Miriam Ruiz
random thoughts on technology and life











{July 19, 2012}   Preludio de la Declaración de Independencia de los Estados Unidos de América (1776)

Encuentro que estas palabras tan bellas y conmovedoras pueden ser una importante fuente de inspiración en las que apoyarnos en la situación tan compleja en la que estamos viviendo en España y en Europa:

«Sostenemos como evidentes por sí mismas dichas verdades: que todos los hombres son creados iguales; que son dotados por su Creador de ciertos derechos inalienables; que entre éstos están la Vida, la Libertad y la búsqueda de la Felicidad. Que para garantizar estos derechos se instituyen entre los hombres los gobiernos, que derivan sus poderes legítimos del consentimiento de los gobernados; que cuando quiera que una forma de gobierno se haga destructora de estos principios, el pueblo tiene el derecho a reformarla, o abolirla, e instituir un nuevo gobierno que se funde en dichos principios, y a organizar sus poderes en la forma que a su juicio ofrecerá las mayores probabilidades de alcanzar su seguridad y felicidad. La prudencia, claro está, aconsejará que no se cambie por motivos leves y transitorios gobiernos de antiguo establecidos; y, en efecto, toda la experiencia ha demostrado que la humanidad está más dispuesta a padecer, mientras los males sean tolerables, que a hacerse justicia aboliendo las formas a que está acostumbrada. Pero cuando una larga serie de abusos y usurpaciones, dirigida invariablemente al mismo objetivo, evidencia el designio de someter al pueblo a un despotismo absoluto, es su derecho, es su deber, derrocar ese gobierno y proveer de nuevas salvaguardas para su futura seguridad y su felicidad.»

Thomas Jefferson



{July 04, 2012}   Scratch in Debian

Scratch has finally reached Debian repositories. Scratch is a programming learning environment created by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab designed to be accessible by young learners (over 8 years old). Scratch makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art through a visual interface based on blocks. Thus, beginners can get results without having to learn to write syntactically correct code first. It is powerful enough to have even been adopted as an entry-level computer language in computer science programs at different universities.

Scratch makes use of pieces of code embedded in different blocks that are shaped like puzzle pieces. That way, programming consists on putting different blocks together, which gives immediate visual feedback to the programmer about the correctness of the syntax: If the pieces fit together, then the expression is valid. Scratch programming system is so nice and easy that has been the inspiration of other systems such as MIT App Inventor or Google Blocky.

Scratch animations consist of sprites that are animated by dragging the corresponent blocks into the Scripts area of the Scratch interface. Multiple sprites can be created and interact with one another. Each of the sprites can have different looks (called “costumes” in Scratch). You can use built-in sprites, load them from files, or draw your own using a drawing tool integrated in the environment.

Scratch itself is coded in Squeak, a Smalltalk implementation derived from Smalltalk-80.

The Scratch 1.4 source went GPLv2 on March, but there were some incompatibilites with the Squeak Virtual Machine currently in Wheezy that had to be resolved first. Luckily we were able to solve them, with the help of the Scratch and the Squeak guys, so I’m happy to say that Scrach is finally available from Debian repositories.

Note: If any Scratch derivatives (such as BYOB or Panther) also need to be ported to the current version of Squeak, they should have a look at the comments in the Scratch ITP, and especially to the script uploaded by Bert Freudenberg, that replaces 90 indexed primitive declarations (removed in later versions of Squeak VM) with their named counterpart.

Note 2: This wouldn’t have been possible without all the great work and effort made by Amos Blanton and many others. Lots of thanks!




about

This is a personal webpage that belongs to Miriam Ruiz.
If you want to contact her, you can do at:
webmistress(at)miriamruiz(dot)es.

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