Elections 2016

Farset Labs is run by a dedicated team of volunteers, starting with the original three directors back in late 2011/early 2012. Since then, we aim to try and keep the number of directors at five, so, with the recent departure of Conor Robinson for Space-Stuff (quite literally) and Pip Shea to her great adventures down under, it’s time to launch our 2016 Director Elections. Nominations for the two soon-to-be-vacant Directors chairs will open from the timestamp of this post until midnight on Friday 2nd September

Nominees must:

  • Nominate themselves.
  • Have been a member for at least three months (not necessarily in one block).
  • Email david@farsetlabs.org.uk (and CC admin@farsetlabs.org.uk) with
    • Their name.
    • Their ‘pitch’ which is 1000 characters maximum. (Suitability for role, experience, intentions etc.)
  • Be aware that, if successful in the elections, they must not have any convictions that would prevent them from being the Director of a limited company (i.e. convictions under the Fraud Act 2006) or any convictions regarding sexual offences against minors (i.e. convictions under the Sexual Offences Act 2003).
  • Be aware that they have legal obligations as a Director of Farset Labs, including their legal liabilities to HMRC etc.
  • Be aware that, if successful, they will be required to provide details including their legal name, sex, date of birth, addresses lived in the last three years, signature and National Insurance Number for the purposes of registration with Companies House.

Voting will open when the nominee profiles (consisting of the nominee’s name and pitch) are posted publicly on Monday 5th September (Conveniently coinciding with the next Town Hall) and will close at midday on Friday 30th September.
In the event that there are less than 4 nominees, only one Director seat will be voted on and nominations will be reopened later this year.
Information on how to vote and the procedures surrounding voting, including the case of a draw, will be posted along with the nominee profiles. The results, barring any special circumstances, will be announced as soon as possible after voting closes, likely the following day.
Any questions can be directed to either david@farsetlabs.org.uk or info@farsetlabs.org.uk. You may also find it useful to review the records of previous elections, available on this blog.
Good luck!

Guest Post: CULTURETECH BBC MAKE IT DIGITAL DOTS BOARDS ACTIVITY

Foreword

Andrew Mulholland has been an active member of the Farset community since he was dragged down from native Coleraine to attend the first Raspberry Jam in Northern Ireland, hosted by Farset Labs in the Event space in November 2012.

Since then he’s gone from strength to strength and has since taken over the running of the Jam’s,and is on the Raspberry Pi Creative Technologist programme with the Raspberry Pi Foundation.. Andrew is also the Non Executive Manager for Outreach and lead on our Outreach project with support from DCAL, CultureTech and the Pi Foundation, introducing young people to technology in the most fun ways possible.

As part of his responsibilities as a Creative Technologist, Farset Labs supported Andrew taking the Foundation’s Dots Boards activity to the BBC’s MakeItDigital tent at the CultureTech festival in Derry, where it also joined Dr Robin Price’s “This Is Not A Table” that was constructed (and usually lives in) in the Farset Labs workshop. I managed to stick around and help for a bit but it was clear I wasn’t needed, and the event ran very smoothly (if messily), all in all engaging with over 2000 children and young people.

The below is a guest blog, originally published by Andrew Mulholland, reproduced with permission.

Foreword by: Andrew Bolster

Introduction

After the major success of the Raspberry Pi Foundation Dots board activity with Minecraft Pi at Liverpool Makefest and Dublin Maker, there was one final event left that I was down to help out at before the start of the new university term, the BBC Make It Digital event at Culturetech!

So on Friday 18th September, me and a set of volunteers from Farset Labs and the Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam made our way to outside the Guildhall in Londonderry to the massive Make It Digital tent.

It was a very big tent!
It was a very big tent!

With us, we had a set of 8 Raspberry Pis (with monitors and all the cables required for them) and a box of 100 Raspberry Pi Foundation Dots boards ready to be filled in with Bare Conductive Electric paint.

100 Dots boards, ready to be filled in.
100 Dots boards, ready to be filled in.

The activity

The activity we were running involved kids filling in one of the Dots boards with electric paint, then attaching these to a Raspberry Pi and seeing whatever they had drawn appear in 3d in Minecraft.

The Dots boards were developed by Rachel Rayns from the Raspberry Pi Foundation as an activity to engage people of all ages (especially younger children) in technology.

They are an extremely simple circuit board featuring a 40 pin Raspberry Pi header, a single resistor and a series of pads on the front.
These pads are the key to it all, they feature an inner circular pad and an outer ring. Between the 2 pads is a gap which can be bridged by electric paint.
Bridging the pads allows the Raspberry Pi to read it like any input, for example a button. There is 22 dot-to-dot pads, 4 colour selection pads, a pad on a cloud and finally a pad on a parachuting bear.

Although we tell the kids to do the dot-to-dot, in fact all that is actually required is a dot on each pad you want to select.

The software

For the activity, there is 2 options for the software on the Raspberry Pi side.

  1. The original rpi_dots python program written by Eben Upton and Ben Nuttall that simply if you have enough pins covered, an airplane (in your selected colour) will appear on screen.
  2. The Minecraft Pi program written by myself while on my internship with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It splits the plane up into 10 sections, each of which is added to a 3d version of the plane inside Minecraft if it is dotted. Once the user is happy with their plane, they can attempt to see if the plane will fly. If they have enough dots dotted, the plane will fly across the sky, if not it will plummet to the ground and crash.
    If the user selects the bear, a parachuting bear will come down from the clouds and if they select the cloud, grey clouds will be added to the scene and lightning will strike down.

For Liverpool Makefest, Dublin Maker and the BBC Make It Digital event, we used the 2nd option, the Minecraft Pi program.

Friday evening

The event ran from 6pm-10pm on the Friday evening to coincide with Londonderry Culturenight and the many other family friendly events going on in Londonderry that evening.

Within minutes of the doors being opened, we were swamped by people wanting to have a go with our activity, so much so we immediately discovered we had underestimated the number of volunteers we would need to run the activity!
Thankfully, the BBC stepped in and we able to provide 2 awesome guys from their team to help out.

We tired Mark out so much, he was half asleep at this point...
We tired Mark out so much, he was half asleep at this point with black hands from cleaning so many boards!

Throughout the 4 hours that evening, we had roughly 800 Dots Boards filled in (and then cleaned)!
Because we weren’t able to keep up with the demand, a hefty chunk of those 800 boards were filled in in pairs or families so the number of people taking part in the activity that evening was 1000+.

We also were visited by some pretty awesome Minecraft in education people who came by to try out the activity including COO of Mojang, Vu Bue, Deirdre Quarnstrom (Director of Minecraft Education from Microsoft) and Santeri Koivisto (CEO of Teachergaming).

Vu Bue (Mojang COO), Deirdre Quarnstrom (Director of Minecraft in education at Microsoft) and Stephen Reid (Immersive Minds)
Vu Bue (Mojang COO), Deirdre Quarnstrom (Director of Minecraft in education at Microsoft) and Stephen Reid (Immersive Minds) trying out the Raspberry Pi Dots boards.
Santeri Koivisto (CEO) and Mikael Uusi-Mäkelä (Learning developer) from Teaching gaming having too much fun with Raspberry Pi Dots boards
Santeri Koivisto (CEO) and Mikael Uusi-Mäkelä (Learning developer) from Teaching gaming having far too much fun with Raspberry Pi Dots boards.
We even somehow got Stuart Portis (event organiser and manager) to try out the activity!
We even somehow got Stuart Portis (event organiser and manager) to try out the activity!
Lots of Dots boards getting filled in (and this was a quiet part)
Lots of Dots boards getting filled in (and this was a quiet part).
Testing to see if their planes will fly.
Testing to see if their planes will fly.
"Whatever you do, don't make Minecraft Pi full screen"
“Whatever you do, don’t make Minecraft Pi full screen”

A huge thanks to my team of volunteers on the Friday evening.

My awesome team of volunteers for Friday evening. From left to right: David Linton, Ryan Neill, Oliver Warke, Andrew Bolster, Andrew Mulholland (myself).
My awesome team of volunteers for Friday evening.
From left to right:
David Linton, Ryan Neill, Oliver Warke, Andrew Bolster, Andrew Mulholland (myself).

Saturday

The event ran from 10am-6pm on the Saturday. It coincided with the Londonderry Maker City event that was happening in next door in the Guildhall.

By the Saturday morning, I had been able to get some additional volunteers over to help out, although even with a team of 9 people (plus Matt from the BBC), we were still overwhelmed later in the day.

Although the event started at 10am, it didn’t get busy till after midday which allowed us to do some much needed Dots board cleaning catch up, table cleaning and GPIO pin fixing.

After midday though, we were basically constantly assisting people with the activity. This continued till around 5:30pm when it started to quiet down again.

On the Saturday we also set up a Raspberry Pi Camera module to do a timelapse of the event. Below is roughly 2 hours of the event in 55 seconds. As can be seen, it was incredibly busy!

"It's my airplane I just drew!"
“It’s my airplane I just drew!”

IMG_8771

IMG_8810

IMG_8822

"My plane is better than yours!"
“My plane is better than yours!”
A trip to the local bakery is a good way to keep volunteer moral up.
A trip to the local bakery is a good way to keep volunteer moral up.
My awesome team of volunteers for Saturday From left to right: Toby Tregear, David Linton, Libby Hoy, Sam Stuart, Vincent Lee, Finley Roulston, Ryan Neill, Andrew Mulholland (myself) and Oliver Warke.
My awesome team of volunteers for Saturday
From left to right:
Toby Tregear, David Linton, Libby Hoy, Sam Stuart, Vincent Lee, Finley Roulston, Ryan Neill, Andrew Mulholland (myself) and Oliver Warke.

Conclusion

From feedback from parents, kids and the BBC, we can say that the activity was a complete success. With over 2000 people of all ages taking part from kids as young as 4, right up to senior citizens of 80+ years.

This is what makes the Dots Board activity so awesome, it really is suitable for people of all ages, thanks to its simplicity.

Big thanks to the BBC Make It Digital team for inviting us along and looking after us while in Londonderry, the Raspberry Pi Foundation for the Dots boards, Farset Labs for use of their equipment and to my volunteers, couldn’t ask for a better team over the 2 days.

ELi5: September

It’s that time again, where we come together and share some of the madness that we’ve been making, either in our professional or project-based lives and try to bring ourselves up from the depths of exploration to explain it to other human beings who haven’t been living and breathing this stuff. It’s also a great opportunity to pop in and see the changes made in the space recently, or just to pop in and say hello!

“Explain Like I’m 5” is our collaborative speaker series, where local developers, technologists, entrepreneurs, artists, performers, scientists, and business people take a concept that may be highly specific to their area of expertise or work, and break it down to a lay audience from right across the STEAM spectrum with a minimal expectation of prior knowledge.

The event is in two parts; an invited and a free-for-all section, separated by a beer, soft drink, pizza and fresh fruit intermission. (Many thanks to BCS Belfast for sponsoring these!)

The rules for both groups are the same:

  • Speakers have a maximum of 7 minutes to speak on the subject of their choice, followed by a short open Q&A.
  • No Slides! The use of Non-Projected Visual Aids is heavily encouraged, and projectors may be considered for live demonstrations.
  • Before the event starts and during the break, presenters (invited or unplanned) are asked to put a 3-5 word synopsis of their topic on the blackboard along with their name.
  • The Compère will decide what order presentations will be done, so be nice to him/her!
  • Punishment for rule/time violators is at the discretion of the compère.

If you’ve got something you’d like to share, sign up for the “Speaker” ticket type or email events@farsetlabs.org.uk to discuss it with the subject line “ELI5”

If you’d like to get a little social in the mean time; we’ve also got a Facebook event but this will not be used for attendance tracking

More Caffeine! More Club Mate!

Our last buy-in of Club Mate was very popular, and with stock dwindling, it’s time for another!

As before, we’re opening up our buy-in to all those interested in stocking up, and we’re keeping the prices the same, too! By buying in bulk, we reduce the costs involved in getting the bottles over here. Join in, and let’s get some Mate!

Per-crate prices are:

  • 24 x 330ml Bottles : £33
  • 20 x 500ml Bottles : £35

To order, please fill in our form:

Please note that Winter edition is not currently available. (Nov to Mar only)

Once your order has been placed, we’ll get back to you with an invoice. This can be paid via BACS or via PayPal.

The Club Mate buy in closes on Sunday 20th September at 23:59 and payment must have been received before then to guarantee delivery!

If you’d like to be the first to know about our future buy-ins, you can join our mailing list.