A New Toy: Raspberry Pi

I am playing around with a new toy tonight:

What you see here is a $35 computer on a board called the “Raspberry Pi”. The ‘hard drive’ feeding this thing it’s instructions is a microSD card (with an SD adapter) smaller than my fingernail. It has 8GB though, so it can store a special fork of the Debian Linux operating system (called “Raspbian”), plus a whole lot of other utilities (such as Apache, PHP, MySQL to form a LAMMP server), python, etc. There are libraries available to access the pinouts via python and C, so you can use a full computer environment to bit-bang electronics. The computer comes with two USB ports (currently plugged up with my keyboard and mouse, but if I stick a wireless network antenna in there, I should be able to control it remotely over a wireless network via ssh/sshd/sshfs.)

Honestly, that HDMI cable (what a ripoff) was almost as expensive as the computer itself! You have $35 to play with, don’t you? Why not try it?

Here you can see my first attempt at messing with the pins through a small python program. I am blinking an LED.

I can see all sorts of uses for this thing. You could have an always-on battery/usb powered internet-LAMMPserver-controller that, on recieving some socket connection or webpage-command pings microcontrollers and sends them commands. The microcontrollers could then move motors, turn things on and off, I could turn on my coffee maker, automatically drop a hammer on my alarm clock after detecting a noise, arm the trapdoor over the shark-tank, etc.


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