Posts tagged ‘education’

Raspberry Pi: The Sense HAT: headgear for the terminally curious

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Clive Beale. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Having looked at the chunky outside goodness of the Astro Pi case yesterday it seems only fair to take another look at the heart of the Astro Pi, the Sense HAT. (This is not a conical cap that you put on the really clever kid and stand him in the corner but our add-on board for the Pi bristling with sensors and other useful things.) It’s currently going out to schools and organisations who took part in our recent competition but we also plan to sell it.

A Raspberry Pi wearing a Sense HAT

A Raspberry Pi wearing a Sense HAT

The full tech specs are here but basically it has:

  • 8×8 LED matrix display
  • accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer
  • air pressure sensor
  • temperature and humidity sensor
  • a teeny joystick
  • real time clock

The Astro Pi site explains what these all do and how they could be used.

I’m really excited about the Sense HAT. With all of those sensors on a single board it’s obviously a brilliant tool for making stuff (I have in mind a self-balancing attack robot that senses humans, aggressively hunts them down and then gently dispenses Wagon Wheels from its slot-like mouth). But it’s the potential for science that’s making me think. In particular I’d love to see it flourish in the science classroom.

A typical school science classroom

A typical school science classroom

Despite the teacher recruitment ads that inevitably show zany antics with Van der Graaff generators, explosions and dancing bonobos the reality is that much of high school science is about experimentation and observation (which is a good thing!). But lab kit such as sensors, controllers and data loggers don’t come cheap (I was once told by a class that their usual science teacher never let them use the data loggers because “they were too expensive). Nor is it easy to get bits of kit to talk to each other or the Internet of Things (with the potential benefits that come from that such as improved assessment, parental involvement, sharing and consolidating data).

data logger

A data logger I found in a school skip. The size of a cash register yet only logs temperature. On paper.

A Pi wearing a Sense HAT could do everything from monitoring plant growth to controlling and logging experimental variables. A series of experiments using the accelerometer/gyroscope to investigate forces and equations of motion is mandatory. Feel free to add your own ideas below and if any science teachers would like to get involved the please get in touch.

If you are lucky enough to already have a Sense HAT, Martin “When does that man sleep?” O’Hanlon has written an excellent getting started tutorial . If not then it’s worth taking a look anyway to get a sense (yeah, yeah :)) of what it can do.

Astro Pi sense HAT LED

Up above the streets and the houses, Sense HAT climbing high.

The final price is yet to be announced but we’re confident that there will be nothing else out there to rival it for value, potential, support and resources. Keep your eyes peeled for more news on the Sense HAT soon.

The post The Sense HAT: headgear for the terminally curious appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Krebs on Security: Who’s Scanning Your Network? (A: Everyone)

This post was syndicated from: Krebs on Security and was written by: BrianKrebs. Original post: at Krebs on Security

Not long ago I heard from a reader who wanted advice on how to stop someone from scanning his home network, or at least recommendations about to whom he should report the person doing the scanning. I couldn’t believe that people actually still cared about scanning, and I told him as much: These days there are countless entities — some benign and research-oriented, and some less benign — that are continuously mapping and cataloging virtually every devices that’s put online.

GF5One of the more benign is scans.io, a data repository of research findings collected through continuous scans of the public Internet. The project, hosted by the ZMap Team at the University of Michigan, includes huge, regularly updated results grouped around scanning for Internet hosts running some of the most commonly used “ports” or network entryways, such as Port 443 (think Web sites protected by the lock icon denoting SSL/TLS Web site encryption); Port 21, or file transfer protocol (FTP); and Port 25, or simple mail transfer protocol (SMTP), used by many businesses to send email.

When I was first getting my feet wet on the security beat roughly 15 years ago, the practice of scanning networks you didn’t own looking for the virtual equivalent of open doors and windows was still fairly frowned upon — if not grounds to get one into legal trouble. These days, complaining about being scanned is about as useful as griping that the top of your home is viewable via Google Earth. Trying to put devices on the Internet and and then hoping that someone or something won’t find them is one of the most futile exercises in security-by-obscurity.

To get a gut check on this, I spoke at length last week with University of Michigan researchers Michael D. Bailey (MB) and Zakir Durumeric (ZD) about their ongoing and very public project to scan all the Internet-facing things. I was curious to get their perspective on how public perception of widespread Internet scanning has changed over the years, and how targeted scanning can actually lead to beneficial results for Internet users as a whole.

MB: Because of the historic bias against scanning and this debate between disclosure and security-by-obscurity, we’ve approached this very carefully. We certainly think that the benefits of publishing this information are huge, and that we’re just scratching the surface of what we can learn from it.

ZD: Yes, there are close to two dozen papers published now based on broad, Internet-wide scanning. People who are more focused on comprehensive scans tend to be the more serious publications that are trying to do statistical or large-scale analyses that are complete, versus just finding devices on the Internet. It’s really been in the last year that we’ve started ramping up and adding scans [to the scans.io site] more frequently.

BK: What are your short- and long-term goals with this project?

ZD: I think long-term we do want to add coverage of additional protocols. A lot of what we’re focused on is different aspects of a protocol. For example, if you’re looking at hosts running the “https://” protocol, there are many different ways you can ask questions depending on what perspective you come from. You see different attributes and behavior. So a lot of what we’ve done has revolved around https, which is of course hot right now within the research community.

MB: I’m excited to add other protocols. There a handful of protocols that are critical to operations of the Internet, and I’m very interested in understanding the deployment of DNS, BGP, and TLS’s interception with SMTP. Right now, there’s a pretty long tail to all of these protocols, and so that’s where it starts to get interesting. We’d like to start looking at things like programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and things that are responding from industrial control systems.

ZD: One of the things we’re trying to pay more attention to is the world of embedded devices, or this ‘Internet of Things’ phenomenon. As Michael said, there are also industrial protocols, and there are different protocols that these embedded devices are supporting, and I think we’ll continue to add protocols around that class of devices as well because from a security perspective it’s incredibly interesting which devices are popping up on the Internet.

BK: What are some of the things you’ve found in your aggregate scanning results that surprised you?

ZD: I think one thing in the “https://” world that really popped out was we have this very large certificate authority ecosystem, and a lot of the attention is focused on a small number of authorities, but actually there is this very long tail — there are hundreds of certificate authorities that we don’t really think about on a daily basis, but that still have permission to sign for any Web site. That’s something we didn’t necessary expect. We knew there were a lot, but we didn’t really know what would come up until we looked at those.

There also was work we did a couple of years ago on cryptographic keys and how those are shared between devices. In one example, primes were being shared between RSA keys, and because of this we were able to factor a large number of keys, but we really wouldn’t have seen that unless we started to dig into that aspect [their research paper on this is available here].

MB: One of things we’ve been surprised about is when we measure these things at scale in a way that hasn’t been done before, often times these kinds of emergent behaviors become clear.

BK: Talk about what you hope to do with all this data.

ZD: We were involved a lot in the analysis of the Heartbleed vulnerability. And one of the surprising developments there wasn’t that there were lots of people vulnerable, but it was interesting to see who patched, how and how quickly. What we were able to find was by taking the data from these scans and actually doing vulnerability notifications to everybody, we were able to increase patching for the Heartbleed bug by 50 percent. So there was an interesting kind of surprise there, not what you learn from looking at the data, but in terms of what actions do you take from that analysis? And that’s something we’re incredibly interested in: Which is how can we spur progress within the community to improve security, whether that be through vulnerability notification, or helping with configurations.

BK: How do you know your notifications helped speed up patching?

MB: With the Heartbleed vulnerability, we took the known vulnerable population from scans, and ran an A/B test. We split the population that was vulnerable in half and notified one half of the population, while not notifying the other half, and then measured the difference in patching rates between the two populations. We did end up after a week notifying the second population…the other half.

BK: How many people did you notify after going through the data from the Heartbleed vulnerability scanning? 

ZD: We took everyone on the IPv4 address space, found those that were vulnerable, and then contacted the registered abuse contact for each block of IP space. We used data from 200,000 hosts, which corresponded to 4,600 abuse contacts, and then we split those into an A/B test. [Their research on this testing was published here].

So, that’s the other thing that’s really exciting about this data. Notification is one thing, but the other is we’ve been building models that are predictive of organizational behavior. So, if you can watch, for example, how an organization runs their Web server, how they respond to certificate revocation, or how fast they patch — that actually tells you something about the security posture of the organization, and you can start to build models of risk profiles of those organizations. It moves away from this sort of patch-and-break or patch-and-pray game we’ve been playing. So, that’s the other thing we’ve been starting to see, which is the potential for being more proactive about security.

BK: How exactly do you go about the notification process? That’s a hard thing to do effectively and smoothly even if you already have a good relationship with the organization you’re notifying….

MB: I think one of the reasons why the Heartbleed notification experiment was so successful is we did notifications on the heels of a broad vulnerability disclosure. The press and the general atmosphere and culture provided the impetus for people to be excited about patching. The overwhelming response we received from notifications associated with that were very positive. A lot of people we reached out to say, ‘Hey, this is a great, please scan me again, and let me know if I’m patched.” Pretty much everyone was excited to have the help.

Another interesting challenge was that we did some filtering as well in cases where the IP address had no known patches. So, for example, where we got information from a national CERT [Computer Emergency Response Team] that this was an embedded device for which there was no patch available, we withheld that notification because we felt it would do more harm than good since there was no path forward for them. We did some aggregation as well, because it was clear there were a lot of DSL and dial-up pools affected, and we did some notifications to ISPs directly.

BK: You must get some pushback from people about being included in these scans. Do you think that idea that scanning is inherently bad or should somehow prompt some kind of reaction in and of itself, do you think that ship has sailed?

ZD: There is some small subset that does have issues. What we try to do with this is be as transparent as possible. All of our hosts we use for scanning, if look at them on WHOIS records or just visit them with a browser it will tell you right away that this machine is part of this research study, here’s the information we’re collecting and here’s how you can be excluded. A very small percentage of people who visit that page will read it and then contact us and ask to be excluded. If you send us an email [and request removal], we’ll remove you from all future scans. A lot of this comes down to education, a lot of people to whom we explain our process and motives are okay with it.

BK: Are those that object and ask to be removed more likely to be companies and governments, or individuals?

ZD: It’s a mix of all of them. I do remember offhand there were a fair number of academic institutions and government organizations, but there were a surprising number of home users. Actually, when we broke down the numbers last year (PDF), the largest category was small to mid-sized businesses. This time last year, we had excluded only 157 organizations that had asked for it.

BK: Was there any pattern to those that asked to be excluded?

ZD: I think that actually is somewhat interesting: The exclusion requests aren’t generally coming from large corporations, which likely notice our scanning but don’t have an issue with it. A lot of emails we get are from these small businesses and organizations that really don’t know how to interpret their logs, and often times just choose the most conservative route.

So we’ve been scanning for a several years now, and I think when we originally started scanning, we expected to have all the people who were watching for this to contact us all at once, and say ”Please exclude us.’ And then we sort of expected that the number of people who’d ask to be excluded would plateau, and we wouldn’t have problems again. But what we’ve seen is, almost the exact opposite. We still get [exclusion request] emails each day, but what we’re really finding is people aren’t discovering these scans proactively. Instead, they’re going through their logs while trying to troubleshoot some other issue, and they see a scan coming from us there and they don’t know who we are or why we’re contacting their servers. And so it’s not these organizations that are watching, it’s the ones who really aren’t watching who are contacting us.

BK: Do you guys go back and delete historic records associated with network owners that have asked to be excluded from scans going forward?

ZD: At this point we haven’t gone back and removed data. One reason is there are published research results that are based on those data sets, results, and so it’s very hard to change that information after the fact because if another researcher went back and tried to confirm an experiment or perform something similar, there would be no easy way of doing that.

BK: Is this what you’re thinking about for the future of your project? How to do more notification and build on the data you have for those purposes? Or are you going in a different or additional direction?

MB: When I think about the ethics of this kind of activity, I have very utilitarian view: I’m interested in doing as much good as we possibly can with the data we have. I think that lies in notifications, being proactive, helping organizations that run networks to better understand what their external posture looks like, and in building better safe defaults. But I’m most interested in a handful of core protocols that are under-serviced and not well understood. And so I think we should spend a majority of effort focusing on a small handful of those, including BGP, TLS, and DNS.

ZD: In many ways, we’re just kind of at the tip of this iceberg. We’re just starting to see what types of security questions we can answer from these large-scale analyses. I think in terms of notifications, it’s very exciting that there are things beyond the analysis that we can use to actually trigger actions, but that’s something that clearly needs a lot more analysis. The challenge is learning how to do this correctly. Every time we look at another protocol, we start seeing these weird trends and behavior we never noticed before. With every protocol we look at there are these endless questions that seem to need to be answered. And at this point there are far more questions than we have hours in the day to answer.

Raspberry Pi: Happy Scratch Day 2015!

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Clive Beale. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

A quick blip of a blog to say Happy Scratch Day!

Scratch cat logo

Help! I’m trapped in a white box. Fetch the magic wand tool!

We’re huge fans of Scratch here at the Foundation. It was designed to teach young people how to program but it’s a great learning tool at any age: you can build your first program in minutes and pick up fundamental concepts very quickly. Whilst having fun. Sneaky!

Raspberry Pi Scratch workshop.

Raspberry Pi Scratch workshop. Yes, that is Mitch Resnick at the back!

If you’ve never tried Scratch before then today is the day to boot up your Pi and have a play. If you are Pi-less then you can use it online, but you’ll be missing out on the best bit of all: physical computing with Scratch. It’s probably the easiest way to hook up sensors, LEDs, buttons and motors to the Pi, and resources such as our reaction game and Santa detector are great intro projects for the weekend.

various components connected to raspberry pi and Scratch

Connect buttons, sensors, cameras, LEDS, goblin sticks and other gubbins to your Pi

The Foundation has supported Scratch since our early days and we’ve put a lot of resources into making Scratch on the Pi better, faster and funner. We’re just putting the finishing touches to some new stuff that we think you’ll find really exciting (I’m excited anyway :)) so watch this space. We’ll have some news this summer. We’ll also be at the Scratch 2015 conference in Amsterdam in August so if you are there come and talk to us.

Raspberry Pi Scratch workshop.

Raspberry Pi Scratch workshop. A young man shows adults why flying hippos are essential in LED traffic light projects.

I’ll finish now. My sesame seed bagel has just popped up (and you know how easily they burn) and I’m stopping you from making things. This weekend, give the repeats of Thundercats a miss and go and have a play with Scratch instead—it’s a beautiful thing.

The post Happy Scratch Day 2015! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green: Security Awareness? How do you keep your staff safe?, (Thu, May 7th)

This post was syndicated from: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green and was written by: SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green. Original post: at SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

If youve been following recent diaries from my fellow handlers Brad and Manuel, they peel the covers back on a couple current malicious emails campaigns. Many of the readers of the Storm Center diaries will be use to the ebb and flow of these stories. Here in Australiatheres a speeding fine scam email [1] thats been running for the last few weeks, and theres no indication it will drop off any time soon.

There is plenty of training, education and horror stories out on the Internet about malicious email, so why is it a recurring problem? One suggestion has been that it playson human emotions. Threatening or enticing emails are designed to draw in the unsuspecting and then there are those users that will go to significant lengths to bypass security controls just to see the dancing cat/chicken/Hans Solo.

So providing useful and meaningful security awareness isnt easy and has to be made relevant to individual audiences, even within the same organization. Providing the same training education to senior management and then a development group will probably miss the mark for both groups and result in a Meh, I wont fall for that. Sadly generic security training often results in a trained staff member that still falls victim to a relatively convincing scam.

At this point youd be expecting some wondrous solution. Sorry, not today. I will say this is something that takes constant revising, effort and innovativethinking to engage your staff. Ive mentioned before that SANS has some nifty resources [2], but I really love finding how people try to instill security in their organizations. A security engineer from Riot Games posted how his security team took a different approach to getting in the hearts and minds of their staff about thinking about security as a whole [3]. This goes back to build a story about being security minded that your audience understands, hopefully cares about, and starts to adopt in their working practices and lives.

Will it stop everyone clicking links or opening random email attachments? I doubt it, but flipping a person from an attack vector to an attack alerter is a worthy goal.

If you have any other examples of innovative ways at getting people to care about good, basic security approaches, please add a comment or drop us a line [4]

[1] https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/news/afp-warns-public-email-traffic-infringement-scam

[2] http://www.securingthehuman.org/resources/

[3] http://blog.markofu.com/2015/01/socialising-security-riot.html

[4] https://isc.sans.edu/contact.html

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.

Raspberry Pi: Astro Pi: Mission Update 2

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: David Honess. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Astro_Pi_Logo_WEB-300px

Time for an Astro Pi update! The ‘big idea’ phase of the competition, where students were only required to submit an idea, closed at the beginning of April. The fully anonymised judging process took place over two long days at York’s National STEM Centre on the 17th of April.

Nearly 200 teams from primary schools and code clubs all over the UK submitted ideas for experiments and games to be run on Tim Peake’s Astro Pi on board the International Space Station (ISS) later this year. He will set the winning experiments running, collect the data generated and then download it to Earth where it will be distributed to the winning teams.

Tim Peake has announced the primary school winners in a video message from Star City, where he is currently training. The secondary school competition is still open until the end of June.

Hannah Belshaw from Cumnor House Girl’s School in Croydon won top place with her idea to represent data from the Astro Pi in the world of Minecraft. The Cranmere Code Club team from Esher were also winners with their idea to investigate whether the Astro Pi can detect the presence of astronauts on the ISS using the temperature and humidity sensors.

Both schools will now receive a class set of Astro Pi kits which they’ll start coding on. They’ll also use them to get involved in the data logging activities once Tim starts his mission.

Major Tim Peake - photo provided by UK Space Agency under CC BY-ND

Major Tim Peake – photo provided by UK Space Agency under CC BY-ND

Hannah Belshaw’s Minecraft idea was the top entry overall in the primary school category. The code will be written by us at Raspberry Pi under her guidance and, in addition to getting it flown and run on the ISS, a British satellite will be realigned to take a picture of her school from space! They can all go outside into the playground and make a huge space invader perhaps?

We all recognised that Hannah’s idea is an ingenious way to represent abstract sensor data captured by the Astro Pi in a way that would allow children to gain an intuitive understanding. The terrain in Minecraft will be used to visualise magnetometer and gyroscope measurements downloaded from the ISS and can then be replicated by anyone who owns a Raspberry Pi.

Jonathan Bell, one of our software ninjas, said:

“We anticipate that we will have as much fun programming (and testing) this entry as children will have exploring a game world created from data captured in space.”

Cranmere Code Club’s concept of investigating whether or not multiple sensors from the Astro Pi could be used to detect the nearby presence of an astronaut appealed to everyone because it exploits so much of the Astro Pi hardware. Cranmere Code Club will use the visible camera to take a photograph when an increase in temperature and humidity is detected, and will review the images to see if they caught anyone!

Pat Norris from CGI said:

“the Cranmere entry was very clearly and comprehensively presented. It included a statement of the objective of what is effectively a scientific experiment and of the approach proposed to achieve that objective, and complemented this with logic flowcharts and a diagram. Part of the activity takes place on the ISS and part on the ground after the data has been collected, giving the Cranmere Code Club an opportunity to participate directly in the experiment. The judging panel was impressed by the sophistication of the entry, demonstrating an appreciation of the scientific method (hypothesis tested by experiment) and a thorough analysis of the logic involved.”

The standard of entries was so high that we also created a ‘highly commended’ category to reward outstanding effort. These entrants will individually receive an Astro Pi kit too.

Doug Liddle from SSTL said “The standard of entries was tremendously high. Ultimately, the winning teams had to propose ideas that were creative, practical and useful to stand a chance of winning. I hope that most of these talented primary school teams also decide to get involved in the next stage of the competition and give the secondary schools a run for their money.”

In the secondary school age group, the competition is running across three age categories, one for each of Key Stages 3, 4 and 5. Competitors have already submitted their ideas for experiments and applications with the best submissions in each age category winning an Astro Pi kit on which to code their idea and the two most promising ideas in each category winning a class set of kits. The teams who have earned a class set of kits are:

Key Stage 3 and equivalent:

Key Stage 4 and equivalent:

Key Stage 5 and equivalent:

Phase two of the Astro Pi competition is all about secondary schools realising their ideas from phase one in code, testing it, refining it and eventually submitting it via the competition website by the 29th of June. Primary schools are not required to do this, but those that want to code will be put into the lowest age category for the secondary school competition.

If you missed phase one, you can still enter! In fact, if you really wanted, you could turn up on the 28th of June with your code ready to go, enter, and submit the code on the same day! (That would be cutting it a bit fine though…)

Go here to enter!

After the end of June the entries will be judged for the last time. The best two from each key stage will then have their code flown on Tim Peake’s Astro Pi when he launches in November. The existing primary school entries will also be judged alongside these to be in with a chance to win the UK Space thematic prizes.

We are also providing support through the Astro Pi forum and you can still apply for a free Astro Pi HAT (on its own) if you didn’t win a kit. Oh oh! Yes… free stuff is up for grabs.

If you want to get one you need to send an email application to…

request@astro-pi.org

…describing what you intend to do with the hardware. Hint: those who intend to enter the Astro Pi secondary school competition will be looked upon favourably. You should provide a good description of what your entry will do for Tim Peake on the ISS. This will not entitle you to a board though! There are only a limited number of them so we will be selecting based on what you write in your application. So choose your words carefully.

In the future we hope that the European Space Agency will want to repeat the Astro Pi competition on a larger scale and so, currently, the UK competition is like a pilot. ESA are watching this with interest and they will be looking for the number of entries received and the number of students reached. Please do your bit by getting your school involved.

Raspberry Pi: Picademy South West

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Carrie Anne Philbin. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Next stop on the great Raspberry Pi Education Team Tour of Great Britain is the South West of England! That’s right: we’re taking Picademy, the offical Raspberry Pi Professional Development for course for Teachers, on the road again, thanks to our friends at Exeter Library in Devon! I’m already packing my bucket, spade and kiss-me-quick hat. As always, Picademy is completely free to attend.

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 07.48.31

Raspberry Pi Certified Educators – April 2015 from cohort no. 8. All demonstrating their best super hero pose!

Exeter Library is an appealing venue for Picademy, with an onsite Fab Lab (fabrication workshop) equipped with laser cutters, 3D printers, and more. I expect we will see some fantastic project ideas realised on day two of the course. Maybe even ‘Biscuits’ the robot will get a shiny new hat courtesy of Clive’s mega-making skills.

Picademy South West will take place on 4th and 5th June. We have space for 24 enthusiastic teachers from Primary, Secondary and Post-16 who are open to getting hands on with their learning and having some fun. We’d like to see lots of teachers from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, and Dorset take full advantage of this two day event. Sign-ups for teachers are open!

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 07.42.31

Our Raspberry Pi Certified Educators Map shows that the team are needed in the South West!

For educators in and around Leeds, remember that our Picademy@Google training events are open for sign-ups too, as we continue to spread free training opportunities across the UK. In the coming months we will announce other venues as part of the Google series.

Darknet - The Darkside: sptoolkit Rebirth – Simple Phishing Toolkit

This post was syndicated from: Darknet - The Darkside and was written by: Darknet. Original post: at Darknet - The Darkside

The sptoolkit (rebirth) or Simple Phishing Toolkit project is an open source phishing education toolkit that aims to help in securing the mind as opposed to securing computers. Organizations spend billions of dollars annually in an effort to safeguard information systems, but spend little to nothing on the under trained and susceptible minds that…

Read the full post at darknet.org.uk

Raspberry Pi: Python in Education – free e-book from O’Reilly

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Ben Nuttall. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

This week PyCon is going on in Montreal – it’s the big worldwide Python conference – and for the occasion, O’Reilly asked our friend Nicholas Tollervey to write a free short book on Python in Education.

python-in-education

Click to download the book for free

The book tells the story of Python, why Python is a good language for learning, how its community gives great support, and covers Raspberry Pi as a case study.

You’ve probably heard about the computing revolution in schools, and perhaps you’ve even heard of the Raspberry Pi. The Python programming language is at the center of these fundamental changes in computing education. Whether you’re a programmer, teacher, student, or parent, this report arms you with the facts and information you need to understand where Python sits within this context.

Author Nicholas Tollervey takes you through the features that make Python appropriate for education, and explains how an active Python community supports educational outreach. You’ll also learn how Raspberry Pi is inspiring a new generation of programmers – with Python’s help.

Nicholas visited Pi Towers in February to speak to Carrie Anne, Eben and me about why we think Python is suited to education. He asked Eben how the idea for the Raspberry Pi hardware came about and why there was a need for an affordable hackable device. He asked us about the Python libraries those in the community provided (particularly RPi.GPIO and picamera) that we consider part of our infrastructure for education and hobbyist users alike; and about the sorts of projects that engage, empower and inspire young learners – and of course the way they learn and progress. We discussed Minecraft Pi, hardware projects, Astro Pi, PyPy, teacher training and more.

Read more on teaching with Python from Nicholas and download the book for free from O’Reilly.

Raspberry Pi: Launching Picademy@Google Leeds

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Carrie Anne Philbin. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

We love introducing educators to the Raspberry Pi; that’s why the education team are always on the road, at conferences, shows and events, sharing the Pi’s learning potential. Last year, we started a teacher training programme, and invited educators from all over the world to our headquarters for some fun hands-on learning. We called it Picademy. It’s been hugely popular, and so far we’ve trained around 200 teachers through seven events in our own unique way. The feedback has blown us away. Of those who completed our feedback questionnaire:

  • 97.5% stated that they were now likely or very likely to use Raspberry Pi in their classroom, and 
  • 98.8% stated that they were likely or very likely to share the training received with other teachers.

So we have a problem. We want to train thousands of educators – no – hundreds of thousands of educators, and that’s not possible for our tiny education team, even though it’s made up of a cracking bunch of superstars. Picademy is always oversubscribed.

We have huge ambitions for education. Thanks to the generosity and support of Google, we think we are heading in the right direction. Today we are excited to announce our new Picademy@Google programme for educators, kicking off in Leeds, UK. This is another opportunity for primary, secondary and post-16 teachers to attend Raspberry Pi-flavoured computing and science training, but this time at a Google Digital Garage near where you live. The Digital Garages are a group of pop-up spaces – this first one located in Leeds Docks – which will help 200,000 British businesses learn crucial skills for the digital age, and use the power of the internet to reach more customers and grow faster.

Here is trustee Pete Lomas with Lauren Hyams (Code Club Pro) and Roger Davies (Computing at School) who will also be offering teacher training opportunities at the Digital Garage

Here is Raspberry Pi Foundation trustee Pete Lomas with representatives from Code Club Pro and Computing at School (who will also be offering teacher training opportunities at the Digital Garage) at the launch event in March.

The Picademy@Google courses will be run by hand-picked community members and educators, and will be a a mix of hands-on making, project-based learning and general hacking (think Picademy meets Raspberry Jam!) They will run alongside our definitive Picademy course and are, as always, completely free to attend for teachers.

We will be launching Picademy@Google in other UK cities as Google Digital Garages open over the next few months – to be informed about when one opens up near you, please sign up to our education newsletter.

The Leeds Digital Garage will be open between now and November, and we’ll be running a number of Picademy@Google courses there, so start spreading the news: sign-ups for teachers are open!

TorrentFreak: Aussies Set For 200,000 Piracy Notices Per Year Under New Code

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

Just 24 hours ago Australia was abuzz with the news that U.S.-based Voltage Pictures will now be allowed to launch a so-called ‘speculative invoicing’ scheme Down Under.

The company will obtain the names of people behind ISP accounts linked to the unlawful sharing of their works online and pursue them for cash settlements. It’s a business model with a grubby reputation, one that mainstream rightsholders have largely steered away from in recent years.

Instead, the world’s largest entertainment companies are focusing their efforts on schemes designed to educate citizens, those in Australia included, in the hope that they will voluntarily change their online media consumption habits.

The local result is today’s publication of ‘Industry Code C653:2015, Copyright Notice Scheme’(pdf), the anti-piracy framework hammered out by telecoms companies and key entertainment industry companies including ARIA, Australia Screen Association, Foxtel, Music Rights Australia, News Corporation and Village Roadshow.

A draft was presented in February but today’s paper represents its final form following more than 370 public submissions.

While there have been some tweaks and clarifications, the majority of the core policies outlined in the earlier publication remain the same. ISPs providing fixed access services to 1,000 account holders or more will take part, which amounts to roughly 70 local service providers.

Vision

According to telecoms body the Communications Alliance, the scheme will have “a strong emphasis on public education” and does not contain “explicit sanctions against internet users”. While it does have ‘teeth’ (we’ll come to that shortly), informing subscribers comes first.

Notices

The three-step notice process remains, with account holders receiving ‘educational’, ‘warning’ and then ‘final’ notices each subsequent time their IP addresses are connected to infringing activity online. Only users of P2P systems such as BitTorrent are affected.

“Any Account Holder who receives three Notices within a 12 month period will have the option to seek a review conducted by an independent Adjudication Panel,” the paper reads.

Appeals against notices, consumer protection

One significant change is the elimination of a fee if a subscriber feels he or she has been wrongly issued with a notice. While subscribers can appeal against any notice, so-called ‘Challenge Notices’ can only be sent to the adjudication panel upon receipt of a ‘Final’ notice.

Rightsholders will pick up the tab on appeals for now but if any abuse of the appeal process is observed, fees could be reintroduced.

There will also be “stronger consumer representation” on the Copyright Information Panel, the body that will oversee the notice scheme and operate the website setup to educate the public.

The sting in the tail

There are no disconnections or suspensions for subscribers who don’t get the message after three warnings but the scheme does have a potentially tougher lesson up its sleeve.

By accommodating a ‘facilitated preliminary discovery’ process, ISPs will be expected to assist (not challenge) copyright holders who decide to take legal action against persistent infringers.

“Where an Account Holder has received three Notices within a 12 month period and a Rights Holder files an application for preliminary discovery in a prescribed court seeking access to the Account Holder’s details, ISPs will act reasonably in relation to the preliminary discovery application,” the paper reads.

“It remains a matter for the Court to decide whether preliminary discovery should be granted. An Account Holder’s details will not be provided by ISPs to Rights Holders in the absence of a court order.”

Notice volume and who will pay

Considering that the issue of costs has been derailing anti-piracy discussion between ISPs and rightsholders for many years, the speed at which this code has been agreed after government issued an ultimatum last year is somewhat surprising.

However, it appears that who will pay is not only still undecided, but could also remain a secret even when it is.

“There are still some commercial details, including elements of the scheme funding arrangements, to be finalized and the finished product must meet the approval of the ACMA,” says Communication Alliance CEO, John Stanton.

The current agreement allows for up to 200,000 notices to be processed and sent by all ISPs during each 12 months of the scheme’s operation. However, if rightsholders subsequently deem that number to be insufficient to achieve their objectives, further financial negotiations can take place with ISPs with a view to them sending more.

“Any funding arrangements must be designed to ensure that smaller ISPs are not unduly burdened by the requirements of the scheme,” the code adds.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority will now consider whether to register the code. Once put into place, the effectiveness of the scheme will independently evaluated 18 months after launch.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Peter Sunde: The ‘Pirate Movement’ is Dead

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Peter Sunde. Original post: at TorrentFreak

pirate-fire-burnWell, I for one don’t give a flying fuck. I don’t care if the “pirate movement” lives, exists or whatever. I only care about the causes. Too much focus is put on the form, liveliness and influence of groups, organizations and nostalgic icons.

What’s the point on spending energy and resources (not to talk about lost publicity) to discuss the meta-debate about the form of the causes? It’s just pointless.

You’ve all heard it. The “pirate movement” is dead, diminishing and what not. But ignore that. What are the causes that we talk about here? Freedom of information, freedom of speech, surveillance, state corruption, corporate overlords, control of our infrastructure, the right to access education and culture, plenty. Are these discussions dead? No. But are we moving anywhere with them? I’m afraid not.

As I’ve said numerous times over and over again, we lost those battles. Now some people are refusing to give them up, in true Monty Python spirit, claiming that their beloved “pirate movement” is not dead. Mixing apples and pears.

Give up the idea of pirates being cool. They’re not. My biggest regret in my part in all of this was to use the word pirate. Not even Johnny Depp can make pirates look cool – and he manages to make cocaine-dealers look awesome. Pirates are awful. And today’s pirates – the ones in Somalia – also lost their battles. Good! So let’s get rid of this stupid culture of having a stupid culture.

In the essence of what a pirate means today – I’m talking the political pirate – I’m all in. But I’m also so much more and I hope you guys are as well. I hope you care about the bigger picture. The “pirate movement” does not have space for that though. So why would you limit yourself to that? Why would you spend your energy and time on something that has no working big picture? It’s a subset of politics that the “movement” has been dealing with. And that’s fine, but not in the form of a party.

A party needs to be able to have that ideological big picture view. Who can say what the “pirate movement’s” view on immigration is? Or the war against drugs and so on? It would be different in each country. There’s no alignment here.

So fuck the “pirate movement”. Rename it, re-brand it, do whatever you want. Just fucking don’t be a pirate. Be something more awesome. Be a world citizen that cares about the same topics. Join other parties and make them understand the topics at hand. Infiltrate them. Cooperate and have people join all the parties in your nation, make sure they all agree. Be a fucking undercover ninja for all I care. Just don’t sing songs about pirate booty, looting and shit.

Anyhow, i’m pretty sure we lost the big fight. But I don’t mind you guys trying to fix it. I’m involved no matter if I want to be or not anymore – but I’m spending my time on new approaches. I’m doing art and I’m traveling to tell you all that you’re stupid. It’s fun to do that. And fun is what’s missing in your beloved “pirate movement”.

You’re stuck in 2005. 10 years of history on the ‘nets is an insane amount of time for being stuck. For most it’s half of your life. And you’re refusing to evolve. If that’s the message of a “pirate movement” I don’t get why anyone wants to be involved.

The “pirate movement” is dead – yeeey! Long live everything else. This is the only essence of what used to be a “movement” that should be there. Ignite, re-ignite, burn and ignite again. Pyromania is creative.

About The Author

Peter Sunde is the former spokesperson of The Pirate Bay. He’s currently working for the micro-payment service Flattr, the encrypted chat client Heml.is and several other technology startups.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

TorrentFreak: Movie Licensing Group Demands $350K From Schools

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Andy. Original post: at TorrentFreak

cashIn many countries there are exceptions to copyright law that allow those in education to use copyrighted material to further their studies.

Those exceptions often have limits but copying for research, comment and reporting purposes are generally allowed while teachers are able to make multiple copies of content to hand out to their students.

Following the tabling of a new intellectual property law in Spain, last December the Department of Education sent out a circular reminding schools that the showing of audiovisual content outside strict “fair use” parameters is completely banned.

While airing short clips should be ok, the government had become concerned that schools stepping over the mark could be forced to obtain prior authorization to show content or might even find themselves being sued. That resulted in the decision-making body in the autonomous region of Galicia striking a private licensing deal with rightsholders from the movie industry.

According to Praza.gal the existence of the deal was revealed in a letter (pdf) sent to schools this week by the local CEO of the worldwide Motion Picture Licensing Corporation.

The letter revealed that MPLC was willing to license each student for the price of 1.25 euros per year. While that doesn’t sound much in isolation, there are 260,000 students in the region making a grand total of 325,000 euros ($350,000) to be sent to MPLC’s movie and TV show company members.

The CIG-Ensino union has reacted furiously to the news and is now calling for local authorities to prohibit the collection of any monies and ensure that audiovisual resources for use as teaching and learning aids remain free.

“[Schools and teachers] should not to pay any tax for doing their job and should be able to continue using all kinds of tools that are needed to do their jobs as effectively as possible,” the union said.

“It is incomprehensible to try to limit the task of educating exclusively to the use of the textbooks and reducing the use of resources such as film, music, documentaries in classrooms.”

MPLC has not yet commented on the news.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

Raspberry Pi: First Pi in space

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: James Robinson. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Recently you may have seen some of the awesome things that Dave Akerman has been doing with Raspberry Pi and Balloons. For the eclipse he was able to capture this image from his high altitude payload.

Dave who’s been doing high altitude flights for some time has racked up some pretty impressive bragging rights including the first Raspberry Pi (B, A and A+) in near space.

As many of you will also be aware we will be sending a pair of Raspberry Pi B+ to the International Space station later this year as part of our Astro Pi competition.

We felt a little sorry for the Pi B 2, as it’s never even been close to space! Having recently joined the education team, and with a little experience in launching a near space flight with my school, I wanted to do something about this. So for the last few weeks I’ve been working on launching a Pi 2 with a helium balloon and a Pi In The Sky (PITS) board. Here you can see the PITS+ board stacked on my Pi 2 ready for launch.

IMAG0380

This morning around 6:00am we launched our payload and sent it soaring to near space! However something quite remarkable happened….

The first part of the flight went well, the payload ascended rapidly and sent back some early flight images.

However, we then we lost contact with the payload at around 10,000m…

About 15 minutes later we re-established contact and were shocked to find it was at 37,000m above ground level! This is a much faster rate of ascent than we’d expected, roughly 6x quicker!

In fact it didn’t stop there, and appears to be rising still, the last piece of telemetry data we received put the payload at around 113,000m (that’s technically outer space!)

scene00146

We don’t know how but the payload appears to have reached escape velocity and is continuing to ascend. We’ve received a couple of images from the flight and are hoping they keep coming!

Wow! This is the first Pi in Spaaaacceeee……

Raspberry Pi: The Young Innovators’ Club in Ulaanbaatar

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Helen Lynn. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

The Young Innovators’ Club is a new initiative to promote engineering and tech education for school-aged children in Mongolia. It’s currently piloting a Raspberry Pi-based after-school club in Mongolia’s capital, Ulaanbaatar, with support from the National Information Technology Park, where activities take place:

Blinky lights
Girl with Pi
Student breadboarding
Students collaborate

Scratch and Python are on the menu, and electronics features prominently, with students using Raspberry Pis to control LEDs, sensors, motors and cameras. Club Coordinator Tseren-Onolt Ishdorj says,

So far the result of the club is very exciting because parents and children are very much interested in the club’s activity and they are having so much fun to be part of the club – trying every kind of projects and spending their spare time happily.

The idea of introducing Raspberry Pi-based after-school clubs was originally put forward by Enkhbold Zandaakhuu, Chairman of the Mongolian Parliament and himself an engineer by training; a group of interested individuals picked up the idea and established the Club in late 2014, and it has since attracted the interest of peak-time Mongolian TV news and other local media. The Club plans to establish After-School Clubs for Inventors and Innovators (ASCII) across the country with the help of schools, parents and other organisations and individuals; this would involve about 600-700 schools, and include training for over 600 teachers. They’re hopeful of opening a couple of dozen of these this year.

We’re quite excited about this at Raspberry Pi. It was lovely to see our Raspberry Jams map recently showing upcoming events on every continent except for Antarctica (where there are Pis, even if not, as far as we know, any Jams), but nonetheless there’s a displeasing Pi gap across central Asia and Russia:

Jams everywhere

Raspberry Jams on every continent except Antarctica (yes, really: the one that seems to be on the south coast of Spain is actually in Morocco)

It’s fantastic to know, then, that school students are learning with Raspberry Pis in Ulaanbaatar. We’ll be keeping up with developments at the Young Innovators’ Club on their Facebook page, where you can find lots of great photos and videos of the students’ work – we hope you’ll take a look, too.

Breadboard robot
Pi and breadboard
Lego robot

TorrentFreak: Popular Torrent and Streaming Sites Blocked in Denmark

This post was syndicated from: TorrentFreak and was written by: Ernesto. Original post: at TorrentFreak

stop-blockedFor nearly a decade Denmark has been a testbed for pirate site blockades. The first blocks were ordered back in 2006 after music industry group IFPI filed a complaint targeting the Russian MP3 sites AllofMP3 and MP3sparks.

Not much later Denmark became the first European country to force an ISP to block access to The Pirate Bay.

After some small additions during the years that followed, a Danish Court has now ordered another round of pirate site blocks, the largest one thus far.

Following a complaint from the local Rights Alliance (RettighedsAlliancen) group the blocklist was updated with 12 popular torrent, streaming and MP3 download sites.

The new domains are free-tv-video-online.me, watchseries.lt ,solarmovie.is, tubeplus.me, mp3vip.org, rarbg.com, extratorrent.cc, isohunt.to, eztv.ch, kickass.to, torrentz.eu and music-bazaar.com.

Due to a recent agreement the sites will be blocked by all ISPs, even those not mentioned in the lawsuit. Late last year Rights Alliance and the telecommunications industry signed a Code of Conduct which ensures that blockades are put in place country-wide.

Speaking with TF, Rights Alliance head Maria Fredenslund says that their primary goal is to limit piracy through education. For this reason, the blocking page includes links to legal stores and services.

“Right Alliance doesn’t merely take an enforcement approach. We want to understand user behavior offer people legal alternatives,” Fredenslund says.

“We are quite happy that there are so many people who are looking for online entertainment. Our goal is to steer them in the right direction, instead of simply blocking access,” she adds.

For the affected sites there will be a drop in Danish visitors. Interestingly, however, not all site owners are disappointed.

TF spoke with the operator of one of the torrent sites on condition of anonymity. He says that these blocking efforts are free advertising and that users can still access the blocked domains through proxies or anonymizing services.

“Blocking is the greatest thing that can happen to a site. It is free advertising for your site. People want the things they can’t have,” the operator says.

“Whoever is blocking the sites is actually doing us a favor by telling the users that they can’t open the site, thus making the users want to open the site even more.”

Rights Alliance sees things differently and points to the results of a test on the effectiveness of blocking efforts.

“There are clear signs that our approach works. A recent test revealed that if people were warned that they had attempted to visit an unauthorized site, 84% chose not to continue,” Fredenslund tells us.

danishnudge

The test in question was conducted at various Danish schools. Instead of completely blocking access the schools inserted a notification which allowed users to visit legal alternatives or continue to the illegal sites. The majority of the people who saw this notice decided not to visit the page.

Whether the result will also translate to people’s non-monitored home connections is not clear. In any case, the new blockades in Denmark are throwing up an extra hurdle.

Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing, torrent sites and anonymous VPN services.

Raspberry Pi: PiJuice: portable power for your Pi projects

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Helen Lynn. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Helen: some Kickstarter campaigns just jump out at you. When I took a look at PiJuice it was obvious it was the real deal – they’ve only gone and sorted out portable power for the Raspberry Pi, with bells on. Their Kickstarter runs until Tuesday, so you’ve got the weekend to jump on board. Here’s Aaron Shaw to tell you more.

I started playing with the Raspberry Pi since the very beginning and after being involved in The MagPi and various other activities I am now fortunate enough to call Raspberry Pi tinkering my “work”. The thing that got me hooked back in 2012 was the hardware and physical computing capability – writing code to do things in real life (probably because of my background in Automotive Engineering) and I still spend a considerable amount of my time just learning new things and playing around with everything the Raspberry Pi has to offer. It has been a fantastic opportunity and I want to share it with as many people as possible.

PiJuice

Around a year ago I met Harry Gee from PiBot and we started by just throwing around our ideas for how we could help to make the Raspberry Pi even better. One of the things that we had both found difficult was creating portable or remote projects – it was of course possible, but it was just a lot harder than it needed to be. This ultimately led us to the idea of making a neat, safe, portable power solution for the Raspberry Pi to allow people to do even more exciting things with their Pi, whilst saving a lot of time and effort in the process.

PiJuice module

We’ve called this the PiJuice and it’s the ultimate product for portable and remote Raspberry Pi projects. The idea with PiJuice was to remove a barrier to entry from portable Pi projects so that beginners and professionals alike could focus on building, making and learning rather than worrying about the complexities of lithium battery charging and other electronics issues, whilst reducing the costs in the process.

 

Maker Kits – Made for Makers

PiJuice is more than just an add-on board. We are passionate about education and are keen to turn PiJuice into a modular project platform – a way to allow people to build their awesome ideas much more quickly and easily.

To kick things off and provide some inspiration we have developed a number of exciting tutorials and projects including a Raspberry Pi games console, a compact camera, a Pocket Pi and more.

Make cool stuff

We are calling these Maker Kits and they are already available to purchase in kit form from our Kickstarter page and are being uploaded as free guides on Instructables.

These guides will soon be turned into high quality step-by-step guides that you can either use with our Maker Kits or to build and make your own.

Free Off-Grid Power To the Pi

Off-grid power

When creating Raspberry Pi projects outdoors we’ve also been interested in using solar power as it is free and renewable. We’ve worked hard to create an efficient and low cost solution that will open up new off-grid and sustainable applications for the Raspberry Pi.

The PiJuice Solar has additional circuitry which adds functionality to enable truly autonomous, self-monitoring operation of the Raspberry Pi – perfect for weather stations, remote camera systems for nature watching and more.

Additionally, we are actively investigating possibilities for affordable wind and thermoelectric power generation with PiJuice Solar for added flexibility.

What would you do with yours?

What would you do with yours?

We are really interested in what you want to do with your own PiJuice. We want to create the projects that appeal to you the most, so please suggest us your ideas in the comments, or on Twitter (@ThePiJuice) using the hashtag #ProjectPiJuice to get our attention. We will turn the best of these into free projects for everyone to enjoy!

We really hope to help as many people as possible create awesome portable Raspberry Pi projects as well as continuing to create beautiful guides for cool projects! We’re currently coming to the closing stages of our Kickstarter and would appreciate any support to help make PiJuice even better – http://pijuice.com.

– Aaron & The PiJuice Team

Raspberry Pi: Our 1000th blog post!

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Ben Nuttall. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

We recently noticed that we were soon to be approaching our 1000th post since our blog began in July 2011, and thought we ought to curate some stats and share some of our proudest moments from this incredible journey with you!

Eben set up the blog to let people know about developments of the Raspberry Pi and its use in education. This is what the website looked like back then:

first-post

We’ve come a long way since that first post: the blog has seen two (2013, 2014) major redesigns (as well as that joke one), and it’s brought you eight product launches (Model B, Model B rev2, Model A, Camera module, Pi NoIR camera, Compute module, Model B+, Model A+ and Pi 2 Model B); we’ve announced Picademy, free learning resources, our million pound education fund, we announced we’re sending Pis to the International Space Station, we’ve run several competitions and many more education initiatives as well as featuring countless amazing Raspberry Pi projects.

Some stats

In the 1000 posts to date, there have been:

  • 1691 images
  • 51,974 comments in total
  • 1702 tags
  • 5370 links

These 1000 posts have all come from just 15 authors (though some are guest articles posted by one of the team). Liz has written (by far) the most:

liz-is-pacman

Pi chart

The most common tag is education (57).

Dave tends to write the longest posts with a 9313-character average, and the longest post was Ben’s Mega USA Tour.

Our first post was on 24th July 2011. Here’s what we posted on 24th July in subsequent years:

Top 10 commented posts:

  1. Raspberry Pi 2 on sale now at $35 (837)
  2. And breathe… (706)
  3. We’ve started manufacture! (635)
  4. Model B now ships with 512MB of RAM (586)
  5. Ladies and gentlemen, set your alarms! (554)
  6. New product launch! Introducing Raspberry Pi Model B+ (552)
  7. Raspberry Pi Compute Module: new product! (509)
  8. Competition: name our bear! (492)
  9. The Raspberry Pi User Guide is here! Win a signed copy (543)
  10. Pricing updates (good news!) from Element 14/Premier Farnell and RS Components (449)

You can browse the entire history of the blog in our Archive page.

And this is what the homepage looks like today:

website-1000th-post

www.raspberrypi.org – 25 March 2014

I look forward to seeing what it looks like on the day of our 2000th post, expected Wednesday 23 January 2019.

Raspberry Pi: A Pi’s eye view of the solar eclipse

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Helen Lynn. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Last Friday morning I got up at an unfamiliar hour to board a train to Leicester, where BBC Stargazing were broadcasting a special live show to coincide with the partial solar eclipse over the UK. Regular readers will have seen Dave Akerman write here last week of his plans to launch two Model A+ Pis with Pi in the Sky telemetry boards on a weather balloon as part of the BBC’s event, with the aim of capturing stills and video of the eclipse from high above the clouds. As we’ll see, Dave was far from the only person using Raspberry Pis to observe the eclipse; to begin with, though, here’s a downward-facing view from one of his Pis of the launch, done with the help of a group of school students:

I caught up with Dave a bit later in the morning, by which point the payload had been recovered after a shortish flight.

Dave, John and Helen

Dave explains to my three-year-old son that the balloon payload has come down in fields by Leighton Buzzard

The chase vehicle tracked and recovered the payload
Onlookers were surprised

BBC Radio Leicester interviewed Dave, making for a really interesting five-minute introduction to what a balloon mission involves. BBC Television filmed several interviews, too, including this one, broadcast on BBC Stargazing live the same evening, featuring images of the eclipse captured by the Pis:

My favourite moment is when the balloon bursts, having reached a diameter of about eight metres. Despite the lack of air, as Dave points out, the pop is clearly audible:

If you watched right to the end of the BBC Stargazing interview, you’ll have heard Lucie Green mention another project, this one with the involvement of BBC Weather’s Peter Gibbs. The Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading is running a citizen science programme, the National Eclipse Weather Experiment (NEWEx), to collect data to study small weather changes expected to accompany an eclipse, such as a drop in temperature and changes to clouds and wind. They particularly encouraged schools to join in, and we sent one of our weather station prototypes to the National STEM Centre in York so that they could help a local primary school take part. They installed it on their roof:

Weather station prototype on National STEM Centre roof

Matt Holmes from the STEM Centre displayed data from the weather station alongside a webcam image of the eclipse:

If you’re in the UK and you’d like to watch the (very) brief interview with Peter Gibbs that followed the one with Dave Akerman, you can catch it on BBC iPlayer, starting at 29m40s.

Other people were using Raspberry Pis to take weather measurements during the eclipse too. Cookstown High School in Northern Ireland have set up another of our weather station prototypes; you can see live data from it at www.piview.org.uk/weather/, which you can drag to see older data and zoom for more detail. School staff are also tweeting more photos and information about the weather station as @STEAM4schools. Here are its temperature recordings during the eclipse:

PiView Weather Station - 20 March 2015, morning

As you can see, it’s difficult to separate out effects of the eclipse from other temperature variation, which is where NEWEx’s big-data approach will hopefully prove valuable.

One computing teacher planned his Friday morning class’s eclipse observations in our forums, with help from forum regular Dougie, whose own measurements are here, and others. They held an eclipse party before school, and they and others have shared their measurements in the forum.

School eclipse party

HOW COOL: REALLY COOL!!!

We’ve seen a number of timelapse films of the eclipse captured using Pis, too. Berlin Raspberry Jam organiser James Mitchell used a Raspberry Pi to make a timelapse of the 74% eclipse seen there:

It’s really great to see Raspberry Pis used in such a variety of ways to enhance people’s experiences of a rare and remarkable astronomical event, and particularly to see the involvement of so many schools. Did you use a Raspberry Pi for observations during Friday’s solar eclipse? Tell us in the comments!

Raspberry Pi: Raspi-LTSP is now PiNet: easily manage a Raspberry Pi classroom

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Helen Lynn. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Helen: Over the past year and a half, Raspi-LTSP has become very popular as a simple and easy-to-set-up way of managing Raspberry Pi users and files in a classroom setting. Today its 18-year-old developer Andrew Mulholland launches PiNet, the new incarnation of this very valuable, free, open source project. He’s written us a guest post to tell you more about it.

PiNet

For nearly two years now, I have been working on RaspberryPi-LTSP. The goal setting out was clear: a simple, free and easy-to-use system for schools that allowed them to manage their Raspberry Pis more easily.

So today I am proud to announce PiNet, the replacement for RaspberryPi-LTSP. The idea for PiNet/Raspi-LTSP was spawned out of a workshop I was teaching two years ago in a local primary school. The workshop ran over two days and I had forgotten to install a piece of software on all the SD cards before cloning them. I also had somehow to remember which student’s work was on which SD card so I could hand it out to them the next day. Logistically, managing it was a bit of a nightmare! And I only had one class of kids to worry about.

How can you manage students’ work when you have perhaps hundreds of different students using a set of Raspberry Pis in a week? Does each student get assigned her or his own SD card? And what happens when those SD cards need to be updated with the most recent software update?

After many (many) hours of work researching possible solutions, I came up with a proof-of-concept script. The script used LTSP (Linux Terminal Server Project) to build a virtual Raspbian operating system on a server, then let Raspberry Pis network boot off it. I released this on GitHub back in September 2013 not expecting much to come of it. Rather surprisingly, people slowly started playing around with it, I started getting emails with new ideas and I discovered there was an interest in the project.

PiNet classroom with lapdocks

A PiNet classroom, using Motorola lapdocks to provide display, keyboard and trackpad

200+ commits and 3000+ lines of code later, the feature list has grown after a huge amount of feedback from educators right across the world.

PiNet’s features include:

  • Network-based user accounts, so any student can sit down at any Raspberry Pi in the classroom and log in
  • Network-based operating system, so if you want to change the operating system (for example, by adding a new piece of software), you just edit the master copy on the server and reboot all the Raspberry Pis
  • Shared folders to allow teachers to share files with students
  • Automated backups of students’ work
  • Automated work collection/hand-in system
  • Super-easy to set up and maintain
  • Completely free and open source.

PiNet is a replacement for Raspi-LTSP, not an upgrade, so if you’re already running Raspi-LTSP, you’ll need a new installation to get PiNet running on your server (PiNet will automatically update your SD cards the first time you boot up your Raspberry Pis after installing it, so you don’t need to make any changes to those yourself). To make everything as easy as possible, a migration utility has been included in every Raspi-LTSP release since November to allow you to migrate user data and files to PiNet; read the migration guide for help doing this.

PiNet desktop

The Raspberry Pi desktop with PiNet is like the one you’re used to

Here are some of the things that other people have said about PiNet/Raspi-LTSP:

PiNet is already used across the world in over 30 different countries. To give it a go in your school, all you need is an old computer, a router and some networked Raspberry Pis! To get started, head over to the PiNet website at http://pinet.org.uk/ and hit Get Started!

Raspberry Pi: Piper: Learning electronics with Minecraft

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Matt Richardson. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

At Raspberry Pi, we’re interested in many of the different ways that computers and education converge. To hear more about a new approach, I’ve invited Mark Pavlyukovskyy to write about his project, Piper, which you can find on Kickstarter now. Here’s Mark:

I was a junior in college when I first heard about the Raspberry Pi. It seemed miraculous that you could have a full Linux board, that could run off of your phone charger, that cost only $35. While I imagined hundreds of different projects that I would want to make with the Pi, I realized that at such a low price point, the board would be perfect for giving kids in all over the world a way to hack and play with technology. It could democratize who had access to creating with technology.

picreate

My first project was to add peripherals like screens and keyboards to the Pi and send these cheap mini-computers to Africa and India for kids to learn about computer hardware and software. Today you can be a software developer from anywhere in the world, and I wanted to use the Pi to serve as an interactive instruction manual to let anyone get started with programming. Not only was it logistically difficult to ship dozens of black boxes with wires and electronics to different countries, but the biggest challenge was actually getting kids interested. For the majority of the students we worked with, the interface or the games we made didn’t interest them as much as putting together the pieces and seeing a working computer as a result of their efforts.

We went back to the drawing board to figure out a way to let kids not only build a computer, but to continue building and creating; to spark their curiosity and show them that they could build real things themselves. After doing dozens of workshops with schools back in the US, we found the hook that would get kids interested – Minecraft. Minecraft is a virtual building blocks game that allows kids (and adults) to create anything they want in virtual reality; even if that anything is virtual replicas of Hogwarts, the Starship from Star Wars, or the city of Beijing. And luckily for us, the Pi had a version of Minecraft that we could modify with Python. The other beauty of the Pi was the GPIO pins. These programmable input/output pins allowed us to create a modified Minecraft that kids could alter by adding their own hardware and electronics to the Pi. We could modify the game, so that once kids built the correct hardware and connected it to the pins on the Pi, the Minecraft would react in some way.

Fav 4_00000

We designed and created a storyline, where you were sending a robot to a different planet, and on the way over, his hardware was damaged, so you had to repair his hardware on the Raspberry Pi right in front of you in order to advance through the levels. In each level of the game you would have to physically build a power-up, such as a button, a switch, a row of LED lights, and these power-ups would give an advantage in the game. The switch for example opens hidden doors, while the row of LEDs serves as a proximity sensor for finding diamonds, so the closer you are to diamonds, the more lights light up.

PC100107-sm

And as we started showing this to kids, we couldn’t get them to stop playing. It was really amazing how interested kids were in both the Minecraft and the hardware. For many, they had played regular Minecraft, and were fans, but modifying it by adding your own real gadgets was a novel concept, and excited them. Many kids had never built anything physical prior to Piper, and they got excited because it showed them that the in-game possibilities were endless.

We are currently creating a sandbox platform that will allow players to make their own levels and add custom hardware, and then share their creations with friends. Because as kids see the endless possibilities of what they can create in the game with Piper, we know that they will remember these lessons, and eventually see the whole world around them as full of possibilities which they can create and invent. We want Piper to inspire an entire generation to believe that they are superheroes not just in the virtual world, but in the real world too. Not to see technology as a black box that works on magic, but as something anyone can remix and create. And together with the incredible community of Raspberry Pi enthusiasts like you, we can bring this vision to life! Please join us in bringing Piper to inventors and creators all over the world!

Raspberry Pi: Picademy North at the National STEM Centre

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Carrie Anne Philbin. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

Once again the Raspberry Pi Foundation Education Team is taking Picademy, the official Raspberry Pi professional development course for teachers, on the road. This time to the North, thanks to our friends at the National STEM Centre in York!

national-stem-centre-logo

The National STEM Centre houses the UK’s largest collection of STEM teaching and learning resources, and high-quality subject specific CPD, in order to provide teachers of STEM subjects with the ability to access a wide range of high-quality support materials.

We work with business, industry, charitable organisations, professional bodies and others with an interest in STEM education to facilitate closer collaboration and more effective support for schools and colleges, and promotion of STEM careers awareness.

Picademy North will take place on 26 and 27 May 2015 and we have space for 24 enthusiastic teachers from primary, secondary and post-16 who are open to getting hands-on with their learning and having some fun. It is our hope, by running this event in York, that we will reach those teaching in locations that are not already represented by Raspberry Pi Certified Educators.

Screen Shot 2015-03-12 at 16.23.23

Can you help us put more markers on my Raspberry Pi Certified Educators map?

Picademy is free to attend and applications are open to all teachers from around the world as long as you can fund your own travel and accommodation. If you have applied before but been unsuccessful, please apply again. Our selection process is based on keeping a good mix of gender, location, type of school and so on. We often identify those who have applied more than once to give a place on the course.

If you are interested in taking part and becoming a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator then complete this Picademy application form.

Yesterday I shared this news with the thousands of educators signed up to our education newsletter and was overwhelmed by the positive responses – and I promise there isn’t a Yorkshire bias here, whatever anyone thinks!

[Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова] : Класация на университетите в света 2014 – 2015

This post was syndicated from: [Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова] and was written by: nellyo. Original post: at [Медийно право] [Нели Огнянова]

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2014-2015

Класация на университетите

2015 rank 2014 rank Institution
1 1 Harvard University (US)
2 4 University of Cambridge (UK)
3 5 University of Oxford (UK)
4 2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
5 3 Stanford University (US)
6 6 University of California, Berkeley (US)
7 7 Princeton University (US)
8 8 Yale University (US)
9 9 California Institute of Technology (US)
10 12 Columbia University (US)

Класация на университетите по области

Top 100 за социални науки

А ако се интересувате от социалните науки в Европа – ето началото:

 

Rank Institution Location Overall score change criteria
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
93.2
5 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
92.0
9 Imperial College London United Kingdom
87.5
13 ETH Zürich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich Switzerland
84.6
22 University College London (UCL) United Kingdom
78.7
29 Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Germany
71.9
34 École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland
70.9
34 London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) United Kingdom
70.9
36 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
70.4
40 King’s College London United Kingdom
69.4
44 Karolinska Institute Sweden
66.8
52 University of Manchester United Kingdom
64.5
55 KU Leuven Belgium
63.7
61 École Polytechnique France
62.2
63 Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa Italy
61.9
64 Leiden University Netherlands
61.3
67 Georg-August-Universität Göttingen Germany
61.0
70 Heidelberg University Germany
59.6
71 Delft University of Technology Netherlands
59.2
72 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
59.1
73 Wageningen University and Research Center Netherlands
59.0
74 University of Bristol United Kingdom
58.9
75 Universität Basel Switzerland
58.4
77 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
58.2
78 École Normale Supérieure France
58.1
79 Utrecht University Netherlands
58.0
80 Humboldt University of Berlin Germany
57.9
81 Free University of Berlin Germany
57.6
83 Durham University United Kingdom
56.9
90 Ghent University Belgium
56.2
94 University of Glasgow United Kingdom
55.3
98 Stockholm University Sweden
54.6
98 Technical University of Munich Germany
54.6
98 Uppsala University Sweden
54.6
101
Maastricht University
Netherlands
54.3
103 University of Helsinki Finland
53.9
103 Université Pierre et Marie Curie France
53.9
103
University of Warwick
United Kingdom
53.9
103 University of Zürich Switzerland
53.9
107 Queen Mary University of London United Kingdom
53.8
107 University of Geneva Switzerland
53.8
111 University of St Andrews United Kingdom
53.6
111 University of Sussex United Kingdom
53.6
113 University of York United Kingdom
53.4
113 Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen Germany
53.4
117
University of Groningen
Netherlands
53.1
118 Royal Holloway, University of London United Kingdom
53.0
119 Lund University

Raspberry Pi: BBC Make it Digital

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Clive Beale. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

BBC Make it Digital Logo

For Christmas 1982 my brothers and I got our first games console (an Intellivision as it happens. Yes reader, we were that family) and it was truly, mind-blowingly amazing. In fact, it was like magic. And that was the problem–it was like magic. No one had a clue how even their Grandstand Entertainment System (aka ‘Pong 8-ways’) worked and they certainly didn’t have the tools to make their own computer games even if they wanted. We were consumers of tech, not creators.

BBC Micro, the breakfast of champions

BBC Micro, the breakfast of champions

So the early 1980s was basically rubbish and we were all sad. VHS clocks across the nation flashed in sync because nobody knew how to set them. Then along came home computers and changed *everything*: the majestic BBC Micro; the mighty Spectrum (the best because I had one and I say so); the marvellous C64. And the Dragon 32. At last we could get to grips with how computers worked and use them to make stuff. Amazing things came from this revolution–including the Raspberry Pi– but that’s another story.

Fast forward at C-90 cassette speed to the present day. Life is full of space gadgets like smart phones, HD TVs and talking shoes. It’s like magic. And that’s the problem. Yet again, we are consumers of tech, not creators.

Raspberry Pi was made to help fix this problem and we constantly champion computing as a creative tool for young people. You can see this in many of our resources as well as initiatives such as our Creative Technologists mentoring program. In short–we think digital creativity is hugely important. Which is why we are delighted and proud to be one of the partners of BBC Make it Digital which launched today.

BBC Make it Digital Logo

Make it Digital is a UK-wide initiative that aims to inspire “a new generation to get creative with coding, programming and digital technology” and to “capture the spirit of the BBC Micro.” It will include free hardware for all year 7 students in the UK; training for thousands of young people; TV and radio programmes and online activities; national education events; and partnerships with organisations from all areas of digital creativity, technology and computing.

The Micro Bit

One part of Make it Digital is the small programmable device codenamed ‘Micro Bit’ that is currently in development and will be given to all schoolchildren in year 7 later this year.

BBC Make it Digital 'Micro Bit'

BBC Make it Digital ‘Micro Bit’

The aim is to get young people programming on a simple platform that then acts as a “springboard” to full computers such as the Raspberry Pi. We’re looking forward to getting our hands on the hardware to see what it can do.

GTA TV

Along with links to flagship programmes such as Dr Who there are a host of new programmes for TV and radio. We were especially intrigued by the announcement of “a drama based on Grand Theft Auto”. I’m hoping that they run it back to back with the documentary on Ada Lovelace so that I can celebrate digital creativity in a happy yet cognitively dissonant sort of way. The line-up looks great and it will be good to see digital creativity and computing represented in depth on TV and radio at last.

Education

The BBC will be providing a range of formal learning activities and resources and there will be a resource finder to allow students, teachers and parents to find and access this material and more.
We’re excited by BBC Make it Digital because it’s closely allied with our own educational and creative aims. The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s CEO Lance Howarth explains, “Getting kids excited about computing and making is crucial; it’s central to the mission of Raspberry Pi. It’s great to see the BBC and other organisations coming together to tackle this challenge. BBC Make it Digital will add to the range of affordable and accessible tools for kids everywhere. We look forward to developing educational resources to support the initiative.”

Raspberry Pi: I spy… Carrie-Anne on BBC Technobabble

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Rachel Rayns. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

We were very excited to welcome children’s TV presenter Frankie Vu from CBBC’s Technobabble, a TV show for children dedicated to explaining how technology works in a fun way, to Pi Towers towards the end of 2014 to talk about how computers are often found inside lots of different appliances, toys, and products.

Screenshot 2015-03-09 12.54.47

In an episode dedicated to Computing, Carrie Anne demonstrates some of our fun projects such as the weather station project and hamster party cam, both of which you can make and build with your students thanks to our free resources.

If you missed it, and you’re in the UK, you can watch it here (the segment starts at about 4 minutes in).

 

Raspberry Pi: Big Birthday Bash – the aftermath

This post was syndicated from: Raspberry Pi and was written by: Liz Upton. Original post: at Raspberry Pi

We are all very tender, aching and sleepy. It was a fantastic weekend.

1300 of you came to see us at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory over the weekend, where you listened to 24 lecture theatre talks, took part in 14 workshops, shared hundreds of incredible projects you’d made with your Pis, and ate 110 pizzas.

2015-02-28 13.21.11

2015-02-28 13.20.57

The workshops were amazing: thanks so much to everybody who helped run them. Here’s Imogen, age 10, who is a Scratch pro (we loved your maze game, Imogen!): this is the first time she’s ever done any robotics, and we thought her robot turned out just great.

Alan McCullagh came all the way from France, where he runs the Rhône Valley Raspberry Jams, to join the other volunteers teaching kids in the Beginners’ Workshop.

16508273319_41bbbd7aaa_z

(Private note for Alan: ROWER. I said ROWER.)

The projects on display were brilliant. Phil Atkin brought along PIANATRON, his Raspberry Pi synthesiser. Pete from Mythic Beasts (you can only see his hands), who is such a good pianist I’m always too embarrassed to play in front of him, was joined by Jonathan “Penguins” Pallant on the “drums”. (Jonathan gave me an update on the penguins project: the Pis all survived the Antarctic winter; however, the solar panels did not, so some more work’s being done on how to manage power.)

We loved watching kids see the music they were making.

magic keyboard

Some kids learned a bit of history.

2015-02-28 12.46.45

Others got to work on custom devices.

2015-02-28 14.34.33-1

Brian Corteil’s Easter Bunny (which he lent us last year for YRS) made an appearance, and laid several kilos of chocolate eggs.

16072840153_6b9898bddd_z

We found more kids in quiet corners, hacking away together.

kids

Workshops aren’t just for young learners: here’s Dave Hughes, the author of the PiCamera library, giving a PiCamera workshop to some grown-up users.

davepicamera

There were 24 talks: here’s our very own Carrie Anne explaining what we do in education.

16487145207_f8944e2252_z

A certain Amy Mather made a Pi photobooth, the results of which, in this particular instance, I found horrifying.

lizphotobooth

Vendors set up stands to sell Pis and add-ons on both days. Here’s Pimoroni’s stand, as gorgeous as ever.

16675607665_17b9204e05_z (1)

All the cool kids played retro games.

gaming

Poly Core (Sam Aaron and Ben Smith) provided live-coded evening entertainment. (My Mum, who came along for the day, is still adamant that there must have been a tape recorder hidden in a box somewhere.) They were amazing – find more snippets on their Twitter feed.

Dan Aldred brought a newly refined version of PiGlove. The capitalisation of its name is of utmost importance.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 14.17.00

Ben Croston from the Fuzzy Duck Brewery (and author of RPi.GPIO) uses a Raspberry Pi controller in the brewing process, and made us a batch of very toothsome, special edition beer called Irration Ale (geddit?) for the Saturday evening event.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 10.52.17

There was cake.

cake

It was a bit like getting married again.

weddingphoto

There was more cake.

B_AF-wlXIAA70AR

After the beer (and raspberry lemonade for the kids) and cake, several hundred people played Pass the Parcel.

The foyer centrepiece was a talking throne which we borrowed from an exhibition at Kensington Palace (thank you to Henry Cooke and Tim from Elkworks for making it, and for your heroic work getting it to Cambridge!) We understand a door had to be removed from its frame at Kensington Palace to get it here.

throneempty

A selection of members of Team Pi were photographed on it. Please note the apposite labelling – the throne uses a Pi with RFID to read what’s on the slates out loud. (Ross has cheese on his mind because we interrupted his burger for this shot.)

gameofthrones

And we appear to have lost Eben. He was last seen heading towards Bedford in an outsized, Pi-powered Big Trak.

Enormous thanks to all the exhibitors and volunteers – and most especially to Mike Horne, Tim Richardson and Lisa Mather, who made this weekend what it was. We can’t thank the three of you enough.

There was so much more – we were so busy we didn’t get pictures of everything, and I didn’t manage to get to talk to anything like as many of you as I’d like to have done. (Does anybody have a picture of the gerbils?) I’ll add links to other people’s accounts of the weekend’s events as they come in.

Thank you to the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory for letting us take over the building for the weekend.

Thank you to our incredibly thoughtful and generous sponsors for the pass-the-parcel gifts, the contents of the goodie bags, and other giveaways:

  • 4tronix
  • @holdenweb
  • @ipmb
  • @whaleygeek
  • Adafruit
  • AirPi (Tom Hartley)
  • Bare Conductive
  • Brian Cortiel
  • CamJam
  • CPC
  • CSR
  • Cyntech
  • Dawn Robotics
  • Dexter Industries
  • Django
  • Eduboard
  • Energenie
  • Farnell
  • GitHub
  • IQaudIO
  • Low Voltage Labs
  • Manchester Girl Geeks
  • ModMyPi
  • MyPiFi
  • NewIT
  • No Starch Press
  • O’Reilly
  • PiBorg
  • Pimoroni
  • PiSupply
  • RasPi.TV
  • RealVNC
  • RS Components
  • RyanTeck
  • Sugru
  • The Pi Hut
  • UK Space Agency
  • Watterott
  • Wiley
  • Wireless Things

Tableware and Decorations were kindly sponsored by:

  • @WileyTech
  • @RealVNC

 Wood and Laser Cutting was generously sponsored by:

  • @fablabmcr (FabLab Manchester)

rainbow