[support-gang] Fwd: Redesigning: Library, Read, Get-Books, and Content bundles

Gary Martin garycmartin at googlemail.com
Sat Jul 24 01:22:49 EDT 2010

Hi Yioryos,

Thanks for the extra feedback. You probably won't like my notes below ;) but I thought I'd reply just incase any ring true for you or others.

On 22 Jul 2010, at 08:45, Yioryos Asprobounitis <mavrothal at yahoo.com> wrote:

> cc olpc devel
> OK. I'll try to be "technical" but ignore things that are difficult or not possible at the moment :-)


> Step 1 is a Library kind of activity, lets all it "tutor" where the user will be able to aggregate different journal entries from Read, Write, Browse, Wikipedia, image, video, Physics activity, Pippy etc (you get the idea) and order them at will.

I really hope we can get some Journal tagging improvements in at some point. Seems like a lot of the tag functionality is there and working, but the user experience is not polished enough so it rarely gets used. I think easier Journal tagging workflow would cover this use case. 

> Step 2 is to embed this activity in the Read and Write activity and present it optionally in a separate window.  Clicking on individual entries transposes you to the relevant point.

I'm going to sound like a broken record ;) again this is just the task the Journal is meant to do in Sugar's design.

> Step 3 is to introduce marks (hyperlinks?) in Read and Write where hovering over you get the tag opened to tell you what is about, and clicking transposes you to the relevant book/app-mark

As noted already this would seem to break Sugars's security model, activities need to be sand-boxed from each other, one activity is not allowed to resume another. Yea, back to Journal, again! ;)  

> Step 4 is to be able to also write from any application to "tutor", eg when you add a Journal bookmark to also have the option to add it into a specific "tutor" and preferably to a specific (order) point.

Walter is working on allowing the Journal details view / naming dialogue to be opened at any time from an activity (hopefully merging the two separate bits of code to reduce maintenance at some point).

> Step 5 is to be able to "publish" or share your "tutor" the way kids share class notes. I could bet is going to be a popular activity and actually better cope with the multitude of learning styles that kids have.

Yes, currently the Journal has a 'share with --> friend' feature that works pretty well (as long as an activity sets a mime type for its Journal entries). Requests for actions on multiple Journal entries have popped up rather frequently over the last few Sugar releases (usually for bulk deletions, or bulk copying to and from USB); this would also be ideal for sending multiple Journal entries to a friend. A workflow of something like 1) search Journal for the tags 'math class notes' 2) select all result entries 3) select 'share with --> friend', and bingo, your class mate gets all the notes from the class they had been skiving from all term ;)    

> Regarding PDF we know that there are applications that allow to highlight, insert bookmarks, notes or hyperlinks in  PDF documents. I do not know if Envice can do all theses. I just know that is doable.

The Mac OS X built in Preview application can do this type of thing, and obviously Adobe's Acrobat products also have similar functionality. I do occasionally use it when reviewing PDF based material, though it does have some limitations. Annotations seem to be rendered into the document, so once saved your annotations can not be removed/edited. I usually end up with a trail of separate documents saved just in case I need to revert.

I'm digging around in Reads Epub support at the moment, I'll keep my eyes open for possible annotation support.


> --- On Wed, 7/21/10, Gary Martin <garycmartin at googlemail.com> wrote:
>> From: Gary Martin <garycmartin at googlemail.com>
>> Subject: Re: [support-gang] Fwd: Redesigning: Library, Read, Get-Books, and  Content bundles
>> To: "Community Support Volunteers -- who help respond to help AT laptop.org" <support-gang at lists.laptop.org>
>> Cc: "Andreas Gros" <andigros72 at googlemail.com>, "Support Gangsters" <support-gang at laptop.org>, "Community Support Volunteers -- who help respond to help AT laptop.org" <support-gang at lists.laptop.org>
>> Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 5:59 PM
>> Hi Yioryos, 
>> On 21 Jul 2010, at 18:26, Yioryos Asprobounitis <mavrothal at yahoo.com>
>> wrote:
>>> I think that he reader does not care if the format is
>> this or that (with the exception of plain text that is
>> totally unappealing to read, to say the least) or if it is
>> this or that component, and not Read that fails.
>>> For sure ETexts ability to highlight is OK but
>> bookmarking-wise is rudimentary and cross-linking non
>> existing. 
>>> Also whatever bookmarking and commenting there is it
>> goes through individual journal entries, instead of "your
>> private index" within the book (unless I miss something)
>> which is much more usefull. It is clearly an improvement
>> over Read in that front but hardly sufficient.
>> Could you expand a little more on this idea, I'm not sure I
>> follow it 100%. I take it as a request for a global index?
>> Outside of the individual page bookmarks and notes that Read
>> currently provides (Read stores these notes/bookmarks inside
>> the Journal entry for that book, my first thought on the
>> global case is again the Journal. It  supports both a
>> tags section and description section for each journal entry
>> (see the details view in each entry). These sections are
>> fully searchable from the Journal and are a great way to
>> quickly pull up an entry via a keyword search - I used this
>> in a previous Sugar on a stick version so that there were a
>> set of about a dozen PDF world maps Journal entries with all
>> the text place locations entered in their descriptions; you
>> could then just search in Journal for 'London', 'Hangzhou',
>> 'Lahore' or where ever, and Journal would show the maps that
>> contained those named locations. Perhaps more is needed
>> here? We do already know the Journal details v
>> iew is a little hard to get to, Walter has been working on
>> some solutions to improve access allowing you to pull up and
>> edit the details from inside any open activity at any time.
>> Regards,
>> --Gary
>>> But I guess what is not clear to me is if you are
>> suggesting that Read is fine and we should rather focus on
>> other things or that there is nothing we can do about the
>> Read/ETexts issues and better focus elsewhere, or none of
>> the above.
>>> At the end of the day is up to the developers to do
>> what they want, but is nice to be clear on what we would
>> like to have if we could.
>>> --- On Wed, 7/21/10, James Simmons <nicestep at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>>> From: James Simmons <nicestep at gmail.com>
>>>> Subject: Re: [support-gang] Fwd: Redesigning:
>> Library, Read, Get-Books, and  Content bundles
>>>> To: "Community Support Volunteers -- who help
>> respond to "help AT laptop.org"" <support-gang at lists.laptop.org>,
>> "Yioryos Asprobounitis" <mavrothal at yahoo.com>
>>>> Cc: "Support Gangsters" <support-gang at laptop.org>,
>> "Adam Holt" <holt at laptop.org>,
>> "Andreas Gros" <andigros72 at googlemail.com>
>>>> Date: Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 11:06 AM
>>>> Yioryos,
>>>> Some of the perfectly valid complaints you have
>> are not
>>>> Read's fault.
>>>> The PDF format is problematic, and the DjVu format
>> is not
>>>> much better.
>>>> With either one there is no good way to zoom to
>> the
>>>> readable portion
>>>> of the document, or to change the font size, or
>> re-wrap
>>>> text.  The
>>>> EPUB format solves these problems, and Plain Text
>> with the
>>>> Read Etext
>>>> activity works pretty well too.
>>>> Losing bookmarks is probably a Sugar issue. 
>> Read uses
>>>> custom meta
>>>> data to save page numbers.  On .82 and before
>> custom
>>>> metadata would
>>>> not survive a reboot.  After .82 it would,
>> but
>>>> apparently not always.
>>>> I have experienced this problem with Read myself.
>>>> Some of the highlighting and annotating features
>> you have
>>>> requested
>>>> are in Read Etexts.  Plain Text is an easier
>> format to
>>>> deal with than
>>>> PDF, so adding features like this is simpler than
>> it would
>>>> be to put
>>>> them in Read.  I do know that Read supports
>> multiple
>>>> bookmarks, and
>>>> you can attach notes to each bookmark.
>>>> James Simmons
>>>> On Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 4:34 AM, Yioryos
>> Asprobounitis
>>>> <mavrothal at yahoo.com>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> Till the actual user arrives, let me offer
>> few
>>>> thoughts more from observing
>>>>> and less from using the actual  activity
>> combo
>>>> (Read/Get
>>>>> Books/Browse/Journal) for Reading.
>>>>> To get a book and read it may take anything
>> from 1 to
>>>> 20+ hours. Lets say
>>>>> average 10h. From these the actual initial
>> steps may
>>>> take 1-5 minutes
>>>>> depending if you have an Apple eBook
>> integration or a
>>>> "low tech" Sugar
>>>>> implementation. So in my mind there is no
>> contest
>>>> where priorities lay.  The
>>>>> read Activity per se. The rest might be
>> interesting
>>>> from a "wow" point of
>>>>> view, administration, additional functionality
>> or
>>>> programming, but not
>>>>> necessarily for reading/studying process.
>>>>> Prioritizing, I would rather have Read
>>>> activity/Journal not to loose your
>>>>> bookmark, the last page you read, as it often
>> happens.
>>>> It is very
>>>>> distracting and annoying when it happens half
>> way a
>>>> 300 pages book.
>>>>> I would like it to zoom to the correct size.
>> In many
>>>> books it does not and
>>>>> you have to do it every time you open the book
>> again.
>>>> Given the XOs
>>>>> rendering/zooming ability, is painful.
>>>>> I would like it to keep the same font size on
>> screen
>>>> rotation.  Holding an
>>>>> XO (or a book) for a long time in the same
>> position is
>>>> almost impossible.
>>>>> Changing position should not be distracting.
>>>>> I would like the reader to set a global font
>> size that
>>>> (s)he is comfortable
>>>>> with. Small kids like big letters and as their
>> reading
>>>> ability progresses
>>>>> are conformable with smaller and they rather
>> not keep
>>>> changing pages.
>>>>> I would like to be able to highlight both
>> in  tablet
>>>> and clamshell setting.
>>>>> Particularly important for studying. Great
>> help when
>>>> you want to
>>>>> speed-refress
>>>>> I would like to be able to add comments and
>> book marks
>>>> that you can easily
>>>>> catalogue/find on pages.  Great help when
>> you write a
>>>> report, check an event
>>>>> sequence, idea development etc.
>>>>> I would like it to be able to add cross
>> reference
>>>> marking to other book or
>>>>> web pages, so you can develop your own
>> studying flow.
>>>> This is particularly
>>>>> important for school work. To go further up,
>> for
>>>> comparative reading or
>>>>> reference. For example how text books from
>> neighboring
>>>> countries present the
>>>>> same historic period, event? What else is
>> happening in
>>>> the world at the same
>>>>> time?
>>>>> I'm sure that some of the changes required to
>> achieve
>>>> all these would be
>>>>> useful towards an integration but I would
>> rather start
>>>> with a robust
>>>>> Read.activity in mind that not facilitates
>> reading and
>>>> studying but can
>>>>> bring it to a new level.
>>>>> --- On Tue, 7/20/10, Adam Holt <holt at laptop.org>
>>>> wrote:
>>>>> From: Adam Holt <holt at laptop.org>
>>>>> Subject: Fwd: Redesigning: Library, Read,
>> Get-Books,
>>>> and Content bundles
>>>>> To: "Support Gangsters" <support-gang at laptop.org>
>>>>> Cc: "Yioryos Asprobounitis" <mavrothal at yahoo.com>,
>>>> "Andreas Gros"
>>>>> <andigros72 at googlemail.com>
>>>>> Date: Tuesday, July 20, 2010, 2:44 PM
>>>>> Yioryos,
>>>>> Plz let us know what your son (the consummate
>>>> eBook-on-XO reader) thinks :)
>>>>> (Hoping this leads to progress before "Oct
>> 1-2" when a
>>>> mini-conf on all
>>>>> these eBook-on-XO topics may happen in
>> Cambridge,
>>>> Massachusetts...)
>>>>> --A!
>>>>> Subject: Redesigning: Library, Read,
>> Get-Books, and
>>>> Content bundles
>>>>> Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2010 14:33:07 -0400
>>>>> From: Reuben K. Caron <reuben at laptop.org>
>>>>> To: OLPC Devel <devel at lists.laptop.org>,
>>>> iaep at lists.sugarlabs.org
>>>>> There has been a lot of great progress with
>> the Read
>>>> and Get-Books
>>>>> (IA) activities. However, we have neglected to
>> think
>>>> about how we can
>>>>> better fit all of these pieces together. For
>> instance,
>>>> consider
>>>>> deployments that would like to install
>> content
>>>> bundles. They package
>>>>> these files into .xol packages and these
>> packages get
>>>> installed into
>>>>> the "Library," which is contained on the left
>> hand
>>>> side of the Browse
>>>>> activity. Yes, you read that correctly..."the
>>>> activity," an
>>>>> activity intended for online exploration is
>> used to
>>>> view offline
>>>>> content. Every deployment that I have shown
>> this to
>>>> has found it very
>>>>> unintuitive. Consider another example: You
>> want to use
>>>> Get-Books to
>>>>> get a new book. So you open Get-Books search
>> for a
>>>> book and download
>>>>> the book. But where did it go? I guess one
>> could
>>>> assume (correctly)
>>>>> that it went to the journal. So you close
>> Get-Books.
>>>> Go to the
>>>>> Journal. Find the book you downloaded. Open
>> the book
>>>> (in Read.) IMHO,
>>>>> a series of needless steps.
>>>>> So what if we created a "Library Activity"
>>>>> The activity would:
>>>>> -Open a book from within the activity
>>>>> -Highlight and annotate books
>>>>> -List all of the books you have downloaded
>>>>> -Allow you to search and download additional
>> books
>>>> from Feed Books,
>>>>> Internet Archive, the XS, etc..
>>>>> -List the resources in /home/olpc/Library (so
>> this can
>>>> be removed from
>>>>> Browse)
>>>>> -Allow one to synchronously or asynchronously
>> share a
>>>> book to their
>>>>> Neighborhood so anyone can download and read
>> it.
>>>>> I have filed a bug here if anyone would like
>> to follow
>>>> it:
>>>>> http://bugs.sugarlabs.org/ticket/2110
>>>>> I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
>>>>> Regards,
>>>>> Reuben
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