So, once again I need to admit my ignorance A few weeks ago, my friend borrowed my SD card ‘to take an image’ and somehow corrupted it – I don’t know how and neither does he, but he did managed to back up all my files. So, I’ve not used my home Pi for a while because when I tried to follow the instructions to reinstall Raspbian, I got very confused and had a few failure methods on the way so I figured it was time I wrote a real, back to basics, idiots guide to installing Raspbian (by idiots, I mean me by the way).
- This is all great, but at the moment you are hearing the same sound being played. What if you want to change the sound that Sonic Pi makes? Well this is really.
- Pi, but is also available to download for Mac and PC for free at. You don't need to be in a nightclub to live-code; with Sonic Pi v2.9+, you can do it. Now hit the Run button or press ALT+R. You're now listening to.
So to start off, there are various different operating systems you can install on a Raspberry Pi – the most basic one is Noobs, which is the recommended OS for the Pi, however, I’d recommend going straight for Raspbian since it’s unlikely, as a beginner, that you’d want to use linux etc. Download Raspbian from the Rapberry Pi website. There are some instructions on for installing Raspbian, but I got in a bit of a muddle so let’s go even simpler. I’m a user of torrents so I used this method to download, but as long as you know where the file has gone, you’ll be fine (hopefully it has gone to your Downloads folder).
OK so this blog is a bit of fun. I use a cool application called Sonic Pi to make music with code. The application is created by Sam Aaron, and it’s a free app that can be installed on Windows, Mac and Raspberry Pi. Every now and then, I’ll teach children how they can create synth sounds, loop.
I’m currently using OSX Yosemite (10.10.3) so here’s how I managed to install Raspbian: Firstly, I plugged my SD card into the reader on my MBA – You need to find the identity of the disk and you can do that through disk utility or through ‘about this mac’ – here’s a picture guide to this method: First, click on ‘about this mac’, then ‘system report’: Finally, select ‘card reader’ to get information about the disk – you will see that mine says “BSD name: disk3” so, very simply, my SD card is disk3. The next step is to open disk utility which can be found in utilites (accessed by typing in shift +⌘ + u): Select your SD card – and choose the ‘Erase’ tab –.Warning.Warning.Warning. make sure you have selected the right disk to erase – double and triple check that you have your SD card.
Make sure you select Format: MS-DOS (FAT) Finally, select your SD card and unmount it (not eject!): You’re now ready for a bit of terminal! When I opened up terminal (in utilities again), I was instantly placed into ‘my’ folder meaning the home directory for my user account (myname) – shown in this picture with a little house symbol. So terminal has automatically opened the ‘myname’ home directory. This is where I hit on a real problem – the Raspberry Pi site suggests typing this into terminal:.
From the terminal run: sudo dd bs=1m if=pathofyourimage.img of=/dev/diskn Remember to replace n with the number that you noted before! But, I didn’t know the path of my image! I knew it was in my Downloads folder, but I wasn’t sure how to access it – after an awful lot of trial and error I figured it out! I was already at the home directory, so I needed to drop into downloads by typing cd Downloads into terminal then I could easily run the code – you’ll notice I changed the ‘diskn’ at the end to ‘disk3’ based on the BSD name I found right at the beginning. So, my final code looked like this: Catherines-MacBook-Air: catherinelamin$ cd Downloads Catherines-MacBook-Air:Downloads catherinelamin$ sudo dd bs=1m if=2015-05-05-raspbian-wheezy.img of=/dev/disk3 I was prompted to input my password and then terminal started writing my disk – until terminal finishes the task, I can’t do anything. So when it’s all done and the terminal looks like this: You can eject your SD card and plug it into the Pi.
Not long after I finished this, I was told by the lovely of Raspberry Jam Berlin that you can write the image even quicker by using “rdisk3” instead of just “disk3” at the end of the code which should speed things up. One of the things I was shown at Picademy, was i. At the time I thought it was a great resource, but too difficult for me. Since then, I was lucky enough to meet creator, and persuade (ok.bully) him to visit my school and run an all day workshop about the software. Sam’s goal is to make coding accessible to all, with real, tangible results quickly and easily; this, of course, appeals greatly to children – even one line of code in Sonic Pi can generate a simple sound that can be expanded and extended easily.
Sonic Pi was initially created for the Raspberry Pi, but is now available on both Mac and PC. It is free and easy to install and you can get started straight away. So, how does Sonic Pi work – the first thing you need to get to grips with is the tutorial at the bottom left of the page – clicking on the tutorial tab will open a collection of tutorials which will allow you to get to grips with how the system works. Good value huoji usb wired computer keyboard for macbook air. You can see in the first picture that there is a middle bar which allows you to select one of 8 workspaces where you can input your code. The most simple thing you can do is play notes and ‘compose’ a tune using simple commands – to play a middle C, all you need to do is type: play 60 or play:c or even play:c4 If you’re musical, you may recognise that middle c is the 4th octave so yes, you could try ‘play:c5’ and play a different c.
I’m not musical, so I’m content to say that these notes all make the same nice sound. Notice that there is a colon before the letter, but not before the number. It is important to remember this as it is one of the common errors that children will make. You can obviously also put different notes in by using different numbers with the play command e.g.
Play 75 would play a higher note. The children in our workshop liked to see just how high you could get and soon found that somewhere over 100 the notes become too high to hear. At this point, you could try play a selection of notes one after the other – Guess what, this is code, things are never as simple as that – playing all of the notes laid out like this basically plays them all at once since there is no wait command between each note – the computer tries to play them all together. In this instance, they will play a chord because the notes complement each other, but if you try other notes you will simply make a cacophony. So, by adding in a sleep command you can put a pause between notes.
One of the children I teach got this far and then carefully composed the Ride of the Valkyries in his own time, however, composing individual notes is not what Sonic Pi is really all about. The most interesting feature is to do with samples – as Sam explained to the children, in a musical context, a sample is a short snippet of sound which has been used to enhance a piece of music. It can be a complete piece of music or a simple drum beat. Sonic Pi has a large selection of built in samples which can easily be sped up, slowed down, cut short or looped and it is very simple to combine these for a lovely music effect. So let’s say we want to play the sample:loopamen As soon as I type in ‘sample:’ then I get a drop down menu of all of the different samples – the children in the workshop absolutely loved having the opportunity to just play with each of the different samples and combine them to make new sounds. The next thing you can do is play with the rate of the sample: By adding in a rate you can make the sample either faster or slower – in this instance, the play back is half its usual speed so it sounds a bit like a Groove Armada track, but if you go the other way and speed it up to a rate of 1.5 it sounds much more like a jungle beat. Already our track is sounding pretty cool.
Are Sonic Pi V2.11 Now Available For Mac
You can also use negative numbers to play samples backwards So, now I added in a few notes to play with along with some sleep commands: Suddenly I have actual music coming out of my speakers and, as I’ve already said, I’m about as musical as a dead fly. You can imagine the excitement of children who have quickly and easily managed to make lots of music with a few simple instructions. I’m going to finish the what you can do section here – there are so many other things you can do with Sonic Pi, but really the best way to find out is to have a play yourself – there are simple instructions for looping bits of music- either for a certain amount of times or indefinitely: You can alter the sound of the beeps with “usesynth” e.g. Usesynth:saw The ultimate goal is to by using live loops which constantly play while the user updates small bits of code to alter the pitch or pace of the song. So, why is Sonic Pi valuable?
As I’ve already mentioned, children love instant results and Sonic Pi more than allows that – one line of code and you have a nice little sample of music playing. It’s easy for children to make simple tweaks to code which have broad and obvious results. It’s also really easy to debug – the code is clearly coloured which gives children a clue as to whether their code is going to work. The children must make sure their code is correct – a lot of the children made mistakes with the sample command because when you type in the word sample it automatically loads a drop down menu: They also frequently forgot to use a colon before listing the name of the sample so that, even when copying information from the board, they made errors. So, importantly, Sonic Pi can help with the important skill of debugging and the fact that children constantly need reminding to test their code frequently as part of the debugging process. Unfortunately, the current version of Sonic Pi doesn’t clearly let the user know what the error in their code is, but Sam is already working on making the error codes more clear for children (and their teachers) in future versions.
In terms of it’s musical usefulness, it can help children to gain a better understanding of pitch and pace and it can be surprising to see which children are particularly successful at writing phat drum & base tunes! Key for me was that all of the children that took part in the workshop with Sam enjoyed themselves, enjoyed coding and left excited and eager to create their own music.
Some of the children even emailed themselves their code to carry on working on it at home. These children were Year 4 and so only 8 or 9 years old, they were of mixed ability with many of them struggling with learning difficulties, however, they were all involved and they were all coding confidently. What surprised me most of all was that the most able children were not necessarily the most competent and in fact the two who produced the most eloquent pieces of music were both average ability children, only one of whom even played a musical instrument.
It takes a bit of playing and getting used to, but I really think Sonic Pi is an excellent resource for getting kids to learn how to code and to make them more confident and comfortable with the language of code. So, why not give it a go and remember, Sam is probably one of the most approachable people in this community and is more than happy to receive weird twitter questions in the middle of the night (trust me, I know this from experience). I’ve realised that I haven’t yet written a blog post about my favourite bit of kit for the Raspberry Pi, the by 4Tronix. So first lets talk about why I like it so much then I’ll talk through a demo of using it. Earlier in this blog, I talked about the CamJam EduKit and how much I liked it, the biggest problem was the wires – for younger and not so dexterous fingers, all that work with fiddly LEDs and resistors and cables is quite a hassle; not to mention just grasping the whole concept of why.
When you finally get everything wired up, the next task is to write some code in either Scratch or Python and THEN you get an exciting output of flashing lights. Not so with the PiStop – it neatly slots over 4 of the GPIO pins (three programmable GPIO pins for the LEDs and one ground to complete the circuit) and then you can just load up Scratch and code away. For me, this is ideal for the younger and more easily distracted children as it’s quick and easy to make something actually happen with a few blocks of Scratch code. It’s also easily extendable – once you have one flashing light, can you make the other 2 flash? Can you make a traffic light sequence?
Can you now write the same code in Python? Then once all of those activities are complete you can then run the whole activity with cables, breadboards and LEDs, but now the children are excited, they already have an idea of how to get the code working and building the circuit is like moving on to the ‘grown up’ stuff like the CamJam kit. So, how do you plug in your PiStop? I’m a creature of habit so I tend to always plug the PiStop into the same place – it can actually be placed anywhere on the pins where you have one ground and 3 GPIOs together. I’ve mentioned before that there are two different numbering systems for the GPIO pins, the picture below shows both number systems for the model A and B Raspberry Pis, which are the older versions with only 26 pins; both the B+, A+ and 2 models have 40 pins, but the first 26 are the same as below.
On this diagram, the ground pins are labelled in white, the programmable pins are green and the live, powered pins are red and orange. The most popular labelling system, known as BCM, is listed in the white boxes on the outside, whilst the simpler numerical system is written on the pins. From my experience ScratchGPIO uses the simple numerical system, but it might work for both! My usual spot for mounting the PiStop is from numbers 9-15. The first thing you’ll need to do is to make sure that Scratch GPIO is installed on your Raspberry Pi – details for how to do this from Scratch GPIO creator can be found. Once installed on your Pi, load it up and cross your fingers – you should get a message box pop up telling you that remote sensor connections are enabled – if you don’t you will need to run some updates because it means it’s not working properly (boo hiss).
I came across this a few times with the latest version of Rasbian and I’m not going to lie, I had to resort to getting someone more technical than myself involved. So, let’s assume that you have got Scratch GPIO working fine and your PiStop is plugged in as in the photos below: So to make the first light turn on we need to use the control tools on Scratch – our key command is ‘broadcast’ with high being on and low being off. See the photos below for step by step instructions for turning the first light on and off ten times.
You’ll notice that I’ve put ‘wait’ blocks in between each of the broadcasts, inevitably the children will miss these out once in a while, which will cause the lights not to work- this is great because you can reiterate both the importance of debugging and that code does exactly what you ask so your instructions need to be clear. Once I’ve shown the children this step, I usually ask them to figure out how to get the other two lights on (pin 13 and pin 15) then the challenge is to try and make a traffic light sequence.
I was fairly impressed when a couple of boys extended themselves by using the CamJam Python code with the PiStop to broadcast what they referred to as a disco, whilst on the screen a selection of messages appeared in their Python window using the print command. So, basically, this is a very simple, cheap piece of kit which is really easy to use and a great stepping stone to more complex code. I would definitely recommend that any Raspberry Pi teachers get at least one PiStop into their classroom as a starting point for physical computing.
Good luck everyone and enjoy coding! PS For anyone who’d prefer a real life demo, my next will be on Tuesday 5th May in Twickenham. Yesterday I was lucky enough to attend the Raspberry Pi third birthday party event in Cambridge. While I was there I took the opportunity to talk to the lovely about the competition he is helping to run for Raspberry Pi in collaboration with the UK Space Agency,. The competition was launched a month ago at BETT, and I will readily admit that I wasn’t particularly fussed about getting involved. I wasn’t inspired and didn’t think I had the time to take part; however, after a long chat with Dave, I now feel really enthusiastic and excited about it as well as being full of ideas. So what is the idea?
One of the astronauts heading to the International Space Station, has agreed to take a special Raspberry Pi into space with him. They’d like schools and Code Clubs to think up ideas for using the Pi and it’s sensors in space so that they can send their code into space! Dave pitched the idea to me by suggesting that the Pi would be like a device at home on the shelf. What would you like it to do? What do you think an astronaut might like to have it do?
Perhaps it could tell a joke whenever the motion sensor detected the astronaut go past or else display the flag of the country the station is above. The KS3 and 4 competition seems more geared towards recording data and results, but for primary, there seems to be a push towards a more fun app being planned and designed.
Also, in a primary school the children just need to come up with an idea and then the guys at Raspberry Pi will create the code. So, here is the Astro Pi board: There are a number of sensors on the board as well as a basic LED matrix to display simple designs on. Here is the listed hardware:. Gyroscope. Accelerometer.
Magnetometer. Temperature sensor.
Barometric pressure sensor. Humidity sensor. 8×8 RGB LED matrix display. Visible light or Infra-red (Pi NoIR) Cameras.
5 button joystick. Additional functional push buttons.
Real time clock with backup battery I’d like to find a video showing what conditions are like in the Space Station with zero gravity etc. And use this as a discussion point for what you might need if you were there. From this you could move on to what you would miss most if you were space for a bit of cross curricular PSHCE. Finally, this would lead on to what could you use the Raspberry Pi for in space- what do you think the astronauts might want or need that the Pi can provide? A video of a ‘fly through’ of the space station can be found which features an astronaut floating from one end of the station to the other and could be used as a starting point for discussion. The children could then work in small groups and develop their ideas for a useful app in the space station – I’d also spend a little bit of time looking at the experiments theme ideas on the Astro Pi website (Spacecraft Sensors, Satelite Imaging and Remote Sensors, Space Measurements, Data Fusion, Space Radiation), but I think from a primary perspective it would be simpler to focus on ways to entertain the astronauts while they’re away from home. I’m quite excited to get involved – entry seems very easy and I think it could be done in a single afternoon rather than spending too long fitting it in.
I think you could get children really excited about science and space and bring in some PSHCE too so it’s got some good cross curricular links. What more could you want? With a few more resources in place it should be an excellent and fun competition for everyone to be involved in. So, very simply, I’d like to encourage more of you to take part in this competition – the more people who get involved, the more likely this competition will run again and I think it would be a great idea to get children interested in coding – a real time application for code and the Raspberry P. The competition closes on 3rd April, so you still have a month to get your ideas together.
Raspberry Pi have now created a worksheet for the Astro Pi competition which can be found We received results from the first stage of the competition last week-I’m so proud to be able to say that one of our teams was highly commended by the judges! Well done boys. This is the first of what will hopefully be a series of posts by me. There will be an emphasis on the more technical side of things but, with any luck, things will be explained in plain English. I like to think that even though I am a geek by day I can still see things from the perspective of a ‘normal’ person 🙂 I have been asked by a couple of schools to give them guidance and/or training on how best to use their Pis without having to beg, borrow or steal monitors, keyboards etc when they already have a perfectly (good?) functioning suite of computers.
As I tinker with Apple kit all day long, a lot of these posts will be weighted towards making a Pi work with Macs. This week I decided to do something a little different – I’ve seen lots of people chatting about Raspberry Jams (meetups for Pi lovers), I’ve been to a Code Club meetup which had a lot of volunteers and not a lot of teachers and I’ve been to a CAS hub for teachers in Hammersmith. The three things combined inspired me to organise my own event – I didn’t want the formatlity of a CAS hub, but I wanted teachers to feel welcome and have the opportunity to relax after a long day at school. I also wanted to encourage some people from the Raspberry Pi and Code Club communities to come along and share what they’re doing (I also hoped to get a few volunteers without schools to come and find a school to volunteer in). So, after a few emails and phone calls, I found a local pub with a nice function room that was completely free to hire and sent emails out to my local ISI schools, as well as looking up contacts for all the local LEA schools.
I then posted on Twitter, the page and as well as tweeting (who very kindly emailed out to their local members). I ended up with about 15-20 people turning up, which I was really pleased about – people felt relaxed enough to order a pint and a burger in their own time while we chatted about what we were doing in school.
I had three Raspberry Pis set up so that I could demonstrate things as necessary and I had my other half and my code club volunteer on hand for tech support. Mostly the people were teachers from my local ISI group, but a few people had seen my tweets and the retweets from other groups. I was slightly disappointed not to have any response from the LEA schools, but I’m hoping they’ll come to the next one. What I enjoyed about the evening is that there was no sales pitch, there was no agenda, it was just a chance to chat. I found that a lot of people had done the same as I had – either bought or planned to buy some Raspberry Pis, but with no idea of what to do with them and that just chatting to the people in the room with experience helped them to feel a bit more confident in trying it out. The overall conclusion was that people left feeling like they were more confident with trying things out, but could we have another evening in a month or so to catch up and compare – so I’ve already booked the venue again for Friday 13th March! The next day I went to, but unlike usual, I wasn’t going to hunt around for freebies and find some cool new tech for my school – this year I had volunteered to talk on the Raspberry Pi stand and then been invited to a panel talking about coding in the primary curriculum.
In all honesty, I was so excited about talking that I didn’t look around as much as usual, but I did get a chance to pop to and chat to their staff – we use this resources in the lower school (EYFS and KS1) as it’s a bright colourful website that the children love – in the upper school we just use it for MFL as it’s a useful website for aiding learning. They have a clever marketting ploy for BETT – it’s very simple, if you chat to them about your account, they give you a free mug, so I did and I was actually fairly impressed – they’ve finally made it easy to upload a CSV file of users to have individual accounts, you can easily add in teachers and admin users and the whole admin interface is just a little simpler. They’ve also added in a coding module, which I intend to take a look at in the next few weeks so keep an eye out for a blog! So, I did a presentation on the Raspberry Pi stand with Tom Sale from Mereside Primary school in Blackpool, talking about how to use the Pi in a primary school, which was great fun – as it was my first time speaking about my teaching in this way, Tom kindly took the lead, but I now feel more confident standing up and having my say. The next thing we both did was a panel with and on the BETT futures stage and, already more confident, I talked for around ten minutes about all the things I’ve been doing with coding since attending Picademy in July (and all of my bad experiences before then) and was able to answer a couple of questions fired from the audience. So all in all a lovely day at BETT.
Now I need to get planning my next coding evening in Twickenham!! The March coding evening will be on Friday 13th March – details here: See you there!
I’ve not posted for a while – things have been busy – my father passed away in October and so I have been dealing with that, but as time has moved on and a new term has started I feel ready to dive back in head first. Anyway, that’s no excuse – my goal for this year was to write up a guide to the new curriculum and I have so far failed miserably. So, the last few weeks have been interesting – before Christmas I visited my first CAS Hub event in Hammersmith – it was mostly independent schools like my own and included a chat about how people are getting on as well as a demo of a java script game based Code Kingdoms (more on that later). It was good to see what people were doing, but I ended up arriving late (only by 15 minutes) and felt like I missed out on a lot of the early chat.
I had also attended a Code Club meet up in central London right at the beginning of the academic year and between the two events I decided it was time I started organising my own meet up. My plan was simple, I wanted to keep things informal, I wanted to get lots of teachers there and I wanted to make sure there were things to try out. I’m not a great fan of sticking to timetables so I decided not to plan anything formal for my event and so next Thursday (22nd Jan 2015) I will be hosting a coding meet up in the Stokes and Moncreiff pub in Twickenham – I’m hoping to get lots of teachers to come along (although I’m only up to about 16 so far) as well as trying to encourage some Code Club volunteers to head over. If you’re interested in coming along please sign up. At the end of last year, I also volunteered to talk about Raspberry Pi in the primary school at on the Raspberry Pi stand along with a fellow Picademy alumni, who is a leading practictioner when it comes to the new curriculum and is well known for helping to organise a big primary school coding event in Blackpool,. We will be talking on the Pi stand at 12.30pm on Friday 23rd and then we have also been invited to sit on a panel at 2.15pm with Clive Beale in the BETT Futures arena to talk about coding in the primary school; next week is looking set to be an exciting week.
While surfing Twitter this week, two very exciting things have come up that I think are important to share: Firstly, CamJam and Raspberry Pi are hosting a third birthday event in Cambridge 28th Feb/1st March – this is looking like it will be a great event for anyone interested in using the Pi, whether it be teachers, parents, professionals or children and it’s less than £10 for a full weekend pass (the day activities are completely free for under 16s). I’m planning on heading along to the Saturday events because I think it will be another great networking opportunity and to get some ideas for how to use the Pi in school (trust me, the best way to be inspired about how to use the Raspberry Pi is to find out how other people are using it). Further details The second thing I saw this morning was a lovely little kickstarter from the guys at called. This looks like a perfect bit of kit for any primary school teacher as the cross curricular links are immense. The idea is simple – a USB plug and play hub with an awful lot of sensors that can be controlled with varying levels of coding difficulty starting off with simple recipe cards, to flowcharts, to Scratch, Python and beyond.
Re Sonic Pi V2.11 Now Available For Macbook Pro
It can be controlled from a computer or a tablet. My hand slipped when I was making a pledge and I’ve ended up putting down enough to be able to get a mega treasure chest so as soon as this is released I’ll be blogging about how it works. It’s nearly achieved half it’s funding in a few hours so there is no doubt it will be fully funded before too long! Looking at it, it should be great for linking coding to science and I have a feeling there will be ways to link it to other subjects too! So, I’m declaring 2015 the year of new stuff as I continue to find new and exciting ways to encourage people to enjoy the new coding curriculum. One final anecdote for you, however, a pair of excellent teachers came to me this week to ask why I was making them teach coding, they wanted to know if they could just go back to teaching ‘word and stuff’.facepalm. luckily for me, they saw sense, but just goes to show how deeply the old microsoft curriculum has been ingrained into teaching!!
The Raspbian Wheezy repositories currently contain Sonic-Pi version 2.6. The Raspbian Jessie repositories currently contain Sonic-Pi version 2.10. The web site shows the current version to be 2.11. Raspbian Wheezy is no longer maintained, so i would not expect any change there.
Raspbian Jessie normally follows Debian Jessie. As Jessie is 'stable', Debian only updates packages with bug fixes and security updates, so they may not update Sonic-Pi to version 2.11. As Sonic-Pi is featured on the Pi, it's possible that the Foundation will update the package on Raspbian Jessie at some point, I think they have done this before, just have to wait and see. Hope this helps, Dave. Oeroeboeroe wrote:I have no idea, but i noticed the following; on the new Pixel release, the Sonic Pi is version 2.1 on my older version of Raspbian, is see version 2.6. Can someone shed a lght on this?
You are confused because you don't know how software revision numbers work. It's not 2.1, it's 2.10 (two point ten, which is newer than two point six). As for why Sonic Pi doesn't run on your system, I'm afraid I can't help. It runs on my Pi3 with fully upgraded Raspbian Jessie Pixel. Code: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade -yFollowed by a reboot. Adding sudo rpi-update to that will load beta kernel/firmware still in testing, and while that might fix your issue, it could also break things. So unless you are willing to be a beta tester and troubleshoot problems, don't use rpi-update.
Sonic Pi (2.10) runs on my system without rpi-update, so it should not be necessary for anyone else either. And if you ARE willing to be a beta tester, thanks (someone's gotta do it).