(Main Photo by cottonbro from Pexels).

Raspberry Pi recently released the Pico, their first microcontoller. This is a bit of a departure from their previous single board computers that cost a bit more, and run a full operating system. Think of the Pico more like an Arduino… you can program it in C or MicroPython and it runs your code and nothing else.

The Pi Pico has several GPIO ports that you can connect things to. Here, I’ll have a go at hooking up some buttons and LEDs to one and control them from MicroPython.

Here’s what the Pi Pico looks like:


(Photo by Anete Lusina from Pexels).

I often find that I build an Alexa skill whenever I want to play around with an API. The voice interface is easy to get started with and I can create something without worrying about visual design or CSS :) A while ago I created a Dead or Alive package that’s on npm… let’s see what it takes to turn that into a game for Alexa where the user has to determine whether a few celebrities are dead or alive…

Here’s a demo of the finished article running in the Alexa Developer Console:

Game Design

In my simple game, the user…


A long time ago, I used to be a regular listener to Simon Mayo’s Radio 1 show. He ran a “Dead or Alive” segment where a listener would call in, and he’d challenge them to tell him whether a series of celebrities were dead or still alive.

I figured this might be a fun game to replicate, using Wikipedia pages as my source of truth. I’m working on building that… watch this space. Rather than write all the code I’d need as one project, I decided that the core “hey Wikipedia, is this person dead or alive right now” functionality…


Image credit: Michael Henzler / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Launched in 2019, the Raspberry Pi 4 was a significant upgrade over previous models. With USB 3, gigabit ethernet, a faster processor, dual 4K HDMI display support and options for 2, 4 or 8Gb RAM it seemed to be breaking into the low end desktop computer space.

I’ve had a 4Gb Pi 4 since April, and haven’t really used it for too much yet. It had a stint as part of Balena’s Folding for COVID project then went back into the box for a while.

Fast forward to November and the Raspberry Pi foundation released the Pi 400, an all…


In this second video looking at the ioredis client for Node.js developers, I check out argument and reply transformers. These features simplify the marshalling of data between Node and Redis. Check it out:

Missed my original introduction to getting up and running with ioredis? Watch it here:

If you’re interested in more content like this, please check out Redis University on YouTube.

We also offer free online Redis courses where you can earn a Certificate of Completion for your LinkedIn profile. Sign up at our website.


Bloom filters are a probabilistic data structure that I’ve wanted to learn more about for a while. When I started reading up on them, I found a lot of the material to be quite dry and theoretical, so I thought I’d try and implement one in hardware somehow and make my own visual learning aid.

So what’s a Bloom filter? Wikipedia says:

Bloom filter is a space-efficient probabilistic data structure, conceived by Burton Howard Bloom in 1970, that is used to test whether an element is a member of a set. …


Let’s visit Bombay Beach, on the Eastern shore of the Salton Sea. Notice the moon in the daytime?

I got in the car, and did a 375 mile round trip to the Salton Sea and back! To break the monotony of being in the same place since March, I decided to take a day trip East to the Salton Sea — somewhere that I’ve been to many times before, but not recently. …


Recently we’ve all been spending a lot more of our time on video conference calls from home. I’m sure that, like me, you find yourself needing to mute your microphone and turn off the camera frequently. Perhaps something you can’t control is going on in the background, or someone needs your attention for a moment. Perhaps you are having a sneezing fit or something’s boiling over on the hob.

With the popular video conferencing service Zoom, there’s no single “I need privacy now” button that will both mute the microphone and turn off the camera. You need to become proficient…


Here’s a video I made with our team that shows you how to get started with the ioredis Node.js client for Redis. In this video, I look at:

  • Installing and configuring ioredis.
  • Sending Redis commands and retrieving results.
  • Pipelining, an important performance optimization.

If you’re interested in more content like this, please check out Redis University on YouTube.

We also offer free online Redis courses where you can earn a Certificate of Completion for your LinkedIn profile. Sign up at our website.

If you want to see the second video in this series, click here


I decided to build a small application that would demonstrate some features of Redis in a fun and engaging way. I quickly hit upon the idea of a prize draw web application that would serve as the basis of a Meetup talk during which we’d actually use the application to give away some prizes.

This article isn’t a complete explainer for how the application works, it’s more of a look at the process and how the data is stored and managed in Redis. …

Simon Prickett

Software Professional, builder of things with Arduino and Raspberry Pi.

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