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

Eben Eliason eben.eliason
Wed Oct 8 16:54:37 EDT 2008

On Wed, Oct 8, 2008 at 4:32 PM, Yamandu Ploskonka <yamaplos at bolinux.org> wrote:
> <snip>
>> 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
> Journal.

The multistep process is something I very much want to avoid, if
possible.  Encouraging naming when an activity is stopped for the
first time is a big step in that direction.  Providing really good
default names even when we do encourage custom names will also be

The fact that name changes aren't immediately reflected in each of a)
the Journal b) the neighborhood view c) a shared instance of the
activity d) the activity palette in the Frame e) anywhere else
appropriate is a bug (well, lots of bugs).  (I didn't check to see
which of these do update, by the way...some of these might work.)  I
also didn't have a chance to dig up tickets on these issues.  If
anyone knows that they do or don't exist, please link them or create
them as needed!

> 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.

Yeah, I agree with you.  This is no fun, nor is it the intention.

> 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.

This type of naming is up to the activity authors to provide, since
doing something that makes sense depends on the context of the
activity.  That said, you're right that we could probably do better in
many of them.  Opening tickets for specific activities would be quite
helpful!  Write is a good example.

> 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'.

This, and the better default naming you mentioned above,  has been
planned for a while, but hasn't been built yet.  See
http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/3900 and
http://dev.laptop.org/ticket/3225 for background.

Thanks for the feedback! Keep this discussion going so we don't miss
any wrinkles that need to be ironed out.  I hope that this naming
problem (lack of naming, lack of tagging, laborious naming process,
poor default names, buggy name updates, etc.) can be nearly if not
completely cleared up in the next major release.

- Eben

> 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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