how good is the magpi

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by carfin33 » Mon Jun 04, 2012 8:33 am
what do you think about the awesom magpi?
Is this thing on?
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by Jaseman » Mon Jun 04, 2012 2:57 pm
Load of rubbish
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by stevepdp » Mon Jun 04, 2012 3:03 pm
Can't quite tell if you're being sarcastic there Jaseman, I nearly deleted your post.

The MagPi is a fantastic magazine, and I'm really enjoying the code listings and detailed hardware information in the latest issue.

My only criticism would be that I think the file mirrors need to improve, as some of them are already down or difficult to use from a Pi.

I might offer some hosting myself if it'll help.

Edit: and you'll find my mirror here :D
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by Jaseman » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:17 am
Since I was majorly instumental in making it happen in the first place, I think I have the right to say so.

Yes it was sarcasm. ;-)
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by antiloquax » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:26 am
I think it's excellent.
:D :geek:
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by Dapa » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:43 am
Initially, I thought it was a bit amateur and cringe worthy... and I still do, but that's the whole point :-)

It reminded me of when I used to write fanzines in the 90s... although many never even 'launched' and the best circulation I could get was the school magazine, with the deputy head teacher having too much input for my liking :D Also a more unofficial school publication that maybe reached 50 people!

Ultimately, the MagPi is much better than my early efforts, likely has a far bigger readership and I fully expect it to improve in leaps and bounds and be a great introduction to building a product - because for all the challenges I had in writing my own fanzines, the desire to create and improve 'product' never left me and even today I run a business that is highly related to the experience I had in DTP layout design in appealing to an audience.

Yet another educational success in the making, built off the back of the RaspPi. Great stuff!
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by Chris_Reynolds » Fri Jun 08, 2012 11:50 am
I've only skimmed issue 2 but when no sound came out of my newly arrived and HDMI connected Pi last night my 10 year old dashed upstairs and came down with his copy and showed me the instructions on how to fix it so that was a definite plus. He seems to be impressed with it too.

To my mind magazines like this are good at increasing the awareness of what you might do with a Pi. You might not do the same thing now but it'll stick in your brain until you need it. Not being too big means you can actually handle the volume of information it provides whereas 'New Posts' on here can be a deluge - a good deluge - it's great that people are doing so much but hard to keep track of it all. The MagPi is a sort of 'best of' what people are doing with their Pis.
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by antiloquax » Fri Jun 08, 2012 5:21 pm
I also had not set up sound on my Pi until I looked at the article on Schism Tracker. Making music on the computer is not something I have tried before. There is so much that you can do with a Pi that I would have no idea how to do without something like this magazine.

I also enjoyed reading about the GPIO in the "In Control" article. This is something else I have no experience of. I've been to Maplins and bought the bits and pieces I need. I haven't got around to trying to build the circuit yet, but I will have a go over the next few days. I am pretty clueless about the hardware side of things and this is just what I need!
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by mraltair » Fri Jun 08, 2012 6:12 pm
I'm loving it. It's a nice little mag that's full of useful info and I expect has been a great help so far getting people through those early niggles.

The worst part about reading the MagPi is that it just makes me want my Pi to get here even more. There is so much I want to play around with, in particular the GPIO pins are looking very seductive, having never done anything hardware related before. The 'in control' section looks like a great place to start.
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by RandomCoder » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:57 pm
Sorry to renew an old thread but I've just discovered the MagPi and think its fantastic, better than a lot of paid for magazines I've previously subscribed too!
I only found this post because I'm having trouble with the Schismtracker example (program won't load, no error) and so was just looking for a solution when I came across this thread.
It might come across as very basic to those already in the know, but believe me, there's a great many people who now own a RPi with absolutely no idea how to operate it. This is exactly what is needed for the beginner to get started. I'm new to Linux but have been proramming professionally for nearly 20 years and yet still I enjoyed reading the articles and finding out what new software I can tinker with ;)

"Defeat never comes to any man until he admits it."Josephus Daniels
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by pygmy_giant » Sun Jul 29, 2012 3:09 pm
If I was being a critical meanie I would highlight that the layout violates some holy tenets of what is widely accepted as good dtp.

Pictures behind text is visually confusing and makes text hard to read.

The content is good.
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by Justin72 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 2:49 pm
I think it's great. I have had my Pi running for 4 days now and have used all of the python tutorials, ordered some parts from Tandy so that I can try the GPIO, and read all of the articles. It's perfect for a noob like me has taught me loads.

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by karl101 » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:21 pm
I like it and read every issue.

For me the listings are very nostalgic, from when I typed in all those game listings into my Sinclair Spectrum back in the day. The hardware GPIO circuits are very useful and to see that name Tandy takes me back to the 80's too when they had shops in the UK, although the prices for components were outrageous. Now sadly replaced with Maplins, where one of the staff recently asked me what a resistor was. Its also good to see the Radio Amateurs making an appearance too, and still being argumentative in the fine tradition of that hobby.

Keep up the good work.

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by scep » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:29 pm
I'd just like to say that I love it! Keep up the good work chaps :)
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by winwaed » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:33 pm
Generally good.

Someone has already commented about photos behind text. I've seen the pros do this (New Scientist especially went through a phase not that long ago), and it is bad. It can make an article unreadable. The magazine as a whole has lots of colour and has a "glossy" look to it. This would be great for the newstand/agents but it will use lots of ink to print out. Some might accuse you of being sponsored by HP and Canon :-) More seriously, I have yet to print any copies out because of this, and so the magazine's utility does fall.
I realise it is more work (see my second point below) but two templates might be the way forward. The second would be more minimalist. Colour would only be used where it is essential - e.g. photos, colour diagrams, syntax-coloured listings, etc. With two templates (yes easier said than done!) the formatting of two versions could be simplified.

Second point: Most of the limitations you probably have will eventually boil down to money. Having some income would help offset your costs, help to make it more "worthwhile" as a personal project, pay for review hardware/software, perhaps even commission some content? Anyway you'll need money for some things. I would be happy to pay a small subscription fee, and I'm sure others would too.
I think there's a strong argument for keeping it free - it keeps things in line with the Raspi Foundation's low cost education objectives. So perhaps the subscribers could get a few minor perks in return? E.g. we could automatically receive the magazine by email? I'm sure we could think of a few extra ideas. Special offers from suppliers? Prize draws with donated items (as laws permit), etc?
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by relnext » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:19 pm
In general I like the content.
It has come a long way since the first piece.
Now that it is picking up steam and there are more people working with the Pi, it would be nice to see issues focus on particular areas.
For instance,The Networking Issue and then maybe The Camera Issue etc...

My 5 rules for design are simple. (for what it's worth)
1. If you don't need a picture to make the point or convey the idea - don't use one.
2. No colored text unless it's used in a headline or as a bullet category. (it's amazing what you can do with plain black and grey.
3. No white text unless it's really needed (as a headline etc.) and never below 16 pt.
4. Spacing (don't crowd the typography)
5. Don't adjust type to fit the page. Keep the type consistent across all articles. This is where design (white space/graphics) really comes into play.

Overall I give it two thumbs up.
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by fos » Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:20 pm
For me MagPi is perfect. The articles are a mix product review and programming at the code level for both beginners and experienced.

Many of the articles are suitable for students in public schools. This is important since that is the founding purpose of the RPi.

I was in on the original PC revolution. MagPi reminds me of the early and very enjoyable magazines before they became so commercial. I hope that the publisher makes a subscription service available. If not, I'll just purchase each copy as available. It is still much cheaper than printing the whole mag.

Since it is published under the creative commons license, I'll be able to share it with future students.

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by Forrrge » Sun Oct 28, 2012 11:57 am
I was very interested in the python articles, but around issue 5 I think it moves from Python 3 to Python 2, what was the reason for doing this ?

I haven't started on the tutorials yet, so if they'll still work in 3, then no problem.
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by bgirardot » Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:50 pm
MagPi is great. I kicked in a bit of cash to support them, not much, but if everyone who read it, benefited and had the spare cash kicked in a buck (or a Euro or a Swiss Franc).....
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by meltwater » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:57 pm
Hi everyone,
I just rediscovered this thread (my subs got cleared). First off thanks for the kind remarks and comments, it is great to see we are providing something useful and it is very encouraging for the whole team to see this.

Regarding the python pit, I think it is just the version tested with, so it should work for either (or perhaps some small adjustments might be needed). I think both versions of python are installed anyway. Ah, now I come to think of it, I think pygame isn't fully compatible with Python3, so that may be why!

Tempted by the GPIO...Yeah I totally understand that, it doesn't get any better after you have taken the plunge and use them either. I have a slight problem of buying various components to try out and then finding it difficult to get the time to use them, it's addictive and fun. But I really do recommend having a go, there is nothing quite like making an LED flash to the will of your code! And it doesn't cost much to try the basics.

Many thanks bgirardot for the donation (I've no idea how much it was, but anything will help us with developing the mag further and to keep the site up and the various legal bits etc we have to cover in out costs). Funds are vital to keep the mag going, at the moment there are several members of the team who have put a fair bit of their own money into it, which is amazing (so it would be nice to return it)!

We are keen to continue to have the printed version available, but it is a case of trying to balance the price and the number produced. We need to sell more of Issue 6 to ensure it is a viable option, so if are holding off buying, please reconsider as we would like to provide the entire collection as printed versions in the future. It would be great to continue to provide it for £2.50 like it currently is, since I think that is a really good price and low enough for kids to buy (my own were very pleased to flip through a nice glossy version - my own home printed versions didn't come close). It is something which I'm sure a school computer club would enjoy or scout group etc. As you can imagine, by keeping the cost low, there isn't a lot to cover unsold issues either, so to have other issues available in print more need to be sold.

Regarding subscription, the general thought is that it wouldn't be fair to take payment for advance copies of the magazine since every month could be the last one (it is down to the time and effort the team can give). Discussions are on-going with this though.

Anyway, please keep supporting us, in whatever way you can. Work has already started on December's Issue 8 and this month's Issue 7 is released today!

Thanks again. Each month we work very hard to improve the next issue over the last, so all comments are welcome.
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by thepiman » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:06 pm
love the rough and ready 'word 97' graphics and the articles are interesting enough. I usually skim and read a few each month
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by malakai » Tue Nov 27, 2012 7:17 pm
I think the magazine is fantastic. Would they be willing to offer discounts for a yearly subscription. As it is around $5.60 delivered to the US this isn't bad at all but the conversion rate is a bit high. Stupid USD either way a yearly or six month option is always nice. - always looking for content feel free to ask to have it posted. Or sign up and message me to become a contributor to the site. Raspians is not affiliated with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. (RPi's + You = Raspians)
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by meltwater » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:03 pm
Keep an eye out regarding printing, news coming soon!

Word97...yep clip-art is great!
Seriously though, we would love some artists and more photographers come and contribute to the magazine, as obtaining graphics which are royalty free which meets our needs is incredibly difficult. At the moment, they are more function over form, which is a shame, and something which we are keen to improve if we get the right people on the team! Any artists out there who fancy their work on the cover?
You are welcome to submit some content if you wish to make improvements.
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by pygmy_giant » Wed Nov 28, 2012 12:24 am
I'm happy to knock up graphics to specification if asked.

Why not accept advertisements to raise revenue? If you can accurately estimate readership and if it is high enough you could approach pi/demographic related retailers with a price plan or simply place a notice in advertising the advertising space.

It wouldn't hurt if done sparingly and tastefully.
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by meltwater » Wed Nov 28, 2012 9:40 am
pygmy_giant wrote:I'm happy to knock up graphics to specification if asked.

Why not accept advertisements to raise revenue? If you can accurately estimate readership and if it is high enough you could approach pi/demographic related retailers with a price plan or simply place a notice in advertising the advertising space.

It wouldn't hurt if done sparingly and tastefully.

Send an email to and we will get you (and anyone else interested) on board.

If you want something to get you started a new graphic for the C++ section would be helpful, since as several people have pointed out the hard-drive image isn't really related to much.

Advertising is something we are looking at, not least because it is a bonus to the readers to know where they can get good Raspberry Pi products. It is something which we have piloted to some extent in the current draft and hope to expand upon in the new year if all goes well. We will ensure that content isn't over shadowed by it though, and it will be RPi related. Estimates of reader numbers are good, and the fact that it reaches a specific readership (Raspberry Pi users or those interested in them) means it should be a good place for companies producing Raspberry Pi products.

Subscriptions...Long term we may come up with a way to do this, however we are still discussing how it may work.
One problem is that if at some point the magazine comes to an end, there won't be money owed to people who have paid for subscriptions, we want to avoid selling something which may one day not exist - not least the issues involved to managing 1000s of accounts and related money.
One proposed idea is a pay-as-you-go type model, where payments are made monthly as and when the magazine is produced, to start with printing will then be done following payment (later on, numbers may be estimated better to produce them ahead of time perhaps). We are looking at the options, but as you can imagine we want to avoid a loss which could effect the future of the magazine if we rush into something.

Personally, reaching readers with content they want is still our main focus, so we welcome feedback and ideas on what people feel is missing or want to see (although can't please all the people all of the time). Ideas and even article submissions are all welcome.
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