Something about the Raspberry Pi

Soon, one day, there will be computers that will do everything a regular one can do, but will be super cheap and really small. Someone once said that like 15 years ago, I don’t remember what he said because I wasn’t there, but someone had to have said it. That day is almost here.

A long time ago, when I was still in trade school. I learned about these tiny machines, I saw an ugly little prototype. Kind of like this.

Not the prettiest thing on the market, but this had something that caught the attention of a lot of people. And that was, tiny and affordable. Ok so those aren’t the only good things about it, but hey, it’s what sticks out. What are you looking at here exactly? It’s a really small computer. Capable of running off of batteries, USB power, plug, (maybe) potatoes, and really quite powerful for it’s size. Here’s a spec sheet in case you know what these numbers mean.

For those of you who do not know what all the numbers mean, don’t worry, It’s kind of the same power as a small smart phone. Except built in a way that allows you to play around with it and program anything you want on this little baby. (if you look closely at the picture it’s kind of neat how they pile the RAM on top of the CPU.) (I think)

Now what can these Pi’s be used for? They sure as heck aren’t going to play Need for Speed or replace your home desktop, keep in mind the specs and the fact that it’s ARM! Meaning that it’s a different processor than what Windows usually needs, for example, X86 and X64 CPUs. Those run Windows, but ARM does not, maybe one day. So if Windows can’t run on this machine, we will have to use Linux. Or some other Operating System that runs on ARM processors. But before you go around telling people that these are useless weak pieces of junk, know why it was created. You have to learn more about computers and software to get this working, and think of the students working in this field, how much would it cost to get started to program stuff on one of these?! In fact, this is they very same reason these were created.

The Story.
A long time ago, there were these expensive machines called computers. Not many people had them since they required a lot of time to get working and to do what you wanted them to do, like play games, write word documents, calculate databases, access information. And if you wanted to achieve this, you needed to learn more about the machine, how to program, how it worked. And those people who liked this, went on to become programmers and computer designers that built the stuff we enjoy nowadays, such and Easy to use and intuitive User interfaces, Multimedia home theater pcs, cell phones and tablets. All designed by old guys who worked in a Command Line operating System.

Now we fast forward to the present where too many schools have no budget for Tech class, students are taught only how to USE a computer and not work a computer, and they are forbidden to mess with the family computer because it costs too much money to fix. (I know, I’m the guy they call to fix it.) Plus most don’t care how it works, they only want it TO work. And well, there goes perfectly good young talent. Because I worry about the future and what kind of nooby technology will come up next.

But how can we help this? What can be done to interest new future programmers to actually get started and doing something? This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in. I’m sure you saw this coming. In fact, no one can explain it better than them. Raspberry Pi here is their web page and you can find much more info on this project if you’re interested, keep in touch with them to know when they release the hardware cause I know I want one! Print server here we come! I think my mom needs a new typewriter as well. Let’s build one from scratch!

So how much does it cost? You said cheap. Yes I did. It costs a lot to design and build a product like this, and in the end, these people are hoping to sell it for 25$ and 35$. I know right? Epicly awesome.

Just when are these tiny machines coming to the market? Cause I want one now! Well, after many months of testing, they are planned for sometime this month (January) and they have the schematics and everything ready, they just need to wait for the fabrication of the hundreds and hundreds of boards. Heck I’m almost sure these will sell like hotcakes! If people still bought hotcakes. The reason I’m saying this is because when they started selling stickers, to raise some money to continue production on the boards, they where gone quick, I didn’t even get a chance to buy one. So if people bought the stickers, (stickers are still for sale by the way) then I’m sure people will buy these awesome little computers. Maybe you can get one too and see what you can do with it. If you think you can handle it! Seriously I’m already thinking of homemade laptop designs with this thing. I wonder if they have ROM emulators for ARM…

More Notes: Some things the Raspberry Pi can do.

Play Video Games. Brush up on your old gaming skills.

Play Videos Brad Pitt never looked better.

Play Music. Forget Apple, I can make My own MP3 player!

Connect to any Television pretty much new or old. VGA is for noobs anyways.

Can attach more parts through another board. Yeah what about a Camera?

And so much more. We’ll see once it finally comes out. Yes I did write this up too soon, I mean come on, a product that isn’t even out yet! But just warming you up for what’s to come. The future is now! Still looks like the 90′s.

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But can you show me the source code?

Posted on January 4, 2012, in Computers and Internet, Linux Stuff and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Yes, the PI…. The Linux community have been writing about this for quite some time (myself included), even the BBC managed to pick up on it in May last year.

    An important point (I believe) that you miss out is that the PI is the creation of David Braben…. you may have heard of him, he wrote the classic game Elite which many of us old enough to remember computing during the 8bit years of the early 80′s have fond memories of.

    Quote “So if Windows can’t run on this machine, we will have to use Linux. ”

    Yep. And maybe unbeknownst to yourself and others, you’re probably already running Linux in a plethora of devices….Android, Kindle (or other eBook reader) and even this very blog and many many web-servers, are Linux powered.

    Re: Arm, you will find I believe that Windows 8 will be running on an Arm processor however the specs required for the bloated Windows OS would rather negate any chance of the PI running it. And why would you want to? The selling price of the PI is low, stuff Windows on it (forgetting that the specs of the PI would negate the ability to run a bloated Windows) and you are looking at a rather higher price than the budget one the PI is going to have.

    Tech diversity, a great thing. Shame people are not aware of how much diversity they really use, which is why we see comments such as the one I quote.

    • Thanks for the comment. I did not know who the creator was. Sorry mister Braben! I’ll mention you next time! To tell the truth, I did minimal research before writing the article. So be sure that there will be a part two once I get a Raspberry Pi!

      By the way dude, read the rest of my blog before assuming you are talking to a regular techie, I’m running Linux on all my devices! ( I may not have a cell phone, tablet or ereader, but i do have 4 computers running debian, ubuntu, fedora, bla bla bla) Linux fanboy here. Ask my friends ;) I would not even dream of running Windows 8 on this Pi, even though they are working hard to make one for ARM processors, it’s not my cup of tea, even if that tea would fit in my cup. I was just making this clear for those who think this can replace a full blown desktop. Which of course is not what it was built for. But for other cooler reasons. Like programming.

      Diversity is awesome. I’m still deciding what OS I’m going for the Pi, Debian, or Fedora Core?

  2. Hi! Thanks for the response!

    Quote “By the way dude, read the rest of my blog before assuming you are talking to a regular techie, I’m running Linux on all my devices! ”

    Never suggested that you were anything, I think though that the “have to run Linux” is a statement which is sadly too truly echoed around any casual user of tech and is an indicator that they just don’t know what they are running…. Maybe this is why there has previously been a reluctance to move to the Linux desktop (in the case of the average consumer) Whilst you are not an average consumer, the vast majority of the populas are. I sincerely do wish I had more time to read your blog and I will, however I am unable to check back on the posting history of every writer I read which is why I used the words “maybe unbeknownst to yourself”

    Quote ” would not even dream of running Windows 8 on this Pi”

    But again, whilst not your personal sentiment, a rather realistic appraisal of what many might think, in an ecosystem which has been led to believe for so many years that the only way is a Microsoft way. I would hope you wouldn’t want to run 8 on PI…I think it’ll be bad enough on the form factors its actually designed for! ;)

    Quote ” I was just making this clear for those who think this can replace a full blown desktop.”

    The only part I would disagree on… Look at todays average consumer…facebook, email and a little web browsing, I would suggest that the PI (or similar) could indeed (in these cases) replace the desktop machine as its well capable of performing all those tasks (infact I believe they have had Quake running on it!) I think its why the tablet form factor is becoming so hugely popular for the exact reason that people don’t require the heavy duty specs of a desktop machine as much nor do they require (as well as their TV) a CPU, Monitor and keyboard running on a desktop in a corner of the room taking up space. The xmas sales of PC’s seem to suggest this trend towards smaller less intrusive form factors also although I would rather wait and see more manufacturers quote their sales before making a firmer conclusion.

    Can I just address your comment of:

    “To tell the truth, I did minimal research before writing the article.”

    My comment was not meant as a dig at this blog being late or anything, it was more to highlight the amount of choice (I’m sure theres many great projects you know of that I don’t) the problem is, they often get swamped by the posturing and PR machines of large companies (this ie the BBC reference, who you would be forgiven for thinking in the most part know nothing but the existence of Microsoft with a passing mention of other platforms.)s why I mad

    I will look forward to reading your blog when you get hold of a PI. Whilst I would love to take the time with it and give it a go, I just have too many other projects running. I’ll jump on board I think when the dust settles!

  3. I apologize about the strange typo “s why I mad” its been pasted somehow from its sentence “this ie the BBC reference,” which should have read:

    “this is why I made the BBC reference….”

    Or maybe its not a typo…maybe I’m mad? ;)

  4. ok you’re right. I also apologize for sounding snarky I didn’t fully read your comment, i just got home from work and would you believe, they actually made me work. like a lot. soooooo let’s apple be apples, and Microsoft be evil and words be words. Here’s to technology. (glasses clink) May our digital overlords have mercy on us!

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