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. Contents 1 Goals 2 Setup 3 What is Morse Code? 4 Coding the Translator 4.1 The Circuit 4.2 Mapping Characters to Morse Code 4.3 Mocking Out the GPIO Module 4.4 Distinguishing Dots from Dashes from Letters from… 5 Trying it Out 6 What else did I learn this week? 6.1 Circuit Design Tools 6.2 Tutorials 6. »

How to Access Your Raspbian Desktop on the Raspberry Pi from Another Computer

When I want to play around with the Raspberry Pi, I typically end up on the floor in front of the TV (my “spare” monitor). I’m surrounded by HDMI and LAN cables, a power adapter and mouse/keyboard receiver wires, and if I don’t clean them up the 2 yo will make me wish I had when he gets up the next day. Fortunately, I’ve found a better option. In only a few relatively easy steps, you can create a setup that allows you to access the Raspbian desktop on your Pi from any machine in your »

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, like the OpenElec media platform that turns your Pi into a photo gallery / movie streamer (something a few of us were playing around with at the last AkronCodeClub meetup). But a »

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 using length([1,2,3]).) Reverse the list. (without using lists:reverse([1,2,3]).) We looked into it, and even shared what we found with the group a week later. This »

Learning Python for the Raspberry Pi

Once you’ve connected the peripherals, installed NOOBS, and gotten your Raspberry Pi up and running, pat yourself on the back and take a moment to bask in the glow of the large raspberry on your Raspbian desktop. Whee. Okay, that’s enough gloating, ya narcissist. So now what? Contents 1 Choosing a Language 2 Pick a Python… any Python 3 Python Development 4 Learning the Basics (and Beyond…) Choosing a Language After getting my first Raspberry Pi 2 up and running last weekend, and taking some cursory glances at the sample apps, I wanted to get into some actual »

Getting Started with the Raspberry Pi 2

I got a Raspberry Pi 2 for Christmas, and finally took it for a spin this weekend… just as the community is getting ready to celebrate the Pi’s 4th birthday. After using it for a few hours, here’s what I’ve learned so far. Contents 1 Invest in a Starter Kit 2 There are Great Resources Everywhere 2.1 Raspberry Pi Foundation 2.2 The MagPi (the official Raspberry Pi magazine) 2.3 The Raspberry Pi Guy (YouTube) 2.4 Learning Python 3 The Kids Love It 4 It’s Okay to Break Things Invest in a Starter »

Building a Model 4-Stroke Internal Combustion Engine (your car explodes gas 50x a second, how cool is that?!)

Garage sales are great for finding random, interesting things to do with the kids, usually for dirt cheap. Unless you run into one of those garage sales where everything’s only 5% off the original retail price… Folks, your garage sale is one step before the dumpster. Don’t try to fund next summer’s vacation. Make a few bucks, clear out the basement and enjoy a night at the movies. Splurge on a large popcorn and 80 oz drink. Thank you, that is all.* Last summer, I found this “Smithsonian Motor-Works” set for $5, which I figured was a »

Must... resist the temptation.... oh, for pete's sake just MOVE OVER and let me do it!

One of the coolest things about being a parent is getting to teach your kids something new. A new game, a new skill, something they didn’t “get” before. It’s a bit of immortality, in a way. Imparting something onto the next generation! Okay, so it’s not always grand. Sometimes we’re just trying to unload something we always have to do, like getting their own milk or clearing the table after dinner. Potty training. Ugh. But then there’s the really cool stuff! Teaching them a new game, or showing them how to fix a toy. Helping »

How (and why) I built my kids a bunk bed instead of buying one

Last summer, my wife was looking to reorganize the homeschool area of our living room. We had a few smallish book cases lining the wall, all different colors and sizes. They were beat up, shelves sagging. It was time to replace them, and she wanted something big enough to hold the dozens of text books, papers and other materials that homeschooling requires. We checked online, and quickly found one she liked from Ikea for $200, plus $130 (not a typo) to ship it (or a 7 hour drive to pick it up). At 6 feet high and wide, it’s »

Yes! My kids are finally old enough to help fix their own toys!

When you’ve got kids, every issue is more important than the last, and everything needs immediate attention. A snack, some juice, a game on the top shelf, a stuffed animal left out in the car. Missing lego pieces, missing puzzle pieces, and random pieces off.. something. A couch cushion fort that won’t stand on its own, kids that won’t respect couch fort territorial boundaries, and the toddler-couch-fort-destroyers who knock them down. So you do what you can to reduce the noise. Place cups and bowls closer to the ground, put cereal on the bottom shelf, organize the »