Happy birthday to us!

It’s the Raspberry Pi’s third birthday today (or as near as we can get: we launched on February 29 in a leap year). To celebrate we’re having a huge party/conference/scrum over the weekend in Cambridge – we’ve sold 1,300 tickets and I’m currently hiding in the press room to get this post written. I’m on a really overloaded WiFi network, so I’m having trouble uploading pictures at the minute: we’ll have some for you next week. [Edited: here’s just one from this morning – we’ll have lots more to share soon!]

Experimenting with Sonic Pi in the beginners' workshop

Experimenting with Sonic Pi in the beginners’ workshop

 

Three years ago, we made 2,000 little computers, and I remember looking at the pallet, and thinking: “Cripes. Can’t believe we’ve made so many computers. That’s amazing.”

We’ve sold half a million of the things just this month. Thanks to everyone who’s joined us on this extraordinarily weird journey – you’re all brilliant.

This is becoming an annual tradition: Matt Timmons Brown, one of my favourite 15-year-olds, has made us another celebratory video. (Here’s last year’s.) Thank you Matt!

 

 

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All change: meet the new MagPi!

Some of you may have sniffed this in the wind: there have been some changes at The MagPi, the community Raspberry Pi magazine. The MagPi has been run by volunteers, with no input from the Foundation, for the last three years. Ash Stone, Will Bell, Ian McAlpine and Aaron Shaw, who formed the core editorial team, approached us a few months ago to ask if we could help with what had become a massive monthly task; especially given that half the team has recently changed jobs or moved overseas.

We had a series of discussions, which have resulted in the relaunch of the MagPi you see today. Over the last few months we’ve been working on moving the magazine in-house here at the Foundation. There’s a lot that’s not changing: The MagPi is still your community magazine; it’s still (and always) going to be available as a free PDF download (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0); it’s still going to be full of content written by you, the community.

We don’t make any money out of doing this. Even if in the future we make physical copies available in shops, we don’t expect to break even on the magazine; but we think that offline resources like this are incredibly important for the community and aid learning, so we’re very happy to be investing in it.

Russell Barnes, who has ten years of experience editing technology magazines, has joined us as Managing Editor, and is heading up the magazine. He’s done an incredible job over the last couple of months, and I’m loving working with him. Russell says:

I’m really excited to be part of The MagPi magazine.

Like all great Raspberry Pi projects, The MagPi was created by a band of enthusiasts that met on the Raspberry Pi forum. They wanted to make a magazine for fellow geeks, and they well and truly succeeded. 

It might look a bit different, but the new MagPi is still very much a magazine for and by the Raspberry Pi community. It’s also still freely available under a Creative Commons license, so you can download the PDF edition free every issue to share and remix.

The MagPi is now a whopping 70 pages and includes a mix of news, reviews, features and tutorials for enthusiasts of all ages. Issue 31 is just a taste of what we’ve got in store. Over the coming months we’ll be showing you how the Raspberry Pi can power robots, fly to the edge of space and even cross the Atlantic!

The biggest thanks, of course, has to go to Ash, Will, Ian, Aaron and everybody else – there are dozens of you – who has worked on The MagPi since the beginning. You’ve made something absolutely remarkable, and we promise to look after The MagPi just as well as you have done.

So – want to see the new issue? Here it is! Click to find a download page.

31

 

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Tangram: an open source map rendering library

I have a Raspberry Pi project that I’d love to use street maps for, but it would be a daunting challenge for me to figure out how to read map data and write the code to draw the maps on screen. It’s why I was delighted to discover Tangram ES, which is a library for rendering 2D and 3D maps using OpenGL ES 2 with data from OpenStreetMap. The library works on a number of devices, including of course Raspberry Pi.

Patricio Gonzalez Vivo (from the video above) and the team at Mapzen are responsible for the open source project, which is an offshoot of their WebGL map rendering library, Tangram. While Tangram ES is still a work-in-progress, they’ve been using Raspberry Pi 2 to speed up their development of the library and they’re ready for more people to take it for a spin.

Structured a lot like a research and development lab, Mapzen is a startup founded with the idea that mapping done collaboratively, transparently, and in the open can produce more resilient software, and ultimately, better maps. Their focus is on open source tools and using open data to create the building blocks for future mapping applications, including search & geocoding, routing, and transit, in addition to the rendering work they’re doing with Tangram.

Patricio is a graphics engineer on Tangram, responsible for implementing different graphical features such as tessellation, lights, materials, environmental maps, and other CG effects. The team also includes Brett Camper, who is Mapzen’s co-founder, as well as Peter Richardson, Ivan Willing, and Karim Naaji. The ES version of Tangram was started by Matt Blair and Varun Talwar.

“Last December Karim and I thought it could be interesting to get Tangram ES running on a Raspberry Pi,” said Patricio. “At the beginning we thought it would be difficult and probably slow, but at the end we were surprised by the speed of the app and how easy the implementation was. Cross-platform C++ development is possible!”

“In a way, the Pi is an ideal test platform for developing graphics software that targets low-power systems,” said Matt. “The OpenGL ES 2 implementation on the Pi is the strictest that we’ve encountered, so it has become our gold standard for ensuring correct usage of OpenGL. The only major missing piece on the Pi was a compiler that supports C++11, which Tangram uses extensively. However since the Pi is a complete Linux distribution, installing the packages we needed with apt was a breeze.”

Don’t have to take Matt’s word for it; you can install and test drive Tangram ES on the Raspberry Pi right now:

Installing Tangram ES

Using Raspbian, here’s how to install the Tangram ES library from the command line and execute the included sample code:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cmake g++-4.7 libcurl4-openssl-dev
cd ~
git clone https://github.com/tangrams/tangram-es.git
cd tangram-es
git submodule init && git submodule update
make rpi
cd build/rpi/bin
./tangram

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Announcement: Creative Technologists 2015-16

Hey everyone!

After much preparation we are super happy to announce an exciting new project from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

 

Creative Technologists

The Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists is a mentoring programme for creative people interested in technology aged 16 – 21 years old. If your passion is the creative arts, and you’re wondering how you can use technology to enhance that, this is for you.

Ben and I are heading up the programme, and the first year will run from April 2015 to April 2016. We will provide individual and group mentoring via online video chats, industry networking and technical support. It’s free to participate. As well as costs of food, travel and accommodation, each participant will also receive a Raspberry Pi 2 starter kit and a £300 materials grant, and the group will receive a £1000 grant for exhibition costs.

Applications are now open and the deadline is 9am on 30th March 2015.

We are both certified Arts Award Gold Advisers – so participants will have the opportunity to complete Trinity College London’s Arts Award Gold accreditation; a Level 3 Award, a QCF credit value of 15, and 35 UCAS points.

We will also have some amazing partners helping us out with mentoring and site visits: Victoria and Albert Museum Digital Programmes, Writers’ Centre Norwich, FutureEverything, Pimoroni, Saladhouse and Hellicar&Lewis.

For full details on the programme, and how to apply, visit the new Creative Technologists page.

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Welcome James to our Education Team

If you visited us at the Bett Show in January, or came to Picademy in October or February half term, then you will recognise James Robinson as one of our education team volunteers. He is a well-established member of the Computing At School community, as both a CAS Master Teacher and CAS Hub Leader for Cambridge. He is also a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator and a frequent attendee of Cambridge Raspberry Jams.

james-r-start

I’ve known James for roughly a year now. He is a hugely successful and experienced teacher whose opinion I have sought on regular occasions. We also seem to keep bumping into him at Computing education events like the CAS Conference, and PyconUK as well as at community events like Piwars. It seemed like we were destined to work together!

James says:

I have always enjoyed tinkering with technology and understanding exactly what’s going on under the surface. To learn more, I studied Computer Science at university, and graduated with first class honours. This enhanced my passion for the subject, and I worked at IBM for a while. I initially trained as a maths teacher, but within a term I was leading an ICT department in a middle school, and offering training to non-specialists. Most recently I worked at Soham Village College as lead teacher for Computing. I am very excited about the introduction of Computing to KS3 and 4, and enjoy testing and developing projects with students. My current interests and projects include: using Raspberry Pi in the classroom, Minecraft Pi, Sonic Pi and High Altitude Ballooning. Looking forward to working on the weather station and getting more schools involved with Pi in the sky!

As part of the Foundation’s Education Team, James will be writing educational resources for the website (especially schemes of work for teachers of KS4), as well as continuing to assist with Picademies and other outreach. James has the best case I’ve ever seen for all his Raspberry Pi bits and bobs, and as soon as I saw it I knew he would fit in around here.

james_lego.JPG

james_lego1

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She said yes

Matt Broach made this box, which contains a Pi, to propose to his girlfriend Jackie.

Box o' love

She’s now his fiancée. The box does something at the end of this video that made my heart go boom-biddy-boom. Beautiful job, Matt.

Congratulations to you both from everybody at Pi Towers!

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A history of Raspberry Pi in LEGO

There is a significant chance that this is the very best thing on the internet. Richard Hayler and his two boys have built a massive LEGO diorama tracking the history of the Raspberry Pi, from concept to Astro Pi’s visit to the ISS.

architects

The level of detail’s amazing. Here’s a group of mad scientists inventing the Pi:

madscientists

And here’s a primary school with its own Raspberry Pi setup, some deliveries going on in the background.

primaryschool

Here, for some reason, are a PIrate, MOnkey, RObot and NInja hiding in some bushes.

pimoroni

And here’s a lady in a pith helmet.

takingthepith

There are loads more pictures and much more explanation over at Richard’s website: click here, or on any of the pictures to marvel at the enormous detail Richard and the boys have gone into. Bonus points if you can work out what the hotdog guy is all about. (I couldn’t, and I work here.)

largelego

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The Raspberry Pi Guy interviews Eben and Gordon

On Monday, Matt Timmons-Brown, The Raspberry Pi Guy, took a day out from revising for his GCSEs to come and do some video interviews with Eben and Gordon. We really enjoy working with Matt; he asks difficult questions, and I think that many of you will find this interview particularly interesting, as Eben talks about plans for open-sourcing the Pi’s graphics stack, what’s going on with the display board, what’s up with Windows 10, and much more.

Thanks Matt – come back to Pi Towers when your exams are over! (Next time, we want more Gordon!)

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Five million sold!

Yesterday we received some figures which confirmed something we’ve suspected for a few weeks now: we’ve sold over five million Raspberry Pis.

The Pi has gone from absolutely nothing just under three years ago, to becoming the fastest-selling British computer. (We still have Sir Alan Sugar to beat on total sales numbers – if you include the PCW word processor in the figures, Amstrad sold 8 million computers between 1984 and 1997.)

We roll this picture out every time we have a sales update: this is the first batch of Raspberry Pis we ever had made, around this time three years ago. There are 2000 original Raspberry Pis in this pallet. That’s 0.04% of all the Raspberry Pis that are currently out there. (Every individual Pi in this pallet now has 2500 siblings.)

There were so few Pis in this first production run that Eben and I were able to stick them in our car and drive them to RS and Farnell’s headquarters.

Three years ago today, I was sitting at my kitchen table stuffing stickers into envelopes (we were selling them for a pound a throw to raise the money we needed to kick off the original round of manufacture). Today, I’m sitting in an office with nineteen other people, and if I’m quite honest, we’re not quite sure how we got so far so fast. It definitely feels good, though.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation is a charity. That means that we personally don’t make a profit from the Pi – all profits go straight back into our educational mission and into R&D. Your five million purchases mean that we’re able to train teachers for free; provide free educational resources; undertake educational outreach; fund open-source projects like XBMC (now Kodi), PyPy, Libav, Pixman, Wayland/Weston, Squeak, Scratch, Webkit and KiCad; and – for me, most importantly – we fund this sort of thing (and much more; you’ll hear more about projects we’ve sponsored with our education fund over the coming year, as they get written up by their owners).

Thank you. The Raspberry Pi community is a wonderful thing, and we’d be absolutely nowhere without you all.

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Portrait of an Inventor

Just before the launch of Raspberry Pi 2, RS Components, one of our two main manufacturing/distribution partners, sent a film crew to point some cameras at Eben for the day to talk about the history of Pi, about the new device, and about what we do. (He had a cold, which is why he sounds like Darth Vader.) This is the resulting video – we hope you like it!

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