Category archives: Young Coders

Projects related to young people and computers, including young people learning to code and the One Laptop Per Child project. RSS

Raspberry Pi BCM Window Needs Love

So as part of getting a PyOpenGL demo running on the Raspberry Pi I wrote a trivial subset of the Broadcom graphics interface api in ctypes.  There's an (abandoned? not very recent, anyway) full wrapper in Cython, but even getting that compiled just took too long for me working on the Pi (far longer than writing a ctypes wrapper).

The little wrapper module needs work to be usable, but I don't really have the interest needed to do what needs to make it truly useful.  What really seems to be needed is to take the 5 or 6 ...

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PyOpenGL Working on the Raspberry Pi

I decided to use a USB key root for the RPi, and with that got a standard Raspbian setup going.  The really nice thing is that the EGL, GLES, etc entry points all resolved properly with the same code used for Linux/MESA EGL and GLES, yay.

Thing is, without the broadcom graphics module they're a bit useless, as the EGL Native types are all BCM data-types (I can query configurations, etc, but I can't actually put anything up on screen). There's a Python wrapper for broadcom, but so far it's taken way too long even ...

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Voice Dictation Privilege

Apparently I'm blessed with a Voice Dictation friendly accent and tone. I can pretty much use most Voice Dictation systems, including the ones on Android, Dragon Naturally Speaking, and PocketSphinx. The results aren't mind-blowing-ly good, but if it's quiet and I speak clearly and train anything that gets missed, I get reasonable results.

Watching a child play with both the Android and PocketSphinx recognizers this weekend made me realize just how much I'm privileged.  His accent is pretty much identical to mine, but the recognizers just don't seem to pick up his (much higher) voice ...

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Issue tracking for Linux Laptops...

Idly trying to get my (Lenovo W500) to suspend again this morning as I wait for the washing machine to finish.  Biggest problem is that there are so many sites all with outdated information so I have to filter through hundreds of posts most of which are discussing e.g. Ubuntu 8.10 (which suspended fine with compiz disabled), or how to get compiz+suspend working (I don't need the effects).

Seems we need a tracker somewhere that "moves" with the current version of Ubuntu, where we can install, test each component and report status and any work-arounds needed ...

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Neat, Curriculum discovery mechanism in Gates' TED Talk

Have TED talks running in the background (I'm beginning to see TED as more useful these days, it's not about new information, it's about getting a feel for how people are communicating the issues).  Interestingly, in Gates' presentation (the one where he releases the mosquitoes) he describes briefly the idea of the video-recording and migration of teaching material as resources, right up to the idea of allowing for a published set of DVDs (DVDs, seriously?) which would represent the best-of-the-best lessons on a topic.

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What to do about education?

The OLPC seems to have run off a cliff.  Sugar labs seems intent on continuing their OS UI experiments, which might bear fruit in a few years, but which for now make development for the platform untenable.  Sad to see all that wasted potential that seemed to just lack someone practical saying "hey, you need to make this platform use standard mechanisms" a few years ago, or rather, someone listening to same.

So the question keeps popping out, how do I make a difference in the post OLPC world, where there are dozens or hundreds of different machines that might ...

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OLPC at PyCon Wrap-up (Back in Toronto...)


We did 3.5 days of sprinting at PyCon with ~12 people (the GASP folks were sort-of part of our sprint, as they are targeting the laptop, and we worked with them). Mostly we worked on games, with Tony leading a smaller group working on accessibility tools.

We had most people (basically all those using Win32 or Ubuntu) set up with a development environment within a few minutes. That's a great improvement from last year having 5 of us spending 4 days to not-quite get a working development environment.

I spent pretty much the entire time on management, mentoring ...

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New Tutorial Largely Finished (and other sprinting news...)


Good (and long) day today. Phil and I worked through his porting of the Watermelon game to the XO, with Phil documenting what he was doing and my trying to answer his questions. It exposed a large number of issues that I've become to familiar with to recognize any more. Mel is going to read through it and give me feedback. There were a number of issues we just wound up punting on due to problems with the Win32 quick-start environment he was working on (see below), the system was just plain broken, so we didn't get issues ...

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Booth Work (Long day's chatting into night...)


Spent the whole day in the OLPC booth today, didn't wind up seeing any talks at all (including the keynotes, though luckily that meant that I didn't wind up with a blood-pressure issue over the whole Py3K mess :) ).

After that needed some decompression. Had a pleasant dinner with Tony and Val. Took a shower to wake myself up, then went down to the games room and chatted with Phil. He's apparently got a neat little engine he wants to hook up to Shed Skin, sounds like it would be fun.

Apparently the little puppy we have been ...

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Tutorial Is Finished (In the sense of presented, it probably needs love from you the reader...)


The tutorial went reasonably well, but had a rather hard time with the lack of networking (writing networked code sans network isn't very practical). We ran out of time due to the delays on getting everyone set up, so we didn't get to talk about Telepathy or what goes on in the packaging process much. Charles suggested it might be an idea to re-run the tutorial as an audio presentation (in a network-enabled environment) so that people could use that when working through.

I'm not terribly disappointed, but I'm afraid I let the lack of network ...

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