Raspberry Pi Computer

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Posted

post-6734-1330516909146.png

The Raspberry Pi single board computer was released today for commercial sales. For a barebone board costing £22, it can do 1080p video over HDMI, has USB and WiFi and can be powered from a micro USB connection. The project is aimed at school children, but this tiny (and cheap) device can do a lot more. It can run XBMC and with the support of 1080p over HDMI, it could be your budget mediabox.

Respect to Eben Upton and the engineering team.

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Posted

If you put an Apple logo on it the famnbois will be here in a flash to tell you how awesome it is and how everyone who doesn't buy a dozen right now is lame and gay and has bought into the Microsoft propaganda.

But it's not from Apple so the fanbois will be along presently to tell you how lame it is and how stupid you are to buy it.

I'm not sure what schoolkids are supposed to learn with it. It can be used as a simple mail, browser & possibly video workstation but when it comes to programming, it's got nothing except the very limited ARM processor-based market. Even with QEMU it's too slow (and SD cards are too small) to host emulate another OS with even basic software.

The main market is call centers which don't need it because they use multiple virtual machines or sessions (like Citrix) on blade servers.

Edit: fixed.

woof.

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Posted

But it's not from Apple so Darknight will be along presently to tell you how lame it is and how stupid you are to buy it.

'Ang on, I thought Darkknight was the one always slagging Apple and its consumers off.

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Posted

'Ang on, I thought Darkknight was the one always slagging Apple and its consumers off.

You're right. Which other numbutz did I confuse with DK? I know there's at least one giant Cupertino apologist toadie here.

woof.

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Posted

I'm not sure what schoolkids are supposed to learn with it. It can be used as a simple mail, browser & possibly video workstation but when it comes to programming, it's got nothing except the very limited ARM processor-based market. Even with QEMU it's too slow (and SD cards are too small) to host emulate another OS with even basic software.

ARM assembler is easier to learn than x86 assembler, so I can see cheap ARM boards like this being a good tool for university comp-sci courses. Maybe that's what people mean by "schoolkids"?

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Posted

They do mean schoolkids in the traditional sense; The point being that the initiators of this (and similar) projects feel that kids don't get a chance to get their hands dirty like those growing up in the 70s and 80s.

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Posted

Yeah, but you can learn that just as easily with an emulator on a PC - which schools/unis already have.

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Posted

If you put an Apple logo on it the famnbois will be here in a flash to tell you how awesome it is and how everyone who doesn't buy a dozen right now is lame and gay and has bought into the Microsoft propaganda.

But it's not from Apple so the fanbois will be along presently to tell you how lame it is and how stupid you are to buy it.

I do not really think this is the kind of product an average Apple fanboi would be interested in. Even if it was made by Apple, what do you expect a high end user would do with it?

I'm not sure what schoolkids are supposed to learn with it. It can be used as a simple mail, browser & possibly video workstation but when it comes to programming, it's got nothing except the very limited ARM processor-based market. Even with QEMU it's too slow (and SD cards are too small) to host emulate another OS with even basic software.

The main market is call centers which don't need it because they use multiple virtual machines or sessions (like Citrix) on blade servers.

Edit: fixed.

woof.

And I thought this would be a perfect machine for small embedded solutions when Arduino does not have enough raw power.

woof.

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Posted

So you think designing/programming embedded systems deserves a place in primary and secondary schools right up there with readin', writin', 'rithematic & history? This thing is a solution looking for a problem.

woof.

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Posted

I'm not saying they'll be successful, but for a long time, there was nothing like that for kids that DO have the inclination to learn about what goes on inside a computer. The trend (with Apple very much the main protagonists) is for computing devices to become complete black-box devices, and I can only cheer on this kind of back-to-basics initiative.

And if you think the Pi is fun, have a look at the Arduino.

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Posted

Well I know nothing about this stuff (cos I didnt build one back in the 70s 80s) but if I was a kid now and Dad wouldnt by me a laptop - but I could build my own computer for pocket money I would think this is a great idea. Kinda like half the fun of owning a bike as a kid is being able to pull it apart and being able to fix it yourself - gets us back to being practical and not just consumers....

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Posted

Schools already have PCs they can run emulators on for learning programming though - the only think (as far as i can see) that this offers is that you can see how the hardware connects more clearly, yet still not as clearly as on a good diagram.

When I started uni we had to put one together ourselves from a bag of parts and that really gave you an understanding of what was going on. This thing's all surface-mount though, only the most sadistic lecturer would make a class assemble it by hand.

I'm pretty much with BD here - it seems to be a gadget in search of a niche.

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Posted

If they really want to teach kids about computing, they should make them build the thing themselves first and then program it. Like when I was a kid and had to walk to school barefoot in the snow...

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Posted

This is nothing new. 'Raspberry Pi' is one of those 'Open Source Hardware' products like Arduino, et al. It's just new, cheaper, simpler and performs better than Arduino. BTW, there are good number of creative and innovative products created with Arduino.

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I am not sure Arduino and the Raspberry Pi belong to the same realm, Arduino is more oriented to electric/electronic projects while the Raspberry Pi is (at least for the moment) a cheap low end PC.

You can use the Arduino for prototyping things with prototyping shields.

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The launch of the Raspberry Pi reminds me of when Mrs AB and I were able to save my BIL from slipping into an inevitable intellectual decay back in the early 1980s . . .

He had by that time already been incarcerated as a political prisoner by the old DDR on two occasions and was being denied access to all but the most menial jobs, ending up as an unwilling member of a gang set to work manually repairing the streets and tram rail system of the then steadily-decaying City of Dresden.

We purchased an Amstrad CPC464 in the UK as a pressie for him and by good fortune we were able to get it across the BRD-DDR border unseen in the boot of our car.

By the time of our next visit a year later, when we delivered an add-on floppy disk drive to replace the standard built-in cassette tape drive, my BIL had taught himself not only how to write programs in BASIC but had also taught himself how to program in its cumbersome machine code. We thought this a remarkable achievement given my BIL's complete isolation from anyone able & willing to guide him in the work, the total lack of any computer-related technical magazines in the shops and the absence of any sort of publically-accessible computer industry throughout the country.

All this stood him in good stead when the BRD purchased his freedom in 1986 and he was able to begin making his own way in the computer industry im kapitalistischen Ausland.

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Posted

I think one should take the advantages of this with a pinch of salt.

Parents bought their kids computers in the 80s, hoping they would get something like...

post-24808-1330545014985.jpg

But what they really got was...

post-24808-13305450374741.jpg

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Ask yourself "which one is smiling?". Who is the big man now?

The Raspberry Pi has become huge worldwide now. Which surprises me as I can only see niche uses for it at the moment. Even in education. The price must be the main advantage for some. But many already have access to a cheap or used PC.

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Posted

I think many people also see it as a really cheap single use computer. Basically, if you need something to do one task and just leave it on all the time, this could be the device for you.

I have been considering one (or more) for a while, mainly for IPTV related stuff, but I just don't have the time right now to configure it all. Maybe when I get a bit more time in the future.

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Posted

Thought I'd throw out an exceptional example, adding to what ovbg hinted at above - XBMC server(which if you've not used is a revelation in itself)

For 25 notes, I've got a full network media streamer that is capable of playing all the 1080 content I've thrown at it, the Gigabit Ethernet (Edit I'm a big fat liar, its 'only' 100mpbs) slurps my legitimately acquired HD content across my network and then the last but not least:

Its got a CEC decode chip on board too so I use my boggo TV remote to control XBMC.

I've used all manner of nettops/macminis in my living room over the years - this is the first truly 'setup and forget' solution that seamlessly reduces the number of remotes/keyboards/controllers in the living room. Shit, for 25 notes I've paied more that for wireless keyboards in the past.

Elegant and cheap - would highly recommend to anyone.

(ovbg, setup really is a breeze and not time consuming, hit me up for details :) )

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Posted

I agree but thats still only niche. Only for techies so far. There is nothing wrong with that either. But the hype (what hype? you say) seems to have gathered more momentum than that.

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I think it depends what we define as techies. Obviously, my father, who in his golden years can happily email me as long as he doesn't need to copy and paste (which he hasn't mastered despite a decade of failed training sessions) wouldn't have any luck with a Raspberry Pi outside of a doorstop.

But there are a surprising number of people who when recommended a Raspberry Pi, even with no real tech background or skills, were happy or at least willing to give it a go. Maybe it's the price line, maybe it's the challenge.

I really don't know if that is part of the equation, but it is a possibility.

@Grizzior, An XBMC server was one idea, but sadly the Video apps I really want to work with that (4oD, TVNZ, TV3 (NZ) and SBS) are all broken. But if they ever get fixed, I think i'll buy a Raspberry Pi as fast as my keyboard would let me.

Just for experimenting though, that will come when I get more time.

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Aye - it never was going to be something consumers like my mum would buy. Rather for the tinkerers (hence i agree with the parallels drawn with Arduino above, although I use that board for other applications ;) )

As for the hype - I reckon it was the combination of a very low price and well optimised debian distro - Yes you'd need to be a techy to be interested but you don't need to be a traditional hardcore *nix geek to pick up and start tinkering/making home projects.

There were little linux machines about before, but they were a few hundred dollars instead of a few tens, and the distro/community support was no where near as strong/supportive of newbies as it is here.

As with all hype, its already started to die down a bit - I've got mates who threw 25 quid at it to see what it was about, realised to get full potenital requires a little creativity/imagination and stuck them on ebay :D

ovbg - heh yeah the streaming plugins are still the weakest link for an other wise amazing media platform, at least the southpark and TED ones work fine :D all the rest of the media I use is network stored.

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