While the specific Kano kit of Pi accessories aiming to make the RasPi as close to a working-out-of-the-box experience for young learners as possible (scroll down on their home page here to see the process of putting together a Kano) is not yet for sale online, but they did decide to share a number of the exciting resources they have been developing, including their books/lessons, and now their Kano OS and OS burning utility!
What’s Kano OS?
A fast, fun, full-featured operating system for Raspberry Pi, based on Debian Linux with a simple interface, seamless setup, automagic WiFi and Updater, and fantastic coding projects for all ages. Make and play in Minecraft, Pong, Snake, Scratch, and more.
…A lot of us cut our teeth on BASIC programming back in the late 70′s and early 80′s — we owned a Tandy TRS-80, an Apple II, or a BBC Micro — and spent hours in front of glowing phosphor screens hacking away, writing our own version of Space Invaders. For those of us who did, the Fuze is going to look startlingly familiar — and very reminiscent of the BBC Model B.
Aimed squarely at the education market — competing with other Pi-based kits, like the Kano Kit, which had an amazingly successful Kickstarter late last year — and attempts to take the Pi back to its roots in education.
The Fuze takes the Raspberry Pi and wraps it in a metal case to protect it from hostile environments — like classrooms — and adds a keyboard and a breadboard which means you can make easy use of the Pi’s GPIO capabilities. Taking a step back it does, in fact, look remarkably like those computers we grew up with back in the 70′s and the 80′s. But it takes things one step beyond that and ships with a version of BASIC that — while updated for the modern era – is very similar to the early Microsoft and Apple BASIC environment that we’re all familiar with from those hours attempting to re-write Space Invaders.
I talked to Jon Silvera — the managing director of Binary Distribution — about the Fuze itself, their distribution of BASIC, and where it fits into the education market…..
The Wolfram Language, a knowledge-based computing language, will soon be released and embedded onto the Raspberry Pi, from venturebeat.
Three months ago, Stephen Wolfram gave VentureBeat a sneak peak in into the future of the Wolfram Language, a totally symbolic, heavily natural, intensely knowledge-based, and extremely large computer programming language. At the time, he struggled to explain exactly what Wolfram Language is.
That’s not shocking, given the language has been multiple decades in the making.
“You know, I’ve been working towards what is now the Wolfram Language for about 30 years,” Wolfram says in the video. “But it’s only in recent times that we’ve had what we need to create the whole Wolfram Language.”
Wolfram Language is not yet released, but will be embedded on upcoming Raspberry Pi micro-computers. It’s already widely used within Wolfram’s Mathematica computing environment for scientists, and it is also deployed to Wolfram Alpha’s cloud services as well.
More than any other computing language, knowledge about the world is built into the Wolfram Language, which is exactly what powers the WolframAlpha search engine. In addition, functions for seemingly everything — over 5,000 of them — are built right into the language, which allows you to create user interfaces, graphics objects, graphs, and more, programmatically.
Bringing those two aspects together allows you to instantly, in just a few words of code, grab data about, let’s say, the planets, or the countries of South America, and then express data about them in tabular or graphical form…
Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!
Code.org, an educational non-profit from Seattle that focuses on STEM initiatives, released a tutorial on how to build your own Flappy Bird game. From geekwire:
“We already know that the chance to ‘make an app’ is something people aspire to, but they think it’s out of reach,” Partovi said. “We want to give kids something that lets them express a degree of creativeness.”
The Flappy Bird tutorial allows users make their own Flappy characters and write their own rules — for example, the “bird” can turn into a shark, Santa Claus or Superman, and can dodge lasers or turn into turkey roast after being zapped.
“There are endless possibilities and kids can try them and realize the creativity involved in computer science within just 20 minutes,” Partovi said.
Code.org, which was founded exactly one year ago, today celebrated the fact that more than 27 million people in 34 languages across 170 countries have written one billion lines of code with the Hour of Code tutorials and follow-up course, both of which were launched in December.
Partovi said he’s pleasantly surprised with that statistic.
“It’s kind of unheard of,” he noted.
Code.org plans to expand its online curriculum offerings to all grade levels from K-12. It also wants to continue pushing computer science into schools around the country, partner with more school districts and encourage legislators to change state policies to recognize computer science as a core academic offering. The organization already powers online courses for 700,000 students in 13,000 classrooms.
Babak Parvizi put together a nicely detailed 5 part tutorial on how to configure the BeagleBone Black for Pulse Width Modulation (PWM).
What we make
We produce a magazine with the intent to help and offer advice to users of the Raspberry Pi. This started out as a simple idea on the well known forums, with a few of us getting together and deciding on a loose outline of what we wanted to achieve.
Over time many have joined and left the team, each bringing their own contribution and ideas to the final piece.
If you had asked us six months ago whether we thought the magazine would be half a year down the line, we would not have been sure. We are now able to offer printed copies, competitions, our own branded Raspberry Pi case, and stable mirrors on a website not entirely made in flash.
Where does the money go?
There are certain administrative costs that go toward producing a reliable magazine, and printing magazines is certainly not free. We get a small amount of money from every copy sold – and this, along with donations and advertising revenue, goes towards funding the entire production team. We also hope to be able to offer more competitions, and better product testing.
You can help
Any donation is very gratefully received. However, you don’t have to put money into this to help us along – time is also one of our limiting factors. If you think you can be of any use in the general production, drop us an email.
We had no idea how successful the magazine would be. Give us another six months, and there should be some real progress made. We are forever receiving requests for more formats, and this is definitely something we are looking into. Translations to other languages would be another great step.
Opensource.com is hosting Women in Open Source Week this January 27 through February 7th.
Opensource.com will highlight the efforts of women in open source from January 27 through February 7. We will be focusing some of our content specifically on women working in free and open source software fields and collaborating on projects ranging from open knowledge to open hardware.
Read articles from women coders, hackers, developers, community managers, and educators.
Hear unique perspectives from across the globe, like Noopur Raval in India whose work with the Wikimedia Foundation has revealed a substantial gap in Wikipedia articles on successful Indian women and on cultural traditions of lower castes.
Learn about the exciting experiences of women working on projects for GNOME, the Open Technology Institute, OpenStack, and Red Hat. Plus, get the latest from Limor Fried on open hardware initiatives at Adafruit Industries!
James Potter highlights some of the best apps available on the iPad that teach children ages 2-9 how to code, via ipadinsight:
In the past, coding was a pretty niche affair, those of us with our Acorns, Spectrums and Commodore 64s experimenting with lines and lines of code. I remember as an 8 year old, spending ages typing out lines of code on my beige Acorn Electron to draw….a line on the screen. To add insult to injury there was no way to save it unless I wanted to erase my tape of “Ice Ice Baby” and replace it with my code. Needless to say because we were put into the deep end in those days, like millions of others I was put off a bit by coding and just played computer games instead.
Fast forward to the iPad era and coding is coming back in a big way. Some very talented developers with a love for coding have produced some spectacular apps, turning the iPad into a coding studio in your hand. There are some great iPad apps which take the pain out of coding for the layman and can teach your children (and you) some excellent skills.
Mash up, remix … as a child, I spent a number of hours filling bottles with colored sand. The layers were superimposed on each other to draw fantastic landscapes. We had to create a maximum of hills and valleys to avoid simple succession of horizontal layers. This is the process that interests me at the moment. The pixels are filled by pouring the images right edge to the left edge and the left edge to the right edge, simultaneously. Computers do not have to worry about gravity. Figures are much too large for the screen. The interactivity through the sliders. – processing – 2013 (translated from the original)
Digital artist and mathematician Andy Lomas uses code to create digital ‘growth systems’ that “bloom, fractalize, shape-shift, and otherwise behave in organic and emergent ways” via the creatorsproject:
Cellular Forms uses a simplified model of cellular growth to create intricate sculptural shape. Structures are created out of interconnected cells, with rules for the forces between cells, as well as rules for how cells accumulate internal nutrients. When the nutrient level in a cell exceeds a given threshold the cell splits into two, with both the parent and daughter cells reconnecting to their immediate neighbours. Many different complex organic structures are seen to arise from subtle variations on these rules, creating forms with strong reminiscences of plants, corals, internal organs and micro-organisms.
The aim is to create structures emergently: exploring generic similarities between many different forms in nature rather than recreating any particular organism, in the process exploring universal archetypal forms that can come from growth processes rather than top-down externally engineered design.
This short piece by Tamerra Griffin at blackvoicenews highlights some of the great work being done by Black Girls Code. Black Girls Code is an organization whose goal is to increase the number of women of color in the STEM fields. Founded by engineer/social entrepreneur Kimberley Bryant, Black Girls Code operates out of San Francisco but holds events nationwide.
On Dec. 14, Black Girls Code, an organization aimed at exposing young Black girls to computer science and technology, teamed up with Google to host a day-long mobile app training course. While tourists wound their way through shops on the first floor of Chelsea Market in pursuit of gourmet waffles, about 60 girls of color between 7 and 17 years of age hunched over keyboards and cellphones on the second floor of Google’s Chelsea headquarters, stringing together sequences of commands to create a game.
Throughout the day, the coders-in-training mirrored the instructions given by 29-year-old Donna Knutt, who owns a web development and marketing consulting business. Volunteers from Black Girls Code and Google were also on hand to answer the girls’ questions…
Computer pioneer and codebreaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon. “Turing deserves to be remembered and recognised for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science. A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man.”
Hyperallergic’s An Xiao features highlights from a new collection of digitized telegraph code books, available on N. Katherine Hayles’s website How We Think. The selections explore the sociological implications of compressing information for communication purposes by looking at early examples of code:
Whenever we zip up a file and send it through the web, we’re compressing data. Part of the theory behind lossless compression is that redundant data gets compacted meaningfully, so that they take up less space but can still meaningfully be re-opened to their original, pre-compression state. It’s a simple strategy that saves time and energy, and, if you’re counting the number of megabytes you can spend on your account, you can save a little money too.