[maemo-community] Collaboration between Maemo Community and Universidad Politecnica de Valencia

From: Andrea Grandi a.grandi at gmail.com
Date: Mon Oct 5 21:39:22 EEST 2009

2009/10/5 Sebastian 'CrashandDie' Lauwers <crashanddie at gmail.com>:
> 2 hours would be a minimum. I would suggest not talking about the
> n900, or if you do, not focus on the phone part. You can mention it
> has wireless-data abilities, but in my experience, if it's for a
> classroom, first of all:

well... all these guys already know about iPhone, Android and they're
actually developing for Windows Mobile, why shouldn't I tell them all
the capabilities of N900? After all it resumes all the progresses that
Maemo has made in these years.

> - The N900 will be too expensive

this is not the point: just like UPV bought 30-40 Windows Mobile
devices, they could buy N900 devices to let students develop on them

> - Data-plans scare the hell out of public finances

here in Spain they have not the cheapest offers, this is true, but for
example you can buy a Simyo SIM card for just 5€ you can have up to
500Mb month included in those 5€ so you can play with Facebook, Gtalk,
Email, ecc... without spending more.

> - Teachers are seriously scared when giving students phone access.

why :) ?

I repeat: they're actually developing with Windows Mobile devices:
these devices don't have a SIM inside (at the moment), but what's the

> Most of the time it goes quite well -- if people already know Linux
> and understand the advantages of Open Source, they quite welcome the
> "mobile" part. My end-of-studies project was focused on the n800 (I
> can go into more details about the project if needed).

that's why that teacher was already interested in Maemo, even before
knowing about me.

> I quite disagree here.
> First of all, there is a possibility that the code developed by
> students is owned by the school, and would not be allowed for release.
> This is exactly the issue I've encountered during the early moments
> when I discovered the platform. The code we wrote during school-time
> was to have a specific license, etc. This is something the teachers
> might want to investigate specifically *before* releasing anything to
> the community.

asking this doesn't cost anything :)

For example in my university (Università degli Studi di Firenze) you
can do whatever you want with your project.

> Second, the applications developed by students are usually quite
> rubbish, or useless to the community at large. For example, one of the
> "play tests" I wrote while discovering the platform was using an
> external GSM modem connected to another computer, use the n800 to send
> SMS messages. Very fun, and cool (because the n800 obviously didn't
> have any GSM capabilities), but in the end, not very useful to anyone
> else, unless they had that very specific modem, a spare server, and a
> connection to said server. My final year project was controlling fish
> tanks (pisciculture). We had to check on water quality using specific
> ADAM modules, do site surveillance based on temperature, and I wrote a
> client that would connect to the main server (which was my main
> project) that would run from the n800, so that a technician could see
> the values of water quality/temperature + manually change the status
> of valves while on the terrain (and not in front of his computer).

why do you under-evaluate those guys even before knowing what they can do?

Do you mean that you're not interested in their contribute at all?

If lot of guys start knowing how to develop for Maemo, they could
contribute by them selves once they finish their studies or even
during their studies. Isn't what I'm doing right now? I'm just a

> Again, pretty fun to design and write, but absolutely useless to
> anyone in the community.

that's exactly what they're already avoiding with Windows Mobile
development: even if Visual Studio have a wonderful emulator
(something that we, Maemo developers, can only dream about....) they
did prefer to buy real devices, so students can test their
applications on real device.

They always assign you a useful application/project to develop, not
just an academic one.

> I agree. If UPV is already used to development for Linux then allowing
> some specialisation in their courses or workshops will be extremely
> beneficial. That being said, if historically speaking the development
> courses are not based around Linux, then I fear that the amount of
> work required in order to acquire fundamentals might be
> counter-productive in time- and funding-constrained infrastructures
> such as Education. Most of the time, new platforms are most easily
> inserted into courses when the same principles, or at least
> programming languages and frameworks can be applied.
> For example: there is little benefit to learn Python or C/C++/Qt/Gtk
> when most of the development to date has been done in Java.

I don't know about all UPV courses, I'm here just for 1 year, for the
Erasmus (studing in a foreign university for 6/12 months).

> Again, the introduction material will depend very heavily on the kind
> of public you'll be facing, as always. It's very hard to give you
> concrete ideas or tips considering we have no information about the
> type of PhD that this will be applied to or in which courses you would
> see this being inserted.

They've various courses: 3 or 5 years Computer Engineering ecc...

> teachers), what worked best was basically asking the students what
> they'd want to do with it. This would often be my first question, I
> wouldn't even say what the device is, nor what OS it's running. I just

this is a very good idea! I thank you for this, because I find it very nice :)

> come into the room, show them the device from a distance, and ask "If
> you had this, what would you do with it?" Usually they're quite
> baffled by this, and one smartass will point out they don't know what
> it does, but just ask the question again, name a few points about the
> device (touchscreen, wifi, open development, [linux if they use it
> regularly]).

the only problem (actually) is that I only have a N810 to show them :P

Since this intriduction will be kept about around the first days of
december, I really hope to have a N900 fo that date!

> Everytime someone brings up an interesting point that the device
> addresses, point it out or show it, but the main focus of such an
> approach is 1/ Keep them attentive (nothing as boring for students as
> *yet another* guy coming to show his stuff, 2/ get immediate ideas,
> brainstorming and feedback.

good idea too

> Also, one way of cheating is to ask the teachers which kid is the
> "best". There's usually always one or two who are truly good (at least
> one of them will be very arrogant), so simply challenge him. That's
> how they got me to work with the n800, and adopt Maemo.

if there's one, he won't wait to much to ask/tell something :)

> I certainly do understand it, and I'm sure we'll have some more
> feedback from other people. I also know how hard and tricky it is.
> Most average teachers don't want to change their courses, and
> introducing an alienating device (if for example, they're a Windows
> house) in their classroom is often the best way to look like an idiot
> who doesn't know what he's talking about, and most teachers will be
> too scared to actually care.

actually I had this morning meeting because a teacher was already
trying to work with Maemo, but since he's new to all of this he didn't
know so much about Maemo Community, for example.

> I would try to be very cautious about this last point. If you want to
> show examples of applications that already exist on the platform,
> sure, do it, but try to get away from "our" developer perspective.
> Yes, some demos might be very cool for a developer, but far less for
> someone who hasn't been programming for the past 10 years. What
> motivates people is potential, much more than "what already exists".

for this reason all I want is to tell them "hey guys, not only iPhone
and Android exist, you have Maemo too!".

> It's definitely something I'd like to discuss more in detail if you
> were inclined to do so,

see you at the meeting then :)

Andrea Grandi
email: a.grandi [AT] gmail [DOT] com
website: http://www.andreagrandi.it
PGP Key: http://www.andreagrandi.it/pgp_key.asc
More information about the maemo-community mailing list