[Sugar-devel] A Tale of Sugar and Pippy
michael at laptop.org
Tue Jun 22 03:39:46 EDT 2010
Last Friday, I visited the MIT Science Fiction Society's library to pick up
some books. While visiting, I spoke with a friend about our recently discovered
mutual interest in Python in education.
Upon hearing that he was unfamiliar with our work, I opened my XO, started
Pippy, and left him to play for a few minutes.
+1: This experience *rocked*: I can think of no other operating system
which so directly brought his interest from theory to reality.
Now, after playing with several Pippy examples, my friend stumbled onto
XOlympics. In honor of the World Cup, I challenged him to game.
After playing for some time -- perhaps 10 rounds -- we discovered that we had
lost track of which ball was currently contested. We looked at one another for
a moment and simultaneously exclaimed: "we can fix this!"
+1: I can think of no other operating system and application which so
directly exposes us to the possibility and desirability of making small
We sat down to fix the problem. Since no example was available for how
to set the color of an already constructed ball, I had to go "behind the
scenes" by grepping the Pippy source code. Then I was able to work out exactly
what to do by several small experiments with dir() and with "raise".
-1: I think there's an important missing "stepping stone" here -- I'm not
convinced that most people would have been able to figure out how to set
the ball color from the currently available view-source interface and
Pippy training materials.
The final change consisted of six insertions to the XOlympics example. It was
this long only because I decided to try something fancy -- smoothly
interpolating the contested ball between two colors over time -- instead of
Here, we reach the end of my tale. You see, my friend and I agreed that our
desired next step would be to send our change to sugar-devel@ along with, well,
-1: Unfortunately, there's no obvious way to do this with Sugar and
Anyone have thoughts on what "stepping stones" Sugar and Pippy ought to provide
to make this act of reflection and sharing feel as natural as the act of
starting Pippy or of making the change that we want to describe and to share?
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