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 😀

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

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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

 

 

 

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!

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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.

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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

Oct 18

Friday Post: Pokemon X and Y

Hey All,

No PiMAME news this week.  Still working on new stuff 🙂

This has been a hectic week.  Two weddings and Halloween Horror Nights.  Plus a ton of pages that were written for my classes.  Woo!

Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Orlando was great this year.  K and I have been going ever since we first started dating, and it’s where I proposed to her two years ago.  It’s an awesome tradition for us.  Last year they tried some new things like having moving scare zones, which didn’t end up working well.  This year however, they went back to scare zones and based it on The Walking Dead.  It was a lot of fun.

Pokemon X and Y

I haven’t played Pokemon since Red and Blue came out.  I was addicted to the series.  I have always loved Pokemon, but the later games just didn’t have the same feel to it.  On a whim I bought X and I feel like i’m a kid again.   Not only is the game fun, but the online features are great.  Being able to battle and trade Pokemon with people all over the world is so much fun.

Add me as a friend, my friend code is: 3823 – 8512 – 0415

As an aside, I want to thank the community surrounding PiMAME.  All the members on the forums that are helping each other, showing off their builds, doing awesome stuff with the software, you all make this project awesome.  Thank you.

-Shea

Oct 11

Friday Post: What’s free time?

Hey All,

Happy Friday!

This week just flew by.  It feels like it’s still Wednesday.  Maker Faire Orlando has come and gone, and I have to say, it was incredible.  I was manning my booth the entire time which always had a crowd but I was able to catch a 10 minute break to eat something and look around.  There were so many cool displays, and so many interested people who were interested.  By the end of the day my throat was sore and I had lost my voice.  It was totally worth it.

I will say this, the X-Arcade Tank Stick is built like a tank.  It got hit by hundreds of kids during the Maker Faire and it stood up to the challenge.  I’m going to take it apart because I think the right joystick got a little banged up but it was still working.

Python in 24 Hours

Someone who I am very honored to call a friend has just released her new book!  Katie Cunningham has just had her book, “Sam’s Teach Yourself Python in 24 Hours“, published.  I got mine in the mail today so I haven’t gotten a chance to go through it yet, but I have a feeling it will be great.  Congratulations Katie!

Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon X and Y come out tomorrow.  I love Pokemon, but I haven’t played one of the core series since Red and Blue (I know!).  Most of my office is picking the new one up, so I figured it’s time to once again catch ’em all!  Between work, grad school, and PiMAME, where I am going to find the time to play…

PiMAME

I upgrade PiMAME to use the newest version of Raspbian, and recompiled the kernel to have the Xin-Mo module fixes in place.  I wanted to hold off on the release until I had more to add, but I think i’m going to do an image only release for this, since you can’t really just do a kernel upgrade with an install script.  It will also include the PiMAME intro video.

Once that is released I am going to be working on totally revamping the main menu system and web interface.  I have some cool things coming down the pipeline!

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

Sep 20

Friday Post: Editing

Hello All,

This has been a fun week.  Trying to fight of the germs going around now that everyone is settled into classes.  This is usually when the colds start going around.  A few coworkers are already coughing.  I may need to put up a fort around my desk. On the plus side I am seeing Yellowcard this weekend!!!

The PyCon call for proposals deadline passed.  I put in 2 talks and a poster session.  I am volunteering this year as part of the program committee, and I am really excited about going.  I hope one of my proposals makes it.

I caught all of the Pokemon NFC figures.  Yeah, I have a problem.  The Gamestop near me allowed me to bring in my Wii U and scan the Pokeballs before buying them so I could pick out the ones I needed to complete my collection.  Some Gamestops really are awesome.

In exciting news,  I saw the final pdf of my book, and it is being sent to the printer now!!!  In a few days I’ll have the Amazon link to post.

The laser cutter at FamiLAB bit the dust.  The controller board’s heatsink fell off causing a short and frying the board.  I had some prototypes I wanted to cut so I ended up uploading my SVGs to Ponoko.com and getting them cut there.  They quoted me $18 to print out a prototype DeskCade, which isn’t bad considering the amount of space I had left free on the material.  I could probably have printed two for the same price if I spent more time rearranging the parts.  On the plus side, they said it would take 10 days for cutting and 5 days for shipping.  I ordered it on Thursday and it was shipping by Wednesday, so I’m really happy about that.

I can’t wait to see the quality of the parts!

PiMAME update should be soon.  This will be include a custom kernel for the Xin-Mo controller.

That’s it for now.  Have a great weekend!

Sep 13

Friday Post: Raspberry Pi Happenings

Hey All,

Happy Friday!  Long week.  This week at work I learned how to deploy a Django app to an old Solaris server (Read: spent way too much time reading the error log because of incompatible SPARC modules).  It was good though, because now I know of some really good debugging methods and have more Apache experience.

Xin-Mo Dual Controller and PiMAME

One of the louder feature requests for PiMAME is getting the Xin-Mo Arcade Encoder modules working.  A link to a guide on how to patch the kernel and making a new module for the Xin-Mo was posted to the PiMAME forums.  My Pi has spent the last night compiling the new kernel, and it seems to have worked.  I will be posting a beta version of PiMAME for users to test with this new kernel and that should get these Xin-Mo encoders working right!

Raspberry Pi Hub

Pimoroni is introducing a new powered hub for the Raspberry Pi.  They are a good company, and do a LOT for the Raspberry Pi foundation, so when these get a US release, I’ll be picking one up.

Raspberry Pi Geek Magazine

A few posts ago I mentioned that Linux New Media had published a Raspberry Pi Handbook and included a little blurb about PiMAME (yay!).  They just announced that they are publishing a bimonthly magazine dedicated solely to the Raspberry Pi.  The name could use some work, but I’m going to give it a chance.  It’s called the Raspberry Pi Geek.  Use code RPGOTHR10 to get 10% off.

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I don’t have a problem, I can stop collecting these any time…

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Have a good weekend all!

-Shea

 

Sep 06

Friday Post: PiMAME 0.7.9

Hey All,

PiMAME 0.7.9

PiMAME 0.7.9 is now uploaded to SourceForge

A new release of PiMAME is being uploaded.  This time it’s 0.7.9, and the biggest edition is DGEN, a Sega Genesis emulator.  PiSNES now supports 2 players, and the script was updated to not overwrite some of the config files.  You can use the update.sh script right now to upgrade.  I’ll update this post once the new image is on SourceForge.

Pokemon Rumble U

So, I’m a sucker for collectibles.  Make little collectible figurines, add NFC, and let them interact with a video game, and I might as well just hand over my paycheck to the developer.  I have so far kept myself away from Skylanders, and Disney Infinity, because I KNEW I would spend too much, but now Nintendo has come into the market with Pokemon Rumble U.

It’s an inexpensive Wii U game.  Download only.  It’s like a combination of Super Smash Bros., Mario Party, and bullet hell games.

There are 649 in game Pokemon to catch/befriend/see, but the real fun comes with these:

There are 18 different figurines to collect, and each one levels up as you play.  When you bring them to a friends house, you can place the little figure on their wii u gamepad and it brings over all your stats and moves.

It’s using NFC tags inside the figure’s base to read and write this data, and if you hold it up to an Android phone with NFC, it will try and read the data.  So far I have been unsuccessful getting a good data dump, but it would be neat if I could back up my figures stats and try moving them to blank tags.

Have a good weekend all!

-Shea