Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009




1. Rate each of the following out of 5:
Guest speaker: Rosemary about Timor Leste 3.5/5
Guest speak: Joel about the xo 4/5
Physics 2.5/5
SVG icon and Linux command line 4/5
Turtle Art 2/5
Other activity evaluation 1/5
Etoys 4.5/5
Scratch 5/5

Now write about
Three things that you learnt:
My experience and time using Sugar, I have learnt many things such as how to use command lines and switching images within the Sugar. I have also learnt how to manipulate and create interesting activities using eToys. In addition, Turtle Art gave me an understanding of code-scripting and taught me how to use codes/scripts properly. I have learnt a lot from Sugar, to which, have made me mature progressively in my understanding and application of computing.

Three things that you enjoyed:
I have enjoyed hacking Sugar because it was fun to do and also boosted my knowledge in that area, no matter how significant. I also enjoyed using eToys and the Physics activity because they were fun to play with. Overall Sugar can be quite fun.

Three things that you didn’t like:
I didn’t like Sugar’s UI because it wasn’t appealing and was tiresome to use. I also didn’t like listening to the guest speakers because their speeches were long and somewhat boring. Lastly, I didn’t like blogging after every single activity because it always tired me out.

Is the xo or olpc a good idea for the children of the developing world? State your opinion and give reasons.
The XO and the OLPC is a good idea for the children of the developing world because they are low on resources. The XO is a laptop that is power efficient, low-cost, shatter-proof, and extremely durable with fun educational content, which is perfect for the rugged terrain in developing countries. The OLPC is a good initiative in giving XOs to help children of the developing country who are suffering from lack of education and sadly, fun itself.


Complete a variety of labeled screenshots which illustrate the differences between these user interfaces.

Windows (WIMP – windows, icons, menus, pointers – as in MSOffice 2003)

Sugar (Frame replaces menubar, Journal replaces file system hierarchy, Community – didn’t work for us,)

Community Window.
Frame, Journal and etc.

Linux command line (similar to DOS)

Windows ( This new version does away with menus and toolbars and replaces them with new paradigms such as the Ribbon, Contextual Tabs, and Galleries)

Which user interface do you prefer. Rate them in order. Give reasons.
1. Windows (WIMP – windows, icons, menus, pointers – as in MSOffice 2003)
2. Windows (ribbons, contextual tabs, galleries – as in MSOffice 2007)
3. Sugar (Frame replaces menubar, Journal replaces file system hierarchy, Community – didn’t work for us,)
4.Linux command line (similar to DOS)

The reason that I made WIMP my first perference is because I love its layout and its simplicity, nearly anyone can use this easily. Another reason is that I grew up around WIMP and I feel comfortable using it than any other user interface.

I chose the Ribbon layout as a second preference simply because it is very similar to WIMP. Although it has areas where I like, such as the contextual tabs and galleries.

I chose the Sugar interface as my third perference because I have been using it throughout my time in my control technology class and without knowing it, I have grown quite fond of it.

Lastly, I chose the Linux command line as my last perference because it looks complicated and quite hard to use. Its interface is not appealing and I think it's more likely to be used by programmers and/or computer experts.

Have a look at this site which talks about the future of UI:
immersive cave
small screen (iphone)
ZUI zooming user interface
multi touch
digital media you can wear

What will the UI look like when you are 30 years old?

I believe in 15 years time, computers will be small enough to fit into an elastic band which, can project holographic images in front of the user. The holographic images can be felt, moved, tilted, panned, zoomed and resized. The holographic images show icons, windows, videos, music and about anything we can do today on our computers. The elastic band-like computers are portable and can be accessed just about anywhere. The computers can switch from any OS or use both at the same time depending on the user’s preference.

Here is a simple drawing of the above:

This is the last official blog I will do for this blogger account as it is the end of the school year. I've had fun writing these blogs and wish you all good luck in the future-good bye.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Comparisons: Scratch V eToys

Comparisons: Scratch V eToys

Partners: &

Asian-bruce-lee and I, decided to make two activities using the same outline but on totally different programs and different operating systems. The activity consisted of us making an object chase after another, both having different velocity and the ability to bounce off walls. Doing this, we could later compare the two programs and conclude which one gave better results.

I did the activity on Windows XP using the scratch program and asian-bruce-lee did it on the Sugar operating system using the eToys program.

Using the Scratch program, I made use of its control, motion, looks, variables and sound features. These features gave me the freedom to manipulate my objects’ shape and the ability to give them sound or appearance effects depending on my code-scripts/scripts.

I used the control function and created scripts that enabled one object to chase after the other; one object with a faster velocity. I then used both the motion and looks function to enable the objects to produce special effects when the two objects meet.
After doing so, I then created a score variable, setting that each time the objects would meet; the score variable would go up by one. I also made that the variables reset back to its default number, zero, each time the activity was restarted.

Following that I used the control function to make the objects bounce off the walls using a series of control scripts from the control function. To finish my activity, I then decided to add bonus effects in the activity to make it more entertaining to people. The bonus effects involved making the objects speak and also making them say different sentences/phrases.

eToys seemed harder than Scratch because the layout of all the scripts were very hard to find and they were named differently than they were in Scratch

For my script, I had to make one of the balls keep moving randomly and bouncing off the wall at a random angle. The other ball had to chase the first one at a slower speed. I made the second ball move forward at a slower random speed and head to the direction of the other ball it’s chasing.

For my chasing ball, I made it point to the other ball forever. Whenever the other ball was moving at a different direction, the chasing ball would follow it wherever it went.

With scripts:

Throughout the two activities on the two different programs, we found that Scratch was far easier to use and manipulate. It has an overall better and flexible layout allowing users to find scripts more efficiently. Scratch also benefits in its special effects, such as, changing an objects colour, size and adding background music.

However, eToys gives the user a variety of tools to draw and shape objects which can be used for activities or animations. It has advance scripts, which, are very detailed and can be manipulated to perform fantastic operations given by the user.

In terms of eToys and Scratch, the two programs are very adequate at performing the tasks given by the user. Taking into consideration the special effects of Scratch and the freedom of eToys drawing abilities, the two programs are quite on par with each other even though they specialise in different areas.

In conclusion, Scratch with its special effects and easy layout won against eToys. Although eToys has freedom in its drawing functions and advance scripting, it still wasn’t enough to win against Scratch. The two programs specialise in their own respective areas of scripting but even so, many people would choose Scratch over eToys due to its effects and layout.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Games Evaluation

Gcompress 'Traffic'

Ranking: 3.5/5 stars

The Traffic game is a puzzle game where the player must adjust his/her surroundings to create a path for their car to exit. The player must move the surroundings either vertically or horizontally in various and strategic ways training the player's mental problem solving skills.It is a very similar game compared to ‘RUSH,’ which is an online mathematics game. The main similarity is that both RUSH and Traffic operates the same way, as in, how the player interprets the puzzle and solves it.

A positive side to Traffic is that it incorporates its own design rather than completely plagiarising the original game, RUSH. Its design and layout is unique and has a simple feel to it. The colours involved in its design helps differentiates each surrounding and blocks from each other, making it easier for the player to identify a path for the player.

A negative side to Traffic is that it only has 5 levels and a dice button where it jumbles up the surroundings. This weighs the game down in its flexibility and the attention it gets from players due to having a small amount of levels, while RUSH has an amazing 12 levels.

Another factor is that with Traffic, all the levels have the same difficulty and even when the dice is used, the difficulty is still basically the same. However, RUSH has a progressing difficulty as the player advances towards the next level, giving the player more momentum to continue playing the game.

An interesting feature of Traffic is that it only takes up a small consumption of memory and still gives reasonable average graphics quality. It also helps players develop problem solving skills, as they play more and more.

In conclusion, the game has a very good concept and would make players enjoy playing it. Although the attention it pulls soon disperses because the game has an insufficient amount of levels and the same difficulty throughout the levels. With its features of problem solving and its skills in helping players develop their mental skills; Traffic is a perfect game for people around the age group of 10-17, the age where people need to train their mental minds the most.

A picture of Traffic:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Great Race

In the last few lessons in my control technology class, we have been learning and using the eToys program in Sugar. Throughout the few lessons we have made various script/code-ridden activities, as in, making objects move from one place to another or just to make an object follow a specified path.

As I accomplished each activity given by my teacher, my knowledge about the program and its usage grew enabling me to do a quite challenging activity called 'The Great Race,' which most of my classmates had also done. It consisted of scripts telling whether the objects could interact with another or how it could interact. Furthermore, it had a timer and a speed tracker to each car enabling us to have an accurate reading of what is going on. In addition to the timer and trackers, there are stop and start buttons just like in a game.

During the process of making 'The Great Race,' I encountered many annoying problems. The problems consisted of incorrect codes in scripts, the randomness of the car's speed makes the car react slower than usual enabling it to bypass the guide lines and many other trivial problems.

In the end, after making circle tracks, ellipse tracks and square tracks, I found that the square track gave me the best results. I ended up using the square track at a loss of the car's flexibility. It can only turn left and can no longer turn right but even with its loss, it was by far more successful than my earlier attempts.

Here is a screenshot of "The Great Race."

Here are the scripts used to make it.

The lessons spent so far on eToys have been fun and I look forward for the future lessons of this program, although some activities may be challenging, it is extremely worth the hardship for a moment of far-fetched laughter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Turtle Art

These past few lessons in Control Technology, we have been doing an activity on a program called Turtle Art which runs on the Sugar Operating System. The activity consisted of making shapes with codes and the Turtle being the guideline. The activity was challenging for me because I've never done any code editing programs such as the Turtle Art before and needed sometime until I eventually got used to the Turtle Art.

One of the parts that I struggled most with was understanding how to use the variables in Turtle Art to make shapes that contain its ration regardless of its size. My teacher and countless friends assisted me to thoroughly understand how variables were or can be used in Turtle Art, or other programs. I finally got the hang of it after a mind blowing 10 minutes and made a shape soon after with the use of variables, the following image represents what I made.

Here is the picture of the shape:

Here are the codes used to make the shape:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Replacing XO icon

These past few lessons my control technology class have been learning how to use the HTML KIT to make svg files. At first I made circles and then progressed onto making files with more versatility involved, of course with the help of my class mates and my teacher's instructional notes.

The goal for starting this topic was to replace/swap the original XO icon in the main interface of the Sugar Operating System with one you make using the HTML KIT.

* Here is a screen shot that I have cropped of the file I made:

After I made my icon, my teacher gave me and my class mates the instructions to replace/swap the icon in the main interface of Sugar. I followed the instructions and with luck, I successfully replaced the original XO icon with my own.

However some of my class mates couldn't replace the icons and some ended up corrupting the usb and needed to get their usbs flashed. On a good note, everyone in my class had fun and had enjoyed the lessons given to do this task.

* The finished product (:

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Joel Stanley Interview & Talk

Note: There will be two parts to this blog entry: one part will be a Q&A section and the other part is just some extra information in blog format. Also note that the Q&A section is not 100% accurate but only a slight difference to what had taken place.

Q: What do you do?

A: I am a student at Adelaide University and currently studying electrical and computer system engineering.

Q: What made you study?

A: I went to a Year 10 camp and after that I took a tour of University and that motivated me to study in the course that I do now.

Q: How did you learn how to touch type?

A: I learnt how to touch type by using MSN.

Q: What is your project?

A: Making XOs and testing them in an oven I bought on eBay to see if it withstood 65 degrees and it did. This was because the places that it was distributed were extremely hot.

Q: How long did you work on this?

A: 10 weeks.

* Joel shows a map on the projector *

Q: What is the green arrow on the map?

A: The green arrow is MIT and that was where I got my internship.

Q: What does MIT stand for?

A: MIT stands for Massachusetts Institute of Technology and that is where computers and the internet come from. The Guitar Hero also originated from there. The MIT buildings are very weird and are blocked shaped.

Q: Are you a Linux or Microsoft fan?

A: I am a Linux fan.

Q Why are you a Linux fan?

A: I am a Linux fan because it has free open source software.

* Joel opens another map *

Q: Why is there another arrow on the map?

A: The arrow there is pointing to Romania because they were going to get XOs. In Romania Macs are very expensive and everyone uses windows.

* Joel shows a picture of a rundown broken XO. *

Q: What happened to the XO?

A: It went through a trial and that trial caused the XO to be badly damaged.

Q: Aren't XOs really durable and strong?

A: They are strong but 1 in 500 will break to a normal drop.

* Joel shows a picture of him with electrical measuring equipment connected to an XO.

Q: What component in an XO used the most power?

A: The monitor used the most power and the CPU was next in line for high power usage.

Q: Do you have to check every XO for power usage?

A: No, only 1 in 1000 XOs is checked. The ones that are checked usually end up broken.

* Shows a picture of people developing the XO. *

Q: Who are they?

A: The woman is Mary Lou Jepson and she was the one who designed the display monitor on the XO. Another person in that photo is Richard Smith and he made the low level parts of the XO.

Q: What are the green sticks on an XO?

A: Excellent question, they are there to help lessen damage if the XO drops. The green sticks are also used as antennas for wireless communication.

* Shows a picture of another map with different coloured arrows and markers.

Q: Why are the pointers and markers different coloured?

A: The green markers are trial sites and the purple coloured ones are places that the XO are already being distributed. This is map is one year old.

Q: How long did you stay in America?

A: I stayed in America for approximately 3 months and had a lot of fun. I also worked with many other experience engineers and learned a lot.

Q: What courses did you take?

A: I took Maths 1, Maths 2, Physics, Geography and Accounting.


Joel told us that he instructed an eight year old girl and a ten year old boy how to reconstruct and repair an XO. He said on their first try they took around 30mins to fully repair it. He also showed us a video for proof. He then showed us another video about a campaign in America to buy two XOs. They keep one and donate the other to someone across the world that needs it.

After some chit-chat he told us that he was on a team helping to develop a Google Chrome for the Linux. Joel said he made it that Google Chrome could show the memory size of pictures on Google Chrome and the 'Proxy Settings button.'

The lesson was fun and I bet everyone in class had learnt a lot of new things regarding the XO.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Other Blogs

This recent blog entry was about other bloggers doing the same thing I am doing. I have moved this blog and its links to "My Blog list" which can be located on my side bar.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Internet / Activity

Today I further explored the Sugar Operating System and learnt how to set up my school's internet upon the Sugar Operating System. I did this by changing the default proxies and then I login into my school's account and access the internet.

After connecting to the internet on the Sugar Operating System, I thought I'd try a new activity on the Sugar Operating system, an activity I've never played before. I played the JigSaw activity, at first, I tried to solve a picture on an advanced setting but it was too hard and after many tries, I quitted and tried the beginner level. As you can see I am very bad at Solving Jigsaw puzzles and even on the beginner level, I still needed help, so I asked a friend and miraculously he solved it within seconds. I was astonished and asked him how he did it but all he said was that it was easy. This made me feel uneasy because it left me in doubt, am I really that slow?

Here is a screenshot of what happened ;)
I purposely left the last piece to make it a bit more entertaining? I guess?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Guest Visitors

Today in our Control Tech class we had guest speakers, Rosemary and David, talking about their journey to East Timor/Timorleste. They explained how the XO was helping the country little by little and also explained about the country’s social issues.

The first topic they mentioned was that East Timor was once a Portugal country but then Portugal had left and in 1975 the Indonesians invaded. They pulled out in 1999. Rosemary also mentioned that foreigners were called Mallai which literally means 'White Man' in Tetun. Most foreigners are from the United States or Australia and would you rarely see anyone else visiting East Timor since its tourism is still undeveloped. To prove this, East Timor only has two residential areas for foreigners, which are the beach and a rundown hotel behind it. They also told us that in 2006, a civil war broke out between the Timorese which caused many casualties and that sparked the arrival of the United Nations and The Australian Army to keep the peace in the country. Just recently the country just nationalise Portugal as their main language, although, some people use the local language called Tetun.

Deanne works in a village and made a project to help people bring water supply to the locals, this is so that women don’t have to do this themselves. Deanne uses trolleys to bring the water supply down. Rosemary told us that Deanne and many other foreigners here are missionaries from various countries, some sent by churches, to help out in East Timor.

Rosemary told us that they met a boy called Lukas at the age of 8 and his sister at the age of 5 and they could clearly understand English. Most children have no exposure to English so they said they were really surprised as to Lukas and his sister understanding English. They later found out that Lukas and his sister were the offspring of a missionary family, so that is what gained them their skills in English.

They also told us that nearly everyone in East Timor had access to scooters and that the local price for gas and petrol refill was an average of $2.50. East Timor uses US currency so everything is expensive to even us Australians. Most children don't go to school because of poverty and some who do go to missionaries or official schools with poor school equipment. The education standard over in East Timor is so bad that most University students in East Timor are only considered to be a grade 10 in Australia. The poverty is so bad that most houses don't have proper flooring, heating, water supply, electricity and many more simple accommodating factors.

Rosemary continued and told us about a store called Leader in Dilly which was a 'Big W' style shop over there. It had western food, western furniture and western appliances which are usually for foreigners. David, co-guest, also worked nearby for a project called the N.G.O. IT forum. This project aims to help people with access to net, computers and to aid IT skills at an affordable rate. To provide net coverage, they built a tower containing a router, connecting people to net. Usually doing this would have very slow internet speed, luckily they have great net connection so the net speed is averaged out and is at a fine rate.

David and Rosemary also mentioned that working with locals in partnership gives them a better understanding of the situation so it is easier to solve and aid the locals in need. It is like hitting two birds with one stone. From this David has taught and helped many locals to use the internet, use of phones and programming of phones. Most locals have never even see a phone in their entire life, so some of the women found it awkward and hysterical as they used the phones. David taught the locals this so that they can use the phone for assistance and for emergencies due to most people are distanced and have no other way of communicating with each other.

Rosemary explained the main purpose of her visit, which is a brief explanation about how the XO is being used over in East Timor and its benefits to the civilians. She said that the XO was being used for teaching children skills in English, Mathematics and many more. It also helps develop a lesson which only consists of the teacher telling the students what needs to be done and they will therefore write/answer it in the XO. The XO is also very durable and this is very good for curious children mucking around with the XO. It is also very energy efficient, using low amounts of battery power and some using solar energy which is very cost-efficient, perfect for the locals in East Timor.

Warren, missionary from the US, was said to be teaching the locals English and apparently taught a boy named Syntus who is now working full time for the Australian Army. He now spends his free time translating in a church in Dilly which hosts up to 90 people. The church has made the locals have more hope and they now perform Baptism on the day of newly births.

Rosemary told us about a project called Green PC which was a Melbourne based development to train local residents on how to use computers and to repair computers thus making a profit out of it. Some are taken to Australia by Andrew, one of the heads of Green PC, for six month computer maintenance training. After that he will send them back and get another six East Timor locals back to Australia and start the training process again.

The last topic Rosemary and David told us was how they flew to a town which had a Project run by nuns teaching local East Timor girls hospitality, cooking, use of utensils, use of cooking equipment and cleanliness. On the way to the town, they encountered a mass of clouds usually the ones that might start Monsoons. Rosemary told us that nothing was visible except for the clouds which made it dangerous for them but luckily the pilot saw a hole in the dispersed clouds and landed safely.

Here are some Pictures of what happened

27th July / Physics Activity

Today I am mucking around with the Physics activity, it is really fun and good for children to develop the basics of physics. The activity has many features which allow the user to move, grab, drag, draw, place, motor, pin, joint, play and pause objects in the activity. There are a wide variety of objects such as the, Polygon, Triangle, Circle and objects that you can draw. This makes it simulate what would happen in real-life in a somewhat mild simulation rather than a professional simulation.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Impression of Sugar OS

My first impression of the Sugar Operating System was that the interface and commands looked extremely unique compared to the commonly known operating systems used in school, like the Microsoft Windows XP Operating System, but it also looks a tad bit similar to the Linux Operating System. The Sugar Operating System has a special but complex navigation system, but once you are adapted to it, you are sure to navigate very easily and freely. I was surprised that the Sugar Operating System was running on a slim, compact and uniquely small notebook called the XO. The size of the XO and its use surprised me because it was very small and very much portable as well as some versions of the XO could twist its screen to a full 180 degrees.

The contents of this operating system targets children and teaches them the starting point in the use of computers and the-like because it has spectacular and unique programs which allows children to develop their skills in English, Maths and computing in a fun and non-boring manner.