Sunday, July 5, 2015

A Conversation with Merhawie Woldetzion: An Update

Issayas: Merhawie, the last time that I had a conversation with you for my blog was in Chicago. It was a while back. Since then you are back in the Bay Area and have graduated from Santa Clara University Law School and passed the bar. Congratulations on two points: on passing the California Bar and on your new Tigrigna app for Apple I phone 6. Would you tell us about both?

Merhawie: I came back to the San Francisco Bay Area from Chicago in 2010. While in Chicago and before law school in California, I worked as a structural engineer  primarily designed buildings. It was when I was developed tools to ease my engineering efforts that I became interested in the law, particularly intellectual  property law. Ultimately I applied to law school and decided to focus my interest in intellectual property, in particularly patents. (Patents are a license, granted by government with the sole right to exclude others from making, using, or selling, etc. an invention)

Issayas: You have an interesting blog with a timeline, etc. tell me about your blog.

Merhawie: I've been maintaining my blog for the better part of a decade. I'm really interested in Eritrean history and have been trying array information in articles and otherwise for readers so that it is easy to consume. Its important as we move forward presenting Eritrean history, that people can easily consume that information, otherwise friction and distraction will prevent people from learning about our history.

Many compositions of Eritrean history describe events in long, dry (but factual) prose which is difficult to consume. Some writers try to maintain themes through this writing which causes them to jump back and forth in history. For clarity, I developed a small historical timeline


that starts Before the Common Era and ends in the present day. At this point the historical timeline
provides an overview of history but contain references to books where further information can be found.
As for the Tigrinya app - well that has been a project that I have long been interested. Since college I have been really interested in the tremendous bias on the internet and in technical circles for English. Part of the difficulty in addressing the situation is both economic and technical. I personally cannot
address the economic problem, but I can do my part to alleviate the technical problem. Today, the technical problem is not one primarily of standards but of tools. To remediate that problem I have been working for years to build tools to make it easier to use Ge'ez  based languages online. To that end ,I've tried to provide tools for people to use Ge'ez online.

Tigre-iPhone 6 Screenshot

Tigrigna-iPhone 6 Screenshot

iOS, the operating system for Apple mobile devices (the iPod Touch, iPhone, and iPad), has not provided an easy way to to use Ge'ez based languages. With the larger user-base, I thought it would be great if we finally could. To do that I created a combination of apps which enable the use of particular languages Tigrinya, Tigre, and Amharic. As I mentioned before, there is also a third, free app that allows people the ability to read Ge'ez (Geezr for iOS app) on the iPhone but not write, the ability to write is a premium feature (requires either the Tigrinya/Tigre for iOS app or Amharic for iOS app). Also, the app works on al iOS devices, not just the iPhone 6 (e.g. iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, and the iPod Touch 5G). The Tigrinya app actually contains two keyboards, one that supports Tigrinya and another that supports Tigre. There is a second app which supports only Amharic (

Issayas: Thank you

Merhawie: Thank you.

To purchase the app for US $4.99, please go to: