February 04, 2008
The N810 Giveaway Winner Announcement!
As if finding myself with two Nokia N810 Internet Tablets wasn’t enough of a predicament. (I know: there are many of you scratching your heads, saying, “Yeah, right!”) But, honestly, there have been innumerable accounts over the course of my (what, over twenty years now?!) involvement with open source software and communities where I wished I could give back even a modicum of the products, support, friendships, et cetera, that I have withdrawn for my own use (and even profit).
Sure, I have been part of a few open source development teams over the years. I have also provided a lot of graphic design work (and a little money) to people who were developing software out of the goodness of their hearts. But, receiving this N810 — for doing nothing more than assisting a group of people test a few processes — gives me the opportunity to really give back. And now, although I am now faced with deciding whose project idea — out of over forty passionate and creative submissions — should be the winner in my little “contest,” I am happy that I have that chance to give back in a bigger, more profound way.
How did I decide on a winner? My intent was to do it on my own, but, thankfully, a couple of kind chaps from the Nokia maemo development team offered to lend a hand. Thanks, guys. Likewise, I had a number of mental criteria* that I was going to base my decision off of:
- How much impact will the project have on the maemo community and to Internet Tablets in general?
- Is the project a completely new idea?
- Will the project overlap other activity already in process for maemo?
- Is there a realistic, viable roadmap for the project?
- How developed is the project already?
- What are the greater plans (i.e., meta-plans) of the project?
- Does the project actually need an N810 to proceed?
- Will the project have any wider, social ramifications?
- Will the project inspire additional development on other types of applications?
*This is just a handful of everything that was going through my mind.
If you’ve read through the submissions that I received, you can see that my decision didn’t come easy.
I’d like to point out that most of the project submissions were very good. In fact, my advice to those of you who didn’t win is that you continue developing your ideas and make them available to the community. This is the way of the open source paradigm, is it not? Release fast, release often. Do not feel remorse if I did not choose you: it was most likely not because your project wasn’t worthy, but because something else hit a nerve and, well, spoke to me. Also, don’t feel like you need to argue with me over my decision, because: (a) I don’t feel like arguing; (b) you’re probably right.
So, who’s the winner of this “contest” anyway?! That’s another thing has caused a little bit of consternation. But, since “contest” is what everyone is calling it, I can’t do much about it. But, if you’ve noticed, I have always italicized the word winner and I have always put the word “contest” in quotes. In my mind, this wasn’t really a contest and I don’t want to think of the person whom I’ve chosen as a winner. Let’s just think of this person as someone who has a good sense of where they are going, initial development towards an achievable goal, and a heart for contributing to the greater good.
And, yes, that is what affected the outcome of this “contest.”
My choice: Robin Edward Trudel
Robin’s idea has to do with creating an application that will aid in the education of children with developmental disabilities (e.g., Aspergers, autism, etc.). In fact, Trudel has the added motivation of two sons who are suffering from these very issues. For some, struggling with unexpected lifestyle changes such as these might be impossible to cope with, but Robin has taken his predicament and turned it into creativity and philanthropy. Not only does Robin desire to develop alternative means of helping and educating children, but he has written the book, Carving for Kids – An Introduction to Woodcarving.
Trudel’s project won’t just be an aide to those with disorders either, but it will further help to develop the Internet Tablet/maemo towards something that has not yet been fully realized: computer speech and linguistic theory.
A quote from Trudel:
Today my focus is using some research taken from The Reading Teachers Book of Lists and integrating it with computer speech. The premise is that the first 300 words of the English language represent 80% of all written material. If a child (or someone learning English as a second language) acquires these first 300 they are very close to being literate.
I can only imagine what other innovative applications might be inspired by research and development of this nature.
Anyway, I’d like to congratulate Robin on his work and his submission. I am looking forward to seeing this project develop as well as help those in need. Please help me in letting Robin know that we support him by commenting below.
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