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Tech Stuff and random observations on life as I see it….
Back in May! The BBC reported on it and their technology programme Click! Followed up on it in June. It was suggested that the RaspberryPi, a £15 computer on a stick could provide the same home computing revolution that was kick started off in the eighties with the BBC Micro, Sinclair Spectrum, Commodore 64 and other similar machines. I posted an article a short while later when the Alpha production schedule was announced.
Now if we fast forward to more recently we are once again hearing about it again: In December 2011 there was an announcement that the first batch of devices were nearly ready for release. Now in January 2012 several early test devices have been auctioned on EBay for £3,000 so there is interest in them.
However, I cannot help but think that this very good idea may have come along too late. I can see the use of them in Schools during the day but as I see it the main problem that I see is the reliance on external devices outside the school environment. As I write this, I am sitting with my iPad in front of the TV which is on. In other words I can both watch TV and do work at the same time. With the advent of ideas like CodeAcademy, a safe programming environment is presented to a student on the device in front of them and there is no need to plug into anything. I personally think that this is a better way forward even if the RapBerryPi is a very portable device.
Back in 1984, I saved up for what seemed like ages and ended up coming home with a Commodore 64 computer. When it started up, you got a Ready prompt. All ready to program Basic programs and began what has been a 20 year (so far) career in computing. A similar revolution was happening in homes around the country whether it be Commodore, Spectrum or BBC micro. These days however, it’s not so obvious after booting into your operating system where to start.
A couple of months back in May, a games developer named David Braben announced that he was developing a USB stick sized PC that he estimated would retail for around $25. this PC would have an HDMI socket at one end for connecting an HD TV to and on the other end would be a USB port for connecting a Keyboard to. Add a customised distribution of Linux that boots straight into a programming language (current preferred one is Python) and you have a fully functioning, ready to program computer. This product is mostly aimed at education to try and get children interesting in computing like those of us of a certain age did back in the 1980’s
At that time the specs issued were:
And the name of this spectacular product? RasperryPi.
We are now two months on and the Raspberry Pi Foundation is a UK registered charity (Registration Number 1129409) and the group has finalised the spec of the main board and the Alpha release has been sent for manufacturing. There have been some small changes in the interim and the now credit card sized board will sport two USB cables and an Ethernet port on Model A and a Model B option with 256Mb memory will retail for around $35 The extra features were added based on user feedback. Wifi will be supported through USB dongles. USB Hubs will also be supported for adding multiple peripherals including external HDD’s.
Since the announcement and the setup of the site, people have continued to suggest future changes and alternate uses of the product too. See the site Forum to see these suggestions.
There is a wealth of information for student on the Microsoft Education site. Its well worth having a look. However I have summarised some of the main offers below. I have pretty much copied their site content word for word for speed.
Become a Microsoft Student Partner
What is the Microsoft Student Partner Programme?
The Microsoft Student Partners are part of a one year programme which is designed to help students get the most out of Microsoft tools and technologies.
IT Academy Pass
Extra Qualifications for Free
The Microsoft IT Academy Student Pass is a special free online learning opportunity for students. IT Academy Student Pass provides free e-learning courses to verified students who are interested in extending their technical skills with Microsoft technologies.
The IT Academy Student Pass offers 12 to 22 hours of free e-learning courses, aligned to the first set of topics you need to master for the first Microsoft certification exam within the track.
The goal of the IT Academy Student Pass is to give you a head start by providing hours and hours of rich, award-winning e-learning content that sets the stage for the learning to come.
Find out more at https://www.dreamspark.com/Learning/freetraining.aspx
Want Professional Developer Software for Free?
Microsoft Dreamspark is simple: it provides university and college students with access to professional developer, creative and gaming software all for free.
These products are all available to easily download to unlock your creative potential and advance your learning in your chosen area. It doesn’t matter what subject you are studying at college or University any student can download free from Dreamspark.
How do I download the software?
Go to www.DreamSpark.com sign in with your Windows Live ID, then verify your student status and start downloading – it’s that simple. You can verify your student status using your .ac.uk student email address or your Athens ID.
Training opportunities from DreamSpark
You can also find out more about free training opportunities for technical students at DreamSpark, such as the IT academy pass which gives free e-learning courses to verified students who are interested in extending their technical skills with Microsoft technologies. You can also gain Microsoft Certified exams which means you can stand out in your field with a set of qualifications that demonstrate your technical skills and commitment to staying current with the very latest and most relevant technology.
Helping you Make the Most of your Studies
MSDN AA is a great way for you to access all of the software you might need throughout your studies. If your university has a subscription you can simply download all the relevant software (including Windows 7) you need simply and easily. Why not take a look if your university has a MSDN AA subscription here ( http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/academic/dd861349 ). And start downloading great software today.
Note: For RGU School of Comouting students you can shortcut this direct to to our MSDNAA site at http://msdn62.e-academy.com/msdnaa_ab8483 If you wish to get a login on the ELMS server then please come along to C13/C14 with your matriculation card and speak to the systems Administrators about setting up an account. Once you have this ID you can simply log into the System using your username and password and start browsing/ordering the software available to you.
Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011
Try Windows Live Photo Gallery 2011, which is free and brilliant. It helps you to co-ordinate images and music, and turn it into an impressive slideshow, with special effects, narration, titles, captions, and then publish them for viewing on a computer or TV.
A free add-on for Office, that contains a set of tools to help teachers and students. Things like curriculum templates, and toolbars for Word, PowerPoint and Excel to help students and teachers get started on projects and stay organised during them. Students get tools, templates and tutorials to help them get past “Blank Page Syndrome”, language tools and templates, and tips and tutorials for managing projects and producing high-quality work.