What I have been working on: bq Cervantes Touch

In the last months I have been working for bq. Bq is a spanish company making ereaders
and tablets and it’s actually the market leader in Spain for ereaders and Android based tablets.

Last week, we are launched one great product I have been working on: bq Cervantes Touch:


This is a very nice device powered by a modern Freescale processor, state-of-art e-ink screen with a IR touch sensor and very nice power consumption. It should give the best reading experience out there. But the real important stuff is the software. The device is powered by a emdebian linux distribution and a custom reading application. Some
notes:

  • Very aggressive power management.
  • Quick and fast wifi management powered by connman
  • Qt based UI
  • On-line services

This last item, the on-line services allows you not only to buy new books from the store, but also sharing your reading experience with your iOS or Android devices and your desktop computer. This means reading the books you have purchased with your own comments, marks, notes, highlights, bookmarks, reading stats, position, etc..

I am really proud to be in a team that is competing with giants like Amazon (Kindle), Barnes&Noble (Nook) and Kobo and actually making a better product at a very competitive price.

The development of this device has been exciting and has involved playing with very different parties: component providers (Neonode IR, Broadcom WiFi chipset, Freescale, etc…), platform team, UI design team, etc…

For the future we are working hard on new software releases (provided as OTA) including bug fixes, a revamped UI and some new social features (like sharing paragraphs of a book you are reading on twitter/facebook, comments, reviews, etc…). Also we are planning a “hackers” edition firmware that will remove some proprietary ¬†stuff we
are forced to include (that’s the price you have to pay if you want to support Adobe DRM books :( ) and will give root access to the device, so you could customize your software, play games and any other crazy stuff.

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mozilla a11y and gfx work week: days 1 and 2

I am at Toronto this week with the rest of the mozilla accessibility and graphics teams to spend a week working all toghether.For the accessibility team, the most important goals of this week are Electrolysis and mobile.

I have been working the two first days in accessibility support for the Electrolysis branch of firefox under Linux. Electrolysis is the project to move firefox into a multiprocess application, where each tab content is rendered in a separate process. Our plan is to use AtkPlug/AtkSocket to plug the accessible elements belonging to each tab/content under the proper place in the accessible tree of the main firefox window.

Firefox already have AtkSocket support thanks to great work that Brad Taylor and Mike Gorse did to support accessibility in out-of-process browser plugins. So the steps to get everything working are:

  1. Get proper accessibility service running on the content processes (done)
  2. Being able to create full accessible trees for each document (done)
  3. Implement an AtkPlugAccessible wrapper (done)
  4. Create an AtkPlug for each document  (done)
  5. Create an AtkSocket for each open tab
  6. Tell the chrome (main window) the id of every AtkPlug, so it can be connected on the proper AtkSocket

So currently we are at 4th. We are using a standalone AtkSocket program that Mario wrote to test it. It looks like this in accerciser:

content a11y tree plugged in an external socket

For the step 6, we will use IPDL to send the plug id to the chrome process, so it can be plugged on the proper place.

Posted in accessibility, mozilla | 1 Comment

Desktop summit 2011: GNOME The State of the Union

Our crazy talk about GNOME Project was accepted at the Desktop Summit. As we promised we are going to tease about it:

PS: I’m posting the teaser using a non free web service using non free propietary plugins becuase blogs.gnome.org does not allow me to use the tag (event if it allows others doing it). Also hosting the video on people.gnome.org does not set the proper mime type so it won’t show up on a HTML 5 video capable browser. Of couse, you can download the raw video.

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CSUN 2011

Last week I had my first CSUN experience. I attended CSUN 2011 at San Diego as part of the mozilla crew running a booth at the exhitors hall (as you may have noticed I have been working in the last months for mozilla a11y).

It was a great great experience and very inspiring. We were telling people what mozilla does for accesibility, explaning that our mission is to make a better web open to everyone, including those with disabilities, how we support and help accessibility technologies and projects such NVDA. Also we got a lot of people coming to our booth just to say thanks with a big smile, because they love firefox or because our accessibility support helps them to access the web. As I said, very inspiring.

On the social side, it was also a really great experience to meet Marco, a true mozilla star, and hang around with the rest of the AOSB (Accessibility Open Source Band), that is, David (our mozilla accessibility engineering manager), Eitan, Li and Mike (from the GNOME fame) and the awesome nvda guys: Jamie and Mick.

On the personal side, I got in love with Ralphs supermarkets and realized how much happiness I can get with a dollar borrowed from Eitan and a Jukebox machine playing three great songs:

  • London Calling, from London Calling by The Clash
  • Desaparecido, from Clandestino by Manu Chao
  • Summertime, from Live at Winterland ’68 by Janis Joplin and the Big Brother and The Holding Company
mozilla booth at csun 2011

Jamie, David, Mick and Marco at mozilla booth

Posted in accessibility, gnome, mozilla | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Firefox 4

So, before I blog about CSUN 2011 I have to tell you all about something:

Firefox 4 is out!
Firefox Download Button

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blog moved to blogs.gnome.org

After some updates at master.gnome.org, my blog stopped working. It was an old pybloxsom installation that I had to maintain myself and manually updating. In the last time comments were full of spam and had to move to disqus. So finally I created a new blog at blogs.gnome.org, imported all the content but the comments and created an static copy of the old blog at www.gnome.org/~fherrera/ with the old comments and a pointer to the new blog.

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dots: a Braille translator for GNOME

While I am at GNOME Accessibility Hackfest I think it’s a good time to present a project we have been working on this year: dots. It is a Braille translator/transcriptor that translates a document (odt, pdf or html) into computer Braille representation so you can directly send it to a Braille printer (embosser):

You can configure the output (cells per line, lines per page, etc…) and select the translation table. Also it presents the document on the screen in ASCII representation of using a Braille font with a review line. All the low level transcription is done using liblouis and liblouisxml libraries (the same that orca uses for the braille output). Also another nice feature is that you can actually edit the translation table with a nice UI. All the code is hosted on GNOME git: browse dots source code.

This development has been sponsored by Consorcio Fernando de los Rios:

Consorcio Fernando de los Rios is a public company of the Andalusian Government created to spread the Information Technology in Andalusia, and that means bringing technologies to every one in every place. To bring it to every place they created Gudalinfo centers: to provide internet and information access to people living in remote and small villages. And to bring it to every one they have been investing a lot of time and money to improve GNOME accessibility: orca screen reader, caribou on screen keyboard, webkit accessibility, and this Braille translator.

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GUADEC 2010: The State of the Union

This year, the awesome Xan and I will be delivering another crazy talk at GUADEC 2010.Again, we have a teaser for the talk:

click on the image to view the teaser
Please, feel free to send us your suggestions for the talk and/or blame us on twitter: ferulo, xanlpz

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Idlelo 4

Two weeks ago I attended the Idleo 4 pre-conference in Accra, Ghana. I gave a 2 days GNOME Desktop Training on behalf of the GNOME Foundation. It was a great experience to meet people from all Africa involved in Free Software and, of course, to show how proud we are of GNOME Desktop. During the training I showed how to use the Desktop itself and the most popular applications. At the end I also demoed the upcoming GNOME 3 version with GNOME Shell and zeitgeist.

I also had time to hang around with Ben and chat a little bit about GNOME a11y and with Pierro from Fedora.


Training at Idlelo

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This is a test

testing the new feed…

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