[Squeakland] new etoys comments, questions

karl ramberg karlramberg at gmail.com
Sun Sep 21 04:06:23 PDT 2008

On 9/21/08, Bill Kerr <billkerr at gmail.com> wrote:
> Some of the new features on etoys are great and / or look really
> interesting.
> Here are some comments and questions about the new etoys (running on
> Windows) based on a preliminary look:
> 1) Default saving goes to a non existent folder C:\My Pictures\My Squeak and
> so saving fails. Solve this problem by holding down the mouse button on the
> Keep icon and then an option to navigate to a desired folder becomes
> available. This is not explained on the balloon help of the Keep icon,
> although it is explained on the balloon help of the Find icon.
> 2) Help: When you load the paint tools the Help fades out. You can click the
> arrow to the next page but can't Jump to a different Help sequence for the
> Paint tools. You have to close the Paint tools then Jump to a different Help
> page and then reopen the Paint tools
Sounds like a bugish usability issue. It should be looked into.
> 3) Can't find a timer? The clock on a script has a tick rate, the default is
> 8 ticks per second, but how can I program that to display a timer?
Holding down the mousebutton on the ticker brings up a menu.
Also the Digital clock in Objects tool is scriptable.

> 4) Show code textually is a nice feature - would be even better if you could
> open the code window to reveal all the code at once - good for learning by
> copying and pasting to other media
There used to be options to this in the Viewer flap menu, up in right corner.
> 5) How do you set the "preserve trash" preference mentioned in the trash can
> help balloon?
I noticed this one too yesterday. We should either have a simplified
Preference tool or remove the reference to it.
> 6) There doesn't appear to be a version number?
Projects are given a new version number on each save, and you usually
only see the latest in the default etoy tools. Branching a project is
therefor easiest to maintain by being explicit and giving it a new


> On Fri, Sep 12, 2008 at 4:30 AM, Kim Rose <kim.rose at vpri.org> wrote:
>> Release Notes - Etoys -September 2008
>> These notes accompany the download of Etoys available via
>> www.squeakland.org as of September 11, 2008.   In the past, the system has
>> often been referred to as "Squeak", but to help distinguish it from other
>> versions of Squeak, we will refer to the version now available on the
>> website simply as "Etoys."
>> The team at Viewpoints Research Institute (VPRI) has been working on the
>> "Etoys" activity for the OLPC (One Laptop per Child) "XO" platform.  We
>> started from the previous version of "Squeakland Squeak", then added new
>> features and made many bug fixes, performance improvements, and visual
>> tweaks.
>> VPRI has decided to release the Etoys activity for the XO as the
>> "universal" Etoys version for all platforms.  Advantages include:
>> 1) Two years of work have gone into improving Etoys overall;
>> 2) Etoys will be identical on the XO, Windows, Macintosh and Linux
>> operating systems;
>> 3) The new features, enhancements, and fixes will be beneficial to
>> everyone.
>> In this way, all users of the XO and other platforms will be "compatible"
>> and be able to share their projects and documentation.
>> Below is a list of "New Features", "New UI Changes", and "Notes on
>> Compatibility".
>> "New Features"
>>  -- Functions.
>>    There are now over a dozen mathematical functions available for
>>    use in arithmetic expressions in scripts, in addition to the arithmetic
>>    operators.  (Click on the golden treasure box of a script editor, drag
>>    out an "abs" tile, drop it on any numeric-valued tile or phrase in a
>>    script, and then (unless you actually want "abs") choose the actual
>>    function name you desire from the  menu that shows up when you click on
>>    it.  There is also a choice called "parenthesis", which serves to put a
>>    subexpression within parentheses, in order to influence order of
>> evaluation.
>>    (There is also a way to "wrap" an existing numeric tile expression in a
>>    function, by holding down the "shift" key as you click on an "extension
>>    arrow" -- this will make the expression governed by the extension arrow
>>    become the argument of a function call.)
>>  -- Arithmetic Operator Precedence.
>>    The arithmetic operators (+ - * / // \\ and min and max) now have
>>    more conventional precedence; i.e., multiplication and
>>    division are now "stronger" than addition and
>>    subtraction.  (See below under "Notes on Compatibility" for more
>> details.)
>>  -- "RepeatTimes" tile.
>>    A tile to write a simple loop is provided.
>> -- Display Scaling.
>>    We think it useful to offer a "standard", normalized screen size for
>> users
>>    on non-XO platforms, so that a project made on one computer can have a
>>    consistent appearance across a broad range of computers with varying
>> display
>>    sizes and screen resolutions.   Because the XO has a screen with 1200 x
>> 900
>>    pixels, this was chosen as the "standard" size.  On a computer with a
>>    different display resolution, 1200 x 900 pixels are scaled to fit in
>> the
>>    display.  If the actual display size is vastly different from 1200 x
>> 900, the
>>    scaling may not look very nice; in such cases, scaling can be
>>    turned off from the menu bar.
>>  -- The Online Help System ("Quick Guides")
>>    There are now over 60 help guides included in the system.   Click on
>> the
>>    question mark button in the menu bar to see them. They can also be
>>    printed as a single PDF file found on the Squeakland and Etoys/olpc
>> websites.
>>  -- Polygon Vertices.
>>    In a Polygon, the vertices are accessible from tile scripting.
>>    Visit the polygon category in the viewer of a Polygon.
>>  -- World Stethoscope.
>>    World Stethoscope, a tool to use the input from external sensor devices
>>    is included.
>>  -- Event Theatre.
>>    A tool that provides a better way to record and play back a
>>    user's actions.  This can be used to create small snippets of
>> tutorials;
>>    voice-over can be added later, and there is also an "Event-Roll" tool
>> for modest
>>    after-the-fact editing of such recordings.
>>  -- A New Generation of the Particle System (aka "Kedama").
>>    Kedama has been entirely rewritten for this release.  The new version
>> is
>> faster
>>    in most cases, and there are semantic changes as well -- see more
>> details in the
>>    compatibility section below.)
>>  -- All Players Tool.
>>    The tools labeled "Players" in the Supplies provides a list of all
>> players
>>    in the current project.
>>  -- Book Page Reverting.
>>    Book pages can be made revertable.  Book pages can be marked as
>>    revertable, and such pages can be reverted to the state when the
>>    book was last saved into a project.
>>  -- More Sound Compression Options.
>>    In the Sound Recorder, there are choices for Sound Compression.
>> "New UI Changes"
>>  -- Bigger and More Consistent Fonts and Buttons.
>>    In general, the tools have been redesigned for screens with a higher
>>    resolution.  Larger fonts are used, and buttons in viewers, scriptors,
>> and other
>>    tools have now been made more uniform.
>>  -- Stationary Navigator Menu Bar at the Top.
>>    Instead of having an orange pop-in/pop-out navigator bar at the bottom
>> of the
>>    screen, the navigator bar is now located at the top of screen, and is
>> stationary.
>>    Type alt-RETURN at any time to show or hide it.  The new Navigator
>> follows the
>>    design of the OLPC's UI specification, but we took the liberty to make
>> it narrow,
>>    and change its color.
>>  -- New Supplies.
>>    Click on the "treasure box" in the navigator menu bar at the top of the
>> screen to
>>    open or close the new "Supplies" flap.  You can resize the flap by
>> dragging its
>>    bottom gray edge.
>>  -- Script Editor ("scriptor") Redesign.
>>    Layout, colors, proportions, menus, and fonts have all been changed.
>>    A "Gold Box" has been added -- click on it to get a palette of useful
>> tiles; click
>>    on any item in the palette to get a copy of it for use in your script.
>>  -- Better Drop Zone Feedback in Scriptors.
>>    The green drop zone that shows when dragging over a script is
>>    greatly improved.
>>  -- Right Click for Halo.
>>    On Windows, the default is changed so that right mouse button
>>    brings up the halo.
>>  -- Opening Screen.
>>    The start-up screen now provides links to tutorials and example
>> projects.
>> "Notes on Compatibility"
>> Most projects created in an older "Squeakland" version should load and
>> work
>> fine in the new system.  (However, projects created in the new etoys
>> system
>> will *not* be
>> usable in any older Squeakland version.)
>> A few old projects may exhibit different behavior when loaded into the new
>> system.  Here are some things to watch out for:
>> - Because of the arithmetic operator precedence change, a script
>>   that contains a long chain of arithmetic may produce different
>>   results; e.g., "3 * 4 + 5" used to be interpreted as "3 * (4 + 5)"
>>   and the result was 27, but now it is "(3 * 4) + 5" and the result is
>>   17.  Such a script should be editted (perhaps adding the
>>   "parenthesis" described above) to be properly interpreted.
>> - The size and look of scriptors and viewers will change upon
>>   loading.  The new shapes may hide other carefully located
>>   objects, and if the project depends on the specific sizes of these
>>   tools, it may not work in the same way.
>> -   The changes to Kedama are great enough that, although an old project
>> with Kedama
>>    may load and may even run acceptably, it is guaranteed that editing an
>> old
>>    project in the new release does not work.  For proper migration of any
>> Kedama
>>    project, the project should be built afresh in the new system;
>> additionally,
>>    the semantics change may require some changes to the project's scripts.
>>  This
>>    only applies to projects that have the small window where one script
>> controls
>>    hundreds of tiny turtles and patches.
>> All in all, we hope this version will be seen as a great opportunity to
>> redo existing interesting projects, if needed.  Such projects can be
>> shared
>> among the millions of of Etoys users including XO users.
>> We hope that by using Etoys,  you, or your children will learn more about
>> how our world works and have fun in the process!
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>> Squeakland at squeakland.org
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