Acoustic Measure Problem

Greg Smith (gregmsmi) gregmsmi at
Mon May 12 09:32:03 EDT 2008

Hi Ben,

I value your technical achievements and your contributions on the list
so thanks for raising the topic! 

I believe Tomeu is a polyglot and he keeps track of user feedback in
addition to being a great engineer.

On the Acoustic Measure + Mesh problem, I may know who posted that and
can send you his e-mail off list. You can also post to their wiki
comments page and to the Peru list peru at No one has
complained when I post there in pidgin Spanish, but I can find someone
to translate if you prefer. 

In terms of connecting users and developers, I hope that will become a
core competency of OLPC. I think its central to unlocking the potential
of the open source community.

If we get this right (many users co-developing many applications with
many developers) OLPC will have an unrivalled  development capacity.
Until then we're up against the "Mythical Man Month" (MMM) and so are
the users.

I've worked on the XO user <-> engineering communication problem for 6
months but I don't know the complete answer yet. I'm open to your
suggestions but there are already many places where people communicate.
Too many for developers to watch them all (MMM again). E.g. there are
two forums ( and olpc news), OLPC Wiki, many e-mail
lists, help at, user generated sites, etc.

I think we get good feedback from English speakers on the wiki and
e-mail lists. If you want more English feedback you can try starting a
thread asking for input about your activity on the forum:

The forum managers asked for more engagement from the development
community in a recent Support Gang meeting.

The main non-English input I have seen is coming in via user blogs. I
have a list of them on my talk page:

Many non-English users are just starting to use computers. They don't
yet post to e-mail lists or Wiki pages. Some will but it takes pushing
and you need a site in their language. I doubt they will use Trac. 

For non-English contacts one solution is to find a lead bilingual
technical contact who is close to the users. Help that person and you
can develop a good source of feedback.
Be careful what you wish for :-). Development wont be able to keep up
with all the user input if we see a flood of feedback (Uruguay and Nepal
are just getting underway). One solution is to assign a lead person from
the list to spend a fraction of their time focused on each major site.
Those people can build relationships and monitor user input then extract
major themes for the devel list. Also, if a developer wants input on an
activity or design they can ask the lead contact.

I have relationships now with teachers in Peru and Uruguay if you have a
question for them send it over. Waveplace in the Caribbean and Nepal are
also easy to contact. 

Hopefully the communication systems will grow organically. We can help
get it started and try to direct it so it doesn't overwhelm users or

The key is to offer value and support as the first step. Then ask
questions later. 

The other main point is to get the users involved before you develop the
software. If you have a great idea, just go for it. However, if you want
input from users, its better to get buy in for your application in
advance and build the user relationship up front.

In any case, its real work to get meaningful user feedback and one to
one interaction is still the best. Try working with this teacher in Peru
to get a sense of what it will take. Let us know how it goes and let me
know if I can help get you started.



Greg S
-----Original Message-----
From: tomeu.vizoso at [mailto:tomeu.vizoso at] On Behalf
Of Tomeu Vizoso
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2008 8:36 AM
To: bens at
Cc: Greg Smith (gregmsmi); devel at
Subject: Re: Acoustic Measure Problem

On Fri, May 9, 2008 at 5:47 PM, Benjamin M. Schwartz
<bmschwar at> wrote:
>  There is a much larger point here, though.  I would love to get more
>  (any!) feedback from teachers about my code, so I know what's 
> important in  the field.  Until you mentioned this page, I had no idea
that it existed.
>  ~ I'm sure many other developers feel the same way.  It seems that 
> the  teachers want to give us feedback too, but somehow, the loop is
not closing.
>  We need to connect this feedback loop.  We need a way to get 
> complaints  back from the field into the hands of developers, like 
> I've suggested in  #6950.  We've talked about translating Trac, but if

> Trac is too  complicated, then perhaps we need to set up an RT list:
>  inconvenientes at  Maybe also a simple webform at  
>, for those with web access but no e-mail.  
> Then  we need to tell the teachers that these things exist, and make 
> them  understand that we really do want to hear about what they don't
>  I want to hear complaints about my software, and then I want a way to

> open  a dialogue with those who are having problems.  This is the 
> first step  toward improving open systems.

I like your suggestions, two questions:

- What would be done with the info submitted? Could there be an
automatic process or someone would need to manually triage and send to
trac/mailing lists?

- How we could get back to the submitter?



More information about the Devel mailing list