Fun with Phun and Scratch [Best of May '08 #2]

Visual programming tools for kids, and a few more topics caught my eye this week (May 5-11 2008):

  • Steve Rubel thinks that FriendFeed is more valuable as an RSS and search tool than a social activity aggregator, and highlights the importance of FriendFeed's imaginary friend feature.
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  • Continuing the theme on visual programming tools, which in last week's highlights featured Popfly Game Creator, here's two more great free tools for learning kids (of all ages) about programming and physics: The 2D visual physics simulator Phun (see video below), written by Swedish MSc student Emil Ernerfeldt. The visual programming tool Scratch, aimed at kids 8 and up, with an impressive range of language constructs like loops and conditional statements, as well as simple event and message handling! Even though the possibilities seems relatively advanced, I've got the impression that Scratch is more accessible and rewarding to younger kids than Popfly Game Creator.

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  • Bernard Lunn comes with some old-school sales tips, including "Close on every call", "Expect mutual effort", "Selling happens face-to-face" and "Ask for the order"
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  • Google Translate now supports 23 languages including Swedish, which according to Google Translate translates into "Google Translate stöder nu 23 språk inklusive svenska" in Swedish, which is pretty accurate.
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  • Piwik, an open source web analytics software based on PHP and MySQL, an alternative to Google Analytics.
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  • There have been discussions on creating an open decentralized Twitter, mainly led by Dave Winer. The idea is motivated by the importance some people attribute to the service, and that a single company should not own it. Some even suggest creating a Twitter equivalent of the Domain Name System (DNS).
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