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About Me

WELCOME TO MY WEBSITE

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.

#‎hack4good‬ Global Webcasts

#‎hack4good‬ Global Webcasts Start Today + All This Week

Kicking off 5 days of live-streaming webcasts leading up to Geeklist #hack4good against climate change

Time to hack!

With world leaders gathering in New York on 23 September for the UN Climate Summit, campaigners and activists worldwide taking part in the People’s Climate March, business and civil society leaders meeting at Climate Week NYC, September is a month of action on climate change!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/15483?locale=en

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Enabling students in a digital age:

Enabling students in a digital age: Charlie Reisinger at TEDxLancaster

 

This is interesting lets do this in Torbay.

More Pi-LITEr

Just coded this to make a few LEDS flash

import time, RPi.GPIO as GPIO
 
GPIO.setmode(GPIO.BOARD)
GPIO.setup(11, GPIO.OUT)
GPIO.setup(15, GPIO.OUT)
GPIO.setup(22, GPIO.OUT)
while True:
        LEDon = GPIO.output(11, 0)
        time.sleep(1)
        LEDoff = GPIO.output(11, 1)
        time.sleep(1)
        LEDon = GPIO.output(15, 0)
        time.sleep(1)
        LEDoff = GPIO.output(15, 1)
        time.sleep(1)
        LEDon = GPIO.output(22,1)
        time.sleep(1)
        LEDoff = GPIO.output(22,0)

Works quite well,  but still pretty standard stuff. I now need to code something more useful.

Exeter Raspberry Pi jam

Another excellent Pi jam today at Exeter Library.  It was in two parts,  Fab Lab hosted another Pi workshop,  while the other room was a hive of activity.

Ivan of Raspberry Pi kitchen fame brought along some his Pi and some electronic components and spent some time teaching two young lads how to make LEDs light up with Scratch.

I tried to demonstrate Sonic Pi but was unable a) to get sound working, Monitors at the Library have no built in speakers,  and attaching some to the pi was a no go area due to the re-design of the Pi and convergence of the composite out and sound out in to one socket.

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/projects/raspberrypi/sonicpi/

I also tried to demonstrate my Pi-brella,  this worked to a point, but my code needs a bit of refinement,  so I left some younger children in the capable hands of one of an 11 year old visitors, who gave an excellent run through of scratch. He also brought the adafruit tft display which looks good.

This freed me up to lend out some other kit such as my usb hub which as I was no longer demoing the pi-brella was freed up.

Had a good chat with some of the visitors including teachers,  so in all that was excellent and informative.

From where I was, it looks like Tom Brough was busy and was demonstrating Bob, Freddie, and the robot arm, which for those of you who have attended previous jams will know all about these.

http://pibrella.com/

Now looking forward to Saturday 13th and the Paignton PI jam,  so more of the same and hopefully a few more teachers,   children / young people. will come.  Oh and for anyone who would like some advice on internet safety we have the virtually safe team along.

http://www.torbayvirtuallysafe.co.uk/

We only have 4 monitors at Paignton Library,  and these get taken up by the people running the jams,  if you CAN bring your own display then please do, as it will really help.

As always if you would like to come along and demonstrate your latest project please do,  you are more than welcome.

It looks like I need another cable for the B+ so I can connect sound / speakers so this will have to wait, can’t afford more stuff like this.

 

 

ToriOS hits RC-1

I am part of the small team, helping to develop a new GNU / Linux based
operating system that has very very low system requirements.   This is
called ToriOS.(http://torios.org/).

You can now download Release Candidate 1 from the Torios Website

http://torios.org/iso.html

Latest file : LIVE CD Alpha Testing ISO RC-1

If you can help with testing please download and report any issues back to the team.  My Documentation is how part of this live cd too.

Thank you in advance for helping.

BrickPI

 

Today I installed the BrickPi disk image to a SD card and tested this in on of my Raspberry Pi’s it boots up fine and has lots of neat items on the desktop.  So looking forward to getting back in a school to experiment with this properly with a BrickPi.For those of you who don’t know what a BrickPi is. The  BrickPI is a plug in board for the RaspberryPi, which provides the I/O connections for Lego Mindstorms motors, sensors etc. So essentially replaces the NXT brick.  With this you can control lego mindstorms creations with Python, Scratch etc.

 

If you don’t know what a Raspberry Pi is!!  WHERE have you been for the past few years ???

I have been using some of the Mindstorms kit at Curledge Street Academy in Paignton as part of a hardware / coding group.  Right at the end of the Summer term we managed to get a normal Mindstorms robot working with the software supplied.   So hopefully we can now carry on and use the Mindstorms kit with the BrickPi.  The mistake I made before was trying to modify the sd card OS manually,  it would have been easier to just download the image and dd that to the sd card.
Next job is to collect one of the other SD Cards from the school and dd the image to a 2nd card (as we have 2 BrickPi’s) and then perhaps re image the other cards with the newest Raspbian,  git clone my compgroup repository and from that I can install WiringPi, and return to basics.  from a few self made shell scripts.

ToriOS Looking for Alpha Testers

I am part of the small team, helping to develop a new GNU / Linux based
operating system that has very very low system requirements.   This is
called ToriOS.(http://torios.org/).

We have just entered the Alpha 1 stage and were looking for some help with various aspects of development. and testing,the JWM Settings Manager, so using bash, C++ and Python

Anyone with experience packaging for Debian/Ubuntu, and any experience
building minimal operating systems is also welcome to contribute. Please get in touch via the website,  You can ask questions on twitter too : https://twitter.com/Tori_OS

Sonic Pi – desktop Link

NOTE

** Since writing this blog post, the developers have produced a deb package so that means you can use the normal apt-get install commands for Sonic-PI **

NOTE

http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/projects/raspberrypi/sonicpi/

It seems by default that Sonic pi v2 doesn’t add itself to the menu or to the desktop.  I think I may have found a solution to this.

You need several pieces of information here:

Where the information is stored that points icons / links to the binary executable files needed to run the program.

it seems that http://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=71592 on the raspberry pi forums provides an answer to this.

The second piece of information needed is where sonic Pi is located on your system, as in where you extracted the binary file

In my case it is Programs/sonic-pi/

with the executable being sonic-pi

Armed with this we can navigate to where the files are stored that point links to the binary executable files

/usr/share/applications $

In here there is a file : sonic-pi.desktop

if we edit this we see the following (or very similar)

[Desktop Entry]
Encoding=UTF-8
Version=1.0
Type=Application
Exec=sonic-pi
Icon=/usr/share/pixmaps/sonic-pi.png
Terminal=false
Name=Sonic Pi
Comment=Learn programming and computer science while creating music
Categories=Application;Education;Development;

 

So we only need the line

Exec=sonic-pi

 

This loads up version one, what we need to do is point this at sonic pi 2

so edit that line to read

Exec=/Programs/sonic-pi/sonic-pi

should in theory point the icon to the new version.

The reason being is that sonic-pi version 1 is in the system path so the shell can find  it,  sonic pi isn’t as the installer clearly didn’t do this.

I am writing this at the same time as working out how to fix things,  so I had to edit the file as root so on the pi and as nano is the default editor you need to use sudo nano <file>

That in theory should be it.  Will try and come back later to find out if it worked or not.

 

CONCLUSION

It seems that this solution DOES NOT WORK. So will try and find a different solution.  However some of the items I have found out by investigating this could prove useful.

CONCLUSION UPDATE

Just worked out the issue I didn’t put the full path in properly

should be : /home/pi/Programs/sonic-pi/bin/sonic-pi

I found it easier to edit in leaf pad, so from xterm use sudo leafpad,  navigate to the file sonic-pi.desktop

It also helps to use the file manager to navigate to the target directory,  that way you can copy / paste the path and it ends up in as it should be.

I have left the instructions above conclusion intact to highlight the issues and errors I made,  as a learning points.

if all works out well you, can now run sonic-pi from the menu.

Sonic PI 2.0

Sonic Pi the coding / music software for the Raspberry Pi is out.

I have just downloaded it and it all seems to work fine.

Follow the instructions at http://sonic-pi.net/get-v2.0

I managed to do this over an ssh link fine

ssh -X user@pi

where :

user = user name

pi = raspberry pi ip address or hostname

Upon executing the software you should see the following : (or something very similar)

sonuc-pi-load-messages

The last 5 lines are clearly what you get when you exit

sonic-pi-splash

And the actual program looks like this:

sonic-pi1

I need to run this connected to my TV with either head phones or with the sound using the HDMI port,  to do this use the prefs menu, found on the far right of the window.

Sonic pi comes with multiple work spaces, save options and  you can either use midi notes or musical notation e.g letters.  There is also a pretty comprehensive tutorial.

One nice feature is aligh, so if you code starts to look messy, click align and Sonic Pi does a bit of tidying up for you.

One note is that sonic pi does NOT seem to auto matically add itsself to the desktop or to the menu system,  this could be due to it not being a normal packaged deb file.  I am going to investigate the use of menulibre which is designed for xfce (among other things ) and if that is ported to the Pi then my next blog post will be how to add sonic pi to the menu system.

Xubuntu – menu editor

XUBUNTU MENU EDITOR

The Xubuntu menu editor can be found in the settings section of the main xubuntu menu.  I decided to make a blog post so that people can find the How to on line.  The online documentation can be found at

http://wiki.smdavis.us/doku.php?id=menulibre_usage

xubuntu-menu-editor