[Sugar-devel] Sugar Digest 2015-01-21

Walter Bender walter.bender at gmail.com
Wed Jan 21 19:18:20 EST 2015

== Sugar Digest ==

In schools, all hardware and software bestow agency on one of three
parties: the system, the teacher, or the learner. Typically, two of
these actors lose their power as the technology benefits the
third. Ask a group of colleagues to create a three-column table and
brainstorm the hardware or software in your school and who is granted
agency by each. Management software, school-wide grade-book programs,
integrated learning systems, school-to-home communication packages,
massive open online courses (MOOCs), and other cost-cutting
technologies grant maximum benefit to the system. Interactive
whiteboards, worksheet generators, projectors, whole-class
simulations, plagiarism software, and so on, benefit the
teacher. Personal laptops, programming languages, creativity software,
cameras, MIDI keyboards, microcontrollers, fabrication equipment, and
personal web space primarily benefit (bestow agency to) the
learner. -- Gary Stager

1. Google Code-In. Wow. Finally a chance to catch my breath. Seven
intense weeks: 60 students completed more than 300 tasks for Sugar
Labs. The impact on Sugar Labs was even greater this year than in the
previous years we have participated: more diversity among the
participants, the mentors, the tasks, and a spirit of collaboration
while striving for excellence prevailed throughout the contest. Thanks
to Google and Stephanie Taylor for giving us this opportunity, to the
contestants who not only did great work but taught me a thing or two
along the way, and the mentors and community members who manned the
IRC channel 24/7.

I want to acknowledge the Top Ten+ from whom we will be selecting our
finalists this week (results announce in early February):

Ignacio Rodríguez, Daksh, samdroid, cristian99garcia, Ezequiel
Pereira, svineet, Gtrinidad, Jas Park, Rafael Cordano, Richar, Sergio
Britos, Aishmita Kakkar, Gabriel Lee, et al.

Also, some mentors (and community members) deserve special
recognition: Andrés Aguirre, Daniel Francis, Gary Servin, Gonzalo
Odiard, James Cameron, Jorge Ramirez, Mariah Villarreal, Rajul,
Rodrigo Parra, and Martin Abente Lahaye.

Finally, a few projects worth mentioning:

* Turtle Blocks JS plugins (Ignacio, samDroid, Daksh) [1]
* Turtle Blocks guides (Jas Park) [2]
* Activity reviews (Gabriel Lee) [3]
* Dasher app (Cristian Garcia) [4]
* Enhancements to Physics (Svineet) [5]
* Sugar bugs squashed (Ezequiel) [6]
* Butia Measure (Gtrinidad) [7]
* Simple scrolling interface for Sugar (Rafael) [8]
and much much more.

2. As mentioned above, we have a number of new Turtle Blocks plugins
(for both the Python and Javascript versions) as a result of Google
Code-in. One of the more interesting inspirations for plugins comes
from mashape.com, a repository of APIs for everything from translation
services to a bicycle theft alert system. As Sugar becomes more
web-friendly, we can take advantage of web services and also
facilitate our users to craft their own tools and services. It is fun
and empowering.

=== In the community ===

3. The Free Software Foundation has put together a nice video on the
core ideas behind Free Software. See [9]

=== Tech Talk ===

4. Xevents [10] is a TurtleBlocks plugin that makes it easy to design
different types of accessibility interfaces through a variery of
physical sensors types. It is being developed at FING by Andrés
Aguirre and Alan Aguiar and was the focus of some of the Google
Code-in work of Rafael Cordano.

5. For you OLPC XO 4 users, James Cameron has been working on enabling
the second processor. He reports "about 38% improvement. For CPU tasks
like rendering, alt/tab, kernel compiles, the improvement is somewhat
more than 38%. For single threaded tasks that rely on memory
bandwidth, performance is lower because the memory controller is
shared between two cores." When asked how it impacts Sugar, he said
"it feels faster and more responsive."

6. Martin has announced the tarballs for the last 0.103.x UNSTABLE
release of Sugar before 0.104 STABLE. (We delayed the release a few
weeks in order to take advantage of all of the bug fixes coming in
from Google Code-in.) With this release we reach the API, UI and
String freeze [12].

* http://download.sugarlabs.org/sources/sucrose/glucose/sugar/sugar-0.103.2.tar.xz
* http://download.sugarlabs.org/sources/sucrose/glucose/sugar-toolkit-gtk3/sugar-toolkit-gtk3-0.103.2.tar.xz
* http://download.sugarlabs.org/sources/sucrose/glucose/sugar-artwork/sugar-artwork-0.103.2.tar.xz
* http://download.sugarlabs.org/sources/sucrose/glucose/sugar-datastore/sugar-datastore-0.103.2.tar.xz
* http://download.sugarlabs.org/sources/sucrose/glucose/sugar-runner/sugar-runner-0.103.2.tar.xz

It's time to switch focus on updating translations, everyone can
contribute through or new Pootle instance [13]. We have time until
February 13, before the 0.104.0 STABLE release.

=== Sugar Labs ===

5. Please visit our planet at http://planet.sugarlab.org


[1] https://github.com/walterbender/turtleblocksjs/blob/master/plugins.md
[2] http://people.sugarlabs.org/walter/TurtleBlocksIntroductoryManual.pdf
and http://people.sugarlabs.org/walter/TurtleBlocksAdvancedBlocksManual.pdf
[3] https://gabrielleedhs.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/reviewing-an-activity-from-sugar-labs-story-activity/
[4] http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4764
[5] http://activities.sugarlabs.org/en-US/sugar/addon/4193
[6] http://www.google-melange.com/gci/work/download/google/gci2014/5809933962444800?id=5741031244955648
[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYGOnlaTuTk
[8] http://www.google-melange.com/gci/work/download/google/gci2014/5784136845361152?id=5717271485874176
[9] https://static.fsf.org/nosvn/FSF30-video/FSF_30_720p.webm
[10] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/Xevents
[11] http://wiki.laptop.org/go/12297
[12] http://wiki.sugarlabs.org/go/0.104/Roadmap
[13] http://translate.sugarlabs.org/

Walter Bender
Sugar Labs

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