Hacking with the Raspberry Pi
I’ve had a Raspberry Pi now for almost 2 years, and in all honesty, I haven’t really done much with it. I bought the Pi because it was advertised as helping people (ok, children, but who cares) learn how to code, but when I first started out, I just couldn’t work out how.
The Raspberry Pi itself is just a pocket sized computer. Once you’re up and running, your basically left with a linux computer, much the same as if you were running any linux operating system from your laptop. I just couldn’t work out how this was supposed to help people learn how to code, any more than coding from any other linux computer, and the novelty of the Pi became lost on me.
Being an adult who didn’t at the time work in the technology sector, your access to resources are more limited. Children have loads of places they can go to learn how to do amazing things with the Raspberry Pi, there are Code Clubs galore, and CoderDojos provide additional time for learning, but these aren’t available for adults. There are Raspberry Jams, but every local meetup seemed to clash with something else, and I was never able to go.
In December last year I discovered how to hack Minecraft Pi, and suddenly I found something amazing to do, that helped me improve my coding skills. I loved putting my Python knowledge into practice, and thought that Craig Richardson’s book was an amazing resource. This made me love my Pi again, and writing about it now makes me want to work through some more projects in the book.
Recently, I have discovered HATs (Hardware Attached on Top), and I think I’ve found the real reason that the Raspberry Pi is credited with helping people learn how to code. There are so many add-on boards available for the Raspberry Pi, and the introduction of the model B+ has made working with these boards accessible to everyone, no matter how much technical know how you possess.
Over the next few months I hope to get back into hacking with the Raspberry Pi, and aim to work my way through some of the HATs I have acquired. So stay tuned for posts on how I did with the Unicorn, Displayatron, Piano, Propeller and Explorer HATs!
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