[Etoys] Impressions on B1 Machine

Yoshiki Ohshima yoshiki at squeakland.org
Thu Nov 30 15:07:08 EST 2006


  Since we (people at Viewpoints Research) got couples of B1 Machines,
we've been experimenting with them.  All in all, it is really nice to
have the machine!

  First some comments and questions:

  * Unfortunately, the touch pad is not working well.  To experiment
    various (software related) stuff on the machine, using an external
    mouse makes a lot of sense.

  * The infrastructure mode of wireless works with my 802.11b wireless
    router.  However, we are having hard time to do it with our office
    network.  It is to do with the router is 802.11g, the wep key is
    different or some other reasons.

  * Is there any way to set up ad hoc (mesh) network between units?  I
    think I saw a wiki entry that says it is not working perfectly,
    but would like to try it.

  Now, a bit of my thought:

  Speaking of experiments, I would like to encourage the developers to
use Etoys in various ways.  It is pretty much the only thing that you
can *make* something on the actual machine, currently.  For
application designers and developers, or content designers, it should
give some sense on what it is like to do stuff on it.  Its UI is
different from the standard OLPC idioms, but the available
functionality of Etoys and Squeak still let you do a lot of

  For example, there is a paint tool in Etoys.  If you would like to
feel the painting experience on the machine, you can try it in Etoys.
It comes will the real-time collaboration, so you can experiment a
real-time collaborative painting, for example, with two B1 machines.
(Once Sugar gets its own painting tool, we would like to use it, or at
least modify the look of the Squeak's painting tool so that it
imitates the native painting tool.)

  If you think that constructionist approach is a good idea, it would
be good to think that kids should *make* stuff by themselves to learn
stuff.  For example, I think that the things like Memory game are
something to be written by children.  Also, there was some discussion
on a clock application: waking up the machine is out of scope of
Etoys, but the other part, making a functioning clock, is something an
elementary school children can do in Etoys.  Instead of giving a
nicely done, professional looking clock from us, it would be great to
see kids-made versions.

  This means that what we should write is to create the materials on
how to make such games or things.  We have a few examples in Etoys.
Launch Etoys on it, and press "All" button.  In the file list, go to
"ExampleEtoys" and choose one.  If you say that the curriculum is
supposed to be something to be built by the local goverments and
users.  So, we should make an authoring tool to make such materials.

  Viewing source code was under discussion.  The implementation
langauge of Etoys, again, is different from the standard language on
OLPC, so it wouldn't serve as a prototype or mockup.  That said, Etoys
already have built-in development facility that expose all source code
in the system.  One may get some idea from there.  (Is somebody going
to write a Python development environment for children?)

  For the basic concepts, take a look at: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Sugar_EToys

  If you don't have your own projects, Etoys try to load a default
project and it takes some time (too much time).  Once you make one,
the start up time is almost acceptable

  We are actively improving Etoys.  To try the latest stuff please


and copy/replace the etoys-2.0-1133.image to:


If you are interested in developing something in it, download:


and launch the image with a Squeak VM that you already have on your

  Thank you!

-- Yoshiki

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