[Sugar-news] Sugar Digest 2011-12-01

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Thu Dec 1 10:40:05 EST 2011

== Sugar Digest ==

1. The Oversight Board (SLOB) election results are in. Congratulations
to new board members Chris Leonard and Gerald Ardito. I am very
pleased that they will be joining the board as they broaden our
perspective and will help Sugar Labs be better tuned to the needs of
our users. You'll also be stuck with me for another term. I'll do my
best to help steer Sugar Labs towards ever more relevance to the
learning and education communities.

Thanks too to Sridhar Dhanapalan, Laura Victoria Vargas, Nick Doiron,
and David Farning for making the effort to run for a board seat. It is
a sign of dedication to the project and much appreciated.

Luke Faraone deserves our thanks for once again organizing the
solicitation of new members and running the election itself. It would
be great if we could get a heads start on next year by inviting more
of our user community, e.g., teachers, to join Sugar Labs. Please
spread the word. Also, anyone who would like to help Luke on the
membership committee should please contact him directly.

My apologies to two community members who were unable to vote because
their ballots were rejected by their mail hosts. We are discussing
with Mako Hill how best deal with this issue (in a more timely
fashion) for next year's election.

Finally, a word of thanks to Bernie and Mel, our two departing board
members. Both of them have made numerous contributions to the project
and its governance. Bernie has been a tireless advocate for
decentralization of authority on the theory that the intelligence is
in the leaves. Mel has been a stickler for clarity of process.
Together, they have made Sugar Labs a better project. I look forward
to their continued contributions as community members.

2. Last week was Sugar Camp Lima organized by Somosazucar. From all
reports, Laura and Sebastian did a great job organizing the gather.
Chris Leonard reports that there was great start made on Aymara and
Quechua during the camp (Please see Aymara (Aru) [1] and Quechua
(Cusco-Collao) [2]). Rubén Rodríguez posted a detailed summary [3] of
the progress he made on Trisquel (TOAST) during the camp, including
the locale support for aym_PE and quz_PE. Bernie Innocenti traveled to
Puno to help with a variety of logistical and infrastructure issues.
Everyone sung the praises of Aleksey Lim (alsroot) who seems to be
everywhere at once, helping people solve problems. We have a real
community of doers!

3. Trinidad Guzman continues to amaze. Check out his latest video [4]
of his work with Turtle Art and sensors on the XO.

4. Carlos Rabassa posted a link to a fun game, Circle the Cat [5] in
the context of a question he posed to the list: "Why couldn´t all
educational applications be as simple to use as this one?" My glib
response was to quote the French mathematician, Blaise Pascal:

"Je n'ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n'ai pas eu le
loisir de la faire plus courte."

In other words, reaching to simplicity takes time and effort. Alan Kay
chimed in about Hypercard, reminding us that it took years of
refinement for it to reach its polished state. It is an open debate as
to if and when Sugar will ever reach that level of polish and the path
towards achieving it.

But while Carlos did not want to discuss the value Circle the Cat as
an educational program, to not do so seems to skirt the central
question of Sugar: it is an education project after all!! I am
interested in how we can use a simple game or activity to drive the
children to deeper principles. So I wrote a Sugar Activity inspired by
Circle the Cat, but with a twist: The user is invited to experiment
with the algorithm (Please seeTurtle in a Pond [6])--of course I had
to use a turtle instead of a cat. The game itself is fun to play and
arguably of some educational benefit. But there is perhaps more to
learn from algorithm development. For better or for worse, the user
needs to load their algorithms written in Python from their Sugar
Journal. This probably precludes the younger children from
experimenting, but it presents an open-ended invitation to those
willing to take the challenge.

=== Tech Talk ===

5. Simon Schampijer led a discussion of the new features proposed for
Sugar 0.96. A summary of the discussion is found on the
0.96/Feature_List page [7].

=== Sugar Labs ===

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

2011 Nov 19th-25th (48 emails) [8]
2011 Nov 12th-18th (45 emails) [9]

Visit our planet [10] for more updates about Sugar and Sugar deployments.

[1] http://translate.sugarlabs.org/aym/
[2] http://translate.sugarlabs.org/quz/
[3] http://lists.sugarlabs.org/archive/iaep/2011-November/014523.html
[4] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jorxl6b7pMo
[5] http://www.members.shaw.ca/gf3/circle-the-cat.html
[6] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Activities/Turtle_in_a_Pond
[7] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/0.96/Feature_List
[8] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Nov-19-25-som.jpg
[9] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Nov-12-18-som.jpg
[10] http://planet.sugarlabs.org


Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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