A K12 Educator's Guide to Open Source Software

There’s a very cool project I am very lucky to have the opportunity to work on, this coming month. It’s pretty exciting to me, because it involves introducing elementary school children to free & open source software, particularly creative tools such as my dearly beloved Inkscape and Gimp. Here’s a bit of a teaser: I put together a two-page guide on open source for K12 Educators as part of this project. You may download it as a PDF or read the excerpt below. I’m making it available under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license, so please feel to remix and redistribute it as you wish! (sans the Red Hat logo, of course, which is noted as being a registered trademark 🙂 ) Inkscape source files for each page are available for your ease of remixing! 🙂 (You’ll need free and open source fonts Junction and Comic Serif Pro so make sure you have those installed.) Since this needed to be a single double-sided sheet of information, it’s been edited quite judiciously! A lot of great stuff has been left out here, but I think this is a sampling of the best-of-the-best of the resources out there. So if you’re a …

Mockups in your hand & Authconfig test day tomorrow!

Mockups in your hand It’s surreal, but effective, to print out mockups and play around with them. These were used in the authconfig-gtk revamp. I used these to figure out if the sequence of policy kit dialogs would make sense. I walked around the office and bugged a couple folks, explaining the scenario (“You just filled out this UI, and you’d like to apply the changes.”) and pulling out the appropriate dialog and explaining the actions. A dialog pops up asking for your password (via PolicyKit) and I was worried about how that dialog would fit with authconfig’s screen flow. I had thought the error case where you don’t type the right password was going to be confusing, but it turns out the success case where the changes do check out and your password is correct resulted in some awkward UI flow – you hit apply, the dialog pops up, you authenticate and it works, now you close the success dialog – what happens to the base window? Flat mockups on a wiki don’t typically generate this kind of analysis, so it was a really helpful process to go through, printing them out and cutting them up and giving ‘demos’. …

Mockups in your hand & Authconfig test day tomorrow!

Mockups in your hand It’s surreal, but effective, to print out mockups and play around with them. These were used in the authconfig-gtk revamp. I used these to figure out if the sequence of policy kit dialogs would make sense. I walked around the office and bugged a couple folks, explaining the scenario (“You just filled out this UI, and you’d like to apply the changes.”) and pulling out the appropriate dialog and explaining the actions. A dialog pops up asking for your password (via PolicyKit) and I was worried about how that dialog would fit with authconfig’s screen flow. I had thought the error case where you don’t type the right password was going to be confusing, but it turns out the success case where the changes do check out and your password is correct resulted in some awkward UI flow – you hit apply, the dialog pops up, you authenticate and it works, now you close the success dialog – what happens to the base window? Flat mockups on a wiki don’t typically generate this kind of analysis, so it was a really helpful process to go through, printing them out and cutting them up and giving ‘demos’. …

Design Hub Update

So progress is happening on Design Hub! Robby from Isotope 11 continues to work on the prototype, Colin Zwiebel has been working on setting up infrastructure, and I’ve been hacking on the CSS in any spare time I can scrounge up. (What’s Design Hub? It’s one of the ideas we talked about at the GNOME UX Hackfest in London last month as a way for us designers to collaborate better! Read more about it in my initial blog post about it, at the GNOME Hackfest writeup about it, and at a follow-up mockup post about it.) I’ve spent the past couple evenings changing the CSS I had started on to use 960.gs, which Ian Weller had pointed out to me some time ago. I’ve actually been using the Inkscape templates that the 960.gs project has made available for some time since then (for example, the www.fedoraproject.org redesign mockups were made using the 960.gs Inkscape templates.) I never made the leap to actually use the 960.gs CSS itself until now, though, and I’m happy to report that it’s a breeze. Here’s a screenshot of how far I got tonight before deciding to work on this status report on the project; my …

Getting ready for Fedora 13 to rock it!

I just wanted to highlight this Fedora 13 countdown banner design Alexander Smirnov posted to the Fedora Design Team list recently. As we get closer to launch, the rocket will fire up more and more. The SVG source is available on his Fedora People page, and he has also provided a script to handle outputting translations. Whoo! Keep rockin’, Alexander!

Inkscape & GIMP talk at LibrePlanet This Friday!

This Friday, from 2:00-3:30 PM at the Harvard Science Center in Cambridge Massachusetts, I’ll be giving a talk on how to use Inkscape and GIMP at LibrePlanet, the Free Software Foundation’s annual free software community conference. As you can see, it will be an epic battle. Wilbur will bravely take on the evilly-grinning mountain that is Inkscape. Pixels will fly! Node handles will spin! Who will win? Come to find out! (Or read the slides afterwards. I’ll post them here after the talk.) Here’s some more information about LibrePlanet:

Inkscape & GIMP talk at LibrePlanet This Friday!

This Friday, from 2:00-3:30 PM at the Harvard Science Center in Cambridge Massachusetts, I’ll be giving a talk on how to use Inkscape and GIMP at LibrePlanet, the Free Software Foundation’s annual free software community conference. As you can see, it will be an epic battle. Wilbur will bravely take on the evilly-grinning mountain that is Inkscape. Pixels will fly! Node handles will spin! Who will win? Come to find out! (Or read the slides afterwards. I’ll post them here after the talk.) Here’s some more information about LibrePlanet:

A rich web interface for mailing lists

Luke Macken and I had a little mini hackfest today on improving collaboration in Fedora. This is an idea we came up with this afternoon and I mocked up most of it on the bus ride home tonight. (A 2-hour bus ride home as the post-Boston-flood road conditions and traffic during rush hour were really bad tonight.) Luke already has a working prototype 🙂 What do you think? The Inkscape source is of course available so please feel free to try out your own ideas and play away and bounce them back! These are some random, off-the-cuff points about some of the ideas behind the mockups to help give some context. I’m likely missing a lot of good points here so I apologize in advance for my sloppiness: threads are flattened to one level to make it simpler to follow both the number of participants and number of comments are noted posts have ratings to discourage one-liner “me toos” replies and also to make quality discussions more visible. not sure though which scheme is best, what do you think? showing a single number which is the positives and negatives added together (digg style) showing two numbers, one for the number …

Fedora 13's Artwork – Need Your Help for F13 Beta!

So now that Fedora 13 Alpha is out…. have you given it a try? What do you think about the wallpaper? We want to hear your feedback, because there isn’t actually that much time to update the wallpaper for beta, I think a little over a week. We haven’t gotten much feedback about it yet, so we need to hear from you now! You can give your feedback here in the comments or on the Fedora design team mailing list. How can you provide useful feedback? Here’s a little writeup on that, shamelessly stolen from an earlier blog post: How to Provide Helpful Critique Some folks understandably believe art and design are stuffs enshrouded in a mysterious haze of incense smoke without much logic or reason involved. I get it. I’ve been there too, and I think it’s easy to feel that way – discussions about art works sometimes get a bad reputation for being anywhere from fussy, to bizarre, to completely pointless. You may find solace in the fact that there’s actually plenty of logical principles and elements and a vocabulary for them that can be use to discuss such works in a productive manner that doesn’t involve ‘invoking …

Another Design Hub mockup

I worked on another mockup for the mockup collaboration tool I blogged about a while back – Josh from Isotope11 coined the name ‘Design Hub’ and I like it, so that’s what I’m calling it now. 🙂 I put this together for Robby from Isotope11, who has been rocking out on implementing a prototype of the application. (I saw a preliminary prototype last week and was really impressed with the progress! I’m hoping to carve out some time to CSS-ify it soon.) Josh has been doing a great job making sure the project keeps moving forward also, so I’m pretty pumped. (I have the usual post-hackfest ‘shiny-ponies-flying-in-the-air-oh-I-want-them-all’ distractability lately so Josh’s patience & focus has been very helpful.) Here’s the other screens that need to be mocked up: Mockup #1: the first mockup, the details page for a single proposal Mockup #2: The same as the project details mockup shown here, but in the mode where the project has been finished and the proposal that ended up getting used is highlighted. Mockup #3: A listing of all the projects going on right now. Maybe link to an archive of old ones. Each project should have a little preview of the …