Linked from several mac blogs and news sites is the HyperCard episode of Simple Beep (Simple Beep is a podcast looking back at the history of Apple and the Mac community).

HyperCard is a pice of software that certainly changed my life, turning me from someone who had no interest in computers at all to someone who spent 10 years typing HyperTalk. I’ve blogged about it occasionally. The podcast is great. And there are great set of links in the shownotes including:

This reminds me that you can Run a Hypercard stack on a modern Mac (A quick test and I am excited again) and that I have a Color Classic that I should boot up sometime.

The featured Image of this post is one of my, many times read, HyperCard Handbook.

Live Code Icon 110

A while back I backed Next Generation LiveCode (Open Source) by RunRev Ltd on Kickstarter this week RUNRev released the Community Edition of LiveCode.

North Lanarkshire, where I work, is just starting to roll out Livecode to the high schools to their computing departments. Although I deal with primaries, this is quite exciting, I am a fairly longtime HyperCard and SuperCard user and Livecode shares the philosophy and english like scripting language of these wonderful tools.


Some of the links added to my pinboard this weekend:

I’ve noticed SNAP! (Build Your Own Blocks) for a while, this Scratch clone, runs in a browser and works fairly well on an iPad. I took it for a brief spin this afternoon.


Sometimes dragging was a wee bit sticky and obviously arrow key message and the like are not present on the iPad, but worth a deeper look.

After updating a couple of simple web apps last week, I was greatly impressed by Forecast, its not a web app its an app you install from the web., of course in a completely different league from my scratchings, very impressive.

I’ve been struggling to move Radio Edutalk away from posterous. Just for fun I tested Justmigrate which claims to Move Posterous to Tumblr in few clicks and it does: enviable stuff. The first 100 posts are free, after that it cost money. I just move 100. (I now seem to have 3 tumblr blogs, one auto posts using ifttt, one for animated gifs and now this new one.)


Speaking of animated gifs: The increasingly hairy Doug Belshaw (That is not him on the left) was collecting animatedgifs I did a wee bit of scraping to throw the etherpad list of urls onto a page: Doug’s Gifs which should get your laptop fan blowing.

I’ve done a wee bit of webscraping in the past (for instance Which Way? which users ScraperWiki which didn’t exactly stretch the power of scraperwiki), but this is even simpler, just a php page with a regularExpression to grab all gif urls. I still do not really understand the magic of regEx but you can get a lot from google.

Tweeting my last post here I got a reply from Theo pointing to his new blog “Things May Come and Things May Go which I’ve been enjoying, this post: Open Education Priorities (Schools) asks some good questions of schools, I suspect the answers might disappoint.

the pinboard icon above if from The “Flat Web Icon Set” and distributed for free by Icons & Coffee under the “Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 Unported License”.

Open Source Edition of LiveCode by RunRev Ltd — Kickstarter

Reinventing HyperCard for the 21st Century. A free open source app creation platform for non-programmers and programmers alike.

I just backed this project on Kickstarter. It aims to take LiveCode open source. LiveCode is a x-platform clone of the old macheads favourite HyperCard.

HyperCard is the application that turned me into someone who disliked computers and regarded then an improved Banda machine (Banda, HyperCard, really showing my age) into an enthusiast. Folk with less tolerant spouses should step away from the likes of LiveCode.

I am not a current user of LiveCode, although I bough a license a year or so ago. I tend to use the mac only SuperCard. At one time I even made some educational shareware with HyperCard and then SuperCard. Didn’t make much money but had a lot of fun. Over the years I’ve knocked up tools to do various fun things (from Animating Gifs to logging kids onto glow), but the real strength of LiveCode may be in coding for pupils. RunRev, the company that produce LiveCode think so too:

We believe that computational thinking and programming is a key form of digital literacy and that enabling a new generation to write interactive software is critically important in today’s economy.

LiveCode is used in hundreds of schools around the world to teach programming in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes. It is uniquely suited for students in the 13 to 18 age groups. Every school that has used LiveCode for more than a year has seen a doubling of uptake in advanced computer science classes for boys and girls as well as an increase in exam pass rates!

I would imagine that the easy entry to programming that LiveCode provides (going on my HyperCard and Supercard experience here) would help get pupils that would not normally be interested in programming started while providing a accelerated development path for the code friendly ones.

Anyway I thought it worth a punt. RunRev are based in Edinburgh so a local company.

Apple’s original software construction kit: HyperCard turns twenty-five years old today | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

IMG_8585 by tantek
Attribution-NonCommercial License

I missed Hypercard’s birthday yesterday. I can’t begins to explain how this application has affected my computing life. HyperCard lowered the bar to making ‘software’ on a mac. When I started using it I quickly was able to make games and tools for teaching. The mailing list taught me how useful an online community was, hundreds of free files showed the power of sharing, and I even learnt HTML using a HyperCard stack.

Gone but not forgotten.

This month, I glanced at my historical watch. HyperCard will soon be 25, I noticed. What ever happened to it? I searched around and found venture entrepreneur and coder Tim Oren’s 2004 eulogy for the program, written the week that Apple withdrew the software from the market. HyperCard’s problem, he argued, was that Apple never quite figured out what the software was for.

“What was this thing?” Oren wrote. “Programming and user interface design tool? Lightweight database and hypertext document management system? Multimedia authoring environment? Apple never answered that question.”

from: 25 years of HyperCard—the missing link to the Web | Ars Technica

Perhaps software with purpose that no one really know is what we need in education.

I loved HyperCard, the first thing I used on a computer that felt compelling and magical. The web is still full of HyperCard references. How could you not love:

on mouseUp
  visual effect wipe left
  go next card
end mouseUp

For a short time HyperCard made me feel as if I could program and I spent countless hours playing with all sorts of stuff, making resources for school, fun and even sold a few stacks. I hope the various efforts to teach pupils programming (scratch, hackasaurus) provides half as much fun.

Hat tip: Jacquetta

HyperCard a tool so beautiful it still makes me cry. Although I say “used”… Sam, Richard, Kris and Stephen were our proper programmers… I tended to join in excitedly, but mainly made black & white graphics or icons.

By 1997 we’d made what you’d call a CMS ( Content Management System ) in HyperCard. It made making web sites easy. So easy that school kids did it, in their Mosaic browsers and even won awards. I remember one class project that was a site about World War II, that just grew and grew. You could start to see what all the fuss about HyperText was

from: Prograph – Back in the Day | Tom Smith’s: theOTHERblog Gone so archive link

Tom Smith’s post is mostly about Prograph, which I know nothing about. I still use SuperCard, a HyperCard clone, most days.

HyperCard keeps popping up in unexpected places. It is the reason I got interested in ICT (other than producing worksheets that pupils could actually read in the age of bandas).

The idea of a “Programming for Poets” application is still very attractive. There have been a few tries, TileStack was an attempt to recreate HyperCard online with JavaScript. I still wonder why Apple, 1. abandoned HyperCard and 2. have not made a HyperCard for either OSX or iOS. Maybe this Apple Patents A Tool Allowing Non-Developers To Build Apps | TechCrunch will come to fruition.

An introduction to Apple’s Hypercard. Guests include Apple Fellow and Hypercard creator Bill Atkinson, Hypercard senior engineer Dan Winkler, author of “The Complete Hypercard Handbook” Danny Goodman, and Robert Stein, Publisher of Voyager Company. Demonstrations include Hypercard 1.0, Complete Car Cost Guide, Focal Point, Laserstacks, and National Galllery of Art. Originally broadcast in 1987.

HyperCard: One of my favourite things.

Functionmachine tn
Function Machine, an old HC stack of mine
( a newer flash version)

They say that things in education go round in circles. I came late to teaching and later to ict. I got my first mac, a Performa 630, in 1995. Over the next few years I became a HyperCard fanatic spending many an hour creating stacks for use in the classroom. Many of these were drill and practise application, for practising tables, telling the time, cloze procedures etc.

After a while I became more interested in children creating with computers, podcasting, blogging, animation and digital video, I have played with them all. When I started blogging it seemed that most of my reading was pointing me away from drill applications towards creative projects.

Drill and practise applications became associated in my mind with worksheets, I used them but do not talk about them in the polite company.

I noticed some drill and practise popping its head above the parapet with the various games based learning especially the brain training type of application, but have not managed to get involved with this yet. This session I’ve been happy with which provides a nice variety of colourful and attractive games for children linked to the 5-14 curriculum with reasonable record keeping. At first I was reluctant to use Education city, but once I learned how to target pupils with particular tasks I’ve used it every day with the children support in maths.

Lately I’ve seen a bit of twittering and blogging about tutpup which seems to be a new twist on an old song:


Tutpup consists of some pretty straightforward drill and practise maths and spelling exercises so far, although they seem to be interested in increasing the range of games.
What makes tutpup different is the fact that you play the games against other members of the community live. While playing they can see the progress of their opponent who is identified by a user name and a flag for their country, in my class this generated a lot of excitement. From a safety point of view tutpup is great, the help for parents and privacy policy are clear. Each child is identified by a colour-animal-number user name only, the site does not collect data from the children, teachers and parents need an email address and to give permission to the children. The setup for a class is slick and simple, teachers set a class code which pupils use to join a class. There is even some simple recording of scores.

I do not know who is behind tutpup, but Ewan has been advising the team on its development, given his knowledge of the educational use of social media It will be interesting to watch the site move on from beta. Tutpup seem to have the usual Web 2 speed of response to feedback, I’d an email within minutes of sending feedback asking for times to be added to the recording of pupil scores to allow me to see who is using tutpup at home.

I do not suppose I’ll use tutpup much before the end of term, sports and activity days are filling up the calendar but I look forward to using it next session and seeing if it can give some legs to good old drill and practise.