My name is Matt, and I live in the colonies. Specifically Everett, WA - home of the Boeing Commercial Jet. With the help of many people, I help run a Scout organization. We have three units - a Cub Scout Pack, a Boy Scout Troop, and a Venturing Crew.
I'm a massive Anglophile. I think Churchill, and then Thatcher, were the most important political figures of the 20th century (and probably the 21st). That the RPI was invented and promoted by our former colonial masters makes total sense to me. First Turing, then Berners-Lee, now Upton, Mullins, Lang & Mycroft.
We have an integrated unit - all units functioning not as three separate ones, but one continuous unit going up through Eagle Scout and beyond. We inherited about three tons (literally) of industrial robots from Microsoft recently. We have a volunteer who programs PLC's all day. We have one of the world's top anti-cybercrime specialists in the world as a volunteer.
Problem was we did not have a way of elegantly integrating the art and science of programming with the physical world. In the Feb 18th, 2015 edition of the Wall Street Journal came an article by Joanna Stern about the Raspberry Pi. The apple fell from the tree at that moment, and my head still hurts. With the RPI, I can bring all of this talent to bear for very, very little money.
My issue is that most of the kids in our unit can't afford much. I have been stressing the need for kids to look to STEM as a viable alternative to college in order to perhaps find something they might love and also pay the bills. Into that includes all of the vocations - HVAC, plumbing, electrical, etc.
Raspberry Pi is going to change the world, in my opinion, and it is going to unleash so many new true programmers with fresh approaches to solving problems. I have been monitoring the 'maker' movement, which is an attempt to bring low level board stuff to a new generation of kids and adults. This was/is the missing link.
You simply cannot do the things people are doing with a laptop/desktop/mobile that people are doing with a RPI. Because of the price point, you can blow it up, and the downside is minimal. Moreover, our units can create projects at each level, present them to people with money, and they will open their wallets. My wife teaches, and they are buying $250 chromebooks by the 100s and 1000s for school districts. With $250, you can hack NASA and hijack a launch sequence (Estes Wifi Project) and still have money left over for pizza - good pizza too. They have no idea how much more capability is possible for far, far less than half the unit cost with this approach.
Ten years from now, I think this will be the movement that ushers in the next level of innovation and will help countries that were poor become rich. This can transform Africa and South America.
My only real issue was not hearing about this until now. This started in 2006. I've been involved in Scouting that long, and I haven't heard a peep about this until I saw it in the WSJ. That is criminal. Almost a decade.
I was shocked that the only place I could seem to order an 'ultimate' kit was from Amazon. I know this was not in stock at the Radio Shack. The irony is that perhaps the RPI might have saved Radio Shack.
Not sure if you beautiful limeys know what a Radio Shack is, or was, but it was quite a place for electronics hobbyists in its day.
Thank you, UK, for bringing us the computer, and the web. Thank you also for that other rock star - Sir Robert Baden-Powell.
Thank you for the Raspberry Pi, the latest innovation out of the Isles.
Proud Subject of the Realm,