Three Raspberry Pies Please!

Way back I wrote about how my disgust for Windows XP’s language region lock down, caused me to shun proprietary software, embrace GNU/Linux, and extend the life and capabilities of my low spec Toshiba netbook. This in turn got be further entrenched in the open source world, where I found the Raspberry Pi.
My first Raspberry Pi Model B became a nice tinkering box. I did numerous GPIO projects with that first Pi, LCD lights were fried, and much edutainment was had. It was then I decided to put my Model B to more practical use and transformed it into a modest but reliable web server. You’re using it right now. No, it’s not the quickest, but it does the job. It sits nestled on the plastic shelves next to the fridge. It’s been running three years with hardly a hiccup, except those caused by my own wrongdoing. At some point I might have to tack on some extra storage or update to a newer model. But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I’m learning Apache and fiddling with style sheets.

Silently churning away on his little shelf, my Raspi Webserver still gets the job done – 3 years and counting!

Then another Pi Model B was gifted to me, leaving me free to continue exploring the wonders of DIY electronics. Sometimes I got carried away, lost in a collage of wires and resisters, figuring out Ohm’s Law, and generally being amazed at all interesting projects I could potentially make (potentially is the keyword). Eventually I turned this Pi into a retro gaming device using RetroPie. Basically, I use this for 16 / 8 bit system emulation (PC Engine, NES) and use a small disused LCD monitor from the early 2000s. I overclock the Pi to some recommended speeds and occasionally have a go at Bonk’s Adventure.

Fortunately the original Raspberry Pi still has composite video/audio.

Finally, last Christmas Santa came through with the latest Raspberry Pi 3. This powerful little guy blows my other two Pis out of the water. I have this guy plugged via HDMI on my big screen. Haven’t set it up for anything particular, but I suppose it will serve as a jack-of-all sorts, part do-it-yourself Roku, part hackers board. My most rewarding hack thus far is learning how to seamlessly use my Linux powered netbook as the remote keyboard using VNC and a great tool called x2vnc. If you ever wanted to use your laptop’s keyboard /mouse-pad remotely to control another screen, this might be the coolest workaround out there.

The Raspberry Pi has made the winters here in Sapporo a little brighter, and allowed me to explore all the joys and frustrations of Linux networking within the confines of my tiny Japanese apartment. It helped me passed the LPIC-1, with plans to take the LPIC-2 in the near future. All without paying a single course fee or working within the tech sector.

What has the Raspberry Pi done for you? Love to hear from you in the comments.

One thought on “Three Raspberry Pies Please!

  1. Great article Mike. I must confess I know nothing about programming, but I think it’s really cool you were able to build your own NES! Stay warm my friend!

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