Tag Archives: Christmas

So you got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas! Now what?

via Raspberry Pi

Note: The elves at Pi Towers are all taking next week off to spend some time with their families, and this blog will be quiet for the week. We’ll be back at the start of January. Happy holidays!

Happy 25th of December, everybody!

If you’re one of the many who woke up this morning to find some Raspberry Pi goodies under your tree, congratulations.

Christmas

Now you’ve unpacked the Pi, confirmed it to indeed be roughly the size of a credit card, and confused a less tech-savvy loved one by telling them “This is a computer!”, you may be wondering to do with it next…and that’s where we come in.

The Raspberry Pi can be used to create no end of wonderful things, including robots, musical instruments, virtual pets, stop motion cameras, and much more.

It will also help you to learn programming, allow you to play games, offer the chance to explore space, and automate your home.

Not quite like this…

So many awesome things.

But how do you do any of them!? Well…

1. OS me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

Awful pun. I’m sorry.

You’ll need to make sure you have the latest Raspbian operating system (OS) on your Pi. You may have been given an SD with Rasbian pre-installed but if not, head to our downloads page to get it.

2. Start me up

ALL THE POWER!

You’ll need to plug your Pi into a monitor (your TV will do), keyboard and mouse in order to get started. You’ll also need a good-quality power supply providing at least 2A.

We’ve some great instructions within our help pages to get you up and running. And if you’re still stuck, our forum has loads of information and is full of helpful people. Feel free to join and ask a question, and search previous topics for advice.

3. So how do I build a robot then?!

With tinsel and tape and bows and…

Excellent question. But if you’ve never tried to code before, you may want to start with something a little smaller…like Scratch or Sonic Pi, or a physical build such as the Parent Detector or a Burping Jelly Baby.

You may also want to check out some great project books such as Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi or any of The MagPi Magazine Essentials Guides and Project Books.

You’ll find a lot more suggestions in our Christmas Shopping List.

4. More, more, more!

You’ll find more projects on our resources pages, along with some brilliant inspirational builds on our YouTube channel and blog. Or simply search for Raspberry Pi online. We’ve an amazing community of makers who share their code and builds for all to use, and now you’re one of us…WELCOME!

 

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Estefannie’s Smart Gingerbread House

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Having recently discovered her through Instagram, we love the videos that have been coming through from Estefannie ‘Explains It All’ De la Garza.

As a “Software Engineer by day, Game Dev and YouTuber by night”, Estefannie is no stranger to digital making. And with her new YouTube channel, she’s started sharing the experience of physical making with the world.

Viewers can watch her as she learns how to solder, or builds a sensor-controller BB-8 pumpkin. And, just in time for Christmas, you can share the experience of building an automated gingerbread house.

The gingerbread house uses LEDs, servos, an Arduino and Raspberry Pi, all powered by a solar panel on the roof, to offer up an app-controlled light show, dancing gingerbread men and a working automatic door.

As far as automated baked goods go, this one definitely…takes the biscuit.

As with all great makers, Estefannie provides the code for her creation on her GitHub page, allowing everyone the chance to pimp up their own gingerbread houses this holiday season. So grab some tech, turn on the oven and lets get making baking making!

SMART GINGERBREAD HOUSE | KITCHEN HACKS

Hey World! I’ve always wanted a smart house, so I made a SMART GINGERBREAD HOUSE!!! Check out my version of an automated gingerbread house using an Arduino, Raspberry Pi, solar panel, servos, and LEDs. I hooked up all the lights and servos to an Arduino which is controlled by a website that is hosted in my Raspberry Pi.

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The Crackerjoke-a-tron

via Raspberry Pi

In the UK, plus a few other countries here and there, no Christmas table is complete without the traditional Christmas cracker next to every plate.

The Christmas cracker is a cardboard tube, tied shut at both ends. When two people pull it apart, an inner ‘snapper’ gives off a bang while the cracker’s contents fall into your mashed potatoes and gravy. There’s usually a paper hat that tears the moment you try to fit it on your head (or falls away with the after-dinner meat sweats), a gift that tends to be something like a magic trick, miniature sewing kit, or golf tee, and a joke, like this one:

What’s orange and sounds like a parrot?

A carrot.

Cracker jokes are notorious for being awful.

Because of this, I have created the Crackerjoke-a-tron. It’s the ultimate joke response unit that allows you to pronounce judgement upon the jokes at this year’s Christmas table.

Crackerjoke-a-tron

Pronounce judgement upon the jokes at this year’s Christmas table. Full information, including build ingredients and code, can be found at the Raspberry Pi blog:

To make your own Crackerjoke-a-tron, you’ll need:

  • a Raspberry Pi (any model will work)
  • 2 x tactile push buttons
  • a speaker with a standard 2.5 mm jack

If you don’t fancy soldering, you’ll also need:

  • a breadboard
  • 2 x male-to-male jumper leads
  • 5 x female-to-male jumper leads

To add lights, you’ll need:

  • a red LED
  • a green LED
  • 2 x 330 ohm resistors

You can download the .wav files you will need directly to your Pi.

Create a new folder on your Pi called ‘crackerjoke’ by entering the following into a terminal window:

mkdir crackerjoke

You can then enter this folder using this command:

cd crackerjoke

To download the .wav files to your Pi, use this:

wget http://rpf.io/goodjoke -O goodjoke.wav

And then this:

wget http://rpf.io/badjoke -O badjoke.wav

To make sure the files play, try typing the following (make sure to plug in your speaker or some headphones):

aplay goodjoke.wav

If this works, you’re ready to get your code written and your buttons and lights set up.

First, we’ll put the components in place. Here’s a picture of what to expect:

Cracker-joke-a-tron

The GPIO pins we are using are as follows:

  • Good joke button = pin 21
  • Bad joke button = pin 24
  • Red LED = pin 8
  • Green LED = pin 7

If you have a breadboard, ground everything as standard. If you don’t, make sure you ground all your LEDs and GPIO pins.

Now it’s time for the code. Open Python 3, create a new file within the crackerjoke folder called ‘crackerjoke.py’ and type the following:

import pygame.mixer
from pygame.mixer import Sound
from gpiozero import Button, LED
from signal import pause
from time import sleep

pygame.mixer.init()

good = Sound("/home/pi/crackerjoke/goodjoke.wav")
bad = Sound("/home/pi/crackerjoke/badjoke.wav")

goodbutton = Button(21)
badbutton = Button(24)

red = LED(8)
green = LED(7)

while True:
   red.on()
   green.on()
   goodbutton.when_pressed = good.play
   badbutton.when_pressed = bad.play

pause()

Save your code, press F5, and you should be good to go.

If you’d like the code to run on reboot, allowing you to detach yourself from the monitor, keyboard, and mouse, open a terminal window and type:

nano ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

At the bottom of the file, add:

@python /home/pi/crackerjoke/crackerjoke.py

Save and reboot.

If you make the Crackerjoke-a-tron, don’t forget to share a picture or a video with us via social media, using the hashtag #BerryXmas.

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Holidays with Pi

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This column is from The MagPi issue 52. You can download a PDF of the full issue for free, or subscribe to receive the print edition in your mailbox or the digital edition on your tablet. All proceeds from the print and digital editions help the Raspberry Pi Foundation achieve its charitable goals.

When I was a kid, it felt like it took forever for the holidays to arrive. Now that I’m an adult, the opposite is true: it feels like the holidays come hurtling at us faster and faster every year. As a kid, I was most interested in opening presents and eating all of that amazing holiday food. As an adult, I mostly enjoy the opportunity to pause real life for a few days and spend time with my family – though I do still love eating all that amazing holiday food!

Invariably, the conversations with my extended family turn to Raspberry Pi at some point during the holidays. My relatives may have seen something in the news about it, or perhaps they have a friend who is creating their own retro gaming emulator with it, for example. I sometimes show off the Raspberry Pi projects that I’ve been working on and talk about what the Raspberry Pi Foundation is doing in order to put the power of digital making into the hands of people around the globe.

All over the world there will be a lot of folks, both young and old, who may be receiving Raspberry Pis as gifts during the holidays. For them, hopefully it’s the start of a very rewarding journey making awesome stuff and learning about the power of computers.

The side effect of so many people receiving Raspberry Pis as gifts is that around this time of year we get a lot of people asking, “So I have a Raspberry Pi… now what?” Of course, beyond using it as a typical computer, I encourage anyone with a Raspberry Pi to make something with it. There’s no better way to learn about computing than to create something.

There’s no shortage of project inspiration out there. You’ll find projects that you can make in the current edition of The MagPi, as well as all of the back issues online, which are all available as free PDF files. We share the best projects we’ve seen on our blog, and our Resources section contains fantastic how-to projects.

Be inspired

You can also explore sites such as Hackster.io, Instructables, Hackaday.io, and Makezine.com for tons of ideas for what you can make with your Raspberry Pi. Many projects include full step-by-step guides as well. Whatever you’re interested in, whether it’s music, gaming, electronics, natural sciences, or aviation, there’s sure to be something made with Raspberry Pi that’ll spark your interest.

If you’re looking for something to make to celebrate the holiday season, you’re definitely covered. We’ve seen so many great holiday-related Raspberry Pi projects over the years, such as digital advent calendars, Christmas light displays, tree ornaments, digital menorahs, and new year countdown clocks. And, of course, not only does the current issue of The MagPi contain a few holiday-themed Pi projects, you can even make something festive with the cover and a few LEDs.

There’s a lot of stuff out there to make and I encourage you to work together with your family members on a project, even if it doesn’t seem to be their kind of thing. I think people are often surprised at how easy and fun it can be. And if you do make something together, please share some photos with us!

Whatever you create and whatever holidays you celebrate, all of us at Raspberry Pi send you our very best wishes of the season and we look forward to another year ahead of learning, making, sharing, and having fun with computers.

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The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List 2016

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Feeling stuck for what to buy the beloved maker in your life? Maybe your niece wants to get into Minecraft hacking, or your Dad fancies his hand at home automation on a budget?

Maybe you’ve seen Raspberry Pi in the news and figure it would be a fun activity for the family, or you’re stuck for what to buy the Pi pro who’s slowly filling your spare room with wires, servers, and a mysterious, unidentified object that keeps beeping?

Whatever the reason, you’re in the right place. The Raspberry Pi Christmas Shopping List is here to help you out.

For the beginner

Here are some of our favourite bits to get them started.

  • A Raspberry Pi Starter Kit will give your budding maker everything they need to get started. There’s a whole host of options, from our own kit to project-specific collections from our friends at The Pi Hut and Pimoroni in the UK, Adafruit in the USA, Canakit in Canada, and RS Components across the globe.

Marc Scott Beginner's Guide to Coding Book

  • They may already have a screen, keyboard, and mouse, but having a separate display allows them free rein to play to their heart’s content. The pi-top takes the form of a laptop, while the pi-topCEED still requires a mouse and keyboard.

pi-top

CamJam EduKit

For the hobbyist

They’ve been tinkering with LEDs and servo motors for a while. Now it’s time to pull out the big guns.

  • Help to broaden their interest by introducing them to some of the brilliant products over at Bare Conductive. Pair up the Pi Cap with some Electric Paint, and they’ll create an interactive masterpiece by the time the Queen’s Speech is on.

Bare Conductive

  • Add to their maker toolkit with some of the great products in the RasPiO range. The GPIO Zero Ruler will be an instant hit, and a great stocking filler for anyone wanting to do more with the GPIO pins.

GPIO Zero Ruler

Camera Kit Adafruit

For the tech whizz

You don’t understand half the things they talk about at the dinner table, but they seem to be enthusiastic and that’s all that counts.

  • Help them organise their components with a handy Storage Organiser. We swear by them here at Pi Towers.

Storage

Helping Hand

  • And then there’s the PiBorg. Treat them to the superfast DiddyBorg and you’ll be hailed as gift-buyer supreme (sorry if you’ll have to better this next year).

Diddybord

  • And then there’s the Raspberry Pi Zero. Check out availability here and buy them the sought-after $5 beast of an SBC.

For the… I really have no idea what to buy them this year

There’s always one, right?

  • A physical subscription to The MagPi Magazine is sure to go down well. And with the added bonus of a free Raspberry Pi Zero, you’ll win this Christmastime. Well done, you!

MagPi_Logo

 

Stocking fillers for everyone

Regardless of their experience and tech know-how, here are some great stocking fillers that everyone will enjoy.

 

STEM-ish gifts that everyone will love

These books are top of everyone’s lists this year, and for good reason. Why not broaden the interest of the Pi fan in your life with one of these brilliant reads?

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