The Open Source Initiative has posted its annual report
for 2014 [PDF] describing its efforts to increase its relevance.
“In that context, 2014 was a turning point for OSI. Our decision to
hire a General Manager started to bear fruit both in the form of a growing
membership and of heightened activity. We saw news from new Affiliates
appearing daily, profiles of individual members inspiring us through the
newsletter and both categories of members bringing forward new ideas like
the curriculum for further education and the hosting of OpenHatch. We also
saw more corporate sponsors than ever before generously offering funds to
support our growth. That meant we had the resources both to promote open
source and to challenge abuses of the term around the world.”
Posts tagged ‘education’
The Open Source Initiative has posted its annual report
Our intrepid education team spends a lot of the year on the road. In the last six months, Clive, Ben, Carrie Anne, Dave and Rachel have attended more than fifty events on the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s behalf. And in the course of those six months, some of our equipment has started to get a bit tatty.
We use banners, posters, project demonstrations, leaflets and models at events to show people what we do. In January, we’re going to start redesigning our usual show stand to make it more exciting – and this world-wide competition gives everybody under the age of 18 a chance to shape what that stand will look like.
We’re looking for your designs for the things we use to decorate the stand and inform people about the Raspberry Pi and what it can do: we want you to send us your design for a banner or a poster, your blueprint for a project demonstration, a leaflet you’ve written about Raspberry Pi, or anything else associated with Raspberry Pi that you think we can use to make the stand look good. If you send in something that we really love, we’ll work it into a professional version we can use when we go and present.
The people who send us the best 250 ideas (we won’t be able to use them all on our stand, but we’ll consider all of them!) will receive a Pimoroni Raspberry Pi B+ Starter Kit. We also have 100 runners-up prizes.
All the entries will be displayed on the walls around Pi Towers, so if you see news footage from our offices or one of our own videos, you might spot your own work in the background!
To enter, have your parent or guardian print out this form and fill it in, and mail your design and the form to:
Raspberry Pi Christmas Competition
Mount Pleasant House
Please note that we cannot accept entries that do not have parent/guardian contact details and signature. We are not accepting electronic entries – we want your original work to display on our walls!
The closing date is January 10. We’ll be sending out prizes at the end of January. All entrants must be under 18.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrian children in Lebanon still have no schools. UNICEF innovator James Cranwell-Ward became interested in low-cost technology that could help deliver education for these vulnerable children; he developed an all-in-one Raspberry Pi-based computer system that can be used for programming and electronics as well as learning across a broader curriculum, and in October, refugees aged 10 to 16 attended their first Raspberry Pi class. One student is 11-year-old Zeinab Al Jusuf:
You might recognise those screens; they’re a specially developed UNICEF version of Alex Eames’ HDMIPi screen, and Alex wrote about them for us back in May when this project was in the planning stages. The Pis are mounted behind the screens, and provide access to materials including an Arabic-language KA Lite, an offline version of the education package Khan Academy.
Alongside their studies in areas like science and numeracy, the children are learning to code their own games. Zeinab says, “Over there, we can log in and play games. But here we can create our own games and play with them ourselves or let others play with them.”
A few weeks ago Dave and I ran a workshop at the Hub Construction Skills Centre in Stepney Green. It was great: the young people were engaged, learned some basic computing skills and saw why it’s important to know how computers work. And that might normally have been a tweet or two from us but this workshop was a bit special…
Firstly, the project was one of the first recipients of a grant from our education fund and is a partnership with Barnardo’s and UK2. The project will provide space, equipment and expertise for young people to learn and develop skills in computing and IT. It ticked all the boxes for us in terms of outreach and learning and introducing young people to the world of computing and tech.
Secondly, the Hub provides training to young people for whom school is not necessarily an option. It runs after-school sessions aimed at improving attendance and encourages involvement in education and community life. It also supports those at risk of social exclusion and young mothers completing their education. This is important stuff.
There’s a revolution going on in English classrooms at the moment due to the new curriculum as well as a continuing campaign in the UK to teach computing and at the Raspberry Pi foundation we’re proud to be a key part of that change. But education doesn’t just happen in schools and the school system doesn’t suit everybody. Places like the Hub have a huge part to play in vocational education and training, as well as informal education, by providing a supportive environment with access to equipment and expertise.
We’re currently working with the Hub on a few projects and also on how we can provide support and training. We’ll blog about it here as the project progresses — we think that it has huge potential and could also serve as a useful model for similar organisations.
As for how the workshop went — UK2 blogged about it and saved me a job. Thanks!
In my former life as a Computing and ICT teacher and even before that as an ICT Technician, I always looked forward to the Bett Show in London. The Bett Show is the world’s leading learning technology event. Imagine a trade show meets teachers conference and you might have some idea of what it is like. Every year the event is opened by the Education Secretary here in England, followed by keynotes from some of the world’s leading educationalists. The next event’s line-up includes Sir Ken Robinson and Jimmy Wales! Not bad for a free event.
As a technician I attended to see what cool new tech was available for teachers, and to see if we could replace any of our current systems with something more efficient and cost effective. As a teacher I attended for much the same reasons, to get my hands on all the cool tech, but also to attend the free talks and workshops in the many areas over the course of four days.
Last year the Raspberry Pi education team were hosted by the OCR stand and you can read about what we got up to here.
The next Bett Show takes place this coming January from Wednesday 21st January to Saturday 24th January 2015 at Excel London and we at Raspberry Pi plan to have a presence like never before. We want everyone who attends to be able to experience what it is like to teach, learn and make with Raspberry Pi. To do this we need your help.
We need you! We are looking for members of our wonderful community to help us run workshops, give talks or demos and be a part of sharing what we do with teachers and technicians. Teachers, Raspberry Pi certified educators, digital leaders, technicians, academics, parents, code club mentors, workshop leaders, Raspberry Jam event organisers, or Pi enthusiasts.
Over the course of the four days, we have 20 minute and 50 minute slots to fill on our stand that includes a Raspberry Pi classroom. You can give a talk about how you engage young people with Raspberry Pi or how to setup a Raspberry Jam. You could run a Minecraft Pi or Pibrella workshop. You could bring your code club or group of digital leaders to present what they have done with Raspberry Pi.
To submit your session or sessions for our Bett Show stand for 2015, please complete this form.
After being arrested in Cambodia during September 2012 it soon became clear that two Scandinavian countries wanted to get their hands on Gottfrid Svartholm.
Sweden had a long-standing interest in their countryman for his infamous work on The Pirate Bay, but once that was out-of-the-way a pair of hacking cases had to be dealt with.
The first, in Sweden, resulted in partial successes for both sides. While Gottfrid was found guilty of hacking into IT company Logica, following testimony from Jacob Appelbaum he was later cleared by the Appeal Court (Svea Hovrätt) of hacking into Nordea Bank.
With his mother Kristina acting as go-between, TorrentFreak recently fired off some questions to Gottfrid to find out how he’s been bearing up following October’s verdict and to discover his plans for the future.
Firstly, TF asked about his opinion on the decision. Gottfrid declined to answer directly but indicated we should look to the fact that he has already filed an appeal against the verdict. That should be enough of an answer, he said.
As it stands and considering time served, Gottfrid could be released as early as August 2015, but that clearly isn’t deterring him from the possibility of leaving sooner. Gottfrid has always shown that he’s both stubborn and a fighter, so sitting out his sentence in silence was probably never an option.
Moving on, TF pressed Gottfrid on what he feels were the points of failure during the court process and how these will play out alongside his appeal.
“Can’t discuss defense strategy at this point,” he responded. Fair enough.
Even considering the preparations for an appeal, there are a lot of hours in the coming months that will prove hard to fill. However, Gottfrid’s comments suggest that his access to books has improved since his days in solitary confinement and he’s putting that to use.
“I study neurobiology and related subjects to pass the time,” he says, with mother Kristina noting that this education is self-motivated.
“The ‘arrest house’ can of course not provide him with opportunities for higher studies,” she says.
Although he’s been thrust into the public eye on many occasions, Gottfrid’s appearances at court in Sweden (documented in TPB AFK) and later in his Danish trial reveal a man with an eye for detail and accuracy. It perhaps comes as little surprise then that he also took the opportunity to put the record straight on something he knows a lot about – the history of The Pirate Bay.
If one searches for “founders of The Pirate Bay” using Google, it’s very clear from many thousands of reports that they are Gottfrid Svartholm, Fredrik Neij and Peter Sunde. According to Gottfrid, however, that simply isn’t true.
“TPB was founded by me and two people who haven’t been involved since 2004,” Gottfrid says. “Fredrik came into the picture when the site moved from Mexico to Sweden, probably early 2004.”
While acknowledging Fredrik’s work as important for the growth of the site, Gottfrid noted that Peter’s arrival came sometime later. He didn’t specify who the other two founders were but it’s likely they’re to be found among the early members of Piratbyrån as detailed here.
With Peter Sunde already released from his sentence and Fredrik Neij close to beginning his, it’s possible that the
founders trio could all be free men by the end of 2015. So does Gottfrid have anything exciting up his sleeve for then?
“Yes, I have plans, but I’m not sharing them,” he concludes.
Liz: Today’s guest post comes from Alex Eames, who runs the rather wonderful RasPi.TV. He’s been furtling through his drawers, and has discovered he owns a surprising number of Raspberry Pi variants. Thanks Alex!
Now we have the A+, I thought it’d be a good time to celebrate its ‘birth’ by having a rundown of the various mass-produced models of Raspberry Pi.
I had a look through my collection and was somewhat surprised to see that I have 10 different variants of Raspberry Pi now. There is one I don’t have, but more about that later. Here’s the family photo. You can click it for a higher resolution version.
Rev 1 Model B
In row 1, column 1 we have the Rev 1 model B. Although I was up early on 29th February 2012, I didn’t get one of the first 10,000 Pis produced. This was delivered in May 2012. It’s a Farnell variant (I have an RS one as well, but it does full-time duty as my weather station). This was the original type of Pi to hit the market. It has 256 Mb RAM and polyfuses on the USB.
Rev 1 Model B – With Links
In row 1, column 2 you’ll see a slightly later variant of Rev 1 model B. This one has 0 Ohm links instead of polyfuses. It helped to overcome some of the voltage drop issues associated with the original Rev 1, but it introduced the “hot-swapping USB devices will now reboot your Pi” issue, which was fixed in the B+.
Rev 2 Model B (China)
Row 2, column 1. Here we have an early Rev 2 Pi. This one was manufactured in China. It originally had a sticker on saying “made in China”, but I took it off. This one was bought some time around October 2012. The Rev 2 model B has 512 Mb RAM (apart from a few early ones which had 256 Mb), mounting holes and two headers called P5 and P6.
Rev 2 Model B (UK)
Row 2, column 2. This is a much later Rev 2 Pi, made at SONY in Wales, UK.
Chinese Red Pi Rev 2 Model B
Row 3, column 1. This is one of the Red Pis made especially for the Chinese market. They are not allowed to be sold in the UK, but if you import one yourself that’s not a problem. It is manufactured to a less stringent spec than the ones at SONY, and is not EMC tested. Therefore it bears no CE/FCC marks.
Limited Edition Blue Pi Rev 2 Model B
Row 3, column 2. I’m not going to go into how I got hold of this. Suffice it to say it was not at all easy, but no laws were broken, and nobody got hurt. RS had 1000 of these made in March 2013 as a special limited anniversary edition to use as prizes and awards to people who’ve made a special contribution to education etc. I know of about 5 or 6 people who have them. (At least two of those people traded for them.) They are extremely hard to get. They come in a presentation box with a certificate. I have #0041. Other than their blueness, they are a Rev 2 model B Pi.
Row 1, Column 3 is a model A. The PCB is identical to the Rev 2 model B, but it has only one USB port, no ethernet port, no USB/ethernet chip and 256 Mb RAM. The $25 model A was released in February 2013. On the day I got mine, the day after launch, I made a quick and dirty “I’ve got mine first” video, part of which ended up on BBC Click. The model A sold about 100k units. Demand for it was outstripped by the model B, although at one point CPC was offering a brilliant deal on a camera module and model A for £25 (I snagged a couple of those).
Row 2, column 3 is the Compute Module, sitting atop the Compute Module development board. This was launched 23 June 2014 as a way to enable industrial use of the Pi in a more convenient form factor. The module is made so it fits in a SODIMM connector and is essentially the BCM 2835, its 512 Mb RAM and 4 Gb of eMMC flash memory with all available GPIO ports broken out. It costs $30 when bought by the hundred.
Row 3, column 3 is the model B+. This was launched on 14 July 2014 and was a major change in form factor. Rounded corners, corner mount holes, 40 GPIO pins, 4 USB ports, improved power circuitry and a complete layout redesign. The B+ was announced as the ‘final revision’ of the B. So it would appear that it’s going to be with us for some time.
In row 4, all by itself we have the shiny new Raspberry Pi A+, launched 10 November 2014. It’s essentially the same as a B+ with the USB end cut off. It’s the smallest, lightest, cheapest, and least power-hungry Pi of all so far. It’s 23g, $20 and uses just half a Watt at idle.
So Which One Don’t I Have?
I don’t have a Rev 2 256 MB variant. If you have one and would like to trade or sell it to me, I’d be happy to hear from you (alex AT raspi.tv).
I believe there is also now a red Chinese B+ I’ve not got one of those, but it’s only a matter of time. I wonder if there will be a red A+ at some point too? We Just Don’t Know!
You may remember our Education team attended PyConUK in Coventry last month. We ran the Education Track, which involved giving workshops to teachers and running a Raspberry Jam day for kids at the weekend. We also gave talks on the main developer track of the conference.
Carrie Anne gave a fantastic keynote entitled Miss Adventures in Raspberry Pi wherein she spoke of her journey through teaching the new computing curriculum with Raspberry Pi, attending PyConUK the last two years, being hired by the Foundation, and everything she’s done in her role as Education Pioneer.
I also gave my talk PyPi (not that one) – Python on the Raspberry Pi showing interesting Pi projects that use Python and demonstrating what you can do with a Pi that you can’t on other computers.
Alex gave his talk Teaching children to program Python with the Pyland game - a project Alex led over the summer with a group of interns at the Computer Lab.
If you missed it last week, we posted Annabel’s Goblin Detector, a Father-daughter project the 8 year old demonstrated at PyConUK while enjoying the Raspberry Jam day.
In a relatively short space of time City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit has stamped its mark on the online piracy space in a way few other organizations have managed.
Since its official launch in September 2013 the unit has tackled online copyright infringement from a number of directions including arrests, domain seizures and advertising disruptions. PIPCU has shut down several sports streaming and ebook sites plus a large number of proxies.
In June 2013 when the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills announced the creation of PIPCU, Viscount Younger of Leckie noted that the Intellectual Property Office would provide an initial £2.56 million in funding to the unit over two years.
However, this funding was allocated on a temporary basis and was set to expire in 2015, a situation which prompted the Prime Minister’s former Intellectual Property Advisor Mike Weatherley to call for additional support.
This morning the government confirmed that additional funding will indeed be made available to PIPCU enabling it to operate until at least 2017.
Speaking to the national crime unit at the Anti-Counterfeiting Group Conference in London, Minister for Intellectual Property Baroness Neville-Rolfe said that PIPCU would be boosted by £3 million of funding from the public purse.
“We’ve seen significant success in PIPCU’s first year of operation. This extra support will help the unit to build on this impressive record in the fight against intellectual property crime, which costs the UK at least £1.3 billion a year in lost profits and taxes,” Baroness Neville-Rolfe said.
“With more money now being invested in ideas than factories or machinery in the UK, it is vital that we protect creators and consumers and the UK’s economic growth. Government and industry must work together to give long-term support to PIPCU, so that we can strengthen the UK’s response to the blight of piracy and counterfeiters.”
City of London Police Commander Steve Head, who is the Police National Coordinator for Economic Crime, welcomed the cash injection.
“The government committing to fund the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit until 2017 is fantastic news for the City of London Police and the creative industries, and very bad news for those that seek to make capital through intellectual property crime,” Head said.
“Since launching a year ago, PIPCU has quickly established itself as an integral part of the national response to a problem that is costing the UK more than a billion pounds a year. Much of this success is down to PIPCU moving away from traditional policing methods and embracing new and innovative tactics, to disrupt and dismantle criminal networks responsible for causing huge damages to legitimate businesses.”
PIPCU, which is closely allied with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), is a 21-strong team comprised of detectives, investigators, analysts, researchers, an education officer and a communications officer.
The unit also reports two secondees – a Senior Intelligence Officer from the IPO and an Internet Investigator from the BPI. The latter role was previously filled by the BPI’s Mark Rampton but according to his Linkedin profile he left his position last month. No announcement has been made detailing his replacement.
While PIPCU is definitely leaving its mark, not all operations have gone to plan. In one of its highest-profile actions to date, last month the unit shut down what it described as an illegal and “industrial scale” sports streaming service in Manchester. However, in mid October all charges were dropped against its alleged operator.
Liz: If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have noticed more and more frequent mentions over the last year of a piece of kit called RACHEL-Pi. RACHEL is an offline server, run on a Raspberry Pi, full of educational content from teaching curriculums, Khan Academy materials, Wikipedia, classic literature, reference material and textbooks; alongside vital community materials like medical and first aid textbooks.
We’re very proud to be able to support World Possible’s RACHEL-Pi project through our education fund. It’s being used all over the world in remote places where the internet is unavailable – and this year it’s gone from strength to strength. Here’s Jeremy Schwartz, the Executive Director of World Possible, to show you what they’ve been doing with the project in the last year.
What an incredible 12 months it has been. World Possible has seen RACHEL-Pi (our Raspberry Pi-based educational server) deployed in scores of countries – often in the most remote of locations – delivering a world of educational content to tens of thousands of students previously far removed from the great online learning tools those of us reading this blog take for granted almost every day.
How’d we get here?
It’s worth taking a few seconds to get some history on World Possible’s RACHEL server. In 2009, World Possible (an all-volunteer team, mostly from Cisco) curated a package of creative commons resources (Wikipedia, Khan Academy, CK12 textbooks, and much more) for offline distribution. Coupling the content with open-source web server software, we could create “Remote Area Community Hotspots for Education and Learning,” (“R.A.C.H.E.L.”) – a locally cached web server accessed through any connected web browser (with no need for internet connectivity).
Probably more naïve than anything, an attempted round of pilot projects of RACHEL (which at the time was a power-hungry NAS device) in 2009, in Sierra Leone, failed in pretty dramatic fashion.
The failure took a real toll on World Possible and forced us to rethink RACHEL distribution, ultimately building a distribution network of partnerships with on-the-ground teams that could do the hard part for us, and many of which still lead the RACHEL distribution charge today:
Despite the early successes of those groups, we still didn’t have the final piece of the puzzle that has exploded RACHEL deployment today (development of open-source educational resources + uniform standards of web browsers + proliferation of low cost computing hardware and storage). In comes the Raspberry Pi, giving us the ability to create a plug-and-play webserver and hotspot at a price point that we can distribute to masses of people without any required computer literacy background.
Is it working? – “Content is king; distribution is King Kong”
Almost exactly a year ago, a partnership with the Gates-Backed Riecken Libraries in Guatemala and Honduras, as well as a funding leap of faith by a few loved donors and the Rotary Club of Portola/Woodside Valley (CA), allowed us to launch a new phase of World Possible and RACHEL-Pi focused on creating, curating, and distributing relevant content from and within disconnected communities. A good old fashioned sneaker-net, delivering locally relevant (and often locally created) digital educational content to disconnected schools, libraries, orphanages and community centers.
The World Possible team in Guatemala is now led by Israel Quic, a native Mayan, initially attracted to RACHEL-Pi as a means of preserving and teaching his Mayan heritage and language to local communities.
Israel quickly saw an opportunity to collect more locally relevant agricultural and political resources than we currently distribute as part of our Spanish-language RACHEL-Pi. In April, the fruits of his labor truly began to sprout, when word came from one agricultural community, an early RACHEL-Pi recipient, which built a drip irrigation system out of old plastic bottles after discovering how to do it from a single teacher’s smartphone while researching our Guatemalan content on their RACHEL-Pi.
The successes only caused us to redouble our efforts. Aided by our local Facebook page, World Possible Guatemala solicits offers of help and requests for RACHEL from across the country.
Current RACHEL-Pi installations in Guatemala
Installations of RACHEL-Pi in community centers and libraries are often made available 24/7, enabling anyone with a smart phone to come learn, research, and explore.
San Juan del Obispo in Sacatapequéz is an agricultural community where middle school kids are using RACHEL to learn not only how to grow and irrigate, but also how to cultivate mushrooms and make fresh peach jam. Along the way they get business skills as well.
The mission in Guatemala is still just beginning, but the lessons learned and successes are providing a key roadmap for World Possible. Make available valuable educational resources, supplement them with locally relevant vocational and cultural content, get buy-in from local community volunteers, and distribute… distribute… distribute. The results are truly inspirational.
What’s next? – “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
Globally, the RACHEL effort is still driven by the hundreds of groups that download RACHEL and distribute independently in their own communities. Everything we do is free to download through our website, FTP site, BitTorrent sync, or even shared Dropbox. The Raspberry Pi has also made it so anyone can do this on their own, a powerful democratization of access to a world-class education.
World Possible will continue to support these groups through our own volunteer network, through independent advice, and by creating the best package of content available. Even more today, a biweekly newsletter is connecting thousands of RACHEL advocates in nearly 40 countries who have been through the process and can provide best practices to new users locally.
What excites us most is our ability to replicate the successes that have been achieved in Guatemala. In Micronesia, Professor Hosman and her students curated a RACHEL for the state of Chuuk. She’s now working with Inveneo to deploy RACHEL to the entire region’s network of schools.
In Kenya and East Africa, thanks to a generous grant from this very Raspberry Pi Foundation, we’ve just completed a hire (Bonface Masaviru) to follow the roadmap that Israel Quic laid out in Guatemala. Bonface is spreading RACHEL throughout Kenyan schools…
… and working with local volunteers such as Zack Matere to help us curate RACHEL Shamba (an offline package of farming resources):
Where we can, we’ll look to our long-time distribution partners to help create full labs to access RACHEL-Pi. Here in Uganda, Romeo Rodriguez gives his “children” their first ever look at technology in a new library thanks to a full “digital library-in-a-box” from World Possible.
We’ll continue to find ways to hire additional country managers, local to their communities, who have proven their dedication to RACHEL, to involve indigenous people in creating and distributing the content they currently lack.
If you’d like to be part of the mission, we’d love to have you. A great group of development volunteers can be reached at email@example.com. If you have networking expertise, we can pair you with a group that might need your help deploying RACHEL – firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to join the Raspberry Pi Foundation in supporting our efforts financially, we’d love it – donate here.
If you want us to come talk to your group, or help deploy RACHEL, we’d love that also – please don’t hesitate to get involved! Thank you to all of the individuals and groups who already have; there is so much more we can do together.
Today we’re launching a new section of our website for information about Raspberry Jams – events and meetups for Raspberry Pi users. We want to promote community events and make it easier for people to set up their own; and to spread the great sense of community that we see around the Pi even further.
Jams come in a variety of flavours: some have talks, demos and workshops; some just provide space for people to work on projects together. Some are small, just a few people sitting around a table; some are held in universities with hundreds in attendance.
The new Jam section has a map and calendar of all upcoming events, and you can submit your own to be added. It contains a page of information on how to set up and run your own Jam, and gives examples of featured Jams for inspiration.
Thanks to Mike Horne for his help on putting this together!
Over the past few years Australia has been labeled one of the world’s hotspots when it comes to online piracy, with movie and TV show companies criticizing the public for obtaining content without paying for it.
Countering, Australians have complained fiercely about being treated as second-class consumers, with products often appearing months after their debut in other territories. There are signs that entertainment companies are beginning to listen, but piracy will probably be a difficult habit to break in the short term.
A new study published today claims that not only are the numbers of pirates increasing, but they’re also pirating more frequently.
Commissioned by the IP Awareness Foundation which counts the MPA, Foxtel and other key industry players among its members, the study found that 29% of Aussie adults aged between 18-64 are regular or occasional pirates, up from 25% last year.
The anonymous study also reveals some interesting trends as teens progress towards adulthood. In the 12 to 13 year-old group active pirates made up 14% of respondents but just a year later this doubles. Among 14 to 15 year-olds, active pirates increased to 29%.
By the ages of 16 and 17 this figure had grown even further to 36%.
It’s clear that the industry would like to have the older generation influence its children to download less or not at all and the study suggests that parental influence carries the most weight with teens.
Overall, 67% of respondents said it is their parents who provide the most guidance on how to behave online, with 19% citing schools and teachers. Interestingly, just 7% mentioned peers as an influence with 1% or less mentioning the government.
However, while parents appear to carry the most influence, the perils of illegal downloading aren’t at the top of their concerns. Not releasing personal details online was the most discussed topic, followed by virus and malware, unsuitable (18+) websites and care over financial details.
Although the topic of illegal downloading was last on the list overall, those who don’t pirate said their parents discussed the subject more than those who pirate regularly.
Whether the parental discussions over malware paid off isn’t clear, but 63% of teen pirates said they were aware that ads on pirate sites could contain malicious software. But while aware of the risks, most had experienced no problems, with just 13% claiming an infection when downloading movies or TV shows or clicking ads on a pirate site.
Perhaps of most interest is the finding that teen pirates engage in legal media consumption habits at similar or improved levels to their illegal ones. Furthermore, teens who don’t pirate appear to consume less content legally than their pirating counterparts.
For instance, while around 35% of active downloaders obtain a movie from the Internet at least once each month without paying, 38% also rent a movie or TV show legally. Among non-pirates, this figure is just 27%.
Equally, while 37% of pirates admit to illegally streaming content at least once a month, 69% pay to see movies at the cinema. Among the non-pirates, the figure is just 49%.
The findings also show that pirates are more engaged when it comes to consuming legal media online digitally. Some 46% of teen pirates said they download movies and TV shows from services such as iTunes each month while among non-pirates the figure is just 29%.
In respect of finding illegal content, just two main methods are cited by the teen respondents. A total of 59% said they go directly to their favorite sites to find movies and TV shows, while 22% said they used a search engine such as Google or Bing.
The study concludes by suggesting that anti-piracy education should be focused on the younger generation, to educate children before they reach 13 years-old when peer pressure kicks in and parents have less involvement.
A good balance might also be to work out how to get non-pirating teens as involved in buying legal content as their pirating counterparts.
At Picademy, our awesome free training course for teachers, I run a workshop to introduce teachers to using the camera module with Python, and show them how to wire up a GPIO button they can use to trigger the camera. I always make a point of saying “now you know this, what can you make it do?” and suggest some uses for the setup – stop-motion animation, motion sensing or sending pictures to Twitter.
On the second day of Picademy, we give teachers the chance to work in teams on a project of their choice, and there’s always at least one group that extends upon the camera workshop. At Picademy #3 in July, one group decided to take a Babbage Bear apart, shove a Pi inside and have it take pictures and tweet them – it was great fun to help them build the project and we got some funny pictures out of it…
Because I’m happy! pic.twitter.com/mP3ZmhqA1M
— Babbage Bear (@BabbageBear) July 15, 2014
— Ben Nuttall (@ben_nuttall) July 15, 2014
Then at Picademy #4 last month, another group took the idea further and made Abuse Bear – a Babbage that tweeted a picture when punched! Perhaps this one’s not quite such a good idea for the classroom. Again, some brilliant pictures…
Call Bear Line! pic.twitter.com/GlSalb52Qc
— Boxing Babbage (@GpsBear) September 30, 2014
Don’t Touch me! pic.twitter.com/QbE70w3VBA
— Boxing Babbage (@GpsBear) September 30, 2014
The idea has been so popular at Picademy that I decided to write the Tweeting Babbage project up as an educational resource! There’s a full set of instructions for building up the code to send simple text tweets from Python, taking pictures with the camera, wiring up the GPIO button, uploading pictures to Twitter, putting it all together and performing surgery on the bear to insert the hardware.
I was at PyCon Ireland in Dublin this weekend, where I gave a talk about Raspberry Pi in education. I brought the modified Babbage along (yes, I got it through airport security) and showed the pictures above during my talk. There was a very audible aww of sentimental attachment to the cute bear I just introduced them to.
Go check out the resource and make your own Tweeting Babbage!
As an educational charity, education is at the heart of what we do here at Raspberry Pi. This year has seen the education team grow in number, resulting in the development of our new learning and teaching materials (a set of resources we’re adding to all the time), a free teacher training programme (Picademy), the introduction of competitions like the Poster Competition and the current Sonic Pi competition, all at the same time as running and participating in outreach events across the globe.
We often contribute posts to this blog to inform you, our wonderful community, about what we have been up to, and about future developments; and you often respond and interact with us to help us improve.
To help us inform teachers, school IT administrators, governors, head teachers, home educators and parents about what’s up in the world of Raspberry Pi in education, we have created a new email newsletter to keep educators and other interested folk up to date on all of our projects.
You can sign up for our newsletter here, and enjoy a monthly email penned by one of the Raspberry Pi Education Team. It is super easy to both subscribe and unsubscribe to the newsletter, and we shall be keeping an archive of all issues on the education page of the website. We promise never to use your email address for spam, and we promise never to sell it, fold, bend, spindle or mutilate it. Go and sign up – we think you’ll find it really useful!
Ideally, however, UK citizens shouldn’t be sharing or downloading content without permission to begin with. This is an issue the IP-advisor hopes to resolve with his latest set of recommendations, which center around copyright education and awareness.
In a 51-page report (pdf) that was just released Weatherley stresses the importance of copyright awareness and education, especially for the younger generation. This is needed as respect for copyright has declined in recent years and some even believe that sharing copyrighted material without permission is not a big deal.
“There is … a certain level of tolerance for the idea that IP infringements could be considered legitimate. Some believe that illegal activity online is a social norm, with no moral implications,” Weatherley writes.
“We are at risk of an entire generation growing up with different levels of respect for IP and copyright in particular. Should this social contract disappear, there could be longer-term consequences beyond the immediate, short-term negative impacts experienced by the creative sector,” he adds.
In his report the IP-advisor makes several recommendations for how this trend can be countered. Through a broad set of education measures he hopes that copyright will regain respect from the public.
“Education and consumer awareness programmes that seek to change current behaviour or influence future actions are essential for nurturing a greater culture of respect and value for the UK’s creative economy, and to negate the impact of infringement.”
The report mentions that several of the education efforts have already been set in motion. This includes PIPCU’s warning banners on pirate sites as well as the upcoming scheme to warn alleged copyright infringers through their ISP.
One of the future goals is to bring copyright into the classroom. To achieve this Weatherley recommends to add copyright education to the school curriculum, starting with the youngest kids in primary school.
“The school curriculum needs to prepare pupils – from early years through to the end of secondary school and higher education – for the 21st century knowledge economy. Interaction with IP is a daily occurrence for many young people, and yet it is widely ignored within the education system,” the report reads.
As a secondary form of public education, the BBC should also start broadcasting programming that stresses the value of copyright through various channels. This to ensure that the message reaches a wide audience.
“Given its reach and public service broadcasting remit, the BBC should create a copyright education programme using online, on-air and face-to-face channels,” Weatherley recommends.
With these initiatives and other changes, the IP advisor hopes to change people’s attitudes towards copyright. This should then lead to less online piracy in the long run which may reflect positively on the economy.
Unfortunately, the report doesn’t mention who should be involved in creating the educational messages, should they be implemented. The only stakeholders that have been consulted recently are the major copyright holder groups, which may lead to a biased perspective.
To avoid an unbalanced curriculum as we’ve seen in the United States, it may be wise to also involve representatives from the consumer side, library organisations, or alternatives to strict copyright licensing such as Creative Commons.
In 2012, Finland introduced a modification to its national constitution which allowed the public to provide input into the kind of laws being put in place.
The changes, which allow citizens to put forward legislative proposals for Parliament to vote on, came at a time when restrictive copyright was already under the spotlight.
As a result the citizen-drafted ‘Common Sense for Copyright’ initiative quickly gathered momentum. It was hoped that the proposals would influence updates to copyright law being prepared by Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture.
The draft, the brainchild of the Open Ministry nonprofit, calls for reduced penalties for copyright infringement and current penalties to be applied only in cases of a commercial scale. Fair Use provisions would also be expanded, alongside exemptions for those wishing to backup purchased media and time-shift commercial content.
In July 2013 the initiative made history after reaching the required 50,000 signatures. It was submitted to Parliament in November 2013 but now the future of the proposal is in serious doubt.
Much to the disappointment of its backers, the Finnish Parliament’s Education and Culture Committee is recommending that Common Sense For Copyright should be rejected.
European Digital Rights (EDRi), a group which defends civil rights in the information society, reports that the Committee concluded its handling of the initiative yesterday as expected.
“In its report, the Committee notes that the initiative suggests several ambitious amendments, but that it considers it impossible to propose, based on the initiative, even partial changes to the existing copyright law,” EDRi notes.
“The report states that the initiative includes internal contradictions and that many of the amendments it suggests are too significantly incompatible with the current legislation.”
As late as last week, Electronic Frontier Finland (Effi), the Finnish Pirate Party and the Open Ministry submitted complaints to the Chancellor of Justice over the way the Education and Culture Committee has been handling changes to copyright law.
The complaints allege that drafting has been carried out in secret, contrary to the Committee’s obligations under the Finnish Freedom of Information Act. Furthermore, the criteria to be applied in web-blocking cases had not been made available.
Parliament is expected to vote on the citizens’ initiative next week but after the Education and Culture Committee’s recommendations the odds are stacked against it.
Any rejection of the key points will come as a big disappointment to the 50,000+ citizens who supported the initiative. Many had signed following widespread outrage provoked by a police raid on the home of a then 9-year-old girl whose Winnie the Pooh laptop was confiscated after an allegation of file-sharing. The case was later settled for 300 euros.
These are the two words that Clive, our Director of Education says to me on a regular basis. In fact, he has promised me a road trip to Pencoed in Wales to visit the factory where our Raspberry Pis are manufactured in the UK for some time now. Not just any road trip, but one that involves an ice cream van serving raspberry ripple ice creams (avec flake) whilst motoring across the country to Sonic Pi melodies, containing the entire Foundation crew. You would be forgiven for thinking that this is all just mere ravings of a crazy ex-teacher. But you’d be wrong.
I’m pleased to be able to announce that this dream is to become a reality! Albeit, minus the ice cream van. For one time only, we are taking Picademy, our free CPD training programme for teachers, on the road to Wales this coming November, hosted at the Sony UK Technology Centre in Pencoed, South Wales. We have 24 places on Picademy Cymru, taking place on 19th & 20th November, for practicing classroom teachers in Wales. If you fit this description then please fill out our application form here or via our Picademy page. We are looking for fun, experimental, not afraid to have a go, Welsh teachers willing to share their experiences and practices with others. Primary and secondary teachers from any subject specialism are welcome – you don’t need any computing experience, just enthusiasm and a desire to learn.
A few months ago, Dr Tom Crick, Senior Lecturer in Computing Science (and Director of Undergraduate Studies) in the Department of Computing & Information Systems at Cardiff Metropolitan University and Chair of Computing at School Wales got in touch to encourage us to run a Picademy in Wales, offering the support and encouragement we needed in order to make it happen. He says:
This is perfect timing for the first Picademy Cymru and a great opportunity for teachers, even though we still have significant uncertainty around reform of the ICT curriculum in Wales. Nevertheless, there are hundreds of teachers across Wales who have been working hard, particularly at a grassroots level with Computing At School and Technocamps, to embed more computing, programming and computational thinking skills into the existing ICT curriculum, as well as preparing for the new computer science qualifications. This will be a fantastic event and I look forward to helping out!
Join us for a tour of the factory, hands-on Raspberry Pi workshops, cross-curricular resource generation, and Welsh cakes. (If Eben and Liz don’t eat all the Welsh cakes before we get our hands on them. It’s been known to happen before.)
Start-up Naturebytes hopes their 3D printed Raspberry Pi camera trap (a camera triggered by the presence of animals) will be the beginning of a very special community of makers.
Supported by the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Education Fund and Nesta, Naturebytes aims to establish a digital making community for wildlife with a very important purpose. Their gadgets, creations and maker kits (and, hopefully, those of others who get involved) will be put to use collecting real data for conservation and wildlife research projects – and to kick it all off, they took their prototype 3D printed birdbox-style camera trap kit to family festival Camp Bestival to see what everyone thought.
If you were one of the lucky bunch to enjoy this year’s Camp Bestival, you’d have seen them over in the Science Tent with a colourful collection of their camera trap enclosures. The enclosure provides a snug home for a Raspberry Pi, Pi camera module, passive infrared sensor (PIR sensor), UBEC (a device used to regulate the power) and battery bank (they have plans to add external power capabilities, including solar, but for now they’re using eight trusty AA batteries to power the trap).
The PIR sensor does the job of detecting any wildlife passing by, and they’re using Python to control the camera module, which in turn snaps photos to the SD card. If you’re looking for nocturnal animals then the Pi NoIR could be used instead, with a bank of infrared LEDs to provide illumination.
When you’re aiming to create maker kits for all manner of ages, it’s useful to try out your masterpiece with actual users to see how they found the challenge.
With screwdrivers at the ready, teams of festival-goers first took a look at one of our camera enclosures being printed on an Ultimaker before everyone sat down to assemble their own trap ready for a Blue Peter-style “Here’s one I made earlier” photo opportunity (we duct-taped a working camera trap to the back of a large TV so everyone could be captured in an image).
In fact, using the
cam.start_preview()Python function we could output a few seconds of video when the PIR sensor was triggered, so everyone could watch.
Our grand plan is to support the upcoming Naturebytes community of digital makers by accepting images from thousands of Naturebytes camera traps out in gardens, schools or wildlife reserves to the Naturebytes website, so we can share them with active conservation projects. We could, for example, be looking for hedgehogs to monitor their decline, and push the images you’ve taken of hedgehogs visiting your garden directly to wildlife groups on the ground who want the cold hard facts as to how many can be found in certain areas.
Keep your eyes peeled – Naturebytes is powering up for launch very soon!
No … we’re not adding a Start Menu or a paperclip assistant. This update has nothing to do with Microsoft’s acquisition of Mojang. See the note below for information about this.
You may remember when Mojang released Minecraft: Pi edition for free on Raspberry Pi back in early 2013. If you’re unfamiliar, Minecraft is a popular sandbox open world-building game (like on-screen lego) available for a number of different platforms like PCs, consoles and phones. The Pi edition has a Python programming interface allowing users to use code to build things and manipulate the virtual world around them. It’s a great way to learn coding, and there are plenty of great projects out there people have done and shared with the world.
Last week when we announced the release of the new Raspbian image, we mentioned that Minecraft is now installed by default. Now if you download NOOBS or the standalone Raspbian image, it will come with Minecraft pre-installed. It’s also worth mentioning that the Minecraft application is packaged, so rather than downloading the zip file you can easily install it like a standard application:
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install minecraft-pi
The accompanying Python module will be installed globally along with the game itself you don’t need to save your Python scripts in a particular folder like you did before. If you’re following books, guides, tutorials or worksheets that were written before, the code will still work the same and if you install Minecraft the new way you’ll be able to save your scripts anywhere.
Once it’s installed, here’s the basic setup to get a “Hello world” in Minecraft:
from mcpi import minecraft mc = minecraft.Minecraft.create() mc.postToChat("Hello world")
When we launched the new Raspberry Pi website in April it came with a documentation section, which we’ve been expanding ever since. In May we announced the usage guides within this documentation were complete, which features basic how to guides for getting started with each of the main applications on Raspberry Pi.
We’ve just revamped the Minecraft section to explore more of the fundamental components of the Pi edition and its programming interface, including installation, running the game and Python side-by-side, exploring the programming interface and getting a good all-round introduction to what can be done.
The edition we have at the moment was built for Python 2, and that’s still the case. However, the education team brought this up at PyConUK at the weekend and a team of developers offered to work on porting it to Python 3 – with some success!
The project is on GitHub and you can download the repository and use it the way you would use the old version of Minecraft (when you downloaded a zip) if you want to test it – just use IDLE 3 instead! We’re also planning to make some improvements to the API to make it more Pythonic and more intuitive. I’m not sure what the timescale will be for the port, but watch this space for news.
Python 3 is really important to us and we’re keen to make sure all libraries people use on the Pi are available in Python 3. Python 2 should not be the default, we should be pushing forward and adapting Python 3. As it says on the Python 2 or Python 3 page on python.org:
Short version: Python 2.x is legacy, Python 3.x is the present and future of the language
So if you’re the maintainer of a Python library, please help by making sure it’s available for Python 3. If you’re using a Python library that’s not available in Python 3 – please let us know so we can add it to the list and we’ll do what we can do get them ported.
One last note about the Microsoft acquisition of the Minecraft development company Mojang: many people have asked us what this means for the future of Minecraft on Raspberry Pi. In statements on their website, Microsoft claim they intend to continue to support Minecraft on all existing platforms. We don’t know for sure what the future will bring but Minecraft is important to us, particularly its use in education, and we’re confident that it won’t be taken from us.
The Government teamed up with copyright holders and ISPs, who will start sending warning emails to pirating Internet users next year. In addition there will be a broader educational campaign to steer people towards using legal options.
While the campaign is a private initiative the Government has decided to back it financially with several million pounds. However, TorrentFreak has learned that the Government funding wasn’t straightforward and was made outside of the available marketing budget.
Through a Freedom of Information request we obtained an email conversation between the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) and music industry group BPI. In the email from May this year IPO’s Ros Lynch explains that there are no regular marketing funds available to support VCAP.
“As part of the process of agreeing Government financial support for the educational element of VCAP we will need to seek a marketing exemption as we are currently not permitted to spend on marketing,” Lynch writes to BPI’s Ian Moss.
To be able to get the exception the Government needs additional information from the entertaining industries, showing that the investment makes sense financially. Or put differently, that the Government will see a good return for their invested taxpayer money.
“Essentially this will require a proper business case which includes hard figures,” Lynch writes.
“For example, what research are you basing your target audiences on? How have you calculated your 5% reduction in infringement? What £ saving does a 5% reduction bring? What overall estimate can you make of the ROI of this campaign e.g. what financial benefit would a £2.2m Government investment bring?”
The above suggests that the BPI is predicting a 5% drop in piracy from the anti-piracy measures. However, in a response to the IPO’s request the industry group writes that even with a lower success rate the Government’s spending will pay off.
In a “Summary Business Case” (pdf) BPI uses the expected VAT increase to convince the Government of the “profitability” of the campaign. It estimates that if 15% of all illegal downloads are lost sales, piracy only has to decline 1% over three years for the Government to recoup their investment.
“The underlying assumptions are based on very good data that has been produced by Ofcom and by a number of academic studies looking at the replacement ratios. It shows that only very small changes in piracy lead to significant returns to Government,” BPI notes.
The music industry group stresses that the calculation only looks at VAT income and that the effects on the wider economy may be even greater. However, the static model they presented should already be good enough to warrant the funding.
“So even from a very simple, static assumption, a small reduction in piracy of between .49% and 1% over the three years would return Government investment of £4m in an education scheme,” BPI writes.
This prediction was apparently good enough for the Government to invest in the new anti-piracy plans beyond the available marketing budget. Even more so, the authorities committed £3.5 million to the campaign, instead of the £2.2 that was discussed in May.
Whether the Government will indeed be able to recoup the taxpayer money through the anti-piracy campaign will be hard to measure, but the plan is going full steam ahead.
Sheffield has been a maker city for many years – the thriving steel industry dates back to the 14th century. Today it has the likes of Pimoroni, who recently moved in to a huge new factory, making cases, HATs, media centres and more.
The University of Sheffield has been undertaking a number of Raspberry Pi projects in the last couple of years. The computer science department has a research group called Sheffield Pi-Tronics led by Hamish Cunningham. One project of note is their new Pi-powered telescope – PiKon. Not to be confused with PyCon…
The University has released incredible images of the moon taken with the Raspberry Pi’s camera module connected to a 3D printed telescope which costs just £100 to make from readily available parts.
The Pikon astro-cam is a collaborative project by the Department of Physics at the University of Sheffield and Mark Wrigley of Alternative Photonics, a small company based in north Sheffield. The project was set up to deliver a working telescope for the Festival of the Mind event.
They have a working model and they’re aiming to make all the 3D printing resources and instructions available soon. They’re also looking for help producing a simple interface to make it more accessible to all:
So far, we have a working telescope which is operated by entering command lines into the Raspberry Pi. We are looking for enthusiasts and educators to help us take things further. We want to encourage people to create, innovate, educate and share their efforts on an open source basis.
How it works (from pikonic.com):
The PiKon Telescope is based on the Newtonian Reflecting Telescope. This design uses a concave mirror (objective) to form an image which is examined using an eyepiece. The mirror is mounted in a tube and a 45 degree mirror is placed in the optical path to allow the image to be viewed from the side of the tube.
The PiKon Telescope is based on a very similar design, but the image formed by the Objective is focused onto the photo sensor of a Raspberry Pi Camera. The camera sensor is exposed by simply removing (unscrewing) the lens on the Pi Camera. Because of the small size of the Raspberry Pi Camera board, it is possible to mount the assembly in the optical path. The amount of light lost by doing this is similar to the losses caused by mounting the 45 degree mirror in a conventional Newtonian design.
Former physicist and member of the Institute of Physics, Mark Wrigley, said:
We’ve called this project Disruptive Technology Astronomy because we hope it will be a game changer, just like all Disruptive Technologies.
We hope that one day this will be seen on a par with the famous Dobsonian ‘pavement’ telescopes, which allowed hobbyists to see into the night skies for the first time.
This is all about democratising technology, making it cheap and readily available to the general public.
And the PiKon is just the start. It is our aim to not only use the public’s feedback and participation to improve it, but also to launch new products which will be of value to people.
Also this week the group launched Pi Bank – a set of 20 kits containing Pi rigs that are available for short-term loan. This means local schools and other groups can make use of the kits for projects without having to invest in the technology themselves, with all the essentials, plenty of extra bits to play with – and experts on hand to help out.
Any positive comments about Sheffield are completely biased as that’s where I’m from. If you’re interested in the history of Sheffield there’s a great documentary you should watch called The Full Monty.
The blocking of sites such as The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents and Torrentz in the UK led to users discovering new ways to circumvent ISP-imposed censorship. There are plenty of solutions, from TOR and VPNs, to services with a stated aim of unblocking ‘pirate’ sites deemed illegal by UK courts.
Last month, however, dozens of these went offline when the operator of Immunicity and other related proxy services was arrested by City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit. He now faces several charges including breaches of the Serious Crime Act 2007, Possession of Articles for Use in Fraud, Making or Supplying Articles for use in Frauds and money laundering.
While it’s generally accepted that running a site like The Pirate Bay is likely to attract police attention, merely unblocking a domain was not thought to carry any such risk. After all, visitors to torrent sites are just that, it’s only later on that they make a decision to infringe or not.
In our earlier article we discussed some of the possible reasons why the police might view “pirate” proxies to be illegal. However, there are very good arguments that general purpose proxies, even ones that are expressly setup to bypass filtering (and are able to unblock sites such as Pirate Bay), remain on a decent legal footing.
One such site is being operated by Gareth, a developer and networking guru who grew so tired of creeping Internet censorship he began lobbying UK MPs on the topic, later moving on to assist with the creation of the Open Rights Group’s Blocked.org.uk.
After campaigning and documenting Internet censorship issues for some time, Gareth first heard of last month’s proxy arrest during a visit to the United States.
“I was at DefCon in Las Vegas when the news of the Immunicity arrest reached me and I realized that for all my volunteer work, my open source applications, operation of Tor relays, donations and letters to MPs to highlight/combat the issues with Internet censorship, it was not enough,” the developer told TorrentFreak.
“I felt that this issue has moved from a political / technical issue to one about personal liberty and Internet freedom. e.g. first they came for the ‘pirate proxies’, then the Tor operators, then the ISPs that don’t censor their customers. The slippery slope is becoming a scary precipice.”
Since his return to the UK, Gareth has been busy creating his own independent anti-censorship tool. He’s researched in detail what happened to Immunicity, taken legal advice, and is now offering what he hopes is an entirely legal solution to website filtering and subsequent over-blocking (1)(2).
“Unlike Immunicity et al I’m not specifically building a ‘Pirate Proxy’. Granted people might use this proxy to navigate to torrent websites but were I to sell a laptop on eBay that same person may use it for the same reasons so I see no difference,” he explains.
“In fact Section 44, subsection 2 of the Serious Crimes Act 2007 even states [that an individual] is not to be taken to have intended to encourage or assist the commission of an offense merely because such encouragement or assistance was a foreseeable consequence of his act.”
The result of Gareth’s labor is the anti-censorship service Routing Packets is Not a Crime (RPINAC). People who used Immunicity in the past should feel at home, since RPINAC also utilizes the ability of popular browsers to use Proxy Auto-Config (PAC) files.
In the space of a couple of minutes and with no specialist knowledge, users can easily create their own PAC files covering any blocked site they like. Once configured, their browser will silently unblock them.
Furthermore, each PAC file has its own dedicated URL on RPINAC’s servers which users can revisit in order to add additional URLs for unblocking. PAC ‘unblock’ files can also be shared among like-minded people.
“When someone creates a PAC file they are redirected to a /view/ endpoint e.g. https://routingpacketsisnotacrime.uk/view/b718ce9b276bc2f10af90fe1d5b33c0d. This URL is not ephemeral, you can email it, tweet it (there is a tweet button on the left hand side of the site) etc and it will provide the recipient with the exact same view.
“It’ll show which URLs are specified to be proxied, which have been detected as blocked (using the https://blocked.org.uk database) and if the author passed along the password (assuming the PAC was password protected) they can add or remove URLs too,” Gareth explains.
“Each view page also has a comments section, this could allow for a small collection of individuals to co-ordinate with a smaller subset of password possessing moderators to create a crowd sourced PAC file in an autonomous fashion. There is also a ‘Clone’ button allowing anybody to create their own copy of the PAC file with their own name, description and password if the PAC file they’ve received isn’t quite what they need.”
This user-generated element of the process is important. While dedicated ‘pirate’ proxy sites specifically unblock sites already deemed illegal by the UK courts (and can be deemed to be facilitating their ‘crimes’), RPINAC leaves the decision of which sites to unblock completely down to the user. And since no High Court injunction forbids any user from accessing a blocked domain, both service and user remain on the right side of the law.
“To avoid any accusations of fraud and to avoid any tax implications RPINAC will never ask for donations,” the dev explains. “The current platform is pre-paid for at least a year, the domain for 10. At a bare minimum PAC file serving and education for creating local proxies will continue indefinitely.”
Finally, Gareth notes that without free and open source software his anti-censorship platform wouldn’t have been possible. So, in return, he has plans to release the source code for the project under the GPL 3.0 license.
Les Pounder is a big player in the Linux & free software community in the North West. I first met him a few years ago when he was running Barcamp Blackpool, Blackpool GeekUp, Oggcamp in Liverpool, UCubed (Ubuntu & Upstream Unconference) in Manchester plus Linux user groups and other events. When I set up the Manchester Raspberry Jam in 2012, it was modelled on the style of a UCubed event – and Les came along to help out.
Les was working as a systems administrator around the time the Pi came out. Within a year or so of the community blossoming and his involvement growing, he decided to embark on a new career with the Pi at its heart. He got some work running CPD for teachers, introducing them to the Pi and to coding, he started writing articles for Linux Format, he started putting Raspberry Pi projects together for Element14, and since Linux Voice began he’s been contributing articles and Pi tutorials for them. He’s also currently working on a book with Wiley on Raspberry Pi & Arduino projects.
Les recently set up the Blackpool Raspberry Jam – and at their inaugural event he demonstrated a new project he made which brings the traditional board game Snakes and Ladders in to the digital world of IO with the Model B+. It’s called Pythons and Resistors. Over to Les:
For this project we will look back to our childhood and bring a much loved game from our past into the future. The humble board game.
Board games have been a traditional family pastime for many generations but with the rise of computer games their novelty has started to dwindle. These card and paper based games have little to offer the children of today who have been brought up on a diet of downloadable content packs and gamer scores.
But what if we could take a game from yesteryear and adapt it using the Raspberry Pi?
Meet the latest interactive board game: Pythons and Resistors.
The board game is based on a simple snakes and ladders setup, with 100 squares in total via a grid of 10 x 10 squares. The object of the game is for 2 or more players to roll a dice and move their game piece to match the number given on the dice. If the player lands on a python’s head, then they will slither down the game board to the tail of the Python. If the player lands on the bottom of a resistor then they will climb up the game board. The winner is the first player to reach square 100, which is at the top left of the board.
It’s been quiet around Pi Towers lately. Quiet and disquieting, rather like standing in your nan’s best front room when you were a kid and really needing a wee but were too afraid to break the silence. But we have good and exciting reasons for our quietude: we’ve all been busy preparing for two of our biggest events of the year. This weekend the education team is spreading it’s feelers of learning goodness around the world, from the Midlands to East Coast America.
Carrie Anne, Dave and Ben are at PyConUK while Rachel and I, along with James (our Director of Hardware), were beaten with a sock full of oranges until we sobbingly agreed to go to World Maker Faire New York.
The Maker Faire contingent will be joining our friends on the Pimoroni stand, demoing all sorts of goodies both new and old; selling shiny swag; giving out freebies; and talking and talking until we cough our larynxes into our fifteenth cup of Joe (as my American-English dictionary tells me I should call coffee if I want to be street).
Our director of hardware engineering James Adams will be there – he’s giving a talk on What’s next at Raspberry Pi? on [Saturday at 2.30pm according to this / Sunday 2pm according to this] in the NYSCI Auditorium – and Rachel and I will be speaking about digital creativity (details TBA). If you are at Maker Faire do come and visit us. At Maker Faire Bay Area earlier this year it was great to see so many educators and I hope to speak to at least as many in New York. But whatever your interests in Raspberry Pi – from digital creativity to hardware to making stuff (of course!) – we would love to see you.
Meanwhile Carrie Anne, Dave, Alex and Ben are in Coventry for PyConUK – the UK’s annual Python conference. They’re running Python workshops on Pis, giving talks about Raspberry Pi in education and chatting to teachers, educators and developers in the Python community.
SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green: Are credential dumps are worth reviewing?, (Fri, Sep 12th)
Itâ€™s been reported that around five million Gmail email addresses were released on to a forum early on in the week. In the file, next to each email address, was a password. These email addresses and passwords appear to have been collected over a few years from multiple web site sources, not from a compromise of Gmail/Google.Â The Google security team have done their analysis on the credential dump and alerted the two percent of those in that list they determine were at risk .Â
A fair number of researchers, academics and the curious will analyze, collate and build a number of models showing the most common and most amusing passwords and itâ€™s probably something most of us have seen before. So what else can we gain from these types of credential dumps and can we make it worth out time reviewing them?
Here are a few suggestions to make use of these types of dumps in a more positive manner.
1) Showing non-security staff (i.e. the rest of the world) the top fifty most common passwords, with the number of people that use that same password, to provide a bit of user education on why not to use common passwords on their accounts, personal or work, or how reusingÂ the same passwords across multiple sites can cause problems .
2) Providing you can get access to the full list, checking your email address isnâ€™t there, and it would be nice to also check that people you know arenâ€™t in the dump either.
3) A more business-focused approach, as long as you have permission, would be to compare all those email addresses against any Gmail registered user accounts, as an example any customers registered for your newsletters, logins to web sites or applications using Gmail accounts. If you do find any accounts that are linked to a listed Gmail email address from the dump, some possible options are:
- Notify said users that their email address and a passwords has appeared on a credential dump
- Force a password reset on that account
- Audit and Monitor the accounts to see if unusual has occurredÂ
4) Another step after that would be to check your logs to see if there is any automated login attempts using the Gmail accounts against any of your systems, as this is well documented behaviour by various adversaries that fellow Handlers have reported upon previously .Â
If the information is out there, our adversaries are going to be using, so we should strive to ensure we have our incident response plans have how to deal with these external events quickly and with the minimum effort.Â
Chris Mohan — Internet Storm Center Handler on Duty
(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.