Gordon Hollingworth, our Director of Software, has been Googling himself, and mailed me to let me know about this video he found from Richard Ibbotson. Richard came by Pi Towers last month and filmed this little interview with Gordon and Eben – it’s worth a watch if you’re interested in what goes on behind the scenes. Enjoy!
The Raspberry Pi User Guide, co-authored by our very own Eben Upton with Gareth Halfacree, is your complete guide to the Raspberry Pi, from setup and installing software to learning how to use the Pi to play music and video, using it in electronics projects, learning your first programming language, learning about networking – it’s a complete guide to everything you need to get going, and even if Eben wasn’t involved in this book, it’d be our first recommendation for adults and older kids interested in getting started with the Raspberry Pi.
This second edition is a much, much fatter book than the first – there’s almost half a book’s extra content in there. The first edition only covered the earliest revision of our hardware, and much of the software we now take for granted hadn’t been written back when it was published: this new edition is bang up to date, with new chapters covering use of the camera board, how to use NOOBS to set up your Pi, the introduction of the Pi Store and much more.
We’ve got the Raspberry Pi User Guide for sale in the Swag Store: it’s a great gift for anybody you know who might be getting a Raspberry Pi this Christmas. If you’d like to support our educational mission and help us produce free learning materials and more schools equipment, we’d love it if you could buy from us. It’s also available in the usual places: Amazon currently have it on sale, but it’s been so popular that it’s out of stock there at the time of writing. We hope you buy a copy: and we hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
December’s MagPi was released this morning, and it’s full of Christmas cheer. This month you’ll learn how to make your Pi sing carols with Sonic Pi; and you’ll find out about environmental monitoring, so you can keep your electricity bill down without having to turn off the tree lights.
We’re very taken by the first in a new series on building your own quadcopter: and by the second installment from Project Curacao, where a Pi is dangling from a radio tower twelve degrees north of the equator working on environmental monitoring, which makes us feel the cold and dark in Cambridge something rotten.
There’s plenty for beginners, with a continuation of Jake Marsh’s button and switch tutorial (if you’re looking for the earlier part of any of these series, they’re all available for free in back-copies of The MagPi); an OpenELEC tutorial and a tour of the Pi Store. And, of course, that Sonic Pi tutorial, where you’ll be able to program your Pi to play Good King Wenceslas with ease, even if this is the first time you’ve plugged a Raspberry Pi in.
One of our favourite projects this month is the electronic painting tutorial using XLoBorg, where you’ll find yourself Pollocking the night away. And on the practical side of things, you’ll find out how to add an LCD display to your projects via GPIO, and use it to scroll text.
The MagPi is a magazine produced by the Raspberry Pi community for the Raspberry Pi community. It will always be free to download; but if you prefer a physical magazine you can also buy print copies, thanks to the team’s successful Kickstarter. All the back issues are available for you to download, and they’re full of tutorials, interviews, type-in listings and everything you’ll need to get started with a Raspberry Pi.
Team MagPi is always looking for people to join them: at the moment they are particularly in need of volunteers to help with layout (you should be a Scribus user), and testers. You can get in touch with them via the MagPi website – tell them we sent you!
Have you seen all that stuff in the news about Amazon’s proposed new delivery method? At first glance, it looked like an April Fool’s joke – but then I remembered it was December. My money’s on it being a project that nobody intends to come to fruition; but a very clever bit of marketing for a month when Amazon sees more business than it does in any other month of the year.
The idea here is that orders under five pounds weight will be delivered to your doorstep in 30 minutes by one of these little drones from 2015. Let’s put aside objectionable thoughts about getting civil aviation licences for thousands of drones at one time; about scalability; about range; and about the way people in certain of Amazon’s markets have a habit of keeping guns in the house and shooting things. It’s a nice bit of PR and it made me smile.
But I was particularly tickled to find several people email me Samy Kamkar’s other objection to the drone idea: namely that they’d be very simple to subvert if you happen to be the no-moral-compass type who wants to get their hands on other people’s shopping. And (astonishingly quickly, given that Amazon broke the news three days ago), he’s built a demonstration of just how you’d go about doing that. Samy’s SkyJack is an autonomous drone that seeks other drones within range of its WiFi and hacks them, turning them into zombies under its control. Samy says:
Using a Parrot AR.Drone 2, a Raspberry Pi, a USB battery, an Alfa AWUS036H wireless transmitter, aircrack-ng, node-ar-drone, node.js, and my SkyJack software, I developed a drone that flies around, seeks the wireless signal of any other drone in the area, forcefully disconnects the wireless connection of the true owner of the target drone, then authenticates with the target drone pretending to be its owner, then feeds commands to it and all other possessed zombie drones at my will.
We at Pi Towers are full of raucous glee. You can read more about SkyJack and Samy’s exploits, and find out how he did it, at his website.
News in Brief
I had mail yesterday from Andrew Gregory, a Linux journalist we’ve really enjoyed working with over the last few years. Andrew was already writing about Raspberry Pi before we had even started selling them, and it was good luck for us and for him that on the day we announced our launch, he already had a life-sized image of the Raspberry Pi squarely positioned on the front cover of Linux Format Magazine in shops across the UK. We like Andrew.… More
Well, that was a very long 30 days for both of us. Thanks to the following people and organizations, and one anonymous donor, for raising £1,500 (plus £236 of gift aid) to support Movember’s work in promoting men’s health. David Akerman Richard Ash Phil Atkin Lukas Barta Andy Batey Clive Beale Matthew Brown Tim Cox Hamish Cunningham George Dodds Alex Eames Finlay Edridge Alex Evans Louis Glass Dan Hagon Richard Harmer Matt Hawkins Philip Heron Dave Higham David Honess Michael… More
We’re welcoming a new member to the team at Pi Towers today. Some of you already know Ben Nuttall from his work on the Pi Weekly email newsletter (if you haven’t signed up already, you should), his hosting of the Manchester Jams, and his STEM activities. I first crossed paths with Ben when we met the… More
I’ve been meaning to write about this for ages: I hate watering the garden. I’ve met Ray, the Mind Behind, a couple of times now, I actually *own* one of these boards, and…I hate watering the garden. Did I mention that? If you hate watering the garden but enjoy messing around with computers, OpenSprinkler Pi is a no-brainer. It’s the cheapest and most configurable system of its type I’ve come across, it’s open source (and this means that Ray’s not… More
You might remember that Eben has been taking part in Movember this month, giving over his top lip to charity for thirty days. He’s raising money for men’s mental health, in memory of our friend Oggie, who died in 2007. He elected for the Magnum PI look (geddit?), but sadly, as the month has progressed, we have come to realise that Tom Selleck’s ability to grow hair on the top of his head as well helped him to avoid looking… More
We are huge, giant, enormous fans of Carrie Anne Philbin. Carrie Anne’s a pioneering computing teacher, whose Geek Gurl Diaries YouTube series we can’t say enough good things about. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do when you’ve finished reading this post.) Carrie Anne has been busy this year: as well as working full-time as a teacher and producing Geek Gurl Diaries, she’s created a scheme of work for Sonic Pi; she’s been active on the Government’s Computing… More
Before you go any further, please take a minute to consider your eyes. You only have two of them, and they’re not replaceable. You need both for certain applications. Lasers are dangerous, and they can burn flesh: please be careful around them. And with that out of the way… I found this project on our forums, and it knocked my socks off. Daniel Chai has made something incredible with a Pi and parts salvaged from a pair of optical drives:… More
A guest post today: I’m just off a plane and can barely string a sentence together. Thanks so much to all the progressive maths teachers we met at the Wolfram conference in ew York this week; we’re looking forward to finding out what your pupils do with Mathematica from now on! Over to Adam Kemény, from photobot.co in Hove, where he spends the day making robotic photobooths. This summer Photobot.Co Ltd built what we believe to be the world’s first Twitter-triggered… More
Gert van Loo is one of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s earliest volunteers. We wouldn’t have a Raspberry Pi without Gert; he did the hardware engineering for the alpha boards which turned into the eventual Raspberry Pi you’ve got on your desk/taped behind the TV/in your ping-pong robot today. Gert created the Gertboard – our favourite GPIO expansion board – shortly after we launched Raspberry Pi. Besides these personal projects he still volunteers with us: he’s a forum mod, he worked… More
One of the best things about working on Raspberry Pi has been the opportunity to meet groups of people who are trying to bring about the same sort of change in the teaching of other subjects that we’re aiming for in computing. One great example is the computer-based math(s) (CBM) movement, which aims to redefine the teaching of mathematics in schools away from mechanical calculation and towards problem solving. From their website: The importance of math to jobs, society, and… More
We first met Alex Klein shortly after we’d launched the Raspberry Pi, when he was working for Newsweek and came to visit to write a story about us. Next we’d heard, he’d left Newsweek to start a company with Raspberry Pi at its heart. Today, he and his team have launched their project on Kickstarter. Kano is one of the nicest Pi kits we’ve seen to date, and is aimed squarely at users who aren’t confident of their technical skills… More
We first met Ryan Walmsley when he was fifteen, back in May 2012. He’d been emailing and tweeting with us for months at that point (mostly variations on WHEN CAN I BUY ONE?), and he then proceeded to knock our socks off very shortly after we started shipping by producing, out of the blue, the Rastrack map, which Pi users can register their Pis on, showing the geographical spread of the project. We still use Rastrack regularly: it’s a great… More