I so want a Raspberry Pi. In the worst way I want one of these things. My problem is that you can’t buy one yet.
If you don’t know what that is, you must not be into computers…so I’ll tell you. It’s a $25 (or $35) computer, smaller than a credit card – though thicker – that uses an ARM processor (like in most mobile phones and tablets.)
The whole thing only uses 5W of power, and runs Linux (at least for a start.) There’s videos of it online running XBMC (popular media server software) and doing all sorts of interesting things. There’s also an addon (already) called the Gertboard that will let you control devices and motors and so on.
What I like the most about it is that I could put a computer – a fully-capable computer – anywhere I could supply 5W of electricity. I could control things with it, take pictures, really do whatever I wanted.
To a lot of people, the Raspberry Pi represents a cheap computer. And though that is certainly true, to me it means more of a chance to hack stuff together. 5W isn’t a lot of power – it’s low enough to run on battery power and/or cheap battery backup power, it’s small and it’s very capable.
Besides all that, it doesn’t run some strange embedded operating system that nobody uses – it run Linux – so there’s an absolute ton of software already out there for it.
To me the represents a new opportunity to hack. To play with a new system and see what you can make it do…see what you can make it control or where you can make it fit. For me, this brings back memories of sitting in a friend’s basement (you know who you are, Pete) with his 300 baud modem to see what it could do and how far it could go. Those wild-west days of whatever went that passed from our consciousness a long time ago.
So it’s not just a chance to play with a new toy…it’s the chance to actually learn something new, and maybe even to invent something.
We truly do live in interesting times.