Donnerstag, 29. Oktober 2009

Registered my Kaleidoscope Activity

Today I registered my Kaleidoscope Activity on and
I wonder if it will get approved,
and what kind of feedback I will get...

Montag, 26. Oktober 2009

First release: Kaleidoscope Activity

I am happy to release the first version of my first Activity:
a Kaleidoscope written in Etoys.
Go get it from
The .pr file is the Etoys project.
The .xo file is the same thing, packaged as an Activity (icon and all).
I am looking forward to hearing your feedback. Thanks!

Dienstag, 25. August 2009

Activity idea: Drum loops

Similar to the Tam Tam stuff, but more focused on
doing drum loops and exploring rhythms. This is something
I myself want to use for a long time (I play guitar and
occasionally drums).

Anyway, all loop software I have seen use a
timeline, or piano roll representation.
But I want to focus more on the bars
as building blocks, representing them as
rectangular blocks.

Actvity idea: Coloring book

This is yet another idea that came to me while playing with
my kids: create a Coloring book activity.
I would need to try and find some attractive black&white
drawings. The UI would consist of this drawing and a color palette
at the side (or bottom). Choose a color, click a white spot,
the spot is filled with that color (paint bucket).
Choose another color, click in the colored spot again, and you
get a gradient fill...
I am not yet sure what the best technology is for implementing
this. I think about looking into the SVG coloring code in python
for inspirations.

Activity idea: Kugelbahn

Kugelbahn is the german word for Rolling ball sculpture.
When I first toyed with the Pippy Physics code, this immediately
came to my mind: create a small toolkit to construct a structure
and populate it with little balls that roll along.
Sound seems to be very important!

Later on I discovered the Physics Activity. This is very close
to what I have in mind. I am pondering the idea to make
a specialisation of this Activity to more closely mimic a
real construction kit.

Activity idea: Kaleidoscope

I am currently focusing on Activities for Kindergarden age,
i.e. 4 to 6 year olds. The exerience with my own kids is that
they are having a hard time using the touch input; even the
mouse is difficult to use for them (on the carpet :)

One idea is to create a kaleidoscope: open an image, then
navigate a little tile within the picture and create a
repeated tile view. It's fun to just think about what
kind of geometric combinations are possible at all.

This could turn out as a little quiz, too (what does this
picture show?)

Dienstag, 26. Mai 2009

Speak activity, usability issues

Even though the Speak activity has a very simple user interface, there are IMHO issues.

First, the keyboard "focus". Usually the focus is in the text input field. When you press Enter, the text is spoken. There is a button next to the text input field. When you click this button, a list of previously entered text is displayed. Now, if the button has the focus and you press Enter, the list pops up. Press Enter again, the list goes away, but the button keeps the focus. While I understand what is going on, I would rather like not need to explain this to my four-year old. Or to a six or seven year old child. I know it's a fact of life on all major platforms, but still. I think it would be great for the GUI to have a keyboard focus on text input fields only. Maybe as the default mode, with the option to drive buttons (and other widgets) with the keyboard when the kid is more experienced.

Second, the German voice cannot pronounce Umlauts correctly (although it can handle e.g. UE instead of Ü).

Third, the popup lists. I'll write about those next time.

I will need to find out where to report bugs (or rather, rants in this case), and how I can help to fix them...