Mar 022015
Official Raspberry Pi case launched at the Birthday Party

Well that was a wonderful, but tiring, weekend. Last night I got back from a weekend in Cambridge where 1300 people got together to celebrate all things Raspberry Pi. There were two lecture theatres, two large workshop areas, a large marketplace area and a show-and-tell area.

The facilities were perfect, with plenty of space at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory. I took part in two discussion panels and gave a short talk on PCB Design for Beginners. I also managed to take in talks by Eben Upton, Dave Honess, Pete Lomas and Dave Akerman and I talked to lots of people. I also met plenty of new (to me) people. It was an absolute delight to finally meet Pete Lomas, a Founding Trustee of the Foundation, and I was very pleased to have a good chat with Andy “@iDataTruck” Proctor.


The amount of Pi Swag given out by sponsors/vendors was really amazing. For example everyone with a ticket was given one of these on entry…

Official Raspberry Pi case launched at the Birthday Party

Official Raspberry Pi case launched at the Birthday Party

This is the new Raspberry Pi case launched at the event by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It’s been in the works for a long time. I saw a proto back in May 2014 and I remember asking Eben “what happens when you drop it?” back in October. He answered by dropping it. It pinged apart, but no damage. Here it is in pieces…

Expanded view of Official Raspberry Pi case

Expanded view of Official Raspberry Pi case

Everyone who went to the party got a pass the parcel prize and a swag bag containing various goodies and loads of stickers. It seems like everyone who is anyone in the world of Pi related goodness sent stickers.

Another amazing item of swag I was gobsmacked to be given personally was this…

Raspberry Pi - rev 2 B bare PCB

Raspberry Pi – rev 2 B bare PCB

…these were not given out to everyone though. This was given to me by someone who’d heard I was an avid collector. Very kind. I never thought I’d have one of these. I’m deliberately not saying who gave it to me save them getting a deluge of requests.

And There Was Beer

On Saturday, after the daytime part was finished, there was a beer and pizza party. Ben Croston, a computer scientist turned micro-brewery owner, had brewed some rather nice raspberry flavoured beer for the event. He gave it the name Irration Ale (a Pi pun).

Ben Croston Pulling a Pint of Irration Ale Raspberry flavoured Beer

Ben Croston Pulling a Pint of Irration Ale Raspberry flavoured Beer

Ben uses a Raspberry Pi to help control the brewing process at the Fuzzy Duck Brewery which he founded in 2006. Ben is also the author of the RPi.GPIO Python library, which a lot of us enjoy using to control things with our Raspberry Pis. He also plays the tuba in a brass band, which sadly meant he had to race off straight away at the end of the party.

Off To The Mitre

After everyone had checked into their various accomodation, we all met up at a pub in town called the Mitre. One of the things we don’t often get to do at CamJam is actually sit around and talk over a beer. Most of us are usually driving. So it was really nice to be able to do this. I also met some new people at the pub – Allan “@tyrower” McCullagh, who came over from France and Maximilian Batz from Pi3g in Germany. It was great to be able to have a chat with some ‘old friends’ Dave “Pi in the Sky” Akerman, Jamie “ThePiHut” Mann, Aaron “Pi-Supply” Shaw, along with Mike “@recantha” Horne and Tim “@geeky_tim” Richardson, who organised the entire event. Sadly this time I didn’t get a chance to have a good talk to Lisa Mather – who did loads of excellent work on the party. I was staying at the same place as Dave Akerman so we shared a cab. I didn’t go to sleep until about 2am. I was a bit hyper from the buzz of the event itself and from having to have emergency dental attention after breaking a pre-molar in half at lunchtime (it wasn’t the fault of the food).

And Then We Did It All Over Again

On Sunday I woke up early and was pleased to see the RasPiO Duino kickstarter had hit the £20k stretch-goal target overnight. Dave and I met Gareth ‘@4tronix_uk’ Davies at breakfast.

Sunday proved a busier day for me with a panel discussion on crowd-funding, immediately followed by my “Getting Started in PCB Design” talk. I was a little dopey after only about 6 hours of broken sleep, but hopefully it wasn’t too boring.

Immediately after that, a social media and bloggers gathering was scheduled in the meeting area. Only four of us made it to that one, so it was a very select gathering; Liz Upton; Helen Lynn; Russell Barnes; and Myself. So we elected to reconvene in the coffee lounge as we were all in dire need of reviving.

After that, I snagged the ‘Press Room’ and did an interview, which I hope to publish in the next week or so. Then it was pretty much time to go home, but it takes a long time to get from one end to the other as there are so many people to stop and talk to. I had a long chat about PCBs with Stacey Driver from Ragworm.

Then it was time to say goodbye to loads of people, realise I hadn’t spoken to loads of others and wend my way back home, very tired but very happy, having had a really enjoyable and really productive weekend.

Thank you so much to Mike, Tim and Lisa for organising such an amazing event. And thank you to the enormous team of people who were involved in helping to make it all run so smoothly. And boy did it go smoothly! From my perspective, as I said to Mike in G+ chat last night: “Next year, please ensure that I don’t break a tooth, then it’ll be perfect.” I don’t think any more could have been done to make it any better. It was awesome.

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  6 Responses to “Raspberry Pi Birthday Party Weekend”

  1. […] pictures, Les’s pictures, Leo’s pictures, Rob’s blog, Tom’s blog, Alex (RasPi.Tv)’s blog – more to […]

  2. “PiSwagosaurus Max” ?

    I was convinced at the party that Ben’s Beer was labelled “Irritation Ale”, but the name now makes *much* more sense now that I’ve read the label properly! ;-D

    • The first time I saw it (I think he tweeted it a week ago) I read it as “irritation” as well. I think it’s one of those ‘pattern recognition’ tricks the brain plays on you.

  3. Hi Alex,

    Have finally taken the plunge and purchased my first Raspberry Pi (Version 2) which will hopefully arrive today. Initially I bought it purely to be used as a media center but it would imagine that I will end up tinkering with other projects now that I have become aware of what the Pi is capable of.

    Having read this blog and see that you mention you design for beginners talk I felt compelled to get in touch.

    I am a PCB Design Engineer with over 20 years experience and a partner/director of a PCB design company based in central Scotland. My business partners have another 60+ years design experience between them also. We use Pads and Altium design software.

    If you feel that me or my company can be of help in any way from a PCB design point of view then please get in touch.

    I have subscribed to your youtube channel and bookmarked the website. I look forward to trying out some of the many Pi projects once I have got over the initial hurdle of deciding whist OS is best for my needs. No doubt my step-son will also be mega-interested in the programming side of things when i let him know about being able to edit minecraft.

    Sorry for the long message and keep up the good work.


  4. Really great meeting you too and putting a presence to the video face! Thanks for your supportive comments.

  5. […] giving out free Official Raspberry Pi cases (which magically arrived with Tim on Friday night): Picture courtesy of RasPi.TV. … and handed out schedules for the weekend (thanks Sam Alder for your great design work for […]

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