[sugar] Pippy and Calculate - Evolution Solution

Yoshiki Ohshima yoshiki
Thu Sep 6 21:25:59 EDT 2007

  Hi, Steve,

  I now understand that the "merger" wouldn't happen in the given
timeframe, so the following is just an unconstructive rant...

> I am a lurker, but this is an interesting discussion.  I am a
> developer in health applications working with current dev release on a
> B4.  Calculate is impressive; Pippy is impressive.  They each serve a
> purpose which I think fits into an OPLC evolutionist philosophy.

  But, have you actually tried to use Calculate?  It could not detect
simple errors properly (which is now fixed), takes 10 seconds to
calculate "3+4", and digits in a long floating point number are
wrapped around, etc.?

  Again, this is not a criticism toward Reinier, but rather toward the
fact that keeping up with the rate of change that Sugar and the UI
guideline is not something a volunteer developer can easily cope with.

> First, there are US toys that are remarkably similar to the OLPC in
> appearance that comprise a simple 4x4 calculator aimed at the under 5
> year old crowd.  Large keys that do arithmetic.

  Well, if you consider under 5 years old crowd, then you would oppose
to have variables in Calculate?  (BTW, OLPC is not aimed at the crowd,
I believe.)  What do you think about the the use of e-notation in it?
How about all these functions available in the tab?

> I think both activities have a place, and further, should/could be
> seamlessly integrated so that a child in the Ivory Coast who learns
> arithmetic using Calculate can discover Pippy and say: "Zoot alors! Je
> peux faire la m?me chose dans Pippy !" or something like that.  Very
> constructionist.  A intellectual bridge to understanding and learning
> python prior to being able to comprehend a Fibonacci series (although
> we want kids to get there as quickly as possible.)

  There are different kinds of "discovery learning", but the kind you
described here has nothing to do with the constructionism.  This is
not situated properly.

  And, if you can make these two do the same thing, why make one as an
easily accessible interface to another?

  I would like to urge people not to only consider (something like)
Pippy as a tool for learning Python.  After all, in the current
setting, learning Python wouldn't give so much benefit to the user of
XO; unless the user has a faster computer with 10GB or more of
harddrive and a 1GHz processor (to say the least).

  The strength of (something like) Pippy is somewhere else.  It would
be a good starting point to understand that a function can be actually
written by yourself and it is something you can look inside.

  Imagine if the functions that are available in the Calculate "mode"
(such as sin, sqrt, etc.) are actually defined in a way that kids can
understand (for example, the Newton-method for sqrt, or even a
graphical version for sin and cos), and if the user goes to the Pippy
"mode", the user can look inside the definition and modify them?  That
would be very constructionist.

-- Yoshiki

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