I was very excited with the release of the Raspberry Pi 4, not just because I am a great fan of the Raspberry Pi and wanted to get my hands on the latest and greatest; but also because I have been teaching my Computer Science classes pretty much exclusively using the Raspberry Pi computer for the past few years.
I say “pretty much” because there had always been a few sticking points when we had to leave my RPi CS classroom and up sticks to the Windows PC lab. In the most part it was when we needed to do any graphics editing (in Photoshop) or anything that relied on using Google Drive and Docs heavily.
It was with great excitement that I saw the new Pi 4 with 4 Gb of RAM and full gigabit networking… However as network boot was not available out-of-the-box and the PiServer software was not yet updated to be used with Pi 4s and Raspbian Buster; there was a bit of work to do…
With great thanks to the devs over at the PiServer github page, I now have a working PiServer setup for use with Pi 4 devices! Set up instructions below 😀
Continue reading Pi 4, Buster and PiServer
We took the family away to Camp Bestival this summer (as we do most years) and as we have three young children we took a festival trolley with us to help move the youngest child and associated paraphernalia around with us. Each year we try to decorate the trolley a little bit to brighten it up and this year I thought I would use a 1 m strip of 144 NeoPixels I had at work which were sat around not being used!
Having used these in class before I knew that they were sometimes a tricky beast to get working with a Raspberry Pi, but also having recently completed a chapter in my book using a similar DotStar strip to create a LED matrix across the front of a laptop bag; I felt sure that I could get a portable solution up and running for the NeoPixels and a Raspberry Pi. Now this solution is perhaps more involved than how you could get things going in the lab; but to get it working for our festival trolley the whole solution needed to be portable and powered from battery packs.
Continue reading NeoPixels, DotStars and Raspberry Pi
This is the steps we have followed so that we can get our school Raspberry Pi computers to run behind our school proxy without too many issues:
- Configure an apt-cacher NG server to handle your apt-get updates – See this post for more details
- Whitelist the Python PIP domains and use the –proxy:server:port configuration when installing with PIP – See this post for more details
- Open UDP port 123 and TCP port 9418 for the IP range of your devices on the school firewall so that they can use GIT and NTP without issue
- Create a new desktop launcher for Chromium so that it auto-detects your school network proxy (this is assuming you are pushing your proxy servers .pac file out via DHCP and/or DNS!) – The guide for this part is detailed below…
Continue reading Using a Proxy with your Raspberry Pi
So I was lucky enough to be asked to come along to a second Picademy event, not something many people get to do unless they are facilitating the event…
It started a while back when James Robinson from Raspberry Pi put a production company working for Google in touch with me. They were keen to get some interviews and video footage to demonstrate the impact that their support for the Raspberry Pi Picademy training programme had generated. James suggested they speak to me and I was more than happy to oblige. So after many email exchanges and phone calls between myself and the production company a plan was formed to get the video footage Google wanted to tell the story!
Continue reading #Picademy take 2!
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!
Continue reading The Pi, The Parliament and The Palace
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.
Continue reading Hull Raspberry Jam – 23rd April 2016
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.
Continue reading #Picademy Day 2 – The results
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!
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: https://www.raspberrypi.org/picademy/google/manchester/
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!
Continue reading #Picademy – Day One
This week my Year 8 class asked if they could do something festive with me for their last lesson before we break up next week. Now I am not a believer in stopping work just because it is the last week of term, but I thought I could probably give them a Computer Science lesson and easily add a Christmas theme to get the best of both worlds. I gave them the choice of either using Python Turtle art to create festive pictures, or use Sonic Pi to “code” some Christmas music.
The class went for Sonic Pi; so I thought I would share my lesson plan here.
Continue reading Christmas Sonic Pi