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Raspberry Pi - are we there yet?

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by rubikwizard, May 17, 2012.

  1. rubikwizard

    rubikwizard New commenter

    I've had a RasPi for some time now and it is a great piece of kit. It runs Quake III very well indeed !!!
    However the current state of the OS distributions is disappointing (in my opinion). If you want to use a desktop environment then it is very VERY slow. The web browser takes over 20 seconds to display the BBC page for example. Scratch is bundled in but is so slow to be almost unuseable. The Python IDEs are slow and tedious.
    However the GPU has not yet been utilised so there should be big improvements in the future ...
    I have learnt a lot about Linux though and will definitely be using it with my GCSE and A level computing students to demonstrate an alternative operating system, if nothing else.
    We do have budget allocation to buy a class set but not sure what I would use them for yet!

  2. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    STILL not got mine!!

  3. Please remember that the Pi is a bare-bones toolkit for <u>hacking </u>with rather than a cheap way to get a fully-functional PC for the kids. They are for the kids to use to do things with rather than to replace the laptop.
    I particularly like the way some groups have used them to drive the Lego Mindstorms stuff.
  4. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    I'm in the Farnell queue. Four weeks maybe :)
  5. But they're not really are they, they are for geeks to say "oh look linux on an SD card, go me now let me run things I can run on my laptop already". As someone has said already we can do all the things we want with our kit already.*

    *I'm still getting one!
  6. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    They'll probably end up as SuperArduinos, Media Centres etc. Apparently as a Linux box they are pretty unusuable.
  7. Not at all - you don't get it. The one thing they are <u>absolutely not </u>meant to do is stand in for a laptop. We can have Linux in multiple versions on multiple SD cards, USB drives and whatever we want - and we have had those for years, up to and including live-bootable, non-installed, versions just to use on the fly.
    What the Pi is is a hacking machine. Its for some simple coding so that it can <u>DO THINGS</u> and that is exactly what it is being used for. Already we have them used to drive media centres, to push NAS services arouns home networks, to control self-build robots and - should I ever get it working - in my case to drive a RepRap 3D printer.
    That is the purpose of the whole project. It is to make it possible for our children to actually invent stuff as we used to do not many years ago - rather than ust to use what someone else gives us.
  8. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Came home from my holiday early to avoid the rain and found my Raspberry Pi had arrived. Can't say I'm amused at having to buy a £15 adapter to make the composite video output work on my spare VGA input monitor.

    Yes I know there's HDMI output too, but I don't want to plug it into a bloody TV set. Realistically schools are going to be the same - they'll have VGA monitors a-plenty, but not many spare HDMI tellies. Or am I missing something here?

    Also - power source: The model B requires a 5v 700-1200mA supply, which RS are selling, but if you want to run the unit off a 12v DC source (I do) using a phone charger you'll need to make sure it's rated at least 700mA, and possibly more like 1200mA if you plan to use a USB bus.
  9. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Sorry, that's USB HUB.
  10. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Actually, rooting around in my cable box it's struck me that you could piggy back a Raspberry Pi onto a PC with a VGA monitor.

    Instead of buying the power pack you buy a USB to Micro USB cable, and instead of buying a Composite to VGA adapter you buy a (cheaper) USB video grabber.

    For power you use the first cable with the USB end plugged into your PC, and for monitor display you run the composite video lead from the RasPi into the video grabber, which is then plugged into the PC. To display RasPi output on the VGA monitor use VLC Media Player (or similar) on the PC set to full screen display and select the video grabber as the input source.

    That way you save some money and you also have a set of video grabbers for other uses.
  11. Got £55 for my Pi.

    Amazing really, I turn my laptop on and I get linux, greenfoot, python, scratch, php, a little practice WAMP and so many other things in seconds without looking for cables, connectors and the like. I am amazed that you all have so much time to mess with these things when there is so much to do.

    My laptop also plays games and video at max resolution.

    Sorry, but I can't see the Pi thing lasting more than a year or 18 months.
  12. And I know that but if you can't get kids to invent things already without this over hyped circuit board then you are either not a very good teacher or not a very good computer scientist!

    All the things you list are lovely geeky wet dreams but really - it's cool, it's little, it's cheap but it brings nothing to the table. It just happens to have been pushed by the BBC and pother media outlets and the fact it is linked to Braben has all the 80s nerds vacillating about how back then everybody was busy programming the BBC micros and zx 81s. Computing has changed, life has changed and you need more than this to get kids interested in computing.
  13. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    Hmm. Part of me just says we should install VB6 on every computer in every school and just let kids play. That's how I started, VBA and then VB... now school's PC's are locked down removing the Developer toolbar from Office and lack of IDEs...
  14. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Probably but "just playing" can lead to poor code design. Structured playing may be more effective and more fun?
    Setting weekly challenges and having after school clubs run by best coders maybe a better way forward?
  15. jweb2k

    jweb2k New commenter

    Oh, no, totally agree with that and the idea of it being on the curriculum somewhere.I just think the whirlwind surrounding Rasberry Pis where pupils will be taking them home and making the poor code design mistakes there isn't helpful.


  16. Yeah man, now you're talking!

    Have spent some time using Python which seems to be the hot language on this forum at the moment.

    It's ugly, horrible and a mess to my eyes; really don't see the appeal - Idle is a joke. The whole thing has similar complete lack of charm to php, java etc.

    Cue self-praise-being-no-recommendation, computer 'geniuses' telling me I don't understand / lack the profound knowledge of coding / have only used a kludgey old-fashioned language / don't understand the beautiful symmetry and economy of OO programming.

    I too would prefer kids to mess with VBA rather than some other alternatives that have been proposed on here.
  17. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    Maybe a bit of both. Playing through the existence of structured objects ? Not VB6 which can't do anything that interests children much, you need something like the language set of AMOS but more object based.
  18. Maybe it depends on who is teaching them?
  19. autismuk

    autismuk New commenter

    They are hardly likely to be inspired by Windows Forms whatever the quality of the teaching.
  20. Agreed - most inspiring use of a Windows VB form was a button bashing game to fill a progress bar against an increasingly quickly filling computer-controlled bar. Not bad actually.Either that or Pong to be honest, never got as far as figuring out how to make Super Mario!

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