Bit-Tech, Raspberry Pi Review

Bit-Tech, Raspberry Pi ReviewHaving finally got my hands on a Raspberry Pi Model B, my first published work on the subject is an in-depth review for Dennis Publishing’s technology enthusiast site Bit-Tech.

Designed to cover the most commonly asked questions – computing performance, graphical performance, software compatibility and suitability as a general purpose PC – the review spans nine pages, and is based on the retail Model B which started shipping to customers at the end of last week.

The section which has proven the most popular is ‘Overclocking,’ a look at whether it’s possible to boost the Broadcom BCM2835 at the heart of the Pi to something above its default 700MHz clockspeed. In short: yes, it is, but by ‘eck it’s risky.

The review, the first to appear on a mainstream site rather than engineering publications allied to production partners Element14 and RS Components, has generated a substantial amount of traffic and comment. Following its publication, the review was re-tweeted by the official @Raspberry_Pi account (56,201 followers at the time of writing,) fellow technology journalist and Gruaniad technology editor Charles Arthur (33,614 followers) and digital trouble-stirrers @YourAnonNews  (569,649 followers.) The review was also linked from the Gruaniad, with a fairly hefty extract, and front-paged on Digg and reddit.

Given the popularity of the Pi, this is far from the last piece I’ll be writing about it. A Linux-oriented review for Imagine Publishing’s Linux User & Developer Magazine is due to appear in the next issue, while pieces in Dennis Publishing’s Custom PC, Micro Mart and on the IT Pro website are planned.

There’s also a secret project in the works – but more about that I cannot say…

Bit-Tech, Raspberry Pi Feature

Raspberry Pi LogoFollowing an interview with Raspberry Pi co-founder Eben Upton last week, the first of two confirmed features: a look at the project, which has created a 700MHz ARM-based credit-card size computer costing just $35, from a modder’s perspective.

Will it take off? Where are the mounting holes? Is it possible to overclock the Broadcom system-on-chip at the heart of the system? What software does it run? Can it play games? Does it support 1080p video playback? Will I ever stop asking these stupid questions?

All this and more answered over on Dennis Publishing’s computing enthusiast site, Bit-Tech.

The second feature to come out of the interview, a more Linux-focused Q&A-style transcription, is scheduled to appear in Imagine Publishing’s Linux User & Developer Magazine, Issue 111.

Bit-Gamer, Games of the Year 2011

As part of the Custom PC/Bit-Tech/Bit-Gamer annual round-up, I was asked to be on the judging panel for the Games of the Year 2011 awards. Written by Joe Martin, the annual article is a look at the top five games released throughout the year; while readers might not always agree (read: usually disagree) the piece always generates lots of interest.

Given five votes each, the judging panel put forward their contenders for the title. As usual, the voting covered a pleasing mix of independent games – with two of my votes going to Frozen Synapse and Bastion, two very fine titles to come out of independent game studios this year – and triple-A titles, with no real surprises as to the overall winner.

The full piece can be found over on the Bit-Tech website.

Custom PC, Issue 89

This month’s Custom PC magazine includes two pieces of mine: as well as the regular ‘Download’ news analysis column, a piece entitled “2010: The Year in Review” looks at the best and worst that the magazine has witnessed over the past year.

Spanning a bumper ten pages, the “Year in Review” piece summarises the biggest news stories of the year – hardware releases, game reviews and even the occasional bit of politics – to provide a handy guide to the staff’s take on events.

Ending on a two-page look at the coming year, the piece was completed to a tight deadline and involved significant research in order to accurately portray not just my opinion but that of the magazine’s staff in general.

Despite requiring an all-nighter or two, the deadline was met; and the art department did a cracking job making the piece into a stunning and easy-to-read marvel towards the back of the mag.

The ‘Download’ column this month looked at the work done on my fund-raising campaign to see Bletchley park purchase the Turing-Newman papers for display. Focusing on the use of social media – in particular microblogging service Twitter – it provides a hopefully interesting behind-the-scenes look at an event that gained plenty of traction in the mainstream media.