Towards a Free (as in speech) system – (or Flash Reduced diet #3)

July 25, 2009 at 13:14 | Posted in Life, Tech, XO | 3 Comments
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It seems that one of the side effects of my Flash reduced diet is a desire to get away from all restricted formats. In looking back I can see that this journey actually began when I got my OLPC XO during last years Give 1 Get 1 program. As I progress on this journey I am stripping away more and more of my reliance on restricted/patent encumbered formats. I am also working hard to rid my systems of any Proprietary binary blobs or software with restrictive or anti-social licenses. I have cleaned up Ubuntu on my main laptop as much as I can and am now looking into replacing Ubuntu with gNewSense. The main stumbling block to doing so is the fact that my main laptop is my Asterisk/Voip centre and I’ll have to do the re-install at a time when there would be no incoming calls.

The thing that has surprised me is how little has broken. As I mentioned in my previous postings on Flash reduction things definitely do break, but nothing that I couldn’t easily live without.

My biggest concern was dropping restricted kernel modules as I feared that some of my hardware may cease to function. As it turns out I have been quite good at buying hardware that is fully supported by open source software. My next concern was that I might have trouble with Various media types but again nothing significant broke I can still watch the CBC news at night just fine. I did loose mplayer, VLC, and Avidemux that I had come to depend on but they have been replaced with other tools that do not have the licensing complications of those applications. I have managed to completely do away with the multiverse repositories on my main laptop.

My next challenge will be to do the same on the XO. This may be challenging as the XO is shipped with proprietary kernel modules for the wireless card. and I suspect the Video will be problematic. My Ultimate goal will be to get gNewSense on my main laptop and then work on porting it to the XO. It may well be worth the effort of porting to the XO even if the wireless doesn’t work as one can always add an external wireless card that is supported by Free software.


E-Toys Tutorial 12 – Getting Jiggy with the Frog

June 7, 2009 at 15:40 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | 2 Comments
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In this tutorial we continue building out the game we started in the previous tutorial. We add levelling, scoring, difficulty increases, and a nice background. This tutorial is longer then the rest but covers some advanced ground and nicely demonstrates the development process scripting and debugging.

This E-Toys project will be available to download and experiment with @

The OLPC XO playable version is HERE

You can download this tutorial HERE

E-Toys Tutorial #11 – A new Game

May 28, 2009 at 16:40 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | 1 Comment
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In this tutorial for‘s E-Toys we start building a game from scratch. The game involves a frog that eats flies. People following along with these tutorials can download the E-Toys project files from . I will try to find a more XO Friendly place for the projects in the future. In the next tutorial we will add levels, scoring, and other features to this game.

The OLPC XO friendly version of this Tutorial is available here.

You can download this tutorial here.

E-Toys Tutorial #10 – Our First Game

May 16, 2009 at 10:55 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | Comments Off on E-Toys Tutorial #10 – Our First Game
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Finally it is quiet enough to record again.

In this tutorial we look at a simple game I put together. We examine the various players and their scripts to see how it all goes together. Topics covered in this tutorial include Variables, Siblings, Debugging and more.

The Video can be downloaded here

The OLPC XO on-line playable version is here

You can download the E-Toys Project for this tutorial here. This and other projects will be available in my E-Toys Tutorials Drop (not OLPC friendly). If people have a suggestion for a more OLPC friendly hosting site for the E-Toys Projects related to these tutorials please let me know.


E-toys tutorials delay…

May 5, 2009 at 12:27 | Posted in Life, OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, XO | Comments Off on E-toys tutorials delay…
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I apologies for the current delay in getting the next E-Toys Tutorial out. The problem is that there is some rather noisy construction going on  and it would be picked up when I tried to record the tutorials. I will get them out as quickly as possible.

E-Toys Tutorial #9 – Advanced Scripting

April 27, 2009 at 13:49 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | Comments Off on E-Toys Tutorial #9 – Advanced Scripting
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In this tutorial I cover some more advanced scripting techniques. In particular how to start and stop scripts in one player from another player.


OLPC XO playable Version: here

You can download the video here or at the Internet archive

E-Toys Tutorial #8 – Getting Control

April 23, 2009 at 14:35 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | Comments Off on E-Toys Tutorial #8 – Getting Control
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In this tutorial I discuss controlling objects with the keyboard, the E-toys joystick and with other objects. I also briefly cover how to have two objects move together.


The OLPC XO viewable version of this tutorial is: Here

You can Download a copy: Here or Here

E-Toys Tutorial #7 – Animation with holders

April 12, 2009 at 18:14 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | Comments Off on E-Toys Tutorial #7 – Animation with holders
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This is the seventh in my series of tutorials on E-Toys by In this tutorial I will discuss doing animation of your “players” by using “holders”.


This Tutorial is OLPC XO viewable here

You can download this tutorial here

E-Toys Tutorial #6 – Getting things Moving

March 27, 2009 at 15:12 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | 1 Comment
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This is the sixth in my series of tutorials on E-Toys by . In this tutorial we will create an E-Toys implimentation of the classic “Lines” program. To do this we will use a user created player, a duplicate, a connector and the scripting needed to get it all moving.


This Video Tutorial is OLPC XO viewable here

You Can Download this Tutorial here

E-Toys Tutorial #4 – Basic Supplies

March 15, 2009 at 16:49 | Posted in OLPC, Tutorials/Howtos, Vod/Pod casts, XO | Comments Off on E-Toys Tutorial #4 – Basic Supplies
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This is the fourth in my series of tutorials on‘s E-Toys. In this tutorial I take a quick look at the various things in the Supplies drawer.

These videos are available in XO playable format on

These tutorials are also OLPC playable at just change the format (under where the video would be) to “source — ogg theora/vorbis” and they will play fine on the XO


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