Latest toy: Raspberry Pi


On Tuesday, I was reading a story on The Economist about the Raspberry Pi.  It certainly spawned the nostalgic sense in the Babbage editor, and it drove me to make an impulse purchase.

For $35, you get a pretty complete single board, miniature computer. about 2.5 by 4 inches, it packs in a pretty powerful package. Based on a Broadcom SoC with both an ARM core and a GPU, it comes with 512M ram, an SD card for main storage (not included), 2 USB 2.0 ports, audio, HDMI and an ethernet port. I ordered up a SD card from Amazon, downloaded a linux image, and waited for the unit to arrive.

Surprisingly quickly, it was in my mailbox. Simple to setup, and straightforward to use, it was a snap to get it going, and it detected and drives my 24″ LCD monitor just fine.

It does scratch the itch of a very basic computer, harkening back to a simpler time when computers were slow, and rather primitive. I recall my first computer was a 48K Atari 800 (I still keep an Atari 130XE around for grins and giggles), and this is reminiscent of that. So far, I have just started working my way through a Python tutorial, and have ordered another batch of goodies for it (its own power supply, now I share it with my iPad, a clear plastic case, and a “back to the basics” book to learn from, and a WiFI dongle to hook it up to the internet). While I will probably not break out an assembler and learn machine code (like I did back in the day for the 6502 processor systems), I will putter about with Python. Maybe put Octave on it. Who knows.

I can clearly see myself adding one of the interface cards, and doing some weather monitoring, or water usage monitoring. Perhaps I will build it into a media center for the TV to stream movies to our TV. Or build a MAME cabinet with a Raspberry Pi to run it.

It is a hoot to play with.

About the author


Add comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By geoffand

Subscribe to Tralfaz via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other subscribers
May 2013

Spam Blocked