[sugar] alt-tabbing to the Journal
Gary C Martin
Wed Oct 8 03:26:30 EDT 2008
On 8 Oct 2008, at 03:51, Walter Bender wrote:
> The bottom line is that, at least as far as the XO is concerned (and
> other machines with limited memory and no swap) the list of activities
> to tab through, with or without the Journal, is going to be a short
> list, so is it really such a pressing issue?
For tabbing, I think one frustration here is the current issue with
tabbing where the delay is way too short before an Activity you're
tabbing past is pulled into focus (I'd argue there should be no auto
delay focus, only focus when alt key is lifted, allowing you to easily
skip items in the stack). Currently in 8.2, accidentally tabbing the
'wrong way' through the active instances on the XO and getting shown
the wrong thing (usually Journal given only having a few activities
running) is painful enough time wise to distract you from whatever
goal you had in mind. Example: TurtleArt, and 2 x ImageViewers showing
some screen shots of different brick code you want to reference.
Tabbing between TurtleArt and the images you trying to reference is
constantly intruded upon by the redraw, and update of Journal ? if
you're just mucking around, it's less of a pain, but if you're
actually trying to 'get stuff done' it can get quite annoying pretty
> I'd love the same passion developed to some of the issues/topics that
> impact the learning. How can we make the Journal better, regardless of
> how we open it and regardless of whether we consider it an activity or
> part of Sugar core?
I guess most interested parties on the sugar list are more technical
than pedagogical types. Both my parents were teachers, and when
computers started to make their way into some of their lessons/labs,
way back when, I seem to remember they would come home somewhat
bemused, having been handed boxes of cables and computer kit. As an
~11yr old I would set it up, get things going, and show them how to
load-up and use the software. It's an interesting generational shift,
I wonder what new idea is going to come along and be so far from our
expectations that we'll be too inflexible as adults to really pick it
up well (here already?). Maybe it's just a personality trait thing and
not age at all; I guess I know enough people my age who I wouldn't
trust to safely 'shut down' an operating system without being given a
lesson or two first ;-)
OK. Journal, and its related use, have some UI improvement
possibilities that could be targeted (and I think a few might be
targeted already for work), without having to solve the big 'impact on
learning' type wider research/study goals. Some things that come to
mind just now (in no special order and I'm sure most have been
discussed already at some point):
- Sort view by creation date, not just by last modification date.
Currently when you resume something, even just to take a look, it
pulls it out of the time context of other entries it was created
alongside. One click, and last weeks essays narrative/reflection is
lost (the photos you took, the chat discussions you had with
classmates, the audio you recorded, the picture you painted etc).
- Filter view for starred items only, a single click way to quickly
hide the unwanted.
- Improve the 'Anything' pop-up UI. It takes me about 4-5sec of
scrolling to get to the bottom of the Activity and mime file type
list. And worse, if you do scroll way down, it takes just as long to
get the Journal back to default after your search. I guess ideally
this would become a custom palette grid of some kind, perhaps with
just icons and mouse over text for the full names to save space.
Another option could be for a short list of the most frequently used N
activities (or the current Home view favourites), and then a 'more...'
end item that would reveal a large slide-out, below toolbar dialogue
with all installed activities and file types listed. Actually, you
could cut to the chase and have an 'Anything' button that just
triggers a slide down alert panel with all installed activities.
- Realtime scrolling so you can just grab, drag, and look as it goes
past. Currently, if what I'm after is not on the first page, and I
think it's more than a page or two away, it might as well be
infinitely far away. It's then time to try and remember the activity
object type, or some text/metadata and start typing until it
(hopefully) makes it onto page one.
- Text search works reasonably well for me, but as mentioned already,
some kind of slide-out alert to prompt for an Activity title, tags,
star, possibly description (though I can't say I've ever meaningfully
used the description field) would make a large difference in Journal
entry quality. Think the dialogue will need to auto countdown and
dismiss with sensible default values where ever possible. This feature
could be really tough to make work without annoying everyone. Perhaps
could also do with a "don't keep" button there for quick dismissal of
unwanted work when stopping.
- Inline, or same context detail view. Switching content to get to the
detail view, and then having to switch back again seems to put the
details too far out of normal use/view.
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