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Raspberry Pi – Firefox Addon für PowerPi

sparky0815 -

In der Raspberry Pi – Deutschland Gruppe bei Facebook, hat vor kurzem jemand eine Erweiterung für Google Chrome vorgestellt, mit dem im Browser ein kleines Pabel geöffnet bekommt und man sein PowerPi darüber steuern kann. Leider nutze ich eig. nur den Mozilla Firefox und habe kurzerhand schnell selbst ein solches Addon erstellt und hochgeladen. Bei […]

Fresh Model B stock in production

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When we announced the launch of the Model B+ back in July, we emphasized that we’d be keeping the Model B in production. Since then, we’ve been (pleasantly) surprised by the ongoing demand for Model B from industrial customers, and a couple of weeks ago some tens of thousands of new units started to roll off the line at the Sony plant in Wales.

Boards going through automount

Completed six-up panels ready for testing

A Model B in its test jig

Packaged units, ready to ship to element14

There’s still a substantial order backlog, but you can pre-order units from element14 here.

Raspberry Pi – Firefox Theme

sparky0815 -

Ich habe mir mal eine schlichtes Raspberry Pi Theme für den Firefox erstellt. Ihr könnt ihn euch unter folgendem Link anschauen und bei gefallen auch downloaden. Raspberry Pi – Theme Firefox

Picademy Cymru

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Road trip.

These are the two words that Clive, our Director of Education says to me on a regular basis. In fact, he has promised me a road trip to Pencoed in Wales to visit the factory where our Raspberry Pis are manufactured in the UK for some time now. Not just any road trip, but one that involves an ice cream van serving raspberry ripple ice creams (avec flake) whilst motoring across the country to Sonic Pi melodies, containing the entire Foundation crew. You would be forgiven for thinking that this is all just mere ravings of a crazy ex-teacher. But you’d be wrong.

The dream machine

I’m pleased to be able to announce that this dream is to become a reality! Albeit, minus the ice cream van. For one time only, we are taking Picademy, our free CPD training programme for teachers, on the road to Wales this coming November, hosted at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, South Wales. We have 24 places on Picademy Cymru, taking place on 19th & 20th November, for practicing classroom teachers in Wales. If you fit this description then please fill out our application form here or via our Picademy page. We are looking for fun, experimental, not afraid to have a go, Welsh teachers willing to share their experiences and practices with others. Primary and secondary teachers from any subject specialism are welcome – you don’t need any computing experience, just enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

A few months ago, Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computing Science (and Director of Undergraduate Studies) in the Department of Computing & Information Systems at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Chair of Computing at School Wales got in touch to encourage us to run a Picademy in Wales, offering the support and encouragement we needed in order to make it happen. He says:

This is perfect timing for the first Picademy Cymru and a great opportunity for teachers, even though we still have significant uncertainty around reform of the ICT curriculum in Wales. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of teachers across Wales who have been working hard, particularly at a grassroots level with Computing At School and Technocamps, to embed more computing, programming and computational thinking skills into the existing ICT curriculum, as well as preparing for the new computer science qualifications. This will be a fantastic event and I look forward to helping out!

Join us for a tour of the factory, hands-on Raspberry Pi workshops, cross-curricular resource generation, and Welsh cakes. (If Eben and Liz don’t eat all the Welsh cakes before we get our hands on them. It’s been known to happen before.)

ProtoCam – A Camera Module Prototyping Board For The Pi

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Richard from AveragemanVsRaspberryPi has kindly sent me a preview version of his new camera module prototyping board. This board aims to make it even easier to create camera based projects on the Pi.

The camera is attached to the board using nylon bolts and the prototyping area allows you to add whatever LEDs, sensors, screens and components your project requires.

The board has been launched on Kickstarter and I’m hoping it will meet it’s goal. The board in front of me as I write this is very nice quality and does exactly what the project claims it can.

Some people are going to look at this project and think to themselves “but can’t I just use a piece of strip-board and do this myself?”. The answer is yes you can. However this board makes it so much easier and quicker for less than £10.

Why spend your precious time cutting and drilling strip-board when you can get one of these mounted on your Pi in minutes?

The attraction of this board to me is that I could get a neat looking camera project started and have more time to concentrate on the other stuff.

Ultimately it’s a personal choice but having done similar things with strip-board I think this is a great option to have available.

Advantages

  • Low cost
  • Reduces clutter
  • Saves time
  • All GPIO pins available

Disadvantages

  • Camera in fixed position

The board has been designed to fit the Model B but it does fit on the B+. Due to the GPIO header being in a slightly different position on the B+ it means the board is offset slightly to one side. Whether this makes a difference depends on your project.

Once the 26-way header is soldered on attaching the camera module is simply done with four nylon bolts. The rest is up to your imagination.

Here are some other photos I took of my board :

Overall I really like this board. It’s definitely worth having in your Pi accessories collection as it makes assembling a camera based project quick and easy. When I made my first Raspberry Pi based digital camera I spent a long time mounting the camera and this board would have been a great time saver.

Visit Richard’s ProtoCam page to see more photos including a shots of the board mounted on a Model B and example applications.

Other ProtoCam articles :

CNBC visit Pi Towers

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At the start of September, a film crew from CNBC came to visit Cambridge. They spent some time with us at Pi Towers, and came to the Cambridge Jam the next day to talk to some of the kids there who use the Raspberry Pi. They produced two short videos, both full of footage from the Jam and our office – see how many familiar faces you can spot!

How To Get Media Info From Raspberry Pi Command Line

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Whether you are using your Raspberry Pi to play media or create it you may have a need to examine the properties of various bits of media. This might include MP3, MP4 or JPG files.

There is an easy way to examine the properties using a utility called “MediaInfo”. MediaInfo is available for a wide range of operating systems and languages and I use it on my Windows 7 PC.

MediaInfo can provide lots of detail including :

  • General : title, author, director, album, track number, date, duration …
  • Video: format, codec id, aspect, frame rate, bit rate …
  • Audio: format, codec id, sample rate, channels, language, bit rate …
Install MediaInfo

To install the package you can use the command :

sudo apt-get install -y mediainfo Using MediaInfo

To examine an MP3 file you can use :

mediainfo /home/pi/test.mp3

where “/home/pi/test.mp3″ is the path to the file. If you are already in the required directory you can simply type :

mediainfo test.mp3

Here is an example output from an MP3 :

It’s equally easy to grab information from video files :

mediainfo myvideo.mp4

Here is an example output from an avi file :

This output can re-directed to a text file using :

mediainfo example.mp4 > info.txt Supported Formats

Mediainfo supports most of the formats you are likely to need :

  • Matroska (mkv/mka/mks)
  • Ogg (ogg/ogm)
  • Riff (avi/wav)
  • Mpeg 1&2 container (mpeg/mpg/vob)
  • Mpeg 4 container (mp4)
  • Mpeg video specific (mpgv/mpv/m1v/m2v)
  • Mpeg audio specific (mp2/mp3)
  • Windows Media (asf/wma/wmv)
  • Quicktime (qt/mov)
  • Real (rm/rmvb/ra)
  • DVD-Video (ifo)
  • AC3 (ac3)
  • DTS (dts)
  • AAC (aac)
  • Monkey’s Audio (ape/mac)
  • Flac (flac)
  • CDXA, like Video-CD (dat)
  • Apple/SGI (aiff/aifc)
  • Sun/NeXT (au)
  • Amiga IFF/SVX8/SV16 (iff)
  • Ensoniq PARIS (paf)
  • Sound Designer 2 (sd2)
  • Berkeley/IRCAM/CARL (irca)
  • SoundFoundry WAVE 64 (w64)
  • Matlab (mat)
  • Portable Voice format (pvf)
  • FastTracker2 Extanded (xi)
  • Midi Sample dump Format (sds)
  • Audio Visual Research (avr)

Additional information on the metadata items that can be extracted from these file types is detailed on the Mediainfo Formats page.

If you want some test media for your Pi then you can grab some decent free, legal video from the Big Buck Bunny download site.

A digital making community for wildlife: Naturebytes camera traps

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Start-up Naturebytes hopes their 3D printed Raspberry Pi camera trap (a camera triggered by the presence of animals) will be the beginning of a very special community of makers.

Supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Education Fund and Nesta, Naturebytes aims to establish a digital making community for wildlife with a very important purpose. Their gadgets, creations and maker kits (and, hopefully, those of others who get involved) will be put to use collecting real data for conservation and wildlife research projects – and to kick it all off, they took their prototype 3D printed birdbox-style camera trap kit to family festival Camp Bestival to see what everyone thought.

If you were one of the lucky bunch to enjoy this year’s Camp Bestival, you’d have seen them over in the Science Tent with a colourful collection of their camera trap enclosures. The enclosure provides a snug home for a Raspberry Pi, Pi camera module, passive infrared sensor (PIR sensor), UBEC (a device used to regulate the power) and battery bank (they have plans to add external power capabilities, including solar, but for now they’re using eight trusty AA batteries to power the trap).

A colourful collection of camera trap enclosures

The PIR sensor does the job of detecting any wildlife passing by, and they’re using Python to control the camera module, which in turn snaps photos to the SD card. If you’re looking for nocturnal animals then the Pi NoIR could be used instead, with a bank of infrared LEDs to provide illumination.

Naturebytes says:

When you’re aiming to create maker kits for all manner of ages, it’s useful to try out your masterpiece with actual users to see how they found the challenge.

Explaining how the camera trap enclosures are printed

Camp Bestival festival-goers assembling camera traps

With screwdrivers at the ready, teams of festival-goers first took a look at one of our camera enclosures being printed on an Ultimaker before everyone sat down to assemble their own trap ready for a Blue Peter-style “Here’s one I made earlier” photo opportunity (we duct-taped a working camera trap to the back of a large TV so everyone could be captured in an image).

In fact, using the cam.start_preview() Python function we could output a few seconds of video when the PIR sensor was triggered, so everyone could watch.

Naturebytes duct-taped a working camera trap to the back of a large TV so everyone could see a camera trap in action

Our grand plan is to support the upcoming Naturebytes community of digital makers by accepting images from thousands of Naturebytes camera traps out in gardens, schools or wildlife reserves to the Naturebytes website, so we can share them with active conservation projects. We could, for example, be looking for hedgehogs to monitor their decline, and push the images you’ve taken of hedgehogs visiting your garden directly to wildlife groups on the ground who want the cold hard facts as to how many can be found in certain areas.

Job done, Camp Bestival!

Keep your eyes peeled – Naturebytes is powering up for launch very soon!

Security update for Shellshock

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In the past 24 hours, a security vulnerability has been discovered in a shell interpreter that Raspbmc ships and uses, called Bash. This vulnerability allows command injection which could lead to remote code execution. The risk of your system being exploited is minimal, but it is better to be safe than sorry. I’m currently on vacation, but I got a little time to push this fix.

This fix resolves CVE 2014-6271. There is still another, less severe vulnerability, but a patch has not been issued by Red Hat yet. As soon as it is, I will include this as well.

To get the fix for this vulnerability, please reboot your device. If you have updates on, you will want to turn these on.

If you’d like to check you’re all patched, up you can do so via SSH:

env x='() { :;}; echo This Raspbmc device is vulnerable' bash -c "echo Testing vulnerability"

If your system is secure, the message ‘This Raspbmc device is vulnerable will not be printed’

Updates to Minecraft Documentation – and a Python 3 version is on the way!

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No … we’re not adding a Start Menu or a paperclip assistant. This update has nothing to do with Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang. See the note below for information about this.


You may remember when Mojang released Minecraft: Pi edition for free on Raspberry Pi back in early 2013. If you’re unfamiliar, Minecraft is a popular sandbox open world-building game (like on-screen lego) available for a number of different platforms like PCs, consoles and phones. The Pi edition has a Python programming interface allowing users to use code to build things and manipulate the virtual world around them. It’s a great way to learn coding, and there are plenty of great projects out there people have done and shared with the world.

Last week when we announced the release of the new Raspbian image, we mentioned that Minecraft is now installed by default. Now if you download NOOBS or the standalone Raspbian image, it will come with Minecraft pre-installed. It’s also worth mentioning that the Minecraft application is packaged, so rather than downloading the zip file you can easily install it like a standard application:

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install minecraft-pi

The accompanying Python module will be installed globally along with the game itself you don’t need to save your Python scripts in a particular folder like you did before. If you’re following books, guides, tutorials or worksheets that were written before, the code will still work the same and if you install Minecraft the new way you’ll be able to save your scripts anywhere.

Once it’s installed, here’s the basic setup to get a “Hello world” in Minecraft:

from mcpi import minecraft mc = minecraft.Minecraft.create() mc.postToChat("Hello world")

When we launched the new Raspberry Pi website in April it came with a documentation section, which we’ve been expanding ever since. In May we announced the usage guides within this documentation were complete, which feature basic how to guides for using each of the main applications on Raspberry Pi.

We’ve just revamped the Minecraft section to explore more of the fundamental components of the Pi edition and its programming interface, including installation, running the game and Python side-by-side, exploring the programming interface and getting a good all-round introduction to what can be done.

You’ll also find this guide in our resources section.

The edition we have at the moment was built for Python 2, and that’s still the case. However, the education team brought this up at PyConUK at the weekend and a team of developers offered to work on porting it to Python 3 – with some success!

The project is on GitHub and you can download the repository and use it the way you would use the old version of Minecraft (when you downloaded a zip) if you want to test it – just use IDLE 3 instead! We’re also planning to make some improvements to the API to make it more Pythonic and more intuitive. I’m not sure what the timescale will be for the port, but watch this space for news.

Python 3 is really important to us and we’re keen to make sure all libraries people use on the Pi are available in Python 3. Python 2 should not be the default, we should be pushing forward and adapting Python 3. As it says on the Python 2 or Python 3 page on python.org:

Short version: Python 2.x is legacy, Python 3.x is the present and future of the language
python.org

So if you’re the maintainer of a Python library, please help by making sure it’s available for Python 3. If you’re using a Python library that’s not available in Python 3 – please let us know so we can add it to the list and we’ll do what we can do get them ported.

One last note about the Microsoft acquisition of the Minecraft development company Mojang: many people have asked us what this means for the future of Minecraft on Raspberry Pi. In statements on their website, Microsoft claim they intend to continue to support Minecraft on all existing platforms. We don’t know for sure what the future will bring but Minecraft is important to us, particularly its use in education, and we’re confident that it won’t be taken from us.

Telescopy & Pi Bank – Raspberry Pi at Sheffield University

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Sheffield has been a maker city for many years – the thriving steel industry dates back to the 14th century. Today it has the likes of Pimoroni, who recently moved in to a huge new factory, making cases, HATs, media centres and more.

The good ship Pimoroni

The University of Sheffield has been undertaking a number of Raspberry Pi projects in the last couple of years. The computer science department has a research group called Sheffield Pi-Tronics led by Hamish Cunningham. One project of note is their new Pi-powered telescope – PiKon. Not to be confused with PyCon

The £100 3D printed Pi-powered telescope

The University has released incredible images of the moon taken with the Raspberry Pi’s camera module connected to a 3D printed telescope which costs just £100 to make from readily available parts.

The moon

Moon, the

The Pikon astro-cam is a collaborative project by the Department of Physics at the University of Sheffield and Mark Wrigley of Alternative Photonics, a small company based in north Sheffield. The project was set up to deliver a working telescope for the Festival of the Mind event.

They have a working model and they’re aiming to make all the 3D printing resources and instructions available soon. They’re also looking for help producing a simple interface to make it more accessible to all:

So far, we have a working telescope which is operated by entering command lines into the Raspberry Pi. We are looking for enthusiasts and educators to help us take things further. We want to encourage people to create, innovate, educate and share their efforts on an open source basis.

pikonic.com

How it works (from pikonic.com):

The PiKon Telescope is based on the Newtonian Reflecting Telescope. This design uses a concave mirror (objective) to form an image which is examined using an eyepiece. The mirror is mounted in a tube and a 45 degree mirror is placed in the optical path to allow the image to be viewed from the side of the tube.

The PiKon Telescope is based on a very similar design, but the image formed by the Objective is focused onto the photo sensor of a Raspberry Pi Camera. The camera sensor is exposed by simply removing (unscrewing) the lens on the Pi Camera. Because of the small size of the Raspberry Pi Camera board, it is possible to mount the assembly in the optical path. The amount of light lost by doing this is similar to the losses caused by mounting the 45 degree mirror in a conventional Newtonian design.

Former physicist and member of the Institute of Physics, Mark Wrigley, said:

We’ve called this project Disruptive Technology Astronomy because we hope it will be a game changer, just like all Disruptive Technologies.

We hope that one day this will be seen on a par with the famous Dobsonian ‘pavement’ telescopes, which allowed hobbyists to see into the night skies for the first time.

This is all about democratising technology, making it cheap and readily available to the general public.

And the PiKon is just the start. It is our aim to not only use the public’s feedback and participation to improve it, but also to launch new products which will be of value to people.

Also this week the group launched Pi Bank – a set of 20 kits containing Pi rigs that are available for short-term loan. This means local schools and other groups can make use of the kits for projects without having to invest in the technology themselves, with all the essentials, plenty of extra bits to play with – and experts on hand to help out.

See more of the Sheffield Pi-Tronics projects at pi.gate.ac.uk and read more about PiKon at pikonic.com

Any positive comments about Sheffield are completely biased as that’s where I’m from. If you’re interested in the history of Sheffield there’s a great documentary you should watch called The Full Monty.

World Maker Faire New York — a report direct from the Americas

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Rachel and Clive spent the weekend with the Pimoroni crew at the World Maker Faire New York. Here is the news report that they telegrammed via Cyrus W. Field’s magnetic transatlantic telegraph cable.

They call Maker Faire the “Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth” and  they’re probably right. Certainly there’s nothing on Earth that can prepare you for it, it’s that different.

It starts even before you get there. Riding the E train in from Manhattan you can play “Spot who’s going to Maker Faire”. It’s pretty easy: they have this look of happy anticipation and glee that sets them apart from the people just going to work or to their proctologist. (OK, so some of them are dressed in robot suits made out of takeaway containers or have Asimov/Yoda/Spock quotes tattooed on their calves: there are no bonus points for picking those people out.) But it’s no geek meet: it’s refreshing to see huge numbers of school and family groups there as well as the usual suspects.

As you near the New York Hall of Science the buzz of the crowd is augmented by not-your-everyday sounds: exploding food, crackling Tesla coils and a 51ft long, pedal-powered crocodile blaring out “Soul man”. The site is huge, taking at least three days just to get to the toilet and back*.

Mo from Five Ninjas talked constantly for 2 days without a single break

The Raspberry Pi stand proved as popular as ever and we talked to hundreds of young people, educators, makers and parents. What was interesting was the increased awareness of the Raspberry Pi as a tool for making and learning. Last year, common questions were “What’s that?” or “What does it do?” Now the majority of people wanted to know how to use the Pi to do specific things; or how to move on from the basics; or how to use it in education.

Rachel talking about digital creativity

We were also delighted to see the Raspberry Pi used in so many projects and products around the show and want to thank all of the folk using it, especially those who we didn’t manage to speak to on our whistle-stop tour of the Faire. Cheers!

The exhibits and demonstrations at Maker Faire are as eclectic as it comes. Some of the stuff is fun and some serious. Some are thought provoking and some simply silly (we like silly). But as a whole it’s testament to creativity, ingenuity, invention, engineering, whimsy and science. Best of all, making things has learning built in.

The Hall of Science was built as part of the 1964 New York World’s Fair, a theme of which was “Man’s achievement on a shrinking globe in an expanding universe”. Looking at some of the amazing things I’ve seen over the past weekend it’s clear that this sentiment is even more fitting than ever.

Winning!

 

[*This may have just been me. The night before I left for New York for Maker Faire, a giant skeleton ninja shimmied over my wall and sowed the back yard with poisoned giant skeleton ninja caltrops. Ten minutes before my taxi arrived I stepped on one of them. Inoculated to a depth of 10mm with every bacterium known to science I set off for the airport and two days of dragging a foot the size and toastiness of a well-fed coypu. (N.B. The caltrops may have been a needle sharp, week-old lamb neck bone that my brother’s dog had been gnawing on. The effect was the same.)]

Learning to Solder Is Easier Than You Think!

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If you are interested in the Raspberry Pi from an electronics point of view you may be interested in soldering. This is a skill that can be extremely useful not just for hobbyist electronics but for repairing electrical devices.

Thanks to YouTube you can get a good idea of what is involved from other people to hopefully make it easier to give it a try yourself. Here are two videos that give you everything you need to know to start soldering.

The first video is by Carrie Anne Philbin and gives a great introduction to the beginner.

Geek Gurl Diaries Episode 31: Learn to Solder with Carrie Anne

The second video a perfect follow-up as it builds on Carrie Anne’s video while giving some additional tips on making a good solder joint.

SparkFun How to Solder with David Stillman

The final video is slightly longer but deals with correcting mistakes. Everyone makes them and its useful to see how to correct them so you don’t panic when it happens to you!

Learn How to Solder

Soldering Is Easy

If you would prefer something to read instead this is the ultimate comic book guide to soldering. It is available in eBook formats and PDF. There are versions in over 15+ languages.

Soldering Is Easy Homepage

Essential Equipment
  • Soldering iron (ideally 25W)
  • Soldering Iron Stand
  • Solder
  • Sponge or Solder Tip Cleaner
Recommended Equipment
  • Desoldering pump
  • Helping hands and/or Blu-Tack

This equipment isn’t expensive and you don’t need to go and buy a fancy soldering station. My main soldering iron is a 25W soldering iron with a fine tip and it works just fine for electronics. The other bits and pieces really are useful and ultimately will save you time, stress and possibly the odd injury.

Once you are up an running with the basics it really is just down to practice. So what are you waiting for?

Snakes and Ladders, Pi style

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Les Pounder is a big player in the Linux & free software community in the North West. I first met him a few years ago when he was running Barcamp Blackpool, Blackpool GeekUp, Oggcamp in Liverpool, UCubed (Ubuntu & Upstream Unconference) in Manchester plus Linux user groups and other events. When I set up the Manchester Raspberry Jam in 2012, it was modelled on the style of a UCubed event – and Les came along to help out.

Les was working as a systems administrator around the time the Pi came out. Within a year or so of the community blossoming and his involvement growing, he decided to embark on a new career with the Pi at its heart. He got some work running CPD for teachers, introducing them to the Pi and to coding, he started writing articles for Linux Format, he started putting Raspberry Pi projects together for Element14, and since Linux Voice began he’s been contributing articles and Pi tutorials for them. He’s also currently working on a book with Wiley on Raspberry Pi & Arduino projects.

Les recently set up the Blackpool Raspberry Jam – and at their inaugural event he demonstrated a new project he made which brings the traditional board game Snakes and Ladders in to the digital world of IO with the Model B+. It’s called Pythons and Resistors. Over to Les:

For this project we will look back to our childhood and bring a much loved game from our past into the future. The humble board game.

Board games have been a traditional family pastime for many generations but with the rise of computer games their novelty has started to dwindle. These card and paper based games have little to offer the children of today who have been brought up on a diet of downloadable content packs and gamer scores.

But what if we could take a game from yesteryear and adapt it using the Raspberry Pi?

Meet the latest interactive board game: Pythons and Resistors.

The board game is based on a simple snakes and ladders setup, with 100 squares in total via a grid of 10 x 10 squares. The object of the game is for 2 or more players to roll a dice and move their game piece to match the number given on the dice. If the player lands on a python’s head, then they will slither down the game board to the tail of the Python. If the player lands on the bottom of a resistor then they will climb up the game board. The winner is the first player to reach square 100, which is at the top left of the board.

 

See the full tutorial in the Element 14 community and see the final code on Les’s GitHub.

Top 5 Reasons The Raspberry Pi Sucks

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OK so people keep waffling on about the Raspberry Pi. They say it’s sold 4 million units, is being used to teach real kids in real classrooms, has a load of free resources and a World wide fan base but what’s so great about all that? According to the respected Fox News entertainment network it “can’t even play World of Warcraft”.

Here I take a look at the Raspberry Pi and explain why it sucks. Bad.

Cost

It costs £30. £30! Do they think we are made of money? £30 will buy you almost exactly 30 things from a £1 shop. 30! If people realised just how big 30 is they wouldn’t be so smug about buying a computer for that amount of money. Ok so the Pi fan boys will say “but a 700MHz computer once cost £700″ but this is 2014 people not 2004. For £30 I expect a 700MHz PC, a desk, a chair and a 42 inch monitor.

On top of the £30 you need extra stuff like a keyboard, mouse and SD card. That’s another £15. Throw in a £1 HDMI cable and you are looking at £150+ straight away. Let’s round up and call it £200. That’s not much change out of £250.

Then there’s the power supply. £5 might not seem much but you also need a power socket to plug it into – hardwired to the National Grid. That means property. In the UK “property” averages £180,000. Fact.

The total? £180,150. Not so cheap now is it? That’s also ignoring the that all property is theft and you are expected to let your kids actually “own” one of these things.

Size

Apparently the Pi is the “size of a credit card”. Only it isn’t. It is at least 20mm thicker than a credit card and that’s including the bumpy lettering. So if your current computer is the size of an actual credit card and you innocently buy a Pi to replace it you are going to find it won’t fit. That’s a bitter pill to swallow when you’ve spent the thick end of £180,000 already. You might as well go for that Microsoft development thing which is only four times bigger.

Open-source-hardware-software

Just like my car, TV and mobile phone I like my hardware completely open. I don’t want to use anything that I haven’t got access to the raw blueprints down to last bit of silicon.

Ford, Intel and Apple are happy to hand over their intellectual property so why won’t the Raspberry Pi Foundation? Publishing PCB schematics, GPIO references and tons of educational material is hardly much use to the average user who simply needs to know how the atoms are arranged on the CPU.

Like most people I need full access to the binary blob. I don’t know what a binary blob is but that’s only because it’s being hidden from the populous by dark forces.

If it’s not open there is clearly a sinister masonic-new-world-order conspiracy at play. If you think that’s ridiculous that is only because that’s what they want you to think!

Add-on Board & Accessories

The Pi market is saturated with useful add-on boards and accessories. You can’t go a single day without someone releasing a new, reasonably priced device for the Pi. The range of raspberry pi cases is staggering but why? Computers should either come in black, white or classic beige. Only the other day I saw a Pi user encase their “credit card sized” computer in a blue case. BLUE! Since when has blue ever been associated with computing? If people wanted blue computers they would go to PC World and buy a blue one. Googling “raspberry pi accessories” gives 1,570,000 results. Who the hell wants to invest in a device with such a massive selection of extras? There are actually entire companies devoted to supplying people with this stuff. Where’s the fun in buying an electronic device from the internet only to find it is supported with a staggering range of stuff 3 years later?

Community & Education

The community sucks. How are you meant to get any peace when there are thousands of like-minded individuals creating resources, sharing projects and generally helping each other out? You can hardly search for anything with “raspberry pi” in the title without getting millions of hits, tweets and Google+ posts. I much preferred the #raspberrypi hash tag in 2011 when it was used for mathematically related fruit jokes. The whole thing is sickening and something I’m glad has been largely ignored by the Pi’s competitors.

The Pi was created to educate young people in computing, help introduce them to programming and inspire the next generation of engineers. What a load of ****s. This is simply going to contribute to an increase in the technical competency of a whole generation resulting in a boost to the national economy. More money for the Government to waste. Further more some kids are going to spend the rest of their lives pursuing a career in something they are passionate about but might otherwise have not considered. It may even result in an increase in the number of female scientists and engineers creating a diversity that boosts innovation. All simply because a few million experts and academics have “proven” it to be true. These are the same “experts” who claim pumping toxins into the environment is a bad idea. If you want to teach kids computing you can probably just download an app or let them type recipes in Word. It can’t be that hard.

What kind of crazy individual would consider this horrible nightmare scenario worthy of our support?

Here are some heart wrenching stories from some Pi casualties :

“I saw the Pi advertised as a cheap educational tool for helping kids learn programming. So I bought one. After trying to use it as a replacement for my $4000 desktop CAD workstation I discovered it just isn’t suitable for an entire list of everyday educational tasks. “Safety critical nuclear power station cooling system regulation”, “real-time 3D architectural graphics rendering” … the list goes on and on!” – Joe King

As if that tale isn’t bad enough here’s Stu’s story :

“I bought a Pi and wanted to light up an LED. I had to buy an LED. And a resistor. I learnt how to solder and a bit about p-n junctions. Cost me $2. That’s the sort of sting in the tale they don’t mention on their website” – Stu Pit

As I type this article on a computer, to be stored on a computer for you to read on a computer I still fail to see why everyone is making such a big fuss about teaching “computing”. Anyone would think planet Earth revolves around computers LOL!

So hopefully this article will help prevent you making the catastrophic mistake of buying the World’s most popular mini computer and actually learning something.

World Maker Faire and PyConUK

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It’s been quiet around Pi Towers lately. Quiet and disquieting, rather like standing in your nan’s best front room when you were a kid and really needing a wee but were too afraid to break the silence. But we have good and exciting reasons for our quietude: we’ve all been busy preparing for two of our biggest events of the year. This weekend the education team is spreading it’s feelers of learning goodness around the world, from the Midlands to East Coast America.

Carrie Anne, Dave and Ben are at PyConUK while Rachel and I, along with James (our Director of Hardware), were beaten with a sock full of oranges until we sobbingly agreed to go to World Maker Faire New York.

The Maker Faire contingent will be joining our friends on the Pimoroni stand, demoing all sorts of goodies both new and old; selling shiny swag; giving out freebies; and talking and talking until we cough our larynxes into our fifteenth cup of Joe (as my American-English dictionary tells me I should call coffee if I want to be street).

Our director of hardware engineering James Adams will be there – he’s giving a talk on What’s next at Raspberry Pi? on [Saturday at 2.30pm according to this / Sunday 2pm according to this] in the NYSCI Auditorium – and Rachel and I will be speaking about digital creativity (details TBA). If you are at Maker Faire do come and visit us. At Maker Faire Bay Area earlier this year it was great to see so many educators and I hope to speak to at least as many in New York. But whatever your interests in Raspberry Pi – from digital creativity to hardware to making stuff (of course!) – we would love to see you.

New swag bags! Grab ‘em while they’re hot

Meanwhile Carrie Anne, Dave, Alex and Ben are in Coventry for PyConUK – the UK’s annual Python conference. They’re running Python workshops on Pis, giving talks about Raspberry Pi in education and chatting to teachers, educators and developers in the Python community.

Raspberry Pi team hard at work

How To Display Images On Raspbian Command Line

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If you are using your Pi to capture images using the camera it can be useful to display those images without launching a desktop environment. One of the ways of doing this is to use a utility called “fim”.

fim is based on an image viewer called “fbi” and stands for “Fbi IMproved”.

Note : It uses the system’s framebuffer to display images directly from the command line. For this reason it is best used when your Pi is directly connected to a monitor and keyboard.

Install fim

To install fim use the following commands :

sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get -y install fim Use fim

To display a single image with the “auto-zoom” option use :

fim -a example.jpg

Once displayed you can use various keyboard shortcuts to manipulate the image such as the r/R key to rotate :

To display all the images in the current directory  use the following command :

fim -a *.jpg

The PageUp/PageDown keys can be used to cycle through the images selected by the “*.jpg” filter.

ASCII Art

If you use the “-t” option you can render the image in ASCII characters.

To display the image as ASCII art you can use :

fim -a -t example.jpg

Do or do not. There is no try.

OK so the last one is slightly less useful but might provide some light relief from the command line!

Keyboard Controls

While the image is displayed you can use the following keys :

PageUp/Down  Prev/Next image +/-  Zoom in/out a Autoscale w Fit to width h Fit to height j/k Pan down/up f/m flip/mirror R/r Rotate 10 degrees CW/CCW ESC/q Quit

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