STEAM blog

Computing, maths and art in education

Latest articles

Here are some of my latest blog articles. See the full index here.

Simple instrument with pitch and volume

So far, our simple instrument isn’t much fun, because it can only play one note! Let’s change it so that we can play different notes. While we are here, we will also give it the ability to play louder and softer notes, so we can make it a bit more expressive. Note parameters If you recall, our notes list looks like this: i 1 0 0.5 i 1 1 0.
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A simple instrument

Here we will design the simplest possible CSound instrument, and play a little tune. We will first take a look at a basic CSound setup. Setting up You will need to download and install CSound. As this isn’t meant to be a beginners guide, I won’t cover that here. There are various ways of running CSound. For this tutorial I will use CSoundQt (sometimes known as QuteCSound), as it is convenient way to edit and play smallish CSound files.
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CSound instruments

CSound is a sound and music computing system. It can be used to create electronic instruments, and also to create scores (sequences of sounds), which can be anything from a simple tune to a full orchestral piece (or just a sound effect of some kind). CSound can be used for other things too - it can be controlled from a MIDI keyboard to make a playable synthesiser, or it can be hooked up to other types of sensor to create other types of novel electronic instrument.
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Gingerbread man attractor

The gingerbread man attractor is another simple attractor, but it looks very different to the Henon attractor.

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Strange attractors

Fractals are closely related to iterated functions. This involves calculating the same function, over and over, each time feeding the result of the function back into the same function and calculating it again. When we plot the result, we sometimes find even very simple functions can create incredibly complex patterns.

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Accessing Raspberry Pi desktop from a Windows PC

In a previous post, I shared my experience of connecting a Raspberry Pi terminal window accessing raspberry pi terminal remotely, giving me command line access to my Pi from another computer. This time, I would like to run the the Pi desktop on my Windows PC. In that way I can sit at my PC and see the Pi desktop, and open up GUI applications like Python IDLE or Scratch, using my PC mouse and keyboard.
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Accessing Raspberry Pi terminal remotely

My home Raspberry Pi setup isn’t ideal. The Pi is set up on a rickety little desk in the corner, which isn’t comfortable to sit at. It has an old “square” monitor (the first one I ever bought which wasn’t a CRT), and an old keyboard and mouse which don’t really work properly. As you can imagine, often when I think I might like to try something out on the Pi, I end up doings something else on the PC instead.
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Raspberry Pi remote access - overview

These articles describe how you can access your Raspberry Pi remotely from a PC. This also allows you to run the Pi “headless”, without a monitor or keyboard/mouse. This is ideal if you don’t have the spare kit, or maybe not even the desk space to set them up. All you need is a spare network connection and a USB phone charger for power. If you are using your Pi to learn about networking, Linux, web servers etc, it is just as easy to run up a terminal window on your PC.
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Transferring files between a Raspberry Pi and a PC

If you have followed the previous posts about accessing a Raspberry Pi remotely from a Windows PC, you should now be able to log on to your Pi desktop remotely from a PC. The next this you will probably want to so is to transfer files between your Pi and PC. This post shows what I think is the easiest way to do this. There are several articles online showing how to use Samba to make the Pi appear as an external disk drive on the PC.
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Fractals in Python

In this project we will look at various types of fractals, and use Python generate fractal images.