Nov 15

Friday Post: MakeSmith CNC Router

Hey All!  Happy Friday!

This has been a “short” week for me.  Had the day off on Tuesday for Veterans Day, and today campus closed early because our football team is going up against Tulsa.  Go Knights!

PiPlay happenings!  Mark has been working on an advanced database scraper tool.

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It’s going to be awesome once it’s get a little more polished.  I’ve been working on some more controller stuff.  I’ll have more to say about that soon.

MakeSmith CNC

A few months ago I backed the MakeSmith CNC router kickstarter.  The project was created to design and sell a CNC mill / router that cost less than $200.

cncnew

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My kit arrived yesterday, and I’ve gotten what appears to be the base put together.  The instructions are in the form of a bunch of YouTube videos, so I’m watching each one a few times, and then attempting the install.  I have forgone using wood glue at the moment, just in case I mess up or need to redo something.  I figure I will just reinforce the joints after everything is attached.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Nov 07

Friday Post: DISPMANX_vnc and Homepass

Hey All,

Happy Friday!  I want to send a Very Happy Birthday to my Father.  This weekend is his birthday and I’m very proud to be his son.

I’ve been very busy these past few weeks,  I’ve been contracted to write a second edition of my Raspberry Pi Gaming book, and it’s taking up a lot of my time.  Even though its a subject I’m very familiar with, i’m finding out tons of new things I can do with the Raspberry Pi that have cropped because of my need to record and capture things coming from the Pi’s framebuffer.

I’ve been using a few tools, mainly ones involving DISPMANX to copy the framebuffer into a png file.  It’s called raspi2png and it works really well.  Sometimes its difficult to trigger raspi2png at the right time though.

One thing I have always wanted was a way to ssh / tunnel into the actual console terminal.  Not a new tty device, and not from XWindows, but the one that displays on /fb0.  Enter dispmanx_vnc.  I had never thought of using VNC to tunnel the framebuffer,  but Hanzelpeter has done just that with dispmanx_vnc

There’s definite input lag, and I can only achieve about 15fps, but it is the best way I’ve found to record and capture straight from the framebuffer right now.  I can ssh into my Pi, run the dispmanx_vnc command, then use a VNC viewer (I used tightvnc) to control the main display.  I’m so excited about this :D

Other news, if anyone has a 3DS, then you know about StreetPass.  It’s a way to virtually meet others who are around you with their 3DS.  There are a bunch of mini games built into the 3DS that require you to meet people using Street Pass in order to advance. There is also Street Pass Relay, which Nintendo created last year.  This allows those who are connected to a Nintendo Zone wifi access point to StreetPass with others from around the world, who are also connected to a Street Pass Relay. So of course this has been reverse engineered, and you can now turn a Raspberry Pi into a “HomePass” StreetPass relay.

Original instructions here .  There is a premade SD card available here, but I have yet to try it out.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Oct 24

Friday Post: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 7

Hey All,

Sorry about the lack of posts last week, dealing with family stuff.

I am excited to formally announce the release of PiPlay 0.8 Beta 7!

  • 0.8.0 Beta 7
    • Added changelog popup
    • Themes now support background music (uncompressed preferred)
    • Fixed problems with semi-transparent labels
    • 2 player controller config support added
    • Controller Config list sorted
    • Now using gunicorn for web frontend.

Get it now by by downloading the image or updating your current version with the PiPlay updater.

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

Oct 10

Friday Post: Custom Carts

Hey All,

Happy Friday!  This week I got in two cartridges that I am very to share with you all.  The first one is a custom SNES cart called StarFox Legacy!

StarFox Legacy contains three games:

  • The original StarFox
  • The StarFox competition game (a modified version that has a timer set and you have to rack up the most points before it runs out)
  • The unreleased StarFox 2.

To change games, you hold the reset switch down for 3 seconds.  It’s a really cart, and I’m glad I was able to acquire it.

The second cart is made for the Sega Genesis, and is a homebrew game some of you may know called FIX IT FELIX JR!!!  Yes, someone programmed a recreation of the game from the movie Wreck It Ralph!  It’s really well done, the label looks awesome, and I love it.

PiPlay 0.8 Beta 7 is coming!

Nothing too groundbreaking in this one.  Bug fixes for the controller setup, a popup window on first startup to give you some hints as well as a change log popup.  Some bug fixes, a little bit of speed improvements, background sounds.  I’m also switching out the python flask built in webserver for gunicorn.  It causes great speed improvements, uses less RAM and CPU.  When I switched to it, I noticed a lot of SNES games stopped stuttering.

I’ll be uploading the image this weekend and the updater should be available shortly.

-Shea

 

Oct 04

Friday Post: EDUCAUSE

Hey All,

This week I was at the EDUCAUSE educational conference which took place locally in Orlando.  I was speaking on my work with the LTI standard and the applications I have created for UCF.  My first talk was amazing.  It went as perfect as a presentation could go.  My second talk though….it was my first time doing a moderated panel session.  It was awesome.  I loved it….until the fire alarm went off mid sentence and the entire convention center started to evacuate!

I also got some coverage on the IMS Global blog (they are the ones who created the LTI standard): http://www.imsglobal.org/blog/?p=372

All in all, its been a great week, but I haven’t been this exhausted since PyCon.

On the PiPlay side, we are getting some bug reports in, and working on squashing a bunch of them.  The updater has been re-factored to now take into account version numbers, so you shouldn’t have to wait as long for updates.

The latest version of Raspbian with the new Epiphany browser is amazing.  It makes using the web on a Pi a decent experience, and not a chore like before.

You should try it out.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

 

Sep 27

Friday Post: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 6

Hey All,

If you’ve powered on your PiPlay today, you will notice an update is available!

Updates:

  • modified romlist layout to include area for game descriptions
  • added 2 player controller config support
  • added “button combo” support for PiPlay Menu actions
  • optimization, screen updates only happen on controlled events
  • removed horizontal romlist option in theme support
  • Wifi Config built in

The new disk image has been updated to the latest version of Raspbian which included Minecraft and the new Epiphany web browser.  Its a really great browser!

PCDuino

I got in a PCDuino3 to try and port PiPlay to it.  So far the hardware seems impressive, but the lack of community and documentation is depressing.  I need to keep plugging at it, because I think there is huge potential for a dual core chip with arduino headers.  I’ll keep you all posted.

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Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Sep 19

Friday Post: Maker Faire and Kano Unboxing!

Hey All,

What a week.  Maker Faire was amazing but exhausting!  So many kids playing Street Fighter 2, and so many adults loving the nostalgia.  It was a great time.  Tons of 3D printers, awesome products, and great people all around.  I hope you enjoy the gallery!

I also received my Kano computing kit today.  I haven’t had the chance to boot it up, but I have made a short unboxing video.  The packaging is spectacular, and the custom keyboard is great to hold and use (tested it on my desktop).

 

The next release of PiPlay is coming together, I hope to release it this weekend.

Small list of changes:

  • modified romlist layout to include area for game descriptions
  • added 2 player controller config support
  • added “button combo” support for PiPlay Menu actions
  • optimization, screen updates only happen on controlled events
  • removed horizontal romlist option in theme support
  • Loading time speed up
  • Wifi Configuration Tool

Have a great weekend all!

-Shea

Sep 12

Friday Post: Tiny Vacation, Maker Faire Orlando, PiPlay

Hey All,

I apologize for not posting last week, I just needed to take a small break.  Brain has been pretty fried.

This weekend is the Orlando Maker Faire.  This year marks the beginning of us being a full fledged Maker Faire, rather than just a Mini Maker Faire.  It’s kinda cool.  I will be showing off PiPlay and Pimoroni’s Picade inside of FamiLAB’s booth.  The Maker Faire is at the Orlando Science Center.  If anyone is in the Central Florida region, you should stop by!

The next update of PiPlay is coming along nicely.  2 player control setup is in, a wireless config utility has been added, the rom listing menu has been heavily optimized for much faster scrolling, and some other general bug fixes.  I’m hoping to release this over the weekend after Maker Faire.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Aug 29

Friday Post: Updates, Winner, and shipping things

Hey All,

Happy Friday!  To my fellow Americans, have a wonderful labor day weekend and enjoy the 3 day weekend.  I should be relaxing! My team launched a very cool new program at the university after a year in development, and it’s being used and we are getting results.  It’s so cool!  I’m not relaxing though, because I’m up to my ears in Kickstarter rewards that need to be shipped.

I’m dealing with the USPS right now because a bunch of the SD cards I sent out never arrived with their envelope.  Shipping things really needs to be brought into the 21st century. I feel like I need a degree in advanced logistics just to figure out the zone and rate charts.  I feel like I did something wrong by putting an envelope in the mailbox.  Oh well,  I hope I’m stressing out over nothing.

On a brighter note,  updates to PiPlay are happening :)  Connor made a neat little WiFI setup tool, and I’m working on some small bug fixes at the moment.

Congratulations to R. B. for winning the joystick contest!  I have sent you an email and I hope you send me your address soon so I can send it out.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea