Getting up and running with the Raspberry Pi!

So I just got a Raspberry Pi. The good folks at Adafruit sent one over because New American Public Art recently had a huge order for Listener.

One thing you gotta keep in mind- unless you already have a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, you’re gonna spend a few more dollars, and by a few dollars potentially several times more than the Pi actually cost. Don’t assume all keyboards and mice will work, some don’t. Here is a list of verified peripherals for the Raspberry Pi. I just went to Adafruit and saw what was in the starter pack and ordered the peripherals from them. I got a monitor and mouse from Staples.

Though there is a getting started guide on the raspberry site, I found this one on engadget pretty awesome, lots of handholding, esp during the config part, which is nice.

screen from raspi

The monitor is a bit distorted. It’s because I’m using a super old CRT TV. While it was cute, I had to get a monitor because the TV cut off the edges, and it was hard to read.

raspberry pi


Raspberry Pi, and enabling tinkerers

For the last few months I’ve been following the developments of the Raspberry Pi. A $25 board that can run linux. Inexpensive and powerful. The branding looks great. It seems like it may develop a community like that of the Arduino, enabling even more powerful embedded computing than the Arduino allows. I found this description of its implications pretty exciting:

But all this is peanuts compared with the demand that will spring up once Android makes it onto the RasPi. Its a $25 android device with HDMI out. Pair it with a dirt cheap Chinese resistive touchscreen (I’ve seen 5 inchers for as low as $30) and it becomes cost effective for geeks everywhere to touch-screen and androidize everything from their fish tanks to their alarm clocks. The internet of things doesn’t come from some giant company blessing your washing machine with a finicky protocol that only talks to their servers and feeds you data though their portal. It comes from millions of geeks everywhere doing it themselves because its just recently become cheap enough and easy enough. Communities form and open protocols develop. The marketplace keeps the whole community loosely united and Andriod explodes into, well, everything. Its a great big ball of win.

From here.

What would it take to further develop and enable that community of makers? The mentioned “giant companies” have access to resources for manufacturing and dissemination. I love the vision of more decentralized innovation and building that the board enables. Tinkerers will be able to develop pretty useful electronics projects- what would they need in order to manufacture and disseminate their projects?

Sparkfun and Make have online stores with tons of kits, but I bet there could there be a way to host the projects on your own store, and outsource the manufacturing and dissemination. Perhaps post the project on hackerthings for visibility. I would love to see some resource that would simplify the manufacturing and dissemination process for makers. That would be valuable.