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Old 21 November 2014, 16:21   #21
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So I better get with the kids

They have a special programming language called Scratch, that's aimed at teaching kids how to program by building their own simple games.
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Old 21 November 2014, 16:22   #22
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"Unbelievable!"

Are you questioning my ability, sir???
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Old 21 November 2014, 16:22   #23
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They have a special programming language called Scratch, that's aimed at teaching kids how to program by building their own simple games.
I should fit in fine then
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Old 21 November 2014, 16:23   #24
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Dad points: http://youtu.be/j6zseFi070E
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Old 21 November 2014, 17:36   #25
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I have one. What age is your son? I'd say that a normal under 8 isn't going to make any useful progress with it, although they could be guided through doing stuff with it step by step they wouldn't really understand. 8-10 they might be able to do some very basic stuff, 10+ and they can start to make real progress, but as JK says you don't need a RPi to do this. Much of this is just their ability to understand basic mathematical type concepts, read tutorials / information, and accurately type. This will mostly be copying or tweaking other people's stuff.

Probably need to be 12+ to really build anything meaningful by themselves. The earlier they start the quicker they will get there if they are interested.

As JK says though you can learn programming without one. The two main "languages" they use on RPi are Python and Scratch. Both can be downloaded (free) for virtually any computer. Scratch is a project from MIT and is really useful for learning with kids. Python is very powerful, easy to learn language used in a wide range of professional and scientific applications, which also provided a good foundation of learning other object-oriented languages.

Oh and there's a little "misselling" involved. The board (which can run 'headless') is < 30 (depending on version) but you'll need a memory card, a keyboard, a mouse, a display (or at least cables for your TV), a power supply, probably a wee box (or lego), a wifi card etc you could easily rack up 100 unless you've got spare bits lying around, and then it would be easy to add the 50+ on add ons like cameras etc. I'm not knocking the RPi project - I think its great, but its somehow been mispositioned as really low cost and a magic tool for programming when actually everyone with virtually any old PC could use both the main programming tools free of charge - its only when you want to add hardward/electronics or have headless boxes that the Pi gets exciting.
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Old 21 November 2014, 18:05   #26
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Oh and there's a little "misselling" involved. The board (which can run 'headless') is < 30 (depending on version) but you'll need a memory card, a keyboard, a mouse, a display (or at least cables for your TV), a power supply, probably a wee box (or lego), a wifi card etc you could easily rack up 100 unless you've got spare bits lying around, and then it would be easy to add the 50+ on add ons like cameras etc. I'm not knocking the RPi project - I think its great, but its somehow been mispositioned as really low cost and a magic tool for programming when actually everyone with virtually any old PC could use both the main programming tools free of charge - its only when you want to add hardward/electronics or have headless boxes that the Pi gets exciting.
Well I think it depends what you want to program. If you want to program like we used to on a ZX spectrum and enter 1000 lines of code to make a union flag appear on the screen then I agree just download python or scratch or whatever and run it on a PC.

However if you want to be able to read data from peripheral sensors or output data to peripherals then they are a majorly easy solution. Reading the voltage from a circuit would require a 20 card usually anyway. The GPIO header is one of the major selling factors.

I agree you could spend a fortune creating some really snazzy stuff. You can do some really powerful stuff by creating Pi Farms with 20 of them all interconnected etc. But if you are happy to have a 5v circuit unprotected you need a 1amp USB Micro charger - most of us have one lying round these days. You probably need a network connection (you can wifi but it needs a card). You may want a keyboard, mouse and HDMI cable to put it on a screen. Bet you have a 4gb standard SD card lying round that will do fine. And you can use putty to remotely connect and just use it as a dumb terminal. If you were wanting to do something robotic it has major potential. They suck a fair amount of power so running on battery and solar power doesn't seem hugely realistic.

I'm about to replace a dodgy linux embedded router that feeds the weather station at my sailing club with one. It will need the Pi (25), a SD card(4) and a box (7) and power (4). Its hard wired to ethernet. We are debating installing some battery backup (hard wired to the GPIO) which at cheapest will be about 7, or maybe 25 if we go for something that can shut system down safely. Doing all that with a PC would consume far more power and if not using second hand would cost c.200 without a UPS.

So all depends what you want to do. I'd suggest if its pure software and no need for a lightweight machine that you use a PC. If its to control things or sense things the Pi has a place. If its lightweight its one of a number of options. There are also a number of competitors which are more expensive (Beagle - higher powered) or more dedicated (arduino) to things like micro electronics.
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Old 21 November 2014, 19:32   #27
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Bugger me!

We better get these nav lights working or this might be another lobster pot thread

But seriously, if you were going to put a board in a rib, then how would the power supply work and what casing would be required, would cooling be required???
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Old 21 November 2014, 22:37   #28
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Well I think it depends what you want to program. If you want to program like we used to on a ZX spectrum and enter 1000 lines of code to make a union flag appear on the screen then I agree just download python or scratch or whatever and run it on a PC.
Don't you mean 'enter 400 lines of code, knock the power lead and start again' or 'enter 1000 lines of code from a magazine, get really angry at it not working and then find they'd made a mistake in the code' (= learning)?

10 PRINT "HELLO "
20 GOTO 10
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Old 22 November 2014, 02:53   #29
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But seriously, if you were going to put a board in a rib, then how would the power supply work and what casing would be required, would cooling be required???
Powersupply is essentially just a mobile phone / tablet charger (of appropriate ampage) so should be easy to wire in to the 12V, with the right bits.

Technically you don't need any casing, but practically you do. I'm not convinced there is any great benefit to using one on a RIB (its just another thing to go wrong - for what is pretty simple); unless you are trying to make a sophisticated "automatic survey 'logger'" and do clever stuff with it. You need to start with a problem to solve and work backwards not put it on a boat and try to find things for it to do.

It can essentially go in any waterproof case and needs no cooling.
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Old 22 November 2014, 04:12   #30
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But seriously, if you were going to put a board in a rib, then how would the power supply work and what casing would be required, would cooling be required???

You'll need a mobile phone power supply that can deliver 700-1000mW and a waterproof housing for the boat. Whilst the Pi doesn't necessarily need any cooling (as long as you're not overclocking it) I would be tempted to at least fit a heat sink of som description if it's going to be living in a sealed box. Also, if you're going to be controlling other on-board electrics with it, you'll either need space to add the additional components in the same box (and consider any potential heat that could be generated, depending on currents) or you might consider a second box alongside the main box for this purpose.
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