Archives for December 2006

Donate Old Thumb Drives

Do you have an outdated USB thumb drive sitting around? Inveneo is a non-profit that “focuses on designing, integrating and supporting affordable technology systems that match the needs of people and organizations in under-served areas of the world.” They currently have a Thumb Drive Drive underway to collect and distribute the drives to various organizations.

This post at BoingBoing has a bit more information: they’re only interested in 16M or higher drives, drives like this are probably not really helpful (funny how BB posts sometimes intersect unintentionally), and they’re targeting school labs in Africa.

Thumb drive capacity has soared (and cost per megabyte has plummeted), and there’s a whole generation of smaller capacity drives that have been overtaken by the current multi-gigabyte versions. With no moving parts, the drives will last a long time; let’s put them to use.

posted December 14, 2006 by eric | permalink | Add comment

Studio Monthly: Great Gadgets

How cool is it to get a mention in Studio Monthly’s Great Gadgets rundown? Thanks guys!

By the way, if you do happen to have some year-end cash, you should know that when we release InqScribe 2.0, it’ll be a free upgrade for owners of InqScribe 1.x. Don’t delay; the store’s open 24/7…

posted December 12, 2006 by eric | permalink | Add comment

Interface Guildlines for One Laptop per Child

The human interface guidelines for the One Laptop per Child project are online. The guidelines are really interesting (and probably still evolving). Most educational software design is layered on top of an existing hardware platform and operating system, but with OLPC, there’s an opportunity to integrate core interface elements and metaphors with the underlying OS.

For example, take the notion of journaling. The core idea — that you want to remember what the learner has done, not just what the learner explicitly indicates should be saved — is not new. Ben’s dissertation work on the Progress Portfolio pushed this idea pretty far. But when you’re building a journaling tool that’s not tightly integrated with the OS, it turns out it’s not so easy to remember everything the learner does, because the tool isn’t notified of everything that’s going on. So the idea of building journaling into the OS itself is a very cool idea.

There are several other ways in which the design of the user experience for OLPC appears to leveraging the opportunity to integrate core learning affordances into the OS, and the interface guidelines are a pretty good way to get beyond a bullet list of technologies and understand the design principles behind these decisions. Take a look.

posted December 12, 2006 by eric | permalink | Add comment

InqScribe and Wacom Tablets

We’ve tracked down a bug that affects users on Mac OS X with Wacom tablets.

The bug occurs when the tablet is connected and you click the “Define Trigger” button in the Edit Shortcuts dialog. With recent versions of Wacom’s driver software, this can cause a “NilObjectException” crash.

We’re fixing this for the next release. In the meantime, you can avoid the crash by unplugging your tablet from the USB port before clicking the “Define Trigger” button. Once you’ve finished defining your shortcut trigger, you can plug the tablet back in.

Now’s as good a time as any to mention that we’ve opened up a new support area with revised FAQ and Known Issues pages. Have a look, and please suggest any topics that you think should covered there.

posted December 06, 2006 by eric | permalink | Add comment