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Have you heard about Metatogger and Echosync?

Posted by Estelle on March 26, 2019

If there’s one thing we’re all interested in, it’s free software - especially when it comes with no ads. Metatogger and Echosync both meet these expectations. Developed and launched by Sylvain Rougeaux, legal expert during the day and amateur programmer at night, you can find them on the Lumisoft Software website.
Lumisoft/Luminescence Software is not a company nor an association, it doesn’t have any legal existence. It’s just a non-official brand Sylvain uses as a « home » for the software he develops. He’s just a private individual sharing his software programs for free.

We asked Sylvain, officially legal expert in IT law in a large French bank, to tell us more about his altruistic hobby.

WTI: When did you start developing Metatogger and Echosync and what motivated you to do it?
S.R.: I have started developing Metatogger in 2005 and Echosync (ex-SyncToVHD) in 2010, on my own. It was a long time ago now, time flies!
I am not a professional developer, I have learnt how to code by myself. I’ve always been in awe of the potential of computer engineering: I find programming self-rewarding - in the way that you don’t have to limit yourself to what others have created for you and can create something that really fits your own needs - and also fascinating because of the constant innovations in this field allowing you to keep improving things all the time.

WTI: Can you tell us what kind of software are Metatogger and Echosync and how did you come up with idea of creating them?
S.R.: Metatogger is a tag editor for audio files (Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, M4A (AAC et ALAC) and WMA). These tags or metadata allow you to manage substantial music collections more easily. The problem is that many audio files are not coming along with metadata, while others are having wrong, useless or inconsistent data. Sometimes, even the file name doesn’t reflect the true content of the file. It is then difficult to identify the piece without playing it. This is where Metatogger makes it great.
Metatogger allows you to fix or complete these tags. Here are a few of its features:
* edit tags manually or using C# scripts
* retrieve the tags from the file name or path
* rename files according to their tags
* look for potentially duplicate files
* order files according to their tags (copy, move, symbolic links)
* retrieve tags from a local database holding up to 1,5 million music albums
* recover album covers or lyrics from the internet
* identify files after analyzing their acoustic fingerprint
* quickly clean out unwanted tags

Echosync is a software that doesn’t require any installation and allows the differential synchronization of two directories.
This way, only the modifications that have happened since the last synchronization has passed on. Echosync uses an algorithm to detect files that have been renamed and/or moved around which allows not to delete and then copy all these files in the destination directory. Echosync can copy locked files and supports file paths of over 255 characters.

Partial synchronizations are possible, like for instance copying only new files but not the modified ones.

Many amateur programmers spend a lot of time and energy on making clones of existing software, keeping on reinventing the wheel. I wouldn’t have created these two programs if I hadn’t thought I wasn’t able to make something better than what was already available.
I wanted them to different: free of charge so that anybody could use them, with a simple interface, a user-friendly design (I think a lot of developers built software only meant for other developers) and reliable. I hope I’ve met these objectives!

WTI: Who is maintaining and developing Metatogger and Echosync now and have you ever thought of selling these programs?
S.R.: I’m still doing it on my own. I’m not making a living developing software, it’s my hobby. Anyway, I don’t think these two specific programs have any sufficient market potential. And not selling them gives me total freedom as I don’t have to meet market expectations, I develop only features I want to develop and I do it my way.

WTI: Metatogger and Echosync are already available in French and English, do you plan on having them translated into other languages?
S.R.: I’m the one taking care of their localization in French and English. Metatogger is also available in Italian, Spanish, German, Russian and Greek, thanks to users volunteering to translate it. The same users just offered to translate Echosync so it will soon be available in these languages as well.

WTI: In how many languages do you intend to translate the website and how could people help out with the translation?
S.R.: We’re currently covering 14 of the European languages: Croatian; English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish plus Ukrainian - and we’d still need help for Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian,  Greek,  Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Maltese.

WTI: Can you tell us how WebTranslateIt is helping you out with the localization process?
S.R.: WebTranslateIt is perfect for localizing .NET software because it natively supports .resx files. Downloading and uploading datas extracted from these files onto WebTranslateIt is a very smooth process and the translated segments are directly usable with Visual Studio.
WebTranslateIt being an online software makes collaborating with a team of remote translators very easy. Each translator gets an automatic notification when a new segment has been added or modified on the platform, which insures the continuity of the localization with up-to-date translations ready to be deployed.

WTI: How do you finance the development and translation of Metatogger and Echosync?
S.R.: Since neither of them generates revenue, I have to be careful to keep the development and maintenance costs under control because I finance everything myself.
Most of costs come from hosting the Luminescence Software website and WPF graphic components from DevExpress. I do get a few donations through PayPal but it covers only a very small part of the global costs.
Nevertheless, I’ve managed to keep them manageable: I’ve obtained an important discount from DevExpress after I explained both my projects are non-profit and I use as much as possible open source libraries and websites offering their services for free to non-profit organizations, like WebTranslateIt. Thanks guys!

WTI: Are you looking for volunteers to help with the translation process?
S.R.: Always! It’s thanks to volunteer users that Metatogger is now available in other languages than French and English. And thanks to the same people, Echosync will soon be too, I’m really thankful to them!
Make Metatogger et Echosync available in their users’ native languages is one of my priorities, their accessibility really matters to me. So, any help is welcome, to reinforce the already existing translation team or offer translation in a language that is not yet available.

Want to help out? Don’s hesitate to get in touch with Sylvain.

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Have you heard about the EuroLargeCarnivores project?

Posted by Estelle on November 14, 2018

Today we’d like to bring into focus the EuroLargeCarnivores project which aims at improving our coexistence with large carnivores in Europe through communication, exchange of knowledge and cross-border cooperation.

We asked Raffael Hickisch, Project Manager at WWF Germany, to tell us more about it.

WTI: What is the EuroLargeCarnivores project exactly?
R.H.: EuroLargeCarnivores (ELC) is a project funded by the EU LIFE Programme. It aims at showing the impact of many projects on wolf, bear, lynx and wolverine that were implemented over the past decades.
As diverse as the landscapes are that large carnivores return to, as divergent are the reactions of local communities living there. A return evokes emotions ranging from fear to elation. Conflicts arise especially with stakeholders in traditional agriculture such as sheep herding, for whom it is vital to find practical solutions for coexistence.
The ELC project aims at providing a platform to gather and share knowledge on human-large carnivore coexistence among various stakeholders across the European Union, Switzerland and Ukraine. Topics like monitoring, human-wildlife conflict mitigation and prevention, the discussion of fears and safety concerns, herding practices, but also poaching, economic opportunities and investment requirements are the focus of this LIFE project.

The ELC project also provides visibility for scientific publications regarding large carnivores. We are currently testing certain conflict mitigation approaches in 10 testing sites across Europe and there is for instance a comprehensive discussion among scientists on which instruments work for protecting your livestock from being attacked by wolf - hence, we don’t expect that one size will fit all. We do however want to provide people with context relevant information that can actually help them understand what works for their situation - and at the same time inform the European Commission about the conclusion we gather over the project duration.

WTI: Who are the people who started the ELC project and what was their main motivation?
R.H.: It has mainly been launched by a network of WWF country offices, and coordinated by WWF Germany (who is also my employer), but also includes non-WWF partners. We are also looking for cooperation in countries and regions we are currently not active in.

WTI: How is the website for the ELC project maintained and developed? Do you rely only on volunteers?
R.H.: In the countries and focus regions that the project is working in, the work is done by our project partners - however, in other regions any suited body (e.g. national administrations) are welcome to contribute.

WTI: What is the aim of the website? Is it solely informative or is it a more interactive platform?
R.H.: The website mainly provides visibility for people that we work with, as well as at a later stage context sensitive information such as: If my livestock is attacked, whom should I reach out to in my country? We try to provide space for discussion, so that everyone can provide their perspective (and not only successful project managers) - however, we have some doubt that the people that live in remote areas actually use the Internet as much. Another main function of this website is to keep track of what we learn and make it directly accessible to the European Commission.

WTI: In how many languages do you intend to translate the website and how could people help out with the translation?
R.H.: We’re currently covering 14 of the European languages: Croatian; English, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish plus Ukrainian - and we’d still need help for Bulgarian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian,  Greek,  Irish, Latvian, Lithuanian, and Maltese.

WTI: Can you tell us how WebTranslateIt is helping you along the way?
R.H.: With a five year timeframe our budget for external assistance is limited, and we rather want to use this for on site activities, rather than for overhead, so WTI really came in handy. Also, the website content keeps evolving and WTI helps us to easily manage our team of volunteer translators and guarantee continuous translation.
The CMS (Pimcore) we use is directly pulling the translations from Webtranslateit - hence we now have the flexibility to finalise translations with different timelines for every partner, as it resonates with their time budget. Also it would be great if volunteers could help us out for the languages we do only have automatic translations for at the moment.

WTI: How do you finance the project?
R.H.: The project is largely funded by the EU LIFE Programme with the reference LIFE16 GIE/DE/000661. LIFE is the EU’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the EU.

WTI: Are you looking for volunteers in there any other fields related to the project (developing, content writing, editing, field workers…)?
R.H.: We are on the search for normal people’s experience with large carnivores, challenges and practical solutions - please share them with us via the take action function on our website, or by email.

Are you a translator and interested in helping out the EuroLargeCarnivores project reach out to as many people as possible? Get involved

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The Málaga Bike cycling team on the winner's podium

Posted by Estelle on September 25, 2018

WebTranslateIt has started sponsoring Málaga Bike, a Málaga cycling team, a little bit more than a year ago and we are really proud to say that they have been doing really good this Summer in the Andalusian championships.

The team’s champions, Bruno Cuesta, Kini Muñoz Villodres and Victor Cardenas have been seen on the winner’s podium more than once and are breaking records!
Our dear Victor has been injured so couldn’t participate to all of the races and we wish him a prompt recovery.

One of the most sought after prices in Spanish competitions: the ham! At least that one is not gonna get all dusty on the mantel of your fireplace.

Congratulations to all of them, shall they keep up the good work!

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Have you heard about Gibberfish?

Posted by Estelle on September 11, 2018

Every now and then, we like to talk about the great projects that are being supported by WebTranslateIt. Gibberfish is one of them.

Gibberfish, Inc. was founded by Simon Spartalian, Raymond Lalumiere, Brian O'Donnell and Rob Rickner. All of them wished to support non-profit organizations, activists and human rights defenders worldwide by providing them with accessible encryption.

We asked Brian O'Donnell, Executive Director, to tell us more about it.

WTI: What exactly is Gibberfish?
B.O.D.: We are an all-volunteer non-profit that provides a secure, private cloud collaboration platform. For qualifying groups we provide zero-knowledge hosting free of charge. Our software is 100% free and open source, so anyone who wishes can also download and run it themselves. In either case, the cost is always $0.

WTI: Who are the people who started it and what was your main motivation?
B.O.D.: Our founders are a group of friends with a diverse set of skills. We are united by our belief that privacy is central to protecting free speech, individual liberties and civil rights.

The initial impetus for our project came from the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in Standing Rock, South Dakota in 2016. A lot of groups that participated in those protests communicated using platforms like Google Docs or Facebook. These platforms have a notoriously bad track record when it comes to privacy. There is ample evidence of peaceful protesters being attacked and harassed by authorities tracking them via their cell phones and Facebook posts. This surveillance was magnified by private companies who make it their business to know—and sell—our personal information. In this environment it became clear to us that activists need online tools that can’t be weaponized against them.

We took a look at what already existed, and it fell into one of three broad categories:
- ‘Free’ but questionably private (Facebook, Google, et al)
- Paid, with robust privacy protections (e.g. SpiderOak)
- Do-it-yourself solutions (ownCloud, Nextcloud, etc)

For small groups with limited funds the ‘free’ option is often the only choice, and it’s arguably the worst one. Unfortunately, a group on a shoestring budget can’t afford the fees charged by paid services. Both ‘free’ and paid services can also respond to requests or demands for your information without your knowledge or consent. DIY solutions have many great advantages. Most importantly they return complete control over your data to the user. But while they can be reasonably affordable, they require a high level of technical skill.

We decided that we could take an existing DIY alternative, namely Nextcloud, and remove all of the technical and financial hurdles to provide something with the same quality and usability of the major online platforms while making privacy and security paramount.

WTI: How is Gibberfish maintained and developed? Do you rely only on volunteers?
B.O.D.: Gibberfish is composed of two main software projects, both of which are open-source under the MIT License. The first, Pancrypticon, is an automation of the Nextcloud stack using Docker. Each service runs in its own container and they are all tightly integrated to work together seamlessly. We can upgrade, modify, or replace any component easily. From the user’s perspective, their cloud just works.

Our second project, Daygate, is a web application written in Django. Daygate serves as the management portal we provide to our hosted clients. It allows them to deploy their cloud server with a single click, and intuitively self-manage SSH keys and backups.

Both projects are public on Gitlab.com and we gladly accept and encourage community contributions. We continue to expand system availability and enhance user experience.

WTI: Can you tell us how WebTranslateIt is helping you along the way?
B.O.D.: Accessibility is really important to us. We want our project to be accessible and approachable to everyone, worldwide. Since we’ve already removed technical and financial barriers from our service, it’s natural to eliminate language barriers as well. We’re all primary English speakers, so having translators is invaluable.

We put out a call for volunteers and got a great response, but it quickly became difficult to manage a dozen or so translators by swapping files over email. When we found out about WebTranslateIt (via a post on Diaspora*) we were excited. Now it’s very easy to direct volunteers to our project, see their progress, and let them know when we need corrections or updates. In the past we manually transcribed translator’s work into our codebase. Now we can pull in changes automatically using a simple script.

We need to make every dollar count, so the free service for non-profits enables us to succeed.

WTI: Gibberfish is already available in 13 languages, do you have more coming and how could people help out with the translation?
B.O.D.: Our initial focus in recruitment was to cover the most commonly used languages online first. We were able to have the top ten languages fully translated, although we still need help keeping our information up to date.

Anyone who is interested in helping us translate our materials from English to another language can request an invitation to one of our WebTranslateIt projects directly:
- the translation project of our Management Portal
- or that of our User Documentation.

WTI: How do you finance the project?
B.O.D.: Our organization is volunteer driven, and we rely on donations to fund our activities. All of the members of the team work for free, and we use free open-source software. There are still significant costs associated with hosting servers for our clients, as well as overhead from registration fees, and other online services. In our first year we all invested our own money in the project. Now that we’re fully operational and taking on real costs, it’s more important than ever to get public support.

We’re a registered, tax-exempt 501©(3) organization, so all contributions by US taxpayers are fully deductible. Regardless, 100% of your donation will go to directly support privacy and liberty worldwide.

If you wish to help out, don’t hesitate to donate.

WTI: How many users do you have and what kind of feedback do you get from them?
B.O.D.: We’re somewhat fanatical about our clients’ privacy, so we don’t say much about them individually or as a class. By design, Gibberfish severely limits what is even possible to know about a user. We can say that they have been grateful to have our service available in languages they understand.
If Webtranslateit users know a group that could benefit from Gibberfish we would love to hear from them. For everyone’s safety and security, please do not send us names or contact information for anyone. We cannot reach out. Interested groups must contact us through an encrypted channel. One is available on our website.

WTI: Do you intend on creating a version that could be commercialised and sold for instance to companies relying a lot on R&D to help you keep supplying the tool for free to non-profit organizations?
B.O.D.: We started this with the goal of providing a free service to people in need, and we have no plans to do otherwise.

WTI: Are there any features your team is working on right now and for which you need help in priority?
B.O.D.: Development of our Management Portal has priority right now. Currently it allows our clients to self-deploy their apps, manage backups and upload SSH keys. We would like to further improve these features, as well as add new ones with the goal of giving as much autonomy and control as possible to the client. Volunteers who have experience with Django, python in general, and Javascript would all be very valuable. Additionally, we have some tweaks and features we would like to see in Nextcloud, so we could also use the help of PHP programmers who could develop these features for us and submit them to the upstream Nextcloud codebase.

However we don’t just need programmers! People who can help us share the responsibility of website maintenance, blogging, social media presence, fundraising, etc are all welcome, and we encourage them to contact us. We’re a small group that wears a lot of hats, so there’s plently of work to go around for volunteers with nearly any skillset.

Do you wish to get involved?
Contact the Gibberfish team via email at info@gibberfish.org or via their encrypted contact form.

Are you a developer and want to help out? Go directly to Gibberfish’s Gitlab page.
If you wish to help out financially, don’t hesitate to donate.

Are you a non-profit organization in need of translating a project on a budget? Don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll help out.

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A trip to NuMundo’s impact centers: regenerative living within everybody's reach

Posted by Estelle on March 27, 2018

Today we are featuring another great project being translated on WebTranslateIt.com: NuMundo’s growing network of impact centers, connecting individuals around the world to places where they can live transformational experiences and learn the many different ways to lead a peaceful and eco-friendly life.

But what exactly is an impact center? It is a land based project that offers individual transformation, regenerative living education and strives to leave a positive local impact. An impact center could be an ecovillage, organic farm, yoga retreat center, or even a hostel.
Through their own exploration, NuMundo’s founders have found thousands of hubs globally that are examples of sustainable and holistic living, producing practical, low-cost solutions to the global climate crisis. These hubs incorporate ideals like community living, whole systems design, appropriate technology, seed banking, holistic health, and regenerative enterprise. Through NuNumdo’s platform, these impact centers are becoming more accessible to the world and easily share crucial information and resources.

Sara Johnstone, NuMundo Chief Operating Officer, tells us more about this great enterprise.

WTI: Who were the people who started NuMundo and what was their main motivation?
S.J.: NuMundo’s founders wanted to connect people to impact centers around the globe. As world travellers who came together in intentional communities in Central America, they realized they were all relying on word of mouth to find alternative destinations, most of which were not on any search engines or travel sites. They shared a vision of a decentralized digital network that would empower travellers to discover paradisiacal, “off the grid” locations. And so NuMundo was born.

PLURITY - Project Nuevo Mundo's Earth Odyssey - Vision I from NuMundo on Vimeo.

WTI: I’ve read all of the main participants still have jobs on the side, does it mean the platform was entirely created by volunteers? How many people are now working on it or volunteering and how do you finance the project?
S.J.: NuMundo has been co-created by dozens of committed, passionate, values-aligned contributors. Some of those who have contributed for a year or more have earned equity in the project.
We currently have three people working full-time, and another ten part-time.

NuMundo team gathering. Time offline (“AFK - away from keyboard”) is just as important as time online.

To finance our vision, we have been mostly bootstrapped, crowdfunded with Indiegogo, received a small angel investment, a grant from the Chilean government’s Startup Chile accelerator program and driven revenue through platform bookings and event production.

In addition, over fifty NuMundo “ambassadors” play central roles in expanding and nurturing our global community.

NuMundo ambassadors play a critical role in the NuMundo network.

WTI: You have more than 390 centers registered, is this number growing and what process do the centers have to go through to get registered?
S.J.: NuMundo is growing organically at about two to four centers a week with little active effort to expand our database. At present, we have passed the 400 mark! Aspiring impact centers must fill out a profile and submit to publish on our platform, at which point one of our team members reviews the profile and makes sure it’s a fit. If so, they join our network.

NuMundo team practicing yoga at our Costa Rica NuBase, Finca Morpho.

WTI: Is the activity on your platform increasing? If so, why do you think a growing number of people seems to be seeking this kind of experience?
S.J.: Yes. We believe more and more people are seeking passion, purpose, and fulfillment in life and work. In our disconnected modern world, survivors of unsustainable urban lifestyles are increasingly striving to live in alignment with natural cycles—eating healthy, organic food, embracing conscious practices for mental and physical well-being, developing at the personal and professional level, reconnecting with nature, spending meaningful time on self-discovery in supportive co-living environments, and cultivating community.

NuMundo team members practicing acro-yoga.

WTI: If I were interested in spending time in one of NuMundo’s impact centers how should I proceed?
S.J.: If you’re interested in spending time at an impact center, you can check our network here and see our experiences here. Some of our centers offer work trade options or paid stays, which can be booked directly through the site. We also have many centers that you must contact directly to arrange your visit.

Numundo center Rancho Mastatal’s bamboo house Tiburon.

WTI: The NuMundo platform has already been translated from English to Spanish, Portuguese and Japanese, may I ask why these languages in particular? And do you intend to have it translated into other languages and can you tell us how WebTranslateIt has helped you along the way?
S.J.: Our platform was created in Central America. This is where our founders were living and where they first connected with each other. This is where our network is the strongest, and so translating into Spanish was a priority. Our CTO is from Portugal, and we have a partnership with a Japanese intentional community network.
We’re planning to integrate French and German at some point, as we grow our presence in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Using WebTranslateit for translations has been a great experience, and the tool has all the features we’ve needed so far. Especially when translating to Japanese, as we could lead discussions with the local team of translators directly in each segment, making it easy to find clarity and successfully complete complex translations. We’ve also had good experiences with onboarding translators, who have had no problems using the interface, giving us good feedback about the process and their user experience using the dashboard.

WTI: What is the next step for NuMundo?
S.J.: It is our dream to sustainably work full-time on this platform! This is why we’re exploring ways to monetize the platform through memberships, booking fees, marketing services and event production. As an organization, we are dedicated to growing the new regenerative culture and revolutionize value creation. We are passionate about building new decentralized economic and social systems.
Most recently, this has meant utilizing blockchain technology in the development of our own cryptocurrency token, NuCoin. In our pursuit of financial sustainability and ecological lifestyle, we’re always seeking that perfect synergy between revenue generation and integrity. No matter what challenges we face, we are dedicated first and foremost to our mission.

If you want to help out NuMundo in their inspiring adventure don’t hesitate to Get Involved.

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