December 21st, 2012
07:31 AM ET

Why I love my Raspberry Pi

My name was on the waiting list for the first batch of Raspberry Pi machines long before I traveled to Cambridge to meet Eben Upton.

Something about the tiny computer sent me back to my childhood days. It could plug into your TV, it could use the same programming language that I used in primary school. It was all very retro.

Only after I got my hands on one did I realize how useful the little thing actually is. At first I was excited about using it as an introduction to Linux and to refresh my dormant programming skills. It was only after I put some media software on it that it really became part of the furniture.

My Raspberry Pi, in its Top Trumps card box finery gets used almost every day now. It has infiltrated the living room in a way that a tablet, Apple TV, laptop, or even the smallest PC never could.

Just like the Acorn Electron computer I had when I was five, it’s silent. That’s probably where the similarities end. For starters, the Pi is just 1/25th the price of my Acorn when adjusted for inflation. It can run without a keyboard or a mouse using just my regular TV remote control, and it can play any music or full HD video file I throw at it.

I’ve set this little wonder to play media from TV catchup services, the computer in my bedroom, the DVD drive in the computer in my bedroom, my smartphone and even the downloads on my flatmate’s PC.

What started with a dream of programming in my bedroom like I did when I was a kid quickly turned into something far less hard work. It’s given me all the entertainment I can eat without having to move from the sofa.

That’s my story on how the Raspberry Pi became one of the must have gadgets in my life. I’m sure there are many others out there, all wildly different.

Incidentally, I had great fun writing that little bit of code in the package. I’ll leave you with this little gem.

 10 MODE 2
 20 COLOUR 14
 40 GOTO 30

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Filed under: Gadgets • General • Personal musings • Technology
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. rrrgroup

    Cute smirk......that makes us want the gadget too....and it is a gadget.


    December 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  2. nick apuzzo

    I had an IBM PC before they were shipped and did a lot a programming in BASIC, Pascal, Fortran and so forth. This brings back memories (no pun intended). I don't think there's anything 'revolutionary' about it, but it's a nice bit of nostalgia that could serve as a convenient vehicle for a new generation of aspiring computing systems engineers.

    December 23, 2012 at 9:01 am | Reply
  3. chris

    Thinking of getting one of these – interested in how you got a remote to work with it and what OS and media player do you use on the Pi

    December 23, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply
    • Tony

      My Samsung smart TV runs the Raspberry almost as if it was designed to do so, apparently If your TV supports HDMI-CEC you can control the 'Raspberry Pi' from the TV's remote control.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Reply
  4. Steve

    That's awesome! What OS is it running?

    December 24, 2012 at 6:02 am | Reply
  5. Kriss

    Its running linux (ofcourse)
    There are currently somthing like 3-4 flavors of linux that installs to the SD card. I got this baby and MAN its sweet.
    I run Raspbmc which is a media server distro. There is also OpenELEC and Raspbian.

    January 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Reply

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