[squeak-dev] Etoys developer meeting notes

Bert Freudenberg bert at freudenbergs.de
Mon Apr 19 21:20:01 UTC 2010

Hi folks,

we just had another nice chat on #etoys. This week, Derek O'Connell joined, famed Audio/Video Linux Scratcher :) 

* Karl (single-mom) and Bert (triple-dad) talked about the Monticello-based updates
* Tim brought up release priorities and timing. Fixes, DrGeo and translated Quickguides are going to be in for sure, the rest depends on if someone finds time to work on it. We'll be wiser closer to the release (tentatively between mid-june and mid-august).
* auto-updating would be nice, but we do not know how to make it work for all platforms. If someone has ideas, please speak up.
* there still are issues with the showcase server, but we need further data. If you notice something odd please report on the tracker.
* Derek ("matmo") talked about camera/video issues. Wants to switch Scratch over to the V4L plugin because it has more knobs to twiddle. OTOH, Scratch's CameraPlugin works on platforms other then Linux, so maybe that would be nicer for Etoys?
* Derek also suggested WolframAlpha as a possible data source for Etoys, in particular with the visualizations Ricardo is working on. If you have not done so you have to watch this intro:

And then the hour was over. You are welcome to join next week, same place same time :)

Full log below.

- Bert -

<bertf> hi folks
<scottwal> hello
--> matmo (~chatzilla at doconnel.force9.co.uk) has joined #etoys
<ritaf> hi
<matmo> hi all (Derek O'Connell)
--> teefal (~teefal at c-66-30-2-7.hsd1.ma.comcast.net) has joined #etoys
*** Mode #etoys +o teefal by ChanServ
<teefal> hi everyone
<bertf> hi Derek
<matmo> hi Bert. I finally made it on time :-)
--> killring (~killring at has joined #etoys
<bertf> matmo: nice :)
<bertf> I just invited folks from #squeak ...
<teefal> great
<teefal> i'm sitting here in cambridge with adam holt of OLPC
<bertf> ah. say hi :)
<sm> g'day all
--> karlram (~51aa9a7e at skylab.immuexa.com) has joined #etoys
<bertf> hi karl
<karlram> hi
<bertf> looks like we're getting some more participants :) 
<-- ohshima (~ohshima at has quit (Ping timeout: 248 seconds)
<karlram> could you use any of the stuff i did in the monticello etoys ?
<bertf> karl: the packaging, sure
<karlram> cool
<bertf> well did not use it yet
<walterbender> hi all
<karlram> hi
<bertf> hi walter 
<teefal> adam says hi everyone
<karlram> hi
<bertf> karlram: we're going to need to apply your partitioning
<karlram> ok
<bertf> before we can really switch to the MC updates
<karlram> you need changesets?
<bertf> I got one from your image
<bertf> teefal: meetingstarted already ;)
<teefal> (helps grep the logs)
<bertf> karl, did you look at my stuff yet?
<karlram> i have not had time yet
<bertf> no prob
<karlram> wife out of town and im a single mom :-)
<teefal> since we have a few more people this week, would it be good to discuss when to target for another general release?
<teefal> summer, etc
<bertf> karl: I might not have time to work on it until next weekend either. we'll see
<teefal> we had earlier discussed mid-june
<karlram> mid june seems early
<teefal> yes ... mid-august?
<teefal> gives us 4 months
<bertf> karlram: what do you want to get in for the release?
<karlram> we have talked about drgeo
<karlram> is that still a go
<bertf> yes
<karlram> nice
<bertf> we have changeset that hopefully will just work
<bertf> hilaire was here last week
<bertf> he said he also has some fixes
<bertf> but in principle this should still just work
<bertf> so I'm actually optimistic about an early deadline, not much stuff in the pipeline we have to wait for :) 
<bertf> teefal: did you file something about the load/save issue?
<teefal> my personal priorities:    1) new load & save boxes,   2) new visuals for paint box,  3) new visuals for object catalog,  4) better OOBE (out-of-box experience (aka, home and gallery),  5) auto-updating
<bertf> this came up on the sugar list again today
<karlram> there a quite a few bugfixes
<karlram> teefal : good list
<bertf> karlram: I'm aware of about 10 that are ready to go
<matmo> I'm looking into any AV issues on Linux versions of Squeak, Scratch & Etoys this week, first on desktop, then on the XO
<teefal> are there any "big features"  ?
<teefal> other than dr geo
<karlram> is there a "target" we can give bug fixes
<bertf> teefal: don't think so
<karlram> matmo: nice
<bertf> matmo: great!
<teefal> okay, so if this is what we have to do ... what do we call it?
<karlram> bertf : monticello ?
<teefal> also, is there any under-the-hood stuff?
<teefal> like monticello
<bertf> karlram: what do you mean by "target"
<karlram> to mark a fix ready for a release?
<bertf> Monticello should not affect the user experience
<teefal> we have "etoys 5 and showcase"
<teefal> you want something more granular
<teefal> close = ready for release
<teefal> resolve = ready for test
<karlram> is next release etoys 5
<teefal> http://wiki.squeakland.org/display/sq/Process
<teefal> that's the question, karl
<teefal> let's say we manage to do this
<teefal> new visuals for home, paint, object catalog, load & save boxes
--> ohshima (~ohshima at adsl-76-214-9-179.dsl.lsan03.sbcglobal.net) has joined #etoys
<teefal> same functionality
<teefal> doesn't feel like a major release
<teefal> but from a documentation standpoint it is
<teefal> at least a screenshot standpoint
<teefal> load/save will be different a bit in functionality
<bertf> provided anybody is going to work on your wish list
<karlram> it would be nice if the paint visuals would be easier to add functionality to
<teefal> yeah, i'd like several extensible options
<teefal> some kind of gallery like thing ... object catalog like thing ... that's extensible for updates outside the release
<karlram> bertf: that is the question
<teefal> could be part of auto-updating
<bertf> I'm still undecided if a major release number is warranted. but it does not hurt to decide later when we know better what is going to be in the release
<teefal> okay, we could call it etoys 2010 for now :)
<karlram> teefal: then we have plenty of time
<bertf> teefal: as long as you don't go through the tracker and trash all priorities I'm fine with whatever you call it for now
<teefal> i see this release as smoothing things out for the users
<teefal> making it easier, more appealing, easier to update, etc
<teefal> finessing
<teefal> easy to get to the point where you like it
<teefal> get them well past "now what?"
<karlram> the new quickguides are a must
<bertf> karlram: that goes without saying
<teefal> a mechanism for auto-updating those as well as translations?
<bertf> though I did list translations as #1 priority last week :)
<bertf> teefal: I don't see auto-updating as a necessity
<teefal> hey bert, is there any kind of jabber stuff in etoys now?
<teefal> or squeak?
<bertf> there isa package for jabber IIRC. bnot in Etoys
<teefal> auto-updating for translations is a big deal from my end
<teefal> if possible
<teefal> getting the translations going on 200 to 2000 laptops in haiti :)
<teefal> with new ideas coming in regularly
<teefal> "Would you like to download the latest translations?"
<teefal> etc
<bertf> you could put translations in the XO bundle
<bertf> and SUgar has a mechanism for updating those
<bertf> but implementing a general update mechanism that works on all platforms? very hard.
<teefal> well, bert, what do you think?   independent of who does work?
<bertf> think about what?
<teefal> ah, sorry, was answering to a line above
<teefal> got lost in the scroll
<ohshima> For easier use and more appealing etc., fixing the showcase server would be good, too.
<teefal> what specific fixes, yoshiki?
<teefal> okay, well, send an email, gotta continue my talk with adam
<ohshima> JIRA would show them, right?  It takes 15 seconds just to look at a page, comments misfires all the time, project linking changes wrong project's name, no non-latin1 support, etc., etc.
<teefal> pages should be loading faster
<teefal> non-latin1 is known
<teefal> misfires and linking still a problem?
<teefal> need more examples rather than say "all the time"
<teefal> examples
<teefal> doing my best ... bye all
<karlram> could we distribute bye
<matmo> bye
<karlram> sorry, bye :-)
<bertf> matmo: would you need any input form our side?
<bertf> from
<bertf> it would be cool to give the GStreamer stuff a second look, foe video playback
<matmo> not yet thanks, just make me aware of any issues not logged. Found one problem in etoys video today
<bertf> well there are many  guess :)
<bertf> I had it on my todolist to make xv overlay work for video playback, that would be awesome
<matmo> gst would be nice but first v4l since it's use across the three (one stone, three birds :-) )
<ohshima> It does take 10-15 seconds still so giving examples is hard^^; On http://squeakland.org/showcase/project.jsp?id=9781, Richo's comment was supposed to go to my project, Also on http://squeakland.org/showcase/project.jsp?id=9781 my comment was supposed to go to my projects.  The name of http://squeakland.org/showcase/project.jsp?id=9783 was changed.
<bertf> matmo: I thought Scratch used its own Camera plugin, the theV4L plugin?
<teefal> okay, will look into it
<matmo> I will check out xv but overlay prevents doing interesting things like sampling colour at certain points (eg, simple movement detector)
<bertf> matmo: that's the trick  - cheat but don't get caught ;)
<matmo> yep, Scratch camera plugin use v4l internally. Scratch video protocol is simple but I have prodded John today about replacing it with the v4l plugin
<bertf> oh, why?
<matmo> why what?
<bertf> I rather thought Etoys might switch to the Camera plugin 
<bertf> so we get camera on the other platforms too
<matmo> v4l give much more control over say brightness, contrast, etc
<bertf> but in Scracth you already have image filters ...
<matmo> doesn't help if the picture is crap to start off with ;-)
<bertf> IIRC the brightness controls in the v4l plugin are just post-processing the image too
<matmo> and time consuming
<bertf> and the XO camera does auto-gain which I think can't be disabled
<matmo> possibly but camera capabilities vary, eg, on the N900 it can do focusing even though fixed lens
<bertf> yes. I just think that's not exposed in the plugin
<bertf> anyway, great that you are looking into that :)
<bertf> strictly on Linux though, right?
<bertf> AV on other platforms could use some overhaul too ...
<matmo> is there a general preference for simpler video interface like Scratch?
<matmo> Linux, yep, only
<matmo> (me now almost completely weaned off windows)
<bertf> I wouldn't say preference, but so far the camera is underused in Etoys so a simpler vesion would be okay IMHO
<matmo> ok, I'll takie it into account (but then none of the compexity should surface to end user, only optios)
<bertf> but I have a strong preference for it working identically across platforms
<matmo> (options)
<bertf> right
<matmo> Is this a good time to mention WA idea?
<bertf> if you feel so :)
<bertf> Randy was busy preparing math lessons for haiti
<bertf> guess that's why he did not respond yet
<matmo> Quick version: anyone interested in pulling WolframAlpha results directly into etoys?
<matmo> re Randy, not yet but that explains why, thanks
<bertf> I don't think WolframAlpha is really well known yet, so you might have to explain more. but it would be awesome :)
<bertf> Though I have no idea yet how this could look like in Etoys.
<matmo> http://www.wolframalpha.com/screencast/introducingwolframalpha.html ...
<bertf> but  for the table data stuff Richo is working on this would be an excellent data source
<matmo> it's the inferences that a search returns that is most interesting, to me at least. Could be good to inspire children to expand their investigations into the real world
<bertf> well, they could use a browser for that
<matmo> probably the difficult part is what to do with unexpected results but certainly Richo work would be good for presentation
<matmo> browser yes, much better integrated don't you think?
<matmo> otherwise cut&paste (then what?) distracting
<matmo> anyway, I don't want to hijack the discussion so I'll leave the idea sitting their until feedback
<matmo> (there)
<karlram> i did some simple stuf for motion tracing :http://wiki.laptop.org/images/5/54/JournalMorph.005.pr
<karlram> wrong, here http://wiki.laptop.org/images/6/6c/CamTrack-1.xo
<matmo> karlram: thanks, I'll take a look
<bertf> hehe. yeah,  we'd need an educator or a scientist really to come up with ideas to use those data properly in Etoys
<karlram> ricos stuff is nice
<bertf> okay, one hour is up, anything more for today?
<karlram> anybody have loots of money to give me ? :-)
<karlram> he he
<matmo> only a couple of coppers. sorry ;-)
<bertf> karlram: what for?
<karlram> just to be able to work on etoys instead of my day job  :-)
<bertf> karlram: now wouldn't that be cool :)
<karlram> we can all dream
<karlram> :-)
<bertf> Thanks everyone! Next week, same place, same time :)
<matmo> ok, bye all
<karlram> bye all

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