The new Indian copyright act and clabil

On may 22 this year, a historic amendment was made to the Indian copyright act. Now, it is legal to make copies for the use of the visually challenged. Can u imagine what that means for the sheer access to knowledge resources? At clabil, of course, it means E can now make a wealth of knowledge available to the blind without violating the law. That means the world to us at clabil. Thank you, to all the activists who worked and lobbied relentlessly to make it happen.

Clabil is going to be a very busy place this year.

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Application beta testing

Hi iPhone users,

Blind sight, a small R&D firm in Berkeley, is developing an iPhone application that can detect and speak out text – be it a sign around you or a handout you need to identify. The application uses the built in camera to capture the area the phone is pointed at. It’s patented text detection algorithm analyzes the video stream and tells you whether there is text or not. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and VoiceOver will do the rest and speak the text that was detected – all within seconds.

You can be the first to use text detection and recognition in your day-to-day life before anyone else!

Sign up here if you are interested (participation is limited to 50 users):

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the esha summer project is back!

Last year, a lot of you good people sat and recorded at home on hot, humid summer days. Those

recordings are now here –

This year again, the Esha Summer Project is being run. This summer, make a difference to someone. Read for a visually challenged person.

The specific content that we need this year is:

1. Learn English from Indian languages – please pick up small stories and read one line in the

Indian language, and then the same line in English. This helps our children pick up behavioral

English from their vernacular.

2. Wiki in Indian languages – We have hindi. Please read out Wikipedia or other articles in Indian


3. Educational notes: We cannot convert books till the new Copyright Act is passed. In the interim,

please do convert your notes into audio.

How can you help?

1. Record. This is a detailed tutorial on how to record.

2. Spread the Word.

Thank you!

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WordPress from an Android phone

This is a first . we can now blog on the go ! Let’s see how this looks though.

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tactile maze workshop – tsrs aravali

Last Friday (04 may, 2012) , we did a really interesting workshop at the Sri Ram School – Aravali campus. Some of the children learnt how to make tactile mazes, so that some of these mazes can be created and then donated to a blind school. 

this was a train the trainer workshop, where we trained the group leaders, who will, in turn, train their groups on how to make tactile mazes. Boy! did they have a ball trying to create maze puzzles.. and they were good too!!!


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contribution of the sri ram school children

this post is a special mention post – of the contribution made by the students of the sri ram school, aravali, gurgaon.

in this school, not only did we get the highest no. of recordings in a read fest, but, in a first, every single child checked their recording before submitting it, which meant that every single recording was usable. we did not ask the students to do it – they did it on their own..

this post is to say Thank you! for being so considerate, and so thorough!

linking to some brilliant recordings done by the children.

Tamil – A friend in need is a friend indeed

Bengali – aye re aye (bengali folk song)

Manjeet Tiwana’s poetry – Vivvaha

Kannada – savi savi ravi ravi (poem)

Kannada Story – the story of punyakoti(in kannada)

Learning English Through Hindi Stories – The Carrot Seed

And the classic – Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his son’s teacher (a personal favorite too)

We collected 96 usable files in one day that day.. it was a day  of its kind !!

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non pirated software for the computer illiterate, and the illiterate, and the visually challenged too.

Most people i work with are very comfortable with a screen reader called “JAWS”. and MS Office. But there is a hitch. Most of them cannot afford either MS Office or JAWS.

When you train someone to use something they cannot afford, you are, by definition, generating piracy. When you do not train them on any alternatives, you go a step further and NECESSITATE piracy. So, is Microsoft responsible for its own piracy? YES! by trying to infiltrate a market that can obviously not afford the product, by cutting out all alternatives and more importantly, access to education about alternatives, we are creating a generation of computer users who will, out of necessity, also be pirates. Is that what we want our people to be?

It was, therefore, a pleasure and privilege to be a part of Open Source Training for the visually challenged. But you see, this is where it gets interesting.. the other advantage of screen readers is that they take computing to the illiterate.. if the computer can speak, then the need to learn the letters is eliminated.

BUT, back to the training itself. Day 1 started with non believers. Most of them were users who had no exposure to Open Source, and were unsure of its utility for their specific use. Day 2, the class is quieter, a lot more attentive.. the weather Gods are clement, and everyone seems to be having fun. Everyone wants to try out the new stuff.. the class is attended in near pin drop silence, and there is a lot of method and order in the practicals.

Here is to a lot, lot more such trainings – this one is modeled as a train the trainer module, so hopefully we will have a few certified trainers at the end of this program, who will, in turn, take the message to others. Amen 🙂

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