Finally, after months of waiting, I received my Raspberry Pi:
I had pre-ordered it (from Element 14) in March and it finally shipped this week.
What is it?
It’s touted as being a $35, credit card(ish) sized Linux based computer. The entire computer is what you see in the above photo (it doesn’t currently even come with a case or power supply). You just need to plug in a monitor, keyboard, mouse and you use an SD card for storing the operating system and your stuff.
I quickly set it up by plugging in all the necessary cables to the Pi but the image on the SD card wasn’t working. I tried different cables, different SD cards to no avail. I finally got it working by rebuilding the SD card (a 16gb Patriot SDHC) using the RasPiWrite app for OSX which worked perfectly. Just make sure to use the same name of the image file as it is in the zip bundle…I had renamed the zip file to shorten it but the img file inside was still long. Don’t change anything and you’ll be fine.
but there are a number of cases on Thingiverse that I’ve printed. I didn’t quite like the fit (of my print) so opted for the acrylic one for now.
There are all sorts of applications for a full fledged computer this size and cost. This is no different than what people have been doing with Arduino’s, except there is a lot more horsepower under the Raspberry Pi’s hood. It can easily playback HD movies fullscreen (there is even a version of XBMC available) so a cheap media player connected to your TV is just one application.
I’ll be exploring a lot of things over the coming months but one application I’m interested in is if the Raspberry Pi could replace the Arduino based electronics we use in our 3D printers. These currently cost a lot more than the cost of a Pi and are quite limited in capabilities so it will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Another cool application is turning the Pi into a sub $100 laptop using a simple hack with these instructions and the AT&T Laptop Dock for Motorola ATRIX 4G:
I was able to grab one for $66 but it looks like the prices are already starting to climb as people discover this hack. The LapDock is a beautifully slim screen/keyboard/mouse combo that uses a Motorola Atrix smartphone as it’s brains – it’s basically a laptop without any innards. It used to sell for well over $150 as an accessory for the Atrix but never really took off…until now. It does require some unique adaptors (ebay links in the tutorial post) but I was able to get them all from ebay for less than $20 shipped.
I’ll let you know how it works in a future post once I’ve received them.
UPDATE: The Lapdock cabling just got a lot simpler…still waiting on the various connectors but will be making this cable as soon as they arrive.
I’ve also reprinted the Pi cases and really like how they turned out:
UPDATE #2: Lapdock cables finally arrived and connection success!