Raspberry Pi

I am sure a lot of you have hear about these, I have been trying to get one since the day it was released but still in the queue. http://www.raspberrypi.org/

Response was overwhelming and took down the sites of distributes, and this is what it is all about!

While it may not look much this is a 700mhz ARM processor, can play back Video at HD, with USB, Ethernet, HDMI output + more all on a board the size of a credit card, and for the sum of £22 ($30ish).  Perfect for a home brew media server or web server. or indeed many other hobby projects.

But it gets better the whole purpose behind this is to encourage kids to get in to programming. There are a lot of kids around that can use computers but as computers get easier to use, less of them a delving behind the screens to see how they work and more importantly how to make them work. So later in the year they will be releasing them in to the schools and collages. pre installed with tools and languages for the kids to have a play on.

One thing that hasn’t been widely covered is that when you purchase one you will be able to chose to purchase an additional unit that will be donated on your behalf to a school or other good cause. I think its a great idea, and while I will be getting one or two to play with over the next few weeks I hope for my own enjoyment and leaning experience. I hope the developers do see there dream bear fruit and get taken up by the schools and colleges to encourage the next round of IT stars.

I would encourage any one who is thinking of purchasing one to remember that they are a charity, and while the have produced something that many of us will get enjoyment from. That where possible we should try to feed back and encourage there idea of getting them in every school and collage in the country.

As soon as I get my hands on one I will be updating this blog, who knows in a month or two it might well be running from one :)

DevilWAH

2 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi

  1. Mine arrived about a month ago and i’ve been playing around with it a bit. I wanted mine for a specific purpose and it seems to fit that niche perfectly although 1 thing still isn’t working quite as i’d like.

    You may remember that my external hard drive enclosure (Mediagate MG35) can plug directly into my TV and i can play films. There is also a built in network card so i can read/write files to the external drive from my PC (This means i can back up my PC across the network). Although both of these features appear good and were exactly the reason i chose this external enclosure, in reality neither of them actually work very well.

    The video codec support of the MG35 is not fantastic and also not upgradable. Pretty much the best i can get is XVID and even then that’s at normal PAL resolution.

    The network support is also a bit odd. It does not use CIFS/NFS but instead uses NDAS (I had never heard of this before). This requires some client software on the PC in order ot mount the drive and even though i can put up with this the connection is very slow and keeps dropping out after about 10 minutes of use.

    I wanted the Raspberry Pi to replace this enclosure and with the RaspBMC distro (OpenELEC also works well although not as customisable) i can pretty much do everything i want. Video playback is good and it can play back full 1080p but watch out, there are certain hardware codec limitations and anything MPEG2 will not be decoded.

    I can also install SAMBA in order to update files on the hard drive but for some reason, my backup software (AllwaySync) won’t talk to this mounted drive correctly. This is the only bit that i don’t have working as i want.

    Keep your eyes peeled for future distro releases as there are some coming through not that have support for the hardware floating point processor and this should give a good speed boost.

  2. Hi there mate, good to see you are on board with the Raspberry :)

    I still have yet to fully get mine up and running. When it is powered on it servers out a web page at pi.devilwah.com. But as it runs of the USB port on my TV its only on when the TV is on :)

    I put Apache on it for the web server, and Samba to server out a share. It also has Transmission with the web client enababled for Torrents, with an external USB drive attached.

    But my next aim is to play with perl on it. I have been playing with code to generate star field with the aim of controling a laser display to project them in to a room. But due to lack of a Real time clock this would require an intermeidate device such as an arduino board. Which could both provide a RTC and allow an interface to a Laser DAC/Controler.

    The other thing I want to wait for is the video cam add on board, and see if the Pi is able to do some video recognition and tracking. I was thinking if I can get it to project a star field. Why not get it to track objects with a laser beam :) Star wars here I come 😉

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