This has been a fun month. Between campaigning, work, and Raspberry Pi stuff, I’ve been busy 😀
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’s a scholarship, a car, someone’s 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’t help but see the irony in me asking for donations: https://donate.sheasilverman.com
In other news, the first revision to the PiPlay Advance PCBs came in, and they are awesome!
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.
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
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.
It’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.
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.
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 😀
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.
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!
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 🙁
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!
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).
So 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.
Super Scratch Programming Adventure! by The LEAD Project ( A favorite )
The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 2
The Manga Guide to Databases ( I had no idea No Starch published this, a great resource)
Wonderful Life with the Elements
The Art of LEGO Design
No Starch Summer Sampler 2015
The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder’s Guide
Learn to Program with Scratch
The Linux Command Line
The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book
Teach Your Kids to Code
Automate the Boring Stuff with Python
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.