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

Mar 07

AdvanceMAME 3.4 for the Raspberry Pi Zero

Hey All,

AdvanceMAME 3.4 has been released with a lot of enhancements for the Raspberry Pi.

I got a message that it wasn’t working, so I recompiled a version JUST for the Raspberry Pi Zero. ¬†This is meant to run on the latest version of Jessie with Pixel.

Get it here

To Install and play, run these commands from the command line

sudo dpkg -i advancemame_3.4-1_armhf.deb
advmame

This will install and create your AdvanceMAME folders.  Now place your ROMs in:

/home/pi/.advance/roms

Then run:

advmame romname
example: advmame sf2

AdvMAME should now start playing your game file.

Have fun!

-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

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

Nov 27

Friday Post: Raspberry Pi Zero

Hey All!

Happy Friday, Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Black Friday, Happy Raspberry Pi Zero Day!

So yesterday the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched a new Raspberry Pi board, the Zero.

rsz_img_4054It’s TINY! ¬†And only $5 dollars. ¬†So far it’s a Pi 1 clocked at 1ghz, 512MB of RAM, Micro USB for power, Micro USB for peripherals, GPIO pins but without headers, and a mini HDMI port. ¬†The latest edition of the MagPi is going to include one in every issue.

They already seem to be sold out online, but I was able to get the starter pack on Adafruit for 29.99. ¬†It was worth it since I don’t have a mini HDMI or micro¬†USB to full USB adapter.

Adafruit $5 Raspberry Pi Zero

Adafruit $29.99 Raspberry Pi Basic Pack

Right now I’m full of Turkey, and spending time with family. ¬†I hope you all get to enjoy this time as well.

Have a great weekend!

-Shea

 

Nov 20

Friday Post: IAAPA 2015

Hey All,

Happy Friday!

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a day of IAAPA again this year. ¬†IAAPA is THE worldwide Arcade and Amusement expo. ¬†I’m fortunate that it takes place in Orlando, FL, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get this opportunity.

One of the highlights of the trade show was that Sega was there showing off the new to North America “Luigi’s Mansion Arcade”. ¬†This has been in Japan for two years now, but this is the first time (other than one location test) that a Luigi’s Mansion Arcade unit has been in the States. ¬†It’s a very neat game. ¬†It’s an on rails shooter game, where your gun is an all in one flashlight and vacuum cleaner. ¬†You stun the ghosts with the flashlight, then suck them into your vacuum. ¬†It’s a lot of fun, and I hope it gets translated and a few places pick them up.

In Raspberry Pi related news, the Mag Pi has just released their Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book!

Pi-Projects_Cover-495x700

 https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/official-raspberry-pi-projects-book/

200 pages of things to do with your Raspberry Pi!

Enjoy all!  Have a great weekend!

-Shea

 

Jul 25

Friday Post: Even more 3D printing…

Hey All,

This has felt like one of the longest weeks of my life. ¬†Had a couple meetings about Maker Faire Orlando, pushed out some software that 60,000 students will be using in a month. It’s super stressful. ¬†Luckily it’s Friday and I can end up sleeping until Sunday ūüėÄ

I was hoping to have some cool stuff to show this week about the 3D printing software, but of course at the last minute stuff wasn’t working.

My 3D printer is a Micro3D 3D printer. ¬†It’s a small $300 3D printer that is only now just getting people to hack on it. ¬†With 3D Printing, you usually have two steps from model to plastic.

The first step is to run your model (an .STL file) through a slicer.  There are many slicers out there, Cura, Simple3D, Slic3r, etc.  These literally slice your model into layers which are written out as Gcode.

Gcode is an industry standard for 3D Printing and CNC milling that can control extruders, X Y and Z axis motors, temperature controls, etc.  Everything your print will do is going to be from a line of gcode commands.

The printing portion is actually a program that reads the gcode and sends it to the printer to act out.

OctoPi

There is a really cool open source suite of tools called OctoPrint, that combines a gcode processor and a beautiful web frontend to manage your 3D Printer.  A Raspberry Pi distribution was made call OctoPi which allows you to control most 3D printers from your Pi!

octoprintscreen

Because the Micro3D is so new, support is just starting to come out for it and the gcode processors are a little iffy at the moment. ¬†I was able to get OctoPi to talk to my printer and manually move the axis, but it could not process the gcode properly. ¬†Bummer ūüôĀ

I am sure this will be fixed in the coming weeks though.  I am really happy with this printer.

Be on the lookout for a new PiPlay image. ¬†It’s been too long!

-Shea

IMG_5401This hasn’t been cleaned up yet ūüėÄ

IMG_5403 IMG_5405 IMG_5406 IMG_5407 IMG_5408 IMG_5409 IMG_5410 IMG_5411 IMG_5412

Jul 03

Friday Post: 3D Printing and Raspberry Pi live streaming

Hey All,

Happy Friday and happy 4th of July weekend!

On Monday I recieved a 3D Printer from the company M3D. ¬†It is the blue Micro 3D printer. ¬†If you use the coupon code “refurb” you can get one for $300 dollars (plus about $12 shipping).

microBlueSo far I’ve printed out a bunch of things, ranging from Bulbasaurs, and Ford Fiesta ST scale models, to characters from Dota and keychains. ¬†So far it has been an awesome little printer. ¬†Now, it’s slow, a little loud, and only has a print size of 6x6x6, but that hasn’t been an issue yet.

I’m using a Raspberry Pi with the camera module to livestream my printer.


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

bulba

2015-07-01 (1)

IMG_5327 IMG_5336 IMG_5326 IMG_5325

Livestreaming from USTREAM on the Raspberry Pi

Here is a quick guide to livestreaming on the Raspberry Pi with USTREAM and an RPI Camera Module

References from: https://ustream.zendesk.com/entries/63723444-Raspberry-Pi-Streaming-video-to-Ustream and http://www.oz9aec.net/index.php/dvb/490-turn-your-raspberry-pi-into-a-live-hdtv-transmitter

  • Install Raspbian to your Raspberry Pi SD Card
  • Install the Raspberry Pi Camera Module
  • Using Raspi-Config activate the camera module
    • sudo raspi-config
    • Enable Camera
  • You are going to need a version of ffmpeg installed. ¬†The version from apt-get will not work.
    • You can download a working binary here:¬†http://files.oz9aec.net/datv/490-rpi-hdtv/ffmpeg
      • wget¬†http://files.oz9aec.net/datv/490-rpi-hdtv/ffmpeg
      • chmod +x ffmpeg
    • Or you can download and compile the ffmpeg sources via git
      • git clone git://source.ffmpeg.org/ffmpeg.git ffmpeg
      • cd ffmpeg
      • ./configure
      • make
      • sudo make install
  • Set up a ustream script:
    • nano ustream
    •  #!/bin/bash
      RTMP_URL=<rtmpurl>
      STREAM_KEY=<streamkey>
      while :
      do
          raspivid -n -vf -hf -t 0 -w 960 -h 540 -fps 25 -b 500000 -o - | ./ffmpeg -i - -vcodec copy -an -metadata title="Streaming from raspberry pi camera" -f flv $RTMP_URL/$STREAM_KEY
          sleep 2
      done
    • Change RTMP_URL and STREAM_KEY to match the keys you get from your USTREAM Channel settings page.
    • If you compiled and installed your own version of ffmpeg, remove the ./ffmpeg and replace it with just ffmpeg in the code above.
    • chmod +x ustream
    • ./ustream
  • With any luck, you will now be streaming to your USTREAM channel.

 

 

 

 

 

Jun 19

Friday Post: Raspberry Pi Case and No Starch Press Humble Bundle!

Happy Friday!

This was a long week. ¬†I had three things to do at work. ¬†2 of them took 20 minutes, the last one took 4 days to finish. ¬†I’ve also apparently become addicted to Splatoon on the Wii U.

Official Raspberry Pi Case

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has come out with their official Raspberry Pi Case. ¬†I haven’t gotten my hands on one yet but it looks really nice.

Humble Bundle

I’m a huge fan of No Starch Press, and I love Humble Bundle’s bundles. ¬†I picked up the last No Starch Humble Bundle and it was great. ¬†This time it’s no different.

https://www.humblebundle.com/books

This bundle’s list of books:

PiPlay

Mark and I have been working on our remote controller concept that I posted a while ago on the blog. ¬†I’m really impressed with how it’s turning out. ¬†I couldn’t ask for a better team member. ¬†I’m excited to share that in the upcoming weeks.