T’North!

17th november, from the backup vaults of David Whale’s email inbox…

This
weekend I’ve had a little tour of the North, or rather, across the North…I
headed up to Hull on Friday and then spent Saturday accross the pennines in
Manchester, for another Jam with the pi crew.

Unlike
normal Mancunian Jams, this one included talks from several different people
who write and create things using the pi, including a Q&A with Liz and Eben
Upton, as well as Clive Beale, the education manager for the Foundation.
Personally I signed up for doing two: one on GPIO, which I pretty much always
do, and another on the Adafruit WebIDE. Heh. Both went wrong, and I learned my
lesson not to go “I’ll just take my surface not my laptop and everything
will be ok”. I like that my tablet’s as powerful as many laptops (and
faster than my own), but for pi-ing…just…don’t. I feel like for any
hardware interfacing Microsoft seem to be making it more and more difficult and
I don’t really understand why. There really is no wonder so many of the maker
community use linux or a mac…

Fortunately,
Ryan Walmsley from rastrack.co.uk (and now Ryan Teck LTD. – his own company at
17 years old which paypal apparently can’t comprehend) was there to save the
day and helped me out with quite a lot of the sorting-my-pi out process as we
discovered my wifi adapter kept corrupting the operating system, the best thing
to discover on the day of a demo.

Of
jams so far the only not-stressy one was York, where I had no live demo, just
talking about where to start with the GPIO, so I think that’s a good vein to go
down in the future.  From now on any live
demos are getting thoroughly tested and videoed at home. Guess I should have
learned this by now…

Even
though my demo burst into flame one audience member did speak to me before I
left about sensoring, as he was interested in having a pi do the signalling for
a model train set and was wondering about the cheapest option to manage this.
It’s always nice to see people actually value your opinion, and it shows you’ll
always be an expert in something to someone even if in yourself you feel like
you’re still learning (which I definitely do). I need to get used to going
forward and asking speakers my own questions post-talk when I want to, I
generally lack the confidence to be honest…

Anyway,
aside from my problems it was a great day, and I met more people I’ve followed
on twitter for a while and we had some good gossips about the general goings
on. I spent most of the day stressing, coding and breaking things so I didn’t
attend as many interesting talks as I would have liked – of which there were
many, such as using the pi camera as a microscope, the pi in the sky project
and Ryan’s latest announcement about his robot, which apparently I get to
review on this blog which should be fun 🙂

Can
more girls step forward and talk though, please? Pretty pretty please? There
have to be some out there, I refuse to believe Amy, Miss Philbin and myself
are the only ones who have something interesting to say at pi events and are
female…its all very well and good saying “I want more girls in
here” but if we don’t have figureheads for girls to see and think “ok
I’m allowed to go into this”, then nothing will change. If I can do it so
can anyone.

What’s
next on my agenda? On Monday I’m attending my first Bristol Girl Geek Dinner
(which unexcitingly is at work, but at least that means I don’t have to travel
far, and it’s also in the brand new building which I’ve not been in yet) which
should be great to meet more people from my area, but other than that I think I
need a chillax for a while. There’s a wearables and google glass hackathon in a
few weeks, but that’s my first free weekend…like completely free…so I think
I’ll have to pass.

I am however next weekend, back in Sheffield, because Jools Holland is doing his standard christmas big band gig in the city hall which is great. I’m also hoping to pop into the pirate crew’s hideout (pimoroni) and have a quick nosey.

Pi wise, I’ve volunteered to head over to Stevenage on the
12th of December to run some workshops alongside David Whale and Ryan Walmsley,
and then after that there’s the Raspberry Jamboree at the end of February where
maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually make it to the right pub to meet up with the
pi family…

Now for a lovely long train ride down to London, and then Bristol. If anyone’s in Kings Cross in a couple of hours, I’ll be the one on the piano…

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