Tag Archive: raspberryPi

2015
01/22

Category:
Computing
Teaching

TAG:




COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Embedding movies in DokuWiki

We have a solution in school that is using a mirrored DokuWiki instance to share lessons between ourselves and a partner school (or, at least, will do).

The “main” instance is running on this server, for the moment, and the slave is running on a Raspberry Pi. The two instances are kept “in sync” by using the synchronisation plugin available from the standard DokuWiki repository.

The primary idea was to allow students to video science experiments, which our partner school may not have the resources to do for themselves, then upload it to the wiki along with a commentary, so that pupils at the partner school could learn from seeing and hearing our experiments, not just reading about them in a science textbook.

The first hiccup was finding out that the default installation of DokuWiku didn’t allow uploading of the .mov files generated by iMovie on iOS. Ah… After some thought, we decided we could just upload them to YouTube and link to them there, or maybe even try and embed them.

Part-way through the process, it occurred to me that we had somewhat broken one of our initial design goals, which was to have all of this running on the RaspberryPi instance, so that it could serve wiki pages even if their internet link was down. No point stressing over that, if all the videos are on YouTube! D’oh!

Back to the drawing board, we looked into plugins that could embed videos. The main one we found uses HTML5 to embed videos from the wiki media library directly on a page, but it clearly states that it only supports the encodings speed by native HTML5, of which QuickTime is not one. Boo!

After a number of fruitless experiments altering the source on my host and a fair bit of reading up on the supported codecs, I was all set to try option “b” (or was I up to “q”?) and instead simply convert the videos into MP4 files and upload those. So I found a free app in the AppStore and converted a short sample video, when I noticed something potentially useful: both the original .mov and the converted .mp4 were using H.264/AAC encodings, the only difference being the envelope!

A glimmer of hope shone through!

I tired simply renaming the file. Bingo! Hosted, embedded video!

Taking it one step further, it turns out that if I simply redefine the MIME type for mov from video/quicktime to video/mp4 and amend the plugin code to allow the .mov extension through, then all is shiny!

W00t – iPad-generated videos, uploaded straight to the wiki can now be embedded in the wiki pages. Result!

I am a happy geek 🙂

2013
06/10

Category:
Computing

TAG:

COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

RaspBMC FTW!

I already loved my little RaspberryPi – so far, I’ve

  • played classic games on it
  • brushed up my bash-scripting and general Linux-y knowledge
  • and of course used it in school as an extra-curricular programming environment (Python against MinecraftPi, anyone?).

But it’s also had a fair amount of use as a media player (I use the rather fabulous, IMO, RaspBMC distro) – from videos on our NAS box, to catch-up TV (thanks to a minimal amount of Googling) and then using tvcatchup.com’s plugin to watch live TV. This evening, I’ve also managed to get Google Music to play flawlessly, playing (and occasionally paused) happily for several hours.

I am a happy geeky-bunny!

2013
05/24

Category:
Computing

TAG:




COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

Programming on an iPad

Just a quick jotting to mark the occasion of my first real programming success in an iPad. Rather chuffed, really, that it all worked out as hoped and seriously impressed with the software involved.

So, then, to details – what have I achieved? Nothing too spectacular in terms of visible results, but I’ve managed to get the Minecraft Pi Python API into the Pythonista app (by means of copy/paste as there seems to be no way to import code from, say, DropBox) and then quickly code a simple class that uses the API, connects to a running instance and posts a chat message.

Like I said, nothing too glamorous, but it proved the idea – now on to some more exciting ideas. I’m going to aim for the tried-and-tested platform that follows the player around, so you can never fall. Then, who knows? The sky is, as ever, the limit 🙂

2013
03/19

Category:
Computing
Teaching

TAG:



COMMENTS:
Comments Closed

My first after-school club

So I ran my first proper computing after-school club, this afternoon. This is my third year at the school, having transferred up from primary teaching, and I guess it’s fair to say that it’s taken me this long to feel ready and able to take it on and give it the attention I deserves. Nevertheless, it was a busy session, but one that I found rewarding… once I got my breath back!

As a school we had bought some Raspberry Pi computers to use at a poetry exhibition the school had put on at a local gallery (the Atkins Building gallery), to play recordings of the pupils reading their own poems. The clever gent who helped out it together had carefully popped them in a large plastic casing with buttons, wired onto the GPIO port, so that when you pressed one of the buttons the recording was played through the headphones.

Challenge one for us this afternoon, then, was to get into the cases and “liberate” the Pi’s. Running alongside that, I was busy imaging the pupils’s SD cards that they’d brought in (it seemed fair; we supply the Pi’s, they supply the SD cards – which, after all, they can then take home and use if they feel sufficiently inspired to buy one of these fabulous devices).

After that, it was “merely” a question of hooking them all up (we’re based in my normal ICT suite, so that involves connecting to the PC monitors with a HDMI-to-DVI cable, cannibalising the various PC that have USB keyboards and mice, plus swiping their network cables for the duration) and watching them all switch on… And they all worked! Yippee!

We then briefly talked about the concept of the console shell, X-windows, the superuser and access rights before it was time to show them how to shutdown again and put the lab back to normal, ready for tomorrow.

Next time, I’m hoping to get as far as configuring them to go through the school proxy, updating and then downloading and getting MinecraftPi up and running. The ultimate aim is to be teaching Python programming to these dedicated, geeky, few (I have had interest from about 12 pupils, 7 of whom turned up tonight).

Watch this space…