Sep 252013

I had a very busy time at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam last Saturday. I was speaking and demonstrating the prototype RasPiO® baseboard that I designed. More on that in a bit.

Because I was speaking, I decided not to do a show and tell as well. I was glad about that, as I tend to get stuck next to my show and tells, which stops me from going around and seeing what other people are doing. Since Mike “Recantha” Horne had asked me to judge the show and tells competition, I had to have a good look around. There was some great stuff on display, particularly noteworthy were…

Matthew “TheRaspberryPiGuy” Timmons-Brown had done a slick Tkinter-based GUI to control the speed of his model train with an on-screen slider and MOSFET controlled by a Python script. The guys set him a challenge for next time to make it bi-directional and still maintain speed control.

Matthew’s train – photo Leo White.

Leo White had an awesome robot arm on his BigTrak, controlled by six servos, and a PS3 controller. I had a play with that. It was great fun. The robot arm was a bit expensive, but looked and performed very well indeed.

Leo’s Bigtraks – photo Leo White.

I awarded “Best in Show” to Daniel Bull because his arcade cabinet restoration project was outstanding.
Daniel found a rotting Astro Blaster cabinet in a barn, gutted it and remade the wooden surround from mahogany, salvaged from an old school desk. Needless to say, the electronics were mostly new, but the buttons and joystick externals were original. The whole thing was driven by a Pi running MAME. He’s documented the build on the Milton Keynes Jam forum

I had a game of Space Invaders on it, which was my all-time-favourite arcade game from 30+ years ago. I was delighted to see that I could still clear the first sheet of aliens.

Daniel’s arcade cabinet – photo Leo White.

I met lots of people

I also had a lot of time to network with other people. I met up with fellow YouTubers Matt “RaspberryPiIVBeginners” Manning and Carrie-Anne “Geek Gurl Diaries” Philbin and we had a group photo.

RasPi Videos Club

I also met Matt “RaspberryPi-Spy” Hawkins, Matthew “TheRaspberryPiGuy” Timmons-Brown, and Phil “Gadgetoid” Howard. I don’t think there’s ever been such a concentration of popular Pi bloggers/vloggers in one place before. Let’s try to make it happen again guys!

My Talk – RasPiO® demo

The idea was to show those capabilities of the board which allowed interaction with the audience. I wanted to engage and involve the children in the audience, as I knew there would be plenty there. Unfortunately, demonstration theory struck and the analog to digital converter program crashed out on me, which meant the light and temperature sensors demo didn’t work well. It wasted a couple of minutes, but didn’t totally skupper the demo because about 2/3 of it was with other parts of the board. Needless to say, the next day, at home, I tried it again and there was no sign of any issue at all. GRRRRRRRRR. I wonder if the laser pointer emitted evil rays of demo-destruction? Here’s Andy’s video of the whole talk.

For the last few minutes I gave a quick demo of the RasPiCamcorder.

Fantastic day

It was a long and very successful day, superbly organised by Mike “Recantha” Horne and Tim Richardson. Andy Batey made the IT side run very well as well. He’s created a new YouTube channel and uploaded all the talks to that. Special thanks to the Institute of Astronomy for hosting. I thought it was a superb venue.

A full and comprehensive review can be found at Mike’s site here.

  7 Responses to “Cambridge Raspberry Jam 21 September 2013”

  1. Great write-up. So glad you managed to do the networking – I have the same problem when I do show-and-tell – you end up repeating yourself over and over again without actually _talking_ to people.

    • Thanks Mike.

      So glad you managed to do the networking – I have the same problem when I do show-and-tell – you end up repeating yourself over and over again without actually _talking_ to people.

      And you sometimes miss the chance to meet some of the people you went there to meet. I think the key is to pick one thing and do it well.

      A big plus of this Jam was that it was long enough to do a bit of everything. More like a day conference really – well I guess that’s what it was if you think about it. Great venue too.

  2. I wish I had realised how many well known people were there – I did not recognise them! Next time we should get them wearing a big arrow above their heads with who they are ;-)

    • LOL. I think my tee-shirt was obvious enough (I know you know me already Tim). If everyone else made loud and obnoxious tee-shirts, it’d be job done. :)

      I think we must have had about 4 million pageviews/video views between us.

  3. Interesting how many “Matt”s you mention.

    • We have a lot of Matts, Matt Hawkins, Matthew Manning and Matthew Timmons-Brown. Once at the Oxford Jam we had three Alexes and three Petes presenting. Funny how it works like that.

  4. […] Alex Eames has posted a write-up of his experiences at the September Jam over on his site. […]

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