TractorBot open source update

This week the TractorBot open source project took a step forward, Phil has been busy sorting out the code, it is now available on the Makerspace GitHub complete with install instructions.

Mean while Keith has been working on documenting the hardware, this is well underway but there is still a bit of work to be done.  The current work-in-progress can be seen on a branch of the GitHub repository here.

Soldering tutorial

So whilst preparing for my recent tutorial on how to use the Ryanteck Debug Clip on the Mac, I recorded myself soldering it up.

It didn’t turn out too bad so I have decided to release it as a tutorial in its own right.

Take a look, it you would like some more hands on guidance, I will be running a soldering workshop at the Makerspace on 24th September. You can view the event information here

Pi Wars 2015

At the last CamJam event, one of the talks was titled Pi Wars 2015.

The announcement can be seen here:



So for those who do not know, the Ipswich Makerspace entered the 2014 event, and we actually did very well. We cam first in the under £75 category which we were all very please with. The few weeks leading up to the event were very busy getting Tractor Bot ready for the event, with some very late nights. The event on the day however was very enjoyable and we all had a great time.

Frank put together a video demonstrating some of the achievements of Tractor Bot last year and can be seen here:

This year we have a very good base to start from, so development should be much easier. The rules have not been announced yet, but the challenges have, they are listed below

  • Obstacle course (with different obstacles than 2014)
  • Skittles
  • Straight-line speed test
  • Robot vs Robot Duel
  • Three-Point-Turn
  • Line follower course
  • Proximity alert
  • Code quality
  • Aesthetics
  • Build quality
  • Best blogging team

In adddtion there will also be prizesfor the following:

  • Smallest robot
  • Most featured robot
  • Most innovative robot

So this is a call for help, we would very much like to enter Tractor Bot version 2 this year but myself and Phil do not want to take the lead. We need at least a couple of people with lots of energy and vision to follow this though, you will obviously get lot of support from the Makerspace. Reviewing how last year went, we probably need a lead code developer and a hear hardware developer. Once of the challenges is for the best blogging team so we could probably also do with a lead blogger.

If this sounds interesting to you, please put your hand up. It would be lovely to win for a second year but we need your help.

If you want to keep up to date with the latest Pi Wars news, sign up for alerts at the official Pi Wars page

Linux Voice, issue 7

Another month passes and another issue of Linux Voice is open sourced.

This month it is issue 7, originally going on sale in October 2014 and they cover the following:


The full issue can be downloaded here:(95MB)

  • Distrohopper – Siduction, Zorin, GhostBSD and OpenElec: PDF
  • Gaming On Linux: PDF
  • OSCON 2014: PDF
  • Feature: Find your perfect Linux distro: PDF
  • Feature: Raspberry Pi B+: PDF
  • Feature: Elementary OS: PDF
  • FAQ: BSD: PDF
  • Interview: Thomas Voss of the Mir project: PDF
  • Review: KDE 5: PDF
  • Review: CamJam EduKit: PDF
  • Review: Mathematica 10: PDF
  • Review: LibreOffice 4.3: PDF
  • Review: Stellarium 0.13: PDF
  • Book Reviews: Tubes: A journey to the center of the internet, Great North Road, Dealing With Disrespect and Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking: PDF
  • Group test: IRC clients: PDF
  • Core technology: Get plugged in with UDP: PDF
  • FOSSPicks: PDF
  • Tutorial: Void your Raspberry Pi’s warranty: PDF
  • Tutorial: Program electronic music with Sonic Pi: PDF
  • Tutorial: Data analysis using Python and MySQL: PDF
  • Tutorial: Power up your shell: PDF
  • Tutorial: Write and publish outlines with Fargo: PDF
  • Coding: Reverse engineer a device driver for a USB toy car: PDF
  • Coding: Master Bash scripting: PDF
  • Code ninja: Programmer’s golf: PDF
  • Coding: Konrad Zuse, (nearly) the German Turing: PDF
  • Masterclass: Use Samba to share files with Windows users: PDF

CamJam – June 2015

I’ve just received the CamJam programme for this weekend, being held on 6th June 2015 in Cambridge, I think tickets are all gone, but it’s looking like a good one. Both Jimbo Uberscuba and Andy Proctor from the Makerspace are giving talks and there is also some planned news on this years PiWars, likely to be in December again.

It would be good if Ipswich Makerspace can enter PiWars again this year to fight to retain our title, we have a good base to build on. If anyone wants to be involved this year please speak up. Hopefully next week we will have more details.

The programme can be downloaded here – CamJam programme

Open Tech Calendar

Did you know there was an Open Tech Calendar.  Well there is.  It can be found here http://opentechcalendar.co.uk/

Since we are tech based I thought it would be rude not to put us on there, our events can be found here http://opentechcalendar.co.uk/group/283-ipswich-makerspace.  There is no clever linking going on here, they have been entered manually.  Therefore please use this website as the source of the latest information.

SQL for beginners

The next Ipswich Makerspace meeting is rapidly approaching.  It is being held on Thursday 23rd April between 19:00 and 22:00 at Holy Trinity Church.

As well as the usual, coding, making and socializing, Tim will be presenting the first of a three part series on SQL (Structured Query Language).

SQL icon

The course will be practical and aimed at beginners, so bring along your laptop and follow along. Tim will have an SQL server running so all that is needed will be a working web browser.

The three parts of the course will be:

1. Basic Concepts
2. Advanced Data Retrieval
3. Design & Performance

The aims of the three parts will be:

Part 1: To create a database table, insert data into it, update that data, and retrieve selected records from the data.

Part 2: To aggregate data, and to use more advanced selections.

Part 3: To use simple joins and unions, subselects, and describe the use of indexes and views, and the concept
of Third Normal Form.

This looks like a great course so why not come along and joint us.

Please see our events page for more information.