The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. The product website calls it “a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games.” It also plays high-definition video. Model A (US$ 25) has been redesigned to have 256MB RAM, one USB port and no Ethernet. Model B (US$ 35) has 256MB RAM, two USB ports and an Ethernet port.
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The versatile Raspberry Pi can serve many roles on a home network. We'll show you how to set up the Pi to provide some important network services.
Extend protection to all of your Internet traffic with a Raspberry Pi minicomputer set up as a cost-effective external proxy server.
With some creativity and a little scripting, you can easily turn your Raspberry Pi into an effective backup device.
My new weather station has several sensors for wind, rain, and temperature, as well as a USB cable and evaluation software (Figure 1), albeit a desktop-only Windows application. However, I wanted to record the measured data and, if possible, access it on my cell phone while I was on the move.
Positioning a Windows PC running 24/ 7 next to my weather station was not an option; instead, I set my sights on the Raspberry Pi. Thus far, I had used it as a tiny media center with an equally tiny speaker, but by using its USB connection, my Pi could read the data output from the weather station. The power requirement is negligible compared with that of a full-size PC, and the Pi is silent. The question then arose: How can I acquire the data via USB if the station only comes with a Windows program?
Your Raspberry Pi can be freshly installed with the official recommended Debian Raspbian “wheezy” image from the Download page on the Raspberry Pi website. The tool set necessary to complete this project comprises a C program, Ruby, the Sinatra web application library, a database, and graphing software, all of which are introduced in the “Ingredient” sections of this article. Figure 2 shows how all the components interact and fit together.
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Our culture and our economy is based on competing products with a similar purpose. The products all have features. We shop for the products by looking at the bulleted list of features on the label. The more features, the more people choose the product. Vendors race to develop new technologies so they can add more features, but at a certain point, some consumers just get bewildered and start to shop for fewer features – or at least for a product that brings enough clarity to the sea of features to restore the original purpose.
Only 10 years ago, a large proportion of the population was satisfied with the possibilities of video players and analog satellite receivers. Now this primitive world of the past seems so far away. In our time, virtually all audio and video recordings are produced and distributed digitally. A single user interface can bundle several reception channels (e.g., digital video streams and Internet media libraries, as well as files residing on the local NAS devices). A variety of devices, including laptops, desktop PCs, and smartphones, interact with the media center in the living room through a local WiFi network. In addition to managing your movies, a smart mobile device also offers plugins for music files or a personal photo collection.
Do-it-yourself home theater PCs (HTPCs) were already on the rise at the start of the new millennium. Initially, these early HTPC systems were still desktop computers, with fancy new cases to make them more living-room-friendly. The energy costs and the purchase price of the hardware were correspondingly high. But the Community quickly had some new ideas. The XBMC media center software was originally developed for XBox consoles. Over the years, XBMC has been ported to a variety of platforms and operating systems. Hardware, software, and Internet bandwidth have evolved considerably over the last decade. Now, as in the past, you can spend thousands of dollars on a state-of-the-art system to play video streams and multimedia files, but if you are really looking to save money and space, one new platform outshines all others: XBMC with Raspberry Pi.
This month, Rasp Pi becomes a multimedia system, then we look at three great tools to create, manage, and monitor your virtual environments.
Launched on February 29, 2012, the Raspberry Pi, a computer the size of a credit card (Figure 1), has become one of free software’s success stories. Despite the difficulties of manufacturing – there was briefly a limit of one per customer – the Pi, as it is popularly called, has sold nearly 900,000 copies and could easily sell a million by its first anniversary. “It’s completely incredible,” says founder Eben Upton, of all that has happened.
Now 34, Upton has been programming since he was 10 years old, starting with early computers like the BBC Microcomputer, the Commodore, and the Amiga. As an adult, he has been a member of the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory, the founder of Ideaworks Game Studio, and most recently, a chip engineer.
This month, we show you how to automate tasks in LibreOffice and give you some tools to tighten system security.
Those of you who know me know that I designed electronics circuits in high school and then studied Electrical Engineering at Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Unfortunately during that career I was almost electrocuted by 13,600 volts and 800 amps (twice!). Fortunately I found software as much fun and a lot safer, other than paper cuts from ripping printouts. Back in those days electronic components were very expensive (US$ 128,000 for 64KB of core memory), so I took the software route and let someone else pay for the hardware.
I continued to be interested in hardware, and I even assembled my own computer from chips and prototyped digital circuits with the use of breadboards, sometimes with wire-wrapping. Soldering tens of thousands of pins perfected my soldering technique, and you really don’t want to know about the wire-wrapping.
The popular Raspberry Pi single-board Linux computer gets a new add-on camera device.
British engineer Eben Upton and a team of like-minded hardware hackers started the Raspberry Pi project as a means for providing affordable computer technology for interested young people. The objective was to develop and market a singleboard, credit-card-sized computer compatible with the often-narrow budget of the target group (see the “History” box).
If you find yourself reminded of the first home computers, you are not completely off-target: The explicit goal of the founders was to recolonize basements, garages, and classrooms with the spirit of the generation that had grown up with the Atari 400/ 800, ZX80/ 81, or VC20/ C64.
Because it’s small, cheap, and silent, Raspberry Pi (RPi) is a perfect candidate for server duties. Although you can certainly install and run heavyweight applications like WordPress or Gallery on an RPi, that’s probably not the most sensible approach, considering the machine’s modest hardware specifications. Instead, you might want to opt for lightweight alternatives. In fact, quite a few server applications are a perfect fit for the little machine.
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