[IAEP] How many Activities?

Bobby Powers bobbypowers at gmail.com
Wed Jul 9 05:51:52 CEST 2008

Since we're talking personal preferences for what kids should have,
let me put my 2 cents in

On Tue, Jul 8, 2008 at 11:35 PM, Edward Cherlin <echerlin at gmail.com> wrote:
> It seems to me that much of the thinking around the XO and Sugar has
> been based on the assumption that we should provide a small number of
> Activities on which to build whole curricula. (Feel free to contradict
> me if you know better, but that is the appearance.)
> I don't see it that way. I want the children to have access to more
> than 10,000 apps, like the rest of us. This just came up in my mind
> because a friend asked me to look into getting source code for a
> genealogy program to port it to a different handheld. My family is
> rather genealogy-minded, as you can see on my brother's site
> http://home.earthlink.net/~cherlinfamily/, which traces not only our
> family, but also every other Cherlin line and all known variants.
> Anyway, genealogies are of great cultural importance, and also of
> great value for historical and biomedical research, among other
> things. So I would like to see a genealogy app for Sugar. I would like
> to see it built on top of a general-purpose database engine that could
> be used in a wide range of other Activities, including databases
> compiled by students for whatever reason.
> When I look at my computer, I notice a number of other things that I
> do routinely that would be harder in Sugar.
> * Stickies notes

doesn't fit the ui nicely.  why not just a 'notes' instance of Write
in the journal?

> * Calendar program with notifications

sounds good, but probably not as needed by kids in developing worlds.

> * Multimedia file management

would be nice, certainly.

> * System monitor
> * Menu manager

I don't understand what a menu manager would do.  how is this
different from 'favorites' in the ring view that you manage in the
list view?

> * Keyboard and IME utilities
> * Calendar converter
> * Synaptic software database and package installer

there needs to be some way to install more activities.  I see a
'sugar-activities' specific package manager as being a nicer option.
a kid that wants software beyond sugar activities can install Yumex,
or maybe even Synaptic (why make a sugary wrapper for something that
will only be installing non-sugary stuff).

> * My personal favorite games
> * PDF editor

certainly need an editor.  maybe Write can be extended to read and
write ebook and pdf formats?

> Now I wouldn't claim that everybody should want what I want, but some
> number of children would find each of these useful or even necessary.
> Converting between Western and Muslim calendars, or numerous other
> local calendars, is a grade-A pain without appropriate software. I
> have had to track down and kill runaway processes with memory leaks
> causing severe disk thrashing. I have so much software to keep track
> of that without a way to edit menus I would lose a lot of it. And so
> on.
> We are clearly going to have hundreds of activities quite soon. It is
> not clear to me that Sugar will scale to having thousands available,
> which will inevitably happen. But perhaps it is not a problem, because
> by then we will have bigger computers.

I think a repository of sugar activities and perhaps some UI
improvements to the list view can handle much of this.  Maybe the list
view can evolve into an integrated package manager.  Anyone interested
in creating mockups?


> --
> Edward Cherlin
> End Poverty at a Profit by teaching children business
> http://www.EarthTreasury.org/
> "The best way to predict the future is to invent it."--Alan Kay
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