Every day, every moment, is an opportunity to learn

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...

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...

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. 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 email provider, so we can...

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,...

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...

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”. 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 Pi). You just want to be able to click a button to...

Building a Morse Code Transmitter on a Raspberry Pi

Last week, I made the Raspberry Pi blink an LED a few times. As thrilling as that was ;) I almost immediately wanted something more. That led me to… Note: Source code for this project is available on GitHub. Goals Setup a simple circuit (LED and resistor) using a breadboard Learn about Morse Code in order to correctly translate a sentence Manipulate the...

“Hello World” for the Raspberry Pi (Making an LED Blink)

I finally unboxed my Pi a few weeks ago, and since then I’ve been learning some Python, which is the primary language of the Pi. You can do fun things with it out-of-the-box, like running and modifying the Python games that install with Raspbian (as well as writing your own), or playing around with MIT’s Scratch program (which also comes preinstalled). Or you could try another OS,...

A Tail of Recursion in Erlang (a C# developer’s observations)

A group of us at VHT has been meeting weekly, reviewing some Erlang basics and running through examples. Even though it means giving up a lunch hour, over a dozen people have still been showing up to learn and help each other. Two of us were recently challenged to figure out a couple problems in Erlang without using obvious built-in functions: Determine the length of a list. (without...