Raspberry Pi Blog

This is the official Raspberry Pi blog for news and updates from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, education initiatives, community projects and more!

The Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide is out now (and it’s huge!)

The Raspberry Pi Press has been hard at work of late, producing new issues of The MagPi, HackSpace magazine, and our latest publication, Wireframe. But that hasn’t slowed us down, and this week, we’re pleased to announce the release of The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide, a 244-page book that will help get you well on your way to Raspberry Pi domination.

The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide front cover

The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide

We’ve roped in Gareth Halfacree, full-time technology journalist and technical author, and the wonderful Sam Alder, illustrator of our incredible cartoons and animations, to put together the only guide you need to help you get started with the Raspberry Pi.

inside the Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide

From setting up your Raspberry Pi on day 1, to taking your first steps into writing coding, digital making, and computing, The Official Raspberry Beginner’s Guide is great for users from age 7 to 107! It’s available now in the Raspberry Pi Press store, with free international delivery.

inside the Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide

As always, we have also released the guide as a free PDF, and you’ll soon be seeing physical copies on the shelves of Waterstones, Foyles, and other good bookshops.

Code Club Book of Scratch

And that’s not all! This week we also launched the brand-new Code Club Book of Scratch, the first-ever print publication from the team at Code Club.

Code Club Book of Scratch Volume 1

You can learn more about the book on the Code Club blog, and you’ll also find it in the Raspberry Pi Press store, and in bookstores alongside The Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide. You can download the free PDF here, but the print version of the Code Club Book of Scratch is rather special. As well as being stuffed full of amazing Scratch projects to try down at your local Code Club, it also comes with magic glasses that reveal secret hints in some of the guides. It’s spiral bound, so it always lays flat, and there are 24 exclusive Code Club stickers as well! The pictures here don’t really do it justice – it’s a wonderful book, even if I am a bit biased.

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Wireframe 3: Phoenix Point, modders going pro, and more

We said we’d be back with more, so here we are back with more: issue 3 of Wireframe, the magazine that lifts the lid on video games.

From the ashes

Our third issue sees the now-established mix of great features, guides, reviews, and plenty more beyond that. Headlining it all is our sit-down chat with Julian Gollop about his upcoming strategy title Phoenix Point, with the X-Com creator waxing lyrical about Rebelstar, Chaos, and the secret of great AI.

We also take a look at the careers of amateurs-turned-pros, checking out the modders who went legit and getting input from those who’ve made the jump from doing it for fun, to doing it for fun and money.

And it doesn’t stop there

We’re investigating Thrunt XL, the indie game made without typing a single line of code; Terry Cavanaugh tells us about his unconventional new rogue-like Dicey Dungeons; and veteran game developer Howard Scott Warshaw looks back on the making of his Atari 2600 classic, Yars’ Revenge.

Plus:

  • Make your own first-person shooter in Unity with our step-by-step guide
  • The fur flies in the forthcoming multiplayer shooter, Super Animal Royale
  • How parallax scrolling gives 2D games the illusion of depth
  • The platformer from El Salvador that survived an attack of the clones

All this, and a variety of news, previews, and reviews covering everything from triple-A releases to dinky, loveable indie games.

Buy Wireframe issue 3

Print copies of Wireframe are available now in WHSmith, Tesco, and all good independent UK newsagents. Or you can buy Wireframe directly from us — worldwide delivery is available. And if you’d like to own a handy digital version of the magazine, you have the option to also download a free PDF.

Subscription options!

Whether you want to sample six print issues for a bargain price, subscribe for a full year, or get a regular digital edition sent directly to your device, we have some superb deals for you to choose from! To find out how you can save up to 49% on Wireframe, head to wfmag.cc/subscribe.

Or you can get the digital edition directly to your smart device via our Android and iOS apps.

See you in a fortnight!

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Reef-Pi: the ultimate Raspberry Pi fish tank management system

If you’ve ever had a pet fish, even the saddest of fairground goldfish, you’ll appreciate how much work and attention they require. And to those who have never owned a fish: believe me, it’s more than you’d assume.

Reef-Pi

And the moment you upgrade from goldfish to brightly coloured, tropical beauties, and replace the standard silk reeds and gravel with live aquatic plants and soil, you suddenly have to factor in things like optimum temperature and chemical levels.

Reef-Pi

Reef-Pi

Thankfully, Adafruit Learning System author and loving fish parent Ranjib Dey has been working on a tutorial series called Reef-Pi, a collection of how-to guides that help you build the ultimate in Raspberry Pi reef aquarium management system.

Ranjib Dey on Twitter

@reef_pi at makerfaire #MFBA18

Reef-Pi monitors pH, chemical, and water levels, controls temperature, light, and power, and automates the management of these aspects so you don’t have to think about them. Phew!

And if you don’t fancy a massive coral-filled saltwater tank like Ranjib’s, you can use parts the Reef-Pi series for your own tank, whatever its setup, because many of the operations are similar or easy to adjust for your needs.

Jean Tannen

Any excuse to show off beautiful Jean to the world

Take, for example, my new Betta, Jean Tannen. While Jean’s tank is a much smaller size, and Jean its only resident (for now), I still need to keep an eye on the chemical balance of his water, the heat of his tank, and when his lights should be turned on or off. Even the most commonplace goldfish will appreciate many of the services Reef-Pi automates.

The Reef-Pi system uses a variety of components, including Raspberry Pi Zero and/or Raspberry Pi 3, and each stage of building the project is well-documented on the Adafruit Learning System. So if you’re looking to upgrade your tank, or have always fancied having pet fish but don’t want the hassle of tank management, give Reef-Pi a gander and see what you think.

We’re going to try it!

Sarah, our new Operations Manager, has been looking to upgrade her giant fish tank with a Raspberry Pi or two, so we’ll be sure to share her progress in the new year. If you decide to give Reef-Pi a try, or have already automated your tank with a Pi, let us know in the comments, or tag us on Twitter or Instagram!

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The Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list 2018

Looking for this year’s perfect something to put under the tree ‘from Santa’? Well, look no further than right here — it’s time for our traditional Christmas shopping list!

Woohoo!

Which Raspberry Pi?

As you are no doubt aware, the Raspberry Pi comes in more than one variety. And if you’re planning to give a Pi as a gift to a first-time user, you may be confused as to which one you should buy.

Raspberry Pi 3B+

For someone learning to write code for the first time, we recommend the Raspberry Pi 3B+. Anyone living in a home with an HDMI display, such as a computer monitor or television, will be able to plug directly into the 3B+, and in case they don’t already have a standard USB mouse and keyboard, these can both easily be acquired online, in many charity shops, or by sweet-talking a friend/neighbour/employer. You can even find some great Raspberry Pi starter kits that include many of the items needed to get started.

Raspberry Pi Zero W

The Raspberry Pi Zero W comes at a lower price, and with it, a smaller footprint than the 3B+. This makes the tiny Pi the perfect addition to any creator’s toolkit, ideal for projects that run on a Pi long-term, such as display builds, robots, or near-space HABs.

Pre-loaded micro SD card

Whatever Raspberry Pi you choose for the lucky receiver of your Christmas gift, we also recommend getting them a pre-loaded micro SD card. While it’s really easy to flash an operating system image onto one of the dusty old micro SD cards you have lurking in a drawer, pre-loaded cards allow new Pi owners to plug in and get started right off the bat. Plus, the ones with our operating system Raspbian on come in rather fancy, logo-adorned SD adapters. And who doesn’t like a rather fancy, logo-adorned SD adapter?

Books, books, books

We’re releasing two new books this week that are perfect for any Christmas stocking!

Code Club Book of Scratch Volume 1

Code Club Book of Scratch Volume 1

The Code Club team is buzzing over the release of the first Code Club book, which is available to order now. Primarily aimed at learners aged 9–13, the book focuses on teaching the Scratch programming language, and it’s jam-packed with fun projects, tips, and stickers. The book also comes with a pair of super-special computer science glasses that allow you to see secret hints hidden throughout the book. Very, very cool.

And since Scratch is pre-installed on Raspbian, the Code Club Book of Scratch is the perfect accompaniment to that Raspberry Pi you’re planning to get for the young person in your life!

The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide

Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide Book 2018

From setting up a Raspberry Pi to using Scratch and Python to create games and animations, the hot-off-the-press Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide has everything your loved one needs to get started and keep going.

And when we say ‘ hot-off-the-press’, we mean it — we only released the book this week!

Both the Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide and the Code Club Book of Scratch are available with free international shipping. And if you’d like to give either of them a ‘try before you buy’ test drive, they should both available soon as free PDFs for you to download and peruse at your leisure.

Magazine subscriptions

Alongside our books, we have an array of magazines, including the brand-new, twice-monthly, video game–focused Wireframe! As with the books, you can download all issues of our magazines for a test read before you commit to a subscription.

Twelve-month print subscriptions to HackSpace magazine or The MagPi will reward you with a technical treat: an Adafruit Circuit Playground or a Raspberry Pi 3A+.

So not only can you give a gift that will last the entirety of 2019, but you’ll also automatically provide your favourite creative person with something rather lovely to play with when they receive their first issue.

And if you sign them up now, you can give someone a six-issue subscription of Wireframe magazine for £12! Or save 49% on a twelve-month subscription of 26 magazines from £40.

So many choices, so many ways to make the creators and tech fans in your life happy this holiday season.

Accessories and such

Maybe the person you’re shopping for already has every Raspberry Pi on the market. And as for our publications, their mailbox is full of magazines and books every week, and their smartphone and tablets are crammed with every PDF we’ve ever produced. So what next?

Swag

What do you buy the Raspberry Pi fan who has all the Pis? Swag, of course!

From stickers and mugs, to coasters and pins, check out the Raspberry Pi swag store for some wonderful treats!

(Edit: out of stock things shouldn’t be out of stock for too long – Alex)

Add-ons

Whether it’s a HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) for the Raspberry Pi, or a full kit to make something rather spectacular, our Approved Resellers stock all manner of Pi add-ons.

You can find your nearest Raspberry Pi Approved Reseller by clicking on any item on our products page and then selecting your country.

This isn’t all!

We’ve been putting together a Raspberry Pi shopping list every year in response to the message we receive from you asking for gift ideas. So why not have a look back at our previous lists to get more inspiration for what to give, including more books, toolkit staples, non-Pi tech bits, and, of course, LEGO.

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Take part in Hour of Code 2018

Every year for the last five years, Hour of Code has encouraged school students to spend just one hour writing some code, in the hope that they get bitten by the bug rather than generating too many bugs! This year, you can find activities from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, Code Club, and CoderDojo on the official Hour of Code website.

Boat race

Boat race, a Code Club resource, is a one-hour project aimed at beginners. It guides students to use Scratch to create a game in which the player uses their mouse to navigate a boat to a desert island without bumping into obstacles.

Scratch can run in any browser, or directly from a Raspberry Pi, making it one of the easiest ways for students to get into coding for the Hour of Code.

The Boat race resource is available in many languages, including Arabic, Simplified Chinese, Czech, Greek, Hebrew, and Ukrainian.

Beginner Scratch Sushi Cards

Again using Scratch, this CoderDojo project walks students through how to create a fish-catching game where the player controls a shark sprite.

Astro Pi Mission Zero

In in the Mission Zero project, students write a short Python program that checks the ambient temperature onboard the International Space Station, and leaves a message for the astronauts there!

Students complete this Hour of Code challenge using the Trinket online Astro Pi simulator, and those based in an ESA Member or Associate States can submit their code to run onboard the ISS. They’ll even receive an official certificate showing where the ISS was when their code ran.

A full list of ESA Member and Associate States can be found here.

Us too!

We don’t just create activities for other people to experience digital making and learning — we also get involved ourselves! Every month we host a maker day for our staff, where everyone can try out our digital making projects or even work on their own project. Our December maker day is during Hour of Code week, and we are going to make an extra-special effort and try to get as many staff members as possible coding!

The educators at Raspberry Pi are fans of Seymour Papert’s constructionist learning philosophy — you can read his Mindstorms book in this free PDF — and the joy of learning through making isn’t just a thing for kids; adults get just as much positivity out of creating digital fart noises or animating crazed chickens to chase the Scratch cat. With the right support from our wide range of projects, anyone can make their own ideas a reality through coding — Senior Learning Manager Lauren, for example, got very excited about her Morrissey haiku project!

Being able to code is creative; it lets you bring your idea to life, whether that’s something that could help millions of people or simply something you think would be cool.

So, whether you’re an absolute beginner to coding or you’ve fixed so many bugs that your nickname is ‘The Exterminator’, what will YOU code this week?

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Philip Colligan wants your books (for our library)

You may have heard the news that the Raspberry Pi Foundation recently took up residence in a new location. And unlike previous offices, the new building offers up more room for members of the team to work and learn, including the yet-to-be-named library.

(I’ll have thought of name by the end of this blog post.)

The Raspberry Pi Foundation library

At the moment, the library is home to copies of books written by members of the team, issues of The MagPi, Wireframe, and HackSpace magazine, Project Books, Essentials Guides, and various other related publications.

However, on a recent visit in the Foundation office from Raspberry Pi Trading, I was accosted by Foundation CEO Philip Colligan and asked if I could put out the following request to our community.

We’d like your books

Philip would like to ask you whether you have any old books about coding, such as the classic Usborne series, or aged user manuals or games listings that you don’t need anymore and could donate to our library!

This call also goes out to anyone who has written a book about coding and would like to see their work on our shelves.

Immortality for all

I asked Philip what people can expect in return for donating a book, and he said the following:

raspberry pi library

So be sure to include your return address so we can send you some stickers as a thank you for your donation.

Send your books

If you have a book you’d like to donate, please send it to the address below. And if we receive double-ups of any publications, we promise to put them to good use by passing them on to local libraries or coding clubs so that others can experience the iconic books of our childhoods.

The Philip Colligan Library of Solitude and Reflection
Raspberry Pi Foundation
37 Hills Road

Cambridge
CB2 1NT
United Kingdom

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MagPi 76: our updated Raspberry Pi Superguide!

Hi folks, Rob from The MagPi here! The holiday season will soon be upon us, and that means a lot of Raspberry Pis will be given as gifts. For all these new Pi users, we thought it was time to update our beginners’ guide for 2019 in issue 76 of The MagPi, out now!

And yes, this includes the brand-new 3A+.

Look, up on the magazine rack!

Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s Superguide!

In this Superguide, we’ll take you through the initial setup of the Pi, we’ll help you familiarise yourself with it, and we’ll even show you a couple of fun Pi projects to get started with! Whether you’re a complete newbie to Raspberry Pi or you want need a little refresher, our guide has got you covered.

Superb

3A+ subscription offer!

Speaking of the Raspberry Pi 3A+, we have a full feature on the fresh addition to the Raspberry Pi family, including all the juicy benchmarks, stats, and info you’d ever want to know. There’s even an interview with Eben Upton and Roger Thornton about its development!

In fact, we love the 3A+ so much that we’re offering a brand-new, limited-time subscription offer: sign up for a twelve-month print subscription of The MagPi now, and you’ll get a Raspberry Pi 3A+ completely free!

Hurry though, this offer only runs as long as stocks last.

Be quick, this offer won’t be around forever!

Heads, Pac-Man, and Christmas lights

Of course, there also are amazing projects, guides, and reviews in this issue. This includes As We Are, a mesmerising art project that displays people’s faces on a 14-foot tall screen shaped like a head. We also show you how to start making Pac-Man in our monthly Pygame tutorial, and our smart lights guide has a bit of a festive flair to it.

Get The MagPi 76

You can get The MagPi 76 from WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda. If you live in the US, head over to your local Barnes & Noble or Micro Center in the next few days for a print copy. You can also get the issue online: check it out on our store, or digitally via our Android or iOS apps. And don’t forget, there’s always the free PDF.

Rolling subscription offer!

Want to support the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the magazine? As well as the subscription mentioned above, you can now take out a monthly £5 subscription to the magazine, effectively creating a rolling pre‑order system that saves you money on each issue.

The MagPi subscription offer — The MagPi 75

That’s it for now! I’ll see you next time around Christmas.

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Raspberry Pi vs a Raspberry Pi–powered escape room

A few Mondays ago, the Raspberry Pi North America team visited a very special, Raspberry Pi–powered Escape Room in San Francisco. Run by Palace Games, the Edison Escape Room is an immersive experience full of lights, sensors, and plenty of surprises. This is the team’s story of how they entered, explored, and ultimately escaped this room.

At World Maker Faire this year, our very own social media star Alex Bate met Jordan Bunker, one of the Production Artists at Palace Games. Emails were sent, dates arranges, and boom, the Raspberry Pi North America team had to face the Edison Escape Room!

Escape rooms

In case you’re not familiar, an escape room is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, logic, and strategy to complete the game’s objectives. Many escape room designers use physical computing to control the many sensors and triggers involved in the player experience.

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

The team vs Edison

Upon entering the Edison Escape Room, my team and I quickly realized that we were within a complex system built like a giant computer! So even though it was our first-ever time in an escape room, that would not be a disadvantage for us.

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

Our goal was to accomplish a variety of tasks, including solving many puzzles, looking for hidden clues when anything could be a clue, completing circuits, moving with the floor, and getting a bit of a workout.

The true test, however, was how well we communicated and worked with each other — which we did an awesome job at: at times we split up the work to effectively figure out the many different puzzles and clues; there was a lot “try it this way”, “maybe it means this”, and “what if it’s supposed to go that way” being yelled across the room. Everyone had their Edison thinking hat on that day, and we were so ecstatic when we completed the last challenge and finally escaped!

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

The inner workings

After escaping the room, we got the chance to explore behind the scenes. We found a local network of many Raspberry Pis that are coordinated by a central Raspberry Pi server. The Python Banyan framework is the connective tissue between the Raspberry Pis and their attached components.

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

The framework facilitates the communication between the Pis and the central server via Ethernet. The Raspberry Pis are used to read various types of sensors and to drive actuators that control lights, open doors, or play back media. And Raspberry Pis also drive the control panels that employees use to enter settings and keep tabs on the game.

“Raspberry Pi keeps us going. It’s the heart and soul of our rooms.”  – Elizabeth Sonder, Design Engineer & Production Manager

We highly recommend heading over to Palace Games and exploring one of their many escape rooms. It’s a great team-building exercise and definitely allows you to learn a lot about the people you work with. Thank you to the Palace Games team for hosting us, and we hope to return and escape one of their rooms again soon!

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Support Raspberry Pi on #GivingTuesday

Today is #GivingTuesday, a global movement to kick off the charitable giving season.

More than just a computer

When you buy a Raspberry Pi, you’re not only getting a fantastic little computer, but you’re also helping with our charitable educational mission to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world.

The kindness of others

We’re also supported in other ways by very generous people and organizations who believe in what we do. They donate funds, staff time, products, and services to help us achieve our mission. We use all of these resources to give thousands of young people the opportunity to be empowered by technology.

Thousands of young people all over the world learn to code and make things with computers because of your support.

Good news, Americans!

At the end of last year, Uncle Sam granted us nonprofit status, which means we can accept tax-deductible donations from those of you who are in the United States! To celebrate the first-ever #GivingTuesday with US nonprofit status, we’re kicking off a crowdfunding campaign for Coolest Projects USA on the GlobalGiving platform. Your contribution will go towards our annual Coolest Projects event where we celebrate young people who create things with technology. And if you contribute between now and the end of the year, we’ll be eligible for bonus funds offered by GlobalGiving. Our goal is to raise $10,000 for Coolest Projects USA, and we need help from all of you!

Showcasing creativity at Coolest Projects North America

Coolest Projects is a world-leading showcase that enables and inspires the next generation of digital creators and innovators to present the projects that they created at their local CoderDojo, Code Club and Raspberry Jam. This year we brought Coolest Projects to the Discovery Cube Orange County for a spectacular regional event in California.

Those of you in the States can also support us by doing your holiday shopping with Amazon Smile or the 3,000 online stores on Giving Assistant. We’ll get a small contribution for your purchases, and that’ll go toward all the programs that support educators and youth in the United States.

Donate to the Raspberry Pi Foundation

If you would like to make a donation towards our work from anywhere in the world, you can do so via JustGiving or PayPal. Your support for the Raspberry Pi Foundation helps us to train educators face-to-face and online, to provide free educational content for everyone everywhere, to support over 10,000 free coding clubs around the world, to celebrate young creators at high-profile events, and much much more.

Beyond #GivingTuesday

There are plenty of ways to help us achieve our mission all over the world:

No matter what you do, the most important thing we want you to know is how grateful we are to have you in the Raspberry Pi community — we deeply appreciate all of your support.

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The age of the Twitter bot

Despite changes to the process, setting up a Raspberry Pi as a Twitter bot is a fairly easy process. And while many such bots simply share time-lapse snapshots, or change the colour of LEDs across the globe, we know some that fill our timelines with fun, random joyfulness of a daily basis. Here are a few of them:

@DaphneFlap

Celebrated by cat worshippers the world over, Daphne’s Catflap documents the comings and goings of Daphne, the fluffy feline housemate of Kate Bevan. While my own cat is now too big to fit through his catflap, Daphne uses her catflap several times a day, and thanks to the Raspberry Pi connected to it, the catflap does a marvellous job of celebrating Daphne every time she graces us with her presence.

Daphne’s Catflap on Twitter

Adored Daphne, graceful empress of floof, floofybum. No adoring catflap could possibly be more blessed than me.

@raspberrypi_otd

Ben made a thing.

The Raspberry Pi OTD Twitter bot shares past posts from this very blog you are reading RIGHT NOW, and thus traces the evolution of Raspberry Pi through its tweets. One day, probably in twelve months, this very blog post will resurface on the Raspberry Pi OTD timeline, and then we shall all meet back here and say hi.

Raspberry Pi OTD on Twitter

On this day in 2015: Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer https://t.co/1GRhq0TYuz

@randspberrypi

Sharing posts generated by Rand’s Raspberry Pi, this twitter bot posts random GIF-packed tweets, usually with a retro 1980s vibe and the hashtags #80s, #MusicVideo, #GIF, and #raspberrypi

Rand’s RaspberryPi on Twitter

Random #80s #MusicVideo #GIF #raspberrypi https://t.co/ieraOHGFjr

@falalala_la

Though it seems to be taking a hiatus right now, the Deck the Halls bot searches Twitter for tweets that fit perfectly to the tune of Deck the Halls, and retweets these with the classic “Falalalala, la la, la la!” as a comment. Be warned, a few of the tweets it recovers may be NSFW, but on the whole, it’s a joyful, joyful experience.

Deck the Halls on Twitter

Falalalala, la la, la la! https://t.co/r2dkE8wMFm

@bert_the_plant

I promise we haven’t killed him.

Bert is a ficus tree that lives in one of the meeting rooms here at Pi Towers. When connected to the internet, his Raspberry Pi and moisture monitor update followers about whether he needs watering, alongside a photo of his current state. And while his last tweet, dated 10 June 2017, claims he’s “so thirsty”, accompanied by a photo of pure darkness, I assure you this is simply because the light was off…and the Pi has since been unplugged…and Bert’s alive, I swear it, I swear!

Hold on, I just need to go for a walk to Meeting Room 5. No reason. *runs*

Bert Plant on Twitter

I’m so thirsty!

Connecting your Raspberry Pi to Twitter

The process of setting up a Developer Account so you can build your own Twitter bot has changed recently. But once you follow their new steps, you can still use our free resources for connecting your Raspberry Pi to Twitter.

In our Tweeting Babbage resource, you will learn how to write code that sends images from your Pi to the Twittersphere.

And if you’re a more experienced coder, you could try your hand at our Naughty and nice resource, which will walk you through creating a program that checks whether a Twitter user is in Santa’s good or bad books. After all, Christmas is just under a month away!

Santa angrily staring at a Twitter account

And from there, the world (the Twitter world at least) is your oyster.

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