Raspberry Pi giveaway proposal

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James Donald

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Feb 7, 2020, 1:35:59 PM2/7/20
to Hack the Future Volunteer Group, Mark Miller, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le
Hi team,

I have been meaning to pitch this for some time. Other preparation for HtF25 such as our mentor signups and T-shirt printing had kept me busy, but today I realized that the window for Amazon shipping is closing soon.

Background: I'm very pleased with our micro:bit giveaway program. The prize has motivated kids to do more lightning talks, is low-cost, and micro:bit's "batteries included" aspect gives a higher chance seeing future use rather than sitting in a drawer.

I would like to start doing something similar for the Raspberry Pi station. For some history, Enno wrote much on this mailing list about the idea of getting kids a $35 computer. However, that ideal was further from reality back when the first Pi launched in 2012. It was hardly batteries-included considering at a minimum you'd need to add on a power adapter on top of usually requiring a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and associated cables for convenience plus there was no built-in WiFi.

Over 8 years, the landscape has changed with lower-cost follow-ons (Pi Zero, Pi 3A+), more built-in functionality (WiFi, Bluetooth), and battle-tested software that makes it easier to get up and running headless.

So let's get to my proposal: we should give away eight Pi Zero W kits of this SKU: https://www.amazon.com/Vilros-Raspberry-Starter-Power-Premium/dp/B0748MPQT4
Same deal as we do for the micro:bits: Requires doing a project and giving a lightning talk. I'm thinking to start at eight arbitrarily because it's about half of 15 (number of micro:bits we keep on hand to give away) and more expensive ($26.99 for the Vilros kit). Consider this a trial and depending on how it goes we can then reconsider or adapt for HtF26.

Thoughts?

Mark L. Miller Ph.D.

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Feb 7, 2020, 1:41:04 PM2/7/20
to James Donald, Hack the Future Volunteer Group, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le
I love the idea.
Mark L. Miller, Ph.D.
Executive Director
San Carlos, CA 94070
mlmi...@learningtech.org
mark....@northeastern.edu
650-598-0105 x203 
(Please dial 203, not 0perator, for fastest response!)


Nick Duguid

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Feb 7, 2020, 4:08:00 PM2/7/20
to Hack the Future Volunteer Group, ja...@hackthefuture.org, Mark Miller, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le
Great! Lets do it.

-Nick


From: htf-vol...@googlegroups.com <htf-vol...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of James Donald <ja...@hackthefuture.org>
Sent: Friday, February 7, 2020 10:35 AM
To: Hack the Future Volunteer Group <htf-vol...@googlegroups.com>
Cc: Mark Miller <mlmi...@learningtech.org>; Bryan Pelham <brpe...@gmail.com>; Forrest Spade <fsp...@gmail.com>; Mahesh Pasupuleti <mahesh.p...@gmail.com>; Tim O'Brien <ti...@t413.com>; Andy Qui Le <quil....@gmail.com>
Subject: Raspberry Pi giveaway proposal
 
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Mark L. Miller Ph.D.

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Feb 8, 2020, 4:00:24 PM2/8/20
to Mahesh Pasupuleti, Nick Duguid, Hack the Future Volunteer Group, ja...@hackthefuture.org, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le
I started a Birthday Donation campaign on FB for HtF. So don’t worry about the money. Already have a few donations!


On Feb 7, 2020, at 8:04 PM, Mahesh Pasupuleti <mahesh.p...@gmail.com> wrote:

great idea! it encourages lot of kids! Lets do it!!

James Donald

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Feb 9, 2020, 11:03:46 AM2/9/20
to Mark L. Miller Ph.D., Hack the Future Volunteer Group, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Nick Duguid, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le
This is great! The fundraiser can be followed at this link: https://www.facebook.com/donate/1059733474386512/
At the moment it's up to $325, not including forthcoming corporate matches.

Huge thanks Mark and happy birthday.

Mark L. Miller Ph.D.

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Feb 9, 2020, 6:07:05 PM2/9/20
to James Donald, Hack the Future Volunteer Group, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Nick Duguid, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le, Learningtech.org
We’re up to $550 so far (beyond whatever other resources were available). I set a target of $1K but the day isn’t over (and I think they leave it open for a week or so after your birthday). We won’t get the money for 2-3 months, but Learningtech.org can cover the float.

I think I had 4 leftover micro:bits and I think we set a target of up-to-15 to give away per event, so I’ll pick up 11. Due to the timing, I’ll be pulling 11 unopened ones out of Learningtech.org’s main inventory but arrange to order replacements that can arrive later.

I am not sure what to assume about corporate matches, but someone from Apple left a comment that they were good for a donation through their corporate matching program (not counted in the $550).

So I think we’ll be OK on soldering gear, RPi’s, and micro:bits this cycle!

I’m so happy that some of my FB friends have stepped up in celebration of my BD. (I’m 70 today — ugh — but still kicking!)

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Jim Whitfield

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Feb 10, 2020, 7:01:16 PM2/10/20
to Mark Miller, James Donald, Hack the Future Volunteer Group, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Nick Duguid, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le, Learningtech.org
Hi

If we have eight Pi Zeros that we're giving away, I'd like to advocate that we also have 8 REG-LED snap-ons ("Blinkt"s) to allow for the pi zero to be "visually useful".
 
(Standard NeoPixels don't easily work with Pi's because neoPixel's need the precise timing of a microcontroller, and Linux's preemptive OS just makes for a world of pain with neoPixels.) 

I'm guessing that we'll have these pi zero's available for hacking?  It makes for an expensive door prize that probably won't get used if it's just a blind giveaway.  
Whether it's with these Pi Zeros or a bunch of ordinary Pi's, it seems like there should be a bunch of monitors, keyboards and maybe mice?  
Are there monitors, keyboards and mice?

(Another alternative is a distro set up to be an access point and then we let our little hackers go in via VNC or a terminal.)  

I'm super-glad that the kits are Pi Zero W.  I do wish that the headers were soldered on.  Perhaps the soldering station can be used to solder the 4 pins required for the blinkt.  https://pinout.xyz/pinout/blinkt

Jim

Mark L. Miller Ph.D.

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Feb 10, 2020, 7:26:23 PM2/10/20
to Jim Whitfield, James Donald, Hack the Future Volunteer Group, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Nick Duguid, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le, Bookkeeping Learningtech
I think it shouldn’t be a “door prize” but a prize for someone who spends at least an hour working at the table (that’s our rule for the micro:bits) AND does a lightening talk about what they made/learned. That turns out to be a high enough bar to get some but not all to gain the courage, so the number of give-aways is manageable.

I don’t know what the total costs are adding up to now, but the campaign I ran has reached over $600 now…

Best, Mark


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James Donald

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Feb 11, 2020, 1:54:18 PM2/11/20
to Mark L. Miller Ph.D., Jim Whitfield, Hack the Future Volunteer Group, Mahesh Pasupuleti, Nick Duguid, Bryan Pelham, Forrest Spade, Tim O'Brien, Andy Qui Le, Bookkeeping Learningtech
Three or more Raspberry Pi 4B or 3B+ units at the station with modules such as cameras, sense HAT, and ideally LEDs this time. Some Pi Zero W's there too so they won't be too thrown off when their lightning talk prize in the box looks different and is slower than the main Pi that they hacked on during the event.

> Are there monitors, keyboards and mice?

Monitors and keyboards tend to be the limiter, yes. We are having another call with The Tech this week and one agenda item is to find out how many they can provide. Mentors sometimes carry in one or more of these, but flatscreens are heavy and not practical for those coming in on public transportation or two-wheelers.

The hope this time to reduce the dependence on monitors and keyboards is to have a more streamlined exercise for a kid to set up a new Pi + SD card headless from scratch. Enno once spent the good chunk of an HtF event doing that, but the Pi 4B has OTG support just like the Pi Zero so it's much more straightforward to do with just an Android charger cable rather than an RS-232 cable / borrowing a monitor and keyboard / modified distro image / other gymnastics.
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