Dealing with delays
All I eat for dinner is the internet. It tastes awful. – Poet Patricia Lockwood Dreams of Roasted Pturkeydactyls
Sorry for the slow update. I promise I’ll do better in November. September was a big whirlwind of people. After a slow and dreamy summer I’ve been in Stockholm, Krakow and Oslo, and going to Frankfurt and London for book stuff.
The main reason behind all this travel is to talk to people smarter than I am and try to understand what I’ve started. What does it all really mean? What is Ruby about? The current tagline goes like this: Hello Ruby is the worlds most whimsical way to learn about computers, programming and technology. What do you think? Yes or no?
The bad news of the month are that I still don’t have a confirmed shipping date for you. I’m a girl who returns all her essays on time, gets only As from exams and when making choices goes for the smart and safe. But this thing is bigger than I am and for the first time in my life I don’t have all the answers or all the time I need. And I apologise for that. These monthly letters however are my attempt at keeping you all in the loop and a part of this creative, chaotic process. And you, my backers keep me sane. This letter from a backer made one of my gloomy Mondays:
“Project delay is a matter of life. Obstacles are to be overcome. Once you get over, that’s it.
There’s no need to feel sorry. We are happy to see you keep going after for the Ruby dream, no matter how long the delay going to be
Cheers. Be happy, only then you’ll be productive”
My offer still stands. If you have a special someone who is going to be very disappointed for not receiving the book for birthday/housewarming/something else, send me a message and I’ll give a little illustration exercise for your gift receiver to let them know the book is coming.
In other news, you can catch a video from the GRID conference, where I share some of the philosophical background of Hello Ruby. It’s 17 minutes and one of my favourite talks I’ve given in recent times.
Thank you everyone for the support. You matter.
Make a computer
Last time I sent you the Make your first computer -exercise and asked for feedback. (If you want to do it still, you can find the instructions here).
What I didn’t anticipate was the global response. I got even pictures from kids in Afghanistan designing their own computers. Angela made this beautiful blog post about what she learned and below is a selection of pictures from computers all over the world. Just look at these essential moments of discovery, joy and magic.
I got wonderful responses that really help me shape up the curriculum around the computer. There was a reason I didn’t include more instructions on the components - I wanted to hear what you thought was missing. After all, often times the real learning comes from prompting questions. You can catch a glimpse of the v2 of the computer after a few paragraphs.
Make a question
I loved hearing from you and want to keep this up. And I’ve pretty much decided not to send these without some sort of an interactive activity - it’s just way too much fun.
Last spring I received an e-mail from little Juno from Slovenia asking me the following questions:
- How is it possible that a computer can move things
- How to make a computer?
- Where does all the information on computer screen come from?
- How do you create a web page?
- How do visual effects (e.g. stretch or twirl) in Photoshop work?
I’ll try to answer these over video in my next update. But before that it’s your turn - do send me your questions, the curious things the kids ask and I’ll do my best to have an illustrated answer by next. You can add the question in the comments of this post or just hit reply.
Make a brand
Since I’m currently the biggest bottleneck in everything I try to do, we’ve been hard at work with Kokoro & Moi, creating the Hello Ruby brand. This is just a sneak peek to all of the awesome things that are coming your way: the new logo, some custom stickers and a new, modified computer. I like to think that this is the way Ruby sees the world.
What I especially love is the systematic approach of the design (also a nod towards programming). The logo characters rotate a full 360 in sequence and both the fonts and the illustrations are built of smaller, reusable components that basically allow anyone to create Ruby’s imagination.
The worthy diversions of the month.
- Creativite people say no. This was probably the most important essay I read this month. Beautifully summarises the loneliness of creating something new and the need to carve out time for that.
- Tove Jansson. I’ve been reading her published letters like a maniac. She is my biggest role model and inspiration - and this year marks 100 years from her birth. If you’re not familiar with Tove’s work (and even if you are) I recommend this essay and this document.
- MInecraft. Like everyone else I was shocked and surprised with the changes, and a little heartbroken by Notch's letter. Pair it with this Phil Fish essay from Jason Kottke.
- This month’s pedagogical theme: Teaching Engineering As A Social Science. Fascinating.