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Re: [school-discuss] Project suggestions for 10-12 y.o. kids?

Hello again...

> on Mon, Mar 15, 2004 at 02:34:00AM -0600, Jeff Waddell
> (jwaddell@chi.spunge.org) wrote:
>> Sounds like great fun!
> The good news is that the initial session went well (I stuck with the
> canned goods, particularly as I had neither admin nor net to do any
> differently -- though I did show one kid what raw HTML looks like, both
> raw and rendered).

Were they stunned or bored?

>> > The goal is educational.  The setting is an after-school program (not
>> > a school program itself).  Initially, the systems are largely legacy
>> MS
>> > Windows, though the plan is to change this over time.  There are some
>> > prepared materials for this sort of thing I'll have a chance to look
>> > over tomorrow, though I haven't yet seen them.
>> >
>> Take one of these machines (or one from home or office) and get the ltsp
>> cds (k12ltsp.org or ltsp.org) and create an ltsp server.  Then use this
>> server to boot all (or some portion) into linux so that you can easily
>> demonstrate all the wonderful OSS software without affecting the poor
>> legacy MS Windows.
> ;-)  vim 'ab' is your friend.  "Windows" has been legacy on anything I
> write for ages....
> I'd like to do something like this.  Probably worth a new thread (or
> some research).  Briefly:
>   - The LTSP concept is a beautiful one.  I'd like to set up a server
>     and run multiple desktops off it.

Should be quite doable depending on hardware and time.

>   - I'm highly partial to and very familiar with Debian.  LTSP appears
>     to be set up somewhat as its own distro.  Doing the equivalent bootp
>     + xdmcp support from whithin Debian would be strongly preferred.

I also prefer Debian and all my LTSP experience is Debian based.....I
choose dhcp over bootp for most things (although I think ended up doing
bootp for an old sun once at home [really interesting to see an old sun
box running as a diskless workstation :) ]

I went with gdm for my xdm management and have been very happy with it.

I'm sure you are familiar with how to get all your favorite desktop toys
using debian ;)

> I know a few people very familiar with LTSP I need to follow up with.

Great, if you have specific questions I'd be happy to help.  By the way
where are you doing all this physically?  Maybe I can come play too :)

>> > What I'd like to focus on rather than specific technologies is the
>> > sort of things other people do in a similar setting.  I haven't
>> > worked with kids of this age since lifeguarding years back, absent a
>> > few spells with neighbors kids and such (mostly roughhousing and
>> > horsing around).
>> I haven't done it with this large a group.  However I've had success
>> in smaller groups in the past with games such as gbatnav ("Batallia
>> Naval" which is basically a multi player battle ship), frozenbubbles,
>                                                          ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Damn, that's addictive....

And it works over LTSP, i've done it.... if you are using a 10bT as
opposed to 100bT it can be quite jerky.  The 100bT plays pretty well,
unless netraffic gets nuts.

A room full of people playing frozenbubbles is quite cool.  Especially
when you can reboot the machines without the floppy and everything that
was already there in that lab goes back to being it's old (mostly useless
but keeps the management happy) self....

>> codebreaker, xsokoban (and variants), xmahjongg (and variants),
>> xboard, pente, tuxracer (if you have the 3d hardware), potatoguy (it

I never got tuxracer to go over the LTSP, although I believe that was a
lack of available hardware as opposed to technical impossibility (that is
definately something I would like see... running 3d opengl programs
through the net)

> Any experience with any of these over remote X?

Yes, pretty much all of them... they work phenomenonly well.  Solarfox had
some timing issues due to the fast screen redraws it likes to do, yet it
too was playable over 100 base.  I think there was at least one game that
was pretty much not playable, however I can't recall which one it was.

>  My limited experience
> has been watching Flash animations deform oddly over either straight X11
> or tunneled SSH connections....

Hmmm, i can't recall if I put the flash extensions into the browsers over
the ltsp and/or which results they had.  I think that I did get flash to
work properly although there were definately some strangeness with a
couple of applications (notably evolution) that would NOT honor the X11
server number and end up only displaying on the first screen a particular
user logged in on [would be really bad in situation where the screens were
not located in the same physical room].

> Video seems to work best locally.

xine over ltsp actually worked (but was way too slow [that particular
experiment was over 10 base though, so 100 base MIGHT make it decent] to
be of any use).  With gigabit network it seems it would work well.
although multiple clients might just drive the network into apoplexy.

There is a video player that was using a streaming protocal that seemed to
make better sense than xine did, but for some reason I could not get it
work over the ltsp the way I thought it should.

There is a nice gui front end to accessing the floppy (on the client) that
works really well over ltsp, although I can't think of it's name at the
moment.  I never tried to get access to the cdrom (on the client).

> Right, pretty much, on all of that.  Most of these are tools I'm
> familiar with.  Some of them intimately.  Some of them passionately.
> Some of them pathelogically.....


> One thought I've had is to simply get the class used to starting the day
> with the Teacher Communications Protocol game...
>    Teacher:  SYN
>    Students: SYN ACK
>    Teacher:  ACK
>    Teacher:  ACK <lesson starts>
> ...which may come to mean something down the road....
> Maybe make this the interrupt / request protocol as well.

ACK no comment... :)

>> I've yet to do anything with Scribus, so I don't know how well it
>> might work in this situation.
> I've started it up a few times.  It strikes me as rough, though I'm not
> familiar with the proprietary equivalents (Quark?).  Knew someone years
> back who used same.

It probably is.

>> If you do decide to mess around with the Gutenberg Project, you may
>> consider showing the students how to take a gutenberg text into LyX
>> and make it into a print ready book in a short amount of time (of
>> course it's even faster if you learn vim and use the more powerful
>> search and replace capabilities)
> Any specific tips here?  Seems a sed/awk/perl script would be the right
> thing.

never learned sed or awk and perl never learned me ;)

What I have done in the past (for printing out gutenberg books for my
children to read) is pull it into LyX and use LyX to do the necessary
formatting (sometimes adding table of contents, etc) which LyX makes
simple and easy yet time consuming and frankly boring....However after
doing that ONCE and looking at the resulting output file.  It's very easy
to see what has been added and where (looks about like html).  At that
point I use vim's macro functions to locate all the proper places and put
in the proper text substitions to make it have page breaks and numbering.
Which is simple, easy, and not particularly boring....However I'm sure a
sed or awk or even perl program would be better IF you could generacize
the process.  (Given my own efforts to write a php program to
automagically html'ize gutenberg texts, I'm guessing that the above task
is much harder than it would first appear)

>> One of the best things to do is to give each a separate log in and
>> have them just PLAY in the various desktops, exploring the various
>> options available to them.
> Very much thinking of that.
> Even before getting a terminal server up, just offering shell through
> PuTTY on the 'Doze boxes would be a start.

What's the name of the Windows VNC Client?  that could also work.  You can
set up the vnc server on the ltsp to come up upon demand like an http
daemon (yes i have done this and it does work).  There is a description of
how to do it somewhere out there on the net, If you can't find it and you
wish to try it, let me know and I'll look it up.

Good Luck and keep us informed on how it's going.

Jeff Waddell