Ross Anderson’s fantastic textbook, Security Engineering, will have a third edition. The book won’t be published until December, but Ross has been making drafts of the chapters available online as he finishes them. Now that the book is completed, I expect the publisher to make him take the drafts off the Internet.
I personally find both the electronic and paper versions to be incredibly useful. Grab an electronic copy now while you still can.
Shorter summary: it’s not the surveillance part, it’s the fact that these companies are monopolies.
I think it’s both. Surveillance capitalism has some unique properties that make it particularly unethical and incompatible with a free society, and Zuboff makes them clear in her book. But the current acceptance of monopolies in our society is also extremely damaging — which Doctorow makes clear.
It’s an interesting read, mostly about the government surveillance of him and other journalists. He speaks about an NSA program called FIRSTFRUITS that specifically spies on US journalists. (This isn’t news; we learned about this in 2006. But there are lots of new details.)
One paragraph in the excerpt struck me:
Years later Richard Ledgett, who oversaw the NSA’s media-leaks task force and went on to become the agency’s deputy director, told me matter-of-factly to assume that my defenses had been breached. “My take is, whatever you guys had was pretty immediately in the hands of any foreign intelligence service that wanted it,” he said, “whether it was Russians, Chinese, French, the Israelis, the Brits. Between you, Poitras, and Greenwald, pretty sure you guys can’t stand up to a full-fledged nation-state attempt to exploit your IT. To include not just remote stuff, but hands-on, sneak-into-your-house-at-night kind of stuff. That’s my guess.”
I remember thinking the same thing. It was the summer of 2013, and I was visiting Glenn Greenwald in Rio de Janeiro. This was just after Greenwald’s partner was detained in the UK trying to ferry some documents from Laura Poitras in Berlin back to Greenwald. It was an opsec disaster; they would have been much more secure if they’d emailed the encrypted files. In fact, I told them to do that, every single day. I wanted them to send encrypted random junk back and forth constantly, to hide when they were actually sharing real data.
As soon as I saw their house I realized exactly what Ledgett said. I remember standing outside the house, looking into the dense forest for TEMPEST receivers. I didn’t see any, which only told me they were well hidden. I assumed black-bag teams from various countries had been all over the house when they were out for dinner, and wondered what would have happened if teams from different countries bumped into each other. I assumed that all the countries Ledgett listed above — plus the US and a few more — had a full take of what Snowden gave the journalists. These journalists against those governments just wasn’t a fair fight.
I’m looking forward to reading Gellman’s book. I’m kind of surprised no one sent me an advance copy.
Welcome back to Digital Making at Home from the Raspberry Pi Foundation! If you’re joining us for the first time this week, welcome: you’re now part of a global movement with other young digital makers from all over the world. You’re in great company, friend!
You all CRUSHED making your own games last week, so we’re eager to see how you take on this week’s theme: storytelling!
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://rpf.io/ytsub Help us reach a wider audience by translating our video content: http://rpf.io/yttranslate Buy a Raspbe…
Tell us a story this week
We all have a story to tell, and with the power of coding and digital making, you can share your own story in your very own way with other digital makers around the world! This week, your challenge is to tell us a story using code. Maybe you want to create your own story or retell one of your favourite tales in your own way — the possibilities are endless.
This is a webinar that walks teachers through the steps of creating a piece of Interactive Fiction. This is a great project to do with students who are takin…
Share your story with us!
We would love to see the story you’re choosing to tell this week! When you’re ready, enlist an adult to send us your story. Who knows, maybe we will feature it in an upcoming blog for our global community to see?
As you’re coding something new this week, we’ll be playing through your game projects from last week! We were super thrilled to see so many digital makers submit their games from all over the world: Iraq, Canada, United Kingdom, and beyond. We wonder what story you’ll tell us this week…?
Are you ready? Get set…LET’S CODE!
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We’d love to know what you think of Digital Making at Home, so that we can make it better for you! Please let us know your thoughts.
PS: All of our resources are available for free forever. This is made possible thanks to the generous donations of individuals and organisations. Learn how you can help too!
For years, Humble Bundle has been selling great books at a “pay what you can afford” model. This month, they’re featuring as many as nineteen cybersecurity books for as little as $1, including four of mine. These are digital copies, all DRM-free. Part of the money goes to support the EFF or Let’s Encrypt. (The default is 15%, and you can change that.) Ss an EFF board member, I know that we’ve received a substantial amount from this program in previous years.
TL;DR: we made a fully automated luxury gay space communist type-in-listing book. Buy it now and get it in time for Christmas.
Back in the dawn of time, in the late 1980s, I grew up on a diet of type-in computer game listings. From the BBC Micro User Guide, to The Micro User magazine, to the ubiquitous Usborne books: an hour or two of painstaking copying and a little imagination would provide you with an experience which wasn’t a million miles away from what you could buy on the shelves of your local computer store.
Can you believe they did “Machine Code for Beginners”?
The simple act of typing in a game helped to familiarise you with a programming language (usually a dialect of BASIC), and by making mistakes you could start to understand what other, more intentional changes might accomplish. Some of the earliest games I wrote started off as heavily modified versions of type-in listings; in fact, one of these made a sneaky reappearance on this blog last year.
Fast forward to the present day, and aside from regular appearances in our own MagPi and Wireframe magazines, type-in listings have faded from view. Commercial games, even casual ones, have become much more sophisticated, beyond what you might expect to be able to enter into a computer in a reasonable amount of time. At the same time, tools like Unity remove the need to develop every title from the ground up.
But there’s still a lot to be said for the immediacy of the type-in experience. Three years ago, we asked ourselves whether we could make a type-in game listing book for the modern era. The end result, of which we’re launching the first volume today, is Code the Classics. David Crookes and Liz Upton will take you behind the scenes of the creation of five classic arcade games, and then I’ll show you how to implement a simple Python game inspired by each one.
Developing retro arcade games has been a hobby of mine since those early BBC Micro days, and I spent many happy evenings developing these titles, ably assisted by Andrew Gillett and Sean Tracey. It was important to us that these games be as close as possible to the standard of modern commercial casual games. With this in mind, we invited Dan Malone, famous among many other things for his work with The Bitmap Brothers, to provide graphics, and long-time game audio pro Allister Brimble to provide music and sound effects. I’ve known Dan for nearly twenty years, and have admired Allister’s work since childhood; it was an enormous pleasure to work with them, and we took the opportunity to snag interviews with them both, which you’ll also find in the book. Here’s Dan to offer you a taster.
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We’ve pushed the boat out on the production values for the book itself too: think of it as an object from a parallel universe where Usborne made luxury hardbound coffee-table type-in listing books rather than paperbacks.
So although, like all our books, you can download this one for free, you’ll really want a physical copy of Code the Classics to have, and to hold, and to leave on your bedside table to club intruders with.
And while the listings are rather long, and fully-commented versions are available on GitHub, perhaps you should think about spending a rainy afternoon actually typing one in.
Yes, you read that title right, and no, you haven’t accidentally stumbled upon the Arduino Foundation’s website. Today, we’re pleased to announce a new addition to the Raspberry Pi Press family: Get Started with Arduino, a complete how-to guide to help you get hands on with the other pocket-sized board.
Why not? Our mission is to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world. Whether you’re using a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino, or any other piece of digital making kit, if you’re creating with tech, we’re happy. And Raspberry Pi and Arduino make wonderful project partners for all kinds of build.
What’s in the book?
Get Started with Arduino is packed full of how-tos and project tutorials to help you get better acquainted with the little blue microcontroller. Whether you’re brand new to digital making, a die-hard Raspberry Pi fan looking to expand your maker skillset, or simply a bit of a bookworm, Get Started with Arduino is a super addition to your bookshelves.
Aren’t Raspberry Pi and Arduino the same kind of thing?
Arduino is a microcontroller, while Raspberry Pi is a full computer. Microcontrollers don’t usually run a mainstream operating system, but they’re extremely power-efficient, so they can be great for projects that can’t stay plugged into the mains. You need to use a separate computer to set up your Arduino, but you can do everything on a Raspberry Pi itself… including setting up an Arduino. As we said, the two work really well together in some projects: for example, you might build a robot where the Raspberry Pi handles intensive processing tasks and provides you with a friendly environment for developing your code, while the Arduino handles precise real-time control of the motors.
There is nothing in this book is that is not available for free on my website; but if you’d like these essays in an easy-to-carry paperback book format, you can order a signed copy here. External vendor links, including for ebook versions, here.
Ed Snowden has published a book of his memoirs: Permanent Record. I have not read it yet, but I want to point you all towards two pieces of writing about the book. The first is an excellent review of the book and Snowden in general by SF writer and essayist Jonathan Lethem, who helped make a short film about Snowden in 2014. The second is an essay looking back at the Snowden revelations and what they mean. Both are worth reading.
Sian Wheatcroft created an interactive story display to enable children to explore her picture book This Bear, That Bear. She explains the project, and her current work in teaching, in the newest issue of Hello World magazine, available now.
The task of promoting my first children’s picture book, This Bear, That Bear, was a daunting one. At the time, I wasn’t a teacher and the thought of standing in front of assembly halls and classrooms sounded terrifying. As well as reading the book to the children, I wanted to make my events interactive using physical computing, showing a creative side to coding and enabling a story to come to life in a different way than what the children would typically see, i.e. animated retellings.
Coming from a tech-loving family, I naturally gravitated towards the Raspberry Pi, and found out about Bare Conductive and their PiCap. I first envisaged using their conductive paint on the canvas, enabling users to touch the paint to interact with the piece. It would be some sort of scene from the book, bringing some of the characters to life. I soon scrapped that idea, as I discovered that simply using copper tape on the back of the canvas was conductive enough, which also allowed me to add colour to the piece.
I enlisted the help of my two sons (two and five at the time) — they gladly supplied their voices to some of the bears and, my personal favourite on the canvas, the ghost. The final design features characters from the book — when children touch certain areas of the canvas, they hear the voices of the characters.
The back of the canvas, covered in copper tape
Getting the project up and running went pretty smoothly. I do regret making the piece so large, though, as it proved difficult to transport across the country, especially on the busy London Underground!
Interactivity and props
The project added a whole other layer to the events I was taking part in. In schools, I would read the book and have props for the children to wear, allowing them to act out the book as I read aloud. The canvas then added further interaction, and it surprised me how excited the children were about it. They were also really curious and wanted to know how it worked. I enjoyed showing them the back of the canvas with all its copper tape and crocodile clips. They were amazed by the fact it was all run on the Raspberry Pi — such a tiny computer!
The front of the interactive canvas
Fast-forward a few years, and I now find myself in the classroom full-time as a newly qualified teacher. The canvas has recently moved out of the classroom cupboard into my newly developed makerspace, in the hope of a future project being born.
I teach in Year 3, so coding in Python or using the command line on Raspbian may be a little beyond my students. However, I have a keen interest in project-based learning and am hoping to incorporate a host of cross-curricular activities with my students involving the canvas.
I hope to instil a love for digital making in my students and, in turn, show senior leaders what can be done with such equipment and projects.
A literacy project
This work really lends itself to a literacy project that other educators could try. Perhaps you’re reading a picture book or a more text-based piece: why not get the students to design the canvas using characters from the story? The project would also work equally well with foundation subjects like History or Science. Children could gather information onto the canvas, explaining how something works or how something happened. The age of the children would influence the level of involvement they had in the rest of the project’s creation. The back end could be pre-made — older children could help with the copper tape and wiring, while younger children could stop at the design process.
Part of the project is getting the children to create sounds to go with their design, enabling deeper thinking about a story or topic.
It’s about a collaborative process with the teacher and students, followed by the sharing of their creation with the broader school community.
UK-based educators can also subscribe to receive Hello World as printed magazine FOR FREE, direct to their door. And those outside the UK, educator or not, can subscribe to receive free digital issues of Hello World in their inbox on the day of their release.
You may have heard the news that the Raspberry Pi Foundation recently took up residence in a new location. And unlike previous offices, the new building offers up more room for members of the team to work and learn, including the yet-to-be-named library.
(I’ll have thought of name by the end of this blog post.)
However, on a recent visit in the Foundation office from Raspberry Pi Trading, I was accosted by Foundation CEO Philip Colligan and asked if I could put out the following request to our community.
We’d like your books
Philip would like to ask you whether you have any old books about coding, such as the classic Usborne series, or aged user manuals or games listings that you don’t need anymore and could donate to our library!
This call also goes out to anyone who has written a book about coding and would like to see their work on our shelves.
Immortality for all
I asked Philip what people can expect in return for donating a book, and he said the following:
So be sure to include your return address so we can send you some stickers as a thank you for your donation.
Send your books
If you have a book you’d like to donate, please send it to the address below. And if we receive double-ups of any publications, we promise to put them to good use by passing them on to local libraries or coding clubs so that others can experience the iconic books of our childhoods.
The Philip Colligan Library of Solitude and Reflection Raspberry Pi Foundation 37 Hills Road Cambridge CB2 1NT United Kingdom
I argue that this changes everything about security. Attacks are no longer just about data, they now affect life and property: cars, medical devices, thermostats, power plants, drones, and so on. All of our security assumptions assume that computers are fundamentally benign. That, no matter how bad the breach or vulnerability is, it’s just data. That’s simply not true anymore. As automation, autonomy, and physical agency become more prevalent, the trade-offs we made for things like authentication, patching, and supply chain security no longer make any sense. The things we’ve done before will no longer work in the future.
This is a book about technology, and it’s also a book about policy. The regulation-free Internet that we’ve enjoyed for the past decades will not survive this new, more dangerous, world. I fear that our choice is no longer between government regulation and no government regulation; it’s between smart government regulation and stupid regulation. My aim is to discuss what a regulated Internet might look like before one is thrust upon us after a disaster.
Click Here to Kill Everybody is available starting today. You can order a copy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Norton’s webpage, or anyplace else books are sold. If you’re going to buy it, please do so this week. First-week sales matter in this business.
While yesterday’s blog post covered YouTubers who create video tutorials about using the Raspberry Pi, today we want to focus on a more traditional medium in honour of #BookLoversDay.
Since we launched the Raspberry Pi back in 2012, staff and community members alike have been writing guides and projects books about our little green board, with some releasing them as free PDFs and others donating a portions of the revenue to the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
Here are a few of our favourite books, written by our colleagues and you, our glorious community.
For beginners just entering the world of Raspberry Pi, there is no end of ‘Getting started’ resources available online. For those of you who want a physical reference work, or who plan on giving a Raspberry Pi as a gift, here are some of the best beginners’ guides available:
Almost all of us will have at least one for Dummies book lying around at home. Easy to read and full of information, the series is a go-to for many. The third edition of the Raspberry Pi for Dummies book came out in late 2017, and you can read the first two chapters on co-author Sean McManus’s website.
The Raspberry Pi User Guide was co-written by Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi and co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. So it’s fair to say that the information in this guide comes directly from the horse’s mouth…so to speak. You can read an excerpt of the book on the publisher’s website.
For younger users, Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi is both an introduction guide and project book, taking young beginners from the basics of setting up and using their Raspberry Pi through to trying out coding and digital making projects. Now in its third edition, the book is available in both paperback and e-book format.
If you’re looking for some projects to try out, whether they be Scratch or Python, screen-based or physical, the following books will help you get making:
Simon Monk has been writing tutorials and producing Raspberry Pi kits for both beginners and advanced makers. With his Raspberry Pi Cookbook, Simon has written over 200 ‘practical recipes’ for you to try with your Raspberry Pi.
More inspirational rather than instructive, Creative Projects with Raspberry Pi by Kirsten Kearney and Will Freeman is a gorgeous coffee table book of Raspberry Pi projects from across the globe. From small gadgets to art installations and robots to weather stations, if this book doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, nothing will.
Computer science is more than just writing code and lighting LEDs. If you’d like to learn more about the history and science behind STEM, these books are marvelous resources for the inquisitive mind:
Those wishing to go deeper into learning programming should check out The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas. Some consider it the classic go-to for novice programmers, with many veterans returning to it when they need a reminder of best practices in the field.
With its lighthearted fun mixed with historical events, the Eisner Award–nominated The Thrilling Adventures Of Lovelace And Babbage by Sydney Padua is a Pi Towers favourite, and should be the staple of every STEM enthusiast’s book collection. In fact, we’re sure that even those with no interest in the field will find this collection of stories entertaining. So there’s really no reason not to try it.
If you’re looking for a periodical or two, may we suggest:
The MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine. Available in both hardcopy and free digital PDF every month, The MagPi covers community projects and tutorials as well as Raspberry Pi–related add-on tech. You may also be interested in the MagPi Essentials Guides, written by community members to help you advance in various areas of Raspberry Pi creativity.
Hello World, the magazine for educators, is released termly and includes articles and advice from STEM educators across the globe. UK-based educators can get Hello World delivered free to their door, and everyone can download the free PDFs from the Hello World website.
HackSpace magazine covers more than just the Raspberry Pi. Consider it the maker magazine, covering a wide variety of different topics, skills, and techniques. An interesting monthly read that your eager hobbyist mind will love…but your wallet and free space/time, not so much. It’s out in both hardcopy and as a free PDF each month.
You may also like:
AQUILA — while not specifically STEM-related, AQUILA will keep young minds engaged and inquisitive
WIRED — WIRED offers a broad taste of emerging technologies and more
The Beano — OK, so it’s not STEM, but c’mon, the Beano is awesome!
Add to the list
If you have a favourite book that we’ve left out, let us know so we can add it. Maybe you have a childhood classic that first got you into coding, or a reference guide you go back to again and again. So tell us in the comments which books we have missed!
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