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Jingle Tales

Shafali J, Micah A, Sanketh K

#makeItYourOwnTechnology

#customisedRaspberryPi

#soundsOfPlay


Introduction

We describe a project that we did in Mirzapur, India where we sent laptops made of Raspberry Pis to young women; that they could play with, reconfigure and use to explore their interests. The problem we encountered was how we could demonstrate the tactility and adaptability of these devices while having to compete with more ‘complete’ (read blackboxed) devices like phones and laptops. This recipe is a mix of one of these ideas, to be able to OWN your device by customizing the boot-up sound. The process would be an exploration of learning the device, a little bit of sound editing and learning to adapt python scripts. This recipe is a documentation of our way of trying to encourage the young women to customize their devices and play with the more technical aspects of it. This includes getting introduced to python, github, audacity and raspberry Pis.


The Recipe

The recipe below is for all those who want to move away from patriarchal, hegemonic values of computing systems which are often void of emotions. This recipe can be used by those who have Raspberry Pi OS and want to add a little personal touch to their system by customizing the boot up sound. It is also for our community of young women who have ASPI’s and are finding their way forward. As mentioned earlier, ASPI is a unPersonal Computer built using Raspberry Pi which has a screen, keyboard, mouse and speakers bundled up in it. By following the recipe, you would learn a bit about how folders are arranged in a computing environment, play a bit on Github, look at some code in Python, create and edit some files on Audacity.

Hardware Ingredients

Software Ingredients

Steps

  1. With the AsPI(/Raspberry Pi) in front of you, open it up, try and familiarize yourself with all the parts of the ASPi: Speakers, screen, keyboard, camera, power bank, different cables: usb c,micro usb, hdmi, charger
  2. Familiarize yourself with the wires, try to match the slots with wires:
    • Connect speaker and screen
    • Keyboard to screen
    • Camera to screen
  3. Put in power and start
  4. Did you hear the sound that played?
  5. Let’s change that jingle to something that you want to hear
  6. Look into the folders try finding the etc folder
  7. Open browser
  8. Visit our COWPi repository on GitLab
  9. Look for the download button, which downloads a .zip file
  10. Right click and extract the files to another folder
  11. Open your file browser, paste this /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart in the address bar on the top and copy the downloaded files here
  12. Shut down the pi and switch it on?
  13. Did you hear the song. Did it change to a different one?
  14. Open audacity
  15. Look at the big red button at top, press it, try speaking something, did you see a wave forming. Press pause and save the file
  16. Try recording your voice, try singing a song, bring in what you want that jingle to be…maybe your mothers voice calling you out, or that one song which you fell asleep to at the end of the day
  17. Export this file as mp3
  18. Copy this file in the autorun folder
  19. Open the python script and add the name of the song you just exported
  20. Copy as many songs you want to the folder
  21. Turn off pi and start again. What did you hear?
  22. What do you want to hear more?

Further Readings

  1. Until the Cows Come Home“(2021), Aamne Saamne Pi and Shafali Jain.
  2. Journeys dreams and everything in between“(2020), Micah Alex.

Q&A

What is the context or background that inspired your recipe?

We, at Janastu, build decentralised Community Owned Wi-Fi [COW] mesh networks and inclusive technology. We have been hacking together an unPC: a not-so-personal computer, with a Raspberry Pi core, called the Aamne Saamne Pi (ASPi). It is a community-owned white box laptop which facilitates the creation, discovery, and re-narration of community expressions. This involves the young women asserting their identity and voicing their opinions, expressing their likes and dislikes in a safe space away from the prying eyes of the algorithm. To be able to do these things, just a slight prompt works wonders: which here was to customize the bootup sound.

Which community are you offering the recipe to?

Janastu actively engaged in a dialogue with young women from a few villages in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, India through the Work 4 Progress project. Originally the recipe was made for young rural women in traditional labor and skill contexts; typically low literate, and unconnected or unable to discover or publish useful content on the internet, for their collective needs of skill development and entrepreneurial aspirations. However, this recipe is for all who want to tinker with their Pi devices and have Raspbian OS installed. It’s a way for someone to claim their devices, and in the process maybe find purposeful communities to actively engage with.

How does your submission relate to intersectional feminism?

While phones might be most familiar in low literate contexts, they are inherently personal devices and carry stigma for the women who use them. In low income areas they are generally unavailable to the women and the low literate members of a household. Looking from the lens of intersectional feminism, devices could instead be inclusive, available to a group and adaptable to different contexts. In above contexts it is important to nurture a safe and cohesive community as exposure to the Internet increases. ASPi and the recipe act as catalysts that go a long way to making devices inclusive, accessible, playable and open to exploration.

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