Final Blog - Goodbye From Air Sok!

As my control technology class is nearing its end, this will be my final blog to my readers.
This last blog will consist of three parts I will do during the week which evaluates all the sections of work I did this semester. Thank you for reading.



1) Rate each of the following out of 5:
Guest speaker: Rosemary about Timor Leste 5/5
Guest speak: Joel about the xo 5/5
Physics 3/5
SVG icon and Linux command line 4/5
Turtle Art 3/5
Other activity evaluation 4/5
Etoys 4/5
Scratch 4/5

2) Now write about
Three things that you learnt:
1- I learnt that there are many organisations in the world supporting and assisting the one laptop per child goal and I hope that someday I will be able to assist as well.

2- By talking to Joel I was able to learn what courses and skills I need to become an engineer in the future. I have been able to take his advice and adapt it in to my course selection for Year 11.

3- Linux is a great alternative to the common Windows operating system because it is an open source operating system which is completely free and offers free software as good as its proprietry competitors.

Three things that you enjoyed:
1- I really enjoyed using the Turtle Art activity because it offered challenging tasks that took me awhile to think of a solution. The patterns I created were very cool and I liked making them.

2- I enjoyed using the linux command line to change icons in Sugar because I am fond of using the terminal/command prompt in operating systems as it seems more efficient then the GUI method of doing things.

3- I also enjoyed listening to the guest speakers as I am pleased to hear that people are helping others in the world by introducing undefunded people to the world of technology and computing. Computers are a great tool in the world and I believe that everyone should be able to use one.

Three things that you didn’t like:

I generally did not like any of the things that we did during the semester. I did get bored of some tasks that took very long to do but I found them all fun to do.

3) State which was the following with reasons:
Best - The best thing we did this semester was probably using Turtle Art because I found it very fun to make the interesting patterns.
Worst - The worst thing we did this semester in my opinion was using Scratch because I found it a bit too basic compared to the other scripting programs we used.
Most interesting - The most interesting thing we did this semester was listening to the guest speakers because I learn alot about organisations and how much they help underdeveloped countries.
Most difficult - The most difficult thing I did this was do hard tasks in eToys. I found this the most difficult due to the complicated layout which delayed the time I was able to find commands to script my activity

4) XO
Is the xo or olpc a good idea for the children of the developing world? State your opinion and give reasons

I think the XO is an excellent idea because I believe every child deserves the benefit of technology and it is a great resource to teach children who attend underfunded schools. The inexpensiveness of the XO and the range of activities it offers is fantastic for countries such as Timor Leste as I can see they would benefit a lot from the XO.

Complete a variety of labelled screenshots which illustrate the differences between these user interfaces


Windows (WIMP – windows, icons, menus, pointers – as in MSOffice 2003)

Windows (ribbons, contextual tabs, galleries – as in MSOffice 2007)

Sugar (Frame replaces menubar, Journal replaces file system hierarchy, Community – didn’t work for us,)

Linux command line (similar to DOS)

Which user interface do you prefer. Rate them in order. Give reasons.

My preference of user interfaces from most liked to least :
1 - Linux command line (similar to DOS)
2 - Windows (WIMP – windows, icons, menus, pointers – as in MSOffice 2003)
3 - Windows (ribbons, contextual tabs, galleries – as in MSOffice 2007)
4 - Sugar (Frame replaces menubar, Journal replaces file system hierarchy, Community – didn’t work for us,)

The reason that I like the Linux command line the best is because you can type exactly what you need straight away. Unlike GUI's which make you search for the thing you want, the Linux command line does exactly you want it to because you are in complete control.

I chose the WIMP layout as second preference because I find it very easy to use and the layout is very simple for any one to use.

I chose the Ribbon layout as third preference because it is very similar to the WIMP interface but I find it a bit confusing in term of how it is organised and displayed. This could just be because of the fact that i'm not used to this interface but for now I still prefer the WIMP interface just that bit more.

The reason I chose the Sugar OS Frame interface as my last preference is because I dont like to put my cursor on the edge of the screen everytime I need to change to something else. I like to have menu bars on the screen at all times because I find it a lot more efficient when you are working fast then using the frame interface.

Have a look at this site which talks about the future of UI:
immersive cave
small screen (iphone)
ZUI zooming user interface
multi touch
digital media you can wear

What will the UI look like when you are 30 years old?

I believe that in 15 years we will be using multiple monitors to display information and a massive multitouch desk that will allow us to use our icons and applications through the use of holograms. Keyboards and mice will not be existant anymore because we will be using multitouch and voice recognition to control everything.

This is now the end of my final blog. Thank you to everyone that has helped me out during this semester of Control Technology and thank you to all my fellow bloggers and readers.

Fairwell from Air Sok!

SuperBrain Activity

Superbrain Activity

Rating 4/5

Superbrain is a variation of the popular game “Mastermind”. The aim of this activity is to figure out the code that the game has chosen using hints given after submitting a configuration. The code is simple a configuration of coloured balls in a line. If you choose a harder level, the length of the code will be longer and harder to discover. During the game you are given hints after each code submission to assist you. A black ball says that one of the coloured balls are the right colour and in the right position. A white ball says that one of coloured balls is the right colour but in the wrong position.

After playing this game I think that this would be suitable for all ages because I believe that anyone would be able to play this game and enjoy it. It is a good challenge for the brain and helps you learn to think logically.

· Entertaining game
· Great challenge for your brain
· Simple and colourful interface

· Activity graphics could be improved
· Not enough levels
· A timer could be added to have a leaderboard

This activity teaches you to think logically by using the hints given to decipher the configuration of the colour ball code. Training this skill will allow you to work effectively with occurrences which require you to do some problem solving.

The Great Race!

Using the Etoys activity on the Sugar OS our control technology class was given tasks to complete using elements of the program such as scripting, variables and drawing.

My favourite task was one referred to as "The Great Race".

The task required us to create a project that allowed 4 race cars to race around a track with various bends using variable speeds to vary the outcome of the race, a timer to time the winning car's speed, and start and reset buttons to initiate the race.

The images shown above show some of the scripts that I made to enable my project to work. The two scripts shown on the left and middle show the scripts that I made for the start and reset buttons. As you can see one starts all the cars scripts to start the race and the other sends all the cars back to their starting positions. The script on the right show how I made my cars run around the track. The car's script uses a simple two colour technique to turn around the track, when the car touches the colour on its left its script will turn right by 25 and if it touches the colour on its right it will turn -20.

I did not encounter any problems during this task as the previous tasks taught me all the techniques that I needed to make this race work correctly.

Creating SVG's and Changing Suger XO Icon

Today in our control technology class we were given the task to create a svg image for our Sugar OS using HTML Kit.

To create a svg we needed to use graph paper to find x and y co-ordinate points to create the image we desired. I chose to make a smiley face to replace my XO icon on Sugar. We were given a tutorial document so we could understand the basics of using HTML codes. I found it easy because I have done HTML coding before and already understood some of the basics.
Here is an image of the svg I made using HTML kit.

The next task we had to do was to replace the original XO icon with the svg image that we made on HTML kit. Once again we were given a document to show us how to do this. It consisted of using Terminal, Vi editor and basic commands such as rm, cp and mv. It was rather easy again for me again because I have worked with Linux terminals previously to set up some other things.
Here is a screenshot of my svg in the Sugar OS.
I found this activity good because it taught everyone basic commands in Terminal and how to create your own svg using basic co-ordinates and html coding.

Thanks For Reading.
Air Sok

Make A Game With Physics!

Our control technology class was told about a competition the teacher was holding to see who could create the best game using the physics activity on Sugar.

The class was told to break up in to small groups and work together to construct a fun and simple game using physics. My group consisted of three members and we all worked on one computer to make the game.

The idea for our game was to throw the ball over the wall and try to get the highest score. The player gets three throws and can use a ball of any size. After the three throws, the balls scores are added up and the player receives their total score. When everyone has had their turn, the person with the highest score wins!

Here is a screenshot of our game:

Thanks for reading fellow bloggers!
Air Sok. =D

Guest Speaker - Joel Stanley

On the 5th of August 2009, our control technology class met another guest speaker. This guest speakers name is Joel Stanley. He is a electrical engineer who is still learning at the University of Adelaide.

Rather then the usual speeches that guest speakers give, Joel Stanley decided to turn it into a Q&A session to give us the chance to find out what ever we wanted to find out from him.

Here is a list of Q&A's that were asked to Joel Stanley:

What do you do?
I am currently a student at the University of Adelaide studying Electrical Engineering or also known as Computer Systems Engineering

How did you decide to learn engineering at university?
I decided in Year 10 when I went on a camp which showed us all the campuses in the University.

What is your relation with the XO machines?
For ten weeks I was assigned to test what temperatures the XO's could handle without damaging the hardware. I did this by purchasing a pie warmer and boiling water in there with several XO's on the racks. We tested the XO's at 65 degrees Celcius and discovered that they were still 100% operational. I was also assigned to test several XO's using machines to find out which hardware component used the most power. I also had to make sure that the same amount of power usage matched the amount of AC flow that was coming in and figure out how to make the power usage as low as possible.

What was the most power hungry component in the XO?
The display is generally the most power hungry component in laptops and then the CPU comes second.

What are the maps and arrows shown on the projector?
There are three maps. This map shows where the XO is being distributed to and/or tested with children around the world. This other map shows where Masachusetts is. For three months I had an internship at MIT ( Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to work with many other very smart engineers on the XO. This last map shows where Romania is. I flew to Romania to talk to the local children about the XO to explain why the XO's exist and why they are so good for them. I learnt that alot of them havent heard of Linux and that the country is Microsoft exclusive because Mac is simply too expensive for them.

Did you like going to MIT to learn?
I found it very enjoyable because it wasnt really like a job and I had a lot of fun. I got to work with many smart people in America on a really cool project. It was great to know that your working to help children and helping them change their lives for the better.

Do you prefer Microsoft or Linux?
Linux because I support open source software and Windows really annoys me.

Are all XO's Tested before distribution?
About 1 in 1000 XO's are tested to ensure that the day's production has no defects. There is always the case that there are some defects that aren't found because we would have to pay people to check every single XO which is alot of money.

Who makes the XO's?
The assembly line is Taiwan, where women assemble each XO by hand. The leaders of the LPC (Wearing yellow hats) project such as Mary Lou Jepson and Richard Smith, watch over the workers to make sure everything is right. Mary Lou Jepson was the woman who designed the screen which is being used in all the XO systems and Richard Smith worked on the hardware and low level parts of the machine

Is it easy to fix an XO?
Yes it is because there are only three main components: the motherboard, screen and casing which only has eight screws. When I was in America, I was asked to teach a ten year old to take apart an XO and assemble it. The next day I met two children aged ten and eight who could only speak French. I did not explain to the children step by step how to assemble the XO but rather showed them a Wikipage with images to follow. The two children were able to take apart the XO and assemble it back together in only thirty minutes. I made a youtube video about these children and it proved to be very popular around the world.

What other projects are you doing?
I am currently working with the Google Summer of Code. I am working on the Google Chrome browser to help develop it and make it work on Linux

Will XO's be available in shops?
No because the XO is aimed to be a low budget project with the main purpose to assist children in third world countries to learn. If we were to sell XO's in shops it would cost alot of money due to all the marketing which would need to be done such as advertising and making it known.

Memorize Activity

Here is a screenshot of the Memorize activity found on the Sugar OS.

1st August 2009

In this activity you have to select a square labelled "1" and then select a corresponding square labelled "2". If you get the equation correct the two squares will light up yellow. If the equation is incorrect the two squares will flip back and you will have to try again. The aim of the activity is to learn equations and to practice memorising positions and numbers.

In addition, you can change the squares to show letters and play sounds if you get bored of numbers

I find this game somewhat entertaining but think it would be more amusing and beneficial for younger children who are beginning to learn mathematics and memory.

Guest Speakers - XO OLPC and Timor leste

Today we had guest speakers come in to talk about the XO system and Timor leste.

The guest speaker’s names were Rosemary and David.

Rosemary presented us with many pictures of their time in Timor leste which showed us how underdeveloped the country was and how much assistance is needed to improve the development of the country.

Rosemary explained to the class many things about Timor leste and I will be giving a summary of what we were told.

Timor leste is about 1 hour away by plane and is located above Darwin in Indonesia. It is a tropical area which is near the equator and the only people you will see there are the locals and missonaries who help to develop the country. The national language of Timor leste is Portuguese but the local language is known as Tetun. You will find alot of brazillian people in Timor because they also speak Portuguese and the locals refer to foreigners as Mallai which means "White Man".

The foreigners you will find at Timor leste are called Missionaries. These people have flown to Timor leste to help develop the country and get it to a decent standard. They offer many different things to the locals such as teaching english, introducing carpentry skills, enabling access to internet and much more.

Due to the very poor amount of education which is available to the children in Timor leste, it is not compulsory to attend school. The children who wish to attend school will only be seen with a very basic set of stationary, a pen and a small exercise book. School is only run in the morning due to weather conditions in the later hours of the day.

The housing in Timor leste is constructed of minimal materials as the huts are made of trees and leaves. There is no electricity, flooring or running water supply for these huts so you can see that it is a very low standard of living in Timor leste.

The electricity is proportioned due to its low supply. The electricity will typically turn on around 6am and 6pm for a few hours then turn off the rest of the day.

Rosemary explained how David helped in Timor leste. David ran many computing courses which taught the children of the country to use computers and VoIP. The children have never experienced the use of a phone before so they found it very strange. David also taught the representative of a school principal named Syntus (also the official interpreter for the Australian Army) how to use to the XO laptop. Teaching adults how to use the XO will allow them to be able to teach the children how to use it at school.

This brings us to the main purpose of the guest speakers.

The XO laptop is a cheap laptop which was designed to give every child in a third world country a laptop each. The XO runs the Sugar OS ( more information can be found in my first blog) which offers many applications which can benefit the education of the children in Timor leste. Applications such as Ebook Reader will reduce the costs of education because the children will not have to purchase expensive, heavy textbooks to learn but instead just download and ebook and be able to learn from it. Since the XO only has a one off cost, the families of the children will be able to save money because they will not have to continually buy exercise books, pens and stationary. The children will be able to do all their word processing, reading and research on this small laptop. The XO is shockproof , waterproof and has a low power usage which is perfect for the conditions that are currently inhabited in Timor leste.

Routers and antennas on tall poles are being installed above rooftops to enable internet access to the whole area. The XO has inbuilt WiFI support which will allow the childrean to connect to these hotspots and be able download the information needed to further their education.

Rosemary explained that there are many organisations in Timor leste currently that are contributing to develop the country. The organisations that she told us about were Leader, I.T NGO Forum and GreenPC.

Leader is similar to BigW in Australia as it sells furniture, hardware and much more. Only missionaries are found shopping in this store as it is far too expensive for the local people but this company still contributes by supply the missionaries with equipment they may need to help the locals.

I.T NGO Forum is the organisation which is helping setup the routers around the area to provide internet access among the towns.

Mission Aviation Fellowship is run by a man who lives with his family on Timor leste. He flies around the country transporting missionaries to different towns and also to assist in any emergencies which need urgent transport.

GreenPC is a melbourne based business. The owner of the company came to Timor leste and selected a handful of locals and flew them to melbourne for 6 months. During those six months, the owner taught the people how to fix old computers to be able to sell them for profit. This allowed the locals to start a viable business in Timor leste and earn a decent income for their families. The old computers are donated by Australians and sent over to Timor leste.

There are also nuns who run a program in one of the towns which aims to provide assistance in the development of teenage girls. The nuns provide a 40 bedroom location where girls aged around 12-15 come and get taught by the nuns. The nuns teach the girls skills such as hospitality, cooking, book keeping and how to use a computer. This is all aimed to help the girls find a job so they can help their families with income.

I think that it was very good that Mr.Kerr allowed Rosemary and David to come and speak to use about this topic because it gave a great insight into how underdeveloped the country is and how much they need help to develop their country. I think its great that so many organisations and people are contributing and donating things to Timor leste because it will help the country very much and hopefully get it in to a great condition.

Physics Activity

27th July 2009

Today I worked with the Physics activity on the Sugar OS. It allows you to draw shapes and when you click the play button it incorporates elements of physics such as gravity, friction and inertia into the document.

You can draw squares, circles and triangles or your own shapes to make whatever you want.
In addition to the elements of physics i mentioned above you can add elements such as magnetism, motors and springs.

When you click the play button all the elements come to life and you see what happens to the shapes. For example if you place a shape at the top of the screen and press the play button, you will see gravity come into play and see the shape fall to the bottom.

I think this is a fun activity and I think it is a simple way for childen to understand basic physics

Sugar OS and XO Laptop

During my control technology class, my classmates and I were introduced to an uncommon operating system that is not really known by general users.

This operating system is called Sugar and is made by the company Sugar Labs. It is an open source operating system which is written using the Python programming language and is run using the Linux Kernel.
Sugar is a simplistic operating system which was originally designed for the "One Laptop Per Child" project which aimmed to provide a laptop for every student in third world countries.

My first impressions about this operating system is that it is very simple to use. This is very good as it will help people who have never had experience with a computer to learn how to use one. The basic shapes and pictures to represent applications makes it simplier for children who do not know a language enough to understand words to learn how to use the OS. The OS provides the essential programs that people will need such as a word processing application, drawing applications, ebook reader and more useful programs.

The class was also introduced to the XO laptop also known as the $100 laptop or OLPC ( One Laptop Per Child). This is a very basic laptop which is designed to work with the Sugar OS. It is a very cheap laptop which can allow third world country students access to an affordable piece of technology to use for learning. It has very nice features for such a cheap price such as WiFI, SD card slot, speakers, a microphone and more.