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The Mind Tech Podcast: Episode 9


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Raspberry Pi in the Sky

Hosted by Gareth Davies and Joe Ressington

The Mind Tech Podcast is your weekly dose of tech, privacy, security and conspiracy.

Each week we’ll talk about the very latest tech news and the continued threats to internet freedom.

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Raspberry Pi

What is is?

Credit card sized computer. Runs a Broadcom SOC. ARM v6 CPU. (old version of ARM).

Model A £24 delivered

Model B £30 delivered

Model B has ethernet and 2 USB (ethernet through USB so slow).

Model A has no ethernet and 1 USB.

Has no storage so uses SD card for OS and storage.

Can run Linux or BSD or similar. (not Ubuntu) Debian, Arch and RISC OS officially supported.

Very low power. (2.5/3.5W)

Called Pi because of Python - relatively simple programming language. Also fruit like Apple. Was intended to be aimed at school children.

In January Google donated 15,000 Pis to school children in the UK

Me (Joe) and the Pi

Bought model B at OggCamp 12 direct from Pete Lomas, the hardware designer. Despite having “B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in computer science(engineering)” he knew nothing about Linux at all. He used a Windows program to image the SD cards. He is clearly a hardware man and not software.

Struggled to get anything to boot with an old TV and my 27” LG monitor. Had to edit config files. Couldn't get proper resolution and aspect ratio despite trying everything. Managed to get Debian running but it is too slow to use.

Pi in the sky

The thing is next to useless. It has no VGA output (this would have added a lot to the cost) so you have to use HDMI (or component which is terrible).

Although a keyboard and mouse are dirt cheap, screens with HDMI are expensive so it somewhat defeats the object of being a cheap computer for kids to learn with. That said it can be plugged into a TV. Also can be experimented with.

As a desktop machine it is painfully slow. As a media centre you need to buy codecs.

Has some very specific use cases like robotics etc but there are better single board computers like the Beagle Board and Arduino. Sparki, for example.

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