Installing Mu on Linux

Mu is a simple code editor developed in Python for Python. Mu has built-in support for Adafruit Circuit Playground Express and the micro:bit. Mu runs on Windows, Mac, Linux and even the Raspberry Pi.

Each Linux distro is a bit different, so for this guide, I am going to focus on Ubuntu.

Mu requires Python3. You can check and see if you have Python3 installed by typing:

python3 --version

If nothing is displayed type:

sudo apt install python3

to install Python3.

You also need pip3 installed type:

pip3 --version

If it shows nothing you need to install pip3 by typing:

sudo apt install python3-pip

Finally to install Mu type:

pip3 install mu_editor

You can now run Mu from the command line by typing:

Mu

Now that you have Mu installed you can go and develop in Python3, Micro Python for micro:bit or even CircuitPython for the adafruit Circuit Playground Express.

New Ventures

About two weeks ago I came up with the idea that there should be a community magazine for the micro:bit. I proposed the idea to another two community members who loved the idea and this is where micro:mag was born.

“micro:mag is the unofficial micro:bit community magazine”

Today (3rd of April 2018) seen the official launch of micro:mag and call for contributors. If you would like to write for micro:mag get in touch at micromag.cc or email us at hello@micromag.cc.

We need you for micro:mag to grow!

Subscribe to micro:mag here to get every issue straight to your inbox.

Young Coders Conference

On Monday 12th and Tuesday 13th of February 2018, I attended the first ever Young Coders Conference in the Tate Exchange that the Tate Modern in London. I volunteered to help coordinate the conference and make sure everything could run as smoothly as possible.

What is The Young Coders Conference?

The Young Coders Conference invited 12 Young coders aged between 10-16 to take part in CPD (Continuing Personal Development) training to continue delivering excellent workshops within their community.

Day 1

To start day 1 off we had Grace introducing the young coders to what the plan was for the two days, then we had lightning talks from Josh talking about EduBlocks, Femi talking about Young Coders forum, Louis talking about VR(Virtual Reality) and mentoring CoderDojo and myself talking about running Raspberry Jams.

The 12 Young coders then spent the day learning from industry experts from the micro: bit foundation, GitHub, Computers at School (CAS), IBM and Google.

All of the knowledge that the 12 Young Coders learned from the professionals would be put to good use developing 4 brand new micro: bit workshops to run on Day 2 to the General public in a Celebration of Code event.

There were 4 categories for the workshops. We had wearables and neopixels, gaming and networking, Internet Of Things (IoT) and Robots and physical computing. To make things fair the teams and mentors were picked by names being pulled out of a hat.

The teams have been working away all afternoon developing their workshops, we brought them back together to tell us what they had achieved and what they still had to do. Once the Young Coders had finished telling us what they had been up to, the micro: bit foundation surprised everyone by giving each young coder a club set of micro: bits, which contained 10 micro: bits, USB cables, battery packs and batteries for them to go and run workshops within their communities. This was not the end of the surprises, Cat Lamin from pi-top presented all 12 young coders with a pi-top t-shirt and requested that they wore them for the second day, so they all looked part of a team (which they now were)

At the end of Day 1 every team had nearly finished designing their workshop materials and tried out what they were going to do to make sure it all worked and their workshops would run as smoothly as possible on the second day.

Day 2

Day 2 started with the groups having 2 hours to finish preparing their workshops and making sure they had everything printed and equipment they needed. While this was going on the volunteers were tidying up and getting all the other event areas organised.
At 10 to 12 we already had a queue at the door eager to come in and see what we had in store for them. 12 o clock the doors opened and the public started flooding in. The 12 young coders had 2 hours to explore and promote their workshops to the public. During this time there were a few other workshops running, which were VR (Virtual Reality), wearables, IoT Internet of Things) and visualizar.

Visualizar is an augmented reality application for Android phones that allows you to draw pictures from your phone. Find out more at Visualizar

2 pm came it was now up to the Young Coders to deliver their workshops. Each workshop ran 3 times allowing each Young coder to deliver their workshop. While the workshops were running I was tasked with taking pictures and getting people to leave feedback in return for people leaving feedback we were able to give them free micro: bits. (yes we were giving away free micro: bits)

All the workshops ran pretty smoothly and most importantly the Young Coders were enjoying sharing their knowledge and proud of what they had accomplished over the two days. Give yourselves a huge pat on the back!

Well done to all of our Young Coders for working hard over the 2 days. I can’t wait to see what you do in the future. Also a huge thank you to Grace and the South London Raspberry Jam team and the other Young Coders Conference organisers for giving me the opportunity to be apart of such a great event. Hopefully, there will be many more Young Coders Conferences in the future.

You can find out more about the Young Coders Conference here: Young Coders Conference

On The Road To MozFest 2017 pt 4

This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series On The Road To MozFest 2017

Week 4: 22.10.17 – 26.10.17

So this week I have received the final info I need for the festival. I have also completed the session presentation and prepared 10 kits for the session, plus extra components in case some of the components decide not to work on the day. (it is better being over prepared than underprepared)

Even as I am travelling on the train and writing this post I have found another good piece of info to add to my presentation about LEDs. LED info

I am very excited to meet everyone Tomorrow (Friday), but also getting nervous about running a session within a festival of this size, but also psyched about doing it.

This is a very short post again, but be prepared for a long post at the start of next week loaded with lots of pictures.

Thanks for keeping with me through this series of blog posts. Hope to maybe even see some of you at MozFest 2017!

On The Road To MozFest 2017 pt3

This entry is part 3 of 4 in the series On The Road To MozFest 2017

Week 3: 15.10.17 – 21.10.17

Well, this week has seen a fairly busy week by making sure I have enough electronics for creating the quick reaction game kits, getting a RaspiKidd t-shirt printed ready for MozFest. I have also been working on the presentation for my session which has to be complete by Monday the 23rd. I am just waiting to see if the PiZero EduBlocks problems are solved before the deadline. If not rather than following my plan of live coding the Quick reaction game with the participants I will just be adding the code to the presentation.

The reason I was going to use a PiZero for the coding is that I can have it plugged into my computer through USB and have the PiZero act as an on the the go Ethernet device. Basically, I can log into the PiZero through VNC viewer using raspberry pi.local rather than having to find out what the IP address is. Also, the PiZero can share the laptop internet connection. It’s always good to have a plan B and maybe even a plan C.

Again this has not been a very short update. Next week is the week leading up to MozFest. I will probably write a quick update on the week while travelling to London on the train on Thursday. I have not decided how I’m going to blog about the weekend yet. My options are trying to find time at the end of every day and do a round up after or do a longer post after the weekend. (probably on the train back to Scotland lol) If you guys have a preference for this I would love to hear them in the comments.

As well as blogging about the whole festival I will also do a post on how well I think my session went.

That’s all for this week. Come back next week for the final part of the Road To MozFest.

On The Road To MozFest 2017 pt 2

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series On The Road To MozFest 2017

Week 2: 08.10.17 – 14.10.17

Well within the last week I have finished the first draft of the worksheet and sent it off to wranglers to be checked over and see what they think.

I have also started my presentation for MozFest which explains what the electronic components are and how we are going to use them within the session.

We are now going into the final 2 weeks before MozFest so lots of deadlines coming up. I need to have the worksheet approved and completed for Friday the 20th, so they can go and get printed in time for the festival. There is a video call for facilitators on the 22nd.

That is all for this week Come back next week for the next update.

On The Road To MozFest 2017

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series On The Road To MozFest 2017

This is going to be a weekly diary leading up to MozFest 2017.

Week 1: 01.10.17 – 07.10.17

Throughout this week I have completed my blog post which can be found here I’m Going to MozFest 2017 This is something every facilitator at MozFest is asked to do.

I have also started writing the Quick Reaction Game worksheet and trying out the code to make sure everything works. This involved creating the electronic circuit. Electronic circuit with an Electronic breadboard, an LED, 2 x push buttons, a resistor and Male to Female jumper wires to connect the components to the Raspberry Pi.

So far everything is going to plan.

Throughout the next week, I will be adding more functionality to the worksheet by adding user input. Once this is done the worksheet will be complete.

The next steps are to create the presentation and read the worksheet over and make necessary changes.

Come back next week for the Next update.

I Am Going To MozFest 2017!!!!!

MozFest 2017 is less than a month away. As some of you are aware I attended MozFest last year as a volunteer helping out within the youth zone. Well, I am going back this year as a facilitator running a session called Quick reaction game within the youth zone. I am really looking forward to going back.

The main focus of the festival this year is Internet Health. One of the key areas is Digital Inclusion. This is really important to me because coming from Scotland I am just now seeing some computer Science coming back into the School curriculum unlike England has been doing Computer Science for a few years. The way technology is growing and changing it is important that everyone has access to learning about digital technology and how it is evolving otherwise they are at a huge disadvantage.

My session fits into Digital Inclusion by teaching a wide age range of people about programming physical components like LEDs and Buttons through a Raspberry Pi and Edublocks. The session differs from others like it by being able to cover a wider age range and the coding ability of the participants due to using Edublocks instead of Python which is what most sessions like this are coded in. By opening this session up to a wide age group I hope to inspire some new young coders to carry on coding and experimenting with technology after MozFest.

Pi Lab

What is The Quick Reaction Game?

The quick reaction game consists of an electronic breadboard, 2 push buttons/tactile switches an LED all connected to a Raspberry Pi so you can program the components and make the game. Participants will be programming the components through EduBlocks

Why Should You Attend My Session?

If you have been learning Scratch for a few years and looking to challenge yourself but think Python is out of your depth well this is the session for you. As well as getting to build a simple electronic circuit you will be programming it through Edublocks, which is Python code in block format like Scratch.

Hope to see you there!

Introducing EduBlocks

He has opened EduBlocks up to the Raspberry Pi community, so he gets lots of feedback on how he can improve things, as well as other developers helping him convert python libraries into EduBlocks code. As well as people like me who have started using it for education and writing tutorials for EduBlocks.

So, EduBlocks is a block based program written in blockly for the Raspberry Pi. EduBlocks is real python code in block format like Scratch, making the transition from Scratch to Python easier.

I jumped on the bandwagon last year when I seen EduBlocks getting used in a tutorial session at MozFest within the youth zone ran by @all_about_code and thought this is something I can use. So after speaking to @all_about_code at MozFest and finding out what his plans were I told him to let me know if there is any way I can help.

So far I have contributed by trying to get more people using it by running sessions @DundeeRjam and about to run some at a local code club as well. I am also running a Session at MozFest this year using EduBlocks. (more to come on that later)

Go and checkout the getting started tutorial that is up at the minute, there will be LED tutorials getting added within the next week.

Thanks for reading and remember Keep having FUN while LEARNING!