1. It has been a few weeks since I posted to the Sugar Digest. I’ve been buried in a few projects and only just beginning to come up for air. One distraction was that I got a request via Reuben Caron to write a chess activity for Armenia. It was too tempting to resist, so I pulled a few all-nighters that resulted in a Sugar front-end to the gnuchess program. The program, Gnuchess, can be downloaded from the Sugar activity portal and is documented on the Activities/Gnuchess page in the wiki. Fairly rudimentary, but for a few fun features: you can play against the robot, another person on the same computer, or over the network. You can use a generic set of pieces, load in some Sugar-colored ones, or those of your own design. When you play against someone over the net, they will see your artwork and you’ll see their artwork.
I also have been making a number of subtle but important changes to Turtle Blocks. Cynthia Solomon (of Logo fame) has been giving me feedback and as a result, I think the box and action naming is much more streamlined and consistent. Check out Version 154 and keep an eye out for Version 156, coming soon.
Also, we hosted a learning workshop at the OLPC office in Cambridge last week at which I got some feedback on the Portfolio and Bulletin Board activities. I am in the midst of streamlining Portfolio and also enabling comments to be made over the web. (You can get a sneak preview of Version 27.) I have a number of outstanding questions about classroom protocol; a team from the workshop has been meeting to discuss my questions and to make additional suggestions. Once I get the Portfolio released, I’ll dive back into the Bulletin Board activity.
2. At the workshop, the group organized working groups to address a number of important issues: classroom protocols, assessment, and a collaborative web presence for teachers and students. Stay tuned.
3. I got some feedback from Nicaragua about the Nutrition activity. More region-specific foods and a new game: match the food to its food group. A new release will be available soon; a preview is available here.
4. Aleksey Lim and the Somosazucar team continue to make progress on their “Harmonic” distribution, the goal of which is to provide a collaborative Sugar environment in the real-world context of limited network connectivity. See the to-do list for a list of milestones already achieved and still to come. The team has been doing some preliminary testing in Puno.
5. Simon Schampijer and Manuel Quiñones represented Sugar Labs at GUADEC 2012, the GNOME user and developer conference. Simon gave a talk outlining our progress on the GTK-3 port (See items 6 and 7 below). I also participated, remotely, in the advisory board meeting, where I gave a more general update of the project. One theme in my presentation was internationalization. Chris Leonard, our i18n team leader, supplied me with a list of accomplishments and concerns about the state of i18n in GNOME (specifically in glibc). There was an immediate reaction from the board. I am hopefully that we’ll see some of Chris’s suggested adopted by the GNOME community.
6. Daniel Francis, a product of Plan Ceibal, has been helping with our GTK3 port. A few weeks ago he ported Turtle Art to GTK3. We are well on our way to getting our core activities ported thanks in large part to the efforts of our Sugaristas.
7. Simon posted some instructions for porting Gstreamer Activities to PYGobject and Gstreamer 1.0 to the Sugar developer list.
In the community
8. There are plans to hold the next OLPC SF summit in San Francisco the weekend of October 19-21. We are looking into organizing a Sugar Camp preceding the summit.
9. I am giving the keynote at Techniche, the annual techno-management festival of IIT-Guwahati on August 31. Should be lots of fun.
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