The OVC co-op team has decided to take their project in an innovative new direction - the OVC application has been renamed OVCR - for the uninitiated, that stands for Open Video Chat Roulette.
Screenshots after the pitch.
Some features include:
NEW CODECS: all transmission will be done in .wmv for the video and .aac for audio stream
Mesh-only mode: only randomize with people on your local mesh network
Libdecent support: to keep all OVCR interactions SFW
Libcaca support: an open-source alternative to YouTube's Textp codec
Strobe mode: for remote dance parties
Touchlib support: reach out and touch someone (High fives are the only supported action, we hope the FLOSS community will add support for more options)
Olfactorylib: open-source smell-o-vision, works using 128 base scents to create the entire olfactory spectrum, including such highlights as GCCIS musk, eaude' de anime, and Gracie's backwoods. Currently only has click-to-sniff functionality, but there are API modules to support touch-'n'-sniff on the new 3.0 hardware.
Hiroshi Ishii’s “Tangible Bits” project seeks to realize seamless interfaces between humans, digital information, and the physical environment by giving physical form to digital information—making “bits” directly manipulable and perceptible. His new artistic vision of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) seeks to transform the way we see and interact with the world. Ishii’s visionary goal is to invent new design media for artistic expression, as well as for scientific analysis.
The pioneering work of “Tangible Bits” Media Group takes advantage of the richness of human senses and skills in interaction with the physical world, and in computational reflection enabled by real-time sensing and digital feedback.
Ishii will explore examples of Tangible Bits projects developed and exhibited throughout the world in media arts, design, and science communities.
Don’t miss this exciting presentation TONIGHT Monday, March 29 (8:00 pm, Webb Auditorium)
Rochester Institute of Technology prides itself upon co-operative educational component of its degree programs.
Most students, depending on the accreditation of their degree programs are required to do one or more 10-11 week quarters of full-time, paid work study known as Co-Ops in order to graduate. Again the number of blocks depends on the degree program, with most Golisano School of Computing programs requiring three throughout their academic program. This means that there are thousands of eager students applying for co-op positions every 10 weeks.
*Most* co-op students who manage to land a co-op with an opensource company are required to have a paid position. To help close this gap between large companies like Red Hat and Mozilla, and small student created projects, the LTL and the CSI have developed new models for working with 501c3 not-for-profit corporations and un-funded student projects. The FOSS@RIT Initiative works with professors and faculty within multiple departments, so if a student wishes to contribute to a FOSS project, or a not-for-profit FOSS corporation, they can still work for the company unpaid and receive co-op credit, with the help of these faculty advisors.
One such Professor, is Stephen Jacobs. Professor Jacobs has championed the connection between organizers and organizations in and around Rochester, to create an Honors Seminar Course, based on development of activities for the OLPC. When Jacobs proposed the course, he knew that he would need community support, and initiated a local users group for the OLPC program hosted at RIT.
This decision resulted in a wonderful confluence of circumstances that grew the course and its impact beyond anyone's initial expectations. It began when Karlie Robinson (Arguably one of the most involved Hacktivists in the Upstate NY region) attended the User Group. Robinson knew that David Nalley had begun an initiative to have the OLPC community create Math Software for Fourth Graders. Nally backed the initiative with the offer to provide some of the 75 OLPC XOs that Fedora had inherited for QA.
When Jacobs mentioned he was having trouble setting up the RIT labs to support the course, Robinson lobbied on his behalf and then connected him to Nalley and 25 XO's showed up at RIT in time for the course. Robinson and Fred Grose, a Rochester based OLPC volunteer who had begun working with Jacobs after Give-1-Get-1 in 2008, also joined the User Group. Both Robinson and Grose attended the class regularly and brought others in via IRC during the class sessions. Jacobs then worked with Sugar Labs (another connection provided by Robinson) and his department to allow for unpaid Co-Ops for student projects; supervised remotely by Sugar Labs and locally by Grose.
With the third offering of the course, the beginnings of a natural ecology emerged.
Student projects initiated in the fall session attracted new students in the winter quarter. The original student developers (some pursuing Co-Ops on their projects, others not) are so invested in their projects that they eagerly assumed the role of mentors, bringing the new students into the fold. The original developers, of their own initiative, even attended the Winter session of the course they'd already taken in the fall. These students acted as additional voices of experience in the classroom and mentored the new students regardless of which project the newbies were pursuing, whether or not they were directly involved. Some of these novice students from the Winter quarter then become the next wave of Co-Op and independent study students that continue to move class projects forward in the spring.
Coursework begets projects, projects beget mentors, mentors beget new contributors, that beget more course material.
Coursework creates contributors and projects.
Projects generate Co-ops.
Co-ops generate mentors and TA's.
Mentors and TA's generate coursework.
The course will be offered again in the fall, and every effort will be made to see that the cycle can continue. Jacobs' Lab for Technological Literacy will be disseminating details of the model and the curriculum off the FOSS@RIT website and at FOSS and CS education conferences in the next six months. The LTL will also be seeking internal and external support to formalize and institutionalize the emerging ecology at RIT.
Here is a link to one of the first products of the course->co-op cycle.
Storytellers interview with Fortune Hunters Development Team:
A few weeks ago the Storytelling Team announced CrisisCampROC here on the innovation blog. The event, sponsored by the CSI, and organized by Vickie Krauchunas of Computer Science House saw a group of 15+ students and volunteers to help work on several projects, databases, and data collection projects.
Storytellers interviews with the teams at CrisisCampROC:
One team worked on the SahanaPy project, who's popularity has been on the rise as the platform is incrementally improved/deployed with each CrisisCamp. The team spent their cycles squashing bugs, and getting a local instance of the project up and running. Sahana is a set of opensource web-based disaster management tools that provide solutions to large-scale problems in the aftermath of any disaster. Sahana has been deployed after multiple disasters worldwide; Haiti is just one of the most recent.
Another team worked to populate a database of public school information in Haiti. The database existed, but much of the data was incomplete, incorrect, duplicate, or missing all together. The RIT CrisisCamp team wrote a Python script to take data from a web site and add it to their spreadsheets automatically.
Our last team did research and data entry for updating spreadsheets and databases of organizational contact information for the siteReliefOversight.org The compiled spreadsheet we have made available as a .csv (comma separated value) file, to be easily added to their db's. That file can be found here: Relief Information (.csv)
The Reporter also covered CrisisCampROC in today's (2/19) issue! For our friends who are not on campus and can not access the print, here's the online version.
Again, thanks to Vicki and CSH for organizing this event, and the CSI was happy to take part in and tell the story of such an important and successful endeavour.
Our storytellers covered a story Two weeks ago on the Knights of Columbus at RIT, participating the the Rochester Polar Plunge (a frigid excursion into Lake Ontario) to benefit the Special Olympics.
After seeing our first interview Ian Gatley, Director of the CSI, graciously agreed to sponsor our own TJ Miller, to take the plunge with the Knights. TJ braved the cold and with camera in hand, shoulder to shoulder with the Knights brandishing iron and mail, charged into the icy waters. So for your viewing pleasure, The Polar Plunge 2010:
The Knights of Columbus raised $762 for the New York Special Olympics, and the Polar Plunge event as a whole raised nearly $1 million. Thank you to Ian and the CSI for sponsoring and making this possible, TJ for going the extra mile to cover this story, and the Knights of Columbus for being the story they wanted to tell.
InterlockROC will be showcasing this new space during Rochester's First Fridays; a well-known city-wide gallery night every first Friday of every month. Many of the building's other spaces open their doors to the public on First Fridays too, so the whole complex should be abuzz on the 5th!
We had a chance to meet the architect behind this event, Sneha Rao, Interlock's Community Outreach Director, and captured another CSI "hello and hi there" with this Public Relator, and RIT Mechanical Engineering Alumna.
Questions about ongoing community outreach can be directed to Sneha Rao, snehapriyarao(at)gmail(dot)com
During the meeting, there was also talk of putting on a free writing weekend seminar series, including resume workshops. Interlock is passionate about giving back to the community, and helping others tell their stories, as much as catalyze them themselves. On behalf of the CSI's Storytelling Team, Thank you Sneha for your time, and best of luck with the showcase! Maybe we'll even come see for ourselves. Big thanks to RyanSB as well for covering the Story.
Come see Interlock Rochester's New Space this First Friday, February 5th!