Tag Archives: Sugar

Wikislicing project gets real – introducing InfoSlicer as a Sugar Activity

Scissor-style information slicing
Scissor-style information slicing

A photo of old school remixing – printing out Wikipedia articles and recombining them. 🙂

This was a fun learning exercise as part of an IBM Extreme Blue student project creating a Sugar Activity called InfoSlicer.

Instead of using scissors, you can now slice information by downloading Wikipedia articles, editing and remixing them, and reading them online. also uploading edits to Wikipedia (Edited: woops, that was part of our use case and it should work in the future because it was designed with that extension in mind).

Under the covers it is using the Darwin Information Typing Architecture, also known as DITA (dih-tuh), a standard set of DTDs (or schemas) that allow sharing of open source transformations and an open toolkit implementation. See dita-ot.sourceforge.net for more information.

Watch a demo of the InfoSlicer Activity in action here:

This Activity was part of the Wikislice Project. We met our goal of creating custom curriculum materials from Wikipedia for OLPC but we still have work we want to do to help teachers use it.

I can hear all the librarians and teachers of the world saying together – cool!

blogging OLPC techpubs

BookSprint for Floss Manuals writing for the XO and Sugar

I’ve been busy lately working on plans for a Floss Manuals BookSprint. A BookSprint is a week-long concentrated effort of technical writers getting together to create a manual for free, libre open source software products. BookSprints are like a workshop where writers come together to learn how to write good user documentation. BookSprints are also a social experience where writers come together to form a community who share common goals and experiences.

Writers are giving a week’s time to be curators of information housed in wikis and websites everywhere, bringing it all together into the FLOSS Manual TWiki implementation to be ready for online viewing or gorgeous print output. If you’re interested in joining us for a day or all week, we’d love to have you. We’re planning to invite local students to the event also.

This picture shows the recent Inkscape BookSprint held in Paris France. We’re planning to hold the XO/Sugar BookSprint here in Austin, but I’m guessing the collection of laptops and cables will be the same here as there!

Inkscape BookSprint in Paris
Inkscape BookSprint in Paris

In this case, we’ll produce a comprehensive manual for the kids, families, and teachers using the little green XO laptop. While the manual that exists at flossmanuals.net/olpc_simple is a targeted effort, it is outdated for the new line drawn between hardware (XO) and operating system (Sugar). Our hope is to expand the manual in advance of the new expanded Give 1 Get 1 program will give educators and children a chance to learn about their laptop, repair it, program with it, and teach others.

What can you do to help? Right now, I’m raising money and asking for in-kind donations to help with this concentrated effort. Here are some ideas, although you can come up with creative ideas yourself if you want!

$500 would provide hotel accommodations for a writer
$250 would provide a catered lunch for all the writers
$100 would provide gas money for many writers all week

Updated to add: You can also directly give donations at http://en.flossmanuals.net/donate.

Sponsorship earns not only good “whuffie” but we’ll list your name or business name on these websites: FLOSS Manuals, JustWriteClick, Sugar Labs, and OLPC.

An exciting aspect of this BookSprint is the international effort behind it. Adam Hyde, founder of Floss Manuals, is planning to make the trek to Austin from Amsterdam, and there’s a French Floss Manuals coordinator working behind the scenes to ensure that the document can be translated to French. I’m also working with Yama Ploskonka, admin of the OLPC-Sur list of Spanish-speaking OLPC supporters to find Spanish language translators.

All in all, this is a very exciting effort and I’d love to get readers of JustWriteClick involved in any way you’d like. I’m very excited to be part of this effort and pleased to play host – let’s gather some more community around the BookSprint to make it a success.


Audience considerations – writing technical doc for kids, parents, and teachers for One Laptop Per Child

I’ve recently (read:last week) learned that there is active recruiting going on for end-user documentation for One Laptop Per Child. The OLPC project, as it is also known as, is Nicholas Negroponte’s education project that hoped to build a US$100 laptop and take it to developing countries. It turns out, the product they plan to ship this fall with the Give 1 Get 1 program at xogiving.org is closer to US$188. For $400 you get to give one laptop and get another laptop. Wow, what a neat project and what an amazing difference it could make in the life of a child.

OLPC class in Nigeria

So far I am reading like crazy to try to understand the project and its audience, especially to understand the language and translation ramifications. So I have plenty to offer in background reading, such as these items:

The OLPC Wiki – OLPCWiki – wiki.laptop.org/
Laptop: A learning tool created … – www.laptop.org/laptop/
Vision: Children in the … – www.laptop.org/vision/index.shtml
Children: Children actively … – www.laptop.org/children/

FAQ for OLPC – http://wiki.laptop.org/go/OLPC_FAQ

Especially good to read are the core principles: (1) child ownership; (2) low ages; (3) saturation; (4) connection; and (5) free and open source.

Last night I was even able to emulate the Sugar operating system using a great how-to emulate Sugar and the XO article on IBM’s developerworks site.

Unfortunately, after I created my user name, clicked Next, and then clicked the colors to make my “person” blue with a yellow outline, the emulator went into some reboot loop from which I could not escape. Every subsequent attempt to start up the emulator met with an X in the middle of the emulated screen.

To the OLPC Wiki I went, searched for “emulate” and found “Using QEMU on Windows XP,” and “Emulating the XO/Help and Tips” trying to troubleshoot my problem and see if anyone else had a similar situation. Interestingly, I found the “GUI won’t start” problem in the Sugar instructions wiki page. So I am deleting the original disk image I downloaded and trying to unzip it again.

And… that was it! I’m probably going to move that bit of troubleshooting information over to that Help and Tips page. Here’s the screenshot with proof that I can emulate the Sugar environment on my Dell laptop:

XO emulated

I’m very excited to be a part of this effort. If you’re interested in helping out, and don’t mind a chaotic process with references to wiki information that’s not necessarily the final answer to your questions, and want to translate things like “The units will ship with some kind of human-powered charger that plugs into the DC socket.” into child-friendly minimal task-oriented documentation, please email me using the Contact page.