All posts by Zanzibar McFate

Installing the Scratch 2.0 Editor on Linux Mint 17

I want to be able to have kids to Scratch programming without an Internet connection on an open source desktop distro, in spite of Adobe AIR no longer being actively supported on Linux.

This turns out to be not too challenging. First, get the AIR installer:

$ wget

Make it executable.

$ sudo chmod +x AdobeAIRInstaller.bin

The AIR installer will complain that it can’t find the GNOME Keychain libraries where it expects to, so let’s set up symlinks for those (this is for a 64-bit system):

$ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ /usr/lib/
$ sudo ln -s /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/ /usr/lib/

Now, we can run the AIR installer.

$ sudo ./AdobeAIRInstaller.bin

Next, browse to and grab the Linux version of Scratch.air. If your browser doesn’t offer to open it with the Adobe Air Installer application when it’s been downloaded, find the file, right-click on it, choose “Open with…”, browse to /usr/bin and select the Air Installer.

You should have a working version of the Scratch 2 Offline editor when the install has completed.

Saturday Linkfest


Freelancers Union logo
A new survey conducted by the Freelancers’ Union has found that 53 million American workers, about one-third of the labor force, are freelancers. Get your own copy of the survey, or learn more about the Freelancers’ Union.

Want to participate in building a technological utopia for freelancers in whitest, coldest Canada?

Web Design & Technology

Rob McQueen and my friends over at Collabora have gone the extra mile to get us a high-quality browser for our Raspberry Pi systems! Thanks, guys!

Katherine Halek provides a good overview on the importance of establishing a coherent typographical hierarchy and ways to arrive at one.

Ever wanted your bicycle to sound like a galloping stallion? (You know you have.) Trotify — more than just “two halves of coconuts” — has the answer.

Web Designer Depot gives us a detailed walkthrough of the design effort involved in getting the Wired magazine web site to a responsive layout.

Use a Raspberry Pi to build an alarm clock that tells you what the weather is like and reads you the news.


Moleskine has a show at the 2014 London Design Festival, and has enlisted the aid of a number of creative-types to destroy their notebooks in as artistic a fashion as possible. If the world isn’t the way you want to to be, change it.

Fast Company provides an excellent “oral history” of Apple’s design language from 1992 to 2013.

What’s designing a font from the ground up like? Steve Matteson tells us about it.

The Examined Life

Maria Popova reviews Barry Schwartz’s Practical Wisdom: The Right Way to Do the Right Thing over on Brain Pickings.

And even bears get philosophical.

Sunday Link Fest


  • The Scratch "IDE". You know — for kids!
    The Scratch “IDE”. You know — for kids!

    Scratch is a simple, graphic, sprite-based programming language developed at MIT to help kids as young as seven or eight start learning how to do programming. You can run it on the web site, or you can download standalone versions for OS X, Linux, or Windows (requires Adobe Air, deal with it).


  • All of this stuff only exists inside the Matrix™.
    All of this stuff only exists inside the Matrix™.

    Astoundingly, the bulk of the photographs you see in the Ikea catalog are CGI.

  • Nendo's Spiral Nesting Chopsticks
    Nendo’s Spiral Nesting Chopsticks

    Japanese design atelier Nendo has reimagined chopsticks.


Linkfest for Thursday, July 10


  • SolidRun has released the HummingBoard, a souped-up version of the Raspberry Pi, available at a couple of performance levels and in a couple of form-factors. Looks very interesting for the “Internet of Things” applications…
  • Got a really old PC or laptop? Turn it into something useful with LXLE, a remastered version of Ubuntu LTS designed to give even severely underpowered machines (by today’s standards) a pretty kickass and highly functional desktop.
  • The Obama Administration has killed the nomination of pharmaceutical executive Phil Johnson after an outcry from the tech sector and a public statement from Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that he wouldn’t support the nomination.



A Conversation with Alejandro Jodorowsky at SXSW 2014

Current Events

  • The State Legislature of Vermont has become the first in the country to call for a Constitutional Convention to overturn the Citizens United decision and get money as a form of “speech” out of the political process.

Mukashi, mukashi…

In the Beginningless Beginning, there was Ame no Minaka-nushi no Kami, the Ruling Spirit of the Center of Creation, and Absolutely Nothing Else At All.

Absolutely Nothing Else At All faced the outside of the Center of Creation, where Ame no Minakanushi no Kami dwelt, and spontaneously, simultaneously, reacted to the Divine Virtue by on the one hand expanding it to fill the Endless Emptiness and create Heaven, becoming Takamimusubi no Kami, the “Exalted Creator Spirit”; on the other, reflecting and compressing and digesting the Divine Virtue, forming the Earth and becoming Kamimusubi no Kami, the “Divine Creator Spirit”.

This was quite a while ago, obviously.