Windows 10 Celebration fun and frolics

Well, that was nice. Turns out that Microsoft can build operating systems and also organise great parties. We got there a couple of hours before the doors opened and got everything working just in time for the start. I was responsible for the "Lift Off" game and the LogoBlaster. The Lift Off game has one or two gameplay issues, but I was surprised (and pleased) to find that some folks worked out how the game worked and then got very competitive.....

The LogoBlaster worked incredibly well. This is my pairing of a Raspberry Pi running Windows 10 and a portable video projector. We ere using it to project Windows 10 logos on passers by. 

It was interesting to notice that some folks didn't really get what it was doing until I showed them where the pictures were coming from. We managed to get the Raspberry Pi to load the LogoBlaster program on boot up, so that the unit became completely wire free. I was able to happily wander round adding logos to passing people.

Demonstrating the power of Logo Blaster

Demonstrating the power of Logo Blaster

Adding cheese to the surroundings

Adding cheese to the surroundings

Shameless self promotion - and a hexapod robot

Shameless self promotion - and a hexapod robot

The best moment came when we pointed the LogoBlaster  at someone's head by mistake. And the results were awesome. He (I'm awfully sorry sir - I've forgotten your name) was even happy to pose for a while as we took some more pictures.

This came out really well. I've put a whole bunch more pictures on Flickr. You can find them here.

The event ran for four hours. By the end we were all thoroughly hoarse from talking to folks about what we had done. But it was wonderful. We packed up in double quick time and staggered back to the hotel. Thanks to Paul for inviting me and letting me be part of this event. Great fun. 

Put "Windows 10 on Everything" with my LogoBlaster

I've just arrived at the hotel where we're staying for the Windows 10 celebration event. I've unpacked a few gadgets...

I'm helping out on the Internet of Things front, and on Sunday night I had a great idea for a device I could demonstrate.  Which I've built. In 36 hours. Go me.

I call it the "Windows 10 Logo Blaster". It really can put "Windows 10 on everything". It's a Raspberry Pi coupled to my lovely little projector. It runs a Windows 10 application that lets you select logos and images to "blast" onto the surroundings.

These are the 3D printed components. A tray for the Raspberry Pi, a cover that supports the projector and a handle which contains the trigger buttons. I've learned a bit over the years, and I now make designs that are easy to construct. As opposed to ones which can contain the components, but you can't actually get them inside.....

You can see how it all fits together here. Its showing the Windows 10 boot screen on the wall. When the program is running it shows different logos that you can switch between by pressing the buttons on the handle.

It works a treat. Battery life isn't great, but it does work. And I really can put Windows 10 (or at least one of its logos, onto everything. Tonight we've been told to wear white shirts as part of the event dress code, which should make the images show up a treat........

I'll put the designs and the software up on Github when I get back to Hull. I'm amazed that we now have tools and software that will let me go from idea to product in such a short time.

I'm really looking forward to the event tonight. I just hope everything works.......

Press Reviews and Colds

I don't mind having a cold. It's the getting of it I don't like. For me there is a stage where your body knows that something is wrong and is trying to work out what is going on. Then the throat and the nose kick in to make it clear what is happening. But for me this is a good thing, it means that I can begin the process of getting better. 

Yesterday I was in stage one. Today I'm in stage 2. Of course, life being that it is, today was also when I had to go into town first thing to do a paper review thingy with Radio Humberside. It was great fun, and this time the picture that I took with the fat lens actually came out. 

Rob at the Windows 10 Celebration Event in London

Paul has invited me down to the Windows 10 celebration event in London on the 29th next week. I'm really flattered to be asked. I'll be helping with some embedded stuff, running Windows 10 on Raspberry Pi devices.

I'm a Microsoft MVP, so you'd expect me to like Windows 10. But I really do. I've had it on my of my older Surface devices for a while and I've watched it "grow up" over the successive releases.

To be honest, I've always found Windows 8.1 to be pretty good, but Windows 10 is even better. It boots really fast, works with all my Windows applications and has some nice extra features. And the new browser really points towards the future.

The event is at Old BillingsGate Market on Wednesday evening.  Looking forward to it.  If you are coming along, seek me out. I'll be in the iot part of the event.

Projecting Myself

I don't have many vices really. I don't drink, smoke or gamble.. Number one wife says that I should start doing all these at once because it would be cheaper than what I do indulge in. And that is gadgets. 

I got another one today. Something I've always fancied owning but not got round to. It's a tiny portable projector from Maplin. The picture above doesn't really give you a sense of scale, but it is around the size of a couple of packets of cigarettes.  Really tiny.

And it works a treat. 

My reason for purchase is that I wanted to attach it to a Raspberry Pi. It works really well. In fact it is even better than you might think (if you think about these things). The projector contains a battery which lets it run for around 2 hours or so. But the battery can also be used to recharge connected devices. So you can power the Raspberry Pi from the projector. Most interesting.

The resolution is fine and the picture is bright enough to see even in a lit room.

I'm not saying you need one of these. But if you fancy one, it is a good one to get. 

Writing a Book

Back at work today. The thing that is keeping me busy over the summer is book writing. I've signed up to write a new book to teach programming. The content is loosely based on the World Famous C# Yellow book, but with a heavily practical approach. The aim is to teach people how to write programs that they could use to impress their friend. And their mum. 

The book is going to be in colour, with pictures and everything. I'll post some sample pages as soon as I can. 

C# Yellow Book Code Samples

Due to popular demand (somebody asked me) I've added a whole bunch of code examples keyed to the C# Yellow Book content.

I've upgraded the Kindle edition of the Yellow Book (which you can buy here) to include references to the examples and you can download all the code from here.

Oh, and don't forget that you can also get our entire First Year programming course (slide decks, labs and assessed coursework) along with everything else from my C# teaching site here

C4DI Startup Event

This overhead view of the new C4DI building was stolen from an awesome video by Jon Moss. Click through the image to view it.

This overhead view of the new C4DI building was stolen from an awesome video by Jon Moss. Click through the image to view it.

We are really lucky to have C4DI in Hull. And it is going from strength to strength. It provides homes for new business, advice for existing ones and links nascent companies to investment.

As you can see above the new home for the C4DI is coming along a treat, and they've got some great events planned for the future.

On 30th July they are having an event aimed at startups. If you want to test the water with an idea you've been working on, find like minded folks who might want to go into business with you or just find out how C4DI can change your life (it's already done this for quite a few of our students) then you should come along.  Sign up here.

Hymers School Summer Students Visit

We had some visitors today all the way from China. They are summer school students who are visiting Hymers College in Hull.  I did a talk about developing for the Arduino which was great fun (at least I enjoyed it) even though I managed to break one of my props half way through the session.

Thanks for coming folks, and I hope you enjoyed your visit to the university.

San Francisco City Centre

If I'd moved a tiny bit to the right this picture would be completely perfect......

If I'd moved a tiny bit to the right this picture would be completely perfect......

Today we got on the bus and headed to the centre of San Francisco. I really like the way that the city has a proper centre, with lots of shops and other good stuff. The weather was very kind to us (especially by the standards of San Francisco), and so I took a bunch of photographs. As you do.

We went on a boat trip round the bay

We went on a boat trip round the bay

The pier and the skyline looking good

The pier and the skyline looking good

"That" bridge

"That" bridge

First Day in San Francisco

The kind of thing you find in the trees around here...

The kind of thing you find in the trees around here...

It occurs to me that perhaps people don't care about what I do on my holidays. But please remember, dear reader, that I write this blog for me........

We slept very well and headed out first thing for breakfast. The place we are staying is right near the Golden Gate Park which is really lovely.

Conservatory of Flowers - we'll go here later in the week when it is open

Conservatory of Flowers - we'll go here later in the week when it is open

They have this great little boating lake

They have this great little boating lake

We had a good wander round and then staggered back to the flat when the jetlag kicked in....

Holiday Start

Our ride...

Our ride...

Big day today. In more ways than one. It's the start of the holiday (yay!) and it will also be around 8 hours longer than usual thanks to time zones etc. We got off to an early start  which turned out not to be necessary as our flight out of the UK was delayed. But thanks to the magic of computers we were automatically routed onto a later connecting flight and the journey was smooth enough. Particularly when those awfully nice Delta people moved me into a seat with actual legroom.

We are presently in San Francisco, looking for some flowers to put in our hair. Or something.

International Driving Permit - Most Unimpressive

We're heading off on our holidays over the weekend, and in a change of style, I've hired a car. This is because one of the stops is Los Angeles, and apparently you can't get anywhere without wheels in that part of the world.

The travel guides reckon that an International Driving Permit is a useful thing to have in this situation, and since my driving licence is made of paper, very old and falling apart (in other words it has two things in common with me) I sent off for one to bolster my credentials behind the wheel. 

It arrived earlier this week. It is a paper document with a colour picture of me stuck inside. I reckon you could produce a reasonable facsimile of it with a colour printer and maybe ten minutes of effort.

I just hope the relevant authorities are more impressed with it than I am.