Archive/Current Events/2012-02-07

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Sugar Digest

1. I spent some time working on the nutrition plugin for Turtle Blocks last weekend. I'm actually quite intrigued by the potential. So far, I have built a small database of foods (banana, apple, chocolate cake, and a chocolate chip cookie), where each object has an associated simple polynomial with value for calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and fat. These values are inspectable on the help palette, and there are inspector blocks that can get these values as numeric values in Turtle Block programs. You can do arithmetic operations on the object, e.g., banana * 3 + cookie / 2 and you can use the component values in other operations, e.g., forward by get_calories apple. Finally, there is an eat method that consumes the nutritional values fed to it and accumulates aggregate totals for each component. Using those values, I wrote a simple Weight Watchers(TM) "Points" calculator. You can play with all of this by downloading the plugin from File:Food-plugin.tar.gz.

Next up is to create a palette with foods that are actually meaningful within the context of a deployment. There is a nice database to map foods to their nutritional components available at [1] so the real work is coming up with a representative list of foods and the artwork for the blocks. Anyone one interested in exploring this further with me?


2. I am a little late in relaying this, but Caryl Bigenho wrote up a nice summary of SCaLE 10X last week. You can read about it here: [2]

3. I am please to announce that Robert Fadel will be taking over as finance coordinator for Sugar Labs. Robert has a wealth of professional experience in finance and, having previously been a part of the core team at One Laptop per Child, he is very familiar with Sugar Labs and its mission. Robert has been in communication with Bradley Kuhn at the SFC in order to get brought up to speed on our finances--Bradley had been distracted by an end of year audit report, so things are a bit behind on the finance front. Once he gets the lay of the land, I am certain that Robert will have many recommendations on how we can improve our financial processes. Robert and Bradley both have expressed interest in helping Sugar Labs identify funding opportunities.

4. John Tierney spent the fall semester working closely with a team of students participating in the OWL Jr. project at Oakland University under the supervision of Dr. Dana Driscoll. The students evaluated different aspects of Sugar and the use of Sugar in the classroom and have written up very thoughtful recommendations. John is working with them to get these materials into the wiki and to mine them for potential feature requests. Stay tuned.

In the community

5. There will be an eduJAM! in the week of May 7-12 in Montevideo. Details to follow.

6. The week following eduJAM! will be a Squeakfest, also in Montevideo (May 16-18).

Tech Talk

7. The patches for new features for Sugar 0.96 have (for the most part) landed. Under the hood, we'll see a migration to GTK-3. This is particularly important in "future-proofing" Sugar, ensuring that we remain in sync with our upstream and opens the door to much of the work in the GNOME community around topics such as accessibility and touch. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this major effort. Other new features include a global text-to-speech mechanism, written by Gonzalo Odiard. You'll be able to highlight text in any activity and send it to the voice synthesizer with a simple keyboard shortcut. Manuel Quiñones and Simon Schampijer have been porting Browse to Webkit as its backend. Simon helped me with "write to journal anytime", a feature that enables the user to takes notes stored in the Sugar journal from within any activity. And Sascha Silbe, Anish Mangal, and Aleksey Lim have added proxy configuration to the network entry in the Sugar control panel. Lots of QA to do, but the heavy lifting is done.

Sugar Labs

Gary Martin has generated SOMs from the past few weeks of discussion on the IAEP mailing list:

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