Category Archives: coding

Torbay Tech Jam Nov 2015

The next Torbay tech jam is on the 14th November at Paignton Library 1 – 3 pm

More details are on the website

Open to all ages / abilities.

I am hoping to be able to present a mini workshop on Interfacing the Raspberry Pi to an LED,  it is a start and hopefully the work shops can build up to more complex projects over time.  Also I want to do the same thing with Arduino.


Raspberry Pi jam 7th March

Today saw another really good Pi jam in Exeter.

Demonstrations included a Pi based home automation system,  which also included a webcam which takes a photo of whoever presses the doorbell and e-mails you a picture.


Led Traffic lights ( I think this is PIC based) – Tom Brough

SAM_0207 SAM_0206

Toms latest robot (crazy Ivan)  this moves around, and can turn randomly and move forward again.


Sadly marco mark 2 had a problem, so was here but just not working as planned.


Pi Ready for eager coders to use.


Lots of people with new Pi’s in need of set up. so I did quite a bit of support here,  also minecraft-pi was popular and people seemed to like my modification which drops tnt blocks over grass.

Robots will make another appearance at next weeks Torbay Pi Jam 14th March, Paignton Library from 13:00

Torbay Raspberry Pi jam – Feb 15

This months Pi jam was a real gem,   lots of things being demoed and some excellent progress being made with various projects.

Tom, brought along his Marco 2 robot,  which if you are following this blog or are a regular attendee of jams.  This has now been updated to allow control via a web interface.

More information on this is on the Feb 2015 Exeter Jam write up blog post.  So I will let people go there for more info.

Tom also brought along Freddie and after some basic set up this worked fine,  following a green ball with his eyes.


Video taken back in July

Doodle bot also made an appearence this is really good as it works without any user interaction and can draw (or try) to draw what it has been programmed to.


We also helped a lady get up and running with her new pi,


Here is the pi being installed from the NOOBS install tool


And a picture of the pi running the Raspbian OS after install.

I also demonstrated my Minecraft Pi coding with python.  I will post a video to youtube and put this on my website blog.


We also helped out a user who had an older install of GNU / Linux on his PC (Debian)  and wanted a newer GNU / Linux installed so flash player would function properly.

We were unble to help fully however he will be back at the next jam iwth his PC backed up so we can install Linuxmint 17.1

One of our younger members also worked on getting a cluster of computers up and running and thanks to a router / switch donated by Rick at Wifispark he got 2 laptops and my Pi up and running and proved that by sharing the load calculations can be performed quicker.   There is a dedicated page for this on the website.  Where results will be posted shortly.

We also had a Dan from the TDA drop in to see what was going on with the view on how they can help further and perhaps involve some of the local hi tech companies.

So a BIG thank you for everyone involved today and everyone who came along to support the event.  Hopefully next month will be more of the same and perhaps even bigger and better.

We also had Sarah from Inspiring Dreams, Achieving Change, who offered to help promote what we are doing.

The word on the Pi jams IS spreading.  which is a good thing.

See everyone on the 14th March 2015 at Paignton Library.  13:00 to 15:00


January 2015 Pi jam

Another pi jam today which went well,   We had the 3 young people come along who are more serious hard core hackers so get on really well with each other

At present to get a laptop or PI to connect to the network we need to connect to the Libary wifi and enter a UID password then agree to the terms in a browser window

We tried to see if there was a different way to do this with a wifi router acting as a bridge so 4 laptops could connect to the router and that would provide a bridge between the wifi and the 4 wired Ethernet ports.

This didn’t seem to work 100 percent even though I did see the wifi router on my net book with 100 percent signal strength, compared to about 74 percent for the library wifi,  So this project will carry on next month probably.

In another project they young people had a multi player mine craft game set up using the Pis.

Using the Model B for anything reminds you that if you plug and unplug things it can reset due to power issues,.

Jonathan who is an IT apprentice also came along to support and help and said he would ask about if there are any solutions to the wifi / network connectivity so that  we can connect easier.

We had Raymond and his wife drop in for a chat and I showed them the DVD I am working on to explain about Creative commons / free software  and the 4 freedoms.

Myself and Jonathan also helped Melvyn with his new phone and to check to see if it would charge when plugged in to his net book.

One of the visitors from last month came back and asked about suitable monitors etc so I advised him on a few options.  including using a TV which i suggested is a good option if you want to use the media centre software.  Some TV’s also have the VESA connectors at the back to which pi’s can be attached.

Photos are available on Mediagoblin

The next jam is on 14th February

Torbay Pi jam – 13-12-2014

Another pi jam today and it went very well highlights as follows

We helped on visitor get up and running and ended up re-creating an sd card with raspbian (1)on in order to get the Pi up and running.  In the end Tom got everything up and running, with some help from myself as I seem to have an array of adapters and other bits and pieces which always seem to come in handy.   Including various images on my netbook.

Our younger visitors were busy with various projects  Arduino (6) hacking and getting Arch  (2) Linux up and running in a virtual machine, (Virtual box) (3))

I have loaned out my pi-liter (4) to one of the younger visitors so he can demonstrate at school






Support repositories for the pi liter


Which has some ladder board source code,  but should demonstrate the use of the GPIO.

You can also download the pi liter data sheet from the website

However you DO need to install python-pip with

sudo apt-get install python-pip

For some reason the data sheet instructions missed out this step.

The next Pi jam is on 10th January so if you get a Pi for Xmas come along and we can help you get started or show you what you can do with it.   We don’t BYTE 🙂 and are happy to help.

Free & Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women

This came through on e-mail today

Free & Open Source Software Outreach Program for Women

The GNOME Foundation started the Free & Open Source Software Outreach Program
for Women, OPW, in 2006. It was quite successful, and in the January-April 2013
round, many other FOSS organizations joined the program. We are happy to
announce that Debian will participate in the next round
(December '14-March '15) and, pending sponsorship, we'll offer up to three

You can find more details about the program:
* with details about
Debian's participation.
* with details about the
program in general.

Call for mentors and projects

OPW allows applicants to work on any kind of project, including coding,
design, marketing, web development... If you have any idea for a
project and you want to mentor it, please contact us at
and we'll guide you through the process.

OPW provides a lot of useful information for mentors on the GNOME Wiki at Please
have a look, and don't hesitate to contact us if you have any question.

Call for participants

The main goal of this program is to increase the number of women in
FOSS, so all women who are not yet a Debian Developer or a Debian
Maintainer are encouraged to apply. There are no age restrictions and
applicants don't need to be a student.

If you want to apply, you must follow three steps:

1. Choose a project from the list of proposed projects on Those lists may change as
mentors add themselves over the next few weeks.

2. Make a small contribution to Debian. Projects will add a task the
applicant must complete as part of the pre-selection process. If no task
is provided, you are welcome to ask the mentors of the project. You can
also make a different extra task of the one listed to show your skills
and interest.

3. Create a page in the Debian wiki with your application. You can do so
under pseudonym, but in that case, please give us information about
yourself privately by email to the people below!

The Debian OPW coordinators <>
 Tom Marble
 Nicolas Dandrimont

Pi Jams – What we try and do

With monthly Raspberry Pi jams in Paignton,  what would you like to see at these jams.  Given they are now more about just raspberry

At present we :

Help on how to get started,  what you need to get started, what to buy etc

Show you some of the many add on boards etc available for the pi

Demonstrate projects based on the PI AND Arduino systems (which will hopefully inspire your projects)

Help with getting started with programming or provide advice  on the next step for example where to go after using scratch.

We have a few laptops (with Linux)

Help with hardware projects (either stand along or linked to Pi , Arduino and similar devices)

Networking with other users

We would like to encourage young people to network with other young people and advocate collaboration and peer supported learning

We sometimes invite people in,  for example in September we had the virtually safe team in who spent some time discussing the concerns of the young people at the jam
We also try and advocate other groups and initiatives that may be of interest to young people: for example Young rewired state, coder dojos, after school clubs. Promote events for adults for example hack4good events or hackathons on services such as geekli.stWe can also help with Linux user group related activities such as install and set up help for Linux. Advice on software or general discussion on related issues.Promote and advocate the use of free and open source software and the work of the Free software foundation Europe..Advocate and promote the new school Computer science curriculum. Enguage with parents, students and teachers in order to facilitate support if needed.Promote STEMnet and Stem activities. Free giveaways such as stickers if available,  copies of Linux cd’s again when / where available.