Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi Resources

An Introduction to C & GUI Programming – the new book from Raspberry Pi Press

Post Syndicated from Simon Long original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/an-introduction-to-c-gui-programming-the-new-book-from-raspberry-pi-press/

The latest book from Raspberry Pi Press, An Introduction to C & GUI Programming, is now available. Author Simon Long explains how it came to be written…

An Introduction to C and GUI programming by Simon Long

Learning C

I remember my first day in a ‘proper’ job very well. I’d just left university, and was delighted to have been taken on by a world-renowned consultancy firm as a software engineer. I was told that most of my work would be in C, which I had never used, so the first order of business was to learn it.

My manager handed me a copy of Kernighan & Ritchie’s The C Programming Language, pointed to a terminal in the corner, said ‘That’s got a compiler. Off you go!’, and left me to it. So, I started reading the book, which is affectionately known to most software engineers as ‘K&R‘.

I didn’t get very far. K&R is basically the specification of the C language. Dennis Ritchie, the eponymous ‘R’, invented C, and while the book he helped write is an excellent reference guide, it is not a great introduction for a beginner. Like most people who know their subject inside out, the authors tend to assume that you know more than you do, so reading the book when you don’t know anything about the language at all is a little frustrating. I do know people who have learned C from K&R, and they have my undying respect!

I ended up learning C on the job as I went along; I looked at other people’s code, hacked stuff together, worked out why things didn’t work, asked for help from my colleagues, made a lot of mistakes, and gradually got the hang of it. I found only one book that was helpful for a beginner: it was called C For Yourself, and was actually one of the manuals for the long-extinct Microsoft QuickC compiler. That book is now impossible to find, so I’ve always had to tell people that the best book for learning C as a beginner is ‘C For Yourself, but you won’t be able to find a copy!’

Writing An Introduction to C & GUI Programming

When I embarked on this project, the editor of The MagPi and I were discussing possible series for the magazine, and we thought about creating a guide to writing GUI applications in C — that’s what I do in my day job at Raspberry Pi, so it seemed a logical place to start. We realised that the reader would need to know C to benefit from the series, and they wouldn’t be able to find a copy of C For Yourself. We decided that I ought to solve that problem first, so I wrote the original beginners’ guide to C series for The MagPi.

(At this point, I should stress that the series is aimed at absolute beginners. I freely admit that I have simplified parts of the language so that the reader does not have to absorb as much in one go. So yes, I do know about returning a success/fail code from a program, but beginners really don’t need to learn about that in the first chapter — especially when many will never need to write a program which does it. That’s why it isn’t explained until Chapter 9.)

An Introduction to C and GUI programming by Simon Long published by Raspberry Pi Press

So, the beginners’ guide to C came first, and I have now got round to writing the second part, which was what I’d planned to write all along. The section on GUIs describes how to write applications using the GTK toolkit, which is used for most of the Raspberry Pi Desktop and its associated applications. GTK is very powerful, and allows you to write rich graphical user interfaces with relatively few lines of code, but it’s not the most intuitive for beginners. (Much like C itself!) The book walks you through the basics of creating a window, putting widgets on it, and making the widgets do useful things, and gets you to the point where you know enough to be able to write an application like the ones I have written for the Raspberry Pi Desktop.

An Introduction to C and GUI programming by Simon Long published by Raspberry Pi Press

It then seemed logical to bring the two parts together in a single volume, so that someone with no experience of C has enough information to go from a standing start to writing useful desktop applications.

I hope that I’ve achieved that and if nothing else, I hope that I’ve written a book which is a bit more approachable for beginners than K&R!

Get An Introduction to C & GUI Programming today!

An Introduction to C & GUI Programming is available today from the Raspberry Pi Press online store, or as a free download here. You can also pick up a copy from the Raspberry Pi Store in Cambridge, or ask your local bookstore if they have it in stock or can order it in for you.

Alex interjects to state the obvious: Basically, what we’re saying here is that there’s no reason for you not to read Simon’s book. Oh, and it feels really nice too.

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New Wolfram Mathematica free resources for your Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Philip Harney original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/new-wolfram-mathematica-resources-2019/

We’ve worked alongside the team at Wolfram Mathematica to create ten new free resources for our projects site, perfect to use at home, or in your classroom, Code Club, or CoderDojo.

Try out the Wolfram Language today, available as a free download for your Raspberry Pi (download details are below).

The Wolfram Language

The Wolfram language is particularly good at retrieving and working with data, like natural language and geographic information, and at producing visual representations with an impressively small amount of code. The language does a lot of the heavy lifting for you and is a great way to let young learners in particular work with data to quickly produce real results.

If you’d like to learn more about the Wolfram Language on the Raspberry Pi, check out this great blog post written by Lucy, Editor of The MagPi magazine!

Weather dashboard

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi Weather Dashboard

My favourite of the new projects is the weather dashboard which, in a few quick steps, teaches you to create this shiny-looking widget that takes the user’s location, finds their nearest major city, and gets current weather data for it. I tried this out with my own CoderDojo club and it got a very positive reception, even if Dublin weather usually does report rain!

Coin and dice

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi Coin and Dice

The coin and dice project shows you how to create a coin toss and dice roller that you can use to move your favourite board game into the digital age. It also introduces you to creating interfaces and controls for your projects, choosing random outcomes, and displaying images with the Wolfram Language.

Day and night

In the day and night tracker project, you create a program that gives you a real-time view of where the sun is up right now and lets you check whether it’s day or night time in a particular country. This is not only a pretty cool way to learn about things like time zones, but also shows you how to use geographic data and create an interactive experience in the Wolfram Language.

Sentimental 8-ball

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi 8-ball

In Sentimental 8-Ball, you create a Magic 8-Ball that picks its answers based on how positive or negative the mood of the user’s question seems. In doing so, you learn to work with lists and use the power of sentiment analysis in the Wolfram Language.

Face swap

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi face swap

This fun project lets you take a photo of you and your friend and have the Wolfram Language identify and swap your faces! Perfect for updating your profile photo, and also a great way to learn about functions and lists!

More Wolfram Mathematica projects

That’s only half of the selection of great new projects we’ve got for you! Go check them out, along with all the other Wolfram Language projects on our projects site.

Download the Wolfram Language and Mathematica to your Raspberry Pi

Mathematica and the Wolfram Language are included as part of NOOBS, or you can download them to Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi for free by entering the following commands into a terminal window and pressing Enter after each:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wolfram-engine

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Build a Raspberry Pi robot buggy

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/build-a-raspberry-pi-robot-buggy/

Need a project for the week? We’ve got one for you. Learn to build a Raspberry Pi robot buggy and control it via voice, smart device or homemade controller with our free online resources.

Build your robot buggy

To build a basic Raspberry Pi-powered robot buggy, you’ll need to start with a Raspberry Pi. For our free tutorial, the team uses a Raspberry Pi 3B+, though you should be good with most models.

You’ll also need some wheels, 12v DC motors, and a motor controller board, along with a few other peripherals such as jumper wires and batteries.

Our project resource will talk you through the whole set up, from setting up your tech and assembling your buggy, to writing code that will allow you to control your buggy with Python.

Control your robot buggy

Our follow-up resource will then show you how to set up your Android smartphone or Google AIY kit as a remote control for your robot. Or, for the more homebrew approach, you can find out how to build your own controller using a breadboard and tactile buttons.

Make your robot buggy do cool things

And, lastly, you can show off your coding skills, and the wonder of your new robot by programming it to do some pretty neat tricks, such as line following. Our last tutorial in the Buggy Robot trio will show you how to use sensors and write a line-following algorithm.

Do you want your robot to do more? Of course you do. Check out our How to build a competition-ready Raspberry Pi robot guide for more.

Pi Wars 2019

The William Gates Building in Cambridge will this weekend be home to Pi Wars, the “two-day family-friendly event in which teams compete for prestige and prizes on non-destructive challenge courses”. As the name suggests, all robots competing in the Pi Wars events have Raspberry Pi innards, and we love seeing the crazy creations made by members of the community.

If you can make it to the event, tickets are available here – a lot of us will be there, both as spectators and as judges (we’re not really allowed to participate, bums bums). And if you can’t, follow #PiWars on Twitter for updates throughout the event.

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Laser-engraved Raspberry Pi hologram

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/laser-engraved-raspberry-pi-hologram/

Inspired by an old episode of Pimoroni’s Bilge Tank, and with easy access to the laser cutter at the Raspberry Pi Foundation office, I thought it would be fun to create a light-up multi-layered hologram using a Raspberry Pi and the Pimoroni Unicorn pHAT.

Raspberry Pi layered light

Read more –

Break it to make it

First, I broke down the Raspberry Pi logo into three separate images — the black outline, the green leaves, and the red berry.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM
RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM
RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

Fun fact: did you know that Pimoroni’s Paul Beech designed this logo as part of the ‘design us a logo’ contest we ran all the way back in August 2011?

Once I had the three separate files, I laser-engraved them onto 4cm-wide pieces of 3mm-thick clear acrylic. As there are four lines of LEDs on the Unicorn pHAT, I cut the fourth piece to illuminate the background.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

To keep the engraved acrylic pieces together, I cut out a pair of acrylic brackets (see above) with four 3mm indentations. Then, after a bit of fiddling with the Unicorn pHAT library, I was able to light the pHAT’s rows of LEDs in white, red, green, and white.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

The final result looks pretty spectacular, especially in the dark, and you can build on this basic idea to create fun animations — especially if you use a HAT with more rows of LEDs.

Iterations

This is just a prototype. I plan on building a sturdier frame for the pieces that securely fits a Raspberry Pi Zero W and lets users replace layers easily. As with many projects, I’m sure this will grow and grow as each interaction inspires a new add-on.

How would you build upon this basic principle?

Oh…

…we also laser-engraved this Cadbury’s Creme Egg.

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Make our light-up Raspberry Pi box for #MonthOfMaking

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/light-raspberry-pi-box-monthofmaking/

On Tuesday, Rob at The MagPi magazine tweeted this:

The MagPi magazine on Twitter

Hey @Raspberry_Pi, wanna join us in making some stuff for #MonthOfMaking? Rob has some cosplay to do this week and other plans for the rest of the month…

And we said YES!

At this point in time, Alex was hiding in the Raspberry Pi Foundation makerspace, creating thingamabobs and whatsit with the laser cutter, and an idea came into her mind.

(Is it weird that I’m referring to myself in the third person? It is. I’ll stop.)

The idea started with this:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Oddly satisfying, right?

And ended like this:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Raspberry Crepe Cake?

With a little bit of this in between:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

For hiding treasures

And thanks to some cheap battery-powered lights and magnets from Poundland…

#MonthOfMaking

Whosits and whatsits galore

…it lights up too!

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Photograph taken inside my rucksack for ambience

Make your own

So, do you want to make your own? Of course you do.

Ideally, you need access to a laser cutter, but if you don’t have one, you can just cut out the layers from some thick cardboard using a craft knife.

You’ll need these four files:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box
Raspberry Pi laser cut box
Raspberry Pi laser cut box
Raspberry Pi laser cut box

These are slightly different to the ones I used, so the acrylic should press-fit without the need for the backing frame you see in the image above.

Feel free to resize the files and change the box design to better fit whatever you want to put inside, but remember: making these boxes to sell, or diverging from our brand guidelines when using the Raspberry Pi logo, is against our trademark rules.

#MonthOfMaking

Join Raspberry Pi and The MagPi magazine in the #MonthOfMaking by using the hashtag in your social posts sharing your makes online. And, just as you can see from my light-up box, your make doesn’t have to use any digital technology. Bake a cake, stitch loop art, restore a car — whatever you plan on making this month, make sure we see your creation! Have fun!

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What we are learning about learning

Post Syndicated from Oliver Quinlan original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/what-we-are-learning-about-learning/

Across Code Clubs, CoderDojos, Raspberry Jams, and all our other education programmes, we’re working with hundreds of thousands of young people. They are all making different projects and learning different things while they are making. The research team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation does lots of work to help us understand what exactly these young people learn, and how the adults and peers who mentor them share their skills with them.

Coolest Projects International 2018

Senior Research Manager Oliver Quinlan chats to participants at Coolest Projects 2018

We do our research work by:

  • Visiting clubs, Dojos, and events, seeing how they run, and talking to the adults and young people involved
  • Running surveys to get feedback on how people are helping young people learn
  • Testing new approaches and resources with groups of clubs and Dojos to try different ways which might help to engage more young people or help them learn more effectively

Over the last few months, we’ve been running lots of research projects and gained some fascinating insights into how young people are engaging with digital making. As well as using these findings to shape our education work, we also publish what we find, for free, over on our research page.

How do children tackle digital making projects?

We found that making ambitious digital projects is a careful balance between ideas, technology, and skills. Using this new understanding, we will help children and the adults that support them plan a process for exploring open-ended projects.

Coolest Projects USA 2018

Coolest Projects USA 2018

For this piece of research, we interviewed children and young people at last year’s Coolest Projects International and Coolest Projects UK , asking questions about the kinds of projects they made and how they created them. We found that the challenge they face is finding a balance between three things: the ideas and problems they want to address, the technologies they have access to, and their skills. Different children approached their projects in different ways, some starting with the technology they had access to, others starting with an idea or with a problem they wanted to solve.

Achieving big ambitions with the technology you have to hand while also learning the skills you need can be tricky. We’re planning to develop more resources to help young people with this.

Coolest Projects International 2018

Research Assistant Lucia Florianova learns about Rebel Girls at Coolest Projects International 2018

We also found out a lot about the power of seeing other children’s projects, what children learn, and the confidence they develop in presenting their projects at these events. Alongside our analysis, we’ve put together some case studies of the teams we interviewed, so people can read in-depth about their projects and the stories of how they created them.

Who comes to Code Club?

In another research project, we found that Code Clubs in schools are often diverse and cater well for the communities the schools serve; Code Club is not an exclusive club, but something for everyone.

Code Club Athens

Code Clubs are run by volunteers in all sorts of schools, libraries, and other venues across the world; we know a lot about the spaces the clubs take place in and the volunteers who run them, but less about the children who choose to take part. We’ve started to explore this through structured visits to clubs in a sample of schools across the West Midlands in England, interviewing teachers about the groups of children in their club. We knew Code Clubs were reaching schools that cater for a whole range of communities, and the evidence of this project suggests that the children who attend the Code Club in those schools come from a range of backgrounds themselves.

Scouts Raspberry Pi

Photo c/o Dave Bird — thanks, Dave!

We found that in these primary schools, children were motivated to join Code Club more because the club is fun rather than because the children see themselves as people who are programmers. This is partly because adults set up Code Clubs with an emphasis on fun: although children are learning, they are not perceiving Code Club as an academic activity linked with school work. Our project also showed us how Code Clubs fit in with the other after-school clubs in schools, and that children often choose Code Club as part of a menu of after-school clubs.

Raspberry Jam

Visitors to Pi Towers Raspberry Jam get hands-on with coding

In the last few months we’ve also published insights into how Raspberry Pi Certified Educators are using their training in schools, and into how schools are using Raspberry Pi computers. You can find our reports on all of these topics over at our research page.

Thanks to all the volunteers, educators, and young people who are finding time to help us with their research. If you’re involved in any of our education programmes and want to take part in a research project, or if you are doing your own research into computing education and want to start a conversation, then reach out to us via [email protected].

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GPIO Zero v1.5 is here!

Post Syndicated from Ben Nuttall original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/gpio-zero-v1-5/

GPIO Zero is a zero-boilerplate Python library that makes physical computing with Python more accessible and helps people progress from zero to hero.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the release of GPIO Zero v1.5.0. It’s packed full of updates, including new features, bug fixes, and lots of improvements to the documentation.

Guido, the creator of Python, happened across the library recently, and he seemed to like it:

Guido van Rossum on Twitter

GPIOzero I love you! https://t.co/w3CnUGx3yO

Pin factories – take your pick

GPIO Zero started out as a friendly API on top of the RPi.GPIO library, but later we extended it to allow other pin libraries to be used. The pigpio library is supported, and that includes the ability to remotely control GPIO pins over the network, or on a Pi Zero over USB.

This also gave us the opportunity to create a “mock” pin factory, so that we could emulate the effect of pin changes without using real Raspberry Pi hardware. This is useful for prototyping without hardware, and for testing. Try it yourself!

As well as the pin factories we provide with the library (RPi.GPIO, pigpio, RPIO, and native), it’s also possible to write your own. So far, I’m aware of only one custom pin factory, and that has been written by the AIY team at Google, who created their own pin factory for the pins on the AIY Vision Kit. This means that you can connect devices to these pins, and use GPIO Zero to program them, despite the fact they’re not connected to the Pi’s own pins.

If you have lots of experience with RPi.GPIO, you might find this guide on migrating from RPi.GPIO to GPIO Zero handy.

Ultrasonic distance sensor

We had identified some issues with the results from the DistanceSensor class, and we dealt with them in two ways. Firstly, GPIO Zero co-author Dave Jones did some work under the hood of the pins API to use timing information provided by underlying drivers, so that timing events from pins will be considerably more accurate (see #655). Secondly, Dave found that RPi.GPIO would often miss edges during callbacks, which threw off the timing, so we now drop missed edges and get better accuracy as a result (see #719).

The best DistanceSensor results come when using pigpio as your pin factory, so we recommend changing to this if you want more accuracy, especially if you’re using (or deploying to) a Pi 1 or Pi Zero.

Connecting devices

A really neat feature of GPIO Zero is the ability to connect devices together easily. One way to do this is to use callback functions:

button.when_pressed = led.on
button.when_released = led.off

Another way is to set the source of one device to the values of another device:

led.source = button.values

In GPIO Zero v1.5, we’ve made connecting devices even easier. You can now use the following method to pair devices together:

led.source = button

Read more about this declarative style of programming in the source/values page in the docs. There are plenty of great examples of how you can create projects with these simple connections:

Testing

An important part of software development is automated testing. You write tests to check your code does what you want it to do, especially checking the edge cases. Then you write the code to implement the features you’ve written tests for. Then after every change you make, you run your old tests to make sure nothing got broken. We have tools for automating this (thanks pytest, tox, coverage, and Travis CI).

But how do you test a GPIO library? Well, most of the GPIO parts of our test suite use the mock pins interface, so we can test our API works as intended, abstracted from how the pins behave. And while Travis CI only runs tests with mock pins, we also do real testing on Raspberry Pi: there are additional tests that ensure the pins do what they’re supposed to. See the docs chapter on development to learn more about this process, and try it for yourself.

pinout

You may remember that the last major GPIO Zero release introduced the pinout command line tool. We’ve added some new art for the Pi 3A+ and 3B+:

pinout also now supports the -x (or --xyz) option, which opens the website pinout.xyz in your web browser.

Zero boilerplate for hardware

The goal of all this is to remove obstacles to physical computing, and Rachel Rayns has designed a wonderful board that makes a great companion to GPIO Zero for people who are learning. Available from The Pi Hut, the PLAY board provides croc-clip connectors for four GPIO pins, GND, and 3V3, along with a set of compatible components:

Since the board simply breaks out GPIO pins, there’s no special software required. You can use Scratch or Python (or anything else).

New contributors

This release welcomed seven new contributors to the project, including Claire Pollard from PiBorg and ModMyPi, who provided implementations for TonalBuzzer, PumpkinPi, and the JamHat. We also passed 1000 commits!

Watch your tone

As part of the work Claire did to add support for the Jam HAT, she created a new class for working with its buzzer, which works by setting the PWM frequency to emit a particular tone. I took what Claire provided and added some maths to it, then Dave created a whole Tones module to provide a musical API. You can play buzzy jingles, or you can build a theremin:

GPIO Zero theremin

from gpiozero import TonalBuzzer, DistanceSensor buzzer = TonalBuzzer(20) ds = DistanceSensor(14, 26) buzzer.source = ds

…or you can make a siren:

GPIO Zero TonalBuzzer sine wave

from gpiozero import TonalBuzzer from gpiozero.tools import sin_values buzzer = TonalBuzzer(20) buzzer.source = sin_values()

The Tones API is a really neat way of creating particular buzzer sounds and chaining them together to make tunes, using a variety of musical notations:

>>> from gpiozero.tones import Tone
>>> Tone(440.0)
>>> Tone(69)
>>> Tone('A4')

We all make mistakes

One of the important things about writing a library to help beginners is knowing when to expect mistakes, and providing help when you can. For example, if a user mistypes an attribute or just gets it wrong – for example, if they type button.pressed = foo instead of button.when_pressed = foo – they wouldn’t usually get an error; it would just set a new attribute. In GPIO Zero, though, we prevent new attributes from being created, so you’d get an error if you tried doing this. We provide an FAQ about this, and explain how to get around it if you really need to.

Similarly, it’s common to see people type button.when_pressed = foo() and actually call the function, which isn’t correct, and will usually have the effect of unsetting the callback (as the function returns None). Because this is valid, the user won’t get an error to call their attention to the mistake.

In this release, we’ve added a warning that you’ll see if you set a callback to None when it was previously None. Hopefully that will be useful to people who make this mistake, helping them quickly notice and rectify it.

Update now

Update your Raspberry Pi now to get the latest and greatest GPIO Zero goodness in your (operating) system:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3-gpiozero python-gpiozero

Note: it’s currently syncing with the Raspbian repo, so if it’s not available for you yet, it will be soon.

What’s next?

We have plenty more suggestions to be working on. This year we’ll be working on SPI and I2C interfaces, including I2C expander chips. If you’d like to make more suggestions, or contribute yourself, find us over on GitHub.

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Scratch 3, and upgrading our free resources

Post Syndicated from Martin O'Hanlon original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/scratch-3-resource-upgrades/

On 2 January, MIT released the latest version of their incredible visual programming language: Scratch 3!

Screenshot of Scratch 3 interface

Scratch 3 is here

We love Scratch — it’s the perfect starting point for young people who want to try coding, and we’re offering a huge variety of free Scratch project guides for all interests and coding abilities.

Scratch 3 introduces a brand-new look and feel. The most obvious change is that the stage is now on the right-hand side; there are new paint and sound editing tools; new types of code blocks; and the blocks are now larger and easier to read.

To help you and your young learners navigate the new Scratch 3 interface, we’ve created a free, printable Scratch 3 poster:

Scratch 3 interface with annotations

Perhaps the biggest news is that Scratch 3 also works on tablets, opening up coding to many children who don’t have access to a computer.

We’ve upgraded!

We want to make this a smooth transition for all of you who rely on our free project resources, whether that be at a Code Club, CoderDojo, Raspberry Jam, or at home, so we’ve been busy upgrading our resources to work with Scratch 3.

Scratch 3 versions of all projects in the Code Club Scratch Modules 1–3 and the CoderDojo Scratch Sushi Cards are already live!

Screenshot of Scratch 3 project on Raspberry Pi projects site

The upgrading process also was a chance for us to review our resources to make sure they are the best they can be; as part of this, we’ve introduced a number of improvements, such as simplified layouts, better hints, and better print-outs.

And we know that for many people, starting to use Scratch 3 is not simple, or not even possible yet, so we are committed to providing support for both Scratch 2 and 3 for the next 12 months.

We are really pleased with how our newly polished Scratch projects turned out, and we hope you are too!

What’s to come

Over the coming months, we’ll update the rest of our Scratch projects. Meanwhile, our amazing volunteer translators will begin the process of translating the upgraded projects.

Raspberry Pi projects site

Brand-new projects that take advantage of some of Scratch 3’s new features are also in the pipeline!

Scratch 3 on Pi

Another reason for ensuring we support both Scratch 2 and 3 is that, at the moment, there is no offline, installable version of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi. Rest assured that this is something we are working on!

The creation of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi will be a two-step process: first we’ll support MIT with their optimisation of Scratch 3 to make sure it delivers the best performance possible on a range of devices; once that work is complete, we’ll create an offline build of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi, including new extensions for the GPIO pins and the Sense HAT.

Make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook, as we’ll be announcing more information on this in the coming months!

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Staff Picademy and the sacrificial Babbage

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/staff-picademy-and-the-sacrificial-babbage/

Refill the coffee machine, unpack the sacrificial Babbages, and refresh the micro SD cards — it’s staff Picademy time!

Raspberry Pi Staff Picademy

Staff Picademy

Once a year, when one of our all-staff meeting brings together members of the Raspberry Pi team from across the globe, we host staff Picademy at our office. It’s two days of making and breaking where the coding-uninitiated — as well as the more experienced people! — are put through their paces and rewarded with Raspberry Pi Certified Educator status at the end.

Lest we forget the sacrificial Babbages and all they have done in the name of professional development

What is Picademy?

Picademy is our free two-day professional development programme where educators come together to gain knowledge and confidence in digital making and computing. On Day 1, you learn new skills; on Day 2, you put your learning to the test by finding some other participants and creating a project together, from scratch!

Our Picademy events in the United Kingdom and in North America have hosted more than 2000 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, who have gone on to create after-school coding clubs, makerspaces, school computing labs, and other amazing things to increasethe accessibility of computing and digital making for tens of thousands of young people.

Why do we run staff Picademy?

Because we stand by what we preach: we believe in learning through making, and we want our staff to be able to attend events, volunteer at Picademy, Code Clubs, CoderDojos, and Raspberry Jams, and feel confident in what they say and do.

And also, because Picademy is really fun!

Stuff and things, bits and bobs: staples of any good Picademy

You don’t need to be techy to work at Raspberry Pi: we’re not all engineers. Our staff ranges from educators and web developers to researchers, programme managers, administrators, and accountants. And we think everyone should give coding a shot, so we love getting our staff together to allow them to explore a new skill — and have some fun in the process.

I *think* this has something to do with The MagPi and a Christmas tree?

At our staff Picademy events, we’ve made everything from automated rock bands out of tin foil to timelapse buggies, and it really is a wonderful experience to see people come together and, within two days, take a skillset that may be completely new to them and use it to create a fully working, imaginative project.

Timelapse buggy is a thing is beauty…as is Brian

Your turn

If you’re an educator looking to try something new in your classroom, keep an eye on our channels, because we’ll be announcing dates for Picademy 2019 soon. You will find them on the Picademy page and see them pop up if you follow the #Picademy tag on Twitter. We’ll also announce the dates and locations in our Raspberry Pi LEARN newsletter, so be sure to sign up.

And if you’d like to join the Raspberry Pi team and build something silly and/or amazing at next year’s staff Picademy, we have roles available in the UK, Ireland, and North America.

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The Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide is out now (and it’s huge!)

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-beginners-guide/

The Raspberry Pi Press has been hard at work of late, producing new issues of The MagPi, HackSpace magazine, and our latest publication, Wireframe. But that hasn’t slowed us down, and this week, we’re pleased to announce the release of The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide, a 244-page book that will help get you well on your way to Raspberry Pi domination.

The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide front cover

The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide

We’ve roped in Gareth Halfacree, full-time technology journalist and technical author, and the wonderful Sam Alder, illustrator of our incredible cartoons and animations, to put together the only guide you need to help you get started with the Raspberry Pi.

inside the Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide

From setting up your Raspberry Pi on day 1, to taking your first steps into writing coding, digital making, and computing, The Official Raspberry Beginner’s Guide is great for users from age 7 to 107! It’s available now in the Raspberry Pi Press store, with free international delivery.

inside the Raspberry Pi Beginner's Guide

As always, we have also released the guide as a free PDF, and you’ll soon be seeing physical copies on the shelves of Waterstones, Foyles, and other good bookshops.

Code Club Book of Scratch

And that’s not all! This week we also launched the brand-new Code Club Book of Scratch, the first-ever print publication from the team at Code Club.

Code Club Book of Scratch Volume 1

You can learn more about the book on the Code Club blog, and you’ll also find it in the Raspberry Pi Press store, and in bookstores alongside The Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide. You can download the free PDF here, but the print version of the Code Club Book of Scratch is rather special. As well as being stuffed full of amazing Scratch projects to try down at your local Code Club, it also comes with magic glasses that reveal secret hints in some of the guides. It’s spiral bound, so it always lays flat, and there are 24 exclusive Code Club stickers as well! The pictures here don’t really do it justice – it’s a wonderful book, even if I am a bit biased.

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The age of the Twitter bot

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/the-age-of-the-twitter-bot/

Despite changes to the process, setting up a Raspberry Pi as a Twitter bot is a fairly easy process. And while many such bots simply share time-lapse snapshots, or change the colour of LEDs across the globe, we know some that fill our timelines with fun, random joyfulness of a daily basis. Here are a few of them:

@DaphneFlap

Celebrated by cat worshippers the world over, Daphne’s Catflap documents the comings and goings of Daphne, the fluffy feline housemate of Kate Bevan. While my own cat is now too big to fit through his catflap, Daphne uses her catflap several times a day, and thanks to the Raspberry Pi connected to it, the catflap does a marvellous job of celebrating Daphne every time she graces us with her presence.

Daphne’s Catflap on Twitter

Adored Daphne, graceful empress of floof, floofybum. No adoring catflap could possibly be more blessed than me.

@raspberrypi_otd

Ben made a thing.

The Raspberry Pi OTD Twitter bot shares past posts from this very blog you are reading RIGHT NOW, and thus traces the evolution of Raspberry Pi through its tweets. One day, probably in twelve months, this very blog post will resurface on the Raspberry Pi OTD timeline, and then we shall all meet back here and say hi.

Raspberry Pi OTD on Twitter

On this day in 2015: Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer https://t.co/1GRhq0TYuz

@randspberrypi

Sharing posts generated by Rand’s Raspberry Pi, this twitter bot posts random GIF-packed tweets, usually with a retro 1980s vibe and the hashtags #80s, #MusicVideo, #GIF, and #raspberrypi

Rand’s RaspberryPi on Twitter

Random #80s #MusicVideo #GIF #raspberrypi https://t.co/ieraOHGFjr

@falalala_la

Though it seems to be taking a hiatus right now, the Deck the Halls bot searches Twitter for tweets that fit perfectly to the tune of Deck the Halls, and retweets these with the classic “Falalalala, la la, la la!” as a comment. Be warned, a few of the tweets it recovers may be NSFW, but on the whole, it’s a joyful, joyful experience.

Deck the Halls on Twitter

Falalalala, la la, la la! https://t.co/r2dkE8wMFm

@bert_the_plant

I promise we haven’t killed him.

Bert is a ficus tree that lives in one of the meeting rooms here at Pi Towers. When connected to the internet, his Raspberry Pi and moisture monitor update followers about whether he needs watering, alongside a photo of his current state. And while his last tweet, dated 10 June 2017, claims he’s “so thirsty”, accompanied by a photo of pure darkness, I assure you this is simply because the light was off…and the Pi has since been unplugged…and Bert’s alive, I swear it, I swear!

Hold on, I just need to go for a walk to Meeting Room 5. No reason. *runs*

Bert Plant on Twitter

I’m so thirsty!

Connecting your Raspberry Pi to Twitter

The process of setting up a Developer Account so you can build your own Twitter bot has changed recently. But once you follow their new steps, you can still use our free resources for connecting your Raspberry Pi to Twitter.

In our Tweeting Babbage resource, you will learn how to write code that sends images from your Pi to the Twittersphere.

And if you’re a more experienced coder, you could try your hand at our Naughty and nice resource, which will walk you through creating a program that checks whether a Twitter user is in Santa’s good or bad books. After all, Christmas is just under a month away!

Santa angrily staring at a Twitter account

And from there, the world (the Twitter world at least) is your oyster.

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A new Raspbian update: multimedia, Python and more

Post Syndicated from Simon Long original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspbian-update-november-2018/

Today we’re releasing a new update for Raspbian, including a multimedia player, updated Thonny, and more. Here’s Simon with everything you need to know.

Updating Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi || Raspberry Pi Foundation

How to update to the latest version of Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi.

VLC Media Player

When I first joined Raspberry Pi, back in the dim and distant past (in reality 2014, but it does seem a long time ago now…), and I started looking at Raspbian, I made a list of the additional features and applications that I thought it needed to be a “complete” modern desktop operating system. Over the years, we’ve managed to tick off most of the items on that list, but one glaring omission has been nagging at me all this time: a decent media player. Windows has Windows Media Player; MacOS has QuickTime Player and iTunes; but we’ve had a big hole where something similar ought to be for Raspbian. It’s been a common request on the forums, and while we’ve had bits and pieces that do some of the job, like the command line OMXPlayer application, we really wanted a nice GUI-based media player.

VLC is one of those programs that “just works” for media playback; it is cross-platform, it has a nice interface, and it plays back pretty much anything you throw at it. It was the player I really wanted to use in Raspbian — but it was unable to access VideoCore’s video decoding hardware, and the software video codecs in VLC were too slow to be anything more than irritating when running on Raspberry Pi, so it really wasn’t worth shipping it. Until now.

After a lot of work (by people far cleverer than me), we are now able to announce that Raspbian includes a fully hardware-accelerated version of VLC. It plays most audio file formats; it uses software codecs for many video formats, and it uses VideoCore’s video engine to accelerate playback of H.264, MPEG-2 and VC-1 video. (Note that you will need to buy additional codec licences for MPEG and VC-1; if you’ve already bought a licence to enable hardware acceleration in OMXPlayer and Kodi, this licence will also enable these codecs for VLC.)

Raspbian update screenshot

This is still a work in progress — we’ve got most of the major bugs out, but there will most likely be the odd glitch, and you’ll probably find that Pi Zero and Pi 1 will still struggle with some content. But once you’ve updated your Pi, you should find that double-clicking on a video file will open it in VLC and play it back with decent quality.

Thonny 3

A couple of years ago, as part of the list of additional features mentioned above, we looked for a nicer Python development environment than IDLE, and we found Thonny — a really elegant combination of a user-friendly IDE with features that are also useful to expert developers. It’s been our standard IDE shipped with Raspbian ever since, and Aivar Annamaa, the developer, has been very responsive to our feedback and requests for new features.

He’s recently released version 3 of Thonny, and this is now the version in Raspbian. Version 3 offers a lot of useful new debugging features, such as breakpoints and an Assistant feature that analyses your code to find bugs that Python’s syntax checker misses. There is a lot more information about Thonny 3 on Aivar’s website — it’s well worth a read.

Raspbian update screenshot

We’ve also made one user interface change this time. We’ve always offered the choice between running Thonny in its regular mode, and a cut-down “simple” mode for beginners, which removes the menus and gives a fixed screen layout. Up until now, switching between the two has happened via different entries in the main Raspberry Pi menu, but that was a bit clumsy. In the new version, simple mode is the default, and you can switch Thonny into regular mode by clicking the link in the top right-hand corner of the window; if you want to switch back to simple mode, select it on the General tab of the Thonny options dialogue, which is available in the Tools menu. (Thonny will always start in the last mode you selected.)

Desktop configuration

One of the other changes we’ve made this time is one that hopefully most people won’t notice!

The configuration of the Raspberry Pi desktop has always been a bit of a mess. Due to the fact that the underlying LXDE desktop environment is made up of a bunch of different programs all running together, trying to set up something like the system font or the highlight colour involves making changes to several configuration files at once. This is why pretty much the first thing I did was to write the Appearance Settings application to try to make this easier than digging around in multiple config files.

Linux desktop applications are supposed to have a global configuration file (usually in the directory /etc/xdg/) that takes effect unless overridden by a local configuration file (in the hidden .config subdirectory of the user’s home directory). Unfortunately, not all the desktop components adhered to this specification. As a result, getting the Appearance Settings application to work involved quite a bit of kludging things about under the hood, and one of these kludges was to always keep a local copy of each of the configuration files and to ignore the global versions.

This worked, but it had the undesirable side effect that any time we wanted to update the appearance of the desktop, we had to delete all the local configuration files so they could be replaced by the new ones, and this meant that any changes the user had made to the configuration were lost. This was quite annoying for many people, so with this release, we’ve tried to stop doing that!

Most of the desktop components have now been modified so that they correctly read the global configuration files, and for future releases, we are going to try to just modify the global versions of these files and not touch the local ones. If we update the configuration, you will see a message informing you that this has happened, but your local files will be left unchanged. To make sure you get the latest configuration, launch Appearance Settings and choose one of the buttons on the “Defaults” tab; doing this will set your desktop to our currently recommended defaults. But if you want to stick with what you’ve already got, just don’t do that! You can even try the new defaults out: press one of the defaults buttons, and if you don’t like the results, just hit Cancel, and your previous configuration will be restored.

Raspbian update screenshot

One final point on this: in order to get this all to work properly in future, we have had to delete a few local files on this occasion. These are files that most people will never have modified anyway, so this will hopefully not present any problems. But just in case, they have been backed up in the oldconffiles subdirectory of the user’s home directory.

Multiple images

When I first started working on Raspbian, the desktop image file was just under 1GB in size. This has gradually crept up over the years, and now it’s around 1.75GB. While downloading a file of this size isn’t a significant problem for someone with fibre broadband, many people are on slower connections where such large downloads can take hours.

In order to try and address this, for all future releases we will now release two separate images. The default Raspbian release is now a minimal install — it gives you the desktop, the Chromium browser, the VLC media player, Python, and some accessory programs. Running alongside this is the “Raspbian Full” image, which also includes all our recommended programs: LibreOffice, Scratch, SonicPi, Thonny, Mathematica, and various others.

The Recommended Software program that we launched in the last release can be used to install or uninstall any of the additional programs that are in the full image; if you download the minimal image and check all the options in Recommended Software, you will end up with the full image, and vice versa.

Raspbian update screenshot

Hopefully, this means that downloading Raspbian will be easier for people on slower connections, and that you can easily add just the programs you want. The full image is provided for everyone who wants to get everything in one go, or who won’t have access to the internet to download additional programs once their Pi is up and running.

We’ll also continue to produce the existing Raspbian Lite image for people who only want a command-line version with no desktop.

Update Raspbian

Both the new images are available to download from the usual place on our site.

To update an existing image, open a terminal window and use the usual commands:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

To install the new VLC media player from a terminal, enter:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install vlc

As ever, all feedback is welcome, so please leave a comment below!

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Picademy North America 2018: That’s a Wrap!

Post Syndicated from Andrew Collins original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/picademy-north-america-2018/

Hooray! We’re celebrating our third season leading educator training in North America. That’s 20 Picademy workshops in 11 cities with 791 happy teachers graduating as Raspberry Pi Certified Educators. This summer was particularly rich with successes, challenges, and lessons learned let’s take a closer look:

Andrew Collins on Twitter

That’s a wrap on #Picademy North America 2018! We welcomed over 300 educators in Denver, Jersey City, Atlanta and Seattle to the @Raspberry_Pi community. Congrats and go forth on your digital making journey! 😀🙌 https://t.co/aMyHr2KkuL

Picademy North America

Picademy is a free, two-day training program that helps educators jump start their digital making journey. On day one, educators explore digital making with the Raspberry Pi computer: blinking LEDs, taking pictures, making motors spin, sensing their environment, and composing music. On day two, they take what they’ve learned from these experiences and collaborate with a team to design and build their own real world project.

Picademy at Liberty Science Center (June 18, 2018 – June 22, 2018)

A total of 80 educators from all over the globe visited Liberty Science Center the week of June 18 – 22 to learn coding and technology skills as part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Picademy program. The week of learning culminated in a programming design challenge where the participants created projects using their new skills via the Raspberry Pi computer.

Big interest

We received over 1400 applications for this year’s program, a 40% increase from last year. This enormous interest came from educators in North America and across the globe; we received applications from 49 different U.S. States and 20 countries. And it’s not just classroom teachers either. More than half of our applicants worked outside of a traditional classroom environment, as librarians, after-school providers, teacher trainers, museum educators, and technology coordinators. Out of this pool, we accepted 313 educators to our Picademy 2018 workshops in Denver, Jersey City, Atlanta, and Seattle.

Big impact

We want to make sure that the work we do is having the impact we we intend, so we ask educators who come to Picademy about their skills, experience, and confidence before they participate in the program and afterwards. Before Picademy, only 13% said they felt confident using using a Raspberry Pi computer. After attending, this number rose significantly, with 78% now confident using Raspberry Pi. This increase in confidence matched their sense of professional growth: the majority of educators said that learning new content and gaining new skills were the most memorable parts of their Picademy experience.

Raspberry Pi Picademy North America 2018

We also had 100% of attendees indicate that they would recommend Picademy to a colleague, and 70% report that they are very likely to share their learnings with fellow educators. This means an even greater number of educators, those who work alongside Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, will hopefully be impacted by Picademy workshop offerings.

“Picademy was such an engaging and hands-on experience. Every workshop and project was practical, tangible and most importantly, fun” — Amanda Valledor, Boston, MA

Next steps

What do educators go on to accomplish after Picademy? We’re actively gathering this data as we follow up with our certified educators, but based on feedback surveys we know that 58% of this season’s attendees are interested in starting a Code Club or CoderDojo in their community. We also saw that over 70% of educators are interested in leading a Raspberry Pi event or training; this could mean a Raspberry Jam, an educator workshop, or a Raspberry Pi-themed summer camp. Our team will continue to support each and every Raspberry Pi Certified Educator as they continue on their digital making journey.

Carrie Northcott on Twitter

Thank you @Raspberry_Pi for allowing each of us to come and get “debugged”, rewrite our “code”, and “program” our future moves as educators! #picademy #raspberrypi #picademyseattle #edtech @iluvteaching72 @MrsNatto https://t.co/37jMYDZThF

Special thanks to Dana and everyone else who helped to lead an awesome Picademy program this season. If you’d like to take a deeper dive, feel free to explore all of our data and findings in the Picademy North America 2018 Report.

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The last 10%: revamping the Raspberry Pi desktop

Post Syndicated from Simon Long original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/magpi-revamping-raspberry-pi-desktop/

Simon Long is a Senior Principal Software Engineer here at Raspberry Pi. He’s responsible for the Raspberry Pi Desktop on both Raspbian and Debian, and his article from The MagPi issue 73 explores the experience of revamping our desktop. Get your copy of The MagPi in stores now, or download it as a free PDF here.

The PIXEL desktop on Raspberry Pi

It was almost exactly four years ago when I was offered the chance to work at Raspberry Pi. I knew all the team very well, but I’d had hardly any involvement with the Pi itself, and wasn’t all that sure what they would want me to do; at that time, I was working as the manager of a software team, with no experience of hardware design. Fortunately, this was when software had started to move up the list of priorities at Raspberry Pi.

The 2014 updated desktop

Eben and I sat down on my first day and played with the vanilla LXDE desktop environment in Raspbian for 15 minutes or so, and he then asked me the fateful question: “So — do you think you can make it better?” With rather more confidence than I felt, I replied: “Of course!” I then spent the next week wondering just how long it was going to take before I was found out to be an impostor and shown the door.

Simon Long Raspberry Pi

Simon Long, Senior Principal Software Impostor

UI experience

To be fair, user interface design was something of which I had a lot of experience — I spent the first ten years of my career designing and implementing the user interfaces for a wide range of products, from mobile phones to medical equipment, so I knew what a good user interface was like. I could even see what changes needed to be made to transform the LXDE environment into one. But I didn’t have a clue how to do it — I’d barely used Linux, never mind programmed for it… As I said above, that was four years ago, and I’ve been hacking the Pi desktop from that day on.

Raspberry Pi desktop circa 2015

Not all the changes I’ve made have been popular with everyone, but I think most people who use the desktop feel it has improved over that time. My one overriding aim has been to try to make the Pi desktop into a product that I actually want to use myself; one that takes the good user interface design principles that we are used to in environments like macOS and Windows — ideas like consistency, attractive fonts and icons, intuitive operation, everything behaving the way you expect without having to read the instructions — and sculpting the interface around them.

Final polish

In my experience, the main difference between the Linux desktop environment and those of its commercial competitors is the last 10%: the polishing you do once everything works. It’s not easy making something that works, and a lot of people, once they have created something and got it working, leave it and move onto creating something else. I’m really not great at creating things from scratch — and have nothing but admiration for those who are — but what I do enjoy doing is adding that last 10%: going from something that works to something that works well and is a pleasure to use. Being at Raspberry Pi means I get to do that every day when I come to work. Every time I see a photo of a Pi running at a Jam, or in a classroom, anywhere in the world, and it’s using my desktop — the thrill from that never goes away.

If you’d like to read more about the evolution of the Raspberry Pi desktop, and Simon’s adventures at Raspberry Pi, you can access the entire back catalogue of his blog posts here.

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Getting started with your Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/getting-started-raspberry-pi/

Here on the Raspberry Pi blog, we often share impressive builds made by community members who have advanced making and coding skills. But what about those of you who are just getting started?

Getting started with Raspberry Pi

For you, we’ve been working hard to update and polish our Getting started resources, including a brand-new video to help you get to grips with your new Pi.

Getting started with Raspberry Pi

Whether you’re new to electronics and the Raspberry Pi, or a seasoned pro looking to share your knowledge and skills with others, sit back and watch us walk you through the basics of setting up our powerful little computer.

How to set up your Raspberry Pi || Getting started with #RaspberryPi

Learn how to set up your Raspberry Pi for the first time, from plugging in peripherals to loading Raspbian.

We’ve tried to make this video as easy to follow as possible, with only the essential explanations and steps.

getting started with raspberry pi

As with everything we produce, we want this video to be accessible to the entire world, so if you can translate its text into another language, please follow this link to submit your translation directly through YouTube. You can also add translations to our other YouTube videos here! As a thank you, we’ll display your username in the video descriptions to acknowledge your contributions.

New setup guides and resources

Alongside our shiny new homepage, we’ve also updated our Help section to reflect our newest tech and demonstrate the easiest way for beginners to start their Raspberry Pi journey. We’re now providing a first-time setup guide, and also a walk-through for using your Raspberry Pi that shows you all sort of things you can do with it. And with guides to our official add-on devices and a troubleshooting section, our updated Help page is your one-stop shop for getting the most out of your Pi.

getting started with raspberry pi

For parents and teachers, we offer guides on introducing Raspberry Pi and digital making to your children and students. And for those of you who are visual learners, we’ve curated a collection of our videos to help you get making.

As with our videos, we’re looking for people whose first language isn’t English to help us translate our resources. If you’re able to donate some of your time to support this cause, please sign up here.

The forums

We’re very proud of our forum community. Since the birth of the Raspberry Pi, our forums have been the place to go for additional support, conversation, and project bragging.

Raspberry Pi forums

If your question isn’t answered on our Help page, there’s no better place to go than the forums. Nine times out of ten, your question will already have been asked and answered there! And if not, then our friendly forum community will be happy to share their wealth of knowledge and help you out.

Events and clubs

Raspberry Pi and digital making enthusiasts come together across the world at various events and clubs, including Raspberry Jams, Code Club and CoderDojo, and Coolest Projects. These events are perfect for learning more about how people use Raspberry Pi and other technologies for digital making — as a hobby and as a tool for education.

getting started with raspberry pi

Keep up to date

To keep track of all the goings-on of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and sign up to our Raspberry Pi Weekly newsletter and the monthly Raspberry Pi LEARN education newsletter.

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A list of Raspberry Pi books for #BookLoversDay

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-books-bookloversday/

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.

Raspberry Pi books

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.

Getting started

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:

Raspberry Pi for Dummies - Raspberry Pi booksAlmost 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 GuideRaspberry Pi User Guide - Raspberry Pi books 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.

Adventures in Raspberry Pi - Raspberry Pi booksFor 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.

 

You may also like:

Projects

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 Raspberry Pi Cookbook - Raspberry Pi booksSimon 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.

Raspberry Pi Electronics Projects for the Evil Genius - Raspberry Pi booksForget James Bond. If you’d rather be working for the dark side, try Donald Norris’ Raspberry Pi Electronics Projects for the Evil Genius* and build everything you need to take over the world.

*Swivel chair and fluffy white cat not included.

Creative Projects with Raspberry Pi - Raspberry Pi booksMore 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.

 

 

You may also like:

Computer science

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:

The Pragmatic Programmer - Raspberry Pi booksThose 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.

Jacquard's Web - Raspberry Pi booksHistory buffs may want to look into Jacquard’s Web: How a Hand-Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age by James Essinger. This book explores the development of technology, from the invention of the handloom by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in Napoleonic France to technological advancements of the digital age.

 

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage - Raspberry Pi booksWith 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.

 

 

You may also like:

Magazines

If you’re looking for a periodical or two, may we suggest:

 - Raspberry Pi booksThe 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.

The front cover of Hello World Issue 3 - Raspberry Pi booksHello 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.

 - Raspberry Pi booksHackSpace 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!

The post A list of Raspberry Pi books for #BookLoversDay appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Block ads at home using Pi-hole and a Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pi-hole-raspberry-pi/

Today’s blog post comes from Jacob Salmela, creator of Pi-hole, a network-wide ad blocker used by Raspberry Pi enthusiasts to block advertisements on all devices connected to their home network.

What is Pi hole?

An explainer video about the network-wide ad blocker and how to install it.

What is Pi-hole?

Pi-hole is a network-wide ad blocker. Instead of installing adblockers on every device and every browser, you can install Pi-hole once on your network, and it will protect all of your devices. Because it works differently than a browser-based ad-blocker, Pi-hole also block ads in non-traditional places, such as in games and on smart TVs.

I originally made Pi-hole as a replacement for the AdTrap device. I have a background in networking, so I figured I could make something better with some inexpensive hardware like the Raspberry Pi. I spent two summers working on the project and made the code open source. Four years later, we have several developers working on Pi-hole, and we have grown into a very large project with a vibrant community.

How does it work?

Pi-hole functions as an internal, private DNS server for your network. For many home users, this service is already running on your router, but your router doesn’t know where advertisements are — but Pi-hole does. Pi-hole will intercept any queries for known ad-serving domains and deny them access, so ads won’t be downloaded.

Using Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi

Users configure their router’s DHCP options to force clients to use Pi-hole as their DNS server.

This means websites will load normally but without advertisements; since ads are never downloaded, sites will load faster. Pi-hole also caches these queries, so responsiveness to commonly visited websites can also be noticed.

Pi-hole and Raspberry Pi

The Pi-hole software has very low resource requirements and can even run on a Raspberry Pi Zero W. And despite its name, you can also install Pi-hole on several other Linux distributions. Many users install it on a VM or in a container and let it provide services that way. But since Pi-hole’s resource requirements are so low, many users have found it to be a good use of their older, lower-powered model Raspberry Pis. Simply install Pi-hole, connect the Pi to your router, and begin blocking ads everywhere.

Using Pi-hole on a Raspberry Pi

The Pi-hole web interface allows users to monitor ad-blocking data, to access the query log, and more.

You can also pair Pi-hole with a VPN to get ad blocking via a cellular connection. This will help you with bandwidth limits and data costs, because your phone won’t need to download advertising videos and images.

Install Pi-hole

Pi-hole can be downloaded to your Raspberry Pi via a one-step automated install — just open a terminal window and run the following command:

curl -sSL https://install.pi-hole.net | bash

You can find more information about setting up Pi-hole on your Raspberry Pi on the Pi-hole GitHub repository here.

If you need support with using Pi-hole or want to chat with the Pi-hole community, you can visit their forum here.

If you’d like to support Jacob and the Pi-hole team as they continue to develop the functions of their ad-blocker, you can sign up as a Patreon, donate directly, or purchase swag, including the Pi-hole case from Pi Supply.

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Mu, a new Python IDE for beginners

Post Syndicated from Martin O'Hanlon original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/mu-python-ide/

Mu is a very simple-to-use Python editor and IDE (integrated development environment) and this week, version 1.0 was released!

Mu Python IDE for beginners Raspberry Pi

New Mu

Mu is designed to be as user-friendly and as helpful as possible for new Python programmers, presenting just the tools that are useful, such as:

  • Syntax highlighting
  • Automatic indentation
  • In-built help
  • Code checking
  • Debugging

Great for new programmers

Mu is intended to be not the only Python IDE you’ll ever need, but the first one — the editor that helps you start your coding journey, but not necessarily the one you finish it with. So when you’re ready, you will have the skills and confidence to move on to using a more advanced Python IDE.

You can use Mu in a number of modes; modes make working with Mu easier by only presenting the options most relevant to what you’re using Mu for:

Mu Python IDE for beginners Raspberry Pi

Available now

Mu version 1.0 is available now for Windows, macOS, Linux, and the Raspberry Pi’s official operating system Raspbian! And to help new Python programmers get started, we have created a guide to Getting Started with Mu for all these operating systems.

Mu Python IDE for beginners Raspberry Pi

Mu is the brainchild of Nicholas Tollervey, who has worked tirelessly to create Mu. I recently met up with him and some of the Mu team at the world’s first Mu-“moot” to celebrate this release:

Nicholas Tollervey on Twitter

World’s first Mu-moot. 🙁

One of the inspirations for Mu was the keynote presentation at EuroPython 2015 given by Raspberry Pi’s Carrie Anne Philbin. She talked about the barriers to children getting started with Python, including the lack of an suitably easy-to-use IDE:

Carrie Anne Philbin – Keynote: Designed for Education: A Python Solution

Carrie Anne Philbin – Keynote: Designed for Education: A Python Solution [EuroPython 2015] [23 July 2015] [Bilbao, Euskadi, Spain] The problem of introducing children to programming and computer science has seen growing attention in the past few years. Initiatives like Raspberry Pi, Code Club, code.org, (and many more) have been created to help solve this problem.

Raspberry Pi has provided support for the project, helping to take Mu from its first implementation as a micro:bit programming tool to a general-purpose and simple-to-use Python editor and IDE!

You can find installation instructions as well as tutorials on Mu’s website.

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Learn how to document your code

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/learn-document-code/

In our latest resource, we show you how to create a website and use it to document your coding projects.

documenting your code Raspberry Pi resources

Why document your code?

Search the web with the right key words for your programming conundrum, and you’re bound to find someone who has written software to address a question that’s at least similar to yours. And not only that, they’re also making their software freely available under an open source license, and writing documentation to help you use their code. How awesome it that?!

Many people who write code are eager to share their programs and allow others to use and remix them according to their own needs. This is why the open source community is so inviting for makers, especially those who want to make projects that are yet beyond their ability to build from scratch.

So unless you plan on turning your code into a money-making commodity, you’re writing scripts that you can share with others. By adding clear, supporting online documentation to your code, you’ll help people all over the world to not only use your software but to also understand what everything does and become better programmers themselves.

Our resource

In our latest resource, we show you how to use docstrings to automatically create documentation for your Python code. Then, we walk you through using Sphinx to build a website showcasing this documentation and any example scripts you want to share with the world.

You’ll learn how to create supporting documentation to guide users through elements of your code, add multiple pages to your website, and use themes to costumise the site’s layout and make it stand out.

You can find the resource here, and our full list of free resources here on our projects site.

More free resources


We’ve also recently released a new Sense HAT music player project, along with a resource teaching basic Raspberry Pi terminal navigation skills with a fun game to find all the Pac-Man ghosts.

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