One year ago I had just joined the Raspberry Pi forum. I’d heard about this little, low cost computer that you could plug into a screen and, well, just do stuff. As a teacher of ICT and Computing this interested me a lot, especially bearing in mind the Foundation’s mission and the state of Computing and ICT in many UK schools.
Back then I was one of 3000 forum members; now I’m one of 42000, many of them actively involved in everything from learning to code to robotics to near space flights to… well, just look at a typical Raspberry Pi Grab Bag. Amazing, inspiring stuff. Despite hiccups along the way—who can forget the server-crashing launch?—the Raspberry Pi is unequivocally a great British success story. In fact it’s great success story full stop (that’s ‘period’ for youse lot elsewhere).
It bears repeating that this time last year the Foundation thought that they might sell just 10000 Raspberry Pis: they are currently well on their way to a million. And whilst the Raspberry Pi itself may not be around in a few years’ time—the Foundation have always encouraged competition—something will fill this vital (important and invigorating) niche. The Raspberry Pi has set something profound in motion, and although we may not see the large scale benefits for some time, we will see them. As Eben says:
We don’t claim to have all the answers. We don’t think that the Raspberry Pi is a fix to all of the world’s computing issues; we do believe that we can be a catalyst.
So here I am on writing a eulogy to the Raspberry Pi on the Foundation’s very own blog. GAK! Doesn’t it make you puke? But I won’t apologise for that. My own site only had three visitors last year (and two of them were the cat stepping on F5) so what would be the point? Yes, I have gone mad for the blogging, just like my doctor warned me. And I’ve changed all the passwords (well, 123456 was rubbish) so that an embarrassed Liz can’t delete this.
There: I’m biased. But I also genuinely think that if you have been part of this then you have been part of computing history, in the same way that us codgers who were around in the 80s were. (Teacher Tip: never try to impress teenagers by gushing, “I had ZX Spectrum you know—I used to spend all night typing hex listings in!”).
So this evening, before the plug is pulled on me, I’d like to raise a glass of Blue Nun to Eben and Liz; the Raspberry Pi Foundation; the volunteers; the developers; the contributors; and most of all you, the community. I hope that you feel a mild urge to do the same (at least toast yourself for flip’s sake: it’s a lovely, warm confidence booster.)
I’m off now. Cheers, and thanks for being around for the past fortnight.
[Disclaimer: this piece is personal opinion and is completely and utterly biased. Anyone commenting that I am completely and utterly biased will be agreeing with me, which I enjoy. No money changed hands in the writing of this panegyric (for that is, of course, what it is.) In fact I only wrote it so I could use the word ‘panegyric’ in a blog. Skills badge!]
Your path is blocked by a floor waxer driven by Mooncake the cat
Mooncake gives you the look that only cats can: an oxymoronic glare of pure innocence and deep, predatory malevolence. Around her neck is a curious RFID tag.
Mooncake gently bats your hand a way. It’s a casual gesture, but one clearly designed to tell you, “I have razor sharp, retractable claws you know.”
You have That Thing Your Aunt Gave You Which You Don’t Know What It Is, a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle, a laser pointer and a lardy cake.
>shine laser pointer at floor
Mooncake leaps down and chases the red dot like a cat chasing a laser pointer. Whilst she is distracted you quickly unclip the curious RFID tag from her neck.
>say to Thorin “unlock door with curious tag”
Thorin takes the RFID tag from you and waves it at the door. As if by magic a small flap swings open.
>climb through flap
The opening is too small.
>climb through flap
No, really – there’s no way you’ll get through there.
>climb through flap
You stick your head through the hole, followed by one arm. You are now wearing a door. (We did tell you, but you didn’t listen.)
>lubricate flap with lardy cake
You slather the fat-rich dough around the frame and then rub some on yourself for good measure. After some panicked wriggling you manage to squeeze through with only a few scrapes. You find yourself in an overgrown garden. The only exit is east through a small wooden gate.
*** CONGRATULATIONS, YOU HAVE ESCAPED!! ***
Your score is 3 of a possible 100, in 2493 moves. This score gives you the rank of complete and utter dullard.
Would you like to: RESTORE, RESTART or QUIT?