[Sugar-news] Sugar Digest 2011-10-05
walter.bender at gmail.com
Wed Oct 5 10:56:12 EDT 2011
== Sugar Digest ==
1. Sugar 0.94  has been released! Many thanks to the Release Team
for pulling together this latest version of Sugar. It has many
improvements, particularly around Journal interaction. The
Internationalization Team did a big push to get updated translations
into place. And the Activity Team used the release as an opportunity
to do a major cleanup of the activity toolbars . It is great to see
Sugar continuing to make improvements. Congratulations to all of you
who contribute through writing patches, designing, testing, providing
feedback, supporting infrastructure, translating, documenting,
marketing, and, most important, deploying.
2. My friend Laura Marés Serra sent me a link to the plot summary of a
movie from 2002 of which I had was unaware: ''The First $20 Million is
Always the Hardest''.
:Andy, a successful marketing guy quits his job, because he feels
disconnected with the values about work he learned from his father. He
gets a new job at a top notch research facility, where he quickly
makes a powerful enemy who makes him volunteer for a nearly impossible
project: The $99 Personal Computer. He recruits the only available
guys at the lab, three sociopaths. Together they really compile a
revolutionary PC for $99, but then they become the victims of a
venture capitalist and Andy's old foe from the research lab. Can he
and his new friends find a way to overcome the problems? (Plot summary
by kaeng )
No mention of the learning software that runs on the laptop. We'll
have to have a screening to see if it is a harbinger of Sugar as well
3. There was an article the Oct 3 issue of ''The New Yorker'' magazine
about mentoring that I found quite interesting. "Personal Best"  is
by Dr. Atul Gawande, a surgeon, who describes how coaching has helped
him eclipse the performance plateau he had reached in his practice. He
goes on to describe coaching in the context of classroom teaching. I
was reminded of some of the interventions being done in classrooms in
Caacupé. We need to continue to look for ways to help teachers better
leverage available tools and techniques to reach their children.
4. Mariana Cortez Ludmila hosted Pablo Flores and me in Mexico DF last
week. Together we ran a workshop on how to write a Sugar Activity. I
had asked the participants to prepare by reading the first few
chapters of Jim Simmons's book  on the topic and most had attended
a seminar on Sugar and learning taught by Mariana the day before. We
started off the morning with a puzzler intended to identify the more
tech-oriented (geeky) attendees. This was followed by a quick review
of some goals for activity developers, including encouraging risk
taking by the children. I concluded with a favorite quote from Samuel
Beckett: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again.
Fail better." After brief introductions, we broke into teams to work
on projects. I went from team to team, kibitzing on their progress and
occasionally brought something to the attention of the entire room. In
parallel, my team--myself, Chris Rowe, and Paulina Clares--worked on
an activity ''en plein air''. My laptop was being projected throughout
the entire day so that everyone could watch me take two steps forward
and one step backward. In the end, we had a new activity,
FractionBounce  and many more works in progress. I am hoping that
this hands-on approach to the workshop had impact.
5. The Butia Team Sumo robotics competition held last month has been
written up on the Butia Wiki . Looks like a great event!!
6. Andres Aguirre (along with other members of the Butia Team) have
also been working in accessibility. They've developed a new activity,
MouseCam , that lets children with disabilities control the XO by
holding up picture cards. You can see it in action here .
7. Ed Cherlin, who is creating a series of tutorials for exploring
math and programming, gets this month's prize for the most unexpected
use of Turtle Art: Stack Programming . Ed has emulated Forth in
Turtle Art. Coming soon: a Turtle Art version of the great Forth
lessons  being written by Mitch Bradley.
=== In the community ===
8. The winners of the International TuxPaint Contest  were
announced. Winners are getting Sugar on a Stick!!
9. The Junin Sugar Camp has been written up on the wiki . Looks
like it was a really nice venue.
10. October 21-23: the SF summit. Read about it here .
11. I gave a short talk at Software Freedom Day in Boston .
=== Tech Talk ===
12. Aleksey Lim has released the latest version of Sweets, a Zero
Install-based package management system for Sugar. The release notes
 are in the wiki, but also, a very nice explanation of his goals
 is available in the sugar-devel archives. Aleksey's ultimate goal
is to encourage more "doing" by the community and he makes a
compelling argument that infrastructure does matter in advancing this
=== Sugar Labs ===
Gary Martin has generated a SOM from the past few weeks of discussion
on the IAEP mailing list.
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Sept-24-30-som.jpg (38 emails)
http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/File:2011-Sept-17-23-som.jpg (30 emails)
Visit our planet  for more updates about Sugar and Sugar deployments.
 http://ar.sugarlabs.org/go/SugarDay_Junin_Argentina_2011 Sugar
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9k9LjLXXwQ (video starting at 6:30)
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