Week Two of SLRJam Code Club, 3D Printing & Visit to Pi Top HQ in Hackney to film Vlog

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It’s been another really busy week – on Tuesday we had our second session  of Code Club at Catford Library but I had to miss it  because I had to play cello at the school’s Strings concert. Mum ran it with our ‘know everything’ guy and it went really smoothly. I managed to drop in at the end  and got to do a tiny bit of Code club stuff. It’s a really nice group.

I had a really bad ticky week,  which was really noticed, especially at school – like constant tics. My Year tutors got a bit concerned as they thought it may be linked to me feeling stressed out about something. What was really nice is that they asked me how I was and if there was anything they could help me with and they checked in with my mum. They are awesome teachers (can I get my two House credits now?). Anyway, mum explained that with Tourette’s Syndrome, tics just come and go in their own natural cycle and it not really brought on because of stress.  However stress can influence it and so can tiredness – for me anyway.  But like Nick, from Little Bits, said ” You have to just live with it and come to terms with it”. I really like my school, though. It’s really good to know that they want to make sure I’m feeling ok about my TS and tics.  For more about Tourette’s Syndrome go to www.tourettes-action.org.uk TA Logo

Anyway,  in the week I had to prepare for my ‘Young Techie’s Christmas Wishlist‘ Vlog that I’ve be invited to do for the HotMilk Podcast blog. Thanks so much to Kaye & crew at Techology Will Save Us for sending the DIY Thirsty Plant and DIY Electro Dough kits to  mum and also to Gareth at 4Tronix for sending a CrumbleBot PCB. Thanks for the extra Sparkles – lots more exploring to do.I promise I will be setting  the ‘Reviews’ section up soon.

With the DIY Thirsty Plant – I really enjoyed mixing up the plaster for the sensors – but I stirred it for too long and it started to set. So I had to very quickly stuff it into it’s mould. Then came the wiring  – which was very tricky but I did enjoy the challenge.  I had to wait for the plaster to set so continued the next day. It was great when I finished it until we realised that we didn’t have one single plant in the house and neither me or mum could face rooting around in the back garden in the middle of the night to find something. When we went to film our vlog, later in the week, we had to buy a potted Basil herb plant from the Co-op.

Then, on Friday night I had to rebuild the CrumbleBot and test out the software – which was very straightforward as it’s like Scratch. I had a little play with the Sparkles as well.  Also, we have progress on the 3D printing project that I wanted to try out when me and mum got the new Raspbery Pi Touchscreen Display. I looked up this 3D open source project for producing your own case – see Adafruit website. Does this 3D printing really work?  Anyway the IT team at mum’s college said they would run it through their 3D printer. Mum left work on Friday with it still having four hours to run. so we’ll see on Monday. Also we have to get a special battery & 5v to 3.3v converter – that costs quite a bit.

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Finally the big event of the week. Me & Mum set off on a cold rainy morning with a trolley full of gear, on the Overland train to Hoxton and, surprisingly as it was tipping it down, we had a lovely stroll down Hackney Road. What a cool place!

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We took shelter in this amazing tiny coffee house called the Hackney Coffee Company. The mezzanine was set up like  a cosy little library – even the tiny toilet was elegantly decked out!. Wonder how that would go down back home in Catford? Another customer with her 8 yr old daughter, from Amsterdam, asked us what one place would you take an 8 yr old – if you just had 2 hrs before getting a plane home. We really couldn’t think of a reply – what would you say?

So Jesse, co-founder of Pi Top, picked us up from the cafe and we arrived at their London HQ a few minutes later. I really loved the space – l mean, there was lots of white and space and a pool table!  Then Jesse just gave me a box  and said ‘Now you’ve got to put it together’ it’s like a proper laptop!

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I spent the next 40 minutes (was it longer, I don’t remember) following a manual  and dealing with tricky screws and fittings – thankfully Jesse helped me out. For a nine year old – you definitely need an adult to help out.

It was really awesome when it powered up for the first time and then we went into CEED Universe – a giant multiplayer mining game that gets you to wire up circuits and learn about coding while you play (Gamified Learning).  Actually I had another purpose at Pi Top. Jesse offered to give us some space to film our Young Techie’s Christmas Wishlist‘ vlog.  The lighting was great. We set up the ‘Intro’ bit and did a few takes.IMG_0284

It was hard going but luckily, just when I was getting irritable, Ryan – the other co-founder of Pi Top arrived and, to mum’s annoyance, a game of pool interrupts filming.

IMG_0299After Ryan won, we continued with the filming – hopefully it will be ok but mum’s a little but worried by the sound quality – as it was raining really heavily.  She’s got  the hard job of editing it all together but at least it will only be about three minute. I really didn’t want to leave. Jesse and Ryan are  very cool and thank you so so much for giving me the Pi Top to review and inviting us to your amazing workspace. Good luck with the Pi Top and  your travels around the world. I hope we get to stay connected. Dear blog readers – you have until the end of December to get a  Pi Top at a special Indiegogo price – see pi-top.com . Ryan says it’s has a 13.3” HD LCD screen with a  12 hr battery life.

So watch this space – when my ‘Young Techie’s Christmas Wishlist‘ vlog is ready, we’ll let you know and give you the links. Also the ‘Product Review‘ page is under construction but it’s not easy because people have been really nice to send their products but I also want to feel free to be really honest about stuff – so me and mum are talking about how you do that and get the balance right. We are going to be keeping it real. If there are any experienced product reviewers out there who could give us some advice – either leave a comment or email us at slraspberryjam@gmail.com

I’ll let you know how the 3D print job comes out! See next Sunday evening for my next blog.

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