Category Archives: programming

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.


Build a robot take 2

Exeter Library are holding another Build a robot workshop over 1/2 term.

Build A Robot Project

This half term: Build a robot in a team of 4 to win a prize!
Ages 8+ / 20 places available
£40 for 4 sessions including light refreshments

The sessions are 10 am-1pm:
Mon 26th Oct
Tues 27th Oct
Wed 28th Oct
Thurs 29th Oct
all sessions must be attended for you to win
Tickets available from Exeter library or by phoning 01392 384223
More details on the
Exeter Raspberry Jam blog

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

Another reason to use FLOSS

It seems Lenovo the PC  / Laptop makers have been installing spyware on their PC’s without the users knowledge or consent

I think this is a good reason to either re-install your OS when you get a new computer.  Normally you get install / restore media or the option to make this,  however in this case if the spyware is pre-installed it could be on these restore cds.  so you will be no better off,  you can possibly get a removal tool, but these removal tools usually end up putting other malware on to your computer,  removing it is a PITA.


Install a free and open source OS such as Mint, Ubuntu or a pure free software and take back control of your computer.

Join a GNU / Linux user group so you can learn more.

This is also a good reason why you need to know more about what your computer is doing..

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.