Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Raspberry Pi


Will it fit in an Altoids tin?

What is Raspberry Pi?
I had to look it up since I had only heard the name in passing and didn't quite remember the context.

Raspberry Pi is a computer the size of a credit card (and almost as cheap!).  It's made to use in education and will do most basic tasks like word processing and spreadsheets and some graphics. It runs at 300MHz (Pentium 2) but can be overclocked to 800.  For $40, were you expecting alienware?

It's made to run Linux booting off of an SD card, but once it's booted you can run off of an external USB drive. So the possibility is to get a huge solid state drive (large capacity, not large size) and put whatever OS and software you need.  I wonder if I could just get Chrome on there for the google apps?

Here's the link to the FAQ page I read.  All those extra possibilities are what would kick the price up, but still not a huge price tag, especially if you hook it to the TV through the onboard HDMI port.

Thanks to @alicekeeler for the tweet on the sweet deal.  I think I might pick one up just to see how it works and how well it works.  I kind of wish +Ken Daniels and I had seen this a year ago when we were budgeting for computers.

This reminds me of building Heath kit radios on the porch with my dad.  This also reminds me of building my own computers in college.  I managed to build one for $400 and it lasted all the way to 2004!  I bet I could beat that price (and probably the age) with the Raspberry Pi.

It seems like there's an endless variety of ways to customize this computer.  There are different cases, you can add stuff using a USB port, people are adding mini keyboards, etc.

In my classroom, I could hook it up to the unused TV (I use the projector) and connect it to the wifi.  Although, I'm not sure if the IT people at school will let me hook it up to the network.

Finally, no, it does not appear to fit in the Altoids tin. :(  At least, not without specialized modification.

I just put together an amazon wish list of some items to build a neat little one, and it totaled well under $300, closer to 250, so possibly competitive with chromebook on price depending on how hard you shop for components.  I'm sure there are better deals out there on specific parts than Amazon offers.  I bet if I spent some time on it, I could squeak under 200 and still have some good functionality.  Now just to learn how to program it and what it could be used for beyond word processing.