Remember Ryan Walmsley? Ryan’s the young programmer behind the Rastrack map (please add your Raspberry Pi to it if you haven’t done so yet).
Ryan and a group of friends from around the world have decided that they’ll improve their Python programming skills (“We’re not 100% experienced in Python…” says Ryan) and raise some money for the Raspberry Pi Foundation at the same time by doing a 48-hour programming marathon over this weekend, at the end of which they hope they’ll have a game to show us.
Edward, in his Minecraft incarnation
Ryan, Ben, Edward and Luke are aged between 12 and 16, and scattered across the globe from Australia to the UK. “We all have Raspberry Pis,” says Ryan; “We all agree this is going to be a big challenge with us having to learn Python as we go, but fortunately we all have experience with other languages which should help us!” They’ll be streaming their progress live throughout the weekend and taking donations at the Raspithon website. All the proceeds are being donated to the Raspberry Pi Foundation – and yes, I agree that we should do something nice for Team Raspithon in return, so watch this space!
Ryan admits he’s spent the period running up to the Raspithon learning as much Python as he can; apparently coding in public is a great motivator.
They’ve got a simple spec for the game they’ll be building:
It’s the year 200X and you have been stranded in your ship. With no engines you are stuck in space in the middle of an alien attack. It’s now down to you to defend the ship from aliens coming to attack you from all angles!
We’re really looking forward to watching the guys work over the weekend (Eben has promised to drop by to lend a hand, and I hope some of you will too), and to seeing what they come up with. Thanks so much for your generosity, Ryan, Ben, Edward and Luke – it’s a brilliant idea and we hope you have fun with it.
The Raspithon starts at 6pm GMT +1 on Friday July 20.
I think more of you have emailed me about this than about anything else that anybody has ever done with a Raspberry Pi.
What you’ve just looked at are, we think, the highest ever photographs transmitted live from an amateur device in the UK world. Dave Akerman hooked a Raspberry Pi with a webcam and GPS up to a hydrogen balloon, which got nearly 40km up (39,994m, to be precise) before bursting. This means that Dave’s is the first Raspberry Pi to visit near space (it returned unharmed, and Dave was able to recover it), and also means that Eben does not have to eat that hat he mentioned.
"And if you introduce a lighted spill to the neck of the test tube..."
We are pleased to announce the release of our first SD card image based on the Raspbian distribution. This is the result of an enormous amount of hard work by Alex and Dom over the past couple of months, and replaces the existing Debian squeeze image as our recommended install. Notably, it is the first official image to take full advantage of the Raspberry Pi’s floating point hardware for, amongst other things, much faster web browsing.
Users who are still using Debian squeeze will definitely want to switch to this, as it contains numerous tweaks and performance improvements to the firmware, kernel and applications. Those who are using the recent Debian wheezy beta will also see a very worthwhile, but somewhat smaller, improvement.
Among many others, we would particularly like to thank:
Mike Thompson and Peter Green from the Raspbian project
Simon Hall for his optimised ARMv6 memcpy() and memset() implementations
Everyone who has contributed to the Raspbian project so far
Special thanks to Edgar (gimli) Hucek, whose omxplayer accelerated media player is preinstalled in this image, and Sergio Conde for his work on packaging it for distribution.
Those interested in the remarkable history of the Raspbian project might like to take a look at this brief timeline. Adam Armstrong has done some benchmarking which demonstrates the benefits of hardware floating point across a range of applications.
As always, the image is available from our downloads page.
Up until now, we’ve had to restrict purchases of the Raspberry Pi to one per customer because the demand has been (and continues to be) so high. Both of our manufacturing partners have been working at building capacity so you we can lift that limit – right now, 4000 Raspberry Pis are being made every day. As of this morning, you’ll be able to buy as many Raspberry Pis as you want from both RS Components and element14/Premier Farnell. (See below for ordering instructions.)
This is of special importance to those of you who are using the Raspberry Pi in your businesses, and to people looking to buy classroom sets for schools and universities. And if you’ve been waiting for the Raspberry Pi to be in general delivery before you order, now’s the time to get your order in; it helps us to plan the supply chain efficiently if we have a bit of visibility of what’s just down the road.
Jo from RS says:
We’re delighted to announce that as of 08.30am BST on 16th July, RS and Allied are now taking general orders for Raspberry Pi. Orders can be placed by visiting http://pi.rsdelivers.com.
This means that customers worldwide can now order multiple quantities of the Raspberry Pi Model B board, along with the associated accessories, including SD cards pre-loaded with the latest Raspberry Pi operating system and Raspberry Pi cases for safer storage. Customers will be provided with a forecast future delivery date when placing their order, and these orders will be fulfilled after all orders placed before 16th July have been shipped.
We’ve opened up the RS and Allied websites so that businesses, engineering professionals and educational institutions can now place their Raspberry Pi order through our usual business-to-business channels. Anyone who wants to buy the Raspberry Pi for personal use will be directed to the Pi Store to make their purchase.
While existing orders for Raspberry Pi will continue to be fulfilled through the next few months, the ramp-up of production has enabled us to lift the restrictions on the number of units per customer. Orders can now be placed for unlimited quantities of Raspberry Pi board and accessories without the need to register or to receive an invitation to order. We’re currently forecasting that these orders will start reaching customers by the end of September.
The Raspberry Pi boards from RS and Allied are priced at £21.60, plus tax, shipping charges and import duty as applicable.
Jenny from Farnell says:
element14 are pleased to announce that we will now be taking volume orders for Raspberry Pi Model B, on an expected delivery lead-time of 4-6 weeks, as our order backlog improves and our production capacity continues to increase.
Anyone wishing to purchase 10 or more Raspberry Pi’s should email firstname.lastname@example.org for the very latest delivery information.
These orders will be serviced and delivered in the date order that they’re taken, and will not impact any deliveries already committed to other customers.
Blimey, that was good. We spent Saturday with just under 300 of you at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam. After an afternoon of talks and demos, we staged a takeover of West Cambridge’s pubs; there were enough Raspberry Pis spread out on the tables at The Punter to drive the robotics for a fairly large factory. Actually, there’s an idea…
We'd brought some Raspberry Pis to sell to the crowd; a few teachers bought classroom-sized sets. I'm still not used to the idea that 200 of the things fit on the front seat of the car. (Each of the large cardboard boxes here holds 50 Raspberry Pis.)
Gert brought along a prototype camera board to show the crowd. We're hoping to release the final version, which will have a 5MP sensor, in the next few months.
Andrew Edney from Connected Digital World brought his camera again (thanks to Andrew for all the pictures in this post); he’s got a blog post with more pictures you should go and read as soon as you’ve finished this, and recorded the video below from the question and answer session the members of the Foundation did at the end of the Jam. (You’ll need to turn your speakers up.)
People kept asking us to sign stuff, which is nearly as weird as the way people keep sticking microphones up our noses.
Rory Cellan-Jones from the BBC did a quick interview with Eben, in which Eben’s arm got sore.
Gert brought along a Gertboard to demonstrate.
Note name badge.
We watched a presentation from Manchester University’s Pi Face team, who are making an interfacing board for education with the Raspberry Pi. London Zoo sent some technologists along to talk about their EyesPi project, which will be using Raspberry Pis to power camera networks spotting and recognising animals in the wild (we’re going to be talking to them some more about the camera add-on we’re working on at the moment). RISC OS came and did a demo of their port, currently in alpha, running on a Raspberry Pi, which we’re excited about not just for reasons of nostalgia.
I’m particularly pleased to have seen so many teachers in the audience; we love that teachers who are familiar with the Raspberry Pi are sharing their knowledge and experience with teachers who want to become familiar with it. The Teach Meet after the presentations was packed; we’re very grateful to all the teachers who are taking the Raspberry Pi and running with it.
And we finally got to meet Liam Fraser in the flesh. Liam, as many of you will know, is the 18-year-old giant brain who runs our downloads server, who runs the Raspberry Pi Tutorials YouTube channel (he’s recording new tutorials now his A Level exams are finished), and who now has a monthly column about the Raspberry Pi in Linux User magazine. We feel we know Liam really well; Eben and I have been talking to him regularly for over a year now, and I feel I know him well enough that I’d trust my handbag (or, for that matter, my downloads server) to him. It felt like it couldn’t possibly be the first time we’d actually shared physical space: but it was, and it was a real pleasure to grasp him by the paw and thank him in person for all the work he’s been doing (and continues to do) for us. Yes, I recycle a joke from the first video here. Must try harder.
As Alan O’Donohoe, the central Raspberry Jam organiser says: please spread this Jam. There are now Raspberry Jams taking place all over the world, from Portland, Oregon; to Athens; to Melbourne, Australia. They’re a really great way to meet other Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, get to grips with a Raspberry Pi if you’re a bit daunted by the whole thing, learn what you can do with one, share other people’s projects, and boast about what you’re doing with your own Raspberry Pi. You can learn what’s involved in setting a Raspberry Jam up yourself here. Thanks to everyone who came, and thanks to James Abela and Alan for organising it all; let’s do it again soon!
There’s a really interesting interview up with Pete Lomas at New Electronics. Pete is a trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation and was responsible for the final hardware version which eventually became the Raspberry Pi: a supremely hard job of knocking down cost and size, and making impossible-seeming pragmatic decisions. If you’re interested in the hardware development side of the Raspberry Pi project, you’ll enjoy this.
We’re hoping to release an official image based on Raspbian, the hard-float optimised port of the Debian operating system for the Raspberry Pi, over the next few days. Raspbian makes use of the floating-point hardware in the processor at the heart of the Raspberry Pi, an optimisation that we hadn’t been able to take advantage of in our previous soft-float Debian Squeeze and Wheezy releases.
Raspbian is so much faster than the images we’ve been using so far, and we’re really excited about it; we’ll be encouraging all of you Raspberry Pi owners to upgrade to it as soon as it’s available on our downloads page.
Here’s a sneak peek from Dom, one of our developers and a disgustingly clever gentleman. (This is the first time Dom has ever been called a gentleman.) He’s overclocked the Raspberry Pi he’s using to 1GHz; if you’re thinking of doing the same, check the Power Users section of our forums, and be aware that overvolting will void your warranty. Installations which aren’t overclocked won’t be quite as speedy as what Dom’s showing you here, but the performance increase over what we’ve seen with previous images is still very impressive with a non-overclocked Raspberry Pi. Over to Dom!
We met Ben, King of the Modders, at Maker Faire back in May. He’s a stand-up chap, and took a Raspberry Pi home with him. Here’s what he did with it.
It flips up like a writing desk so you can keep things inside it, it's got a slot for "cartridges" (which you can also hack together at home) - I wish my Beeb had come with all these bells and whistles.
Here’s the episode of element14′s Ben Heck show which shows you what to do. Files for the case itself are available too; you’ll need to use a laser cutter, which is a great excuse to join a local Make Space, Hackspace or another hackers collective (there’s a large and growing list of where you can find such things at hackerspaces.org). element14 are also running a competition which closes August 18, where you can win the case featured in these pics and video. Thanks Ben – we love it. I hope we can get together again soon!
Algorhythmic from Aon² has been working on speech recognition with his Raspberry Pi, and has a very nice video demo of a voice-controlled robot he’s been building, with full instructions on how to get something similar working yourself. (Edit to add, 12 Jul: the arm itself is available in the UK from Maplin – it’s currently in the sale at £29.99.)
We thought this was fantastic. If this is a project you’re going to try to replicate at home, it’s worth noting that for some arcane reason, a USB webcam like the one Algorhythmic is using in the video (which, of course, contains a microphone) is often cheaper than a dedicated USB microphone on its own. Let us know how you get on!
Here’s an A3 poster for you to print out and hang up at your school, scout group, coding club, Makespace, Hacklab or youth club to publicise our summer coding contest for kids, announced this weekend at Games Britannia (and already making the news). Thanks, as ever, to the most excellent Paul Beech for the graphical wizardry.
Click to download PDF version
If you don’t own a Raspberry Pi, don’t panic: you can still enter. Use QEMU to emulate the Raspberry Pi in Windows. (There are descriptions of what you’ll need to do in this forum thread.)
Edit to add: A few of you have been asking about whether using existing software libraries or third-party assets (like graphics) counts as being “all my own work”.
If you use a publicly available software library such as Pygame, that’s absolutely fine.
If you use assets created by someone else, that’s something we’ll be looking at on a case-by-case basis. We’ll be expecting you to declare what work you did on the project, and what was done by somebody else. We’ll expect the vast majority of the work to have been done by you; but we do understand that not everybody is a renaissance man who has the skills to both code and produce graphics at the same level. A couple of thousand lines of code written by you which manipulates a few sprites drawn by your friend will be OK; for reference, that’s the sort of balance we’ll be looking for.