Tamil in Android 5.1

My Android One Karbonn Sparkle V got updated to Android 5.1. With this, I got the long pending feature of Tamil interface in official Android OS release. Besides Tamil, many other Indian languages like Telugu, Marathi, Malayalam have also found a place.

Here are my observations regarding Tamil in Android 5.1

* The Tamil interface has been implemented throughout OS.
* Most of the Google Apps like Gmail, Drive, Maps automatically switch to Tamil interface.
* Apps like Facebook, Whatsapp which have Tamil support detect the system language and automatically change to Tamil.
* Google Voice input is able to detect many Tamil nouns and common Tamil words typed using transliteration in English across web. Not sure, if this was working earlier too. But, it was a surprise to see that many of the Tamil voice searches to be answered correctly. This can be very handy while searching for videos and music.
* Google search results push Tamil Wikipedia results to the top.
* Only sore point is that I have no clue how to use the default Google Tamil (India) keyboard. I haven’t found this interface anywhere. This keyboard looks broken as I am unable to figure out how to type uyirmei (Vowel + Consonant combination) letters.
The new layout for Tamil looks like aiming to keep gesture / swipe typing needs in future. Uyirmei letters can be written using long press for the vowel. This is definitely not intuitive or user friendly and hope they fix in the next release with the combined logic.

Fix for Tamil Typing Bug in Windows 8.1

Solution to Windows 8.1 issue – Problem using shift key to type Tamil in eKalappai, NHM writer etc.

A recent update to Windows 8.1 caused problems for typing in Tamil in many products such as eKalappai. Specifically the issue is with the use of Shift key, for example typing the letters ள், ற், ண், etc was messed up.

To resolve this issue, the following three updates should be uninstalled.

1. KB2993651
2. KB2982791
3. KB2975719

For those who would like more details, it appears that the three files:
c:\windows\system32\gdi.dll (version 6.3.9600.17246)
c:\windows\syswow64\gdi.dll (version 6.3.9600.17246)
c:\windows\system32\win32k.sys (version 6.3.9600.17261 or 17238)
are buggy.

Uninstalling the above three KB updates restores these files to an older version which resolves the issue. The versions that work are:
gdi.dll (version 6.3.9600.17111) and
win32k.sys (version 6.3.9600.17200)

Note – a reboot will be required after uninstalling these updates.

Source: R. Selvaraj.

Please note that some also report this to be not working.

Review: Tamil Virtual Academy Website ( tamilvu.org )

This is a brief review of Tamil Virtual Academy’s website. I hope this would help the authorities concerned while redesigning their website.

This review considers the following factors:

  • Government websites don’t get a design update often. So, any grand redesign effort should stay good enough for another 5 to 10 years.
  • Government websites may not have a generous budget to hire world class web designers and  might rely on in-house talent or designers from agencies like NIC.

With this in mind, I would request the following changes and features while doing a redesign.

      • English and Tamil versions of the website should be separated to separate pages. Having both in the same page adds to the clutter and confused navigation.
      • Responsive design – Site is almost unusable from any smart phone.  Usage in tablet is somewhat OK. With the increased use of hand held devices, the redesign should cater to all screen sizes.
      • Better inbuilt search will help. Or at least, each HTML page should have proper SEO title, description. A site search like this using the Google Search provided, gives many unintelligible search results all titled அடுத்த பக்கம்.
      • Consistent look and feel – The site has different backgrounds, navigation for different pages. For example, check this and this with the homepage. The look and feel, navigation should be made consistent.
      • Restructured Navigation – It is very hard to find what we need. The navigation is cluttered and follows no logic. Navigation should be restructured based on the sitemap design.
      • Most accessed features like Library, Dictionary, Font download should be showcased prominently.
      • All text available in the site should be indexed by Google. This is a major change that will bring more visitors.
      • Back and front navigation using browser buttons is not working well in iPad (iOS7)
      • Orphaned pages like this should be linked to relevant pages. Universal navigation should be always available.
      • Remove Flash and other such outdated technology and replace it with latest technologies (example: HTML5 video players).
      • Outsource materials for sale to professional e-commerce shops like Chennaishopping.com, 600024.com. Makes it easy for buyers, reduces work load for TVA and may get more sales too.

Do you have any feedback? Please share your comments. Thanks.