patras, in Greece. It is designed from scratch as completely open sourced including the hardware. More »

Mycroft – Open Source AIexa like Artificial Intelligence

Mycroft – Open Source AIexa like Artificial Intelligence

Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Now have become our defacto assistants for most things mundane.  Making calls, setting appointments or reminders, streaming music, turn on lights, playing games among dozens of More »

 

LibreTaxi – Opensource alternative to Careem and Uber

We are all getting used to the idea of taxi hailing service. No matter which major city on the planet we go, there is some form of Uber, Lyft, Careem vying for our business. And we order one without thinking twice.

However, many small towns will never get these Ubers as it is not economically viable for them to do business there. And the little taxi guy, at the corner of marketplace, waiting for rides can probably never upgrade his taxi to meet the stringent requirements of these billion dollar corporate giants and can never make the jump to “ride sharing” economy.

Mozilla launches US$ 2 Million Wireless Innovation Challenge

Partnering with National Science Foundation, Mozilla Foundation has launched an ambitious US$2 million  Wireless Innovation for Network Society, (WINS) Challenge.

There are two broad categories where the US based entities can apply.

  • Off the Grid Internet Challenge: In this challenge disaster hit communities need to be reached with portable and rapidly deployed wireless communication system.
  • Smart Community Networks Challenge: Reach out to those communities that lack proper internet access in the USA. Mozilla and NSF estimate that there are over 39 million people in the US that lack quality internet.

Open Source Repositories of Tech Giants

All major tech giants have embraced open source. Their technology stack is enriched and so deeply embedded with open source that it is totally indistinguishable from commercial and proprietary software.

To give a few simple examples, Apple’s MacOS X is based on open source FreeBSD Unix. Google’s Android is a customized version of Linux, and Amazon’s Kindle is nothing but a Java/Linux powered handheld device.

UPSat – World’s first Open Source Satellite launched into space

This has to be one of the most amazing open source projects of the year. A technology, satellite, which is heavily guarded and mostly utilized by military or government is now available to any budding space enthusiast, living anywhere in the world. For free!

UPSat is a joint initiative of Libre Space Foundation and University of Patras, in Greece. It is designed from scratch as completely open sourced including the hardware. That literally includes the firmware, the chassis and all software related to the satellite. The code and specs can be downloaded from GitHub where they are publicly available.

Mycroft – Open Source AIexa like Artificial Intelligence

Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Google Now have become our defacto assistants for most things mundane.  Making calls, setting appointments or reminders, streaming music, turn on lights, playing games among dozens of tasks are now handled by them.

But this space is still young, Microsoft’s Cortana, IBM’s Watson and a host of other tech giants are trying to make their mark. But as it stands today, all these platforms are built by billion dollar companies to be used on their propriety hardware/technology stack. That all has changed with the arrival of Mycroft.

Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark Expected Features

Every six months, Canonical releases their latest update to Ubuntu operating system. The latest version, Ubuntu 17.10, is expected to be released on October 19, 2017. The latest release is has been officially named as Artful Aarwark.

As per their release cycle, the October releases are short term upgrades and are supported for nine months. The annual April releases, on the other hand, are supported for five years from the date of release. They are usually termed as LTS releases. In short for “Long Term Support”.

How to check elapsed time in Terminal

When we have processes running for a while and we want to know how long they have been running, there are a few nifty ways we can check them on Mac and Linux/Unix. Here is one such method.

First grab the process ID (PID) using the following command. In the following command, we are trying to grab the process ID of mongoDB.

pgrep mongo

pgrep command tells shell prompt on Mac/Linux/Unix terminal to capture the process ID (PID) of the process we are interested. In this case it is mongoDB.

How to write Urdu, Arabic or Persian text on Web

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

Mozilla Private Eye

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.

Insights into Open Data Camp in Amsterdam

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.