[ASLO] [REQUEST] ChimePlay-1

Art Hunkins abhunkin at uncg.edu
Sat Mar 3 15:36:40 EST 2012

Hello, Walter,

Thanks so much for your on-going help and encouragement for and with my 
Sugar activities. Without it, and similar counsel from other seasoned Sugar 
activity developers, I'd still be stuck in the "Sugar starting gate."

Your observations here can apply just as well to my previous 7 activities. 
Indeed, perhaps it is ironic that in ChimePlay there is the *least* amount 
of displayed verbiage of any of my activities; I've done my best to keep it 
down. (For my last three activities, which urge children to create their own 
audio samples, most of my commentary is included in a ReadMe.txt file. Only 
"immediately relevent" material is presented on-screen.)

Some context: I am a professional art music composer, whose main 
"electronic" language is Csound. All my Sugar activities are spinoffs of 
live-performance Csound works composed for adults (please see my website, 
www.arthunkins.com, where these relationships are clear enough). At the 
urging of Richard Boulanger, I was led into OLPC, Sugar and the XO, to offer 
some of my work to at least the older children of the world. As an 
exclusively Windows person, Linux has been a strange new world - also 
inhabited by Sugar, Python, PyGTK, git, Inkscape - all equally new and 

ChimePlay almost didn't get written; I thought that SamplePlay was my last 
activity. However, inspired by a couple of chime sets at the St. Francis 
Springs Prayer Center (Stoneville, NC, USA) and my life-long fascination 
with chimes and bells, ChimePlay manifested and here we are. In the future, 
I intend no more activities; I'll simply maintain and continue to test the 8 
activities I have so that hopefully they remain useful. Hopefully you can 
humor me this one last time. I also hope my work points the way for other 
Csound artists to become involved with Sugar with an equally limited 
investment of time and technology. (Though I admit the requirements of my 
doing *anything* in Linux/Sugar was infinitely beyond any investment I'd 
anticipated. It's been an incredibly difficult and arduous learning curve. 
For example, I just spent three intense and frustrating days relearning 
Inkscape in order to create a passable icon for ChimePlay.)

Early in my activity work, I found some Python/GTK code structures that I 
could reasonably understand and continue to use in all my activites. I've 
intentionally limited the depth of tech work I've exposed myself to, and 
only bugged other developers, like yourself, with issues I considered 
crucial. I've dealt with others (such as on-screen text, the limit to 
English, the treatment of MIDI device insertion/detection) in 
"non-Sugar-like" ways, which were understandable by "low/non-tech" me. I did 
this to protect myself and my sanity - as well as to complete anything.

I'm well aware that most children will not have access to MIDI devices. For 
live Csound work in the adult world, however, MIDI devices are universally 
required. (In my recent activity ReadMe's, I've indeed recommended certain 
inexpensive devices to children and their teachers, especially the Korg 
nanoKontrol.) It seems to me that for any performance activity with Csound 
(such as for the XO or Sugar), classrooms might well opt to invest in a few 
MIDI devices, such as keyboard controllers. My activities allow for a very 
wide range of devices.

In previous activities, I've made alternate versions which used only the 
ASCII keyboard. However, I've found these versions awkward and 
counterintuitive, as well as requiring considerable additional written 
explanation. I never use them for my own demonstrations. (They also are a 
pain to program.) Instead, in ChimePlay, I've paired one live-performance 
MIDI version with an auto-play incarnation, which requires no controller at 
all. Just (optionally) adjust the presets, press START and instant chimes 
(your choice of two chime sets).

Once again, thanks for your most valuable help and advice - and the spirit 
and tone in which it has been given - over several years.

Art Hunkins

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Sugar Labs Activities" <activities at sugarlabs.org>
To: <abhunkin at uncg.edu>
Cc: <aslo at lists.sugarlabs.org>
Sent: Friday, March 02, 2012 11:03 PM
Subject: [REQUEST] ChimePlay-1

>A Sugar Labs Activities Editor requested further information from you 
>regarding version 1 of your activity ChimePlay.
> Walter Bender wrote:
> "I wonder if the bulk of the explanatory text could be under an about 
> button? Also, could you look for the midi device on launch and display an 
> error message if it is not detected? Alas, I doubt too many Sugar users 
> have a midi device :("
> Please reply to this e-mail or join #sugar on chat.freenode.net.
> Sugar Labs Activities
> http://activities.sugarlabs.org

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