Wednesday grab bag

Eben and I are travelling to Edinburgh today for the Turing Festival, a technology festival that runs at the same time as the Edinburgh Festival. Eben’s giving a talk on education and technology on Saturday; we’re very excited to be at the same event as Steve Wozniak, and hope to be eating many square sausages and black puddings.

So we’ll be rather absent from the internet today, because Edinburgh’s a long way away from Cambridge. Here are some bits and pieces to keep you occupied.

Maplin bundle

Maplin Raspberry Pi bundle

Maplin Raspberry Pi bundle. Click image to pre-order.

Maplin, the UK electronics company, are selling a Raspberry Pi bundle, which includes a Raspberry Pi and all the peripherals you might need to get started, from September. You can pre-order now if you want to get ahead of the crowd (orders are first-come, first-served), and they’ll arrive in stores next month. We think the kit will make a great Christmas present, especially if you know any young people who might have trouble rustling up things like wi-fi dongles and USB hubs on their own. For £69 you’ll get a Raspberry Pi, keyboard and mouse, an SD card pre-loaded with Raspbian, a powered USB hub, HDMI and USB cables, a power supply and a wi-fi dongle.

Super Turkey

Seven-year-old Philip, whom you may remember from last week, has spent another week programming in Scratch with his Raspberry Pi and has another game to show us. Dad tells me that Philip’s plush parrot, who features heavily in this video, doesn’t have a name yet: please leave suggestions in the comments!

We can’t get enough of videos and pictures like this at the Foundation. If you’re a proud parent with a Raspberry Pi-wielding kid, or if you’re a kid yourself, and you’ve got video or pictures you’d like us to share on this website, please mail me at [email protected] – we really like to remind ourselves and everybody else that this sort of thing is what the Raspberry Pi project is all about.

And some grown-ups have been working on stuff too…

You may have already read about Dave Hunt’s DSLR hack – it went viral last week. He’s embedded a Raspberry Pi in a camera battery grip, which allows him to wirelessly tether his camera to…well, whatever he’s got on his network. He’s been automatically pushing pictures to other devices, controlling the camera with networked objects (a smartphone, a PC), making it respond to a remote trigger, auto-saving pictures to a USB drive – the Raspberry Pi also works as an intervalometer, and he can use it to program aperture and exposure settings. He’s got big ideas for further development, too, with plans for an additional screen and an internal power supply. Here’s a video of the camera sending images to an iPad, with some example Perl script.

Off-the-shelf DSLR cameras with these kinds of functions typically run into the many thousands of pounds. Dave’s done it all with a $35 Raspberry Pi. More power to your thrifty, imaginative elbow, Dave.

And have you come across Nixie clocks? These cold-cathode tube clocks have been a bit of a web fetish for a little while now, but this one, from Martin Oldfield, is the first one I’ve seen being driven by a Raspberry Pi. I’m going to hack one of these together myself when I get some time; it’s a lovely looking thing, and putting one together at home is simpler than you’d think.

Nixie clock

Meanwhile, in Germany, a Cherry G80-3000 keyboard (one of those fabulous mechanical keyboards with a lovely clicky action, like my now-deceased IBM Model M but from this decade) has been hacked to contain a Raspberry Pi, hidden in some space under the function keys – a whole computer in a keyboard. I feel like we’ve seen this kind of thing before.

Raspcherry Pi

Please spread this Jam

The Raspberry Jams continue around the world – Milton Keynes, Bristol and Melbourne, Australia (which happened very shortly before I wrote this post on Tuesday night, so I don’t have any bloggy links about it yet), have seen Jams in the last few days. These events are a great way to meet other Raspberry Pi users, get a start if you’re a kid or just a grown-up who wants to learn about programming and electronics, and to show off your projects.

Raspberry Pi and something much bigger

Raspberry Pi and something much bigger. (It's an evaluation board from Heber, who sponsored the Bristol Raspberry Jam.)

Our good friend Alan “Teknoteacher” Donohoe, who does a phenomenal amount of work organising and promoting the Jams, maintains a page describing where and when all the Jams across the world are being held. We’re seeing venues as small as local cafes and venues as large as university auditoriums being used for groups of all sizes, and people aged from 14 to 70 setting the events up. The list is growing all the time; if there isn’t one near you yet, why not set one up yourself?