[IAEP] Sugar Digest 2009-01-05

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Mon Jan 5 20:54:32 EST 2009

=== Sugar Digest ===

I read the new Neal Stephenson book, Anathem, last week. There was one
line I cannot resist sharing with the Sugar community. Raz, our hero,
is a young mathematician who leaves the nest to solve any number of
problems. At one point, he asks why he is the one upon whom everyone
is leaning.

    "But Raz, you are educable, you can learn 'this kind of thing,'...
You've spent your whole life ... becoming educable."

Another book I read over the holidays is a new biography of Andrew
Jackson. He remains a pretty controversial figure, but he knew the
importance of "staying focused on the things that matter most and not
dwelling on the things that pull us apart."

In the case of Sugar Labs, the things that matters most are creating a
great learning platform and making it available to learners

I am confident that in 2009, we will see Sugar in the hands of many
more children and teachers. We'll see an accelerated pace of
development and deployment across a diverse set of platforms under an
even more diverse set of conditions.

While we debate the various means towards our goals, we need to keep
in mind that the most important metric we can hold up to our work is
the impact on learning. On the one hand, we need to flexible and
inclusive; on the other hand, we need to adhere to the core principles
that make Sugar of value to the learner, putting an emphasis on
quality over quantity. So while we shouldn't be overly zealous, we
need to constantly remind ourselves and those whom we are trying to
reach of the value of learning to learn: the authentic appropriation
of knowledge, learning through expressing, debugging, reflection, and
critique. If it does not impact the learning, we shouldn't be doing

=== Community jams, meet-ups, and meetings ===

FUDConF11 (http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/FUDCon/FUDConF11) will be
held this week (9–11 January) at MIT (Cambridge, MA).

=== Help Wanted ===

Christian Marc Schmidt has been working on a static landing page for
Sugar Labs. (The wiki is a powerful tool, but not the easiest place to
get started from when you are new to Sugar.) Christian has uploaded a
build onto a server (See
http://www.christianmarcschmidt.com/projects/sugarlabs/betasite). This
version is fully dynamic, based on an XML->XSL translation using PHP 5
and Libxslt. Christian has tested it in all major browsers where it
seems to work fine, but please exercise it some more.

Christian is ready to concentrate on gathering content for the gallery
and the activity sections. There is other content that needs to be
prepared as well.

As far as internationalization, we are thinking of adding a simple CSS
dropdown underneath the links on the top-right edge of the page. We
should decide how best to handle the translations, whether through
Pootle or some other mechanism.

One specific area where we are seeking help is in regard to
illustrations. One project we have in mind is a comic-book-like
narrative about Sugar to be featured on the static site. If anyone is
interested in taking on such a project, please come forward.

=== Tech Talk ===

There are some Activity updates to report:

    * TurtleArt-27.xo
    * Yay!BeeSee-2.xo

=== Sugar Labs ===

Gary Martin has generated another SOM from the past week of discussion
on the IAEP mailing list (Please see

Gary has also made some significant changes to the text-metric
extraction code; he is trying to "fully normalize the frequency of
each term". He hypothesizes that this will "allow the maps to more
clearly show the finer details that are otherwise drowned out by heavy
terms" like "Sugar", "Work", "Use", "Project", "Want", etc. He'll be
posting some examples in the wiki.

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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