At the urging of Reuben Caron, who had been contacted by the OLPCÂ deployment in Armenia, Walter Bender wrote a chess activity for Sugar. It is aÂ Sugar front-end to the gnuchess program, which is a quiteÂ sophisticated chess engine for GNU/Linux. The actvitiy, Gnuchess, canÂ be downloaded from the Sugar activity portalÂ and is documented onÂ the Activities/Gnuchess page in the wiki.Â A few fun featuresÂ include:
(1) Â you can play against the computer, another person on theÂ same computer, or over the network
(2) you can use a generic set ofÂ pieces, load in some Sugar-colored ones, or those of your own design
(3) when you play against someone over the net, they will see yourÂ artwork and youâ€™ll see their artwork
(4) the computer will offer veryÂ good hints to new users
(5) games are recorded and can be played backÂ as an animation or saved in standard chess notation.
Walter also have been making a number of subtle but important changes toÂ Turtle Blocks. Cynthia Solomon (of Logo fame) has been giving him feedback and as a result, Walter thinks the box and action naming is muchÂ more streamlined and consistent. Also, the new flow blocks are muchÂ easier (and more intuitive) to use.
Check out Version 154Â and keepÂ an eye out for Version 156, coming soon.
Also, Claudia, Melissa, Cynthia, and Walter hosted a learning workshop atÂ the OLPC office in Cambridge at which Walter got some feedback onÂ the Portfolio and Bulletin Board activities. He is in the midst ofÂ streamlining Portfolio and also enabling comments to be made over theÂ web. (You can get a sneak preview of Version 27).Â With the learningÂ team, we have been developing a classroom protocol. Once theÂ Portfolio activity gets released, the Bulletin Board activity will follow.
Walter has also been withing with the FundaciÃ³n Zamora Teran team on the Nutrition activity.
More region-specific foods have been added and a new game: match theÂ food to its food group. A new release will be available soon; aÂ preview is available here.