Tag Archives: Community

The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book is out now!

via Raspberry Pi

Rob from The MagPi here again! Two posts from me in one week? You’re a very lucky bunch.

One thing we’re very proud of at The MagPi is the quality of our content: articles, features, tutorials, guides, reviews, inspirational projects and all the other bits and pieces that have made The MagPi great for 39 issues and counting. When we went back into actual print in a big way with issue 36, we had people asking us whether we’d ever release issues 31-35 as printed copies; we assume they wanted copies to frame and hang on their walls, or maybe to donate to a museum collection. Either way, we definitely haven’t been ignoring your cries.

A picture of the cover of the Official Raspberry Pi Projects book

200 pages. Dozens of articles. Out right this second.



Instead of releasing these individual issues in the Swag Store like in the old days, we decided to give them the shelf space in bricks-and-mortar shops that they deserved all along. So please welcome The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book, packed with 200 pages full of the best projects, tutorials, reviews and much, much more, out right now for only £12.99!

You’ll find it in the magazine racks next to (or very near) The MagPi, and to be honest the image doesn’t do the cover justice. It’s beautifully glossy and slightly embossed. It’s definitely worth popping down to WHSmiths just to be dazzled by its glory.

Otherwise, you can grab a copy from the Swag Store, get a copy in our app available for Android and iOS, or grab the free PDF of the whole thing!

A picture of the contents spread of the Official Raspberry Pi Projects book

With almost 100 articles in the book, there are definitely a few things for everyone.
Click for a larger image.

Even if you’re not so bothered about completing your collection of The MagPi (however much it breaks my heart), this is a book with 200 pages of fantastic Raspberry Pi content that’s extremely handy if you want ideas for more awesome stuff to do with your Raspberry Pi. I’d like to point out that it’s a darn good stocking stuffer as well, what with it being only five weeks until Christmas and all.

We hope you all enjoy this book, however you plan to use it. And don’t forget to look out for our very exciting issue 40, out next Thursday. You absolutely will not want to miss it.

Anyway, on Monday I put a Picard gif at the end of the post. So here’s another. [This is a thing with Rob; we’re humouring him. Tell us in comments if you want us to make him stop – Ed.] See you next time!

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Digital, free, forever: the first 30 issues of The MagPi

via Raspberry Pi

The MagPi issues one to 30 are now free, forever.

Hopefully that’s caught your attention. Some of you may now be wondering, “hang on, those issues of The MagPi were always free as PDFs, and so are all the newer ones as well!” And you’d be right: every issue of The MagPi has always been released as a free PDF download, and always will be, but we’re talking about our digital platform. Specifically, our app.

Did you know we have an app? It’s really great; it adds an extra layer of readability over the PDFs of the magazine, it remembers your place, and you can subscribe to it so that you always have a copy of The MagPi the moment it’s released. We charge a paltry £2.99 for single digital issues, half the price of our print ones, and £19.99 for a year’s subscription. The best part is, you don’t have to invest in a wheelbarrow to carry all your copies around with you everywhere!

Screenshot of The MagPi app with a selection of magazines in view

Just scroll down in the app to find the issues in beautiful digital HD glory


While these new issues are £2.99 we’ve also put up the first 30 issues of The MagPi for the low, low price of nothing. Zilch. Nada. Completely free.

We don’t want you to feel like you’re missing out on a complete set in our app, so it’s our promise to you that not only will they remain there, they’ll always be free as an excellent complement to your current and any future digital versions of The MagPi.

You can grab the app on the Google Play Store for Android devices and the Apple App Store for iOS now, and relive some great moments from The MagPi’s history.

Like when we showed you how to make an Engima-style cipher in issue 25:

The cover of issue 25 of The MagPi, showing an Enigma machine

Cryptography is important to know in today’s computer world

Or all the little robots that we made:

Two covers of The MagPi side-by-side, each showing a robot

Robots are cool

And don’t forget the great interviews!

An issue of The MagPi with Lady Ada on the front

We love talking to important people about great things

So grab them all today and make yourself feel like Captain Picard, picking up an (i)PADD after a long day of telling off Wesley, so he can dig into some of his favourite literature of early Twenty-First Century Earth. We’d like to think he’d have given The MagPi a shot between Shakespeare and noir adventures.

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Major League Hacking Local Hack Day

via Raspberry Pi

18,000 stickers, 2,000 selfie-sticks and 8,000 slices of pizza hurtled across the planet last week to 14 different countries. It was a day that almost 4000 students had been eagerly awaiting.

Major League Hacking (MLH) have been organising hackathons in the USA and Europe for several years, but Saturday was an event with a difference. Local Hack Day was a 12-hour mini-hackathon on school campuses all over the world, and was billed as “the largest student hackathon ever”. The vast majority of the events were organised and run by the students; bringing together their local hacker community to develop, share and celebrate their skills in building awesome technology.


Of the 87 venues that participated in Local Hack Day, 58 of them, in places as far apart as the US, Canada, UK, Puerto Rico, Bahia, Mexico and Limassol, were able to accept under 18s. This is a huge deal. For your average kid, attending hackathons is not easy. With the exception of tailored events such as YRS Festival of Code, most hackathon venues won’t allow under 18s to attend for child safety and safeguarding reasons. MLH have continuously strived to include the next generations of young hackers, and the Local Hack Day was an extraordinarily inclusive event, letting those children whom identify with the hacker community to participate or even help organise the global event.

At the school where I used to teach, Bourne Grammar School, just such a young lad exists.


To say James is a keen hacker would be an understatement. It’s not just that he enjoys technology and programming, probably more importantly, he recognises the importance of the hacker community and is eager to get involved. It was James who learned about Local Hack Day, and proposed that his school host an event, but that wasn’t enough; he wanted to be the one to organise it all. The head of Digital Strategy at the school, Stephen Brown, was more than happy for James to take centre stage and run the whole day, and what a stunningly successful event it was.

As James’ former Computer Science teacher, I was invited along (although I’m not sure whether I was wanted for my skills as a mentor or my ready access to Raspberry Pis. I suspect the it was the latter). I took my son, Jimi, along with me, who, at eight years old, must have been one of the youngest attendees across all the venues.


There were around 25 attending the Bourne Local Hack Day this year.

Having arrived, grabbed their swag and stickers, the kids soon got down to the important job of hacking on their projects. There were a tonne of amazing ideas, from the basic to the bizarre. We had computer games being made using anything from the Unity 3D games engine to the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT. There was some back-end work being completed on an app that enables people to brag about their latest purchases; a “Nandos cheekiness” measuring tool; a machine-learning algorithm to teach a computer to perform basic arithmetic using neural networks; and a selfie stick that automatically posted pictures to Twitter and tagged them using the Clarifai API. Jimi even got in on the action, combining his love of conkers with his love of physical computing.

kid with breadboard

Jimi tangles with a breadboard

Fuelled by drinks and crisps, kindly donated by the local Tesco, the kids worked solidly throughout the day, only breaking at 6pm when the pizza arrived. There followed a quick diversionary game of Age of Empires, where the teachers showed the kids who the real gaming champs were, and then it was back to hacking on their projects before the 9pm deadline hit.

The winners with their Raspberry PI Selfie-stick

The winners with their Raspberry PI Selfie-stick

The chosen winner at Bourne was the Raspberry Pi/Clarifai Selfie-stick, which was a lovely little hardware hack, but this was definately an event where the taking part was more important. Hackathons are amazing events, where inspiration, teamwork, genius and insanity all seem to combine to produce awesome projects, and it’s important that children get to experience them as well. So thank you MLH, and I look forward to Local Hack Day 3, whenever that may be.

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POC21 Gives Birth to 12 Projects and a Vibrant Community

via MakingSociety


Just on time! I was lucky enough to come back to France for the final exhibition of POC21.

POC21, which stands for Proof of Concept 21, is an indie satellite event of COP21, major international climate change conference happening in a few days in Paris for governments to agree and take action to save the planet.

Many activists fear that COP21 will be mostly talks and not much action and decision-making.

A team of Germans and French open source enthusiasts led by Open State and OuiShare decided to make something happen on their own. They spend the year preparing POC21: gathering hundreds of makers in a castle near Paris for one month in order to build open source projects solving sustainability issues.

POC21: 157 makers gathered for one month building open source projects for sustainability!

POC21: 157 makers gathered for one month building open source projects for sustainability! Image : Stefano Borghi

The month is now over, and no need to say it’s been quite a ride!

A total of 12 projects have been build. All of them fully respect the open source hardware definition. They are fully available for everyone to make and modify. They are made using accessible and affordable materials and building techniques.

And they offer concrete solution for sustainable living on a small and local scale.

Take for example OwnFood: the team created a full permaculture greenhouse and instruction set able to feed a family for years.

Or Faircap, a bottle cap featuring a natural filtering system so that you can drink any water.

ShowerLoop is another exciting project. The team managed to build a system to recycle water from your shower indefinitely. The water is also cleaned in real-time and heated. And it can be build with the help of a local fablab for a low cost.

ShowerLoop in demo at the final POC21 exhibition. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

ShowerLoop in demo at the final POC21 exhibition. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

The Bicitractor is designed for small farm and farmers on a tight budget. This tractor can be build with a few tools for a low cost, it doesn’t pollute and can be customized depending on the work needed in the fields.

The few tools needed to build Bicitractor. image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

The few tools needed to build Bicitractor. image: MakingSociety CC BY SA


And what about the $30 Wind Turbine that does in fact cost $30, can be home build with a few easy tools, and generates current at 1 kW in a 60 km/h wind, and has been tested to absorb at least 105 km/h.

$30 Wind Turbine at POC21. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

$30 Wind Turbine at POC21. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

For extra permaculture inspiration, I also want to mention Aker, a full set of designs for gardening (outdoor and indoor) ready to download and CNC in a fablab or at home.

Urban gardening with Aker set of designs. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

Urban gardening with Aker set of designs. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

Participants said a few times that not only did they build 12 projects but also a surprised 13th one: a framework for community living.

The month at the POC21 castle was indeed a giant experiment for learning how to live and collaborate between hundreds of participants from many different countries.

The daily check-out improvements over the month. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

The daily check-out improvements over the month. Image: MakingSociety CC BY SA

I love how the team was able to analyse social situations and adapt the daily activities. And they also documented their discoveries.

Huge kudos to the Open State and OuiShare teams and the hundreds of makers, mentors, sponsors and visitors of POC21 for making it happen and inspiring us!

Rainbows on POC21. Image : Stefano Borghi

Rainbows on POC21. Image : Stefano Borghi

What seems at first like cardboard projects for dreamers took shape as an actual alternative living model. From transformational festivals giving birth to communities such as Boom in Portugal or Envision in Costa Rica, to the hundreds of sustainable communities popping up all over the globe, an initiative like POC21 truly helps growing our community, which is gaining an awesome momentum.

Next step for POC21, getting a permanent space in Europe for long-term experiment in sustainable living?


The post POC21 Gives Birth to 12 Projects and a Vibrant Community appeared first on MakingSociety.

Pi Wars – annual public robot Olympics

via Raspberry Pi

Liz: This week’s all about community. Mike Horne and Tim Richardson are old, old friends of the Raspberry Pi project. They’ve been running the Cambridge Raspberry Jam for ages – it’s one of the Jams we use as an exemplar and a showcase for anybody wanting to start their own. They’re so good at organising this stuff that we asked them to help us set up, run and host the Raspberry Pi third birthday party earlier this year. It was an enormous success – 1300 of you came from all over the world, and we had an amazing weekend. (And about a ton of pizza.)

Mike and Tim are REALLY GOOD at this stuff. So it’s with enormous looking-forwardness that I asked them to prepare a guest post for us on their next non-standard Pi event (a repeat of what was probably the best Pi event I attended last year – and I go to a lot of them): a second annual Pi Wars, to be held in Cambridge this December. (We wrote about it here last year.) Over to Mike and Tim.

Preparation for this year’s challenge-based robotics competition, Pi Wars, is now underway! We’d like to tell you about the competition, how to get involved – and also launch a pre-event competition!


Following the success of last year’s event, we have plans for a bigger and better competition this year. The 2015 competition will be held on Saturday 5th December at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory (where the Big Birthday Weekend was), off Madingley Road in Cambridge, UK.

For those of you who don’t know, Pi Wars is an event at which Raspberry Pi-powered robots compete against each other in various challenges to win prizes and to take the title of Best Robot. Last year, we had 20 teams competing, and around 200 spectators. This year, we have raised the maximum number of competing teams to around 30, and we hope to welcome over 300 spectators to see them battle it out in 2015’s larger space.


Teams come from all walks of life, including schools, Code Clubs, hack spaces, families and individuals – we even had a few robots last year that had been made in lunch-hours at offices by teams of colleagues. So why not you?

Pi Wars, unlike Robot Wars, does not go in for destructive combat: we want your robots to make it to the end of the day relatively unscathed! So, our challenges are based on skills tests. The main challenges this year are:

Other elements of the competition are will be:

There are also other ‘side competitions’, which will include the robots in the Show and Tell area (of which more in a moment). You can find out more about these side competitions and see details of all the challenges by visiting the List of Challenges page on our website.

Show and Tell

As mentioned above, there will also be a Show and Tell area featuring robot exhibits. This is a great way to get involved if you have a robotics project but don’t have time to make it competition-ready; or if your robot is something “a bit different”. Anything goes in Show and Tell as long as it is controlled by a Raspberry Pi and it moves!

Applying to enter

This year, there is an application process to follow for both the main competition and the Show and Tell area. Depending on the number of robots we have entering, it may be necessary to select from them the robots that will take part. We have a selection process – follow the link to learn more. If you would like to apply and get involved in Pi Wars, head over to the Pi Wars website and fill in:


As you can imagine, putting on an event this size requires sponsorship of various forms. We are looking for companies to sponsor the event by donating prizes (add-on boards, t-shirts, magazine subscriptions and kits all made an appearance last year) for the various challenges and, if that’s not appropriate, to donate financially so that we can make the courses and print the full-colour programme that every competitor and spectator receives. So far, we have received generous offers from Dexter Industries, Ryanteck, Dawn Robotics, 4tronix, RasPiO, PiBorg, The Pi Hut, MyPiFi and Energenie. So, if your company would like to be involved, please take a look at our sponsors page for what we can do for you in return.

Pre-event competition – Design the programme cover!

New for this year is our pre-event competition. This competition is open to anyone 16 years old or younger and involves creating some artwork. Our programme last year (pictured) featured our logo and a photograph of a robot (we aren’t graphic designers). This year, we want a different design, and that’s where you come in.

We would like you to design a new front cover. It will still have our banner logo at the top, and the date will be on there somewhere, but we need a new image for the middle of the page. So, get your thinking caps on and send us your design! You can find details of how to enter here. Entries must be received by noon on 1st October. The winner will be picked by members of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and will be notified around the 8th October. This should give us plenty of time to get the design integrated into the programme and get it printed!

Any questions? We are open to any questions you might have. Either visit our website and contact us, or leave a comment on this blog post and we’ll get back to you. We hope to see you at Pi Wars 2015 on 5th December!

Michael Horne & Tim Richardson mike@recantha.co.uk/tim@potton.me.uk

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