Archive for July 2012

Finally getting my own slice of Raspberry Pi.

July 22, 2012

Raspberry Pi Logo

Naturally, I don’t mean the delicious pastry treat, I mean the little computing device that may change the world of computing.

In the current market, if one wants to learn to program, one must purchase an expensive device (a computer) in order to take the first steps, which can cost hundreds of dollars (which many people, or even schools do not have the funds for). Add on the cost of books, training resources, and other items, as well as the massive time investment, and we have a rather large barrier to overcome.

As discussed in this blog in earlier entries, there are TONS of free resources for one to use to explore your interest, be it programming, mathematics through Khan Academy, or youtube tutorials, helping to clear at least one of those barriers.

The time investment, just as when learning any skill, is a necessary investment – the more you do it, typically the better you get.

For those of you following at home, that’s two out of the three barriers identified in the first part of this post. But what about the expensive devices? (This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in)

The Raspberry Pi is a computer. A tiny, inexpensive computer (running up to $35 plus shipping). With it, one can run a customized version of a linux operating system, create programs, or go through tutorials in order to work with programming languages. 

Image

As you can see, it is quite small, and is the entire computer. All you need to do is supply power (Mini-USB cord, which is widely available for cheap), Keyboard/Mouse (USB only), Display (HDMI), ethernet (for internet access), and an SD card to run whatever OS  you installed. These are the same items one would need for any computer regardless (aside from the SD card. In this instance, it is replacing the Hard Drive).

School districts could purchase a class set of these devices at a fraction of the cost of a classroom set of computers or tablets (Figure $400 per item, computer or tablet x 25 = $10,000 compared to $35 x 25 = $875, a Savings of over $9000). Each student could supply their own SD card ($11 for a 16 GB card on NewEgg) for projects (or, the school could supply each student, at their desecration). 

Currently, there is a waiting list to purchase one. I have been on the list since early Spring, and last month, I received an invite to purchase one. It’s been about 3 weeks since I have, with shipping taking up to 12 (as they are being produced and shipped from overseas). Hopefully soon, I will have the little device in my hands, and be able to experiment and learn.

There is currently a very active community surrounding development for this device, with games being created, programs run, and tutorials on things you can do with it (a popular choice is to create a cheap HTPC, a Home Theater PC).

I will assuredly post more about this when I get it. But for now, I am very excited for a taste of Raspberry Pi.