Summer of Hacking

Raspberry Pi

It’s been a little while since my last blog post but I have been busy making the most of the summer holidays. I went to the Tech4Good Awards and although I didn’t win, I did get to meet lots of amazing people.  EWaterPay  deservedly won the BT Young Pioneer Awards category and my new friend, Arnav, won both the People’s Award  and the Winner of Winners Award with his AsthmaPi – which is truly awesome.  However, we have kept moving and have gone on to the next stage of the Microsoft Azure Nano Satellite/BBC Microbit  competition.


Here’s a review of some of the events I went to or helped to run:

Horsham Hack (10/07/16)

Marcus (from Hack Horsham) and his son, Jonathan, are part of our Microsoft Azure winning team for the LightGlobe -so we came down to Horsham to catch up with them and join their hack that was really unique. They had a Code club section but  were mainly music focussed. Me and my brother mashed up  some tunes on some Pioneer DJ decks – and then posed for some cool photos. What do you think -a future career option? We also met some really interesting digital inventors which has really inspired me.



Family Hack Day (27/07/16)

Our South London Raspberry Jam organised an autism and Tourette’s friendly family Hack day with London Connected Learning Centre – who are totally awesome.  There were around 20 young people and we started with an open explore session – looking at VR handsets, Makey Makey kits and other coding software packages before getting to the Sonic Pi orchestra session which was run by Rowan. We all managed to make some good tunes and I enjoyed helping out bit as well.

At the same time, Marc (Code Club  expert) ran an amazing Kodu  session using the BBC Microbits. I hear it was hard work as he combined, probably, 3 sessions into one but the outcome was some very cool and crazy worlds, and mad moving objects controlled by the microbit.


After a welcome lunch break in the park we returned to my Robot hack which was brilliant due to the fact that virtually everyone got their robots running and then went on to fit sensors and programme their robots to follow black lines. Thank you Joseph (Crumble Inventor) for loaning the Crumble robot kits (Redfern Electronics).

The last, and my favourite session, was the group ‘Build a Minecraft City’ run by Rowan. This involved planning what a city needs, together, and then each of us building a section on a joint server. It was excellent and I think we all could have gone on for another 3 hours!

Finally we had a Show and Tell where  Rowan No 2 (there were two Rowans) showed a little video montage of the day and everyone said what they had done over the day.  She took the photos of the day too. The  London Connected Learning centre is amazing and so are the staff. We really want to continue to run events with them. Thank you very much for a brilliant day.

See their montage of photos and video clips:-  Family Hack Day

If you live in Lambeth – please do contact them as they are running some cool Family events. Hopefully, we will run something like a Lego Mindstorm (Robot) workshop in the near future – watch this space.

Southend Jam 20/09/16

This was a really relaxed and welcoming jam organised by Southend’s Raspberry Jam who helped us set up our South London Raspberry Jam. There was  a whole programme of talks, show and tell stalls and workshops (i.e. robots, Scratch and Python sessions). It was nice to see the Rapid Electronics crew there too(who often sponsor our Jams). I did the ‘Build a Radio’ with Medway Makers – which took quite a bit of time so I missed the Python workshop but it was worth it because I learnt about magnets, coils and radio waves, got to do some soldering and take home a radio that I made.  After, we had fish n’ chips on the beach. It was a great day out. Thanks to Andy and the team for organising the event.



EPIK Club: Virtual Reality (VR) Minecraft 21/09/16

This was an amazing workshop – all the way past Canterbury, run by Dorine Flies and her husband. I went with my whole family including my 5 year old brother. He really enjoyed playing with Dorine’s daughter, Sabrina. I learnt how to access all their different Minecraft mods/servers so we could play in the same worlds. Then we took it in turns to put on  a HTV Vive VR headset and actually be in the minecraft world – it was beyond amazing!  There were other programmes as well – an underwater world and a VR Art  tool called ‘TiltBrush Art’ – where you actually draw/paint 3D shapes in the VR world.  Mum also looked at their WeDo Lego construction kits as she’s thinking about get some for our younger coders. I’m very very sad that we live so far away! This EPIK club is a very cool group.


A few final words:

Our friend Nic Hughes is running  the first East London Raspberry Jam on 22nd October from 12pm in Barking Library . It’s free and there will some great workshops. If interested, use this link to book free tickets:-  First East London Raspberry Jam link

There’s also a brilliant Hackathon at London Zoo (18+) on 7th-9th October. Its based around finding  solutions to the fight against illegal Wildlife trade – use this link:-  Zoohackathon London

My submission for running a Robotic workshop at this year’s MozFest was successful and I am in the process of learning how to upload documentation to Github. Thanks Joseph for your offer to supply the kits for the session – hope you can make it to the event too.

Finally congratulations to Raspberry Pi Foundation for selling 10 million Raspberry Pi computers and creating such a cool community that spreads around the world. See their blog post:-

Raspberry Pi Blog

Bye for now


Tech4Good Awards – Finalists at BT Tower

Raspberry Pi

Yesterday me and my mum had the most amazing time with Tech4Good and had lunch at the top the BT Tower – as it revolved! I have been short listed  for their BT Young Pioneers Award, along with three others. Our South London Raspberry Jam has also been short-listed for the Digital Skills Award.

It was so nice to meet the judges and the other finalists. There were so many really cool people who are doing amazing things with technology to help others.  The first people we talked to were  Arnav, his little sister and mum. He has used a Raspberry Pi to develop a measuring device for Asthma sufferers. It can read things like humidity, pollutants and  dust levels so people can monitor factors that trigger an asthma attack. He is an awesome coder –  he said the dust  sensor was the hardest to work out the code for.


The event kicked off with a  talk by Mark  Walker and a short film about AbilityNet  and the Tech4Good Awards. It’s brilliant to be one of the finalists and even if we don’t get further – it’s really nice to amongst all these people who are doing good through Technology.  Next it was the Networking  part, a bit like Speed Dating where you had 2 minutes before moving on to the next person. I decided to start at the opposite end from mum! It was really good fun


I met some amazing people and learnt a lot about different areas of the Digital market. Among them was Katherine Payne, who works for ustwo games which happens to be where I’m currently doing a  series of Coderdojo  Games Development  workshops for a competition that’s going to be held in Dublin, in two weeks’ time. She asked me about what I do and how we started our jam and then she told me about what she does and offered me some gaming tips for Monument Valley – their award winning game. I also talked to James Cannon, one of the judges who works for a Charity Digital News company and we discussed how I’m planning to help others get into coding.



Lunch was ‘beast’, really amazing. We took the lift, which felt like Roald Dahl’s Great Glass Elevator – it travelled at 7 metres a second to the top of the 189 metre tower where there was a café which rotated, showing off the outstanding views of London in front of us. For lunch me and my mum had cod and chips which was delicious – so we shared a couple of portions and then for desert there was an amazingly crafted triple chocolate brownie with cream and mixed berries.

After that we were ready for some more networking. We talked to the weKonnekt team – who  have designed an app for young carers to connect to forums and access community information. Their teacher talked about how amazing  ‘App for Good‘ were, in helping them. We didn’t get to see the eWaterPay team – but I had a photo  taken with the rest of the Young Pioneer finalists.

IMG_2680There were so many others we spoke to – including Mark Walker and Josh Russell, both judges for the Awards. Mum talked to Josh about coding, inclusion and running successful events as he’s a cool Technology strategist and I found out what ‘Invisible Design’ was all about – something that mum does to make our jams so awesome.  Oh yeah,  Jo  Claessens from BBC – representing the Micro:bit, came to talk to me as she  was interested in what I do. She told us about amazing things happening in Manchester linked to pre-apprenticeships (young coders’ links to industry people). Mum was interested in her Wearable/Maker sessions, too. It was so nice to link up with the others, swap business cards and even afterwards -through Twitter. For example,  Arnav lives in the same part of London as me so I’m going to let him know about the next cool coding event.


So what next? We’ll find out the winners of the Tech4Good Awards on the 6th July  but in the mean time there is a People’s Award  where you choose the best out of the finalists and vote.  I hope you will either vote for me, in the Young Pioneers section or for our South London Raspberry Jam – in the Digital Skills category. You can  follow these links below to vote:

Or – even more easily through Twitter – just send a tweet using the two hashtags below and they will count as one vote for each for us. You can vote as many times as you like, using this method. So if you follow me on twitter [@hackerfemo] and retweet my tweets with the hashtags below- I’ll get extra votes.

#T4GHackerfemo       [that for me: BT Young Pioneers Awards]

#T4GRaspberryJam   [our Autism&Tourette’s Syndrome friendly Coding events  in the Digital SkillsAwards]

Please do check out all the finalists  at and follow me on Twitter at @hackerfemo

[*Don’t worry, mum’s monitoring it so that I’ll stay safe]


What was the key message I took home from the Tech4Good event? It’s great doing coding but even more awesome when you share your knowledge with others and have a positive impact in the community.

Thanks Tech4Good for selecting us for finalists – it’s such a privilege.

Winning Team @ Microsoft: AzureCraft

Raspberry Pi

This weekend we visited Microsoft’s European HQ in Reading to attend their first AzureCraft event for young people. There were some amazing workshops and competitions.  Was it worth getting up at 5.30am ? Actually – it was definitely worth it! We had a truly  ‘beast’ time.


Dave Coplin, from Microsoft, gave an epic talk about the future and how it will be down to us – young ones, to make it all reality. He talked about how important STEM subjects are for future coders, developers and engineers – Abbie Hutty talked about how she got to help design part of  ExoMars Rover for Airbus too. The first proto-type was at the event, the one Tim Peake controlled from space.


The first workshop was really difficult – it was about how to set up IoT using the Raspberry Pi and Azure’s cloud services – run by Amy Nicholson. We didn’t get to set it up properly but at least  we know a little more and, hopefully, come back to it later.  The second workshop was the one I was most interested in (mum – not so much), the Build a Minecraft Server in the Cloud with Richard Conway. He was really amazing. It was really tricky setting up the Azure account but once it was up and running I was able to set up my very own Minecraft server – super swag!!! I can’t wait to share it with my friends.  I’m definitely looking out for his next workshop.


Lunch was really great and the free flowing cans of drink, biscuits and coffee for mum was awesome.  I even got a free t-shirt too. They had a Games centre for employees – with massive screens with Xboxes and loads of other gaming stuff. I could have stayed there all day, but mum made me go to the next workshop which was  Build a Nano Satellite with micro:bit -run by  Chris Brunskill. This was pretty amazing – we set up the little Nano Satellite  boards with the micro:bit and then used  TouchDevelop to  take in data about ultra violet, visible and infra red light. We hacked it a bit to set up temperature too. That was fun. It gave us some ideas for the NanoSat Hack later on.


We missed the Space Race  – with the nanosats. I have a confession to make – I kind of sneaked off to the Games room again while my mum made better use of her time talking with Marcus and his son, Jonathon, from @HackHorsham. We’d met them before at Egham Jam and the last Cambridge CamJam.  Anyway – this was the  best bit of luck because they decided that we should form a team for the Nano Sat Hack.  Between us, we came up with an IoT  devise and called it the Light Globe. From the Nano Stat workshop we’d all got to see how cool it was and then found a great use for it in schools. We started with reading UV light but changed to  reading individual pupil’s exposure to light and physical movement for the day so over a set period of time data could be gathered  and used to  plot data graphs. Then we expanded the idea to make it so different schools from all over the world could compare results to make a world map of results that would be collected over the cloud and converted into graphs. This would make loads of school children data collectors – with the information available as open source.  Can you believe it – the judging panel loved it and it won one of the three prizes.  We got a Drone with a camera and t-shirts each. I would like to thank Jonathan for being so nice – cos he let me take the drone home – even though he put in more effort than me to the final idea.  Elena Branet from Microsoft said we can develop the idea further with their help. How amazing is that? IMG_2618


Anyway – I’m still on a high! It was so worth the  5.30am start.  Thank you Elena and  Chris and to everyone at Microsoft who organised the event – it was a truly awesome experience.

Our 3rd South London Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Pi

Hi there,

I’ve been away for some time but I couldn’t miss a review of our own fabulous Autism and Tourette’s friendly Jam, especially as it was at Kano’s HQ on World Scratch Day [Saturday 14th May 2016]. Oh yeah … and we had a super Swag bag for every participant. Mum, Marc  and the rest of the crew worked so hard to make this properly inclusive and extra special. Can you believe it – Kano offered to host our 3rd Jam?   It was very nice to work with Code Club  and get a whole load of Micro:bits from CAS – thank you Jane Waite for making that happen.   So there were two parts – a Special Education Needs TeachMeet  in the morning and  the actual Jam in the afternoon.

I hear the TeachMeet went really well – I talked about my Tourette’s and coding and there were lots of other cool people talking about running coding events. Isreal Genius talked about his journey as an award-winning coder. I took notes!  Lots of brilliant people also did talks like Trevor Bragg who talked about the BBC Micro:bit, Su Adams spoke about Mozilla and Education, Jane Waite about Computing at School, Nic Hughes on what teachers can use, Paul Hayes on teaching Unity, Joseph Birks presented his new Crumble Robot, Nevil Hunt talked about his add-on circuit boards to the Micro:bit, Joanna Bersin  from Kano – who helped organise our event – talked about  careers in coding  and our very own Scratch specialist, Marc Grossman,talked about lots of SEN/ coding activities. You can  see his very cool Powerpoint through this link :


Anyway down to real fun – the Jam in the afternoon. I’m really proud to say that over 60% of the young people who came were from Autism or Tourette’s families – our highest percentage so far. We tried to be more inclusive  and this time we provided a ‘Zen Den’ – screen free, quiet, low lighting  and cool chill-out space for anyone finding  it a bit too much.  We also did structured workshops but offered an open makerspace area too.  So here is a run down of the workshops

Code Club: Build A video Game for World Scratch Day and Hands-On with BBC Micro:Bit


Our excellent Code Club man, Marc, came down with his crew from Croydon to run the Scratch and Micro:bit sessions. It was really brilliant, lots of young people were explored Scratch and one young coder made an amazing video game with extensive coding. Everyone was really excited about was getting their hands on a BBC Micro:bit, writing code and then making the micro:bit flash messages or become a dice, tell the temperature of the room and many more cool things.

Crumble Robot Hack

The Crumble Robot  table was also very, very busy and I could see that teachers, parents and young participants got stuck in, build their robots and got them moving with code. In fact, the biggest complaint was that they needed more time  and space to explore the additional features like the line following sensors. This something we will bear in mind for  next time. Joseph and Neal did a great job supporting so many people. Look out for my video & review of the Crumble Robot.

Kano: Build Your Own Computer and  Code Art, Games & More


The Kano table was very popular, as always, and it was so nice to be reminded how awesome their kit is when you learn to put together the computer for the first time. For the more experienced, it was a great opportunity to explore in greater detail and to learn more about what the different applications had to offer. Kano is great for independent learning – you can go at your own pace.

Introduction to Unity

Paul was a very entertaining and cool teacher of Unity. He developed a platform for a game about  cats which we could then play around with to learn some of the basic  menus and tools within Unity. It took some time to download the software but now we all have it on our laptops.  It was really interesting  and, thanks to Paul, those of us who did the workshop have had a great introduction to Unity which we can develop further in our own time. Actually I hope Paul will come back and do more workshops in the future.

Soldering and Making Circuits with Play Dough and  Crafts


My dad ran the soldering station where anyone could try their skills at soldering LED lights and resistors to make cool flashing badges. One participant even came with his own project to work on. Su Adams also helped some of our younger participants to explore electric circuits with play dough  and crafts. There was a lot of flashing lights and silver foil being used!

Parents’ Workshop on Scratch, Crumble, Minecraft and  the BBC Micro:Bit

The feedback from this workshop was fantastic. Nic, Jane and Isreal did a fantastic job showing parents how to code using the Crumble, Scratch and Minecraft. They even got a rare opportunity to handle the BBC Micro:bit too. It was  situated up in the Atrium, away from the main Kano area – so it was nice and quiet, providing parents the time and space to explore some of the activities their children are being exposed to at school.

Thanks also to Tom from  TeenTech who brought the  3D LED Cube  and Azoomee who ran an Internet Safety workshop – see  

Azoomee have a new Tablet App for 5 -11 yr olds that provides a safe place to watch videos, play games and send messages. See video.


Nevil Hunt also show-cased his Micro:bit  add-on boards for the Micro:Bit and also managed any overflow from the other workshops – showing participants how amazing the Micro:bit is. He’s the inventor of PiTrol and has some very cool products coming out so watch this space.


The event went really well, ending with a great raffle, a Show and Tell and  everyone  was super delighted to get a swag Swag bag to take  home with them.


Thanks Kano for hosting our 3rd Jam – especiallyto Joanne for putting in 100% graft to make  sure the day was extra special.


Thanks to all our partners, volunteers and sponsors:

Code Club

Computing At School

Raspberry Pi Foundation

Tourettes Action

Ambitious About Autism


Redfern Electronics

Cambridge Raspberry Jam


Rapid Electronics

Our great team of volunteers

Individual sponsors

Most of all – thank you to all the participants who turned up

and made the day so awesome.


Chelmsford Raspberry Jam Review

Raspberry Pi


Me and my whole family decided to come and help out at the Chelmsford Raspberry  Jam back in February. I ran a Robotics workshop with my mum using the excellent and  ‘value for money’ CamJam EduKit 3 – paid for by Tourette’s Action.

My dad helped Derek run a soldering workshop using Pocket Money Tronics & Ragworm PCBs – thanks to previous donations. Thanks again to Pimoroni for lending some soldering gear and Rapidonline for extra parts. My little brother ran… well he ran around the library causing havoc!

Anyway about 9 baby robots were birthed see  a few of them below.

Here a short film of some ‘first steps’ moments of some of our Robot creations.

There was a series of talks, Show and Tell stalls and I managed to catch up with CrazySqueak – which is always really nice. HackerJimbo did a talk about creating your own weather station and Andy talked about Astro Pi.

My mum did a little interview with CrazySqueak – see below.

The library was a really nice setting for the Jam and the staff were really positive and supportive – they want to run more hack/ maker events in the future. Thank you Andy, Derek and all the Chelmsford crew for inviting us and I’m looking forward to seeing you around!

Next post – Raspberry Pi 4th Birthday weekender and interview with Eben Upton on the new Raspberry Pi 3 – coming in the next few days. Follow @gowolade to get tweet when  new blog is published.


Kent Raspberry Jam Review

Raspberry Pi



Last weekend I went to Gravesend for Bethenie Fentiman & Dorine Flies’ 1st Kent Raspberry Jam  .  It was great because I got to take my friend, James, and show him something about coding. Poor mum had a dentist appointment so James’ dad took us.  There was a real buzz – over 40  children and adults attended.



On offer was Minecraft hacking, Sonic Pi and AstroPi workshops – along some really interesting talks  which generated some good lot of discussion. Andy did a great talk on Astro Pi and Tim Peakes. I was scheduled to do a talk about my blog towards the end of the session. It was really a welcoming place to explore coding with the Raspberry Pi – thank you to every who helped to make it happen, especially Bethenie & Dorine.  To Jame’s dad – Richard – thank you so much for taking us.  Andy, thank you for asking lots of questions during my talk.


You can see a review of the event  at the Kent Raspberry Jam blog.

Here is a video of my talk:-


Really looking forward to Chelmsford Raspberry Jam – next week.  You can book tickets here  – Saturday 13th February: 10am – 5pm, Chelmsford Library. Me and mum need to get all the Robot kits sorted and battery chargers, charged up etc.

So next week – I’ll let you know how our Robot workshop went! Bye for now