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Jun 01

The Raspberry Pi is Here

A few months back I placed an order for a raspberry pi. For those who don't know what it is, it is a really cool project which is basically a computer for 35$ (Shipping for me almost doubled it, but that's to be expected). It is a board, which as 256MB Ram, SD-Card slot, 2 USB Slots, an RCA Slot for analog video, and a headphone jack for analog audio.

It is originally a project for schools, to help today's kids get started with (python, but not only) programming.

To be exact with what the project guys are describing it:

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer board that plugs into a TV and a keyboard. It's a miniature ARM-based PC which can be used for many of the things that a desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays High-Definition video.
Here are some FAQs

The OS of this board is stored on an SD Card. I have bought a class 10 16gb SD Card off of eBay for this purpose.

So few days ago, the board arrived! I finally found myself playing with it, and it's so much fun

Here are some common suggestions for usages:

  1. Lean to program python (the original intention)
  2. An SSH Server (and Linux box)
  3. Media Center (with Raspbmc – XBMC implementation for raspberry) – Haven't tried it yet
  4. Proxy Server

You get the point …

A small note regarding the power of this device. It is powered by a MicroUSB port, which basically makes any phone charger a good power supply. A weird thing I encountered, is that even though I have 3 Samsung chargers in my house, which are identical, only one was able to power up the device with Ethernet working. The other two powered the device fine, but Ethernet was unable to work.

Another purpose of this post is to guide and tip for some first steps that I did. I think that some will be relevant for other people, so why not make a note of them?

Here we go:

  1. Username and password for the default image: pi/raspberry
  2. Enable SSH
    for those who don't want to connect a screen, keyboard and mouse, you can enable SSH connection and connect from Windows (via Putty, SecureCRT, etc) to control your raspberry pi
    I recommend this guide here
  3. Changing the keyboard layout to something other than UK
    (The device's image is defaulted with the UK keyboard layout which you may want to change)
    Type in: sudo nano /etc/default/keyboard
    and look for the uk (or gb) keyboard definition and change it to whatever is relevant for you ("us" for instance)
  4. Resize the partition to full SD-Card Capacity
    Originally when you use the original image, the partition size is missing a lot of space from your SD-Card (I had a 16Gb card, and 14Gb were missing). In order to restore the missing capacity, I suggest following this 10 minute video guide found here
  5. Create your own user
    If you want to create another user, rather than the built in one:
    Type the following command

    sudo adduser username

    After creating the new User you must get root Access with the following Command:

    sudo su, and then add the new users to the sudoers (which is a list of which users have root access which is the highest rank in linux for full administrators) file with visudo

    find this like "root ALL=(ALL) ALL"

    and add your new username as follows username ALL=(ALL) ALL

    (To exit, Press CTRL+K followed by X)

  6. Install Chromium (A Google Chrome relative)
    can be done by typing in the terminal: sudo apt-get install chromium-browser
  7. Installing Telnet client (Sure it will be useful for some) can be done by typing
    sudo apt-get install telnet

That are my 7 startup tips for Raspberry Pi. I hope I can get a lot more as I play more with this.

If you have any questions or tips of your own, feel free to drop by a comment!

Have a nice weekend!

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