# Build a house in Minecraft using Python

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/build-minecraft-house-using-python/

In this tutorial from The MagPi issue 68, Steve Martin takes us through the process of house-building in Minecraft Pi. Get your copy of The MagPi in stores now, or download it as a free PDF here.

Minecraft Pi is provided for free as part of the Raspbian operating system. To start your Minecraft: Pi Edition adventures, try our free tutorial Getting started with Minecraft.

Writing programs that create things in Minecraft is not only a great way to learn how to code, but it also means that you have a program that you can run again and again to make as many copies of your Minecraft design as you want. You never need to worry about your creation being destroyed by your brother or sister ever again — simply rerun your program and get it back! Whilst it might take a little longer to write the program than to build one house, once it’s finished you can build as many houses as you want.

## Co-ordinates in Minecraft

Let’s start with a review of the coordinate system that Minecraft uses to know where to place blocks. If you are already familiar with this, you can skip to the next section. Otherwise, read on.

Plan view of our house design

Minecraft shows us a three-dimensional (3D) view of the world. Imagine that the room you are in is the Minecraft world and you want to describe your location within that room. You can do so with three numbers, as follows:

• How far across the room are you? As you move from side to side, you change this number. We can consider this value to be our X coordinate.
• How high off the ground are you? If you are upstairs, or if you jump, this value increases. We can consider this value to be our Y coordinate.
• How far into the room are you? As you walk forwards or backwards, you change this number. We can consider this value to be our Z coordinate.

You might have done graphs in school with X going across the page and Y going up the page. Coordinates in Minecraft are very similar, except that we have an extra value, Z, for our third dimension. Don’t worry if this still seems a little confusing: once we start to build our house, you will see how these three dimensions work in Minecraft.

## Designing our house

It is a good idea to start with a rough design for our house. This will help us to work out the values for the coordinates when we are adding doors and windows to our house. You don’t have to plan every detail of your house right away. It is always fun to enhance it once you have got the basic design written. The image above shows the plan view of the house design that we will be creating in this tutorial. Note that because this is a plan view, it only shows the X and Z co-ordinates; we can’t see how high anything is. Hopefully, you can imagine the house extending up from the screen.

We will build our house close to where the Minecraft player is standing. This a good idea when creating something in Minecraft with Python, as it saves us from having to walk around the Minecraft world to try to find our creation.

## Starting our program

Type in the code as you work through this tutorial. You can use any editor you like; we would suggest either Python 3 (IDLE) or Thonny Python IDE, both of which you can find on the Raspberry Pi menu under Programming. Start by selecting the File menu and creating a new file. Save the file with a name of your choice; it must end with `.py` so that the Raspberry Pi knows that it is a Python program.

It is important to enter the code exactly as it is shown in the listing. Pay particular attention to both the spelling and capitalisation (upper- or lower-case letters) used. You may find that when you run your program the first time, it doesn’t work. This is very common and just means there’s a small error somewhere. The error message will give you a clue about where the error is.

It is good practice to start all of your Python programs with the first line shown in our listing. All other lines that start with a `#` are comments. These are ignored by Python, but they are a good way to remind us what the program is doing.

The two lines starting with `from` tell Python about the Minecraft API; this is a code library that our program will be using to talk to Minecraft. The line starting `mc =` creates a connection between our Python program and the game. Then we get the player’s location broken down into three variables: `x`, `y`, and `z`.

## Building the shell of our house

To help us build our house, we define three variables that specify its width, height, and depth. Defining these variables makes it easy for us to change the size of our house later; it also makes the code easier to understand when we are setting the co-ordinates of the Minecraft bricks. For now, we suggest that you use the same values that we have; you can go back and change them once the house is complete and you want to alter its design.

It’s now time to start placing some bricks. We create the shell of our house with just two lines of code! These lines of code each use the `setBlocks` command to create a complete block of bricks. This function takes the following arguments:

`setBlocks(x1, y1, z1, x2, y2, z2, block-id, data)`

`x1`, `y1`, and `z1` are the coordinates of one corner of the block of bricks that we want to create; `x1, y1, and z1` are the coordinates of the other corner. The `block-id` is the type of block that we want to use. Some blocks require another value called `data`; we will see this being used later, but you can ignore it for now.

We have to work out the values that we need to use in place of `x1`, `y1`, `z1`, `x1`, `y1`, `z1` for our walls. Note that what we want is a larger outer block made of bricks and that is filled with a slightly smaller block of air blocks. Yes, in Minecraft even air is actually just another type of block.

Once you have typed in the two lines that create the shell of your house, you almost ready to run your program. Before doing so, you must have Minecraft running and displaying the contents of your world. Do not have a world loaded with things that you have created, as they may get destroyed by the house that we are building. Go to a clear area in the Minecraft world before running the program. When you run your program, check for any errors in the ‘console’ window and fix them, repeatedly running the code again until you’ve corrected all the errors.

You should see a block of bricks now, as shown above. You may have to turn the player around in the Minecraft world before you can see your house.

## Adding the floor and door

Now, let’s make our house a bit more interesting! Add the lines for the floor and door. Note that the floor extends beyond the boundary of the wall of the house; can you see how we achieve this?

Hint: look closely at how we calculate the `x` and `z` attributes as compared to when we created the house shell above. Also note that we use a value of `y-1` to create the floor below our feet.

Minecraft doors are two blocks high, so we have to create them in two parts. This is where we have to use the data argument. A value of `0` is used for the lower half of the door, and a value of `8` is used for the upper half (the part with the windows in it). These values will create an open door. If we add `4` to each of these values, a closed door will be created.

Before you run your program again, move to a new location in Minecraft to build the house away from the previous one. Then run it to check that the floor and door are created; you will need to fix any errors again. Even if your program runs without errors, check that the floor and door are positioned correctly. If they aren’t, then you will need to check the arguments so `setBlock` and `setBlocks` are exactly as shown in the listing.

Hopefully you will agree that your house is beginning to take shape! Now let’s add some windows. Looking at the plan for our house, we can see that there is a window on each side; see if you can follow along. Add the four lines of code, one for each window.

Now you can move to yet another location and run the program again; you should have a window on each side of the house. Our house is starting to look pretty good!

The final stage is to add a roof to the house. To do this we are going to use wooden stairs. We will do this inside a loop so that if you change the width of your house, more layers are added to the roof. Enter the rest of the code. Be careful with the indentation: I recommend using spaces and avoiding the use of tabs. After the `if` statement, you need to indent the code even further. Each indentation level needs four spaces, so below the line with `if` on it, you will need eight spaces.

Since some of these code lines are lengthy and indented a lot, you may well find that the text wraps around as you reach the right-hand side of your editor window — don’t worry about this. You will have to be careful to get those indents right, however.

Now move somewhere new in your world and run the complete program. Iron out any last bugs, then admire your house! Does it look how you expect? Can you make it better?

Now you can start to customise your house. It is a good idea to use Save As in the menu to save a new version of your program. Then you can keep different designs, or refer back to your previous program if you get to a point where you don’t understand why your new one doesn’t work.

Consider these changes:

• Change the size of your house. Are you able also to move the door and windows so they stay in proportion?
• Change the materials used for the house. An ice house placed in an area of snow would look really cool!
• Add a back door to your house. Or make the front door a double-width door!

We hope that you have enjoyed writing this program to build a house. Now you can easily add a house to your Minecraft world whenever you want to by simply running this program.

Get the complete code for this project here.

Minecraft Pi’s programmable interface is an ideal platform for learning Python. If you’d like to try more of our free tutorials, check out:

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# Happy birthday to us!

Post Syndicated from Eben Upton original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/happy-birthday-2018/

The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that today is 28 February, which is as close as you’re going to get to our sixth birthday, given that we launched on a leap day. For the last three years, we’ve launched products on or around our birthday: Raspberry Pi 2 in 2015; Raspberry Pi 3 in 2016; and Raspberry Pi Zero W in 2017. But today is a snow day here at Pi Towers, so rather than launching something, we’re taking a photo tour of the last six years of Raspberry Pi products before we don our party hats for the Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend this Saturday and Sunday.

## Prehistory

Before there was Raspberry Pi, there was the Broadcom BCM2763 ‘micro DB’, designed, as it happens, by our very own Roger Thornton. This was the first thing we demoed as a Raspberry Pi in May 2011, shown here running an ARMv6 build of Ubuntu 9.04.

BCM2763 micro DB

Ubuntu on Raspberry Pi, 2011-style

A few months later, along came the first batch of 50 “alpha boards”, designed for us by Broadcom. I used to have a spreadsheet that told me where in the world each one of these lived. These are the first “real” Raspberry Pis, built around the BCM2835 application processor and LAN9512 USB hub and Ethernet adapter; remarkably, a software image taken from the download page today will still run on them.

Raspberry Pi alpha board

We shot some great demos with this board, including this video of Quake III:

#### Raspberry Pi – Quake 3 demo

A little something for the weekend: here’s Eben showing the Raspberry Pi running Quake 3, and chatting a bit about the performance of the board. Thanks to Rob Bishop and Dave Emett for getting the demo running.

Pete spent the second half of 2011 turning the alpha board into a shippable product, and just before Christmas we produced the first 20 “beta boards”, 10 of which were sold at auction, raising over £10000 for the Foundation.

Here’s Dom, demoing both the board and his excellent taste in movie trailers:

#### Raspberry Pi Beta Board Bring up

See http://www.raspberrypi.org/ for more details, FAQ and forum.

## Launch

Rather to Pete’s surprise, I took his beta board design (with a manually-added polygon in the Gerbers taking the place of Paul Grant’s infamous red wire), and ordered 2000 units from Egoman in China. After a few hiccups, units started to arrive in Cambridge, and on 29 February 2012, Raspberry Pi went on sale for the first time via our partners element14 and RS Components.

The first 2000 Raspberry Pis

The first Raspberry Pi from the first box from the first pallet

We took over 100000 orders on the first day: something of a shock for an organisation that had imagined in its wildest dreams that it might see lifetime sales of 10000 units. Some people who ordered that day had to wait until the summer to finally receive their units.

## Evolution

Even as we struggled to catch up with demand, we were working on ways to improve the design. We quickly replaced the USB polyfuses in the top right-hand corner of the board with zero-ohm links to reduce IR drop. If you have a board with polyfuses, it’s a real limited edition; even more so if it also has Hynix memory. Pete’s “rev 2” design made this change permanent, tweaked the GPIO pin-out, and added one much-requested feature: mounting holes.

Revision 1 versus revision 2

If you look carefully, you’ll notice something else about the revision 2 board: it’s made in the UK. 2012 marked the start of our relationship with the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, South Wales. In the five years since, they’ve built every product we offer, including more than 12 million “big” Raspberry Pis and more than one million Zeros.

Celebrating 500,000 Welsh units, back when that seemed like a lot

Economies of scale, and the decline in the price of SDRAM, allowed us to double the memory capacity of the Model B to 512MB in the autumn of 2012. And as supply of Model B finally caught up with demand, we were able to launch the Model A, delivering on our original promise of a \$25 computer.

A UK-built Raspberry Pi Model A

In 2014, James took all the lessons we’d learned from two-and-a-bit years in the market, and designed the Model B+, and its baby brother the Model A+. The Model B+ established the form factor for all our future products, with a 40-pin extended GPIO connector, four USB ports, and four mounting holes.

The Raspberry Pi 1 Model B+ — entering the era of proper product photography with a bang.

## New toys

While James was working on the Model B+, Broadcom was busy behind the scenes developing a follow-on to the BCM2835 application processor. BCM2836 samples arrived in Cambridge at 18:00 one evening in April 2014 (chips never arrive at 09:00 — it’s always early evening, usually just before a public holiday), and within a few hours Dom had Raspbian, and the usual set of VideoCore multimedia demos, up and running.

We launched Raspberry Pi 2 at the start of 2015, pairing BCM2836 with 1GB of memory. With a quad-core Arm Cortex-A7 clocked at 900MHz, we’d increased performance sixfold, and memory fourfold, in just three years.

Nobody mention the xenon death flash.

And of course, while James was working on Raspberry Pi 2, Broadcom was developing BCM2837, with a quad-core 64-bit Arm Cortex-A53 clocked at 1.2GHz. Raspberry Pi 3 launched barely a year after Raspberry Pi 2, providing a further doubling of performance and, for the first time, wireless LAN and Bluetooth.

All our recent products are just the same board shot from different angles

## Zero to hero

Where the PC industry has historically used Moore’s Law to “fill up” a given price point with more performance each year, the original Raspberry Pi used Moore’s law to deliver early-2000s PC performance at a lower price. But with Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, we’d gone back to filling up our original \$35 price point. After the launch of Raspberry Pi 2, we started to wonder whether we could pull the same trick again, taking the original Raspberry Pi platform to a radically lower price point.

The result was Raspberry Pi Zero. Priced at just \$5, with a 1GHz BCM2835 and 512MB of RAM, it was cheap enough to bundle on the front of The MagPi, making us the first computer magazine to give away a computer as a cover gift.

Cheap thrills

MagPi issue 40 in all its glory

We followed up with the \$10 Raspberry Pi Zero W, launched exactly a year ago. This adds the wireless LAN and Bluetooth functionality from Raspberry Pi 3, using a rather improbable-looking PCB antenna designed by our buddies at Proant in Sweden.

Up to our old tricks again

## Other things

Of course, this isn’t all. There has been a veritable blizzard of point releases; RAM changes; Chinese red units; promotional blue units; Brazilian blue-ish units; not to mention two Camera Modules, in two flavours each; a touchscreen; the Sense HAT (now aboard the ISS); three compute modules; and cases for the Raspberry Pi 3 and the Zero (the former just won a Design Effectiveness Award from the DBA). And on top of that, we publish three magazines (The MagPi, Hello World, and HackSpace magazine) and a whole host of Project Books and Essentials Guides.

Chinese Raspberry Pi 1 Model B

RS Components limited-edition blue Raspberry Pi 1 Model B

Brazilian-market Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Visible-light Camera Module v2

Learning about injection moulding the hard way

250 pages of content each month, every month

## Forward the Foundation

Why does all this matter? Because we’re providing everyone, everywhere, with the chance to own a general-purpose programmable computer for the price of a cup of coffee; because we’re giving people access to tools to let them learn new skills, build businesses, and bring their ideas to life; and because when you buy a Raspberry Pi product, every penny of profit goes to support the Raspberry Pi Foundation in its mission to change the face of computing education.

We’ve had an amazing six years, and they’ve been amazing in large part because of the community that’s grown up alongside us. This weekend, more than 150 Raspberry Jams will take place around the world, comprising the Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend.

If you want to know more about the Raspberry Pi community, go ahead and find your nearest Jam on our interactive map — maybe we’ll see you there.

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# The Fisher Piano: make music in the air

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/air-piano/

Piano keys are so limiting! Why not swap them out for LEDs and the wealth of instruments in Pygame to build air keys, as demonstrated by Instructables maker 2fishy?

#### Raspberry Pi LED Light Schroeder Piano – Twinkle Little Star

Raspberry Pi LED Light Schroeder Piano – Twinkle Little Star

## Keys? Where we’re going you don’t need keys!

This project, created by either Yolanda or Ken Fisher (or both!), uses an array of LEDs and photoresistors to form a MIDI sequencer. Twelve LEDs replace piano keys, and another three change octaves and access the menu.

Each LED is paired with a photoresistor, which detects the emitted light to form a closed circuit. Interrupting the light beam — in this case with a finger — breaks the circuit, telling the Python program to perform an action.

We’re all hoping this is just the scaled-down prototype of a full-sized LED grand piano

Using Pygame, the 2fishy team can access 75 different instruments and 128 notes per instrument, making their wooden piano more than just a one-hit wonder.

## Piano building

The duo made the piano’s body out of plywood, hardboard, and dowels, and equipped it with a Raspberry Pi 2, a speaker, and the aforementioned LEDs and photoresistors.

A Raspberry Pi 2 and speaker sit within the wooden body, with LEDs and photoresistors in place of the keys.

A complete how-to for the build, including some rather fancy and informative schematics, is available at Instructables, where 2fishy received a bronze medal for their project. Congratulations!

If you’d like to learn more about using Pygame, check out The MagPi’s Make Games with Python Essentials Guide, available both in print and as a free PDF download.

And for more music-based projects using a variety of tech, be sure to browse our free resources.

Lastly, if you’d like to see more piano-themed Raspberry Pi projects, take a look at our Big Minecraft Piano, these brilliant piano stairs, this laser-guided piano teacher, and our video below about the splendid Street Fighter duelling pianos we witnessed at Maker Faire.

#### Pianette: Piano Street Fighter at Maker Faire NYC 2016

Two pianos wired up as Playstation 2 controllers allow users to battle…musically! We caught up with makers Eric Redon and Cyril Chapellier of foobarflies a…

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# AWS Training & Certification Update – Free Digital Training + Certified Cloud Practitioner Exam

We recently made some updates to AWS Training and Certification to make it easier for you to build your cloud skills and to learn about many of the new services that we launched at AWS re:Invent.

Free AWS Digital Training
You can now find over 100 new digital training classes at aws.training, all with unlimited access at no charge.

The courses were built by AWS experts and allow you to learn AWS at your own pace, helping you to build foundational knowledge for dozens of AWS services and solutions. You can also access some more advanced training on Machine Learning and Storage.

Here are some of the new digital training topics:

You can browse through the available topics, enroll in one that interests you, watch it, and track your progress by looking at your transcript:

AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner
Our newest certification exam, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner, lets you validate your overall understanding of the AWS Cloud with an industry-recognized credential. It covers four domains: cloud concepts, security, technology, and billing and pricing. We recommend that you have at least six months of experience (or equivalent training) with the AWS Cloud in any role, including technical, managerial, sales, purchasing, or financial.

To help you prepare for this exam, take our new AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials course , one of the new AWS digital training courses. This course will give you an overview of cloud concepts, AWS services, security, architecture, pricing, and support. In addition to helping you validate your overall understanding of the AWS Cloud, AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner also serves as a new prerequisite option for the Big Data Specialty and Advanced Networking Specialty certification exams.

Go For It!
I’d like to encourage you to check out aws.training and to enroll in our free digital training in order to learn more about AWS and our newest services. You can strengthen your skills, add to your knowledge base, and set a goal of earning your AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner certification in the new year.

Jeff;

# Start off the New Year by earning AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate

Do you design applications and systems on AWS? Want to demonstrate your AWS Cloud skills? Ring in 2018 by becoming an AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate. It’s a way to validate your expertise with an industry-recognized credential and give your career a boost.

Why get certified, you ask? According to the 2017 Global Knowledge IT Skills and Salary Report, cloud certifications, including AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, generally have salaries well above average. For example, a typical U.S. salary for AWS Certified IT staff is 27.5 percent higher than the normal salary rate. Looking ahead, the report also finds that the IT industry will continue investing heavily in certification as a way to validating employees’ skills and expertise.

Here are our tips for preparing for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam—which we hope you’ll pass with flying colors.

View the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam Guide. It covers concepts within the exam and gives you a blueprint of what you need to study.

The exam tests your technical expertise in designing and deploying scalable, highly-available, and fault-tolerant systems on AWS. It’s for anyone with one or more years of hands-on experience designing distributed applications and systems on the AWS platform.

Continue with Digital and Classroom Training

Next, brush up on key AWS services covered in the exam with our new free digital training offerings at aws.training. Our 100+ bite-sized online courses are each 10 minutes long so you learn AWS fundamentals at your own pace.

Just getting started learning the fundamentals of the AWS Cloud? We recommend you take our AWS Cloud Practitioner Essentials course, part of our free digital training offerings.

For more in-depth technical training, register for our immersive Architecting on AWS course. It’s three days of instructor-led classroom training, books, and labs, built and taught by AWS experts.

Study with Exam Prep Resources

Once you have an idea of what’s on the exam, and you’ve taken training to prepare, it’s time to prepare for the exam itself.

Dig deeper into the exam’s concepts and topics with the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam: Official Study Guide. It provides access to content written by AWS experts, real-world knowledge, key exam essentials, chapter review questions, an interactive online learning environment, and much more.

Next, study AWS whitepapers and FAQs with content related to the exam. You can find links to our suggested whitepapers at FAQs at https://aws.amazon.com/certification/certification-prep/ under the Solutions Architect – Associate tab.

You can also take an Exam Prep Workshop and learn exam strategies from a certified technical instructor.

Once you’re ready, put your knowledge to the (practice) test with sample questions. Register for an online practice exam to test your knowledge in a timed environment.

Schedule Your Exam and Get Certified

Now you’re ready to take the exam! Go to aws.training to schedule an exam at a testing center near you at. Once you’ve passed and are AWS Certified, you’ll enjoy AWS Certification benefits like access to the AWS Certified LinkedIn Community, invitations to AWS Certification Appreciation Receptions, digital AWS Certified badges, access to AWS Certified merchandise, and more.

Visit us at aws.amazon.com/training for more information on digital training, classroom training, and AWS Certifications.

# The Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list 2017

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/christmas-shopping-list-2017/

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift for a beloved maker in your life? Maybe you’d like to give a relative or friend a taste of the world of coding and Raspberry Pi? Whatever you’re looking for, the Raspberry Pi Christmas shopping list will point you in the right direction.

## For those getting started

Thinking about introducing someone special to the wonders of Raspberry Pi during the holidays? Although you can set up your Pi with peripherals from around your home, such as a mobile phone charger, your PC’s keyboard, and the old mouse dwelling in an office drawer, a starter kit is a nice all-in-one package for the budding coder.

Check out the starter kits from Raspberry Pi Approved Resellers such as Pimoroni, The Pi Hut, ModMyPi, Adafruit, CanaKit…the list is pretty long. Our products page will direct you to your closest reseller, or you can head to element14 to pick up the official Raspberry Pi Starter Kit.

You can also buy the Raspberry Pi Press’s brand-new Raspberry Pi Beginners Book, which includes a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a case, a ready-made SD card, and adapter cables.

Once you’ve presented a lucky person with their first Raspberry Pi, it’s time for them to spread their maker wings and learn some new skills.

To help them along, you could pick your favourite from among the Official Projects Book volume 3, The MagPi Essentials guides, and the brand-new third edition of Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi. (She is super excited about this new edition!)

## For the maker in your life

If you’re looking for something for a confident digital maker, you can’t go wrong with adding to their arsenal of electric and electronic bits and bobs that are no doubt cluttering drawers and boxes throughout their house.

Components such as servomotors, displays, and sensors are staples of the maker world. And when it comes to jumper wires, buttons, and LEDs, one can never have enough.

You could also consider getting your person a soldering iron, some helpings hands, or small tools such as a Dremel or screwdriver set.

And to make their life a little less messy, pop it all inside a Really Useful Box…because they’re really useful.

## For kit makers

While some people like to dive into making head-first and to build whatever comes to mind, others enjoy working with kits.

The Naturebytes kit allows you to record the animal visitors of your garden with the help of a camera and a motion sensor. Footage of your local badgers, birds, deer, and more will be saved to an SD card, or tweeted or emailed to you if it’s in range of WiFi.

Coretec’s Tiny 4WD is a kit for assembling a Pi Zero–powered remote-controlled robot at home. Not only is the robot adorable, building it also a great introduction to motors and wireless control.

Bare Conductive’s Touch Board Pro Kit offers everything you need to create interactive electronics projects using conductive paint.

For those who like to curl up with a good read, or spend too much of their day on public transport, a book or magazine subscription is the perfect treat.

For makers, hackers, and those interested in new technologies, our brand-new HackSpace magazine and the ever popular community magazine The MagPi are ideal. Both are available via a physical or digital subscription, and new subscribers to The MagPi also receive a free Raspberry Pi Zero W plus case.

You can also check out other publications from the Raspberry Pi family, including CoderDojo’s new CoderDojo Nano: Make Your Own Game, Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree’s Raspberry Pi User Guide, and Marc Scott’s A Beginner’s Guide to Coding. And have I mentioned Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi yet?

## Stocking fillers for everyone

Looking for something small to keep your loved ones occupied on Christmas morning? Or do you have to buy a Secret Santa gift for the office tech? Here are some wonderful stocking fillers to fill your boots with this season.

The Pi Hut 3D Xmas Tree: available as both a pre-soldered and a DIY version, this gadget will work with any 40-pin Raspberry Pi and allows you to create your own mini light show.

Google AIY Voice kit: build your own home assistant using a Raspberry Pi, the MagPi Essentials guide, and this brand-new kit. “Google, play Mariah Carey again…”

Pimoroni’s Raspberry Pi Zero W Project Kits offer everything you need, including the Pi, to make your own time-lapse cameras, music players, and more.

The official Raspberry Pi Sense HAT, Camera Module, and cases for the Pi 3 and Pi Zero will complete the collection of any Raspberry Pi owner, while also opening up exciting project opportunities.

## STEAM gifts that everyone will love

#### Awesome Astronauts | Building LEGO’s Women of NASA!

LEGO Idea’s bought out this amazing ‘Women of NASA’ set, and I thought it would be fun to build, play and learn from these inspiring women! First up, let’s discover a little more about Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, two AWESOME ASTRONAUTS!

Treat the kids, and big kids, in your life to the newest LEGO Ideas set, the Women of NASA — starring Nancy Grace Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Mae Jemison!

Explore the world of wearables with Pimoroni’s sewable, hackable, wearable, adorable Bearables kits.

Add lights and motors to paper creations with the Activating Origami Kit, available from The Pi Hut.

We all loved Hidden Figures, and the STEAM enthusiast you know will do too. The film’s available on DVD, and you can also buy the original book, along with other fascinating non-fiction such as Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rachel Ignotofsky’s Women in Science, and Sydney Padua’s (mostly true) The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

## Have we missed anything?

With so many amazing kits, HATs, and books available from members of the Raspberry Pi community, it’s hard to only pick a few. Have you found something splendid for the maker in your life? Maybe you’ve created your own kit that uses the Raspberry Pi? Share your favourites with us in the comments below or via our social media accounts.

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# AWS PrivateLink Update – VPC Endpoints for Your Own Applications & Services

Earlier this month, my colleague Colm MacCárthaigh told you about AWS PrivateLink and showed you how to use it to access AWS services such as Amazon Kinesis Streams, AWS Service Catalog, EC2 Systems Manager, the EC2 APIs, and the ELB APIs by way of VPC Endpoints. The endpoint (represented by one or more Elastic Network Interfaces or ENIs) resides within your VPC and has IP addresses drawn from the VPC’s subnets, without the need for an Internet or NAT Gateway. This model is clear and easy to understand, not to mention secure and scalable!

Endpoints for Private Connectivity
Today we are building upon the initial launch and extending the PrivateLink model, allowing you to set up and use VPC Endpoints to access your own services and those made available by others. Even before we launched PrivateLink for AWS services, we had a lot of requests for this feature, so I expect it to be pretty popular. For example, one customer told us that they plan to create hundreds of VPCs, each hosting and providing a single microservice (read Microservices on AWS to learn more).

Companies can now create services and offer them for sale to other AWS customers, for access via a private connection. They create a service that accepts TCP traffic, host it behind a Network Load Balancer, and then make the service available, either directly or in AWS Marketplace. They will be notified of new subscription requests and can choose to accept or reject each one. I expect that this feature will be used to create a strong, vibrant ecosystem of service providers in 2018.

The service provider and the service consumer run in separate VPCs and AWS accounts and communicate solely through the endpoint, with all traffic flowing across Amazon’s private network. Service consumers don’t have to worry about overlapping IP addresses, arrange for VPC peering, or use a VPC Gateway. You can also use AWS Direct Connect to connect your existing data center to one of your VPCs in order to allow your cloud-based applications to access services running on-premises, or vice versa.

Providing and Consuming Services
This new feature puts a lot of power at your fingertips. You can set it all up using the VPC APIs, the VPC CLI, or the AWS Management Console. I’ll use the console, and will show you how to provide and then consume a service. I am going to do both within a single AWS account, but that’s just for demo purposes.

Let’s talk about providing a service. It must run behind a Network Load Balancer and must be accessible over TCP. It can be hosted on EC2 instances, ECS containers, or on-premises (configured as an IP target), and should be able to scale in order to meet the expected level of demand. For low latency and fault tolerance, we recommend using an NLB with targets in every AZ of its region. Here’s mine:

I open up the VPC Console and navigate to Endpoint Services, then click on Create Endpoint Service:

I choose my NLB (just one in this case, but I can choose two or more and they will be mapped to consumers on a round-robin basis). By clicking on Acceptance required, I get to control access to my endpoint on a request-by-request basis:

I click on Create service and my service is ready immediately:

If I was going to make this service available in AWS Marketplace, I would go ahead and create a listing now. Since I am going to be the producer and the consumer in this blog post, I’ll skip that step. I will, however, copy the Service name for use in the next step.

I return to the VPC Dashboard and navigate to Endpoints, then click on Create endpoint. Then I select Find service by name, paste the service name, and click on Verify to move ahead. Then I select the desired AZs, and a subnet in each one, pick my security groups, and click on Create endpoint:

Because I checked Acceptance required when I created the endpoint service, the connection is pending acceptance:

Back on the endpoint service side (typically in a separate AWS account), I can see and accept the pending request:

The endpoint becomes available and ready to use within a minute or so. If I was creating a service and selling access on a paid basis, I would accept the request as part of a larger, and perhaps automated, onboarding workflow for a new customer.

On the consumer side, my new endpoint is accessible via DNS name:

Services provided by AWS and services in AWS Marketplace are accessible through split-horizon DNS. Accessing the service through this name will resolve to the “best” endpoint, taking Region and Availability Zone into consideration.

In the Marketplace
As I noted earlier, this new PrivateLink feature creates an opportunity for new and existing sellers in AWS Marketplace. The following SaaS offerings are already available as endpoints and I expect many more to follow (read Sell on AWS Marketplace to get started):

CA TechnologiesCA App Experience Analytics Essentials.

Aqua SecurityAqua Container Image Security Scanner.

Cisco StealthwatchPublic Cloud Monitoring – Metered, Public Cloud Monitoring – Contracts.

SigOptML Optimization & Tuning.

Available Today
This new PrivateLink feature is available now and you can start using it today!

Jeff;

# The possibilities of the Sense HAT

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/sense-hat-projects/

Did you realise the Sense HAT has been available for over two years now? Used by astronauts on the International Space Station, the exact same hardware is available to you on Earth. With a new Astro Pi challenge just launched, it’s time for a retrospective/roundup/inspiration post about this marvellous bit of kit.

The Sense HAT on a Pi in full glory

## The Sense HAT explained

We developed our scientific add-on board to be part of the Astro Pi computers we sent to the International Space Station with ESA astronaut Tim Peake. For a play-by-play of Astro Pi’s history, head to the blog archive.

Just to remind you, this is all the cool stuff our engineers have managed to fit onto the HAT:

• A gyroscope (sensing pitch, roll, and yaw)
• An accelerometer
• A magnetometer
• Sensors for temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure
• A joystick
• An 8×8 LED matrix

You can find a roundup of the technical specs here on the blog.

## How to Sense HAT

It’s easy to begin exploring this device: take a look at our free Getting started with the Sense HAT resource, or use one of our Code Club Sense HAT projects. You can also try out the emulator, available offline on Raspbian and online on Trinket.

The Sense HAT emulator on trinket.io

## Fun and games with the Sense HAT

Use the LED matrix and joystick to recreate games such as Pong or Flappy Bird. Of course, you could also add sensor input to your game: code an egg drop game or a Magic 8 Ball that reacts to how the device moves.

Create random sparkles on the Sense HAT

Once December rolls around, you could brighten up your home with a voice-controlled Christmas tree or an advent calendar on your Sense HAT.

If you like the great outdoors, you could also use your Sense HAT to recreate this Hiking Companion by Marcus Johnson. Take it with you on your next hike!

## Art with the Sense HAT

The LED matrix is perfect for getting creative. To draw something basic without having to squint at a Python list, use this app by our very own Richard Hayler. Feeling more ambitious? The MagPi will teach you how to create magnificent pixel art. Ben Nuttall has created this neat little Python script for displaying a photo taken by the Raspberry Pi Camera Module on the Sense HAT.

It’s also possible to incorporate Sense HAT data into your digital art! The Python Turtle module and the Processing language are both useful tools for creating beautiful animations based on real-world information.

A Sense HAT project that also uses this principle is Giorgio Sancristoforo’s Tableau, a ‘generative music album’. This device creates music according to the sensor data:

#### Tableau Generative Album

“There is no doubt that, as music is removed by the phonographrecord from the realm of live production and from the imperative of artistic activity and becomes petrified, it absorbs into itself, in this process of petrification, the very life that would otherwise vanish.”

## Science with the Sense HAT

This free Essentials book from The MagPi team covers all the Sense HAT science basics. You can, for example, learn how to measure gravity.

Our online resource shows you how to record the information your HAT picks up. Next you can analyse and graph your data using Mathematica, which is included for free on Raspbian. This resource walks you through how this software works.

If you’re seeking inspiration for experiments you can do on our Astro Pis Izzy and Ed on the ISS, check out the winning entries of previous rounds of the Astro Pi challenge.

Thomas Pesquet with Ed and Izzy

But you can also stick to terrestrial scientific investigations. For example, why not build a weather station and share its data on your own web server or via Weather Underground?

If you’re a student or an educator in one of the 22 ESA member states, you can get a team together to enter our 2017-18 Astro Pi challenge. There are two missions to choose from, including Mission Zero: follow a few guidelines, and your code is guaranteed to run in space!

The post The possibilities of the Sense HAT appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

# Skill up on how to perform CI/CD with AWS Developer tools

Post Syndicated from Chirag Dhull original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/devops/skill-up-on-how-to-perform-cicd-with-aws-devops-tools/

This is a guest post from Paul Duvall, CTO of Stelligent, a division of HOSTING.

I co-founded Stelligent, a technology services company that provides DevOps Automation on AWS as a result of my own frustration in implementing all the “behind the scenes” infrastructure (including builds, tests, deployments, etc.) on software projects on which I was developing software. At Stelligent, we have worked with numerous customers looking to get software delivered to users quicker and with greater confidence. This sounds simple but it often consists of properly configuring and integrating myriad tools including, but not limited to, version control, build, static analysis, testing, security, deployment, and software release orchestration. What some might not realize is that there’s a new breed of build, deploy, test, and release tools that help reduce much of the undifferentiated heavy lifting of deploying and releasing software to users.

I’ve been using AWS since 2009 and I, along with many at Stelligent – have worked with the AWS Service Teams as part of the AWS Developer Tools betas that are now generally available (including AWS CodePipeline, AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, and AWS CodeDeploy). I’ve combined the experience we’ve had with customers along with this specialized knowledge of the AWS Developer and Management Tools to provide a unique course that shows multiple ways to use these services to deliver software to users quicker and with confidence.

In DevOps Essentials on AWS, you’ll learn how to accelerate software delivery and speed up feedback loops by learning how to use AWS Developer Tools to automate infrastructure and deployment pipelines for applications running on AWS. The course demonstrates solutions for various DevOps use cases for Amazon EC2, AWS OpsWorks, AWS Elastic Beanstalk, AWS Lambda (Serverless), Amazon ECS (Containers), while defining infrastructure as code and learning more about AWS Developer Tools including AWS CodeStar, AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodePipeline, and AWS CodeDeploy.

In this course, you see me use the AWS Developer and Management Tools to create comprehensive continuous delivery solutions for a sample application using many types of AWS service platforms. You can run the exact same sample and/or fork the GitHub repository (https://github.com/stelligent/devops-essentials) and extend or modify the solutions. I’m excited to share how you can use AWS Developer Tools to create these solutions for your customers as well. There’s also an accompanying website for the course (http://www.devopsessentialsaws.com/) that I use in the video to walk through the course examples which link to resources located in GitHub or Amazon S3. In this course, you will learn how to:

• Use AWS Developer and Management Tools to create a full-lifecycle software delivery solution
• Use AWS CloudFormation to automate the provisioning of all AWS resources
• Use AWS CodePipeline to orchestrate the deployments of all applications
• Use AWS CodeCommit while deploying an application onto EC2 instances using AWS CodeBuild and AWS CodeDeploy
• Deploy applications using AWS OpsWorks and AWS Elastic Beanstalk
• Deploy an application using Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS) along with AWS CloudFormation
• Deploy serverless applications that use AWS Lambda and API Gateway
• Integrate all AWS Developer Tools into an end-to-end solution with AWS CodeStar

To learn more, see DevOps Essentials on AWS video course on Udemy. For a limited time, you can enroll in this course for \$40 and save 80%, a \$160 saving. Simply use the code AWSDEV17.

Stelligent, an AWS Partner Network Advanced Consulting Partner holds the AWS DevOps Competency and over 100 AWS technical certifications. To stay updated on DevOps best practices, visit www.stelligent.com.

# Introducing the GameDay Essentials Show on AWS Twitch Channel

Post Syndicated from Tara Walker original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/game-day-essentials-show-on-twitch/

Imagine if you will, you have obtained a new position at Unicorn.Rentals, a company that specializes in LARM, Legendary Animal Rental Market. Given the chance, what child wouldn’t happily exchange anything for the temporary use of a unicorn? What parent could refuse the opportunity to make their children happy? Let’s estimate the year to be 2017 and Unicorn.Rentals continues to dominate in the animal rental market.

You are about to enter another dimension, a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and lies at the beginning of man’s cloud knowledge. This is a journey into a wondrous land of imagination, a land of both shadow and substance. You are crossing over into the GameDay Essentials Zone.

Well, maybe not another dimension but almost as cool. Maybe, kinda? Either way, I am very excited to introduce the newest show on the AWS Twitch Channel named GameDay Essentials. The GameDay Essentials show is a  “new hire training program” for the aforementioned Unicorn.Rentals company scenario. You will step into the shoes of a new employee being ramped up and trained on cloud computing in order to work successfully for a company using Amazon Web Services.

With the GameDay Essentials show, you will get hands-on computing experience to help with the growth of the Unicorn.Rentals startup. The first episode, Recon, premiered on July 25th and provided information on logging services with CloudTrail and Cloudwatch, as well as, how to assess the configuration and identify existing inventory resources in an AWS Account. You can check out the recording of Episode 1–Recon here. The rest of season one for this six-part series airs on Tuesdays at 11:30 AM PT, the next three episodes discussing the following topics:

• Episode 2 – Scaling: Learn how to scale your application infrastructure by diving into the how to of implementing scaling techniques and auto scaling groups. Airing on August 1
• Episode 3 – Changes: Winston Churchill is quoted saying “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often”. This GameDay episode is all about managing change as a key component to success. You will learn how to use native AWS security and deployment tools to track and manage change and discuss how to handle changes in team dynamics. Airing on August 8th
• Episode 4 – Decoupling: Most people in the technology industry understand that you should avoid creating tightly coupled systems. Therefore, you will discover how loosely coupled systems operate and gain knowledge on how to diagnose any failures that may occur with these systems. Airing on August 15th

Summary

Our latest show, GameDay Essentials is designed to help you “get into the game” and learn more about cloud computing and the AWS Platform. GameDay Essentials joins our other live coding shows already featured each week on the AWS Twitch Channel: Live Coding with AWS and AWS Maker Studio.

Tune in each week to the AWS Twitch channel to visit another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of cloud. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area, which we call the GameDay Essentials Zone. Get it, like the Twilight Zone, still no? Oh well, check out the GameDay Essentials show on Twitch on the AWS Channel, it is a great resource for interactive learning about cloud computing with AWS, so enjoy the ride.

Tara

# Shelfchecker Smart Shelf: build a home library system

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/smart-shelf-home-library/

Are you tired of friends borrowing your books and never returning them? Maybe you’re sure you own 1984 but can’t seem to locate it? Do you find a strange satisfaction in using the supermarket self-checkout simply because of the barcode beep? With the ShelfChecker smart shelf from maker Annelynn described on Instructables, you can be your own librarian and never misplace your books again! Beep!

Harry Potter and the Aesthetically Pleasing Smart Shelf

## The ShelfChecker smart shelf

Annelynn built her smart shelf utilising a barcode scanner, LDR light sensors, a Raspberry Pi, plus a few other peripherals and some Python scripts. She has created a fully integrated library checkout system with accompanying NeoPixel location notification for your favourite books.

This build allows you to issue your book-borrowing friends their own IDs and catalogue their usage of your treasured library. On top of that, you’ll be able to use LED NeoPixels to highlight your favourite books, registering their removal and return via light sensor tracking.

## Using light sensors for book cataloguing

Once Annelynn had built the shelf, she drilled holes to fit the eight LDRs that would guard her favourite books, and separated them with corner brackets to prevent confusion.

Corner brackets keep the books in place without confusion between their respective light sensors

Due to the limitations of the MCP3008 Adafruit microchip, the smart shelf can only keep track of eight of your favourite books. But this limitation won’t stop you from cataloguing your entire home library; it simply means you get to pick your ultimate favourites that will occupy the prime real estate on your wall.

Obviously, the light sensors sense light. So when you remove or insert a book, light floods or is blocked from that book’s sensor. The sensor sends this information to the Raspberry Pi. In response, an Arduino controls the NeoPixel strip along the ‘favourites’ shelf to indicate the book’s status.

The book you are looking for is temporarily unavailable

While keeping a close eye on your favourite books, the system also allows creation of a complete library catalogue system with the help of a MySQL database. Users of the library can log into the system with a barcode scanner, and take out or return books recorded in the database guided by an LCD screen attached to the Pi.

Beep!

I won’t go into an extensive how-to on creating MySQL databases here on the blog, because my glamourous assistant Janina has pulled up these MySQL tutorials to help you get started. Annelynn’s Github scripts are also packed with useful comments to keep you on track.

## Raspberry Pi and books

We love books and libraries. And considering the growing number of Code Clubs and makespaces into libraries across the world, and the host of book-based Pi builds we’ve come across, the love seems to be mutual.

We’ve seen the Raspberry Pi introduced into the Wordery bookseller warehouse, a Pi-powered page-by-page book scanner by Jonathon Duerig, and these brilliant text-to-speech and page turner projects that use our Pis!

Did I say we love books? In fact we love them so much that members of our team have even written a few.*

If you’ve set up any sort of digital making event in a library, have in some way incorporated Raspberry Pi into your own personal book collection, or even managed to recreate the events of your favourite story using digital making, make sure to let us know in the comments below.

## * Shameless plug**

Fancy adding some Pi to your home library? Check out these publications from the Raspberry Pi staff:

The MagPi Magazine, Essentials Guides and Project Books

## ** Shameless Pug

The post Shelfchecker Smart Shelf: build a home library system appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Post Syndicated from David Honess original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/sense-hat-emulator-upgrade/

Last year, we partnered with Trinket to develop a web-based emulator for the Sense HAT, the multipurpose add-on board for the Raspberry Pi. Today, we are proud to announce an exciting new upgrade to the emulator. We hope this will make it even easier for you to design amazing experiments with the Sense HAT!

### What’s new?

The original release of the emulator didn’t fully support all of the Sense HAT features. Specifically, the movement sensors were not emulated. Thanks to funding from the UK Space Agency, we are delighted to announce that a new round of development has just been completed. From today, the movement sensors are fully supported. The emulator also comes with a shiny new 3D interface, Astro Pi skin mode, and Pygame event handling. Click the `▶︎` button below to see what’s new!

On a physical Sense HAT, real sensors react to changes in environmental conditions like fluctuations in temperature or humidity. The emulator has sliders which are designed to simulate this. However, emulating the movement sensor is a bit more complicated. The upgrade introduces a 3D slider, which is essentially a model of the Sense HAT that you can move with your mouse. Moving the model affects the readings provided by the accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer sensors.

Code written in this emulator is directly portable to a physical Raspberry Pi and Sense HAT without modification. This means you can now develop and test programs using the movement sensors from any internet-connected computer, anywhere in the world.

### Astro Pi mode

Astro Pi is our series of competitions offering students the chance to have their code run in space! The code is run on two space-hardened Raspberry Pi units, with attached Sense HATs, on the International Space Station.

Astro Pi skin mode

There are a number of practical things that can catch you out when you are porting your Sense HAT code to an Astro Pi unit, though, such as the orientation of the screen and joystick. Just as having a 3D-printed Astro Pi case enables you to discover and overcome these, so does the Astro Pi skin mode in this emulator. In the bottom right-hand panel, there is an Astro Pi button which enables the mode: click it again to go back to the Sense HAT.

The joystick and push buttons are operated by pressing your keyboard keys: use the cursor keys and Enter for the joystick, and U, D, L, R, A, and B for the buttons.

### Sense Hat resources for Code Clubs

Click the image to visit the Code Club projects page

We also have a new range of Code Club resources which are based on the emulator. Of these, three use the environmental sensors and two use the movement sensors. The resources are an ideal way for any Code Club to get into physical computing.

### The technology

The 3D models in the emulator are represented entirely with HTML and CSS. “This project pushed the Trinket team, and the 3D web, to its limit,” says Elliott Hauser, CEO of Trinket. “Our first step was to test whether pure 3D HTML/CSS was feasible, using Julian Garnier’s Tridiv.”

The Trinket team’s preliminary 3D model of the Sense HAT

“We added JavaScript rotation logic and the proof of concept worked!” Elliot continues. “Countless iterations, SVG textures, and pixel-pushing tweaks later, the finished emulator is far more than the sum of its parts.”

The finished Sense HAT model: doesn’t it look amazing?

Check out this blog post from Trinket for more on the technology and mathematics behind the models.

One of the compromises we’ve had to make is browser support. Unfortunately, browsers like Firefox and Microsoft Edge don’t fully support this technology yet. Instead, we recommend that you use Chrome, Safari, or Opera to access the emulator.

### Where do I start?

If you’re new to the Sense HAT, you can simply copy and paste many of the code examples from our educational resources, like this one. Alternatively, you can check out our Sense HAT Essentials e-book. For a complete list of all the functions you can use, have a look at the Sense HAT API reference here.

The post Sense HAT Emulator Upgrade appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

# So you got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas! Now what?

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/so-you-got-a-raspberry-pi-for-christmas-now-what/

Note: The elves at Pi Towers are all taking next week off to spend some time with their families, and this blog will be quiet for the week. We’ll be back at the start of January. Happy holidays!

Happy 25th of December, everybody!

If you’re one of the many who woke up this morning to find some Raspberry Pi goodies under your tree, congratulations.

Now you’ve unpacked the Pi, confirmed it to indeed be roughly the size of a credit card, and confused a less tech-savvy loved one by telling them “This is a computer!”, you may be wondering to do with it next…and that’s where we come in.

The Raspberry Pi can be used to create no end of wonderful things, including robots, musical instruments, virtual pets, stop motion cameras, and much more.

It will also help you to learn programming, allow you to play games, offer the chance to explore space, and automate your home.

Not quite like this…

So many awesome things.

But how do you do any of them!? Well…

## 1. OS me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

Awful pun. I’m sorry.

You’ll need to make sure you have the latest Raspbian operating system (OS) on your Pi. You may have been given an SD with Rasbian pre-installed but if not, head to our downloads page to get it.

## 2. Start me up

ALL THE POWER!

You’ll need to plug your Pi into a monitor (your TV will do), keyboard and mouse in order to get started. You’ll also need a good-quality power supply providing at least 2A.

We’ve some great instructions within our help pages to get you up and running. And if you’re still stuck, our forum has loads of information and is full of helpful people. Feel free to join and ask a question, and search previous topics for advice.

## 3. So how do I build a robot then?!

With tinsel and tape and bows and…

Excellent question. But if you’ve never tried to code before, you may want to start with something a little smaller…like Scratch or Sonic Pi, or a physical build such as the Parent Detector or a Burping Jelly Baby.

You may also want to check out some great project books such as Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi or any of The MagPi Magazine Essentials Guides and Project Books.

You’ll find a lot more suggestions in our Christmas Shopping List.

## 4. More, more, more!

You’ll find more projects on our resources pages, along with some brilliant inspirational builds on our YouTube channel and blog. Or simply search for Raspberry Pi online. We’ve an amazing community of makers who share their code and builds for all to use, and now you’re one of us…WELCOME!

The post So you got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas! Now what? appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

# Now Open – AWS London Region

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/now-open-aws-london-region/

Last week we launched our 15th AWS Region and today we are launching our 16th. We have expanded the AWS footprint into the United Kingdom with a new Region in London, our third in Europe. AWS customers can use the new London Region to better serve end-users in the United Kingdom and can also use it to store data in the UK.

The London Region supports all sizes of C4, D2, M4, T2, and X1 instances.

From Our Customers
Many AWS customers are getting ready to use this new Region. Here’s a very small sample:

Trainline is Europe’s number one independent rail ticket retailer. Every day more than 100,000 people travel using tickets bought from Trainline. Here’s what Mark Holt (CTO of Trainline) shared with us:

We recently completed the migration of 100 percent of our eCommerce infrastructure to AWS and have seen awesome results: improved security, 60 percent less downtime, significant cost savings and incredible improvements in agility. From extensive testing, we know that 0.3s of latency is worth more than 8 million pounds and so, while AWS connectivity is already blazingly fast, we expect that serving our UK customers from UK datacenters should lead to significant top-line benefits.

Kainos Evolve Electronic Medical Records (EMR) automates the creation, capture and handling of medical case notes and operational documents and records, allowing healthcare providers to deliver better patient safety and quality of care for several leading NHS Foundation Trusts and market leading healthcare technology companies.

Travis Perkins, the largest supplier of building materials in the UK, is implementing the biggest systems and business change in its history including the migration of its datacenters to AWS.

Just Eat is the world’s leading marketplace for online food delivery. Using AWS, JustEat has been able to experiment faster and reduce the time to roll out new feature updates.

OakNorth, a new bank focused on lending between £1m-£20m to entrepreneurs and growth businesses, became the UK’s first cloud-based bank in May after several months of working with AWS to drive the development forward with the regulator.

Partners
I’m happy to report that we are already working with a wide variety of consulting, technology, managed service, and Direct Connect partners in the United Kingdom. Here’s a partial list:

• AWS Premier Consulting Partners – Accenture, Claranet, Cloudreach, CSC, Datapipe, KCOM, Rackspace, and Slalom.
• AWS Consulting Partners – Attenda, Contino, Deloitte, KPMG, LayerV, Lemongrass, Perfect Image, and Version 1.
• AWS Technology Partners – Splunk, Sage, Sophos, Trend Micro, and Zerolight.
• AWS Managed Service Partners – Claranet, Cloudreach, KCOM, and Rackspace.
• AWS Direct Connect Partners – AT&T, BT, Hutchison Global Communications, Level 3, Redcentric, and Vodafone.

Here are a few examples of what our partners are working on:

KCOM is a professional services provider offering consultancy, architecture, project delivery and managed service capabilities to large UK-based enterprise businesses. The scalability and flexibility of AWS gives them a significant competitive advantage with their enterprise and public sector customers. The new Region will allow KCOM to build innovative solutions for their public sector clients while meeting local regulatory requirements.

Splunk is a member of the AWS Partner Network and a market leader in analyzing machine data to deliver operational intelligence for security, IT, and the business. They use cloud computing and big data analytics to help their customers to embrace digital transformation and continuous innovation. The new Region will provide even more companies with real-time visibility into the operation of their systems and infrastructure.

Redcentric is a NHS Digital-approved N3 Commercial Aggregator. Their work allows health and care providers such as NHS acute, emergency and mental trusts, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), and the ISV community to connect securely to AWS. The London Region will allow health and care providers to deliver new digital services and to improve outcomes for citizens and patients.

Visit the AWS Partner Network page to read some case studies and to learn how to join.

Compliance & Connectivity
Every AWS Region is designed and built to meet rigorous compliance standards including ISO 27001, ISO 9001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018, SOC 1, SOC 2, SOC3, PCI DSS Level 1, and many more. Our Cloud Compliance page includes information about these standards, along with those that are specific to the UK, including Cyber Essentials Plus.

The UK Government recognizes that local datacenters from hyper scale public cloud providers can deliver secure solutions for OFFICIAL workloads. In order to meet the special security needs of public sector organizations in the UK with respect to OFFICIAL workloads, we have worked with our Direct Connect Partners to make sure that obligations for connectivity to the Public Services Network (PSN) and N3 can be met.

Use it Today
The London Region is open for business now and you can start using it today! If you need additional information about this Region, please feel free to contact our UK team at [email protected].

Jeff;

# AWS Managed Services – Infrastructure Operations Management for the Enterprise

Large-scale, enterprise data centers are generally run “by the book.” Policies, best practices, and operational procedures are developed, refined, captured, and codified, as part of responsible IT management, often with an eye toward the ITIL model. Ideally, all infrastructure improvements, configuration changes, and provisioning requests are handled in a process-oriented fashion that serves to impose some discipline on the operation of the data center without becoming overly complex or bureaucratic. With IT staff responsible for provisioning hardware, installing software, applying patches, monitoring operations, taking and restoring backups, and dealing with unpredictable operational and security incidents, there’s plenty of work to go around.

These organizations have been looking at the AWS Cloud and want to take advantage of the scale and innovation that it offers, while also looking to become more agile and to save money in the process. As they plan their migration to the cloud, they want to build on their existing systems and practices, while also getting all of the benefits that the cloud has to offer. They want to add additional automation, make use of standard components that can be used more than once, and to relieve their staff of as many routine operational duties as possible.

Introducing AWS Managed Services
Today we are launching AWS Managed Services. Designed for the Fortune 1000 and the Global 2000, this service is designed to accelerate cloud adoption. It simplifies deployment,  migration, and management using automation and machine learning, backed up by a dedicated team of Amazon employees. AWS MS builds on AWS and provides a set of integration points (APIs and a set of CLI tools) for connection to your existing service management system. We’ve been working with a representative set of AWS enterprise customers and partners for the last couple of years in order to make sure that this service meets a very wide range of enterprise requirements.

AWS MS is built around the concept of a Virtual Data Center that is linked to one or more AWS accounts. The VDC consists of a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) which contains multiple Deployment Groups which consist of Multi-AZ subnets for a DMZ, shared services, and for customer applications. Each application or application component is packaged up into a Managed Stack.

Here’s a brief overview of the feature set:

Incident Monitoring & ResolutionAWS MS manages incidents that are detected by our monitoring systems or reported by our customers. It correlates multiple Amazon CloudWatch alarms and looks for failed updates and security events that could impact the health of running applications. Incidents are created within AWS MS for investigation and are then resolved either automatically or manually by AWS engineers. False positives are used to improve our systems and processes, allowing AWS MS to improve over time by drawing on data collected at scale.

Change ControlAWS MS coordinates all actions on resources. Changes must originate with a change request (an RFC, or Request for Change), and can be manual or scripted. AWS MS makes sure that changes are applied to individual stacks on an orderly, non-overlapping basis. It also holds all incoming manual requests until they have been approved.

ProvisioningAWS MS includes a set of predefined stacks (application templates), each built to conform to long-established AWS best practices. The stacks contain sensible defaults, any of which can be overridden when the stack is provisioned.

Patch ManagementAWS MS takes care of the above-the-hypervisor patching. This includes operating system (Linux and Windows) and infrastructure application (SSH, RDP, ISS, Apache, and so forth) security updates and patches. AWS MS employs multiple strategies, patching and building new AMIs for cloud-aware applications that can be easily restarted, and resorting to in-place patches for the rest.

Security & Access ManagementAWS MS uses third-party applications from AWS Marketplace, starting with Trend Micro Deep Security to look for viruses and malware and to detect intrusions on managed instances. It makes extensive use of EC2 Security Groups and manages controlled, time-limited access to production systems.

Backup & Restore – Each stack is backed up at a specified frequency. A percentage of the backup snapshots are tested for integrity and a run book is used to bring failed infrastructure back to life.

ReportingAWS MS provides a set of financial and capacity management reports, delivered by a dedicated Cloud Service Advisor using AWS Trusted Advisor and other tools. The underlying AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch logs are also accessible.

Accessing AWS Managed Services
You can connect AWS Managed Services to your existing service management tools using the AWS MS API and command-line tools. You can also access it through the AWS Management Console, but we expect API and CLI usage to be far more popular. However you choose to access AWS MS, the basic objects and operations are the same. You can create, view, approve, and manage RFCs, service requests, and incident reports. Here’s what this looks like from the Console:

Here’s how a Request for Change (RFC) is created:

And here’s how technical users can customize the RFC:

After a change request has been entered, approved, and scheduled, AWS MS supervises the actual change. Automated changes take place with no further human interaction. Manual changes are performed within a scheduled change window using temporary credentials specific to the change. AWS engineers use the same mechanisms and follow the same discipline. Either way, the entire process is tracked and logged.

Partners & Customers
AWS Managed Services was designed with partners in mind. We have set up a pair of new training programs (AWS MS Business Essentials and AWS MS Technical Essentials) that will provide partners with the background information needed to start building a practice around AWS MS. I expect partners to help their customers connect their existing IT Service Management (ITSM) systems, processes, and tools to AWS MS, assist with the on-boarding process, and manage the migration of applications. There are also opportunities for partners to use AWS MS to provide even better levels of support and service to customers.

As I mentioned earlier, we’ve been working with enterprise customers and partners to make sure that AWS MS meets their needs. Here are a few observations that they shared with us.

Tom Ray of Cloudreach (“Intelligent Cloud Adoption”), an AWS Premier Partner:

We see AWS Managed Services as a key solution in the AWS portfolio, designed to meet the need for a cost effective, highly controlled AWS environment, where the heavy lifting of management and control can be outsourced to AWS. This will extend our relationship even further, as Cloudreach will help customers design, migrate to AWS Managed Services, plus provide application level support alongside AWS.

Paul Hannan of SGN (a regulated oil & gas utility):

SGN’s migration to cloud is based upon improving the security and durability of its IT, while becoming more responsive to its business and customer service needs – all at a lower cost. We decided the best way for us to manage the migration into AWS, at the lowest risk to ourselves, was to partner with AWS. Its managed service team has the expertise to optimise the AWS platform, allowing us to accelerate our understanding of how to best manage the infrastructure within AWS. It’s been a real benefit working with a partner which recognises our desire to always put our customer first and which will pull out all the stops to achieve what’s needed.

Available Now
AWS Managed Services is available today. It is able to manage AWS resources in the US East (Northern Virginia), US West (Oregon), EU (Ireland), and Asia Pacific (Sydney) Regions, with others coming online as soon as possible.

Jeff;

# The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2016

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/the-raspberry-pi-christmas-shopping-list-2016/

Feeling stuck for what to buy the beloved maker in your life? Maybe your niece wants to get into Minecraft hacking, or your Dad fancies his hand at home automation on a budget?

Maybe you’ve seen Raspberry Pi in the news and figure it would be a fun activity for the family, or you’re stuck for what to buy the Pi pro who’s slowly filling your spare room with wires, servers, and a mysterious, unidentified object that keeps beeping?

Whatever the reason, you’re in the right place. The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List is here to help you out.

## For the beginner

Here are some of our favourite bits to get them started.

• A Raspberry Pi Starter Kit will give your budding maker everything they need to get started. There’s a whole host of options, from our own kit to project-specific collections from our friends at The Pi Hut and Pimoroni in the UK, Adafruit in the USA, Canakit in Canada, and RS Components across the globe.

• They may already have a screen, keyboard, and mouse, but having a separate display allows them free rein to play to their heart’s content. The pi-top takes the form of a laptop, while the pi-topCEED still requires a mouse and keyboard.

## For the hobbyist

They’ve been tinkering with LEDs and servo motors for a while. Now it’s time to pull out the big guns.

• Help to broaden their interest by introducing them to some of the brilliant products over at Bare Conductive. Pair up the Pi Cap with some Electric Paint, and they’ll create an interactive masterpiece by the time the Queen’s Speech is on.

• Add to their maker toolkit with some of the great products in the RasPiO range. The GPIO Zero Ruler will be an instant hit, and a great stocking filler for anyone wanting to do more with the GPIO pins.

## For the tech whizz

You don’t understand half the things they talk about at the dinner table, but they seem to be enthusiastic and that’s all that counts.

• Help them organise their components with a handy Storage Organiser. We swear by them here at Pi Towers.

• And then there’s the PiBorg. Treat them to the superfast DiddyBorg and you’ll be hailed as gift-buyer supreme (sorry if you’ll have to better this next year).

• And then there’s the Raspberry Pi Zero. Check out availability here and buy them the sought-after \$5 beast of an SBC.

## For the… I really have no idea what to buy them this year

There’s always one, right?

• A physical subscription to The MagPi Magazine is sure to go down well. And with the added bonus of a free Raspberry Pi Zero, you’ll win this Christmastime. Well done, you!

## Stocking fillers for everyone

Regardless of their experience and tech know-how, here are some great stocking fillers that everyone will enjoy.

## STEM-ish gifts that everyone will love

These books are top of everyone’s lists this year, and for good reason. Why not broaden the interest of the Pi fan in your life with one of these brilliant reads?

The post The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2016 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

# Essential reading: The MagPi’s new coding books are out now

Post Syndicated from Russell Barnes original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/essential-reading-magpis-new-coding-books-now/

We did a bit of a count recently and it turns out that The MagPi magazine has produced more than 3,200 pages of Raspberry Pi-related reading. That’s a lot of quality content (even if I do say so myself).

While we’re rather proud of this achievement, we’re also very aware of the fact that these lovingly crafted collections of words and pictures can very easily get lost in the mists of time (or in the recycling bin).

The first four MagPi Essentials books taught us how to use the command line, make games, experiment with the Sense HAT, and even code music with Sonic Pi

So, in 2015, we set out to make sure all the essential reading from the magazine wasn’t consigned to a dusty and dog-eared pile under the coffee table. Enter the MagPi Essentials range! They’re bite-sized books that build on the best articles in the magazine and mould them into a cohesive, easily digested form.

We’ve recently been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the latest batch, and I’m excited to report that the fifth to eighth books are out in hard copy now! We’ll spare you the minute details on each title in the series here, but I’ve hijacked the ‘You might also like’ doohickey on the right so you can read up on each book individually.

Shiny new books! Well, the cover’s actually a matt laminate… Learn to code with Scratch, hack and make with Minecraft, do electronics using GPIO Zero, and program with C in our latest range.

Want them? Point your mouse fingers towards The Pi Hut or Amazon. You can even grab them directly from The MagPi’s own little lemonade stand if you want. Like everything else Raspberry Pi, they’re also super-affordable: £2.99 on our Apple and Android apps, or £3.99 in print. Not sure you can afford them all? You can also download each book as a free PDF too: just click on the appropriate link in our catalogue.

All of these books are available now. Have a read while we crack on with making the next ones…

The post Essential reading: The MagPi’s new coding books are out now appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

# First AWS Certification Study Guide Now Available

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/first-aws-certification-study-guide-now-available/

My colleague Joe Baron wrote the guest post below to introduce you to a book that he and his colleagues have put together!

Jeff;

Are you studying for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam?

The new AWS Certified Solutions Architect Official Study Guide: Associate Exam has just been published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., and is now available on Amazon.com in both paperback and Kindle format. The 455-page book helps prepare candidates for the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate Exam. It was written by a very experienced team of subject matter experts, all part of the team that wrote, reviewed, and developed the AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate exam. The study guide includes an introduction to AWS, chapters on core AWS services, as well as information on AWS security, compliance, and architectural best practices. Each chapter includes targeted information on the topic, as well as key exam essentials, exercises, and chapter review questions (with answers in the appendix). The guide also gives you access to SYBEX online study tools such as practice exams, flashcards, chapter tests and assessment tests.

In addition to the new book, we have a half-day workshop to help you prepare for the exam. In the AWS Certification Exam Readiness Workshop: AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate, we review what to expect at the testing center and while taking the exam. We walk you through how the exam is structured, as well as teach you how to interpret the concepts being tested so that you can better eliminate incorrect responses.  You will also have the chance to test concepts we cover through a series of practice exam questions.  At the end of the class, you will receive a voucher to take an online practice exam at no cost.

If you will be attending AWS re:Invent this year, you can purchase a study guide now so that you can prepare to take the Solutions Architect – Associate exam on-site (reserve your seat now).

Joe Baron, Principal Solutions Architect

# Learn C in our brand new MagPi Essentials book!

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/learn-c-in-our-brand-new-magpi-essentials-book/

Rob from The MagPi here again! As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Python is the preferred programming language around these parts. It’s powerful, it’s easy to read, and it’s excellent for teaching coding in general. It isn’t the only language in the world though. We’re happy to reveal that our latest Essentials book will help you learn one of these other languages: C.

Our handy guide to learning C, out now!

If you’ve read the magazine for a while, you’ll have seen pieces on Processing and Node-RED in there. We’ve also been running an ongoing series teaching you C. If getting your learning fix in monthly instalments is too slow for you, though, then Learn to Code with C from the author of that series, Raspberry Pi’s Simon Long, should be just the ticket.

It’s a substantial book, packed with solid, non-gimmicky information. You’ll learn the basics of using C: working with variables, using loops, creating functions and arrays, having user input, controlling your code flow, and much more. You should come away from the book bursting with top-notch knowledge, ready to hack the planet.

Learn to Code with C is available right this instant from our app (which has recently had an overhaul); you can find it on Google Play and the App Store. You can also get the free PDF as usual. I know we’ve been saying that the new range of books will be available in print soon for a while now, but this time we mean really soon. Keep an eye out for future updates.

Any thoughts on the book to close us out, Captain?

The post Learn C in our brand new MagPi Essentials book! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

# AWS Week in Review – September 27, 2016

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-week-in-review-september-27-2016/

Fourteen (14) external and internal contributors worked together to create this edition of the AWS Week in Review. If you would like to join the party (with the possibility of a free lunch at re:Invent), please visit the AWS Week in Review on GitHub.

New & Notable Open Source

• dynamodb-continuous-backup sets up continuous backup automation for DynamoDB.
• lambda-billing uses NodeJS to automate billing to AWS tagged projects, producing PDF invoices.
• vyos-based-vpc-wan is a complete Packer + CloudFormation + Troposphere powered setup of AMIs to run VyOS IPSec tunnels across multiple AWS VPCs, using BGP-4 for dynamic routing.
• s3encrypt is a utility that encrypts and decrypts files in S3 with KMS keys.
• AWS-Architect helps to deploy microservices to Lambda and API Gateway.
• awsgi is an WSGI gateway for API Gateway and Lambda proxy integration.
• rusoto is an AWS SDK for Rust.
• EBS_Scripts contains some EBS tricks and triads.
• landsat-on-aws is a web application that uses Amazon S3, Amazon API Gateway, and AWS Lambda to create an infinitely scalable interface to navigate Landsat satellite data.

New SlideShare Presentations

New AWS Marketplace Listings

Upcoming Events

Help Wanted

Stay tuned for next week! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the RSS feed.