Archive/Current Events/2009-04-27

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Sugar Digest

1. Five Google Summer of Code projects have been selected for 2009. We are excited about all five proposals; our only regret is that we were unable to accept any more of the promising proposals we received. Thank you to everyone who participated in the selection process—the feedback on the proposals from the community has been especially of great value.

To all of those who were not selected this year, we appreciate your efforts and hope that you will be able to find time to participate in the Sugar Labs community in some fashion this summer. We hope you'll reapply next year.

To those of you who were selected this year, both mentors and students, let's converge on a regular weekly meeting time in IRC to exchange notes on progress and problems. Individual teams should, of course, make arrangements for regular meeting times as well. In general, let's continue to hang out on #sugar, so that the developer community can stay abreast of what is happening.

Kudos to Jamison Quinn for organizing our GSoC efforts and seeing to all of the details. Finally, thanks once again to Google for this opportunity.

Student: Lucian Branescu Mihaila
Project: Webified
Mentor: Walter Bender
Student: Sascha Silbe
Project: Version support for Sugar datastore and Journal
Mentor: Jameson Quinn
Student: Felipe Lopez Toledo
Project: Karma + Activities
Mentor: Bryan Berry
Student: Vamsi Krishna Davuluri
Project: Adding Print Support to the XOs
Mentor: Andres Ambrois
Student: Benjamin Schwartz
Project: Decentralized Asynchronous Collision-free Editing with Groupthink
Mentor: Assim Deodia

2. Caroline Meeks and I spent last Saturday at the Waltham YMCA where we exercised Sugar on a Stick with children and their parents visiting the Y for Healthy Kids Day. (I had to leave early to meet to attend to some sewer problems—don't ask.) All in all, it was a great day.

From the technical point of view, Sugar on a Stick lived up to its billing. We were able to get all but one of the mismatched castaway PCs to boot, even some of which would not boot into Windows XP. (The one machine that did not boot would not power on at all—not something we could fix with software.) We did have one machine with an invisible cursor, but otherwise it ran fine. Sound worked on every machine that had speakers. We were able to assign static IP addresses and every machine was able to connect to the Internet. However something was preventing collaboration to work: we could see each other, but not share activities or interact with other users connected to We have some debugging to do. Ideally, we would have brought a school server in to assign IP addresses, which would have assured that at least local collaboration worked.

Caroline will be writing up detailed notes on the children's use of Sugar throughout the day. The way things were organized, parents and children were dropping in to the room at any time during the day. We had in the room anywhere from two to six children, as young as two and as old as seven or eight, while I was there. They went right to the machines without any introduction to Sugar. Most of the machines were either already running an activity or had the Home View visible. Popular activities included Memorize, where some children went so far as to design their own games, Jigsaw Puzzle, Turtle Art, Speak, Write, and Mini Tam Tam.

While hardly a typical classroom setting, things went quite well with this somewhat haphazard introduction to Sugar: the children were engaged, as were their parents. However there was not time enough for them to discover or exploit features such as the Journal. And since collaboration was not working, all of the interactions were solo. Undoubtedly there is some more scaffolding we can provide children and parents new to Sugar. (We've already had some follow-up discussions on how to best integrate examples into activities and how to make the views and frame more readily discoverable on non-OLPC-XO hardware.)

In the community

3. Lionel Laske announced that OLPC France will organize with Sugar Labs the first Sugar Camp in Europe in Paris on May 16. Sign up at Several workshop will be organized all around the day: technical, pedagogical and documentation. The full agenda is not closed so do not hesitate to submit a workshop proposal. These events are fully free, thanks to AFUL and GDium.

There will also be a Sugar meeting on the 17th (See Paris Sugar meeting) where we will be discussing initial plans for Sucrose 0.86.

Tech Talk

4. Christian Marc Schmidt led a discussion of potential 0.86 improvements to the UI in a Design Team meeting this past weekend. Together, we came up with a list of design goals to possibly include in our development schedule for 0.86, with concrete tasks to be accomplished in advance of SugarCamp. Christian added a meeting summary on the wiki, along with a link to the transcript: Design_Team/Meetings

5. Gary Martin and Aleksey Lim released a new version of Labyrinth Paola Bruccoleri, a teacher from Uruguay has already tried the new version and written a small tutorial about how to create mind maps with it (See Aleksey also released a new version of Record.

6. In response to a discussion on IRC this week, we will experiment with some mini Developer tutorials, with the goal of sharing techniques on activity development. I'll launch the series with a brief session on keyboard shortcuts this week on #sugar on following Thursday's weekly developer meeting.

Sugar Labs

7. Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past week of discussion on the IAEP mailing list (Please see SOM).