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July 6th, 2016

June Another Great Month for the Raspberry Pi

Among other things, our Pi guy looks at the newest addition to the MagPi Essentials collection, Dave Akerman and a Raspberry Pi breaking a lofty record, and Tim Peake returning from space while leaving his Astro Pis in orbit.

The Raspberry Pi Report

Quite a few things have happened in the Raspberry Pi world since I last wrote. While the entire list of amazing stories would be too long to include everything here, I’ll try my best to include the stories from June that show how far things have come for the Raspberry Pi since my last column at the end of May.

New book released: The people from the MagPi have added another great volume to the MagPi Essentials collection. This latest title, “Learn To Code with Scratch,” is looking to bridge a gap for those who want to learn how to use the visual programming language Scratch, but aren’t sure where or how to start.

One of Scratch’s most popular uses is with educators who are looking for an easy way to introduce younger students to programming. While there are other Scratch books out there, this one is geared towards educators using the Raspberry Pi. The book consists of thirteen chapters which cover ideas such as how to understand the different block types, create animations, build games and apps and how to make electronic circuits.

Like all the other MagPi Essential books, it be downloaded for free as a PDF or purchased through the MagPi’s Android or iOS apps.

Tim Peake has returned: Having served his tour of duty on the International Space Station, Tim Peake is now safely back on Earth. During his six month Principia mission, he conducted numerous tests using the Astro Pi that not only promoted the Raspberry Pi, but also used tests that were coded by students. Though Tim might be back on earth, the two Astro Pis he was using will continue to serve on the ISS.

Everyone at FOSS Force would like to welcome Tim Peake back and say thank you for the work he did, both for mankind and for FOSS. If you have never heard of Tim Peake, then I highly encourage you to check out the Astro Pi’s website and read up on him and his work.

New altitude balloon record: On Episode #20 of the Pi Podcast, we interviewed Dave Akerman, who is a high altitude balloonist and Skycademy trainer. During the interview, Dave mentions how he wishes the Pi Zero had a camera connector, since its weight makes it the most ideal Raspberry Pi model to use for high altitude ballooning.

Soon after that interview, a new camera connector for the Pi Zero was released and Dave immediately got to work testing it out. Using a 1600g hydrogen filled balloon with a Pi-Zero attached, Dave was able to get an image at just under 42 kilometers from the Earth’s surface. For those of us in the States, that’s just a little under 26 miles, which is simply amazing.

Congrats goes out to Dave for setting the record for the highest live image sent from an amateur balloon. I’m sure this record won’t stand long, as Dave is constantly seeking new and better ways of using the Raspberry Pi with his high altitude balloons.

Google donates to Code Club: A few months back, Google made the claim that if their DeepMind AI AlphaGo was able to beat the reigning Go champion, then they would donate the winnings to charities and nonprofits. In Google’s efforts to keep good on their promise, Code Club received a donation in the amount of $100,000.

Think what you might of Google, this is an extremely great gift for Code Club to receive. This money will go a long ways towards getting more Raspberry Pis in the hands of more children, which in turn goes a long ways towards educating more children and giving them a better chance in life. This donation just shows how far Code Club has come and how bright a future it has.

In addition to hosting a Raspberry Pi meetup in Washington D.C., Isaac Carter is a co-host on mintCast. He's also a software engineer who enjoys working with Java, JavaScript, and GNU/Linux. When he's not coding, you can find him reading on any number of subjects or on the golf course.

1 comment to June Another Great Month for the Raspberry Pi

  • bob burger

    Im asked by people with very little tech knowledge all the time if they should buy RPi for their kids because theyre afraid theyre gonna get bored without having someone to teach/help them and is it possible to have them learn on their own using lessons plans.

    Kano looks nice but a bit too simplistic and while there are lots of lessons and tutorials and videos all over. Havent really seen any where you could put an 8 or 14yr old in front of an RPi and without the help of a techie uncle or parent learn on their own.

    From the little I know, it seems that most of the stuff I see is always kids of geeks, those with teachers or simply that future geek thats always existed that would have been into this stuff even without RPi. I though Eben’s goal was to get kids interested who otherwise would have never been exposed to tech/coding.

    Can you do an article on what is available out there where you could do that (again, taking in consideration that the children dont have tech savvy parents)?

    thanks