Dec 31

2018

Hey All,

I almost didn’t blog for the whole year. To be truthful, it’s been hard to write this past year. Lots of amazing wonderful things have happened to me in 2018, but I’m exhausted. And this blog was easy to overlook. I want to write again, but at my own pace. I’m going to try to start again.

That said…. BEING A FATHER IS AWESOME! I have an amazing little mini me who is 20 months old and is just so much fun. He has made me grow in ways I never even knew imaginable.

Maker Faire Orlando 2018

My friend Jacob and I worked on an awesome project for Maker Faire Orlando this year, and I am so proud to say we won Maker of Merit! It is a deep honor to me to win that award. And of course it’s Raspberry Pi related ūüėÄ

We made a 4096 LED pixel framebuffer display powered by the Raspberry Pi!

LED Display playing a clone of Snake
Prototype at the Orlando Science Center

How it works?

We are using P10 LED panels as the basis for the screen. P10 means a 10mm dot pitch, so 10mm between each LED. They range from 3 – 10mm. The panels also usually come in a size of 16 x 32, but luckily they are daisy chainable!

The Raspberry Pi can even handle upto 32 of them in 3 chains! For our purposes we only used 8 16×32 panels in one chain.

8 P10 Panels, daisychained to an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet, connected to a Raspberry Pi 3b+, with power distributed via a CFOL Distro 8 board.

The above picture may look complicated, but it’s not that bad.

8 P10 panels are daisy chained together using a standard HUB75 cable (it’s like an smaller IDE cable).

The panels are mounted together with the orange and red 3D printed brackets.

The first panel is connected to a Raspberry Pi 3B+ via an Adafruit LED matrix bonnet.

The power for the panels and the Pi comes from a 10amp DC supply, which plugs into the bonnet. The bonnet powers the Pi, and has two screw terminals for the voltage output. The +/- screw terminals connect to a CFOL Distro 8 PCB (in the center of the board) which takes the input and breaks it out to 8 screw terminals. We only need 4 since each cable powers two panels, but it gives us room to expand.

After that we use https://github.com/adafruit/rpi-fb-matrix to copy whats on the HDMI framebuffer out onto the LED matrix!

and Voila! You now have a giant low resolution display!

Many thanks to Adafruit for making such a great beginner tutorial that we could jump from, and building a great bonnet for the Pi!

Happy Making and a Happy New Year! Here’s to a wonderful 2019 everyone!

-Shea

Oct 17

Awesome news and MakerFaire Orlando 2016 coming up

Hey All,

I have extremely awesome and happy news to report!  K is pregnant!!!!  We are having a baby!

In other news, MAKERFAIRE ORLANDO 2016 is this weekend at the Central Florida Fairgrounds!!!!

Come see me, FamiLAB, and hundreds of other exhibits showcasing the biggest show and tell on Earth!

Jacob and I have recently finished revision 3 of PiPlay Advance, and it’s looking awesome!

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We are currently testing out a variety of buttons, but it’s coming together really nicely!

And finally, the Elections are coming up soon, and my race for Florida House District 49 is heating up. ¬†I’m very excited to see what happens in the next few weeks. ¬†That being said, I have the most amazing supporters out there!

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Have a great week all!

-Shea

P.S.: In sadder news, at 91, my Grandmother Bernice passed away peacefully two weeks ago.  I was very hesitant about posting this, because it makes it feel so real now.  She lived an amazing life, and got to hear that she was going to be a great grandmother.  I miss her, and I love her, and it sucked that Hurricane Matthew hit the same week as the funeral, so everything had to be rushed.

Thank you all for being there for me.

Jul 24

InstructureCon 2016

Hey All,

So last week I was at InstructureCon giving a presentation on ProctorHub (UCF’s passive proctoring solution). ¬†InstructureCon was held at Keystone, Colorado this year, and it kicked my butt. ¬†Those mountains and high elevation are no joke. ¬†It was incredibly hard to breath that first day.

Everything went well,  presentation was awesome, met a lot of great educators doing all sorts of neat e-Learning.

The best part of the trip was that They Might Be Giants performed after the keynote.

It was a long week. ¬†I’m glad to be home.

-Shea

May 28

Politics and PCBs

Hey All,

This has been a fun month. ¬†Between campaigning, work, and Raspberry Pi stuff, I‚Äôve been busy ūüėÄ

Politics

So I’ve been campaigning a lot this month.  I am running for the District 49 Representative in Florida’s House.  I love my district.  One thing that is crazy to me is the amount of money being put into this election.  I have raised around $2000.  I’m very proud of that number.  It’s coming from friends and family who believe in me.  It’s humbling.  My Republican opponent has raised around ~$7000.  I’m sure it’s more now. And now there is a second Republican who has entered the race.  On the other side, my Democrat opponent has raised over $90,000!  $90,000.  That is an absurd amount of money for a State House race.  I’ve heard the average is around $40,000.  

That is insane to me. ¬†That‚Äôs a scholarship, a car, someone‚Äôs student loans. ¬†And instead it’s going to a campaign for ad buys and t shirts. ¬†I hate it. ¬†I truly believe campaigns should be publicly funded at all levels. ¬†On that note, I can‚Äôt help but see the irony in me asking for donations: https://donate.sheasilverman.com

PCBs

In other news, the first revision to the PiPlay Advance PCBs came in, and they are awesome!

Conferences

This week I was in San Antonio, Texas for the IMS Global Learning Impact Leadership Institute conference, where I gave two presentations on the LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) standards.  I was also there because my team at UCF won 2nd place in the LTI App Challenge for ProctorHub, our free passive proctoring software!

 It was a very different conference than I am used too.  Most of the software conferences I have been to have been very low level.  Getting into the nuts and bolts of how things work.  These educational conferences are very high level.  It’s an interesting paradigm change but I think we got some good stuff done.  I was able to give anecdotal evidence regarding some of the gaps in the current standards, and what could be done to improve them at all levels.  Stuff I introduce today will help to change the shape of educational software in the next few years.  

MegaCon is also this weekend. ¬†I’ll have some pictures up from that event soon.

Have a good weekend!

-Shea

Apr 12

AdvanceMAME 1.4 and AdvanceMESS 1.4 for Raspberry Pi3

Hey All,

I compiled AdvanceMAME 1.4 and AdvanceMESS 1.4 for the Raspberry Pi3.

On the Pi3, games like Street Fighter II and The Simpsons run like butter with full audio. ¬†It’s great!

You can download them here:

http://sheasilverman.com/rpi/raspbian/pi3/advancemame_1.4-1_armhf_pi3.deb

http://sheasilverman.com/rpi/raspbian/pi3/advancemess_1.4-1_armhf_pi3.deb

To install run:

sudo dpkg --force-all -i advancemame_1.4-1_armhf_pi3.deb
sudo dpkg --force-all -i advancemess_1.4-1_armhf_pi3.deb

On another note, our first “PiPlay Advance” boards came in:

2016-04-05 (3) 2016-04-05 (2) 2016-04-05 (1) 2016-04-05

There was of course an issue with our pin routing, so we had to order a new revision of the boards.  So excited to see this project start coming together!

-Shea

Mar 18

Friday Post: Cool Stuff

Hey All,

Got some cool stuff to post!

First off, got my Pi3 and have pics to show.

IMG_20160305_123135035_HDR IMG_20160305_123142557_HDR IMG_20160305_123151811_HDR IMG_20160305_123201893 IMG_20160305_123221663 IMG_20160305_123230360 IMG_20160305_123255506 IMG_20160305_123303098 IMG_20160305_123338411Love this device so much!

BUT, what I’m more excited to show off is a very early prototype of a project a coworker and I are working on!

12722257_10104959026967052_78897063_oIt’s a Raspberry Pi Zero powered portable gaming system styled after the Nintendo GameBoy Advance using an SPI TFT and some other little cool things.

This is the first PCB I’ve ever helped design, and I placed the order for it this week. ¬†Boards shipped today, which means they will get here between 8 and 40 days. ¬†Argh, the waiting sucks!

On another note, Pokken Tournament came out today for the Wii U. ¬†It’s a really cool Tekken inspired Pokemon fighting game and so far I am loving it! ¬†My Nintendo Network ID is SSilver2k2 so if you want to fight, add me ūüėÄ

I also picked up some really cool Nintendo retro consoles this week.

IMG_20160318_212020422 IMG_20160318_212026477 IMG_20160318_212054261 IMG_20160318_212134085

This is the Sharp Famicom Twin.  It is the Japanese version of the NES (Famicom) and the Famicom Disk System combined into one unit.  I also picked up the Family BASIC addon which allows you to do rudimentary programs in BASIC (HuBASIC) for the NES.  BASIC programs can be saved and loaded off of a cassette tape player, or loaded from any audio player.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

 

 

 

Feb 12

Friday Post: StepMania on Raspberry Pi2

Hey All!

So this week the Raspberry Pi Foundation released a new version of Raspbian that includes experimental support for OpenGL. ¬†This is a big leap from OpenGL ES. ¬†This is real OpenGL that tons of games and software use. ¬†No mobile versions required anymore. ¬†That being said, its super experimental. ¬†It basically breaks the official screen and the camera doesn’t work. ¬†It also only works in xwindows and not on the command line.

BUT! One of my favorite games (and the way I lost 50lbs) is now available on the Pi!  StepMania!  The Dance Dance Revolution simulation game!

Here’s how to compile it:

First clone the StepMania repo:

git clone https://github.com/stepmania/stepmania stepmania
cd stepmania

Install the dependancies:

sudo apt-get install cmake gcc g++ libmad0-dev libgtk2.0-dev binutils-dev git-core make libasound2-dev yasm libc6-dev libogg-dev libvorbis-dev libbz2-dev zlib1g-dev libjpeg8-dev libpng12-dev libxtst-dev libxrandr-dev libglew-dev libglu1-mesa-dev mesa-common-dev automake autoconf libva-dev

A lot of these you will probably already have installed.

Now cd into the Build directory and start the configuration process (and run it one more time afterwards)

cd Build
cmake ..
cmake ..

Now you will want to edit the CMakeCache.txt which has some of the configuration options.

nano CMakeCache.txt
Look for CRASH_HANDLER and set it to OFF, SSE2 should be set to OFF, and Full Release should be set to ON.
press ctrl-x then y to save.

Now lets compile StepMania!

make

Let that run until it is done, should take about 3 or 4 hours. ¬†When it’s complete run

cd .. 
./stepmania

and you should now be playing StepMania!

All of your configurations  will be under ~/.stepmania, and your songs and stages go under ~/stepmania

Have Fun!

Also, GO SEE DEADPOOL (if you are 18 and older!!)

-Shea

Jan 22

Friday Post: AdvanceMAME 1.4 debs

Hey All,

Updates maybe sporadic for the next few weeks.

AdvanceMAME updated to 1.4 so I have recompiled the source and made .debs out of it.  This will work on the Pi and Pi2.

AdvanceMAME 1.4 Deb Download

To install goto a terminal and type:

sudo dpkg --force-install -i advancemame_1.4-1_armhf.db
advmame

You will now have a directory in ~/.advance and will need to edit your advmame.rc file.

nano ~/.advance/advmame.rc

Add to the first line:

device_video_clock 5 - 50 / 15.62 / 50 ; 5 - 50 / 15.73 / 60

Then press ctrl-x then y and hit enter to save.

You can now place your game files into the ~/.advance/roms directory and launch a game with the command:

advmame gamename
advmame sf2

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Nov 14

Friday Post: Less than 24 hours left on the Deskcade Kickstarter!

Hey All!

Less than 24 hours left on the Deskcade Kickstarter!  So excited!!!

On ¬†a related note, I picked up a Steam Controller to see what the hype was about. ¬†It’s cool, but what’s really neat is that it can be a keyboard, mouse, or gamepad at the same time, depending on the game. ¬†Whats not cool is it requires steam to be running to set that.

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ynsta (Staney Marcel) is writing some code to make it run locally under Linux without the steam driver.  The github repo is here: https://github.com/ynsta/steamcontroller

I’ve forked it (https://github.com/ssilverm/steamcontroller) and I’m going to see if I can get it running as just a joypad for now. ¬†It can currently run on the Raspberry Pi, and I can see the buttons being detected and get the feedback. ¬†It’s just not being passed into a uinput item yet. ¬†Soon ūüėÄ

Also, I’m trying to get the bootsplash to work again in Raspbian Jessie. ¬†Jessie introduces Systemd, which takes over for init.d. ¬†Currently the bootsplash runs later in the startup, so by the time omxplayer starts, the login screen is about a second away from showing up. ¬†I’m working on that too.

Here’s my current steps:

sudo nano /etc/systemd/system/bootsplash.service

Insert this:

[Unit]
Description=BootSplash
DefaultDependencies=no
After=sysinit.target local-fs.target
Before=base.target

[Service]
Type=oneshot
ExecStart=/usr/bin/omxplayer /home/pi/PiPLAY.mov

[Install]
WantedBy=base.target

Then run:

sudo systemctl enable bootsplash.service

and reboot.

You should now get a bootsplash on startup, but it may be running to late. ¬†I’m going to try and fix that.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

Sep 11

Friday Post: Orlando Maker Faire is here!

Hey All!

Orlando Maker Faire is here!!!  If you are in Orlando, make your way to the Orlando Science Center and come see 300+ exhibits including PiPlay and our custom arcade machine!

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Factur, FamiLAB,  PiPlay, and Free Play Florida also have the worlds largest arcade machine being setup!  It stands at 15 feet tall and plays Bubble Bobble!

IMG_1827 playing_some_bubble_bobble__1024

The screen is 60″ and the buttons are 2.5″. ¬†This thing is a beast. ¬†More pictures to come!

I am exhausted from the push to get this all done today!  Hope to see you there!