You like pi?

Yes, first of all I know that this isn’t a post about what I have been playing, but it’s more of a post about what I have been playing with. (For the record I’ve been playing bloodborne, obviously)

For an update on my bloodborne progress, check out this little thing that @philcooper made (with some ‘help’ from me – “can we make it do…?”). He calls it play/ing/ed and you can see what the two of us are up to here.

Any way… I finally treated myself with the birthday money I got back in May and bought myself a Raspberry Pi. I had/have no idea what I’m going to use it for. I just wanted one, mostly because the opportunities to do geeky stuff with it are through the roof. Also, we have ordered one for work and I wanted to play with one that wasn’t one that I hadn’t paid for (in case I broke it).

Well, it arrived last week, in a parcel that was smaller than my contact lenses usually arrive in. This was interesting, as I’d ordered a case, memory card and the Rasperry Pi 2 ( from now on I’m just going to call it the ‘Pi’ to save me getting RSI), But everything was there, and it was quickly unpacked. I had threatened to do an unboxing video for this, but was too excited…

I did remember to take a photo of the kit was it was unpacked… Mostly because I couldn’t believe how tiny and organised everything was…seriously, this thing is tiny. It’s about the size of a pack of playing cards. Thankfully, you can see the SD card in the photo below for size comparison.

img_0285The next step was to connect it up to the TV…a simple enough job, thanks to the HDMI cable, a spare keyboard and mouse were plugged in and the power cable was plugged in… the memory card came with the setup system NOOBS so once the system booted it asked me what I wanted as my main boot system, for those out there interested I went with Raspian (which is a version of the Linux OS) because it seemed like the most logical option.
Before I knew it I had a TV with a working desktop on it. Plug in the nano USB WiFi connector and the Internet was at my disposal.

Brilliant!

Except I’m not planning on letting it take over the main TV like my Windows desktop has. So I popped into the loft and dug out my old PC monitor/TV from the old PC which I know still works (although it doesn’t have any fancy connectors). So I jumped back on the Pi on the big TV and went onto the Internet to see if I could source a composite/SCART/RF adapter so I could reclaim my TV.

The next few days I dipped into the Pi and had a play about with the system, looking at what was in the store (very limited choices of installable software) but after some experience with Ubuntu (a more popular Linux system) I knew I could install stuff rom the command line. Yes, command line. Back in the day we used to have to type all our commands into the computer if we wanted them to do anything… Heady days of tweaking files simply in order to play a game sometimes.

So I happily dived Into the command line and did a bit of tinkering and installing…

A few days later my cable arrived and off I went.

Step 1 : Check the Internet for what settings I need to change,

Step 2 : Change the settings,

Step 3 : ¬†Disconnect HDMI and connect composite….

And…..Nothing.

Step 4 : go back to google every night for the best part of a week…change more settings, delete files, reinstall the operating system, change more settings… Learning a lot about displays and resolutions and command line rules for Linux..arm to delete a file? Why is it case sensitive? No idea, but I now know that it is…

Eventually I found out what the problem was. The very helpful system I used to install the operating system, had added some settings to a file, duicating the setting I had changed.this meant that the changes I had made were being ignored by the Pi. A few more tweaks later and I had a truly horrible, low resolution desktop over composite on my old TV/monitor

img_0287I felt like I was an old school hacker” move over Neo…

Now to work out what I wanted to use the Pi for…

Not a clue, my current plan is to connect some speakers and use it as a hidden Internet radio unit accessed remotely through ssh from the laptop/iPad/phone….Or maybe a web server, or maybe it can do both.. I don’t know. What I do know is that since I got it I’ve played around with a computer more than I have in years, and I have learned all sorts of useful lessons (upmost being don’t delete the config.txt file – it’s not helpful) and have ideas for how I can use this amazing little bit of tech goodness…

I am also much more prepared for playing with this at work, and helping to promote it as a tool with our customers, hopefully without breaking it. Next up is to chase up the arduino that we are also getting for work, and to see what we can make the pair do…

Maybe we can remotely put the kettle on…

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