About Me


I work in an after school club as a play work assistant.  I also arrange the Torbay Raspberry Pi jam and have experience with Raspberry Pi, Python, Scratch and Linux operating systems.

I want to share more of my IT skills with schools and help with the new IT Computing curriculum.  I have experience with both Linux and Windows operating systems.

I am also documentation lead for the Ubuntu derived ToriOS operating system. (http://www.torios.org/).

I have over 15 years experience working with children / young people in various capacities, so would like to use this to help children and young people in schools.

I am part of the Computing at school community, to which I have uploaded some resources.  I have also had an article published in TheMagPI Raspberry Pi magazine.  As well as being a long standing member of the Local linux community.   I can be found on freenode and other communities as zleap.

I am committed to safeguarding children, young people and 
vulnerable groups and expect any school or establishment I am 
involved with to share this commitment.

Pi Brealla working

I have finally got my pi-brella up and running.  My original blog post is here and what I am going to do here is just present a quick guide to my first program which was created with the help on the guide you can find by following the link on my original blog post.


Essentially this program lights up the leds, turns them off, waits for the button to press then turns them back in with a 1 second delay between doing this.  So just the very basic features people may need to get started.

you can git clone the files for this from


and will find the files in the pibrella directory





More Pi

As I have a small collection of add on boards, I have now used a new sd card for my old Pi and put the software on this for the Pi-brealla, as the pi brealla has a small rubber foot that when fitted on the model b, it fits on top of the hdmi out, and stops the metal casing causing short circuits.

As a result the sd card from that is now in my new B+ and I have just installed wiring Pi and return to basic.

pi@raspberrypi ~/git/compgroup/shell_scripts $ gpio -v
gpio version: 2.20
Copyright (c) 2012-2014 Gordon Henderson
This is free software with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
For details type: gpio -warranty
Raspberry Pi Details:
  Type: Model B+, Revision: 1.2, Memory: 512MB, Maker: Sony

I need to do this on the Model B so that i can have a go at writing programs for the Pi brealla in both basic and python.

But that is for later,  just a case of running a few scripts really

I have also sorted out the return to basics scripts so 1 installs rtb for the PI (arm) and the other for x86.


echo "install rtb for arm (raspberry pi)"
cd /tmp ; wget unicorn.drogon.net/rtb-2.20-1.deb
sudo dpkg -i rtb-2.20-1.deb
#fix dependencies - usually sound library
sudo apt-get install -f


echo "install rtb for x86"
cd /tmp ; wget unicorn.drogon.net/rtb-2.22-1.deb
sudo dpkg -i rtb-2.22-1.deb
#fix dependencies - usually sound library
sudo apt-get install -f

Note the version numbers

2.20 for arm and 2.22 for x86

Pi set up 2

Once we have prepared our target file system, then we can write the image,  download the latest image from the Raspberry Pi website downloads page to a logical location on your computer and unzip archive file so you can see the raw .img file

so in my case I have


Make sure the disk is inserted,  and we can use sudo fdisk -l to list the current file systems attached to the computer

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1   *        2048   176319941    88158947   83  Linux
/dev/sda2       176320510   488396799   156038145    5  Extended
/dev/sda5       484730880   488396799     1832960   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6       176320512   484730879   154205184   83  Linux
Partition table entries are not in disk order
Disk /dev/sdb: 15.7 GB, 15707668480 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 1909 cylinders, total 30679040 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x0002c262
   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sdb1            2048    30679039    15338496    c  W95 FAT32 (LBA)

so we can see this that the 16gb file system is /dev/sdb1

We can now use this information to write to the sd card using the instructions I found at :


taking the example from the website

sudo dd bs=1M if=2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/rdisk4

we can now apply our own information to this

so from xterm cd to the directory the image file is in :

sudo dd invokes dd as root

bs=1M  = sets block size to 1 Megabyte (this is optional) also note the case, some tutorials had 1m which produced an error.

if=2014-06-20-wheezy-raspbian.img sets the input file to that of the image file

of=/dev/sdb1 = write to device /dev/sdb1

This should write the image to the file system, it may take a while so if you see no activity this is normal.

if you run sudo kill -USR1 `pgrep ^dd`

From a 2nd terminal window you should be able to monitor progress.

The output (similar to below) will appear in the terminal window where you executed the dd command

1219985+0 records in
1219985+0 records out
624632320 bytes (625 MB) copied, 383.039 s, 1.6 MB/s

Keep issuing the above command

For the record

-rw-r–r– 1 psutton psutton 2.8G Jun 20 11:17 2014-06-20-wheezy-raspbian.img

gives you the file size of the image so from this you can calculate the progress percentage if you even want to do that.

Pi set up 1 – Disk preparation

Just setting up a new Raspberry Pi sd card so am going through some of the steps below.   How

I had my old sd card so needed to delete this first so it can be used again, for this I used gnome-disks:


gnome-disks1Raspberry Pi setup

From here you can see the file system layout, and that the file system is /dev/sdb1.

Highlight the partition you want to remove and click the – icon.

gnome-disks-confirm-deleteRaspberry Pi setup

You will need to confirm that you want to delete partitions from the disk,

We can then add a new file system (click the + icon)


I just selected the defaults here,  to over write the file system with zeros, takes ages and when you write the Pi image file it will replace anyway, so go with the quick option.

Once all this is done you get something that looks like this


Make a note of where the file system is on the computer /dev/sdb1

Now click on the power icon in the corner this will power down and unmount the drive.

Road Runner 2014

This is awsome if you like Roadrunner,  cartoon from the 80′s. All done using computer graphics.  Still just as crazy.

Return to basics – First steps

Once you have return to basics installed it is time to start programming,  you can look at some of the example programs. (see Gordons Website for how to do this – li  basically its the wget command.

Note files will be saved in the directory from which you issued the rtb command so you may want to

mkdir rtbasic

cd rtbasic

so all files are saved to the rtbasic directory.

Due to the way I have organised things on my file system I am saving to :


so start by launching return to basics (which from now on will be written as rtb)


From here we have access to the prompt but there is a nice built in editor we can use too.  To get to this press F2


So from here we can type our first program,  however before we do that lets have a quick look at the first help screen as this has a few useful commands on it.

press F1


Ok now we know how to move around the program,  press ESCape to get back to the interpreter


in the editor type

Press F5 and give it a useful file name e.g hello

this will SAVE the program

Press F3 to run

Ok this should just print “HELLO, WORLD” on the screen

If this works we can try and make it a little more interesting


Save F5 and run F3

This should print “HELLO, WORLD” about 20 times.


Return to Basics – revisited

Return to basics is a modern BASIC interpreted written by Gordon Henderson.  https://projects.drogon.net/rtb/

Current version is 2.22

As per instructions on the website you grab the latest .deb file using

wget unicorn.drogon.net/rtb-2.22-1.deb

then install using

sudo dpkg -i rtb-2.22-1.deb


if you get problems with missing dependencies use:

sudo apt-get install -f

and this should pull in anything that is missing.

there is an excellent man file

man rtb

to run type rtb at the command prompt


As rtb allows command line arguments you can set it like I have here to use large fonts

rtb -l but this causes issues with the resolution so you can also specify the windows size

rtb -x1024 -y700

or combine both the above

rtb -l -x1024 -y700

# some more ls aliases
alias ll='ls -alF'
alias la='ls -A'
alias l='ls -CF'
alias rtb='rtb -l -x1024 -y700'

I have added an entry in .bashrc so it does this every time as in when you type rtb it runs it with the specified arguments,

note that to do this you should

open an xterm window

edit .bashrc

save and then EXIT the xterm window,  restart the xterm window (this will re-read .bashrc) it should then work as expected.

as always there is a man file for alias so man alias for more info.

When you start rtb it starts in a new window, your xterm window has info on how rtb is running


So it shows that I have forced a specific resolution.

ToriOS Alpha 1 test

Ok Torios Alpha 1 is now OUT for testing and we need people to download and test it.  Right now the installer is not working from the text menu you get when you boot up, but the GUI system works.

A few screenshots from this test are blow

If you would like to help join the team at http://torios.org/contact.html


Memory usage information (screen shots)




So far. so good,  out of 256 mb memory I am not using that much.  Which is a good thing for low powered systems.

Gimp – picture resize tutorial

Gimp – picture resize tutorial

Ok time for another tutorial,  this time how to resize an image in the gimp image editor.

OS : Xubuntu 14.04

Upon opening gimp you get a few windows open on the screen.


We only need to worry about the main window for the purpose of this tutorial.

Click file then open to locate and open a picture you want to resize


Once done you will see the picture in the main window click image menu then choose scale:


Editing the width will also edit the hight, so you can maintain the aspect ration (w:h) of the image,  this is done automatically once you are happy then hit scale.  if you want the image 1/2 then just divide the width by 2.

You can then save, either give it a new file name or you can overwrite the image file name.  If you save and overwrite the file name, When you exit you don’t need to save as the default xcf (I think) gimp file format.

That is it really.




Sound converter tutorial

Originally Published by ME on the Devon and Cornwall LUG Website.

I recently had the need to batch convert some files between mp3 and ogg vorbis. From the Ubuntu forums the tool sound converter was suggested.

install this in the usual way either view software centre / synaptic / favourite package manager or via the command line

sudo apt-get install soundconverter

Upon installation you can find the program in the Multimedia category (I am using xubuntu)



Once loaded you get the above screen, the options are self explanatory for the most part but I will cover the related screens briefly.


Open file allows you to open a single file.


Add folder allows you to add a folder to convert, this will allow batch (multi) file conversion.


The preferences allow you to set various options, the output file type and sampling rates etc. You can also specify where files are saved too etc. Once you have set options, press close then press convert in the main window.


The conversion.

By Paul Sutton web : http://www.zleap.net twitter : @zleap14

References : http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1631912