Jul 26

Friday Post: Book Reports

Excuse the delay, I’ve been having connection issues all day.

Hey All!

Happy Friday!

This has been a trying week.  The wife and I are now house hunting, and the endeavor has been…exhausting.  Oh well.  Onto some good stuff.

Book Reports

The book I am writing is currently at the review stage, which is awesome.  Hopefully only another month or so and the finished copies will be available!  While we wait for that to be released, I have some other books I have been reading and I think this community will enjoy.

Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program By Making Cool Games

super_scratch_programming_adventure

This book has a really interesting background.  It was created by created by The Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and the MIT Media Lab.  The book teaches you how to “program” in the Scratch language/IDE.

Scratch is really neat as it’s a drag and drop visual language that is aimed at young / new programmers.  You learn programming concepts as you place blocks of “functions” in various areas to perform actions.

The book itself is well done, with comic book style artwork, narrative, and learning modules.  It’s an easy read, and a good start for a young programmer.

Instant Minecraft: Pi Edition Coding How-to

0636OS_mockupcover_instant-how to_0

Packt Publishing has just published this book about using the Minecraft API for the Raspberry Pi with Python.  I have a soft spot for Packt, as they are the ones publishing my book, but so far I have enjoyed this book.

From the beginning you are thrown into the Python interface and start manipulating the Minecraft world on your Pi.  It is relatively short, only around 50 pages, but I find that to be a good thing.  It’s to the point.  You go from nothing to building a full Revsersi game by the end.

I showed it off at the Orlando Science Center with FamiLAB last saturday and it was really neat to see the amount of children who ran up to see anything related to Minecraft.  Some of the parents were enthusiastic about being able to bring education to a video game.

I hope you have a good weekend and hopefully enjoy these books.

-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

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.

330173_4699890302737_534318985_o

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

Apr 17

PiMAME 0.6 Beta 5 – Now with PlayStation support!

Hey all,

PiMAME 0.6 Beta 5 Available

Sorry to release another image so quickly but I figure this is a good reason.  PCSX_ReARMed is working beautifully on the command line, with sound, and at 99% speed.  So I added it to PiMAME.  You can now play PlayStation games on your Raspberry Pi.

I’ve tested Gran Turismo 2, Syphon Filter, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2.  They worked really well.

I also added the fix for the slow menu in AdvMENU.

The next version of PiMAME (0.7) will have an updater so that you don’t need to keep downloading new images.

Download Now

Enjoy everyone!

-Shea

Mar 16

Friday Post: PyCon 2013!

Apparently the wireless at PyCon ate my post  and it didn’t actually get saved or posted last night 🙁  This is what I could recover:

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Hey All,

I’m sorry for the late post.  This time change is killer.  I am in California right now attending PyCon for my University.  It was a whole day of flying yesterday, and the first day of the conference has gone amazingly well.  Eben from the Raspberry Pi Foundation gave the keynote.  It was great.