Being a techie and working in IT I thought I might have found my way to the Raspberry Pi much sooner but it wasn’t until a week ago that I saw an advert for one on a website I was visiting and thought I might dip my toes in.
For those that don’t know, the Raspberry Pi is a series of small single-board computers developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation to promote the teaching of basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. They have taken off in a big way, much bigger I am sure than the creator ever imagined. And rightly so! The idea is so simple yet so brilliant. A small, well-made, accessible miniature PC that allows you to do so much and learn so much for less than $40 (just over £30 in the UK). The most recent release is the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B (along with the Pi Zero W – which is a wireless model). It boasts a quad-core Cortex-A53 processor, 1 GB or RAM and 4 USB ports, along with an Ethernet port and wireless capability and most importantly, a HDMI port, allowing you to plug it directly in to a monitor or better still, your TV set.
You’ll need some extra bits to get started if you don’t have them. Luckily, I had some spare SD cards lying around but you’ll need one of these if you don’t have one (at least 8 Gig if you plan to install the Raspberry OS Rasbian – based on Linux) but a 4 Gig SD card will suffice in some cases, such as creating your own Media Player – running OSMC and Kodi – allowing you to stream content from the internet. The latter was my first project and I had it up and running in no time. I used the SD card reader on my laptop and a MicroSD Adaptor (SanDisk 32 Gig SD cards come with an adaptor for as little as $6 depending on the size you go for) to burn the OSMC operating system image on to the SD card, plugged the card in to the slot on the Raspberry Pi and powered the Pi up using a USB cable plugged in to a spare white Apple USB plug I had lying around. So you’ll also need a USB cable (Micro USB) and an HDMI cable. It came up on my tele, I did some initial settings such as time and location and connected it to my wireless. I was streaming TV before I knew it. I’ve since installed Rasbian and have started to look at the coding language Python. But there are endless projects you can try including creating an affordable security camera, by buying the camera module. There are a plethora of resources online regarding the Pi, how to get it working and what you can do with it. I’ve barely scratched the surface. If you fancy dipping your toes in too – why not take a look here.