Apr 17

Friday Post: PyCon 2015!

Hey All,

PyCon 2015 is over.  It was an amazing time in Montreal.  My coworker and I presented ProctorHub, the homegrown proctoring solution that we created for our university.

We met a lot of fellow educators, tons of fellow pythonistas, and learned a ton!

A PiPlay kit was also auctioned off during the PyLadies auction, where it brought in $200!

All of the talks are up on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgxzjK6GuOHVKR_08TT4hJQ

I’ve also picked up two of these nrf24l01+ Transceivers.

11038420_10104069360076632_3430831120835634129_o

I have a neat project I’m working on involving a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino.  Hopefully I’ll have the prototype to show next week 😀

Have a good weekend!

Mar 22

Very Late Friday Post: 2 Years!

Hey All,

Sorry for the very late post this week.  Trying to figure out why I’m having such connectivity issues to my web host.  Replaced the router.  Still happens.  Modem is fine.  It’s not my host.  But my ISP can’t see it as being down since it comes up 5 minutes later.  I can VPN into work and access my host from there.  So weird.

Anyways,

Tomorrow marks my 2nd Wedding Anniversary.  It feels like it’s been a day and a half 🙂 K, I love you.  Thank you for putting up with me.

PiPlay

0.8 Beta 9 is coming along.  It should be released in a day or so.  This is the best version yet, and I’m so sorry for the Beta 8 release.  Trying to get everything working on both the Pi and Pi2 has been a challenge.  But I think this version will be great.  We have upgraded to the latest Raspbian image, moved more emulators into GitHub / Git and now can update most of PiPlay with a Git Update.  Mark has created an awesome file watching script which automatically updates the frontend when a new file has been uploaded.  No more running the scraper, it all happens in the background.

Mario Party 10

Mario Party 10 came out this week.  I had a chance to play it with a group, and, well, it feels like Mario Party Lite.  The game is gorgeous, the levels are beautiful, but there are only three game modes.  Amiibo Party, Bowser Party, and “Mario Party” which isn’t like previous games.  Everyone works together to get to the end in a vehicle, basically pooling dice rolls.  The classic game has been shortened and moved to Amiibo Party.  It feels like a lot of content is missing.  The load times are also really long.  I really wanted to love this game, but I feel like its a demo.  I’m hoping patches and some free DLC fix that.

SmartiPi

I backed the SmartiPi kickstarter a short while ago, and received my case the other day.  I think this is one of the best designed cases out there.  It easily wraps around the whole Pi, and has LEGO compatible pegs on the case.

IMG_4913

 

Have a great week(end)!

-Shea

Mar 14

Late Friday Post: Pi Day!

Hey All!

Happy Pi Day!!!  Sorry about the late posting.  My internet has been acting up for the past two days.  Yay.

The past few days have been the Orlando FIRST Regional Robotics Competition hosted at UCF.  I am a FIRST Alumni from 2002, a member of Team 108 SigmaC@Ts.  It was so awesome to see the competition again after all these years.

PiPlay is coming along.  Fixed the bugs with the joysticks.  Working on improving more things.

Thanks!

-Shea

 

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Jan 02

Friday Post: 2015!!!!

Hey All,

Happy New Year!!! 2014 was an amazing year for me:

  • Got contracted to write a second book (almost done)
  • Ran a successful Kickstarter
  • Had YTD 64,000 downloads of PiPlay
  • Spoke at PyCon, Computers in Libraries, and EDUCAUSE conferences
  • Participated in Orlando Maker Faire
  • Was able to hire the very talented Elizabeth Williams to be part of my team at work
  • Developed software that is helping 60,000 students
  • Added a very cute and very annoying kitten to our family
  • Learned a few new technologies that I had been putting off
  • Watched my wife get a great new job
  • Watching my friends start families
  • Made some new friends

Not to say everything has been great, but the good has totally outweighed the bad.  I have to thank all of my readers as well.  I couldn’t have done without you all.  Thank you!

Amiibos

So I’ve been hit by the Amiibo bug.  I started cutting out these stands for my collection.

IMG_4653 IMG_4654 IMG_4655 IMG_4656 IMG_4657 IMG_4658 IMG_4659 IMG_4660 IMG_4661 IMG_4662 IMG_4652I may have gone a little overboard.

PiPlay

The next version of PiPlay is really coming along.

snapshot

You can see our game listing screen now shows a lot more info.  We are also moving a lot of our configs into SQLite DB files for faster retrieval.  This is going to be an awesome release!

Happy 2015 everyone!

 

Dec 03

Encade Portable Raspberry Pi Gaming Console Kickstarter

Hey All,

Just wanted to post a cool Kickstarter that I’m backing.  The people at Nzen Mods are designing a really cool Raspberry Pi based project.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2032055368/the-encade-a-portable-raspberry-pi-gaming-console

It’s a portable Raspberry Pi based gaming console.  They are so close to hitting their goal, and only have 22 hours left.

Enjoy!

-Shea

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.

IMG_20141114_163640

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

IMG_4466 IMG_4467 IMG_0147 IMG_0148 IMG_0149

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 😀

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 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

 

Aug 08

Friday Post: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 5

Hey All,

Happy Friday.  One more week of break before the Fall semester starts up.  It’s going to be a busy month!

I’m happy to announce that PiPlay 0.8 Beta 5 is being released.  It should be available on SourceForge in a few hours.

Fixes / Improvements:

  • Smoother animations and framerate
  • More optimizations
  • Memory leak fix
  • Control Pad setup is now under the popup menu (press tab or the second button on your joystick)
  • This is the master image for the PiPLAY Kickstarter

Work is already being done on the next release, which will include 2 player controller setup support, thanks to Mark.

Have a good weekend everyone!

-Shea

Jul 18

Friday Post: Space Madness!

Hey All,

For the first time in a long time I feel rested.  I did a sleep study to find out why I was so fatigued all the time even though I was getting around 8 hours of sleep. ( I’m not counting that my other waking hours have been spent on the Kickstarter, PiPlay, and Work with no breaks 😉 )

The study people hooked me up to a machine that essentially blows air at you, and holy crap, it helped me sleep through the night like a log.  I was up at 5am, didn’t need any caffeinated drinks in the morning (but force of habit…) and I’ve been going strong all day.  If I feel this good and energized after one night,  I’m excited to see what will happen after a few weeks!

PiPlay

PiPlay 0.8 Beta 4 has so far been really good.  Only a few relatively minor bugs to fix.  I am going to push the update this weekend and a new image as well.  Be on the lookout for that.

Raspberry Pi Model B+

Last Monday the Raspberry Pi Foundation released the latest Pi board, the Model B+.  While the core hardware stays the same, the board includes 4 USB Ports, more GPIO pins, improved board layout, and a switch from SD Cards to Micro SD cards.  My board came in today, so I took some pictures of it.

IMG_4088 IMG_4089 IMG_4090 IMG_4091 IMG_4092

 

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea