Category Archives: Reviews

The Pi, The Parliament and The Palace

Over the past couple of months I have been lucky enough to be invited by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to attend two of their events in London.

The first of these events took place on September 8th, on the terrace of the Houses of Parliament, to celebrate the sale of 10 million Raspberry Pi computers. The event was attending by a wide cross-section of the Raspberry Pi community and afforded me the opportunity to meet with many people who I had, until then, only had had the pleasure of working with on-line. This opportunity also introduced me to a wide range of other partners and people involved in the development and engineering of Britain’s best-selling computer to date.

The second event I was invited to attend was held on the 5th October;  a reception at St James’s Palace hosted by the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s patron, the Duke of York. This event was a celebration of, and a “thank you” to, the many different people and organisations who support and make up the Raspberry Pi community. Again, this event gave me the opportunity to meet up again with many familiar faces and get to know a few new faces, too!

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Raspberry Jam Logo

Hull Raspberry Jam – 23rd April 2016

This weekend I was lucky enough to be involved with hosting the second Raspberry Pi Jam event that Hull has seen. Through Twitter, Claire Garside and myself got talking and a tweet of my Raspberry Pi robot I was building one weekend, led to a discussion about re-igniting the Raspberry Jam events in Hull.

Thanks must go to Claire and the Leeds Raspberry Jam team for the loan of all the equipment which allowed our event to go ahead. Thanks also must go to Malet Lambert and Stephen Logan for allowing us to use their space.

The event kicked off with an introduction to the Raspberry Pi and allowed people to get hands on setting up their Pi and getting everything running. They then had a chance to hack a Scratch game and try to improve it.

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#Picademy Day 2 – The results

So as I went into day 2 of #Picademy I had decided upon a “motion activated camera which tweets the photo taken along with a random poem, giving you a LED countdown indicator” for my project.

Some of this I had previously coded (the random poem part) which you can see running in this Trinket app below:

My thoughts were that I could make use of this to create the text of my tweet adding the #Picademy hashtag to the end too.

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#Picademy – Day 2 Planning

So after day one of #Picademy my evening was spent thinking about, and reading about what I could do for my project on day 2.

My initial thoughts was to use a USB microphone to get an audio feed into a Raspberry Pi to then try and use Python to “listen” to the microphone and react to different audio levels coming in; a kind of graduated analogue switch if you like… So between #Picademy finishing and meeting up for the evening meal I spent my time walking (quickly!) around Manchester trying to find a shop selling basic USB microphones; to no avail!

So over the evening meal I was discussing this idea more with Les and we thought it maybe possible to use the Jack Audio Server to flip the Pi’s inbuilt headphone jack into a microphone jack. This is possible on Ubuntu, as a quick search on our phones verified; so I thought we were on to a winner here. However after a little playing around with my Pi back at the hotel, it turns out that the HDA-Jack-Retask application just does not work with the Raspberry Pi soundcard 🙁

This left me back at square one… What do to on day 2?

So I wake with this thought… “A motion activated camera which tweets the photo taken along with a random poem, giving you a LED countdown indicator” – Should be easy!

Watch this space for progress!

#Picademy – Day One

This February I was one of the lucky few to be accepted on the Picademy event at Google’s Digital Garage in Manchester. More details about the event can be found here:

This post is a summary of my thoughts after day one – more as a memorandum for me than anything else. Apologies if I have forgotten any of the sessions or put them in the wrong order; to coin a phrase used in the training, I reached “cognitive overload” fairly quickly!

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eBooks for £3.60 ($5)!

So it’s a New Year and perhaps, like me for 2015 you have decided to learn some new skills or just brush up on some old ones! Well if you have then help is at hand, as Packt Publishing are running a promotion until the 6th January where you can buy any eBook from their extensive range for just £3.60 ($5) or less!

There are books to help you brush up on your Moodle skills, develop new skills in Python or even to pick up some new tips of things you can do with your Raspberry Pi!

To see the full details of the offer and all of the books available please visit this link:

I’m now off to have a look through myself and decide what to get myself!

Happy reading!

Transforming Learning in the 21st Century

On Friday 6th June I attended the “Transforming Learning in the 21st Century” event organised by OS Pedagogy at the John Henry Newman Catholic College in Birmingham.

Details of the event were passed to my by a colleague at school quite some time ago, and it had just sat in my calendar for a few months being given little thought. As the event grew closer, I revisited the details of the event to sort out how I would get there and what workshops I wanted to attend. It was going to be an early start if I were to drive from Hull to Birmingham for the 8:30am registration! Deciding upon which workshops I would attend was to be no easy task either, looking at the options!

This post is a collection of my thoughts from the day (arranged in a roughly chronological order) and what I feel the impact has been on my future plans following the event.
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Learn Moodle – Week 1

So this week saw the start of Learn Moodle, Moodle’s first MOOC. Now I have been using Moodle for many years, but as we are just about to introduce a VLE at my new school, I thought this course would be an excellent opportunity for myself and teachers at my school to get up to speed with Moodle before we start the process at school.

Now I started with Moodle way back when it was at version 1.5 and when I left my previous school we were at version 1.9. I had spent many hours getting to know Moodle and training many teachers to use it in the T&L. I am also a member of the Moodle Q&A Testing group so spent quite a bit of time testing the features introduced in version 2.0 and 2.1. However it has been some time since I have used Moodle on a regular basis, so I thought it best for me to re-submerse myself in Moodle and get to know what has changed!

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Instant Nagios Starter Review

I was recently asked to review “Instant Nagios Starter” by the people over at Packt Publishing.

This book is the first book I have read in Packt’s “Instant” series, which is publicised as “Learn in an instant. Short; Fast; Focused”. The book is certainly short; it is only 46 pages long and by the time you get to the start of Chapter 1 you are already 17% of the way through the title! The book is available in e-book format only (epub, mobi and pdf versions are all available). The price too is very reasonable; coming in at under £5 including VAT!

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