My OLPC Journey Oct 2010
Previous: Sep 10  

The Real Thing

Great start to October!

Martin sent me this picture of Spirolaterals running on his trusty XO box.

Activity No 2

Started work on the next activity - working title "Numbers". It's inspired by the Letters and Numbers game currently on Oz television.

In my version, you are given just 3 numbers and only have plus, times and equals to work with to reach the target number. The "3" can be increased but it's surprising what a workout the brain gets with just the three numbers. Here's a screen grab - very much a work in progress at the moment!

Lots more work on the Numbers game - in fact it's really finished. Probably doesn't look all that different but it is much more finely tuned.

  • The buttons only appear when they are usuable.
  • The numbers are greyed out when they can't be clicked.
  • The complexity level is settable by the player by clicking on the smilies at bottom.
  • The number correct is displayed at bottom right.
  • There is a "give me a new one" button.
  • A correct result is recognised and rewarded.
  • A new round has an animated intro.

Oct 7th Martin has tested "Numbers" on his XO box and reports, "works nicely".
And I've managed to implement code to save and load the level reached but that has still to be tested on a real XO box.

But more exciting is the fact that I've heard from the Executive Director of OLPC Australia - this will be my chance to discover what opportunities exist for me in the Deployment Area. Watch this space!

Oct 9th "Numbers" is finished and ready for final testing. Improvements in the final version include:

  • the Sugar pointer;
  • my signature magician picture;
  • improved score facility - higher level=higher score!
  • level marks are clickable;
  • brighter buttons.

Activity No 3

Thought you might be interested to see the preliminary rough sketch:

and compare it to the almost finished activity:

Oct 13th Coming along nicely. Decided to include circles - well it's really a 30-sided polygon - but, as you can see, it looks good! And it now sports a Sugar pointer!

Oct 15th Busy couple of days. Finally heard from OLPC Australia and, as a result, am now in contact with many like-minded people. Best news is that there is a lot of OLPC activity only an hour and a half's drive away.

The delay in releasing "Turtle Machine" is because the space in the name has proved tricky and I've only just sorted it out - I think. Waiting to hear from Martin.

Spending quite a bit of time reading about Python (the language I'm using to create these activities) in an attempt to sharpen my skills. I've also got Activity 4 firmly in mind - even a screen grab won't help you figure this one out but I'll show you anyway!

It's becoming obvious that I badly need my own XO box. I've just discovered that an animation in Turtle Machine which is designed to take 2 seconds takes 9 seconds on Martin's XO box. So it's obvious that the XO is less "grunty" than the boxes I'm using for development.

Oct 20th

A big day for the home team.

Finally got to see my first XO - actually TWO of them. Many thanks to Peter & Sandra - less than 1 hour away!

And Turtle Machine has finally been released.

But you'll notice that it took 7 versions before Martin & I considered it ready.

Oct 30th

You might put this 10 day hiatus down to lack of activity but in fact the reverse is true!

Lots of study - not just in the area of activity development but also lots of OLPC/Sugar history. But several highlights as well. A visit to the University of the Sunshine Coast would have to be top of the list! I even came home with a borrowed XO-1.5! But even better ... as a result of this visit I'm lined up to spend time with a Grade 5 class next week ... more of that after the event.

And the activity development hasn't slackened. Activity No 4 is now ready for final testing. It's a very simple activity - its name and a final screen grab should reveal all. It's called "Follow Me".