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Stewart's Blog

Stewart Watkiss website to the world ...

(Children, computing, first aid and other ramblings ...)

Archive for the 'General' Category

Amazon Dash Button Home Automation with Raspberry Pi, Sengled home automation lights and pi-power Energenie Power Sockets

Thursday, April 11th, 2019

I have recently been upgrading some of my home automation. I already use Energenie Pi-Mote to control some electrical power sockets, I’ve now replaced some of my light switches with Sengled home automation light bulbs. Initially I’ve been using my Pi-power software running on a Raspberry Touch Screen and some timed actions to automatically turn […]

Home automation light bulbs from Sengled

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

I have created some DIY home automation in the past. This was based around using remote control of mains electrical sockets (Home automation – controlling Energenie power sockets using a Raspberry Pi) but I also used a home automation light on one of my home lights. Since then the number of commercial home automation devices […]

Raspberry Pi Birthday Party – Birmingham 2019

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019

I was again involved with the Raspberry Pi Birthday Celebrations in Birmingham. This years event was held at the STEMHouse in Birmingham. A makerspace / startup space designed for entrepreneurs and small businesses looking to create a product. There was a strong influence of 3D printing and games programming at the event, including my own […]

Raspberry Pi Christmas Project – Christmas House and Neopixel Snowman

Monday, December 17th, 2018

This year I’ve been creating a 3D model of a building for an outdoor model railway. Technically it’s a building for a weigh bridge rather than a house, but I’ve given it a Santa’s Grotto make-over for Christmas and so Christmas House sounds better. The building is designed in TinkerCAD based on a real building […]

Model Railway – designing a G-Scale building for an outdoor model railway in the garden – part 1

Saturday, November 24th, 2018

This is my first attempt at creating a proper scale model for 3D printing. In this case I am creating a weigh building in G-Scale. This has been a huge learning curve. I’ve since learned from some of the issues in the first model and so part 2 will improve on the techniques shown. The […]

Raspberry Pi or Arduino NeoPixels (Smart RGB LEDs with ws281x) – including Raspberry Pi 2

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

I’ve recently been having fun with some NeoPixels on the Raspberry Pi. NeoPixel is the name that Adafruit uses to refer to “Smart RGB LEDs with WS2811 / WS2812 integrated controllers”. I’m sure you’ll agree that NeoPixel has a better ring to it and as that’s the name of the Python library that I’m using. […]

Updated Linux and Raspberry Pi Tutorials

Tuesday, March 27th, 2018

One of the things about creating a web site is having to keep it up-to-date as changes happen. In the case of my PenguinTutor web site that is the changes in Linux and the Raspberry Pi over the last few years. In particular a new release of Raspbian was created last year (based on Debian […]

ESA European Astro Pi Project – Mission Zero – Code that ran on the International Space Station

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

The ESA European Astro Pi Project – “Mission Zero”, involved school children creating code that actually ran on the International Space Station (ISS). My son joined with a friend (both aged 9 at the time it was submitted) to create a Python program that ran on the International Space station during February 2018. Here’s his […]

OMSCS Studying online – MSc in Computer Science with Georgia Tech

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

I’ve recently completed an online Master degree with Georgia Tech. This has been a huge commitment in terms of time, but I’ve learned a lot. “University Master Degree – same as on-campus but it’s online” As an online course the cost is only a fraction of on-campus classes, and in my case my employer covered […]

The power of open source – Creating a GUI with Python and guizero

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

This isn’t going to be a guide about how to program a GUI (graphical user interfaces) using guizero (hopefully I’ll add some instruction on that in future), but it does explain which I chose guizero, some of the concepts I used and a bit of an insight into this open source software library. Adding GUIs […]


UK days out, children and holiday information is also available on the Days Out Diary web site
Linux, LPI and the Quiz / Test Program posts are also available on the Penguin Tutor website
First Aid Information, first aid games and first aid practice test / quiz entries are also available on the First Aid Quiz Web site