This Raspberry Pi sure tastes good!

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radiorahim radiorahim's picture
This Raspberry Pi sure tastes good!

Can a $25 computer teach kids to write computer software instead of just learning how to use Microsoft Office? That's what the Raspberry Pi Foundation is hoping.

Read the rest on rabble.ca here

In any case, I'm going to try to score one of these.   Looks like fun!

Fidel

Very cool, radiorahim. 

radiorahim wrote:
Most primary and secondary school computer education consists of learning how to use Microsoft Office and other proprietary software programs. Kids are being taught how to be users rather than creators of software.

This is true. Some of the highschools in and around my hometown offer little more than graphic arts using some sort of drawing program as the tech ed component for computers. It amounts to fun time on computers for kids. Most of them are just looking for an easy credit anyway, and so there isn't a lot of demand. Not all highschools offer the full computer technology curriculum apparently. I've talked to a couple of teachers who are teaching interfacing and robotics at the HS level, and this sounds like something they might like to integrate into some of the TEJ level course work and especially with the capability for interfacing with Arduino.

Thanks for the article.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Yes it's a very cool little device and only $35 for the "deluxe" model...$25 for the "basic".

From what I've seen online that first batch of 10,000 will probably disappear in less than a day.

Anyway, they plan to build them in batches of 10,000.   That particular sized batch apparently allows them the economies of scale, without having to get into any really high end complicated financing.

If there are some teachers working with kids on robotics, the Raspberry Pi would definitely be something that interests them.

Fidel

Prototyping and all kinds of goodies here and here. And this looks cool for Toronto hackers: HackLab Toronto

ygtbk

If you're looking for software that will encourage kids to think, rather than just clicking on a GUI, and that runs on a variety of platforms, there's a lot to be said for J, Ken Iverson's second language, available at:

http://www.jsoftware.com/

Haven't tried Version 7.01 as yet. It's a vectorized interpreted language. Warning: learning curve is a bit steep. If you read the Primer straight through and smoke isn't coming out of your ears by page 80, you're doing it wrong.

Fidel

On second thought after looking at this, I realize it will require mostly low level programming to really take advantage of the video oriented features of the Broadcom chip. Low level and machine code is fun to learn, for sure, but I'm not sure it would have inspired me to learn programming at first try. Byte code looks not so far removed from machine code, registers and stacks and the like. Low level languages like assembly tend to scare kiddies away from programming imo. I might think about using Python, BASIC, or C as suggested by r-Pi'ers themselves. Anything OOP/++ is definitely not a beginners language. I think that scared a lot of kids away, too, although there are some HS teachers using Java and OOP to teach programming. I don't agree with them that it's a good first language. I suppose not all kids are going to go on to do programming later in life, but good first experiences are important imo. if they can learn to think algorithmically and logically, then that's a worthwhile achievement in itself imo.

Fidel

Britain's computer science courses failing to give workers digital skills Poor-quality training and 'sausage factory' courses leave companies struggling to recruit computer-literate workers

Codecademy introduces summer semester inspired by Obama's Summer Jobs+

The future of COBOL: Why it won't go away soon COBOL? Really?

 

Codeacademy Free online programming course using javascript

Fidel

Wind River General Purpose Platform 6.9 Live DVD Evaluation Smokin real time OS for creating embedded apps. It's not Windoze and not Linux. 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Fidel wrote:

Wind River General Purpose Platform 6.9 Live DVD Evaluation Smokin real time OS for creating embedded apps. It's not Windoze and not Linux. 

 

Yes but like Windows and MacOSX it's proprietary...reason enough to reject it.

Fidel

Ya but you're not talking about desktop OS anymore. Lots of embedded programmers reject Windoze and Mac not because they are proprietary but because they are not RTOS.  Same with Linux. The best way to code, test and debug real time embedded apps will be on the target device in-circuit. Some(not many and too few actually) of the highschools are using Labview for robotics competitions. Those things are expensive and typically require sponsors to pay for the robot kits that come with all kinds of parts, motors, compressors, hydraulics and the software needed. Labview, for example, is graphical programming but requires an embedded toolchain like Wind River vxworks. It's used in industry. They don't have to code in C or even java, but that's a possibility with vxworks if they do eventually go into auto, telecom or manufacturing in general. This is the kind of exposure and tech skills the kids will need at some point.

What are raspberry pi coders proposing to use?  

ETA: I like the idea of free software. And after the revolution occurs it will all belong to us anyhoo. ;-

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
What are raspberry pi coders proposing to use?
 

There's a long discussion going on here if you're interested.

Quote:
ETA: I like the idea of free software. And after the revolution occurs it will all belong to us anyhoo. ;-

I no more trust governments to free (as in freedom) software than I trust corporations.   Governments are perfectly capable of producing evil locked-up non-free software.

Fidel

I like what poster DavidGoodEnough says about using C and Java. Those are transferrable skills. 

Gentoo might be something worth experimenting with.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
What are raspberry pi coders proposing to use?
 

There's a long discussion going on here if you're interested.

Quote:
ETA: I like the idea of free software. And after the revolution occurs it will all belong to us anyhoo. ;-

I no more trust governments to provide free (as in freedom) software than I trust corporations.   Governments are perfectly capable of producing evil locked-up non-free software.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Gentoo is the ultimate GNU/Linux distribution for geeks...although I don't think it's been ported over to ARM based processors...as used in the Raspberry PI yet.

So there's a project for you if you want.

Interestingly the Cuban GNU/Linux distro "Nova" is based on Gentoo.  My understanding about Gentoo is that you can tweak and optimize it for whatever hardware you happen to be using.   My guess is that the Cubans probably optimized it for older low spec hardware.

Quote:
Hector Rodriguez, Director of UCI, said that "[t]he free software movement is closer to the ideology of the Cuban people, above all for the independence and sovereignty.

There's also been a distro developed in Italy called Sabayon based on Gentoo but with the geekiness removed.

Fidel

Thanks radiorahim. I'd love to start something like this. I wish I was a kid again starting out. I could have ruled the world.

Looks like the Broadcom 2835 uses the ARM1176JZF-S processor. Reference manual here. That will be a bible for anyone immersing themselves in R-pi. I'm envious. Smile

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Well you can try to nab one of the first 10,000 production run!   $25 or $35 (plus shipping costs from the UK).

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

The first 10,000 Raspberry Pi computers went on sale this week and were sold out ... in seconds!

I didn't manage to get one Cry

The backlog of orders I understand is around 100,000 world-wide and with all of the press coverage around the world, I'm sure there will be an even larger demand for these little devices.

The media in the Toronto area paid particular attention to the launch because students at Seneca College were heavily involved in porting the "Fedora" distribution of GNU/Linux over to the Raspberry Pi.   Some Canadian media talked about the "made in Canada" software.  That's not quite true, because several other distributions of GNU/Linux (i.e. Debian and Arch) have been ported over to the Raspberry Pi.

A few stories:

BBC News:  Raspberry Pi computer in action (with video)

The Guardian

The Guardian (editorial)

CNN

Toronto Star

CBC

Globe & Mail

It was nice to see world-wide mainstream news coverage of a computing device designed to run free software. Most of what passes for "tech" news these days is crap about the latest i-Thingie or about what mega corporation is suing another mega corporation for patent infringement.

 

ygtbk
Fidel
radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Thanks for that link Fidel.   The later versions designed for the educational market will be built into a small plastic case.

I've got mine on order through a U.S. distributor (there isn't one in Canada yet).     It was supposed to be shipped in early April, but there was a problem at the factory with the ethernet ports on this second batch of  10,000.   So, I guess I'll have my little $35 computer a month or so later.

Fidel

And if you wanted to I think you could make a simple plastic case that would cost less than that fancy one printed from CAD files. I've made electronic gadgets before and needed enclosures for them, so I bought black plastic hobby boxes at Radio Shack for a few bucks. I put a bag of desiccant inside to absorb any moisture, and drilled or cut some holes in the sides or bottoms where necessary. It didn't look great but it was functional. I'm guessing the Pi case will be clear or transparent for effect. That's cool, too.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Yeah there are a few electronics parts dealers in this part of the world and plastic project boxes are pretty easy to find.

Some of this stuff is coming back because of the growing "maker" community...alot of them are quite interested in the Raspberry Pi because they can use it to build all kinds of neat projects.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

My Raspberry Pi arrived today  Cool

I'm like a little kid on their birthday...my little $35 bundle of free software computing joy!

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

accidental double post deleted

Unionist

Now that rr has his pi, I suggest he change his screen name to πr².

Fidel
Michelle

God help me. ;)

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Michelle actually loves it when I do something cool and geeky around the house that she benefits from ;)

Fidel

This $35 DIY Computer Is Going to Sail Across the Atlantic

Holloway will attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing with a FishPi!

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Fidel wrote:

This $35 DIY Computer Is Going to Sail Across the Atlantic

Holloway will attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing with a FishPi!

Yes I'd heard about this...sounds like a fun little project and rather ambitious too!    If it were me though I think I'd be inclined to do a "test run" crossing say one of the Great Lakes first.    What would be a drag would be to have the thing flip over and sink say 10 kilometers off shore ;)

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

University builds cheap supercomputer with Raspberry Pi and Legos

Inspired by the low-cost computing power of the Raspberry Pi, a team at the University of Southampton has used the ARM-based Linux computer-on-a-board as a building block for a low-cost supercomputer—racked and stacked using Lego blocks. And they’ve published a step-by-step guidefor anyone interested in creating their own Raspberry Pi high-performance computing “bramble."

Led by Professor Simon Cox, with Lego expertise lent by Cox’s 6-year old son James (who spent the summer learning to program on the Raspberry Pi using Python and MIT's Scratch), the team used 64 Raspberry Pi computers, each equipped with a 16-gigabyte SD card to construct a functioning computing cluster for under £2,500 (a bit over $4,000)—not including the Ethernet swtiches used to connect the nodes.

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Quote:
Inspired by the low-cost computing power of the Raspberry Pi, a team at the University of Southampton has used the ARM-based Linux computer-on-a-board as a building block for a low-cost supercomputer—racked and stacked using Lego blocks. And they’ve published a step-by-step guidefor anyone interested in creating their own Raspberry Pi high-performance computing “bramble."

This is exactly the kind of thing that we want young people to be doing.    We want young people to be creating cool technological things and not just being passive "users" of MS Office and/or iThingies.

Of course the Raspberry Pi is primarily designed to run the GNU/Linux operating system...a system that gives the user the freedom to run the software for any purpose, study the source code and adapt it to their needs, help your neighbour by having the freedom to distribute exact copies of the software and the freedom to help your community by changing the software and making your modified version available to the public.

These freedoms don't exist with proprietary software.  

Building a super computing cluster out of Raspberry Pi's is simply not possible with Microsoft Windows or any Apple OS.    

We should be removing proprietary software from the school system as was done in the Indian state of Kerala.

What school board isn't complaining about a lack of funds?   Education unions are being busted so that an educational system can fork out millions on licensing proprietary software and prematurely replacing perfectly good computer hardware.

 

Unionist

Hey πr², now you can supercharge your machine without worrying about voiding the warranty and losing $35!

[url=http://www.raspberrypi.org/archives/2008]Introducing turbo mode: up to 50% more performance for free[/url]

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Unlike the control freaks who make all of our other computing devices, on the Raspberry Pi hacking is encouraged Cool...even covered by the warranty!

This is the way computing should be!

 

 

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Just learned this evening that there's now an online magazine with articles about all the cool things you can do with your Raspberry Pi.

The magazine is called "The Magpi" and can be freely downloaded from the site.    They've already put out six issues, with a seventh in the works!"

"The Magpi" is in PDF format so that means you don't need an iPad to read it...you can read it on any computing device using any operating system and use the PDF reading software of your choice.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Interesting blog post here by someone who replaced a couple of home computer servers with a Raspberry Pi and another similar (but more expensive) Beagleboard.

The new setup takes up less physical space, is quieter and uses much less electricity!

sknguy II

I really like the electricity consuption of these kinds of devices. I think I'll try and fiddle with one of these to replace my mitx, which still has too much power consumption for my needs.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

CBC tech columnist Jesse Hirsh mentions the Banana Phone Project on his blog.   It's software designed to help you screen out robocalls and makes use of a Raspberry Pi computer.

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

Oh we have a spammer on board.

ryanw

Quote:

Poor-quality training and 'sausage factory' courses leave companies struggling to recruit computer-literate workers

my high school was 20 years back and with it my Grade 11 computer programming had just 1 of the 20 students be able to do the assignments and share it out to carry the remainder of the class. The final exam was insufficient to give a non-passing grade

if you weren't that one person dismantling your school's network on a lark you were wasting your time as far as gaining marketable skills I think that standard still exists to this day 

Michelle

radiorahim wrote:

Oh we have a spammer on board.

Can the Raspberry Pi do a banana-bulletin-board?  ;)

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

I've head of someone running an old-fashioned BBS on an old Asus EeePC.   I'm sure a Raspberry Pi could handle a banana bulletin board ;)

radiorahim radiorahim's picture

The Raspberry Pi is about to get a camera module!

Quote:
"Picture quality is 'pretty good' at the moment, but we're hoping to get it to 'bleedin' marvellous' before we release the hardware," the foundation said on its blog on Wednesday.

Luminous Juju

I downloaded a tutorial pdf yesterday from
http://swaroopch.com/notes/python/
on how to program a Raspberry Pi using Python, which is apparenetly ideally suited to this system.
This one seems to be highly recommended by various universities teaching Python to beginners.

You will also need a special word processor like VIM or the other one Swaroop mentions, to type the coding, as opposed to, say, Word Pad.
http://www.vim.org/