Once I was Afraid

Some time ago, I came across a post by Charlie Kindel entitled Once I was Afraid. It’s a brief reflection on what he’s accomplished over the years – some big, others small, but all opportunities to rise to a challenge and meet it. Like Charlie, I tend to see things I don’t yet understand as black boxes. The less I understand something – the more of a “black box” it is – the less enthusiastic I sometimes am to tackle it. Once I dig in and try something, I’m richer for the experience even when it doesn’t go »

Creating a "Simon" Game Clone on the Raspberry Pi

Have you been around long enough to remember the popular Simon game from the 70s and 80s? There’ve been plenty of remakes over the years, but I had one of the originals when I was younger. It’s a game of patterns that tests your memory. It flashes a color and sounds a corresponding tone, which you repeat. Then it repeats the same color/tone and adds a new one. The pattern keeps getting longer and longer. Technically, it could go on forever, but I think you “won” after 20 or 30 colors… not that I ever got close! »

How to Develop Python in Visual Studio... and Mix it Up with the .NET Framework!

I’ve been learning about the Raspberry Pi for a few months, occasionally writing about it. I usually start on a laptop using JetBrains’ PyCharm IDE, which is much faster than the Pi, then move everything over when it’s done and I need to run it against the GPIO pins. But Visual Studio was my main coding environment for years, and I got really comfortable with it (well, when they weren’t moving my cheese), so when I realized it could support Python I had to check it out. If you’re doing dev in Python, and are familiar »

Saturday Morning Reads #4

I read so many good articles during the week, stuff that’s so much better than anything I could dream up. Every week or two, I’ll share some of the more thoughtful and inspiring ones on here. :) Contents Changing perspectives on your job – Will you renew your boss for another season? What It Really Means to Niche Down Let’s Talk About Rock Stars & Egos One does not simply learn to code Changing perspectives on your job – Will you renew your boss for another season? I read this one from Scott Hanselman a year and a half ago, »

Creating Music with Sonic Pi on the Raspberry Pi

Back in May, I was fortunate to attend the Stir Trek conference in Columbus OH (it sold out in under a minute). There were a lot of great presentations, but one that really stood out for me was one on Sonic Pi. Scott Fradkin live-coded Sonic Pi for nearly an hour, not only explaining what it was capable of, but showing us too. He kept building it up as the session went on, and everyone in the theatre had a chance to see and hear what he was creating. By the end of the session, he had a good beat »

How to Create a Raspberry Pi Virtual Machine (VM) in VirtualBox

I recently started flipping through The MagPi back-issues, and came across an article where someone talked about setting up a virtual Raspberry Pi environment. At the time he wrote his article, I don’t think the Pi was even really available to the public yet. It got me thinking though. I’ve been playing around a lot on the Pi itself, but it’d be convenient to have an environment setup where I could experiment with code even when I don’t have access to the Pi. Goal: Setup a virtual machine with Debian (from which Raspbian is derived). Install »

How to Flash an LED on Your Raspberry Pi When You Get New Email

This week we’ll create an email notification system using the Raspberry Pi. The idea is to check for new email, and flash an LED when we get one. Contents 1 Connecting to Gmail 1.1 Find the Official API 1.2 Authenticating 1.3 Getting the Unread Mail Count 2 Designing the Circuit 3 More Reading 3.1 Gmail 3.2 Raspberry Pi 3.3 Python Connecting to Gmail The circuit will be extremely straight-forward, so let’s focus on the more difficult part first – connecting to an email service. We need to create a secure connection to our »

Generating Morse Code on the Raspberry Pi Using a Button on a Breadboard

Last time, I created a morse code generator. It took user input from the console, translated it into morse code, and blinked an LED to “transmit” the message. I decided to build on that a bit, adding a button to the circuit that allows me to generate morse code from a button click. The clicks are read in by a GPIO pin, and interpreted by a Python script. Contents 1 Defining the Rules 2 Designing the Circuit 3 Writing the Script 3.1 Metronome 3.2 Success or Failure 3.3 Detecting Button Clicks 4 More Resources 5 Final Thoughts »

Being a Judge for Believe in Ohio 2016

I had the opportunity to judge the Believe in Ohio competition again this year. If you’re unfamiliar with it (it’s only the second year), high school students from around Ohio come up with new ideas revolving around new/existing STEM principles. Believe in Ohio (BiO) is a free program from The Ohio Academy of Science that helps students prepare for the future. High school students can compete for cash awards and scholarships to Ohio colleges and universities based on competitive STEM Commercialization or STEM Business Plans. We hope they will pursue their futures in Ohio by inventing products »

Using PullUp and PullDown Resistors on the Raspberry Pi

When you start out creating circuits with the Raspberry Pi and its GPIO pins, there’s an unexpected but important concept to understand, called “floating”. Contents 1 A Simple Circuit 2 Defining a Few Terms 3 Fixing the Simple Circuit 3.1 Option 1: Adding a Pull-Down Resistor to the Breadboard 3.2 Option 2: Enabling an Internal Pull-Down Resistor in the Code 4 Trying it Out Yourself 5 Resources A Simple Circuit Imagine you’re creating a circuit using a breadboard. Something very simple… a button, some wire and a power source (like the 3.3v pin on the »