Saturday, May 31, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
In defense of SUGAR
I love my XO, and what One Laptop Per Child stands for. There has been a lot of talk recently about Sugar breaking away from OLPC, culminating in the recent foundation of Sugar Labs, and this can only be a good thing. For me personally, the Sugar interface presents an incredible shift away from the time-wasting and procrastination which have plagued my past endeavours. In a similar vein, I have been really impressed in the past with the simplicity of the operating system, if you would call it that, in the original Alphasmart word-processor. The Alphasmart has now evolved into the Dana, a cool word-processor designed for students, which runs PalmOS, but the original OS consisted of 8 buttons each representing a file. Click the button and start writing or editing. This leaves no scope for time-wasting. With Sugar, you benefit from a similar simplicity. When I open up my journal (the Sugar activity manager is called the journal), I see links to the last 10 activities I have been working on. More are available if I scroll down, but I rarely do, since, chances are, I want to resume one of these ten activities, even if I have no activity in mind when I turn the laptop on. When I complete an activity, for instance, by finishing up a document, I back it up on the SD card and remove it from the journal
I can see the advantage to this for a child or a student or myself, as a writer; in my professional capacity, I have spent countless hours digging about for a particular document on Windows, but I deal with countless documents. When I am writing at home, however, I may have two or three documents in progress, but not more than this, and by being able to access "the last thing I was doing," quickly and efficiently, with no mucking around, I am saving time.
This is one reason I like Sugar, and one way it does something for me that Windows, or for that matter KDE or OSX, does not.