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Welcome to LearnAddict Academy, a fictional academic institution blog for sharing ideas, projects, and creative solutions
A picture of a Raspberry Pi and an Argon 4 case

Installing OmniFeather with Feathercoin Wallet on a Raspberry Pi

Feathercoin is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies and has a thriving community. It is actively being developed with new and modern features that allows it to compete with other coins like Bitcoin. Transactions are quickly confirmed, and it is safe and secure. If you are interested in helping the network through mining, Feathercoin is suited to hobbyist mining with reasonably fast graphics card. The Feathercoin blockchain allows additional data to be stored within transactions, which can be used for things like token and contracts....

March 27, 2021 路 6 min 路 1233 words 路 Matt Saunders
A TTGO LORA32 development board running TinyGS

Learn about Satellites by building a Ground Station

Launching your own satellite into Space is becoming a relatively affordable option, but it still involves huge risk and costs. Whilst we won鈥檛 be launching our own satellites just yet, we can learn more about amateur satellites through educational and research projects. Participating in an existing project is easier than you may think, with a general understanding of computers, at the cost of a couple of coffees. It鈥檚 an impressive achievement when a project launches a satellite into Space, but it is arguably a more challenging achievement to build and maintain a global network of listening stations that make experimentation and observations possible....

January 23, 2021 路 2 min 路 358 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of a Raspberry Pi Zero inside a box and attached to the bottom with Velcro

Thinking inside the box 鈥 Introducing ChIoT

For a while now, I鈥檝e been working on an Internet of Things (IoT) project that brings multiple ideas and learning objectives together into one well defined goal. The project consists of programming in Go (GoLang) and Python, writing modules for the production ready Caddy Server v2, using Raspberry Pi computers and other microcontrollers, and wiring up an endless supply of electronics. I have been creating Raspberry Pi stacks and development environments for years, but I always encounter the same problem....

June 7, 2020 路 4 min 路 850 words 路 Matt Saunders
A loaf of freshly baked bread

Cross-skilling, Tooling, and Lockdown Bread

As I knead the dough in front of me, I realise two things. Firstly, I probably haven鈥檛 had enough exercise during Lockdown as this dough is beating me. Secondly, the automatic process of kneading allows for a clear mind in order to think. I鈥檓 almost finishing the sixteen kilogram bag of bread flour I purchased as lockdown began. This was bought through a local supplier which I knew it would only arrive when it was practical and sustainable....

May 31, 2020 路 5 min 路 1062 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of a Raspberry Pi computer inside a PiTop3 laptop

Learning with a Raspberry Pi powered Pi-Top laptop

Education and learning have always been important factors in my life. I have been using Raspberry Pi computers for many years as a tool for learning about the Internet of Things (IoT), programming, networking, and electronics. The pi-top laptop is designed for schools to teach computing, programming, and electronics. The new pi-top v2 has recently been released and I was interested in trying it out. I am programming in Go (GoLang) and reading from sensors connected to a Raspberry Pi, so it also makes sense to develop this code on a Raspberry Pi itself....

April 14, 2018 路 2 min 路 393 words 路 Matt Saunders
A photo with a child and a parent on a fairground ride

My Journey Through Education and Academia

鈥淢ike Rother says that it almost doesn鈥檛 matter what you improve, as long as you鈥檙e improving something. Why? Because if you are not improving, entropy guarantees that you are actually getting worse鈥︹ 鈥 The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win I have always loved computers. From the moment I owned my first ZX Spectrum, I have been on a mission to learn more. Like most children, my journey through education started in Play School, or more accurately for me, a big double decker Play Bus....

March 6, 2018 路 5 min 路 1060 words 路 Matt Saunders
A SIM800 HAT sitting on a Raspberry Pi

Using Gammu-smsd and MySQL to Send and Receive SMS Text Messages

In the previous post, Send and Receive SMS Text Messages with Raspberry Pi and SIM800 GSM Board, we connected up an Itead Raspberry Pi GSM Board (SIM800) from ModMyPi and configured Gammu to send and receive SMS text messages from the command line. In this post, we will install and configure Gammu-smsd to provide a MySQL database interface. This allows for more control and easier access to send and receive SMS text messages on your Raspberry Pi....

February 20, 2018 路 6 min 路 1084 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of a SIM800 HAT on a Raspberry Pi

Send and Receive SMS Text Messages with Raspberry Pi and SIM800 GSM Board

The idea was a simple one. Connect up a GSM modem to a Raspberry Pi to send and receive SMS text messages. The ability to read SMS messages using serial AT commands is no longer possible with modern USB Mobile Broadband dongles, as some devices store their inbox beyond the reach of AT commands. After several days of tinkering with a low cost Huawei E3531, I finally gave up. There may have been other alternative methods to access the SMS inbox, but all these felt more like a hack than a solution....

February 17, 2018 路 4 min 路 833 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of two types of lights

Raspberry Pi Controlled Lights Using Relays

We鈥檝e had USB powered lights in our lounge for several years and every year I seem to slightly improve the wiring and relay boards. The Raspberry Pi below controls the lights behind our TV and are switched on using a Google AIY Voice Kit on another Pi mounted under our coffee table. (Voice Kit available here) It鈥檚 this Raspberry Pi that I am adding two more lights to. These new lights were purchased in the Souks in Marrakech and look great when lit up inside....

October 5, 2017 路 2 min 路 351 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of a solderless breadboard, some screws, and some plastic to hold a temperature sensor onto a radiator

Monitor your heating using a Raspberry Pi and an MCP9808

During the winter season, we spend a lot of money heating our homes. Many heating systems are controlled by a basic thermostat installed in a random part of the home. It鈥檚 great to know whether the heating came on once, twice, or three times during the day. If the thermostat has been played with, it could have been on for longer than you require. I have been monitoring our heating system for several years and this year I decided to improve the wiring....

October 3, 2017 路 3 min 路 434 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of an Apple Mac laptop

Understanding Higher Education for a University IT Job Interview

A reaction of surprise is often received from people when they realise you work at a university, rather than a student studying there. Working at a university is an inspiring and rewarding opportunity to be able to help thousands of students follow their dreams, study, research, and grow. After sixteen years in five universities, Higher Education is second nature to me. I really enjoy working in IT, and like most jobs, it鈥檚 the people that you work with and the people you support that make the job enjoyable....

October 1, 2017 路 6 min 路 1190 words 路 Matt Saunders
A Raspberry Pi computer

Collecting Temperature Data with Raspberry Pi Computers

For several years, the temperature in our home has been monitored using Raspberry Pi computers. It鈥檚 interesting to see which rooms warm up the quickest and which rooms maintain their warmth longest, but that鈥檚 not the main reason that I originally setup the monitoring. The original reason for this monitoring was to improve my programming in Go (GoLang), writing network services, and designing APIs. Whilst designing, writing, and testing it is useful to have some test data that is randomly generated with minimal effort....

September 19, 2017 路 3 min 路 565 words 路 Matt Saunders
A close-up picture of some raspberries

Locally mounting a Raspberry Pi Raspbian Linux image

It鈥檚 sometimes necessary to mount a Raspberry Pi Raspbian Linux image file before writing it to a SD card. This may be to configure an IP address, wireless settings, changing of passwords, etc. If you are using your Raspberry Pis headless without a screen, this can be helpful for the first time startup. Read more on configuring settings on Raspbian Linux images before writing them. This script may help with mounting a Raspbian image without having to do any calculations of where the partition start and finish....

September 16, 2017 路 2 min 路 240 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of a TV screen

Streaming TV using RTL-SDR and Raspberry Pi

I recently purchased several RTL-SDR DVB-T USB TV tuners from Pimoroni (DVB-T Dongle ideal for ADS-B). These USB devices are not just a great TV tuner, they are also a wide range software defined radio receiver. The supplied aerial is likely to be insufficient (which is fair enough considering the cost) so you will need a male MCX adaptor for your external aerial. The one I purchased from Amazon UK allows me to connect up my 2m 144MHz Amateur Radio aerial as I am looking to use the dongles for other purposes....

September 14, 2016 路 3 min 路 622 words 路 Matt Saunders
An Autumn scene with leaves on the ground

IoT 鈥 Preparing the Home for Autumn

The feeling of autumn is once again here, along with the desire to prepare for the coming dark nights and turning on the heating. During the summer, our collection of Raspberry Pi computers have been tasked with other purposes, but it is time to start recording the temperature again. Last autumn and winter, we experimented with using the MicroChip MCP9808 temperature sensors and Raspberry Pi computers to continiously record the temperature of each room in our home and to monitor the heating system to ensure it was running efficiently and being cost effective....

September 4, 2016 路 2 min 路 297 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of the UCISA SSG conference stage in 2016

Ucisa Support Services Conference 2016 鈥 Learning and Listening

This was my second year attending the Ucisa Support Services Conference. I shared my experiences from last year which described my first encounter of a conference of this kind, and some rules that made up a personal survival guide. This year I am writing about the listening and sharing of ideas. All Universities are tackling similar issues, and the SSG Conference is a great way to gather ideas and provide some perspective to compare your own journey....

July 10, 2016 路 5 min 路 1049 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of the world from space overlayed with digital symbols

Limitless Capacity for Data Storage in the Universe?

鈥淚f you think we鈥檝e seen massive technology advances in the last 10 years, the next 10 will be like 1,000 years鈥 鈥 Jason Bradbury. At a recent lecture, The Gadget Show鈥檚 Jason Bradbury presented his prediction that the same amount of human progress made during the past 1,000 years, could be witnessed again within the next 10 years. Our advancement in technology is increasing at an exponential rate, as new technology makes the next round of technological advances possible....

June 5, 2016 路 6 min 路 1129 words 路 Matt Saunders

Linux settings for Yubico FIDO U2F Security Key

Add the following lines to a new file called 70-u2f.rules, using the command nano /etc/udev/rules.d/70-u2f.rules ACTION!="add|change", GOTO="u2f_end" KERNEL=="hidraw*", SUBSYSTEM=="hidraw", ATTRS{idVendor}=="1050", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0113|0114|0115|0116|0120|0402|0403|0406|0407|0410", TAG+="uaccess" LABEL="u2f_end"

May 17, 2016 路 1 min 路 23 words 路 Matt Saunders

Modifying a Raspberry Pi Raspbian Image on Linux

If you have lots of Raspberry Pi computers, it鈥檚 useful to have an image that is preconfigured with your WiFi connections details, default password, default IP address, etc. I started by downloading the latest Raspian image from the Raspberry Pi Foundation Website. I am using the smaller Lite version, but will work for the full desktop image as well. After downloading the Raspbian image, ensure the checksum of the file matches the associated sha1 checksum from the downloads page....

February 23, 2016 路 5 min 路 959 words 路 Matt Saunders
A picture of a stick of computer memory

Living Life in RAM 鈥 The Importance of Documentation

Imagine for a moment that your computer has no local storage and that everything running on it is saved into volatile system memory. Remove the power or reboot, and everything will be lost forever. The human mind is far more resilient, has less programming bugs, and more control over its actions and environment than a standard computer. But our human memories are stored in a similar way, and lost forever when the supply of energy runs out....

February 20, 2016 路 3 min 路 526 words 路 Matt Saunders