Since the release of the very first model almost ten years ago, the Raspberry pie tempted and tortured me in equal parts.
Like someone with almost no programming expertise and just as little engineering skill, the elaborate creations that people come up with (like this one Raspberry Pi Pip-Boy where GLaDOS voice assistant) made the Pi completely inaccessible.
I was also paralyzed by the possibilities offered by these tiny single board computers. As a journalist, I know the tyranny of the blank page and blinking cursor all too well, and the Raspberry Pi is the technologist’s equivalent: a blank canvas.
Even at the height of confinement, when I had nothing else to do with my evenings but twiddle my thumbs, I couldn’t muster the courage to take the plunge. The question was always: where to start?
However, with the help of a few online resources, a little advice, and a positive attitude, 2022 will be the year I conquer the Raspberry Pi.
But which Raspberry Pi?
Unfortunately, I chose to buy a Raspberry Pi at the worst possible time, in the midst of a global chip shortage and the day after Christmas.
At the end of December we reported that the latest Pi models are very hard to find at the moment, with some retailers believing that they will not be able to ship the Raspberry Pi 4B with 4 GB of RAM (one of the most popular SKUs) until 2023.
The combination of chip shortages and supply chain bottlenecks limited production to seven million units last year, and Raspberry Pi was also forced to implement its first-ever price hike. price, which saw the cost of the 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 drop from $35 to $45.
However, I will not allow myself to use cost or availability as an excuse. An overpriced second-hand Pi will have to suffice (although we recommend readers buy firsthand from authorized dealers alone).
I don’t need a built-in keyboard, so the Raspberry Pi 400 isn’t in the running, and I’m looking for more punch than the Pi Zero can provide. I also like the ability to connect to multiple monitors, which makes the Raspberry Pi 4B the only sensible choice.
As a beginner, I’m not looking for the high-end model with 8 GB of RAM. So that means I’ll go for the 4GB or 2GB model, whichever is available sooner and at the fairest price.
I will also need a Micro SD card to load Raspbian, NOOBS or another OS, a compatible power supply and a micro-HDMI to HDMI cable. But everything else, I’m already equipped: a screen, Mouse, keyboard and computer with SD card reader.
What am I going to do with it?
Once I have equipped myself with the necessary hardware, I will have to tackle the most daunting question: what should I do with my new Raspberry Pi? It’s easy to get lost in a world of possibilities, after all.
Although Raspberry Pis can be used as a base for all sorts of weird and wonderful creations, a simpler first project would be to create a private space cloud, the Web server, vpn Where IN THE system. This sort of thing will be my first stop.
The beauty of turning a Raspberry Pi into a VPN or NAS server is that no real coding is required, just a few command line prompts (and a Hard disk, in the latter case) that can be easily found online. The same can be said for using the Pi as a retro games console Where voice assistant.
However, I can’t go any further without getting my hands dirty with Python, the programming language behind many custom Pi projects. All Raspberry Pis come with a IDE for Python, so they are an ideal tool for the learner (this is where the concept was born).
Of course I don’t need a Pi to learn to code in Python; it’s a cross-platform language, so any computer will do. But sometimes a new gadget provides the perfect motivation, and the usually inexpensive Pi is ideal for that purpose.
Once someone masters Python, there’s almost no end to the possibilities, especially when combined with a bit of electrical engineering knowledge. Much of the fun surrounds the Pi’s GPIO pins, which can be used to incorporate sensors, motors, switches, lights, and other peripherals into a custom build.
By using Python to program these pins, the Pi can be turned into an LED clock, a smart home control system, a pirate radio station, and hundreds of other useful (and less useful) creations.
The original mission
At worst, the technology can be proprietary and deliberately esoteric. If you are not part of the club, you cannot play.
The interest of the Raspberry Pi was to counteract this effect and make programming more accessible. Ironically, this mission has been hijacked to some degree by hobbyists and computer enthusiasts (through no fault of their own), whose intimidating creations have scared some people off.
It says a lot that even I, a self-styled tech journalist, took so long to find the courage to get started. If you’ve received a Raspberry Pi in the past, or during the recent Christmas holidays, maybe you found yourself in the same boat.
However, it’s high time we all remembered what the Raspberry Pi was originally. It doesn’t matter so much What I do with it, but more than I tried to do Something.
I don’t expect my first Raspberry project to win any accolades or even perform as expected, but we all have to start somewhere.