[squeakland] software meeting April 5 - meeting notes

Rita Freudenberg rita at isg.cs.uni-magdeburg.de
Mon Apr 5 17:18:26 EDT 2010

Here are the meeting notes from the software meeting today, April 5.  
You can also find them on the wiki:




[21:15] ritaf:so let's start the meeting
[21:16] ritaf:who is here?
[21:16]randy2: Randy is here
[21:17]ritaf:welcome everyone
[21:17] ritaf:and welcome richo!
[21:17]richo2:thanks for inviting me here
[21:18]ritaf:I don't know if you all know that Richo is working on the  
GSoC-Squeakland education project
[21:19]randy2:Richo is doing an amazing job
[21:19]ritaf:and as far as I know, he is doing great and looking for  
more work
[21:19] ritaf:so I thought it would be a good idea to get some  
suggestions from our developers
[21:20]randy2:should I put up our proposal so far?
[21:21]randy2:1. Etoys paint tool The painting tool is one of the most  
used features of Etoys. The current implementation would be improved  
in order to support features like zoom, multiple undo, and a select  
tool, among others. 2. Graphing of Data Tiles for creating vertical  
and horizontal grid lines, major and minor tick marks, labels for  
axes, and a label for the graph would be created to allow students to  
graph data they acquire in science and mathematics project
[21:22]bertf:sounds like nice-to-have features indeed
[21:23]randy2:Richo has already done most of item 2!
[21:24]ritaf:that's great!
[21:24]jecel:Since Dr. Geo is going to be integrated into the next  
version of Etoys, I wonder if it includes any of these features?
[21:24]DanGJavaGeek:has anyone @ MIT done user testing with the target  
audience on the paint tool for scratch? I would think there would be  
similar or related feedback given the target...
[21:25]ritaf:this is a good question, I will find out!
[21:25]jecel:The paint tool isn't as critical for Scratch since they  
love to use clip art
[21:25]bertf:jecel: i don't thibk dr geo icludes any of this
[21:26]jecel:bertf: thanks! I only saw a movie or two and don't  
remember much about it
[21:26]MrSteve:On item 2, it would be nice to have tools that  
facilitate kids learning about data collection, analysis and reporting
[21:27]randy2:Stephen - could you givbe an example of such a tool?
[21:27]MrSteve:The graphing helps with the analysis and reporting, one  
thing that would be nice is to have ...
[21:27] MrSteve:Methods to allow kids to create, publish to and  
analyze data from their own databases, public, class or project DBs.
[21:28]randy2:That goes along with item 3 also
[21:29]MrSteve:Sorry, what's item 3?
[21:29]randy2:Or do you want a database tool in etoys
[21:29] randy2:1. Etoys paint tool The painting tool is one of the  
most used features of Etoys. The current implementation would be  
improved in order to support features like zoom, multiple undo, and a  
select tool, among others. 2. Graphing of Data Tiles for creating  
vertical and horizontal grid lines, major and minor tick marks, labels  
for axes, and a label for the graph would be created to allow students  
to graph data they acquire in science and mathematics project
[21:29] randy2:Sorry - I tried to copy just item 3 and failed
[21:31]bertf:we do't see a 3rd item
[21:32]MrSteve:Richo, as you will soon find out I have a lot of ideas  
and opinions (not all good so before I do a brain dump, what interests  
you and what would you like to do?
[21:32]richo2:well, databases aren't my favorites
[21:32]randy2:3. Input/Output of Data From/To Files Tiles would be  
created to allow data from the Etoys environment to be output to a  
file and for information from an external file to be imported into the  
Etoys environment.
[21:33]jecel:There is a third item at http://gsoc2010.esug.org/projects/squeakland-education
[21:33]richo2:the proposal at gsoc2010.esug.org is not up to date
[21:33]MrSteve:"If I knew where I was going to die, I would never go  
[21:33]randy2:I haven't updated the project at ESUG yet so it doesn't  
agree with what I just posted
[21:33]jecel:Yeah, it doesn't mention the paint app
[21:34]MrSteve:Richo, very wise, knowing what you don't like is  
[21:34]randy2:I want to update the project after our meeting and I get  
more feedback from Richo
[21:35]DanGJavaGeek:are there particular use cases for #3 data import/ 
[21:35]richo2:steve: you just proposed one of the few things I dislike  
the most
[21:35]randy2:to keep a record of student results
[21:36] randy2:to import data to analyze
[21:37]ritaf:I would like to know if anyone has thought about adding  
these things to Etoys before?
[21:37]randy2:To answer Dan in more detail: This would allow learners  
to import data for visualization in the Etoys environment. Etoys is  
richer than most learning environments used in education and very  
creative things could be done in Etoys to visualize and use external  
data from a file. Learners and Teachers would also benefit from  
getting formative feedback on how the learner is progressing. Etoys is  
a rich environment of objects and data regarding the learners m
[21:37] ohshima hat den Chatroom betreten.
[21:38]ritaf:hi yoshiki
[21:39]ohshima:Just trying an IRC client on my phone. pls send me the  
log afterwards.
[21:39]jecel:Etoys is a bit weak in dealing with table-style data
[21:40]DanGJavaGeek:thanks, I was wondering if there were examples  
people wanted to try like data in CSV, graphs, charts, the squeakers  
movie example with dropping objects, I guess one could import data  
there rather than record individual distances per video frame
[21:40]bertf:ritaf: an improved painting tool sounds obviously useful.  
graphing is possible already - but could be made easier of course, if  
it fits with the resto of Etoys. Dealing with files is unprecedented.
[21:42]randy2:Scott wrote code for me awhile back to write to and get  
from text files. Thanks Scott.
[21:43] randy2:I though it could be made into tiles.
[21:43]bertf:the way Scratch handles files is - it doesn't really. it  
has a "list type" which is interactive first and foremost. but it can  
export to a text file, and import one - each line becomes a list item
[21:44] bertf:randy2: does it need to be a tile? or is impoting a text  
into a holder sufficient? Line by line like Scratch?
[21:44]DanGJavaGeek:right - no requirement that one become the other  
but I was trying to put into context where students using the  
environment would want and use file I/O, I think randy had reasonable  
[21:45]jecel:About tables, has anybody used the Skeleton spreadsheet?  
How well does it work and how well does it integrated with the rest of  
[21:45]bertf:jecel: no idea, but I was wondering too
[21:45]randy2:Bert - any way that a novice can use without having to  
write Smalltalk code.
[21:45]richo2:I played with Skeleton and it's great
[21:45]bertf:randy2: sure. it could be a halo-menu item
[21:46]richo2:but I used the old smallland version of Etoys
[21:46]bertf:richo2: is it scriptable from Etoys?
[21:47]jecel:richo2: that is nice to know. I am just trying to figure  
out what will be done with the data once it is imported
[21:47]richo2:you can either write functions as smalltalk code or  
connect etoys tiles with cells
[21:47] richo2:so if the value of the cell changes the value of the  
etoy tile changes as well
[21:48] richo2:it's very simple
[21:48] ohshima hat den Chatroom verlassen. (Ping timeout: 260 seconds)
[21:49]bertf:well, might be worth investigating. Randy - if that  
allowed exportign and importing data such a spreadsheat might be  
ideal, no?
[21:49]randy2:Bert - yes
[21:50]jecel:The other alternative I see is Kedama - your CSV (comma  
separated values) data becomes the patches in a world
[21:53]bertf:yes, but that's rather hard to understand I'd think
[21:54]richo2:I was thinking of something like an Etoys Stream object
[21:54]bertf:richo2: pelase explain
[21:54] bertf:please
[21:54]jecel:Yes, you are limited to SIMD (single instruction multiple  
data) which is far less flexible than a spreadsheet
[21:54]richo2:so you would have a slot with the current word
[21:55] richo2:and commands to read the next one or write to a file
[21:55]DanGJavaGeek:that's interesting, so it's not necessarily  
limited to file I/O, but could be a stream of items... temperatures,  
stock prices, etc., maybe from some network service or a file
[21:55]bertf:richo2: that sounds a lot like programming. very  
abstract. the power of etoys is to be concrete.
[21:55]richo2:bertf: yes
[21:56]jecel:Streams are great and I know you are interested in robots
[21:56]richo2:I did something like that a lot of time ago to access  
the serial port from etoys
[21:56]DanGJavaGeek:agreed, "power of etoys is to be concrete" and  
trying to explain network i/o to k-12 students isn't a fun time
[21:57]richo2:but it was, as bert said, very programming oriented
[21:57]bertf:maybe something like a sensor ... instead of physical  
data it would read data from a file
[21:57]DanGJavaGeek:without something concrete and fun to play with,  
that is
[21:57]jecel:The reason I was talking about tables instead was that  
analysing data for inclusion in reports was mentioned
[21:58]randy2:Bert - you had suggested fixing up etoys code and Richo  
sounded interested if it were a well-defined portion. Do you have a  
small chunk to suggest for him to work on? Richo are you still  
interested or do you have enough already?
[21:59]richo2:I'm very interested in getting etoys working on top of  
[21:59]DanGJavaGeek:on the sensor end, things like http://info.scratch.mit.edu/Sensor_Boards 
  and Lego WeDo i/o has been interesting for various classrooms that  
can afford either, but requiring hardware above and beyond an XO or a  
computer lab is limiting
[21:59]bertf:richo2: do you have experience with Monticello?
[22:00]richo2:I know only the basic stuff
[22:00] richo2:I only use it to get the code out of the image
[22:00] richo2:in a way that I can upload to squeaksource
[22:01]bertf:for bringing Etoys closer to the Squeak Trunk, we need to  
reorganize the Etoys image. karl started with this
[22:01] bertf:it's a big project
[22:01]richo2:yes, I know... that's why I asked for a well defined task
[22:01] MrSteve hat den Chatroom verlassen. (Quit: CGI:IRC (Ping  
[22:01]richo2:I don't feel capable of doing it by myself
[22:01]bertf:it's not well-bounded
[22:02] bertf:another pressing need is better translation support.  
that is better defined
[22:03] bertf:we need to split up the one big Etoys.po into smaller  
[22:03] bertf:e.g., put all tile-translations into one file
[22:03]randy2:What about just fixing some of the languages that don't  
work - like Hatian Creole?
[22:04]bertf:randy2: creole is trivial
[22:04] bertf:i sent Tim a fix before he went to haiti
[22:05]bertf:it just was not listed as a Latin1 language
[22:05]richo2:yes, that is better defined. And I think I can do that,  
but I would need to investigate a little. I don't know how translation  
[22:05]bertf:richo2: we should ask korakurider
[22:06] bertf:he did most of the translation framework
[22:06] bertf:and I'm sure he has ideas for how to split it up
[22:06] bertf:we also need wider font support
[22:06] bertf:there is a changeset in the tracker that is untested
[22:07]richo2:what about Juan Vuletich's font stuff?
[22:07]bertf:richo2: that's latin only
[22:07] bertf:we can't effort bitmap fonts for all foreign scripts
[22:07]richo2:oh, I didn't know
[22:07]bertf:Cuis does not even have i18n support IIRC
[22:08] bertf:or m17n rather
[22:08] bertf:anyway, we cant't load all fonts into the image, it just  
gets too big
[22:08] bertf:so andreas made a changeset that loads truetype fonts on  
[22:08] bertf:it's on mantis somewhere
[22:09] bertf:that would be good to have.
[22:09]richo2:if there is code waiting to be tested I feel much more  
comfortable than writing it from scratch
[22:10]bertf:on the XO under Linux we use Pango for non-latin  
languages. but it is still really immature. lots of layout problems
[22:10] bertf:OTOH Pango can even render Arabic and Devanagari etc.,  
really complicated scripts
[22:11] bertf:tracker is down again
[22:12] bertf:richo2: yes there is code already. we would need to  
decide which fonts to include (we do not want to use the host's fonts)
[22:13]bertf:because projects need to look identical across platforms
[22:14] bertf:that's the promise of etoys, bit-identical everywhere
[22:14] MrSteve hat den Chatroom betreten.
[22:15]bertf:I can't use a Mac font in a project that needs to work on  
Linux as well
[22:15]richo2:that's the reason Etoys has all those weird fonts?
[22:16] bertf:we need to ship the fonts to use
[22:16] bertf:if we put them on file instead of the image we can  
potentially include more/nicer ones
[22:17] bertf:provided we can find some license-compatible ones
[22:17]jecel:If you use Self on a Sun machine, then save the image and  
restart it on a Mac it will be very obvious what a stupid idea it is  
to use platform fonts
[22:19]richo2:ok, so we need to test andreas code and choose a good  
set of fonts to include
[22:20]bertf:right. I;d start with one font that has good glyph  
coverage. DejavuLGC for example
[22:20]richo2:I'm sure andreas code will work fine, he doesn't seem to  
make a lot of mistakes
[22:20]bertf:oh he does, he is just quick at fixing the bugs too
[22:21] bertf:and since this code is largely untested we don't know  
the bugs yet
[22:21]richo2:ok, I can do that... do you know where can I find his  
[22:22] richo2:I'm looking in mantis but it is kinda messy
[22:22]bertf:if its up look for "fonts"
[22:22]richo2:yep, it's down
[22:22]bertf:has been unreliable for a while
[22:22]richo2:yes, that's a pity
[22:23] MrSteve hat den Chatroom verlassen. (Quit: CGI:IRC (EOF))
[22:23] MrSteve2 hat den Chatroom betreten.
[22:23]richo2:we should update the project proposal with this new  
ideas I think
[22:23]ritaf:we can talk about the tracker on the next meeting ...
[22:23]richo2:also, randy didn't finish to show what we already have
[22:24]ritaf:I will send the log files, so you can use it to update  
the proposal
[22:24]randy2:Richo - I would like you to update the proposal and add  
and delete what you want.
[22:24]richo2:oh, I have a question
[22:24]randy2:Richo - did you get my invitation to join the project?
[22:25]richo2:randy2: yes, I have to write the proposal
[22:25] richo2:that's easy because I have a template
[22:25] richo2:what I don't know is what should I write to apply to  
[22:25] richo2:also I don't know how the voting works
[22:26] richo2:maybe this is not the best place to ask
[22:26]randy2:Richo - just answer the questions Google asks on the FAC  
and include the updated proposal.
[22:27]ritaf:as far as I know, the mentors will vote. But I also  
remember something about asking the community before.
[22:28]randy2:Richo - the voting will be done the week after April 9  
and I need to promote your project. I believe ESUG mentors vote at  
Google for ESUG projects.
[22:28]richo2:ok, that seems reasonable
[22:29]randy2:I have registered and Google as a mentor. The process  
seems very complex as new info comes out each day.
[22:30]richo2:yes, it's a mess
[22:30]randy2:ESUG is doing a great job.
[22:30]richo2:their website is a lot more informative than googles
[22:31]randy2:Rita - do the log files come by email?
[22:32]ritaf:I was planning to post it on squeakland, and to put it on  
the wiki.
[22:32]randy2:And do you send us the link?
[22:33] randy2:Or do we just go to the wiki?
[22:34]ritaf:I will send the link
[22:35]randy2:Rita - do you have a few minutes to Skype after the  
meeting is over?
[22:35]ritaf:yes, I do.
[22:35] ritaf:so I think we can finish the meeting for today?
[22:36]randy2:Richo - do you have any more questions?
[22:36]richo2:no, I'm fine
[22:36] richo2:I'll try to add these new items to the project proposal
[22:37] richo2:and I'll send it back to you
[22:37]randy2:I'm good. Should we quit? Do we just leave the chat?
[22:37]ritaf:thank you all for the meeting!
[22:37] ritaf:randy2: yes, you can just leave
[22:37]bertf:thanks all. randy2: yes, jsut close the browser window
[22:37]randy2:Thank you
[22:38] randy2 hat den Chatroom verlassen. (Quit: CGI:IRC)
[22:39] richo2 hat den Chatroom verlassen. (Quit: CGI:IRC (EOF))

Rita Freudenberg
rita at isg.cs.uni-magdeburg.de

More information about the squeakland mailing list