I struggle to come up with a different word for review because that isn’t really what this article is. I didn’t receive a complimentary unit for consideration because I’m not important enough. I didn’t get the voltmeter out and do a technical breakdown either. What I did do was register, pre-order and pay for one of these marvelous machines. From the time of ordering to arrival in my postbox the whole process took exactly 70 days. Not bad going for one of the most precious and coveted pieces of hardware to hit geekdom in many years. I digress, however.
No, rather than being a review this is something far more personal. I didn’t review the Pi, I spent time with the Pi. Not even bringing home a brand new custom-built PC, a spanking new PS3 or a slick netbook held as much excitement for me as seeing that diminutive white box in the post. The axiom ‘less is more’ is something I’ve always trusted and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have manifested that idea perfectly.
The Pi in all its glory.
On the tech websites and forums enthusiasts have likened the fervour and wonder inspired by this device to the micro-computer revolution of the 70′s and 80′s. The thirst for tinkering, it would seem, never died but merely remained dormant; hidden by a shimmering GUI and the ever-rising expense of home computing.
“Roxanne, you DO have to turn on your red light… provided you’re a single board computer”
No more than an hour after unboxing my Pi I had scoured every cubby and storage space in the house for all the tech junk I thought I’d never use again. My search bore fruit in the form of an old USB hub, a USB keyboard and mouse, a microSD card I used for ROMs on my old DS Lite, a microUSB charger from a now-retired smartphone long since hawked off on eBay and a pile of Lego to fashion a bespoke housing for the circuit bare unit. The geek equivalent of testosterone coursed freely through my veins as I duly hooked up all the input devices, flashed the software to the SD and had a little bit of a pray that it would all happen without any clouds of smoke appearing.
The boot screen finally appears
With the power cable inserted I crossed my heart and plugged that baby in. A lot of screen flickering and an agonisingly long wait followed. Just when I thought the gremlins had reared their ugly little heads the boot screen exploded into life. It worked! This tiny collection of silicon and metal made things appear on a 720p screen! I was a little flabbergasted and I found myself musing on the bold progress and ingenuity of mankind. Big things have small beginnings indeed. My next thought wasn’t quite so profound: ‘I wonder what cool shit it can do!’
My first Hello World program on my Pi!
Alas all I could muster from the depths of my trivial computing knowledge was a simple Hello World program written in C. It was a start however. I had only begun to plumb the depths and documentation was thin on the ground.
All in all a great little piece of hardware and something that belongs in every classroom possible. I hope to put together some sort of project involving the Pi at some point in the near future. Any ideas would be appreciated! Who knows, your idea could be the one that causes me to blow it up! Wouldn’t that be a privilege?