Cambridge Raspberry Jam

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!

Edit 1900h, Jul 15: The official organisers’ blog has just been updated with the presentations and video from the day; head on over!