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Intern Blog

Here I'll be tracking what I do from day to day while interning at Pathfinder.


Week 6

This is probably my last week, as I'm getting my wisdom teeth pulled on wednesday, and going back to school sept 3.

August 21, 2007

11am - 5pm

Gave the presentation, showed Ben as much as I could about what I've been doing. Some final links that might help:

A Bunch of Stuff that Would have been useful to me

Tutorial for activitiy creation : Activity information is in all kinds of places, but this is what got me through making the helloworld thing work.

The page about the design principle and vague ideas about Activities

OLPC Austria page about VDE/Qemu mesh emulation

Some help getting VNC to work

I realized that the way activities work is still a mystery to me, and that there definitely needs to be more cohesive documentation made for where activity files go and how they move around with ' dev.' I don't know how people make these things work with the wiki saying all sorts of things that don't really specify anything...

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:14, 21 August 2007 (EDT)

August 20, 2007

11am - 5pm

Went over the presentation, read about OLPCities and tried out a little demo thing.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:14, 20 August 2007 (EDT)

Week 5

August 17, 2007

12 noon - 4pm

I should probably give up on this qemu/vnc thing. Also, some trouble with Gnash playing sound standalone.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:23, 17 August 2007 (EDT)

August 16, 2007

12 noon - 5pm

Played with VNC to the point that it starts up without issue. Tried to learn a bunch of stuff about ip masquerading and other weird networking stuff, which mostly just got me really confused, but I'm trying to see if I can maybe understand half the stuff I'm trying to do.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:34, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

August 15, 2007

11am - 2pm

Figured out how to activate the tap0 interface(?) and tried to network a laptop image. The result of this was a blank screen in vncviewer and the eth0 connection not getting internet access anymore. Left early to go to my aunts house.

PIOLPCIntern-1 12:41, 16 August 2007 (EDT)

August 14, 2007

11am - 5pm

Did more on the presentation, read about Flash/Gnash/Ming/SWFTools, fiddled with VDE with no success. Read about the XS servers a bit, read OLPCNews because some racist guy said a bunch of stuff that got a ton of comments, and read more about the activities that are out/in development.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:20, 14 August 2007 (EDT)

August 13, 2007

12 noon - 5pm

Spent pretty much the entire day putting the bits of the presentation I made on friday into a newer prettier one. I also spent a while wading through the various OLPC Wiki pages about Activities in order to figure out what the most up to date way of doing it is. I think I was just confused about something and it's not actually that complicated, but the wiki is still pretty unclear.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:13, 13 August 2007 (EDT)

Week 4

August 10, 2007

11am - 4pm

More time working with vncviewer, I actually managed to get rid of all the errors in the log today, but then I got some xrdb(?) error, and it still didn't work. Shrug. Rest of the day, compiled everything I've done over the past month into a powerpoint presentation, with pictures :D

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:24, 10 August 2007 (EDT)

August 9, 2007

11am - 4pm

After a couple hours trying to get the java vncviewer to work, I've had a nice variety of errors, but still no success. At first I thought that doing some port forwarding on the router I'm behind would fix these, but I imagine that it should work without it, so I don't really know. I also think that using the -vnc argument with qemu works differently than vncserver does, and it's possible that the java viewer doesn't work with it. Again, I'm not really sure.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:13, 9 August 2007 (EDT)

August 8, 2007

11am - 4pm

Spent time looking at the various activities that are available and in development, and read more about Pathfinders projects to get more of a feel for potential crossovers. Read more on how to create activities. Mostly reading today, kinda tired.

August 7, 2007

11am - 4pm

Tried to get the Java VNC Viewer to work with no success. Having some trouble focusing today. Spent a little time with Etoys trying to create an activity, but the only thing I have to go on is Berts squeak activity, so I reallly don't think I can do anything with this, especially without really being able to program using squeak.

Read a thing on OLPCNews about some other low-cost computers that might end up competing with the XOs. I think OLPC really needs to work on some kind of implementation plan to set themselves apart from possible competition that's just selling PCs.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:14, 7 August 2007 (EDT)

August 6, 2007

11am - 4pm

Fiddled with the networking qemu some more, tried to look up more information on OLPC Nigeria, and looked at getting Squeak projects and things into Activities, which looks like it's slightly more complicated than I know how to deal with at the moment.

PIOLPCIntern-1 14:47, 6 August 2007 (EDT)

Week 3

August 3, 2007

11am - 5pm

I got the remote display to work. The mouse cursor doesn't work that well from the computer running vncviewer, but that's not something that I have any idea how to fix, so I'm not gonna worry about it too much as other than that it works OK. Typed up a little thing on how to do it in case I need to again.

I put my explanation of how to do that, as well as what I typed up about activity creation on a new page called Docs.

PIOLPCIntern-1 14:47, 3 August 2007 (EDT)

August 2, 2007

11am - 4pm

Been trying to get multiple XO emulation instances up to try and do a mesh networking thing, following the instructions of OLPC Austria on using VDE to network QEMU instances but it hasn't been working for me.

Spent a little bit of time looking at remote display of Sugar too.

August 1, 2007

11am - 5pm

I've been trying to get an activity to build, but when I try to run in the terminal, it says 'Command not Found,' and if I run it with python (sudo python ./ it says 'No module named sugar.activity.' Sent an email to the sugar mailing list asking for help. Tried a couple things, like directing the file directly to the builder, but seeing as I don't know anything about python it didn't work at all and gave me a syntax error.

PIOLPCIntern-1 13:39, 1 August 2007 (EDT)

Finally got it to work. woooo.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:04, 1 August 2007 (EDT)

I think tommorow I'll try to do it with EToys. Otherwise, look at networking/mesh stuff. The OLPC Austria page that I thought had an explanation looks like it's down, hopefully it'll be working later on.

July 31, 2007

11am - 5pm

Spent a good chunk of time trying to get pygame installed, and eventually figured out that I could just install it with Synaptic in about 10 seconds. Took a look at how to create activities from .py files with limited success. Right now my goal is to try and get a basic little activity to run in Sugar.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:02, 31 July 2007 (EDT)

July 30, 2007

11am - 3pm

Took a poke at a much simpler and shorter Squeak tutorial that's part of Squeak by Example. It gave me a better feel of how creating classes and how code is organized than the other one simply because it didn't throw quite as much at me at once. Also spent some time looking at how/if it's possible to run a mesh network without XO laptops with vague success; according to OLPC australia it's possible.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:10, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

Week 2

July 26, 2007

11am - 5pm

Forgot to blog this day. Oops.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:11, 30 July 2007 (EDT)

July 25, 2007

11am - 5pm

Fiddling with OlPC Etoys all day so far (2:40pm). I'm slowly figuring out how it works better and better, but the interface seems like it's lacking some things to me; maybe I just can't find them? I can't figure out how to switch between projects so if I open a new/different project I can't get to another one that's open. Sometimes I 'lose' my scripts or drawings, and have no way to find them, like a list of all the things that have been created in the project. I've been trying to 'reverse engineer' how to use the joystick and animation, looking at existent projects scripts, and trying to duplicate and tweak them to work in a new project. But I've been screwing up little things and having to start over because of my problems with the interface. It'll come with time I guess.

PIOLPCIntern-1 14:40, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Made a car that I could drive with the joystick. Then made a sweet jump and made the car get bigger when it went off the jump. Made exhaust appear at the back of the car, animated the exhaust, but when the car turned the exhaust stayed at the same position relative to the car. Fun to play with I'm kinda getting it. There's definitely a lot of possibilities.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:28, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

Made a wall for the car to crash into.

Blew up the car.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:00, 25 July 2007 (EDT)

July 24, 2007

11am - 5pm

Did some Squeakland stuff, to start off somewhere simple and get more of a feel for Squeak. Did the tutorial on squeakland where you make a car and drive it to get more of a feel for what is a system that still feels really weird to me. It was kinda fun driving my little poorly drawn Ferrari around though.

Read up on Gnash and PyGame a bit later in the day, and poked around looking at how the XO Mesh network works. I have a pretty limited understanding of these kinds of things however, so I don't really know if it'd be possible to simulate the mesh network without some kind of additional hardware or not. I know that the mesh is based on IEEE 802.11s, and I know that you need specific hardware for b/g/etc, so I assume that something new would be needed.

In using the browser version of Squeak/Etoys at, I noticed that it just generally works better than the emulated ISO of Etoys that I've been running on Ubuntu. I thought it would be the opposite, but I tend to have all sorts of trouble with flaps not closing/moving correctly with the non-plugin version. At this point, I'm not really sure what I'm going to be dealing with in the future, so I guess I'll keep working at getting comfortable in Squeak, as it tends to agree with this system better than EToys.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:42, 24 July 2007 (EDT)

July 23, 2007

11am - 5pm

Finished typing up a little 'report' on the overlap (in terms of geographic activity) on OLPC and Pathfinder, read a bunch more stuff about various OLPC related news and information. I also started doing a tutorial on programming with Squeak to get more familiar with syntax and how it works in general. So far it's a pretty confusing program, to me at least. The way the menus work and just the UI isn't very intuitive to me, so I spend a lot of time opening, closing, and trying to find things. It's taking some getting used to, but eventually I should get it.

Week 1

July 20, 2007

11am - 3pm

I'm driving down to Connecticut today, so I left a little early to beat traffic.

Spent the day doing research on OLPC/COMPASS/Pathfinder in Nigeria. I had pretty limited success with this, and ended up spending a lot of time reading about Intels recent interest and competition with OLPC, as well as just browsing OLPCNews, and watching the 60 minutes report with Nicholas Negroponte. There seems to be a lot more drama surrounding the project than I ever thought there would be, although it seems to me like OLPCNews is a little over the top with it.

Basically, I spent 4 hours researching the current state of the project and looking at the current deployment.

PIOLPCIntern-1 15:09, 20 July 2007 (EDT)

July 19, 2007

11am - 5pm

Something in the sugar-jhbuild screwed up (XULRunner I think) so it wasn't done when I came in, but now (2:20pm) I have Sugar installed and working. I also managed to get Squeak and EToys running, and started playing with those a bit.

PIOLPCIntern-1 14:28, 19 July 2007 (EDT)

After a little bit of playing around with Sugar and Squeak, I started doing research on the OLPC deployment in Nigeria , which led to a pretty big chunk of general OLPC research, browsing articles on for the most part. I wish I'd spent some more time playing around with Sugar; I opened the Journal activity and couldn't figure out how to close it without keyboard shortcuts, which I assume is possible. Tommorow I should be spending much more time familiarizing myself with it, and probably looking at some of the other activities that are available. For now I'm gonna keep going with reading up on the project though.

PIOLPCIntern-1 16:15, 19 July 2007 (EDT)

July 18, 2007

11pm - 5pm

Spent a little time looking at linux commands so that I would have some kind of an idea what I was doing while I installed sugar, and eventually got to actually trying to install it. It took a little bit of effort on my part (due to inexperience for the most part) to get './sugar-jhbuild build' to actually get started due to a number of missing packages/dependencies; the biggest hangup was trying to install ncurses, but eventually I figured out that all I had to do was apt-get install libncurses5-dev (I think that was it, don't remember off the top of my head).

Once it actually started building I watched for a couple minutes before realizing that it was probably going to be a fairly long wait before it was done. I assume that I screwed something up and even when this is done it won't work, but hopefully not.

Also took a look at Squeak/EToys and tried to install them both. Installing Squeak had a few problems, the main one being that the man for squeak says to run inisqueak, which doesn't exist, I don't think. While I was trying to watch an EToys tutorial I discovered that sound doesn't work on youtube/flash in firefox on this computer at the moment, tommorow I'm gonna try and get that working.

July 17, 2007

11am - 5pm

Researched OLPC development, specifically installing Sugar. Having not used Linux in several years, I also took some time to look up a good distro to use with Sugar and decided on Ubuntu 7.04. I installed Ubuntu onto the laptop that I will be using for development later on, and then got to work here on the wiki. I've never edited/created a wiki page, so there was a bit of learning there.

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