Apr 03

Friday Post: PyCon 2015, also Make!

Hey All,

So next week I will be in Montreal for the annual Python Software Foundation conference: PyCon.  My coworker and I will be presenting a project we developed at UCF that uses Django, AWS, and a bunch of other tools that allow us to help 60,000 students learn in a better environment.

Next Friday’s post will probably be late, depending on what the internet connection is like up there.

Also, Make featured PiPlay in their latest video!

Have a good weekend everyone!

-Shea

Mar 27

Friday Post: PiPlay 0.8 Beta 9 Released!

Happy Friday Everyone!

 

I am proud to present the very latest version of PiPlay!  PiPlay 0.8 Beta 9!  I feel like this is the best release yet!

While this was mostly a bug fix and compatibility update, we do have one awesome new features implemented.  When you upload, drag and drop, ftp, or somehow copy a game file to the roms folder, our file watcher will pick that up, and automatically update the PiPlay Menu.  No more running the Rom Scraper, or getting popups about unscraped files.

Update now via the PiPlay Menu, or download the latest image!

 Changelog
  • Numerous bug fixes!
  • Updated to latest Raspbian
  • SQLite Backend
  • Webserver now a background process via supervisor
  • File Watcher automatically scans for game files and updates the PiPLAY menu
  • Raspberry Pi 2 comparability
  • Controller config updated
  • Moved more repos to GitHub
  • Master games list updated
  • Toggle menu item visibility (in beta mode still)

Have a good weekend everyone!

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 06

Friday Post: Bugs!

Hey All,

First of all, yes, I’m aware of a really dumb bug in PiPlay 8 Beta 8.  I’m going to release an update this weekend that should fix it.  I don’t know how I let a release slide with a joystick bug, but I did, and I’m sorry.

I changed my Raspberry Pi battle station setup so that hopefully testing will be a bit easier.

IMG_4853[1]

On another note, this week at work has been amazing.  One my applications was selected as a winner in an educational app challenge.  My team won 3rd place.  I am very proud!  My team was also selected to present at the New Media Consortium on our work with Learning Tools.  😀

Have a good weekend all.  I look forward to releasing the bug fix update.

-Shea

 

Feb 20

Friday Post: PiPlay 8 Beta 8!

It’s now available on SourceForge!

Hey All,

PiPlay 8 Beta 8 is here!  Mark has put a huge amount of time into the new frontend code.   We have moved form YAML files to a SQLite database.  Many items have been sped up.  The web frontend now has a database administration section.

This is a huge update.  Probably the best I think we put out… but because of the Pi2, we have had to do a lot of extra testing, and may have missed some stuff.  Please please please let us know if something isn’t working, or if something slipped through the cracks.  I want this to be the best release ever!

This new image will work on the Pi2 and B, B+, A, and A+.  I have spent the past week pulling out hair trying to get everything to work.  I have had to remove Stella, the Atari 2600 emulator for the moment.  When I can get it working properly on the new kernel, I will add it back in.

The image is currently being uploaded to SourceForge, so in a few hours it should be available.

Thanks for your patience, and thanks to all the testers.  If you find any bugs (I’m sure there are some) let us know in the PiPlay forums.

Feb 06

Friday Post: Pi2 should be arriving tomorrow…

Hey All!

So my Pi2 is scheduled to arrive tomorrow!  I am currently prepping a new PiPlay image, as well as a new update so that it should just be plug and play.

I’m excited!!!

Humble Bundle Books Edition

So I love Humble Bundle.  I have bought a ton of things from them in the past…but this week, they have an awesome bundle!

They are offering a boatload of No Starch Press books at a name your own price!

hbnsp

https://www.humblebundle.com/books

Go buy some and support a charity at the same time!

More updates to come as I eagerly await my new board.

-Shea

Feb 02

Raspberry Pi 2

Hey All,

A big announcement came from the Raspberry Pi Foundation today!  They introduced the Raspberry Pi 2!

The biggest change is the CPU has been upgraded from a single core ARMv6 @ 700Mhz to a QUAD CORE ARMv7 @ 900Mhz.  The RAM has also been upgraded from 512MB to 1GB.  The price is going to remain the same as well!  Only $35!

The upgrade from ARMv6 to v7 is pretty big.  v7 can run things like Ubuntu and Android OS.  Most main line software repos are precompiled for v7 first as well.  Microsoft has even mentioned that Windows 10 will be free for the Raspberry Pi (though in an Internet-Of-Things way which may be more like the Intel Galileo than a full desktop environment).

All software should be backwards compatible so PiPlay should work right out of the box, along with a much appreciated speed boost.  I can’t wait to start recompiling the source code to eek out as much power as possible from this new core!

Most of the retail sites are swamped, but here is a list of places to order:

Pi2ModB1GB_-small

Jan 31

Friday Post: PiPlay Sneak Peek

Hey All,

I wanted to give you all a sneak peek on the next version of PiPlay.  The biggest feature is that we are moving from YAML files to a sqlite DB to store a lot of the data.  There are also lots of optimizations and speed improvements.

My two favorite features have to be the ones that Mark implemented:  Favorites, and Game Info.  You can now favorite a game and it will appear in the favorites category.  Alongside the game list, you will also find info available about your game (as long as you have run the scraper.)

The web interface has also been extended to include database editing.  You can now add menu items to frontend via the web interface.

1 2 3 4 5

 

This release should be out in the next week or so.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Jan 23

Friday Post: Javascript for Kids Review & iOS dev needed

Hey All!

So my 31st birthday was great.  Got a Gamecube controller adapter for the Wii U, had some 8 player smash battles, and my wife made me an awesome Pokemon cake!

IMG_4703

PiPlay iOS App

So one of the items I have been working on on the side for PiPlay is a remote controller option.  I have the backend working.  A daemon sits on the Pi as a virtual keyboard (using udev) waiting for a specific HTTP request which is then interpreted and issued a keypress.  It’s really cool to see in action, but ugly as all get out.

This is why I am asking if anyone has any iOS design / dev experience, I would love to chat with you and hopefully work together on this as an open source project.

10935506_10103804677807022_1324185694_o

My not so impressive mockup skills 🙂

Book Review: Javascript for Kids

Javascript For Kids is the next book in the “For Kids” series from No Starch Press.  When they originally sent me the Python For Kids book, I was really excited.  It was my first time reviewing a book, and it was an amazing text in its own right.  So when they told me Javascript For Kids was available, I jumped at the chance to review a copy.

I’m going to say this outright: I like Python For Kids better.

Javascript For Kids takes you from zero programming experience, all the way to programming graphics and mini games using the canvas tag.  Whereas Python For Kids was very easy to read and hard to put down, I find this book to be information dense, and a little overwhelming at parts.  The author knows his stuff, and the information is clear and well written, but I wish the book was paced a little slower.

That said the examples used are lots of fun, and the audience will probably enjoy writing and expanding on the included code.

No Starch landed a 10 / 10 on Python For Kids, which set the bar extremely high.  I’m giving Javascript For Kids a 7.5 out of 10.  It’s deserving of the For Kids title, and I eagerly await the next book in the series.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea