Feb 21

Friday Post: Gear

Hey all,

Wooo it’s Friday! Next week I’m speaking at UCF’s Information Fluency conference.  I’m very excited.  Presenting an application I wrote that helps with Online Learning.

Time to get to work on PiMAME.  Making great progress.  Can’t wait to release it 😀  One of the issues I ran into was that I didn’t realize git sub-modules don’t update to the latest code, they stay at the commit they were committed in.  Anyone who has been using the installer for 0.8 has been running on older code, which explains why the bug fixes weren’t being seen.  It was a silly mistake on my part and will be fixed soon.

Misumi

Misumi is offering a free $150 credit for new customers placing an order via credit card.  In the reddit thread advertising this promotion, a few people have put together a build list with part numbers for making your own 3D Printer.  This will greatly decrease the price of building your own RepRap.  I’m going to try and build a Smartrap Mini.

UUGear

I got an email today about a new hardware company that’s making items for the Raspberry Pi.  They are called UUGear, and they are making some pretty good looking sensors and add-ons.  I haven’t yet had a chance to test their products, but the online store should be opening soon.

USBHUB_01 USBHUB_02

 Titanfall

I was playing the Titanfall beta over the weekend, and I can’t remember ever being this excited over a game.  Mechs, freerunning, jet packs!  It’s like my inner 12 year old was asked to make a video game and he delivered.  Sorry for the terrible quality video.  Here is a couple minutes of my Titanfall gameplay:

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Jan 17

Friday Post: January

Hey All,

It is the middle of January and it already feels like a year full of events has occurred.  I turned 30.  It’s a weird feeling not being in my twenties anymore.  It will take some getting used too.  I spent my birthday with good friends.

My new computer has been built and is running beautifully.  Had to return the old PSU because one of the fan blades cracked, which was causing it to overheat.  Picked up a Corsair modular PSU and it’s been running 24×7 with no issues.

2014-01-12

PiMAME was featured in the January / February issue of Raspberry Pi Geek.  It was given a 2 page spread, as well as reviews of other gaming environments for the Pi.

RPG_UK_02-2013

 

PyCon 2014

I was notified that I was chosen to give a poster session at this years Python programming conference, PyCon, in Montreal.  I am very excited to be showing off the work I have done with Python and the Raspberry Pi.  It’s going to be April 9th through the 11th.  The past two conferences have been amazing, and I am excited to be able to have more of a role this year. More information is available at us.pycon.org

Adafruit

Back in 2012 I hacked together a crude but effective USB power cord with a switch.  Adafruit is now selling a professionally manufactured cable that does the same thing for only $2.95.

Mine:Photo Jul 22, 4 13 45 PM

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I’m so glad this cable has finally been made.  It was a pain to hand make them!

Have a great weekend all!  PiMAME news next weekend 😀

 

-Shea

 

Aug 09

Friday Post: Semester Startup

Hey All,

Happy Friday!

I have one week until the Fall semester starts at UCF.  Everyone in our department is rushing to make sure we are all ready, everything is updated, and everybody’s happy.  I’m excited.  I think this semester is going to be wonderful.

Leap Motion

Over the week I bought a Leap Motion device.  Ever since I saw the preview of it, I was awe struck.  This device has the ability to make a huge paradigm shift in the way we provide input and controls to our computer systems.  It makes me even sadder to say that I returned it.  I had such high hopes for the device, but, there were just too many things wrong on the software side.

The hardware is top notch.  It just works.  The software was crummy at best.  It requires a lot of CPU power to run.  I tried it on a Core 2 Duo, and the input lag was horrible.  On a Core i5 it was fine, but I shouldn’t require that much CPU power just for an input device.  The app store was also disappointing.  There were a lot of apps available, but the vast majority cost money.  The third party free mouse driver software wasn’t top notch.  It made using the computer a chore.  In reality, the software made it feel like a poor man’s kinect.  🙁  I am willing to give it a second chance, because the hardware is top notch.  They just need the dev team to put some polish on the UX.

Raspberry Pi Pip-Boy

This is really cool. Panda from Hardware Libre posted this in the comments and on the PiMAME forums.  This is a homemade Raspberry Pi Pip Boy.

Raspberry Pi Camera NoIR

So, last week at FamiLAB, Gordon Hollingworth, Director of Software at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, paid us a visit and talked to us about hardware, software, and a cool version of the Raspberry Pi camera that is being released.

Photo Aug 03, 4 07 24 PM

It’s called the Pi NoIR, and it’s the Camera Board without the IR filter.  Without the IR filter, you are able to capture part of the infrared spectrum, which you can test out by pointing your TV remote to the camera and pressing a button.  What is invisible to your eye will show up on the camera sensor, and on your screen.  A flashing beam of light coming from the remote control.  There is a whole genre of IR photography, and this will allow you to get started in it.

Photo Aug 03, 4 37 12 PM Photo Aug 03, 2 48 54 PM

That’s all for this week,  I hope you all have a good weekend!

-Shea

Jul 19

Friday Post: Fun Week! Pacific Rim, Oculus Rift, and a Neat Pi Case

Hey all,

This has been a fun week.  Long, but fun.

Pacific Rim

If you haven’t seen Pacific Rim yet, do yourself a favor and go see it.  It will make your inner 12 year old boy very happy 🙂  After watching the movie I had to pick up the Gipsy Danger Jaeger action figure:

Photo Jul 19, 2 34 17 PM Photo Jul 19, 2 34 50 PM Photo Jul 19, 2 34 26 PM

Oculus Rift

A FamiLAB member has been working with an Oculus Rift development kit for the past few weeks, and very generously allowed me to borrow it for a few days.  The device is well worth the money, and was comfortable to wear with my glasses.  That said, it makes me want to get contacts so I can wear it with even more comfort.

I played Team Fortress 2 for a while and Half Life 2. A few of my coworkers tried Surgeon Simulator 2013 with it and that was really hilarious to watch. We also loaded some 3rd party drivers which allows more games to run that aren’t meant to on the device, and even though there were bugs, it was still playable.  The big disappointment with the device right now is the low resolution screens.  You really notice the pixels at first, but after the immersion kicks in, you learn to ignore it.  Luckily Oculus VR has stated that the consumer version will have much higher resolution screens.

Photo Jul 18, 3 06 05 PM IMG_20130717_100201_1 IMG_20130717_094652_1 IMG_20130717_094726_1

Engrained Products Raspberry Pi Case

The awesome people at Engrained Products sent me one of their Pi cases to try out.  It’s fantastic.  I’m really impressed with how they put in the little cuts so that the wood can bend freely.  Also the cut gears are a great touch.  I’ve been using the Adafruit case but I am going to switch to this one.

Photo Jul 19, 2 35 06 PM Photo Jul 19, 2 35 24 PM Photo Jul 19, 2 35 56 PM

 

 

I hope everyone has a great weekend.  Take care!

-Shea

Jun 21

Friday Post: Telepresence Robots!

Hey All,

First off, no PiMAME this week.  Still working out bugs.  It’ll be soon I promise 🙂

I’m 99% done with my book.  Content is all done!! Woo!  Now I’m just working on the preface.  I’m really excited to get back the edited version and do the final touches 😀 😀

Mike Dicillo created a really Arcade cabinet for PiMAME made entirely out of Lego.  It is freaking awesome!  http://www.mikedicillo.com/legocade/#

10

 

Onto the topic, my department got a cool new member this week.  A telepresence robot!  Specifically a Double Robotics unit.

It’s an iPad on a Segway, thats connected to the internet, and allows you to connect to it from anywhere in the world.  It was awesome to test it out and attend a conference in another building.  We had a coworker who is currently in another state connect to it and pilot it around the office.

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We live in the future!

More PiMAME news soon 🙂

 

-Shea

Jun 07

Friday Post: Hardware

Hey All,

This week has been kinda awesome and frustrating at the same time.  We had an issue crop up at work that dealt with some legacy app, and it was a part of the system no one had ventured in for a long time.  Needless to say around 3pm today, after a whole week of digging around, we finally had a fix.  Feels good!

I sent the first draft of the first half of my book to the publisher for editing and reviews.  Feels real good!

My buddy Jacob received his Crazyflie nano quadcopter a few weeks ago and has been having a lot of fun with it.  His latest project has been to control it via a Raspberry Pi.  He has been flying it around the office and it’s a lot of fun to play with.  The thing is whisper quiet until you start turning and then it sounds like a humming bird looking for a kill is coming at you.  Again, its a lot of fun, especially with coworkers and nerf guns.

Another frustrating thing happened this week.  I needed to take screenshots of the Raspberry Pi in action playing some games, so I did some research, and it looks liked the best device is an EasyCap DC60.   This device takes input from an RCA jack and goes into your computer via USB, and appears like a webcam with the video.  It also has Mac drivers, which is a big plus.  Now I know there are a lot of fakes out there, and newer models which don’t support OS X, so I went on Amazon, looked for the proper model, and didn’t care that it was fulfilled by a third party.  It was sent via prime and said DC60.  What I got was a piece of counterfeit hardware.

Now, I buy a LOT of hardware from China.  Over the years I have been very lucky about counterfeits.  I tend to not order anything of enough importance to be counterfeited, or its generic enough that EVERYONE makes the same product.  This time I wasn’t so lucky.  I got an Easee Cap DC-60++ that used a utv007 chipset.  This chipset BARELY supports Windows much less OS X or Linux.  The software it came with was also pirated.  I decided I was going to try to get it to work first though, and see if it had any saving grace.

It took two hours but it finally displayed my video in a window.  I was so frustrated.  If you can get your hands on a genuine EasyCap DC60, its supposedly an awesome video capture device.  I’m still on the hunt for one.

 

Anyways, have a good weekend!

-Shea

May 24

Friday Post: More Neat Things!

Hey all,

Another long week over here.  I’m glad we have a 3 day weekend, because I could use it.  Going to sleep until Monday I think 🙂  Anyways, onto the fun stuff!

Book

So, I’ve been waiting ages to announce this.  I have been tapped by a publishing company to write a book about a computer that means a lot to me (hint hint).  That’s really all the details I can announce at this time, but I’m very excited and eager to work on this project.

BarCamp Orlando

Last week I talked about BarCamp Orlando.  It was a lot of fun.  There were a lot of great talks given by members of the Orlando tech community.  I met a lot of cool people, and networked with some fellow educators.  It was also nice to see a big turnout of my coworkers and friends from FamiLAB show their support of this conference.

I did a talk about gaming on the Raspberry Pi, and I have to say it went fairly well.  I have grown to really like public speaking, and I am very interested in doing more.  I did about 15 minutes of explanations and demos of the Raspberry Pi’s capabilities, and another 10 minutes of QA from the audience members.

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Thermal Imaged Pi

I received an email from Bux (from the forums) the other day.  He acquired a thermal scanner, so he used it to take a picture of the Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi - Thermal Image

Weston  Accelerated X

A very exciting development in the continuing optimization of the Raspberry Pi has been released.  A release of the Weston software that allows accelerated X windows to be displayed on the Raspberry Pi.  This should help with the sluggish feeling that is encountered when using the GUI.  I will be testing this out over the weekend.  The instructions to install it are available here: http://fooishbar.org/tell-me-about/wayland-on-raspberry-pi/ and below:

echo deb http://raspberrypi.collabora.com wheezy rpi >> /etc/apt/sources.list
apt-get update
apt-get install weston

Stickers

I think I have sent out all the stickers.  If anyone hasn’t received theirs, please contact me again!


Have a great weekend everyone!

-Shea

May 16

Raspberry Pi Camera Quick Look

Hey All,

I got my Raspberry Pi Camera board in the mail today!  It was very easy to install.  The hardest part was waiting for apt-get upgrade to complete.  After that was done, a new camera option is available in raspi-config, and some new applications are available to run.  The apps are raspivid and raspistill, which takes videos and photos respectively.

I haven’t spent a lot of time with the software, that’s for the weekend, but I did try taking some pictures via the command line.  This is going to be an awesome add on!

Photo May 16, 5 03 27 PM Photo May 16, 5 04 03 PM Photo May 16, 5 04 38 PM Photo May 16, 10 00 43 PM

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-Shea

May 14

Cooling a Raspberry Pi with Liquid Nitrogen

Ok, this is seriously cool! (no pun intended)

The folks at linkxs.org decided to try running a Raspberry Pi under liquid nitrogen, and seeing how it performed.  Like a beast apparently!  It runs pretty stable at -100C.  The ethernet port is only rated to 0C, so the fact that it still worked and they could stay SSHed into the machine is awesome.

Great job guys!

http://linkxs.org/freezing-a-raspberry-pi-in-liquid-nitrogen/

-Shea