Category Archives: pi

Raspberry Pi programming and use

Review – Sonic Pi

Been a while since I posted anything, so here is a quick one.

I finally got the notion to try out Sonic Pi. I was hoping it would be something I could get my two oldest kids in to so they would do some coding and make some music. But I struggled with the interface and language. I was wishing it was more like Scratch. Music is more visual to me, and notation with bars and notes is much better in my mind than three lines of non-intuitive text. Continue reading

Mixed business

Work has been keeping me busy, plus life, plus side projects, so this blog has suffered.  But as this week the mega corporation I work for is into phase 4 of the secret plan to grind itself into pieces, I’m considering what things I need to do to be ready for the many changes ahead.

I have been keeping somewhat busy with little things.  Unfortunately I got distracted from the python/pygame program I’d been doing.  But I did pick up 5 nano sized Arduino knockoff microcontrollers from China along with various bits and a 50 piece sleeve of 555 timer chips.  So I’m dabbling in hardware more now.  Which means robotics (using steppers and servos), blinky light arrays, and ‘musical’ instruments.  So I may have to expand my “pi” category to include Arduino also.

I even poked at Khan Academy today, while waiting for a 6+ hour install.  Their algorithms course leaves a lot to be desired. The nerds from Dartmouth who wrote it expect you to have taken a Calculus course in the last week.  Doesn’t help that I was sick that week in high school when we did logarithms so I’ve always had a weak spot there. I had to use a graphing calculator to visualize that log base 2 of (17 raised to the log base 2 n) is the same as log base 2 of (n raised to the log base 2 17).  I’ll have to play around more and see if it gets any better.

Pi and RCX – step 1

My boss and I were talking about Raspberry Pi (he is buying one) and LEGO Mindstorms this week. We were both wondering if there was an easy way to connect the Mindstorms peripherals to the Pi.  A quick Google search tells me that the LEGO motors are 9 volt, so no.  But I did find a blog post that got me going using the RCX brick and programming it from the Pi.
https://minordiscoveries.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/using-nqc-on-a-raspberry-pi-to-program-a-lego-mindstorms-rcx-brick
I got pretty far, but it didn’t respond to the raw command.  I did skip loading the firmware on my RCX 2.0 because I’m paranoid it might be an irreversible step.  But that is probably why it didn’t work, so I’m going to do some more research

Microsoft IoT on Raspberry Pi – first impressions

(Yeah, long posting gap. Switching to full time teleworking has consumed my professional attention since summer)

I attended OSCON again this year.  “Attended” means I was able to sneak away for a day to wander the exhibit hall.  Its always worth the price of gas and parking to see what is up in open source and collect lots of swag.  The best swag this year was from Microsoft in the form of an Internet of Things kit containing a Raspberry Pi. Continue reading

Raspberry Pi – first impressions

I finally ordered myself a Raspberry Pi 2 model B.  I have friends who already have them and the simple platform for programming and experimenting with electronics.  I know nearly nothing about electrical engineering, so I have a bunch to learn.  My kids took to it right away, and the 9 year old, who I’d shown Scratch before, started programming right off.   We ran Minecraft and set up the wireless dongle that came with the bundle I bought off  Amazon.  We found Wolfram and Mathematica already installed, but I don’t know much about either.
I’m waiting for the LEDs and buttons I ordered to try playing with the GPIO.