Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First steps with Raspberry Pi

Hi there ! I've been inactive for few weeks because we have moved to a new flat. It's in the same city, but my PC was disassembled for few days and I'm still putting together my workplace.

In spite of that, I've been playing with Raspberry Pi and this awesome Bluetooth keyboard, that has already arrived, and a I have to tell that it's amazing ! No problem with pairing, charges really fast, can be connected to virtually anything, has amazing function keys, USB Bluetooth dongle can be stored in it and it has laser pointer and back-lighted keys ! I have to say it's one of the most useful things I ever bought. Raspberry Pi itself is amazing as-well, I wasn't expecting it to be fast, actually I've expected it to be slow as hell. At first I used Occidentalis from Adafruit as OS, but it turned out that there are some issues with the kernel and the new model of Pi that has 512 MB RAM, so I downloaded newest Wheezy, which is basically debian. I myself prefer Ubuntu, but on a piece of hardware like that, you don't wan't to waste any of your processing power. First thing I did was that I've overclocked ARM 11 processor from 700 MHZ to 950 MHZ and with 450 (usable) MB or RAM this device has quicker response than I've imagined, of course if you're installing something via terminal, it takes a lot of time. Second thing I did was that I've used a small script to automatically bind that Bluetooth keyboard to Raspberry, because it's not wireless, but bluetooth keyboard so you have to connect it manually. This script allows me to work with this keyboard immediately, with no need of wired keyboard or mouse. After that was done, I wanted to play with some GPIOs, but there was a problem, ribbon cable. I only had 40 pin one, and Pi uses 26 pin. So long story short, I've 'adjusted' cable with some pliers for metal and hot glue.

After that I downloaded Geany, which is really lightweight IDE for various languages. Then you need to download RPi.GPIO library via terminal and you're good to go. This was first time when I saw python, I have to say I like this language, it's easy, simple, portable yet have lot of possibilities. So if you're considering buying Raspberry Pi, I recommend you to, because for that amount of money it's an amazing piece of hardware and it's really fun to play with and you can definitely expect some projects that will use it.