Revisions/corrections in Bold.
Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of attending the first ever London Raspberry Jam. The networking event is designed to allow those with Raspberry Pi computers to interact with those who do not. It was attended by enthusiasts, hobbyists, lecturers, teachers, developers, parents with their children and other interested parties in the industry. Tickets were free but spaces were limited to 85. It was organised by Alan O’Donohoe.Starting at 7.30pm we arrived at the Mozilla Space at 101 St. Martins Lane to be greeted by a member of the Mozilla staff. After showing us up we entered the space itself. It doubles up as both the communal area and canteen for the staff but is also open to the public from 10am-6pm for anyone who wants to use the workspace, alone or in groups.
Tonight the theme was flavoured, and the flavour of choice was raspberry. After some brief introductions by Alan O’Donohoe (@teknoteacher), the 60-70 attendees dutifully mingled for 20 minutes or so. There was such a wide array of diverse individuals present with all manner of projects on their lips. I got caught between a gentleman who was having issues with class 10 SD cards talking to a developer from VM-Ware and another who helps digitally re-engage the unemployed through training. These curious mixes most certainly set the tone for the evening.
After beer, scones, wine, soft drinks et al had been acquired by all who desired we all sat down on chairs and beanbags as Alan brought proceedings to order. After thanking everyone for coming and warming up the crowd a little he outlined the various speakers before handing over to the first of them.
Genevieve Smith-Nunes (@pegleggen) is a teacher in Brighton. She teaches year 9 but also teachers years 1 & 2 how to use scratch, a basic programming tool. She described how local companies are donating Raspberry Pi to her school, the Dorothy Stringer. She is also organising a Hackday at her school for 250 of her Year 9’s. There students will be coding, web apps, extensions and other programming related challenges while interacting with industry members and even someone from Google. It will also be live broadcast and more information can be found on the web page located [HERE]. It is worth noting the students built the webpage with Gen’s guidance.
Neil Ford (@neilcford) is a tech geek who helps promote coding among under 18’s. He first outlined amazon [WISHLIST] list which comprises an example of the barebones requirements for anyone looking to get a Pi. He then elaborated on a great way to get RPi’s into schools; he is currently working on a way to use the device as a portable network field array using Wi-Fi and a web server application. Young Rewired State is his other major talking point, in which, he, aiding Emma Mulqueeny (@hubmum) is putting on a giant coding camp week for over 500 young people. The website can be found [HERE] and rumour has it Lily Cole may end up being a judge. The projects involve using open real world data and analysing it in new ways.
Next to the plinth was Keith Dunlop (no twitter account, although @rougol has been suggested as closest feed). Keith is a Enthusiast working with the Alpha for Raspberry Pi RISC OS. This operating system is twenty years old and first featured on the Acorn Archimedes. It is incredibly powerful ARM based environment. It has BASIC coding built into the OS. Keith also demoed a very powerful vector graphic application and the “menu-bar-less” mouse control. This is definitely something to watch in the future and it looks very powerful. You can find out more over on the RISC OS homepage [HERE]. EDIT: RISC OS is split into two forks, the previous link goes to the now defunct element. The correct website link is [HERE]. Thankyou to the commenters for pointing out my corrections.
John Bevan (@bevangelist) is the Learning Partnership Lead at Mozilla. He spoke about the Mozilla “Summer Code Party” (Ben informs me that this starts today.) and Thimble. Thimble is a very powerful tool that was only released Monday. It introduces people to web publishing, by showing code and the live preview side by side. In the space of the talk he creates and publishes a very basic webpage. This is part of a new suite of open tools aimed and web making, they can be found [HERE]. He does give the crowd some interesting pause as he suggests that they would love to have gecko running on a RPi.
Alan closed out the talks with a brief praise of the Mozilla Space as well as making acknowledgements to Leon (the cameraman), Carlos (whose idea it was), Ryan (our contact point at Mozilla) and @Cyberdees for generally helping out and talking to anyone who wanted to. Andy Piper (@andypiper) also said a few words regarding the importance of computer hardware fundamentals as part of compulsory curriculum. Half an hour of fuelled conversation later there was a small prize giving and five gentlemen volunteered to organise the following London Jam in Alan’s stead.
Huge thanks to Alan and everyone else who took part. It was a thoroughly rewarding experience. I personally cannot wait to get my hands on an RPi and expect it to be covered here when I do.
The entirety of the talks mentioned above were filmed and are available on YouTube [HERE].
To follow the discussion and see if another Jam is going on in your area use the Hash tag “#Raspberryjam”.
Please remember to subscribe or follow if you have enjoyed this. I do meander around with what I cover but I assure you to every post there will be a follow up and the Raspberry Pi and associated Jams will feature here.
EDITED 20120622 based on feedback to correct factual errors.
The Raspberry Jam is in no way affliated with the Mozilla Space or Rapsberry Pi. Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.