Help Activity refresh

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Ideas for the refresh of OLPC/Sugar's Help Activity, associated web/paper manual and possibly new vid tutorials! Bookmark to help!

JOIN OUR LIVE CHAT on #olpc-help!

April 2012 doc sprint schedule / goals

Pretask--6902765050 dd77e14114.jpg

Initial planning occurred Friday October 21st, 2011 from 10AM to 4 PM outside the Kleider home in Bolinas, California, with almost 10 people present.

While draft & final cuts were desired for 2011, in the end 2012 became more realistic.

An actual in-person community doc sprint will take place the 5 days of Apr 6-10 at OLPC Foundation HQ in Has location city::East Cambridge, Massachusetts. Please join us to celebrate giving back, and meet OLPC engineers if you do, over a most unique Passover and Easter!

Our aim is to freshen up (1) (2) and ideally (3) a paper book if not (4) produce short videos for Sugar Activities that kickstart learning fast!

Bonus Pregame: Apr 3-5 Video Tutorials "Incubator" Presprint for our favorite Sugar activities, thanks to Bill Stelzer, Mark Battley, Laura de Reynal, Christoph Derndorfer, Caryl Bigenho, Sameer Verma, Craig Perue and a growing list of talented mediamakers. Detail emerging below.

Experienced OLPC implementation groups from Kenya, Jamaica and Australia have confirmed their desire to attend; we hope others will RSVP too. Deployment knowledge is warmly welcomed! Mike Dawson, Tim Falconer, Tony Anderson, Chris Lowe etc etc etc -- do give us a ring!

Expected in person -- details emerging below: Sameer Verma, Mike Lee, Walter Bender, Claudia Urrea, Richard Smith, Christoph Derndorfer, Reuben Caron, SJ Klein, Mark Battley, Jennifer Martino, Paul Fox, George Hunt, Chris Ball, Nancie Severs, CScott Ananian, Craig Perue, Saadia Baloch, Bill Stelzer, Bernie Innocenti, Dogi Unterhauser, Laura de Reynal, Adam Holt, etc -- even Sugar Labs' new finance officer Robert Fadel, and Pablo Flores if we are lucky! Apologies attendance will likely be limited due to our facility's limited capacity.

Virtual Romance Ain't: Please talk to Caryl Bigenho and our public list if you are motivated to write a particular chapter, but cannot attend in person, thanks!! EG. We're thrilled OLPC Australia's Education Manager Tracy Richardson hopes to contribute remotely.

Our work should center on Release 11.3.x especially (Build 883 / Sugar 0.94) running on the XO-1, XO-1.5 and XO-1.75. Claudia Urrea suggests we avoid complex activities like Etoys, Scratch etc -- instead mixing up 2008's Activity list beyond the classic 4 {Record, Browse, Write, Turtle Art} to consider newly popular ones like FotoToon.

Beyond core book topics (eg. popular Sugar Activities and XO-1, XO-1.5, XO-1.75 hardware etc) most of us would be thrilled to see tight chapters on Gnome, Learning Realities/Lesson Plans/Stories, Deployment, School Server/XS, Community Leadership, SoaS, XO-3 dreams etc -- if a suitably talented volunteer author emerges, to take charge of any such chapter?

Our English screenshots will of course complicate translation, but Pablo Flores/Walter Bender have hope, using SVG (eg. during an Uruguayan translation jam @ eduJAM! May 7-12, 2012?) George Hunt has great ideas to automate screenshots, possibly using gtk-gnome regression tools.

We will have an absolute blast. Active contribution will be required, as we are already approaching capacity. All logistics/housing/travel must be self-organized and self-paid. Bernie's Google-funded McMansion only fits so many sleeping bags on the floor, sorry ;) and other locals will provide Cambridge-area discount lodging tips where they can, if you're a genuine contributor.

Documentation design will be centered around the mailing list and live chat irc channels #olpc-help and #sugar.

Activity Central may provide a small amount of sponsorship to the effort, strictly at their discretion.

Tom Clancy fans ("Collaboration on a book is the ultimate unnatural act") please see how this has worked in the past:

Huge thanks to Seth Woodworth, Caryl Bigenho, Christoph Derndorfer, Pablo Flores & others continuing to push us steadily forward!

Video tutorials: Apr 3-5

BONUS PREGAME: Video Tutorials "Incubator" Presprint for our favorite Sugar activities & XO tips/tricks, thanks to the very hard work of Bill Stelzer, Mark Battley, Laura de Reynal, Christoph Derndorfer, Caryl Bigenho, Sameer Verma, Craig Perue and a growing list of talented mediamakers.

Expected Start Time: 9AM Tuesday April 3rd @ OLPC Foundation HQ in East Cambridge. RSVP if you're interested in showcasing a particular Sugar Activity. Specific screencast/video ideas & experience most welcome. Do share your vision on the mailing list too!

Doc Sprint: Apr 5/6-10

WED Apr 4 - 7:00pm IRC Planning Meeting on #olpc-help @ (

THU Apr 5 - Pre-planning
10:00 doors open @ OLPC HQ
1:00 LUNCH @ 2nd Street Cafe, 89 2nd St.
4:00 soccer @ Sennott Park on Broadway by Prospect St in Central Cambridge (TENTATIVE)
5:00pm - Adapting Journalism to the Web @ MIT Media Lab Rm 633. With Christoph D, Laura dR, Adam H -- why we're all here? (
8:00pm - Dinner/Drinks @ 89 Winthrop St, Harvard Sq. Incl George Hunt & Jessica whisked in from NYC! HALF PRICE DINNER @ 9PM

FRI Apr 6 - 10:00am start @ OLPC HQ. Claudia Urrea can help with TOC, Activity recommendations, etc
10:00-1:00 - OLPC HQ: Getting organized - goals, tools, workflow, work separation, styleguides, etc.
1:00-2:00 - Sunny Lunch on Charles River!
2:00-5:00 - OLPC HQ: Real Work!
5:30-9:30 - DJ Deja @ Museum of Fine Art (DETAILS TBA)

SAT Apr 7 - Passover but working!
10:00-1:00 - Work @ OLPC HQ!
1:00-2:00 - BRING LUNCH/DRINK OFFERINGS to Japanese Blossom Fest on Charles River (urban garden adventure at last!)
2:00-5:00 - Work @ OLPC HQ!

SUN Apr 8 - Easter: Nancie Severs arrives
10:00 - Work @ OLPC HQ!
11:00 - Separate ALEARN Network call
1:00-2:00 - SPECIAL FRISBEE LUNCH right outside OLPC HQ!
2:00-5:00 - WOrk @ OLPC HQ!
9:30 - Grendel's Den dinner/drinks in Harvard Sq with Mako!

MON Apr 9 - Paul Fox arrives
10:00-5:00 - Work @ OLPC HQ!
Someone pick a *GREAT* dinner location!

TUE Apr 10 - All Day Final Crunch!
10:00-5:00 - Work @ OLPC HQ!


Add your name! Include 2 words about the "Chapter" you're contributing!

  • Adam Holt (How to Volunteer/Community, XS chapters)
  • Bernie Innocenti (Apr 6-9?)
  • Bill Stelzer (remote?)
  • Caryl Bigenho (remote from SoCal, already added a Tam Tam Chapter. It is ready for testing!)
  • Cherry Withers (Browse, Addition of Etoys Chapter -- Remote from California)
  • Chris Ball
  • Chris Leonard (translation recommendations)
  • Christoph Derndorfer (Apr 3-10, creating, Introduction, Acknowledgements, Hardware specifications)
  • Claudia Urrea (Apr 6-10?)
  • Craig Perue (Curriculum Arcs; Apr 3-11)
  • CScott Ananian
  • Edward Bigenho (Editing... Remote from SoCal)
  • Edward Mokurai Cherlin (Discovery, Terminal, Turtle Art, Style Guide)
  • Eduardo Silva (Remote from ??)
  • Elise Moussa
  • Ev Batey (Remote from SoCal)
  • George Hunt (Apr 7-9/10)
  • Harriet Vidyasagar Apr 6 remote (7-9) (Tam Tam) Deployment Tool kits.
  • Jennifer Martino & Canadian colleague (Apr 6-9/10, kidnapped to Nicaragua!)
  • Ken Knight (Remote from SoCal)
  • Kenneth Wyrick (Remote from SoCal)
  • Laura de Reynal (Apr 4-10)
  • Luis Galindo (Remote from France)
  • Mike Lee (remote)
  • Mark Roy Battley (Mch 31-Apr 8? Get started, Network, Interface, Speak, Maze, Memorize, Implode, Simplification of language, Pedagogical rationales, Tips and Tricks, FAQ's)
  • Nancie Severs (Apr 8-10)
  • Paul Fox (Apr 9-10)
  • Ralph Bean (Remote from RIT?)
  • Reuben Caron
  • Richard Smith (Apr 6-10?)
  • Rita Freudenberg: eToys
  • Robert Fadel (Sugar Labs' finance officer)
  • Saadia Baloch
  • Sameer Verma (Apr 5-9. XS and Hardware)
  • Sandra Thaxter (Turtle Art AND I'll help MarkB on Memorize and Maze..)
  • Seth Woodworth (Apr 6-10, creating TOC/coordination page!)
  • Shirley Nakatsuru (Remote from SoCal)
  • SJ Klein
  • Tony Anderson (remote from Rwanda/Nepal? Get started, Network, Interface)
  • Tony Forster (Remote from Melbourne Austrailia)
  • Walter Bender (Portfolio, Turtle Art)
  • Yama Ploskonka sorting out if I'm travelling South in those dates, so this is a 'likely', though I'd wish to see y'all agin Sorry, won't be possible Red.png Yamaplos 19:15, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

Table of Contents

NEW Table of Contents: Help_Activity_refresh/TOC

ChristophD & CarylB are explaining live in person & over Skype Noon Fri April 6..

Pre-2012 Help Activity contents

From especially. You will notice some sections below with (???) after them. We are still looking for volunteers to work on those sections. If you would like to join with one of the other volunteers who is already working on one of the sections, please add your name and contact the person so you can coordinate your work!

  • Introduction (Introduction, About OLPC, What is Sugar, How to Volunteer) (Christoph Derndorfer & Adam Holt, Sandra Thaxter)
  • Getting Started (Getting Started, Opening the XO, Ports, Battery Charging, Starting the XO, Keyboard) (Tony Anderson Mark Battley)
  • Interface (About the User Interface, Home View, Activity View, Neighborhood View, Group View, The Frame, The Journal) (Tony Anderson and Mark Battley, Sandra Thaxter)
  • Activities (What is an Activity, Launching Activities, Switching Views, Collaborating, Exiting Activities, Installing Activities, Activity Sampler) (Tony Anderson and Mark Battley)
  • Network (Give Me The Internet, Connecting, Ad-Hoc Networking, Wireless Devices, Networking Hardware, Troubleshooting) (Tony Anderson and Mark Battley, Sandra Thaxter))
  • Record Activity (Introduction, Starting Record, Photos, Video, Audio, Starting Media, Things to Try, Wikimedia Commons) (Bill Stelzer, Samdra Tjaxter)
  • Browse Activity (Introduction, What Is the Web, Starting Browse, Browse Web, Bookmarks, Changing the View, Sharing Links, Country Quiz, Search the Web, Using Wikipedia, Contribute to Wikipedia, Using Email) Cherry Withers
  • Write Activity (Introduction, Starting Write, Collaborating, Peer Editing, The Basics, Group Story Telling, Letter to the Editor, Emailing a Document (Caryl Bigenho, Sandra Thaxter)
  • Turtle Art (Introduction, Getting Started, Starter Commands, Pen Colors, Pen Commands, Try Turtle Art, Turtle Art Letters, Repeating Commands, Numbers and Commands, Shapes and Spectrum)
  • Support (How to Reflash, Powering of Your Laptop, Replacing, Backing Up, Getting Support)( Sandra Thaxter??? )
  • Appendices (Keyboard Shortcuts, Personalizing Sugar, Glossary, Getting Support, Credits) (Sandra Thaxter???)

Revised manual contents

See Latest: Help Activity refresh/TOC

This section lists the sections and chapters we are working on. It will be changed from time to time as we revise and add. If you add a section or chapter, be sure you have someone to work on it! Also, please add it and the name of the person (or persons) who will be working on it to the section below called "Suggestions for Additional Chapters."

  • Introduction (To include: Unpacking, Battery, and Support)
  • Get Started (To include: Get Started, Interface, Activities (using), and Network)
  • Activities (To include introductions to assorted Activities including, but not limited to: Record, Browse, Write, Turtle Art, Etoys, Tam Tam, Labyrinth, Scratch, and others... see Activity sampler)
  • Appendices (Keyboard Shortcuts, Personalizing Sugar, Glossary, Getting Support, Credits)

Copy of current User Manual

A copy of the current User Manual as it appears in the Help Activity can be found at: ( currently resolves to )

A more up-to-date/Sugarized edition is Version 13, as included in Release 11.3.0 RC3 / Build 882, downloadable to your XO right here:

If you are working in Windows or Mac OSX you will find instructions for downloading, viewing and editing this in the "Special For..... " notes below. Instructions for Linux users are coming.

Chapters and resources

List of OLD manual chapters:

The above chapters were originally in one larger Manual that is currently the Help Activity. Other early manual versions:

Existing draft chapters

Existing manuals that are incomplete or not added to Help Activity:

Suggestions for new chapters

  • Localization (Registering, Forking, Translating, Adding and Deleting Chapters, Changing Graphics and Images)
  • Tam Tam (What are the Tam Tam Activities, How to Use Each, Where to find lessons, songs, and other resources) Caryl will welcome help!
  • Gnome (What is Gnome? Switching to Gnome and Back to Sugar, Using Gnome, Gnome Applications, Resources for More About Gnome and Its Applications) (Caryl Bigenho)
  • Etoys (Cherry Withers and Rita Freudenberg)
  • About This Floss Manual (Mark Batley)
  • Add a FAQ at the end of each chapter to deal with miscellaneous issues (Mark Battley)
  • Add pedagogical rationale and 'tips and tricks' to each chapter (Mark Battley)
  • Special for the XO-1 (Using the three-section trackpad with Sugar 11.3.0)

How to participate

Read the #Style Guide below!

Start editing here


  • Alt + 1 key combination (on XO keyboards) or PrnScn with attached keyboards
  • post-processing with standard laptops and your tools of choice (Paint.Net (Windows) for me)
  • bring your XOs loaded with the latest 11.3.0 development builds since that's the easiest way to get Sugar 0.94
  • investigate whether using the advanced screenshot hack is a viable alternative

Procedures on porting/assembling the manual into Help Activity

Information still needed for this section

Special for Windows users


(Contributed byTony Forster in Melbourne Australia)

To edit the Help Activity in Windows

  • download the help sugar bundle

use this link -

  • unpack the sugar bundle
  • rename help-13.xo to
  • open
  • copy the directory Help.activity to somewhere else
  • go to its help directory

The images can be edited with Paint The htm files can be viewed in a browser The htm files are best edited with something like Frontpage but you can use Notepad or Wordpad if you like working with html

Special for Mac OS X users


(Contributed by Caryl Bigenho with help from Tony Forster)

  • Control-click on :

  • Choose "Download Linked File As..." (click on it)
  • In the "Save As:" box type " "
  • Choose something for "Where" (desktop is OK)
  • Click the "Save" button

Wait a few minutes for the download. If will give you a 12.6 MB zip file.

Click on it to unzip. It will give you a folder called "Help.activity" full of lots of resources from the activity.

The folder has another folder inside called, "help." Open it.

Find the Activity you are working on. The Chapters and resources for that Section in the Version 13 Help Activity will be there. The Activities are arranged in alphabetical order.

Some of these are html files. Click to highlight the file. You will be in the finder. Click on "File" -> "Open With" -> "Safari". The file will open in Safari and look exactly as it currently appears in the Help Activity on the XO (don't use Firefox for this).

If you have a capable text editor such as TextWrangler ( ) you will be able to see and edit the file in html.


Ideas and unassigned tasks

  • keep localization in mind (see the corresponding thread from early October on Sugar-Devel, etc.
  • retain the current chapter format in terms of length and general content. Use links to refer to more in depth resources.
  • use the Activity descriptions in other places such as ASLO, git, etc.

Hands-on testing of chapters with XOs

Want to make sure chapters are correct and easy to understand

Style Guide

Start by reviewing Caryl's Model Chapter!

Some aspects of style should be enforced via CSS. Others require that writers, editors, artists and other be aware of how we have agreed things should be done, such as not translating "Sugar", consistent capitalization, consistent image formats, and the like.

See the OLPC Wiki Style Guide and Sugar Labs' Style Guide as starting point conventions.


  • Activity / Activities
  • OLPC and Sugar are not translated


  • suggestions: 1200~1500 words
  • Consider using vocabulary that's also present in the .pot files to speed up / facilitate translation
  • Consider using the translation memory function in lokalize to make this information readily accessible to localizers and translators.
  • Consider using lokalize offline when translating, and uploading finished draft chapters.



  • Image upload: You have to be logged in and then click the UPLOAD FILE link in the Toolbox section on the left-hand side menu.
  • when you upload, be sure in the description to give the software and/or Activity version: OS 11.3.0 / build 883 / Sugar 0.94 along with what you're capturing


  • number: max. 4~6 images per page / chapter
  • sizes:
    • screenshots: resized to a max. width of 800px
    • icons: use of original icon size (55px * 55px)
  • naming-conventions:
    • screenshot: Section/Feature-more description OR Activity Name-more description (-es on end if in Spanish, -fr for French, etc.)
    • icons: Section/Feature-more description OR Activity Name-more description-icon.png or .svg
  • Annotations, Highlights:
    • Font: to be decided
    • Font size: to be decided
    • Colour: to be decided (some kind of red?)
    • Internationalization: if possible please keep text annotations in a separate layer of your images so they can be switched out easily

Nice to have

Chapter locations

  1. Hardware: on
  2. Core Sugar: on
    • where?
  3. Activities: on (Activity related learning-focused content can be split between w.l.o and s.l.o with good links)


  • Activity-related pages should include this tag [[Category:Activities|TITLE]] (The TITLE would be the particular Activity Name, which will be used to sort the Category:Activities page.) Would this be better??[[Category:Activity documentation|TITLE]].

TBD but possibly something similar to

Suggested Activity Chapter Structure

  • About <ACTIVITY>
  • Where to get <ACTIVITY>
  • Starting <ACTIVITY>
  • Using <ACTIVITY>
    • The Toolbars
  • Applying <ACTIVITY> (-> education context, basically the same as "A word to educators")
  • Extending <ACTIVITY> (basically the same as "Suggestions for modification" / "Suggestions for enhancements")
  • Where to report problems
  • A word to developers
  • Credits

or this suggestion, more child centric? (by Tony Forster)

  • About <ACTIVITY>
  • Starting <ACTIVITY>
  • Using <ACTIVITY>
    • The Toolbars
  • Applying <ACTIVITY> (-> education context, basically the same as "A word to educators")
  • Extending <ACTIVITY> (basically the same as "Suggestions for modification" / "Suggestions for enhancements")
  • Credits

updated suggestion (by Walter)

  • About <ACTIVITY>
  • Where to get <ACTIVITY>

* Starting <ACTIVITY> -> simply include the icon on top of page (like on the Portfolio page)

  • Using <ACTIVITY>
    • The Toolbars
  • Learning with <ACTIVITY> (-> education context, basically the same as "A word to educators")
  • Extending <ACTIVITY> (focused on expanding the education use)
  • Modifying <ACTIVITY> (focused on modification of software)
  • Where to report problems
    • A word to developers
  • Credits

Paste this into the edit window for any new page you are just starting, and replace the *s with the Activity name:

==About *==

==Where to get *==

==Using *==

===The Toolbars===

===<Activity-specific descriptions>===

==Learning with *==

==Extending *==

==Modifying *==

==Where to report problems==


== *==

Subpages of Help Activity refresh