Raspberry Pi Fun!

It was a busy week for me last week.  After I had got back from London – with just one day to catch up on some much needed sleep – it was time for something else pretty exciting.

Me and Pete
Selfie with Pete Lomas, Co-creator of Raspberry Pi!

Before I go on, you’ll notice that in the photo above I’m wearing a Raspberry Pi t-shirt.  Just the fact I own one probably gives away that I’m a big fan.  So imagine my excitement when I was told that Pete Lomas, one of the co-creators of the Raspberry Pi, was coming to Wick!

Why do I love Raspberry Pi’s so much? Well apart from the fact that they are just awesome, the first bit of python programming I ever did was on a Raspberry Pi Mr Aitken let me borrow.  It was so exciting plugging everything in and setting it up.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world that I got it to print my name to the screen!  I very quickly learned that that was nothing special, but it was that first line of code that started me on the pathway away from Veterinary Nursing and landed me on the Computing one.  And that is the best thing that has ever happened.

Anyway, I got there early and helped set up.  Then Pete gave a really interesting (and funny!) talk on the story of the Raspberry Pi and how so many coincidences made it happen. Also, I automatically like anyone who uses a Pretty Woman quote in a presentation. Never used a Pretty Woman quote in a presentation before? Big mistake. Big. Huge. 😉

We then got to go upstairs and see some different programs and inventions made using the Raspberry Pi; including motion detector light switches, ‘Let it Go’ created in Sonic Pi, and an AstroPi!

Then came the cool part – programming! I played around with the Raspberry Pi sense hat; nothing fancy, just a bit of code that used the LED’s and accelerometer to change the image depending on how the Pi was held.

It was a really good night – thanks Pete for traveling so far to come and talk to us!  And I can also promise that this definitely wont be the last time I mention Raspberry Pi on Because I’m Appy 😉


Apps for Good Fellow's of the Year receive their awards at this years ceremony.

The Apps for Good Awards 2016

The other day, my brother told my mum that he wanted to go on lots of trips like me when he goes to high school after summer.  My mum told him that in order to get to do all the fun stuff you have to be willing to put in the hard work.  She was right – and this week featured one of the amazing pay offs for all the work I’ve put in.

I travelled down to London on Sunday to help out at the Apps for Good Awards and receive and award myself – Apps for Good Fellow of the Year.  I was super excited to go as London is one of my favourite places.  I travelled the 700+ miles with my computing teacher Mr Aitken, his Granny and Kerry and Freya, the two team members of PocketCook who were pitching their hands free cooking app on Monday.  The journey took over 9 hours, which was much longer than it should have been as our plane and train were delayed – but you get used to all the travelling when you live in a place like Caithness and eventually appreciate that the travelling can be just as fun as the trip itself .

Monday was the big day.  Granny Pat and team PocketCook left in the morning to visit Salesforce as part of a morning workshop.  Mr Aitken and I navigated the underground to the Barbican Centre, where the awards ceremony was going to be held.  We got soaked walking to the station and ended up taking an unnecessarily long route in an ultimately failed attempt to avoid the rain, but I love the buzz of the underground so I wasn’t complaining.  That morning I met with other Apps for Good Fellows.  Fellows are those of us who have completed the Apps for Good (AfG) course but have signed up to continue working with AfG by helping out at events etc.

Fellow selfie with new found friend Sophie
Fellow selfie with new found friend Sophie

One particular Fellow I really clicked with was Sophie Willis (another AfG Fellow of the Year).  I ended up spending the all day with Sophie – it’s so nice to find someone who is as passionate about computing as I am.  We have so much in common, it’s amazing to think that if it weren’t for the AfG Fellowship we would never have even met!

The 123 Reg Workshop
The 123 Reg Workshop

We then took part in a workshop run by 123 Reg where we looked at what makes a good business name and website.  In fact, Nick Leech from 123 Reg who helped lead the session wrote a blog post about the workshop and mentions me in it.  You can read it here – he even calls me ‘A tech star of the future’.  Thanks Nick!

Taking part in the panel session in front of all the AfG VIPs
Taking part in the panel session in front of all the AfG VIPs

After lunch, we met with some of the student teams and judges as they started to arrive. I then took part in a panel session in front of the judges where Debbie Forster (Co-CEO of AfG) asked a handful of us fellows some questions about AfG and what we have and continue to gain from the course.

Me and Bob Shukai after the Awards Ceremony
Me and Bob Shukai after the Awards Ceremony

Then it was time for the winners to be announced.  I was so nervous for PocketCook and couldn’t wait to find out if they had won.  But before all of that Bob Shukai from Thomson Reuters made a really great point.  He said that hearing a ‘no’ doesn’t mean it’s the end, it just means someone doesn’t have enough information to say ‘yes’ yet.  He also mentioned how this applied to me – my app didn’t even get to the final but I still continued working on it.    Unfortunately PocketCook didn’t win, but I hope that they and all the other teams will continue to work on their app like I’m doing.


On Tuesday we spent the day in London.  We visited the British Museum first.  There were some really fascinating exhibits… and we also managed to accidently explode a bottle of 7 Up all over the floor outside the shop – oops 😉  We then went to Camden market and got street food for lunch before we headed off to Thomson Reuters so that Mr Aitken could drop some things off.  In April this year I did some work experience at TR (you can read about it here) so I lead everyone through the underground and walked to the office in Mark Square.  I could sense that everyone didn’t think I knew where I was going but they underestimated my memory because I knew exactly where to go!  I had already seen some of the people I had met from TR at the awards ceremony on Monday, including Daniel Lewington who was one of the judges.  I didn’t know he was going to be there and he didn’t know I was going to be there; it was good to see him!

Anyway, after that we headed to the airport and started the long journey home.  I have to admit I really didn’t want to get on that plane.  I had so much fun, I just didn’t want it to end.  But that’s the thing though isn’t it? All good things must come to an end so that something new can start.

So thank you Apps for Good for letting me attend my first ever AfG Awards and selecting me as a Fellow of the Year – I really did have an amazing time!

Should I Start a Blog? – Welcome to ‘Because I’m Appy’

I sit at my computer desk, listening to the sound of my fingers tapping the keyboard and watching as the words for my guest blog post appear on my screen.  As I type a thought enters my mind –

“What if I started my own blog?”  

At first I discard the idea. Who would want to read about a nerdy girl who just wants to cram her head full of computing knowledge?

“Apps for Good think I’m interesting enough to write a blog post for them – and I have a lot more to write about.” 

Maybe I was right.  Maybe I should start a blog.

I spend the next few weeks constantly asking myself the same question – should I start a blog?

And, as you are reading my first ever blog post I’m sure you can deduce that eventually I answered that question with a ‘yes’.

So without further ado:

Welcome to My Blog!

Instead of jumping straight into things, I though I’d explain a bit about my blog and give you a taster of what’s to come.

First things first if you would like to know more about me then you should head to the A Bit About Me page.

If you want to be notified when I post anything new or want to hear any news then use the signup form on the right.

In this blog I plan to write about all things geeky.  I’ll be reviewing,  giving tips that I learn whilst trying new things (such as a programming language etc) and just generally blogging about all the opportunities I am given.

If you do happen to have stumbled across my blog and are reading this, well first of all thank you! And I would also like to hear what you think, good or bad, or any suggestions of what I should blog about.  Any comments are greatly appreciated.

Finally; some things to look forward to:

  • I’ll be blogging about my trip to London
  • I plan to change from Windows to Linux (Ubuntu)

So, keep an eye out for more blog posts!