Monday, December 16, 2013

My new book in Arabic about Free Culture movement

book cover inspired from glider(hackers symbol & CC licence icons)

The idea of our project came at the fourth Creative Commons salon held in Casablanca Morocco, where we were brainstorming a way to move the movement forward in the region, I suggested initially to assemble the information about CC in a book in Arabic, and later the idea evolved into a small guide on Free culture movement as a whole.and also a small website in Arabic where the book can be freely downloaded:

A big Thank you to Creative Commons and Google for providing and trusting us with a small grant otherwise this project would have not seen the light. 

Technical note:
The website have been designed using the excellent jekyll, a static blog generator in Ruby. you can find the source of the website and my small Right to Left hack to the template here:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Free Arduino books in English and Arabic!

FreeSoftware, and also Open Hardware needs free (as in freedom) documentation, otherwise they contradict the purpose of subject they are written about.You can visit the GNU project website for a more in depth analysis on Why Free Software needs Free Documentation

This is why I would like to present two less known books that are free:

Arduino starter kit manual: A complete beginner guide to the Arduino
Written by Earthshine Electronics (they sell electronics parts) is a rather complete book on the subject is easy format that can help even children and teens to get initiated to electronics without prior programming knowledge.

Download link

Simply Arduino (اردوينو ببساطة in Arabic), written by an Egyptian engineer, and probably the only book written about the subject in Arabic. It is available online for download with source code of the sample projects.

Download link

Saturday, August 24, 2013

MSP430 LaunchPad, the Arduino alternative Review

I was following the Arduino and maker movement for some time now, and I finally decided to jump in
to see what is it all about. but it was a long journey: first at the Arduino re-seller store 
while there is a large number of res-sellers all over the world, few of them offer shipping to Morocco and those who do at a large price (3x to 4x of the product price!) without counting the customs tax.

 So I decided to use another micro-controller instead, the MSP 430 LaunchPad from Texas Instruments.
it cost $9.99 only with free worldwide shipping by FEDEX, and surprise it also passed the customs without paying any tax (maybe to it's low price or because it's not a finished product?).

MSP430 LaunchPad (MSP-EXP430G2) unboxing


Energia, a port Arduino IDE to launchpad

Energia is a community project to port the famous Arduino IDE and language to make it compatible with MSP430 and the rest of launchpad family. Not all Arduino sketches are guaranteed to work 100% but most of code I found online work without modification.

ROCKETuC firmware alternative to Firmata

To communicate with your micro-controller through the serial port, you usually need to write a small piece of code called firmware that you flash to the micro-controller memory. Basically, It's goal is to interpret the command it receive through the serial/usb cable and turn them into something useful the CPU can understand, like writing to the digital or reading a value from analog pin.

To not reinvent the wheel, a popular library in Arduino world called Firmata  is used, unfortunately it is not available for other hardware but I found one on Github that do the job called ROCKETuC  with client binding for Processing and Java.

Ardublocks alternative to typing code :)

Another less known project is Ardublocks, it is a visual programming tool similar to Scratch, by drag and droping "blocks"and then it generate code that can be compiled and uploaded to the micro-controller directly from Arduino IDE as usual.I'm just mentioning it here because I discovered it work too under Energia.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Just published my book Knoppix : The Missing Manual

Knoppix : The Missing Manual

Written by Ahmed Mansour (@linuxwriter)

About the Book

Who is this Book For?

The biggest deficiency in free operating systems is not in the software—it is the lack of good, easy and up to date manuals.
This book try to fill this gap, by documenting Knoppix Linux for new users, one of the most popular Live CD in the open source community! it is perfect for people who are new to Linux world and want to discover it without having to install it first to the hardrive. The book begin step-by-step by instructions on how to get started, introduce the desktop ... and users who suffer from a visual impairment are not left behind, since they can find a special chapter about the innovative ADRIANE audio desktop. In addition to a lot of tips and tricks for using the large software Knoppix and Linux offer to work, play and repair your system without installing anything.
You are encouraged to buy a copy and support the author, as bonus you get all the updates about each new Knoppix version for free! the e-book is available in PDF, EPUB (for iPad) and MOBI (for Kindle). There is no DRM or copy protection! You can also get a printed copy from Lulu


Knoppix : The Missing Manual content is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

 Logiciels libre pour personnes avec handicap visuel (aveugle et mal voyant)

 Logiciel libre pour personnes avec handicap visuel (aveugle et mal voyant)

Les logiciels existant sont extrement chère (e.g: entre 1000 et 2000 € pour le lecteur d'écrant JAWS) ajouté au prix de l'imprimante et écran braille ça représente un obstacle de plus pour la généralisation de l'utilisation l'outil informatique et leurs inclusion dans la société.

[Pinguin mit Sonnenbrille]
Les alternative libre et gratuite existe depuis longtemps sous les principale distributions Linux (Ubuntu, Knoppix, OpenSUSE...) lecteur d'écran libre et des lecteurs du format DAISY (standard des audio book accessible), et des drivers pour les clavier braille.
Récemment, j'ai contribuer une traduction Française à la distribution Knoppix ADRIANE qui va êtree intégré dans la prochaine version. qui offre un environment complet et simplifié (EMail, navigateur web textuel, envoi et réception SMS, gestion de fichier) par synthèse vocal avec logiciel Espeak. En plus de l’accès à evironement graphique "classic" pour les voyants avec le logiciel de lecture d'écran Orca. vue que espeak est utilisé dans orca, NDVA (lecteur d'écran libre pour Window$) et J'ai essayé avant d'ajouter le support de la langue Arabe ou Amazigh, malheureusement, la prononciation de Arabe est un problème complexe de point de vue informatique vue que 90% est écrit sans diacritique (information sur la prononciation afin de convertir en phonèmes), par contre l'Amazigh se prononce de la même façon qu'il s'écrit et j'ai fait certain progrès dans ce sens. Mais pour être utile dans ce contexte, il faut traduire plusieurs logiciel chose que je ne peux pas faire avec mes ressource et connaissance limité dans cette langue.
Si  quel'un est intéressé de contribuer à ce projet prière de me contacter.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Release of portal gun source code & game data

Quake1 portal gun

A portal inspired game using Quake1 engine based on:
Video of the gameplay:

How to play

Controls are defined in autoexec.cfg. It's inspired by wecreatestuff's version of the game:
[p] - portal gun.
[q] - fire blue portal.
[e] - fire yellow portal.
[f] - grab item.
[w][s][a][d] - movement.

How to build the game data

You don't need to have original proprietary Quake 1 game data to play.
Using GNU/Linux:
$ cd openquartz/pak0/
$ make && make install
and it will copy all *.pak files into portal/id1 folder.just switch to that folder and run from command line your favourite quake engine (darkplace or ezQuake...)
Hope you enjoy it!
Fork me on GitHub