Raspberry Pi Zero Giveaway: Review

I’ve been watching my local Barnes & Nobel’s like a hawk the past few weeks. In case you’ve been living under a rock, the official Raspberry Pi magazine, MagPi, shipped with the new Raspberry Pi Zero attached to the cover.

The Raspberry Pi Zero, announced in late November of 2015, has been flying off shelves as fast as it’s stocked. They’re HARD to get your hands on. I should know, I’ve been trying since they were first announced! I knew my best bet would be to get a copy of the MagPi when it finally shipped to the States.

When first announced, lots of folks started buying up the stock of Zero’s and selling them at jacked-up prices. The Raspberry Pi foundation urged buyers not to encourage price gougers, and to wait for more inventory. I decided to follow this request as I felt that price gougers were going against the spirit of the Pi itself. Computers should be evenly distributed at an affordable price to all people.

However, I started to realize that the distribution of Zero’s (and the MagPi) were pretty uneven. Places that didn’t need as much stock, got more than needed, places that needed more didn’t get enough. This led to people starting to buy them for other folks, as well as giveaways to try and get these tiny computers into as many hands as possible.

That’s why I posted in the Raspberry Pi Subreddit on Monday. I was FINALLY able to get my hands on the coveted Issue #40 of the MagPi. Not only was I able to get one, but due to the uneven distribution that I talked about, my local Barnes & Nobel had plenty of stock, and I was able to get a second. I wanted to be able to give a Zero to someone who hasn’t been able to find one yet. Someone who would build something truly awesome with it.

Before I talk about the results of the giveaway, I want to talk about the technology behind it. I decided to use a simple python script to automate gathering contest entries from the Reddit Post. I could then, again with python, select a random winner.

The Code

I put all the code up on Github so that no issues would arise with claims of unfairness. I also wanted to write the code in such a way that I could easily repurpose it for another giveaway in the future (by either myself or anyone else willing to fork the repo).

I used PRAW to gather the data from the Reddit Post. It was pretty trivial to provide PRAW with a Submission ID and then loop over all the comments. Here’s what I did:

# We connect to Reddit using a Unique user_agent
r = praw.Reddit(user_agent='Reddit Raspberry Pi Giveaway (by /u/IrishLadd)')

# We get the submission, "SUBMISSION" here comes from a config file
submission = r.get_submission(submission_id=SUBMISSION)

# Let's make sure we get ALL comments in the thread:
submission.replace_more_comments(limit=None, threshold=0)

for comment in submission.comments:
    # Here I just did some checks to see if the comment matched, and that it's
    # author wasn't already on the list of entries.

Like I said, the code for this really is pretty trivial. It does, as I said before, remove any doubt that it was a fair contest. After getting all the entries I then count the total number, and get a random int from 1 to that number. This is the winning line!

entry_count = 0
with open("entries.csv", "r") as entries:
    entry_count = sum(1 for _ in entries) - 1

winning_entry_number = random.randint(1, entry_count)
winning_entry = linecache.getline('entries.csv', winning_entry_number)
winning_entry_parts = winning_entry.split(',')
winning_user = winning_entry_parts[0].strip(' "\'\t\r\n')
winning_permalink = winning_entry_parts[1].strip(' "\'\t\r\n')

So, without further adieu…

The Winner!

The winner is /u/nullandkale, with their entry of:

I would build either a controller to auto turn my computer off when I left the house, or some sort of retropi handheld.

Here’s the script spitting out the results:

Results

Thanks to everyone who played!

Aaron Crowder avatar
About Aaron Crowder
Husband, Father, Software Developer. In that order.
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