Executing Gummiworms The trials and tribulations of a grumpy curmudgeonly old git


The Raspberry Pi (part three)

[Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are mine and mine alone. Although I am a moderator on the forums on http://raspberrypi.org I don't speak for the foundation and any factual errors,  upset I may cause  or spelling mistakes are completely my responsibility]


I took a bit of a break from writing this series of posts while I did some work on the development vm which I could do lying down using my eCafe Slim ARM based netbook (ta muchly Obarthelemy) as i'm still in a bit of pain from various aches and pains that being an old fogie seem to bring so sitting down typing for long periods is a right PITB. Now get off my lawn you darn kids. I also wanted to spend some time doing some research for a non-Raspberry Pi related project (although I might try to bring the Raspberry Pi into it if I can at some stage if I can).


So where were we upto at the end of part two? Ah yes The logo competition and MakerFaire NY 2011. i did mention MakerFaire and post a video of Eben's presentation a MakerFaire but I'll expand on that a bit for this post.

MakerFaire NY 2011 was on the 17th & 18th of September and thanks to DigiKey's twitter account  I was able to wangle two free tickets, I actually ended up with three free tickets because  there was one in the Open Hardware Summit goodie bag but I gave the that one to one of my wife's work collegue's who is a bit of a caffine addict and geek.

Eben, Liz and the Raspberry Pi Alpha board (not neccessarily listed in order of importance) were only going to attend on the Saturday because they were on their way to the west coast and were just killing two birds with one stone and splitting a 12 hour flight into two six hour ones and using the layover as an excuse/opportunity  to attend MakerFaire and show off the Alpha board.

So as travelling from Brooklyn to Queens and back again on the subway especially on the weekend is a real PITA and I didn't fancy doing it two days in a row I decided to go on the Saturday.  I didn't want to waste the extra ticket so I  bullied and nagged my son into coming with me and after a lot of muttering under his breath about how getting up at 8am on a Saturday was cruel and unusual punishment and was banned by the constitution and that he'd sue me for civil rights offenses, whose bright idea was it to let him do the constitution law class at university????, he agreed, after I told him there would fire and explosions and stuff,  that it might be fun after all and that he'd come. He's a bit of a luddite, I really don't know where I went wrong bringing him up but he has no real interest in computers other than a tool to do his college work; go facebook & youtube and to watch his anime and read his manga.

[edit for boring bits and skip forward to September 17th at 10am at the main entry gate to a lawn outside the NY Hall of Science.]

Some how or other I, and my son, were first in line to get in :) although they were about 15 minutes late in letting us in as they had to find the waiver forms that you had to sign if you actually wanted to do some soldering, climbing on stuff or anything that might lead to be you cooked, squashed or  blown up etc. Once they let us in we did a quick run through all the stands and tents to see what & who were there and made notes on where we'd like to spend a bit more time looking and talking to people and went off to the help desk to find out where Eben, Liz and the Alpha board were to be found as on our first pass through I hadn't spotted them. The help desk said they should be in a big tent towards the rear of the area so I dragged my son away from the lock picking demonstration and went back to where the Raspberry Pi was suppose to be. Still no Liz, Eben or Alpha board :( So I went to one of the other help desks and they confirmed that the Raspberry Pi table was supposed to be where I had been told previously so I told my son to go have a wander and i'd either be at the tent where we were told that Raspberry Pi would be, at the coffee truck or in another tent where there was something I wanted to look at, The CortCyberex AV, as I was due to receive one for my Kickstarter pledge for the CyberCortex AV. It was now approximately 11am and no sign at the Raspberry Pi table, although there was now a table in the space they were supposed to be :) which was an improvement on the previous walk around. Some of you might be wondering why I was so antsy about the Raspberry Pi as there were lots of other interesting things to look at and do. The main reason was of course to see the Raspberry pi Alpha board in action and to finally meet Eben & Liz but there was also another reason as well. Liz had promised to bring me a 6 pack bag of Twiglets :) I also had a small present for them too.

It was now about 11:15am and as there was no sign of the Raspberry Pi i wandered over to talk to Bryan Pape about the CyberCortex AV and look at some of his demo's for a while and keep an eye open for Liz & Eben as I could just see the table where they were supposed to be from Bryan's table. After talking to Bryan for about 25minutes I looked over and there was someone sitting at the Raspberry Pi table. Female check, looked a bit like Liz's forum avatar check, sitting at the raspberry Pi table with a ruddy great handbag that looked like it could hold a large bag of twiglets check. it could only be Liz! So I finished my currrent conversation with Bryan and ambled over and asked "Liz?" and the currently unidentified female said yes. YAY! a fifth of who and what I had come to see had actually arrived.  I was doing well, I had completed three fifths of my goals for the day, actually a little under as I hadn't yet gone to pick up the freebies that I had coupons for from the Open hardware summit goodie bag.

Liz said Eben had gone off to look for the HDMI monitor or TV they had requested and for electricity as there currently (pun sort of intended) wasn't any available and that he'd be back soon. We swapped presents :) Liz gave me twiglets and I gave Eben & Liz a Zipit Z2 (a tiny clam shell ARM, pxa270, based IM device that has been hacked to run debian, openwrt...) that I thought they might like to have to mess around with in there spare time (right they have spare time) and let me have a look at the Alpha board by which time Eben had returned.

One of the reasons other than the obvious to see the Alpha board and obtain twiglets, that I wanted to meet Eben & Liz is that it turns out he went to school with someone I knew in the late 80s so after he'd said electricity was coming and the organisers were looking for a monitor or TV that had an HDMI input we had a discussion about how he knew our mutual acquaintance and how I did.

It was now about noon and still no monitor but there was electricity and the Raspberry Pi table was surrounded with people asking Eben & Liz questions about the foundation, the raspberry pi, the alpha board, expected selling date etc.

I might be off recalling the exact time the monitor with HDMI arrived, i'd asked Bryan if any of his monitors had an HDMI input and if he'd got one spare that I could borrow until the one the organisers of MakerFaire were trying to obtain arrived but unfortunately all his monitors were VGA input and if i'd got to the stage where I was going on a scrounging mission it had to be at least 12:30pm probably nearer 1pm when a suitable monitor arrived at the Raspberry Pi table.

Eben quickly plugged everything in and booted the Alpha board they had brought with them and started a movie trailer playing, I think it was the star trek trailer, i was blown away by how good the trailer played. The table now started to get swamped with geeks three deep all asking questions and admiring the alpha board. this went on almost until it was time for Eben to give his 5 minute presentation at 5pm.  The area where he was to give his presentation  had been used throughout the day for other projects to give short presentations and while it hadn't been empty for those presentations it became almost standing room only when Eben was due to speak. As Liz was going to be filming Eben's presentation she left acfaizer and myself in charge of her handbag and the Alpha boards. acfraizer and I did discuss maybe accidently walking off with the alpha boards but decided it'd be too obvious that we had half-inched them.

[i've already posted the video of Eben's presentation but i'll do it again]

YouTube Preview Image

As it was now around 5:30pm I once again dragged my son away from the lock picking demonstration and tutorial area, said good bye to Eben, Liz and the Alpha board and we made our way home, with a quick stop when we got out of the subway station near home to pick up chinese for dinner.

I think this is enough writing for now. I promise we'll get to the beta boards eventually I am just too knackered to write anymore today and it's time for my mid morning nap :)

[Disclaimer: All opinions in this post are mine and mine alone. Although I am a moderator on the forums on http://raspberrypi.org I don't speak for the foundation and any factual errors,  upset I may cause  or spelling mistakes are completely my responsibility]

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  1. can’t wait for the pi lol.. what is this ecafe slim you speak of ?

  2. Where’s the next part! :) If you didn’t know already I’ve linked this in the wiki as it is an excellent account of the raspberry pi history (in the making).

    • it’s been written & rewritten about 7 times so far. I will admit to getting side tracked but I was kind of scared for my server :) so i held off posting until I either moved it to a better machine or was sure cloudflare could cope. I’ll probably post it sometime over the weekend.

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