Zumo George gets upgrades (part 1)

Everything eventually needs an upgrade. You may think that pencil 1.0 was great, but if Apple has taught us anything: we all need pencil 2.0. I jest, although that said it is time for Zumo George, one of my Raspberry Pi robots to receive the 2.0 make-over. This is brought on by two things:


Previously I had thought of upgrading from the Raspberry Pi A+ to a Zero purely to save some space, enabling me to get a bit o'real-estate back as George measure but 10cm x 10cm. However I would still have the WiFi dongle a-dongling, only it would be dangling from a micro to full-size USB. Dongles dangling from dongles (there's a song in there somewhere) made me sad: "if only a variant of the Zero came with WiFi", I thought. Fantastic news Pi fans: the Foundation delivered.

The Raspberry Pi Zero W is essentially a Zero (same CPU, same RAM, same form factor) with the added bonus of a combined WiFi and Bluetooth chip. Also for our inner geek the Foundation has included the coolest antenna I've seen yet which features a triangular resonant cavity. The MagPi magazine covered the antenna in detail just the other day in Issue 55. Proant, a Swedish company, have licensed the tech to the Foundation.
TheMagPi_55_ZeroWAntenna
The MagPi, Issue 55. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

Given the move to the slimmest of Raspberry Pi's it is also time to move from the Pimoroni Explorer Pro to the Explorer pHAT. This half-pint size board has many of the features of it's larger sibling and is a perfect match for the Zero W.

Putting it all together here are collection of parts:

Zumo George Pi Zero W upgrade

Any observant bod will quickly notice something missing. Yes I hang my head in shame and join the "forgot to order a 40-pin header for the Zero" club. D'oh! eBay quickly to the rescue. Given this tiny omission the build is on temporary hold for a few days. Still, let's get the blade in place because sumo blades == awesome. While we're at it let's have a preview of where the Zero is going to go. With all ports along one long edge I can now have these poking backwards from George. You can also see the extra space I am gaining from the move to the Zero W from the A+.

ZumoGeorge_sumo_blade

I am expecting great things from the sumo blade and am already thinking about how to modify my BDD behaviours and code to take advantage: Zumo George shall no longer retreat in fear from Cartmanzilla.

Stay tuned for Part 2, entitled: "Ahah the header has arrived!"

PS: yes those wires are going to get significantly shortened ;)
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The MagPi - the Foundation's official magazine

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Some excellent news: The MagPi has become the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s official magazine. A new team has been busy producing Issue 31 and it looks absolutely fantastic, reads incredibly well and is just the ticket. The original team, myself included, have produced 30 issues (and a special) of The MagPi, but with other commitments it was becoming tricky to meet the month-end deadline (you may have noticed we skipped an issue a few months back to enable us to play catch-up). Hence, with the Foundation behind it and a full-time editor on board my favourite Raspberry Pi magazine has a certain future ahead.

The new-look MagPi will continue to be available as a free download each month and will also be available for tablets soon.

Congratulations to Russell, Ben and the rest of the new team on a brilliant (thirty) first issue!

http://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi

http://www.raspberrypi.org/all-change-meet-the-new-magpi
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Raspberry Pi Handbook magazine magazine out now

The postman dropped off something I’ve been waiting to see for a while, the Raspberry Pi Handbook, a Linux Magazine Special (#14). 98 pages of Pi goodness with very few adverts makes for a compelling read. Although the price tag of £7.99 feels a little steep that’s the price of more content and less adverts hence I feel it is justified.
RPi_Handbook_LinuxProMagazine_no14
Inside you’ll find lots of new articles on the Pi covering the OS and software, programming and hardware hacking. There’s a particularly interesting article on hooking up a USB weather station to the Pi and outputting the data recorded via a web server (also hosted on the Pi) that I think I’ll be trying out. There is also a very interesting interview with Eben Upton that is worth a read, noting that this interview is available to read for free online. The magazine comes complete with a DVD containing a number of different operating systems for the Pi which is handy to avoid potentially lengthy downloads in some cases, albeit at the price of the ISO images burned to the disc eventually becoming out of date.

The magazine also includes several articles re-printed from The MagPi and it is good to see The MagPi (even if only in part) making its debut on the shelves of WH Smith.

One thing I especially like about the Handbook is that it rapidly goes from beginner to advanced without feeling the need to trudge through endless “this is what a keyboard is: you press the keys and magic happens” very basic introductions to the Pi. There is a lot of straightforward stuff contained in the magazine but the reader is rapidly taken on to advanced topics including compiling from source. Good to see.

Raspberry Pi Handbook, available from... well pretty much anywhere that sells magazines.
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