Category Archives: Technology

Type ‘Okina and Kahakō in Android

I purchased a Droid X phone in July 2010 with the specific desire to see the Android operating system support Hawaiian and other Polynesian languages as iOS (iPhone/iPod/iPad) does. While Android may someday have native support for ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i like iOS, there is an interim solution to typing the ‘okina and kahakō on Android.

Hacked! Argh!!!

Last week I got a call from my ISP that my WordPress install had been hacked. I feel so exposed. Unfortunately I didn’t live up to my mantra of “backup, backup, and backup again” when it came to the blog, and my ISP’s oldest backup was done after the hack and been done. I’ve restored the blog back to last summer, but everything else is lost. I may have some of the old articles saved as text files on my hard drive and will post them as I find them. Thanks to Mark at Pacific Pro-Tech Services for all the help in getting everything cleaned up.

Update: I did find some old and important posts in Google’s cache. Hulō! Hulō! Slowly getting them back online.

Handy Font Utilities for Indigenous Language Use

I’ll probably create a page for these things I come across, but am still trying to figure out the best way to approach organizing this website.

I’m frequently find myself lamenting that I don’t have a system for easily determining what default fonts on Mac OS support Hawaiian. I know a few off the top of my head – Lucida Grande, Helvetica, Times New Roman, Palatino, Courier, Didot – but not all. This is complicated by the fact that some fonts have most of the vowel kahakō combinations but not the ‘okina. A few have the ‘okina but not the vowel kahakō combinations, which makes choosing a non-standard font a bit of an adventure. I decided to spend some time working on this and found a couple of tools on the Mac and Windows that helped. I’m documenting it here since it may be of use to other indigenous language advocates:


Continue reading

Apple Fonts With ‘Okina and Kahakō

I got tired of trying to remember every font that does and does not have the ‘okina and/or kahakō in it, so using the Apple Font Tools I came up with a spreadsheet that shows which fonts have which characters. It’s available for download at As always, there is no guarantee or tech support offered. Please don’t email asking why you don’t have a particular font on your system. Perhaps it’s just bad luck. Hopefully someday Apple will add all of these characters to all of the fonts that ship with OS X. Or OS XI, or…

Apple Fonts With ‘Okina and Kahakō

Leokī Users: FirstClass app for iPhone/iPad/iTouch!

This is pretty cool. We’ve been using FirstClass software for the past 17 or so years to operate Leokī, which was the first telecommunications server to ever operate completely in a Polynesian or native language within the United States. It took them ages to get Unicode support into it, and just recently they released a FirstClass app for iPhone/iPad/iTouch. It seems to work flawlessly, handling the ‘okina and kahakō with no issues. I love it when a plan comes together.

Unfortunately the app is not localized into Hawaiian like we’ve done for Macintosh and Windows users, but, hey, it’s a start! Now back to trying to get  a Hawaiian keyboard into Android OS…


How To Give Good ‘Okina

How To Give Good ‘Okina

I’ve been asked this question so many times I decided it was time to write an article about it. The question (and its many variations) boil down to this:

“What is the ‘okina, why do I need to use it in my web pages, what is the right character to use, what fonts should I use, what should I do if the font I want to use doesn’t have that character, and what other issues are involved in using it?”

Read on for the answers to these questions…

Technology In The Hawaiian Language Revitalization Movement

I was honored to be asked to speak to the Big Island Internet Society’s meeting yesterday, and was asked to put together a list of links to pages and articles that provided more information on these topics. So here are a few:

  • Wired Magazine artice on our early efforts to establish Leokī
  • Kualono – website of Ka Haka ‘Ula College of Hawaiian Language
  • Ulukau– the Hawaiian Digital Library
  • ‘Aha Pūnana Leo’s Niuolahiki online class website
  • Unicode and Hawaiian Language
  • ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i – A Rich Oral History, A Bright Digital Future – Article from Cultural Survival Quarterly
  • Leokī: A Powerful Voice of Hawaiian Language Revitalization– Article
  • Ke A‘o Ho’okeleka‘a‘ike – Hawaiian Language Instruction Via The Internet – Article
  • Hawaiian Language Support in OS X – from MacWorld
  • Hawaiian Language support on iPhone
  • Google Supports Hawaiian – from
  • Mahalo to Larry Czerwonka for extending the invitation, and to everyone who attended.

    Dell Mini 9 Hackintosh

    My wife has been having issues with her older Mac laptop, and and examination determined that it was indeed on its last legs. Not being able to afford to buy her a new Mac laptop right now, I looked around for options. Getting her a Windows or Linux box was not at option, so began to explore the possibility of building her a Hackintosh – a netbook that would normally run Windows or Linux, but was capable of running OS X as well.

    Boing Boing has a chart comparing various netbooks and what functions worked and did not work when OS X was installed on them. From this chart and additional research I determined that a Dell Mini 9 was the most likely candidate to attempt this on. I ordered one directly from Dell online ($340 with 16G SSD), and purchased a copy of Snow Leopard at the UHH bookstore to install on it.

    I also located several tutorials on how to install OS X on the Mini 9, but this one seemed to be the most recent and easiest way to accomplish it. After the Mini 9 arrived I borrowed a large jump drive, copied the installers on it, ran the NetbookBootMaker, and had no problem at all getting the OS X installer working. After restart the normal configuration dialogs showed up, and in no time I was looking at the OS X Finder on a 9″ screen. I was suprised at how quickly it boots up – significantly faster than my MacBook Pro. It has frozen on startup just once, but a simple restart was all it took.

    My biggest fear was not failing to get OS X installed and running, but how my wife would take to this smaller netbook after using a 15″ laptop for so long. She loved it – what a relief.

    There are rumors on the net that Apple will disable the ability of OS X 10.6.2 to run on Atom processors, like the one that the Mini 9 runs. If that is correct then this one may be stuck on 10.6.1 indefinitely – at least until someone in the Hackintosh community figures out a workaround.

    UPDATE: It appears that 10.6.2 may not specifically disable computers running the Atom processor.

    Google, Hawaiian and “Native American” Languages

    I’ve received a lot of great feedback and compliments from people regarding the development of the Hawaiian language interface for Google. Mahalo to everyone who sent notes of congratulations for the accomplishment and recognition from the Governor’s office. I would like to address one element that came out in several stories, including the announcement by the Governer’s office, on this development. In these stories, it was stated that “Hawaiian has become the first native American language available through the “Google in Your Language” program”, or something similar.

    Hawaiian is not a native American language, and in the press release that UH-Hilo sent out we never claimed it was. There was a short FAQ section at the end of the release that stated “The only other Polynesian language interfaces available are for Maori, the native language of Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Tongan. No translations have been completed in any native American language, though some are currently being translated.” The reason for the addition of this statement was to show how few indigenous and endangered languages have taken advantage of the GIYL program, and hopefully encourage advocates of those languages to look into providing Google in their languages.

    A few of the newspaper stories that came out early on misconstrued this statement and stated that Hawaiian was a native American language. Though there is great diversity among the indigenous languages of North American, Hawaiian is not closely related to any of them. Many native Hawaiians object to being classified as native Americans for valid reasons. If my inclusion of that bit of information regarding NA and Polynesians contributed to the misunderstanding that led to Hawaiian being mistakenly identified in these stories as a native American language, I apologize.

    Connectivity Issues, Part Deux

    About two years ago I blogged about the connectivity problems we had at our home in Kurtistown, and how we came across a wireless provider that solved our issues, Advanced Wireless Systems Hawai‘i, and showed what lengths it took to get wireless to our home (see picture below).

    All was well for the first 18 months of use, and about 6 months ago we began to experience slower connectivity, which eventually devolved into sporadic connectivity with periods of nothing but message os “cannot reach server”. After putting up with this for a few months I finally called AWS, and after three visits by their techs over the course of a month, we’re still not much better off. We had decent (300-400Kbs) connectivity for short stretches (10-15 minutes) followed by stretches of no connectivity at all of 5-8 minutes). This past week one of their techs pointed our antenna to another access point to the south-east of us which is closer to us than the previous access point was, and while we have better speed when the connection is working, we still have infuriating periods of no connectivity at all.

    Their main tech guy is blaming our area and trees, but I’m not really buying it. I could see trees causing variation in connectivity speed, particularly in times of rain, but not the long periods of no connectivity. Also, the behavior is exactly as it was when it was pointed to a different access point. Hmm, maybe the trees that were playing mind games with us previously have cousins between us and he new access point.

    I’m considering getting a wireless router from MobiPCS and their Hele system to see if they are any better. We have Mobi phones, and while their service is not that great in our area, I’m hopeful that it will be better than what we have.