[etoys-dev] Re: [sq-everyone] etoys suggestions from bill

Timothy Falconer timothy at squeakland.org
Mon Aug 31 12:21:37 EDT 2009

Added this issue:




On Jul 18, 2009, at 10:52 PM, Milan Zimmermann wrote:
> Without forwarding the "fault", I wonder if some of the problems is  
> related to
> Sugar immaturity, and  hardware problems such as "stuck alt key". I  
> had a
> stuck Alt key on my XO and Etoys behavior in this situation was  
> completely
> unpredictable, with lockups one of the prime results. For the  
> longest time I
> did not believe it was the stuck alt key as it was unpredictable.  
> But once
> fixed, things got much better. The other problem is definitely the  
> touchpad -
> I stopped using XO without a mouse.
> What Sugar version these XOs use?
> But we need to go through the system identifying when fonts or "target
> clickable areas" should increase. Tim, do you have some concrete  
> suggestions -
> we should turn this into BUG ...
> Also, maybe we (etoys developers) can setup a mechanism (or just a  
> "process")
> of describing how to save a project with errors and send it (ftp/ 
> http/email)
> to Squeakland.
> Commenting inline on some of the issues.
> ----------  Forwarded Message  ----------
> Subject: Re: [sq-everyone] etoys suggestions from bill
> Date: June 23, 2009
> From: Yoshiki Ohshima <yoshiki at vpri.org>
> To: everyone at squeakland.org
>  Thank you for the comments.  Critical comment is always welcome.
>  One thing that would have really helped was to know that there is a
> kind of emergency stop feature; pressing Alt-. stops all running
> scripts, and often breaks out "locked up" situations.
>  Other things are fair points.  The menu bar once didn't halo but it
> was put back (probably for a wrong reason) and things are (still) too
> small on XO.
> -- Yoshiki
> At Tue, 23 Jun 2009 08:13:53 -0400,
> Timothy Falconer wrote:
>> Begin forwarded message:
>>    From: william at waveplace.com
>>    Date: June 22, 2009 9:05:41 PM EDT
>>    To: Timothy Falconer <timothy at squeakland.org>
>>    Subject: Re: [sq-everyone] software team meet, 22-june-2009
>>    Hey Tim -
>>    Read this email after another tough lesson for the teachers with  
>> eToys.
> I'm not sure if the developers realize the
>>    ramification of user issues in the field.
> Probably not fully, but we have some experiences. I gave the XO to  
> my fellow
> developer, who seemed to be little deliberate in trying to break the
> experience , but in any case he managed to make not only Etoys, but  
> also Sugar
> unusable  within minutes almost every time. Starting multiple  
> applications,
> clicking randomly, make the system really crawl or stop. I guess  
> part of it is
> due to hardware low power, part due to immaturity. I think already  
> the later
> versions (e.g. Sugar on the stick), are more stable then the XO   
> default
> installations.
>>    Today was a lesson in frustration as I was just trying to teach  
>> a simple
>>    Test lesson.  Everyone was quietly working.  After they had some  
>> time
> with it for a while I asked if there were any
>>    problems.  Sure enough everyone had one.  When I went to look it  
>> was
> just painful
>>    One project was completely locked up, even after I spent five -  
>> ten
> minutes trying to fix it.  Nothing but the
>>    cursor would move.
> Was the author able to switch to another Sugar application?
>>    Could not begin to see what was wrong or even save it as the  
>> most of the
> scripts were partially
>>    off the page and the viewer blocked the keep icon.  So I forced  
>> quit -
> loosing everything.
> Alt . (Alt and dot preseed) are sometimes the only way out. Although  
> I need it
> much less with the later Sugar releases and after alt key was  
> unstuck...
>>    Another teacher had a
>>    slowly rotating book, which had bogged down the system,  
>> requiring a slow
> and tedious process of trying to switch off
>>    scripts as they were revealed and disappeared.  (The rotating book
> blocked the etoys tool bar so no way to get into
>>    the supply bin for stop all scripts commands.)
> Would it make sense to  force the Navigation Bar to stay always up  
> (unless
> exaplicitly requested). What do others think about that?
>>    Another project just had minor errors, fixed those and it still
>>    didn't work.  Some more trouble shooting finally revealed that  
>> the sound
> system of the entire XO had ceased working.
> I have experienced this as well, but have no idea where to start. It  
> seems
> Sugar related clearly
>>    All this took time that could of been spent learning etoys.  I  
>> didn't
> even get to the next two computers with
>>    problems.  Everyone was frustrated and fried and it started to  
>> pour and
> they had to head home as the roads get
>>    pretty bad in the rain - and we all just agreed to meet again  
>> early in
> the morning.
>>    Anyways wrote this suggestion list immediately after.  Cutting and
> pasting it here -
>>    Am writing from the front line of the eToys battles, in this  
>> case the
> small remote fishing village of Petite Riviere
>>    Des Nippes in Haiti, where I have been training kids and  
>> teachers for
> the past week.
>>    Believe me when I say that I have witnessed the horrors of eToys  
>> in the
> hands of untrained professionals.
>>    Specifically those who have never touched a computer before and  
>> working
> with a language other than English.   More
>>    times than I care to remember, I have watched the dream of
> constructionism die a cold hard death in a nightmare of
>>    locked up XOs and scattered and lost tiles and sketches and  
>> scripts.
>>    First it is imperative for the programmers to actually work with  
>> eToys
> on the XO to get an idea of the problem.
> Most of us do qute a lot (although I admit, not full time myself). I  
> am sorry
> for your frustration.
>>    It
>>    is is much more difficult to use it there than on a PC or Mac.
> Everything is smaller and requires much more skill
>>    to find and manipulate, especially with the XO's less than perfect
> trackpad.  Plus they should preferably test out
>>    eToys on the XO by creating a book with at least a dozen pages and
> filled with numerous sketches and scripts.  (And
>>    then have a number of those scripts contain errors.)   Keep in  
>> mind that
> a PC or Mac is many many times more
>>    powerful and can take up that slack - but that scenario on an XO  
>> is
> painful.
> I have books with 6-7 pages with flashing and turning objects and  
> they run
> quite well on the XO. I wonder if during the traing, is possible,  
> when you
> experience a problem to save the project and send it  to etoys-dev?
> I will as I said create a "personal stress test projects and  
> process" for
> Etoys on future Sugar releases. Hope that will uncover some problems
>>    So first off there needs to be an emergency save and exit keyboard
> command - when everything goes to hell and eToys
>>    locks up.
> As above - Alt and dot pressed at the same time is sometimes the  
> only way out
> - please try it and let us know.
>>    As the viewer is over the keep and exit icons when it's up,  
>> that's not
> an option.  Also - sometimes you
>>    can close and save eToys from the sugar frame, but usually not.
> Hmmm this seems Sugar or speed related. But I have seen it as well.  
> What
> version of Sugar these XOs use?
>>    Also the active area for clicking the Halo icons needs to be  
>> larger.  As
> it is it is too easy to miss the icon -
>>    thus closing Halo and having to start over.  The heading arrow is
> especially hard to click.  Also when you click
>>    with left button by mistake to open the halo - you are suddenly  
>> in pick
> up mode and need to click the left button
>>    again to get out of it so you can then click the right button.   
>> Would be
> nice if the right button could just cut
>>    in.
> I am not I understand but think this would prevent regular mouse use  
> for other
> situations
>>    Also - manipulating the halo icons requires switching back to  
>> the left
> button.   Would be nice if either left
>>    or right button worked worked for that.
>>    As for the book.  Difficult to impart the pain I've gone through  
>> because
> of that removable navigation bar.
> This is corrected in latest Etoys release.
>>    Takes
>>    just one wrong click to remove it from the book.  In theory you  
>> could
> re-embed it again, but that too is fraught
>>    with danger.  One it's a pain to explain and do - specially for  
>> a kid.
> Plus the last time I did it, it only let me
>>    embed it to a page, not to the book.  So as soon as you turned  
>> the page,
> it was goodbye to the navigation bar - as
>>    well as to ever being able to turn the page again - thus  
>> essentially
> destroying the book.
> Fortunately, this should no longer be a problem in the latest Etoys  
> release.
> The question is how to get it on your XOs...
>>    On that same note, if you right click the eToys main navigation  
>> bar, you
> get the halo along with the delete icon.
>>    If you then accidently click the delete icon, the main  
>> navigation bar is
> deleted.  Why in God's holy name is this
>>    even possible?  What purpose does this serve, other than tears  
>> for the
> child and to drive people like me insane
>>    while trying to rescue the project?
> This is in spirit of "authoring always on". But I agree with you.  
> There should
> be na *option* to never remove the Navigation Bar - another BUG  
> candidate?
>>    Anyways I have many, many more suggestions from the field to  
>> make eToys
> better, but for now these are the ones to
>>    address right away.
>>    It is important to keep in mind the circumstances that etoys  
>> will be
> used under.  It's not always an air conditioned
>>    classroom filled with new Macs.   Instead it may be a hot humid,  
>> cramped
> and falling apart area with no electricity
>>    or lights, with kids and teachers fighting frustration as they  
>> try and
> make it all work on a tiny, low powered XO.
>>     To make the dream work for them, eToys has to become less about  
>> the
> challenge of physically making it work and more
>>    about the challenge of discovering what they can do with it.
> Thanks for you feedback, we need to hear it, good and bad.
> Milan
> -------------------------------------------------------

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