After a 6am start, I ended up at Ravensbourne College for day one of the annual MozFest. I had never attended before and therefore had no idea how much awesomeness would soon be upon me. I was originally helping Nic (@duck_star) to tape cables to the floor so no-one would trip over them, and soon went to changing monitor/cable setups on the Raspberry Pis. At 10:45, the first workshop started, which was titled ‘Astro Pi – Your code in Space’. This was led by the fantastic Dave Honess (@dave_spice). Dave did an awesome introduction to the Astro Pi project/competition as well as the stages the payloads have gone through to make it on to the ISS. This was super cool and really interesting to listen to the different tests a small device needs in order to be taken to space! After that, Carrie-Anne
Philbin (@MissPhilbin, @GeekGurlDiaries) from the Raspberry Pi Foundation took over and taught the 30 or so children how to create an interactive avatar using the accelerometer and LED matrix on the new SenseHAT. After the long (1hr45m) session was finished, I had an obligatory selfie with Carrie-Anne and the back-up Astro Pi flight unit (in case the flight ones suddenly blow up, or dots boards spill conductive paint on them!), I decided to go with Dave, Carrie-Anne and Helen (@Helen_Drury) from the foundation to get some food. Needless to say there weren’t many options for children and I didn’t really like my food, however reports from others have suggested they enjoyed it (it was probably me just being picky!) After lunch, myself, Carrie-Anne and Helen explored MozFest, as the Raspberry Pi workshops were on floor 2 of 9! I didn’t have time to fully explore everything (although there are 2 days to the festival), but there were some really awesome projects, such as a game that looked really like mario kart, however the controllers were Sony phones that were linked to a web page using a modified version of Firefox! There were loads of 3D printers at MozFest, and someone had printed a droid thing with an Xbox Kinect camera. There was also an open source sensor display with Arduino and custom made open source boards. Carrie-Anne was ready to quiz all the stall-holders on their amazing projects, and suggested open sourcing the board’s SOC (system on a chip). There was loads to explore, but I also found a BBC microbit controlled table football game. The microbit is a small board that will soon be given to every Year 7 child in the country. I have recently been very interested in them as they will soon be arriving at my school, so I can do some projects with them at my programming club. After quickly touring MozFest, we bought some really nice cake and biscuits and went back to the main Raspberry Pi room. Next up was a Scratch Sense HAT workshop with the Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists Connor and Milton (@connorbanona and @miltonio94 respectively). During their session I was put on DOTs boards, GPIO addons that are a dot to dot with conductive paint, that produce a flying plane in Minecraft. At that point the FireFox (Mozilla Mascot) arrived! He seemed to love the Astro Pi flight unit! Lastly, it was the legendary workshop everyone had been waiting for, run my myself, Joseph Thomas (@jthomascoop) and Zach Igielman (@zacharyigielman). This went fairly ok, besides some coding errors that had to be slightly altered. On my way out, I met the wonderful Alan O’Donohoe (@teknoteacher) who is the founder of Raspberry Jam, and is just so awesome! After the workshops, I got on a train back to sunny sunny Southend to enjoy the Saturday night fireworks!
I have had an awesome first day at MozFest and I am really looking forward to tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who has made the event possible, especially Andrew (@gbaman1) for organising all of the Raspberry Pi workshops (these have literally been like 3 months in the making).