Archive/Current Events/2010-10-26

Sugar Digest

1. I woke up yesterday morning to an email from Andres Aguirre. Andres is part of a team in Montevideo working on a robotics interface to the OLPC XO. I saw an early version when I was in Montevideo in June.

Hi Walter, how are you?
I'm part of the Butiá team, maybe you remember us, in your last visit to Montevideo/Uruguay we showed you an early prototype of the Butiá robot (a robot that integrates with the XO). We have released the 1.0 versión of the sources, which has full integration with tortugarte ( Last month we gave away nearly 30 Butiá robots in a robotic event organized by the University. These robots were given to secondary schools throughout the country, in this event we gave some tutorials and exercises to do with our help. One of the schools made a great line follower in tortugarte ;) : Then on the second day we give some tutorials and some children really enjoyed the experience, like Pedro a 10 year old child who really has programming skills!
In future months we will go to the schools where we give the robots to continue teaching and giving new challenges. If you would like to see more about Butiá, we have a flickr site: and also a web page:
See you in Clei2010!
Best regards

It is a great project and also great example of the Sugar community at its best: a local team working to solve a local problem by building upon community resources and enhancing those resources for everyone. This is a model for growth in the spirit of Free Software.

2. My seemingly non-stop travel continues. I just arrived in Asunción. I'm giving a talk at CLEI (Conferencia Latinoamericana de Informática) on Monday. It will be an opportunity to catch up with Educa Paraguay and visit Caacupé again -- I was really inspired by the teachers and children on my last visit.

Coming up in the next 6 weeks are trips to Miami, Lima, New York, Albany, Mexico DF, Montevideo, and Brussels.

3. I do spend most of my time on the plane writing code. I've been pushing more and more in the direction of making the various activities I maintain easier to modify with the intention that teachers and students will use them as a launching point for their own expression (Turtle Art Arduino being an extreme example). My approach is to both improve my coding practices -- I've gotten great feedback on my Python programming from the community -- I am trying to better isolate the various objects that I expect users will want to change -- and also to entice the users into making modifications by setting an expectation that the activities can be reshaped. I've been providing UI affordances for making customizations.

4. Ouch. In a moment of wishful thinking, I upgraded my laptop to Maverick, the latest Ubuntu release. Not only did my persisent audio problems not go away, I can no longer suspend. Worse, when I boot on battery, my GNOME session hangs querying the battery state. It really is time to switch.

In the community

5. The OLPC/Sugar/Realness summit is next weekend (October 21 – 24) in San Francisco. The summit is being hosted by the San Francisco Bay Area OLPC community. More details are available at [1].

6. Waveplace is heading to Haiti again. Follow along by reading Tim Falconer's blog.

Sugar Labs

Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past few weeks of discussion on the IAEP mailing list.

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