If you’ve emailed our info@ address in the last year, spoken to us about trademarks or talked to us on Facebook or G+, you’ll have bumped into the indefatigable Lorna. She went on maternity leave a couple of weeks ago, and today she had a little boy. Welcome to the Pi family, Ronan Peter: we’re very pleased to meet you!
We’ve had an issue this afternoon with some corruption in the forums database, which means that a lot of you can’t log in, and can’t see your old posts. We’re going to take the forums down completely later this evening, while we try to fix the problem. It’s possible that when they come back up (which we hope will be tomorrow or Monday) all posts made today will be lost: we’re very sorry!
We’re taking the day off today, but if you’re thirsty for more about Raspberry Pi, we recommend a stroll through our 2013 archives. There’s a lot to get your teeth into there.
Thanks for supporting us through 2013. We’ve got lots of exciting stuff in store for 2014, so keep checking back for 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.
PiFace – OpenLX SP Ltd
TR Computers Ltd
I’ll leave you with a picture of the final result, and the scene in Liz’s and my bathroom at one minute past midnight on Sunday morning.
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 incredible Amy Mather, a 14-year-old from Manchester who does amazing things with her Pi. Ben was tutoring Amy outside school, along with a number of other local kids, and we got chatting as a result of his work with her. He’s a STEM Ambassador, a FLOSS advocate, and curates Pi projects for youngsters. He’s also saved the life of a drowning, hypothermic, trouserless dinghy paddler. Like many of us, he cycles to work. His laptop has a sticker of Carrie Anne Philbin on it. His birthday cake had raspberry icing. We think he’s going to fit in just fine.
Ben just moved to Cambridge from Manchester for this job at the weekend. He’s going to have a number of roles here: he’s working on a revamp of this website, with separate areas for projects and for educators, which we’ll be trialling in 2014. He’s building demos; writing educational materials; and doing outreach work, especially with kids. We’re very excited to have him join us: welcome to the family, Ben!
It took us almost exactly a year to sell the first million Raspberry Pis. Going on that basis, we calculated that we might, if we were lucky, reach the second million around January 2014, or slightly afterwards – we were confident we’d get there by the end of February 2014. So it was a bit of a shock at the end of last week when we got the latest sales figures and discovered that the 2,000,000th Raspberry Pi was sold in the last week of October. We don’t know who owns it – if you bought one between October 24 and October 31st, it might be yours. (It could even be the one we gave to Prince Andrew when he visited on Halloween.)
Back in February 2012, we produced the first 2000 Raspberry Pis in China (UK manufacturing came later), and they were delivered to Jack’s garage in March, from where Eben and I split them into two lots of 1000, stuck them in the boot of our car, and drove them to Farnell and RS Components’ headquarters.
The Pis were in boxes of 50, stacked together to make a pallet of 2000.
We took the web’s first Raspberry Pi unboxing picture.
And on getting the news about the 2,000,000th Pi at the end of last week, it struck us that every single Raspberry Pi in that pallet represents 1000 of the Raspberry Pis that are spread around the world today.
We never thought we’d be where we are today when we started this journey: it’s down to you, our amazing community, and we’re very, very lucky to have you. Thanks!
I’ve spoken to the board of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and I’m very pleased to be able to tell you that donations to the project we posted about yesterday, to bring computing labs to girls in Afghanistan, will be matched up to $10,000 by the Foundation. So there’s an extra incentive to donate – we’ll double your donation for you.
Liz: We talk a lot here about making, designing, and how computing is just as much a creative discipline as it is a technical one.
There’s a weird dividing line in many people’s heads between creativity and technology. I hope that the projects we show you on this website demonstrate that there shouldn’t be. That dividing line puts the idea in the heads of many tech-oriented people that they aren’t any good at being creative; and vice-versa, it gives many creative people the impression that technology is not for them. This isn’t good for anyone, and it’s something we’re working to address, from school level right up to proper grown-ups.
On Tuesday I found myself in a meeting with Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, talking about the Pi’s potential as a tool for artists. We’re seeing more and more artists using the Pi in installations; it’s ideal for this sort of use, given all the exposed GPIO which can be used to sense things, drive things and make objects in the real world interactive, as well as its ability to drive 1080p HD displays. And, of course, it’s cheap: being able to buy a Pi for $25 means that adding computing to an installation is suddenly brought within the budgets of even garret-dwellers. At school level, we’re trying to make it clear that computing is creative – when it comes down to it, it’s all about making things, whether they be programs or robots. Without design-focused digital creatives we’d have no games industry, no CGI, no graphical user interfaces and a very boring computing environment. If I could, I’d rebrand the Computing GCSE as a GCSE in building robots, installations and wearables, and writing games. Takeup would increase tenfold overnight.
Rachel (who was presenting at that Arts Council meeting on Tuesday) has been with us for a couple of months now, but we’d been unable to announce her arrival until she’d finished work on a separate project. That’s all done now, and we thought you’d like to learn a bit more about her and why she’s with us: over to you, Rach! (We are introducing Rachel with a self-portrait-with-pie from one of her recent photography projects. Serendipitous, no?)
Rachel: Hey everyone!
I’m Rachel Rayns. I’m an artist and maker based in Norfolk, UK.
I am not a traditional artist – I can’t draw or paint (much to my annoyance). Within my work I like to investigate how we use and react to technology; I mostly make films and machines!
At university I developed a specialisation in really technically complex films – I would use a 16mm camera and shoot one alternate frames and then CAREFULLY rewind the film and shoot on the frames I hadn’t done first time round. I had my artworks and films shown at the Whitechapel Gallery, the London Short Film Festival, Glastonbury Music Festival and many other galleries and events.
While I was at university, I collected film cameras and made online tutorials for developing your own colour celluloid film (one of which compared developing film to making a pie – which is where the picture at the top comes from!)
After I graduated I founded Soup Lab, a not-for-profit art organisation which focused on how new and old technologies could work together.
Soup Lab ran a space in Norwich from Dec 2011 to March 2013 with a full darkroom, editing suite, motion picture film lab, gallery and offices. I directed the space and curated the programme.
I had heard of Arduino, I had even owned one, but I never really did anything with it. Then I heard about the Raspberry Pi and like lots of you, pre-ordered one. It sat on the shelf for a while while I thought about what to do with it, and eventually I decided to make a super-duper hydroponic gardening system, that panics and tweets when she needs water and hosts her own site, showing off photos of her flowers when they bloom. Zoe is a robot in a romantic relationship with her garden: when she and the garden are happy (when the garden is growing healthily and the plants are watered) she posts pictures of their connubial bliss, but when the soil is drying out she takes to social media to ask questions about how to improve her relationship with the plants. Now I have built most of the mechanics of the machine – but I will be asking for your help later on to make it go!
So, now I’m working on more Zoe Star machines with different functions: humorous devices from alternate realities!
I am all about getting people to start doing things. I love running workshops which involve using materials people haven’t tried before. In the past I’ve run workshops at Tate Modern and Brighton Photo Fringe. I have also give talks and sit on panels discussing makers, artists and technology – last weekend I was at the Victoria and Albert Museum talking about Pi, art and creative tech, and talking at the Elephant and Castle’s first Maker Faire with Tim Hunkin – eep!
So, what’s an artist-in-residence, you’re asking? An artist-in-residence is usually invited into an organisation to create art which responds to the work the organisation does, the physical space they’re working in, or even a particular project.
I will be working on the Zoe Star series and exhibiting Raspberry Pi projects in a number of places (including some room the guys have freed up especially for display at Pi Towers), but I’ll also be creating tutorials for this site, and setting you some challenges for you guys! I’ll be working on documentation aimed at artists in helping them getting started with technology in their practice, seeking out artists already using the Raspberry Pi in their work and making sure you guys know about it; and I’ll be representing the Raspberry Pi Foundation at art events and helping the rest of the team run workshops whenever needed!
I’m currently working on a bunch of projects, including preparing for an awesome new Minecraft project with the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology and PrintCraft - I’ll have more news on that soon. I’m also running a three-session workshop programme to make your own Zoe Star machine with my help at the Victoria and Albert Museum in late November and early December – so keep an eye out for that! And I will be working lots on more Zoe Star projects with some lovely folk at Norwich Arts Centre, Writers’ Centre Norwich and Cambridge MakeSpace.
When people ask me what I’d like to do when I grow up, I say I would love a little studio – somewhere to be making all day, where I could also run workshops and have chats with interesting people. So, actually, I am already exactly where I want to be! I had never thought of becoming an engineer before spending time around Raspberry Pi and hackerspaces – when I was at school my appetite for hacking and making was seen by teachers as a suggestion that I should be studying art. Engineering was never on the table – and I don’t want to drop the gender bomb, but I do wonder if it’d have been the same if I’d been a boy with the same skills. I wish I’d had the opportunity when I was choosing my first degree, and if I return to university I’d love to study on the Innovation Design Engineering course at the Royal College of Art.
I am super happy to be here. If you have any questions let me know and I’ll try and answer them!
Liz: thanks Rach! If you live in or near London and you’d like to meet Rachel, learn more about Zoe Star and talk to her about what she’s doing with us, she’ll be at the Internet of Things Meetup in EC2 on July 16 (that’s next Tuesday). She’ll also be answering your questions in the comments here: so get commenting!
Gordon Hollingworth, our Director of Software, is saddened that I called him out for being camera-shy the other day. So he’s offered to star in a new feature, which we’ll make a regular happening here if readers (that’s you!) like the idea.
If you have a question about the Pi you’d like Gordon and his whiteboard to answer (we’ve hung it up properly and bought in pens of many colours just for the occasion), please leave a comment below. We’ll select a few of the most interesting ones and film Gordon’s responses next week.
We’d like to warmly welcome Louis Glass to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s board of trustees.
For some time, our good friends at tech law firm Olswang have contributed to lots of legal aspects of our work. Like us, a number of their people grew up fiddling with BBC Micros and they’re very keen to help us deliver a similar experience for today’s kids (including their own!). As the Foundation’s activities are developing fast, we’re delighted that Louis Glass, one of Olswang’s partners, has agreed to join the Foundation as a trustee. We look forward to continuing our work with Louis and the Olswang team.
Apparently, Thomson Reuters lists Louis as one of its Super Lawyers for 2013. We do not know if this honour includes a mask, tights and a cape, but if it does, we will be insisting that he wears them to board meetings.