[sugar] naming, was Re: notes from the field - Mongolia

Yamandu Ploskonka yamaplos
Wed Oct 8 16:32:43 EDT 2008

> Obviously the system is full of files, and you're correct that a
> "named chunk of data" is basically what were talking about.  The
> intent of the "no files" sentiment is that kids needn't (necessarily)
> think about named chunks of data.  Instead, a child might make [this
> thing], and then choose to give it [some name]; naming is a natural
> process that applies to objects in the real world, too.

My pet peeve regarding this is that the process of naming is still 
uncomfortable, and doesn't show on the desktop

Look at y'all!  You were happilly discussing naming under the moniker of 
"notes from the field - Mongolia", even though it would have been so 
simple to set it to a more intuitive name for the discussion on hand.

Now, under Sugar you have to go to the Activity tab (1 step), then set a 
'name' there (second step). Even then the name you assigned will not 
even show up in the desktop view or to the neighborhood, only in the 
That is, you have 3-4 'Write' activities that you are doing at once, you 
have to open each one to figure out which one is the one you want at a 
given moment.

Microsoft Word had something that compared looks as a genius feature, 
that would set as default (editable) name for the .doc document the 
first few words of the document, which usually is its title.

Also, by default DOS would add a number when something repeated a name 
already in the folder, thus at least we would have 'Write Activity 1', 
different from 'Write Activity 2'.

Could we have some of that, please? and be able to see the name of an 
Activity at least when the mouse hovers, if not even better right there 
under the icon?  Yes, usabilitity criteria should be more important than 
the minimalist look, which is a rather empty artistic statement rather 
than a practical, useful design decision.

Since we're at it, let also be plainly visible with a plain old number 
which is which of the 3 circles that represent the mesh networks.  That 
would save some useless hovering around when several kids are trying to 
get on the same one.

> We want the kids to make stuff.  Call each thing they make an
> "object"; call it a "thing"; call it whatever you'd like.  We just
> didn't want to force the definition of the term "file" on them, since
> this term really stems from the early days of computing in which files
> were predominantly text.  The natural metaphor was files and folders.
> In Sugar, we want to focus on creation of all sorts of things, and
> ascribing the term "file" to [this song I composed] or [this image I
> drew] seems limiting
When translating "file" to Aymara the word chosen was 'khepi', which 
usually means the wrapped up parcel, with a piece of cloth, that you can 
see in pictures of Andean people carrying all sorts of stuff, even their 
own babies, thus semantically translated as 'a wrap of stuff to carry or 
store'.  It doesn't matter what it is, when put together to safekeep or 
move, it is a 'khepi'.  Big discussion came up for "folder", but that's 
another story.

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