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Raspberry Pi

Discussion in 'Computing and ICT' started by rlfan82, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. Has anyone followed the development of this 'device'? What can it be used for?

    I'm fairly limited on time for lessons (A-Level) but if it's a good way of teaching a topic/point, then I'll lookin to it further.
  2. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    One of its developers is a guy who authored the hugely successful 1980s computer game 'Elite'. The article I've read today seems to suggest that with the Rasberry Pi he's trying to recapture that spirit of pioneering curiosity that gripped many of us during the early 80s when cheap computers became available but there was precious little software. We had to write our own programs, and to make them run quicker the more advanced among us got into machine code and compiling.

    The basic unit will be around £16 and will need a USB keyboard and a TV to plug into. There'll also be an internet-enabled version for £22, with an Ethernet port (not wi-fi). The OS will be open source Linux.

    I think the idea is literally plug and play - switch it on and fiddle with it to your heart's content to see if you can develop some software that does stuff.

    I'm quite tempted to give one a try, having been a ZX81 dabbler for a few years back in the day.

    Website is http://www.raspberrypi.org/
  3. Weren't we all! That 16k ram pack you had to prop up with a box of "Swan Vestas" or for those with only the basic 1k machine the joy of the disappearing display as you typed in the 20th progam line.

    And the printer!
  4. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    A ZX-80 in its original box and packing will go for a very tidy three-figure sum on eBay these days believe it or not.

    I sold my old Speccy 48K on there and got over £40 for it. The games will still go for a couple of quid each too.

    A recent tidy out at home revealed a roll of old Sinclair thermal printer paper and an original ZX-81 manual with various annotations about which bits of memory to PEEK and POKE. I feel another eBay listing coming on...
  5. Just been reading that java is supported but it won't be able to run an IDE. Not that I ever run an IDE anyway. Text Editor and compiler......a traditionalist!

    Gotta be worth a dabble. It would be nice if my college could buy a few monitor switches so the students could bring in an RPi and plug it in, even show off what they've been working on. That kind of stuff really gets the competitive element of a class going.
  6. I think you are all completely insane masochists but:

  7. Still got them all and a spare roll of printer paper!
  8. There is a team at CAS putting together an open source manual / starter package to get people going with it but it will come with a Linux distro, memory card storage and with Python, Java and (hopefully) Scratch ready to roll out of the box. Greenfoot, BlueJ, Netbeans and Eclipse are (as stated) not likely to be supported, but my plan is to give one to each student (AS Computing) as their primary programming platform. It'll add a bit of intrigue to start with and should help avoid any installation issues at home (which we've had a bit of this year)

    I also want my students to feel like computer engineers and I think this will help. I also can't see it doing any harm when it comes to looking at von Neumann architecture, leading into fetch/execute, etc.

    I've seen one demoed and it'll decode and output full HD video in real time which is pretty nifty for what it is, although I suspect you'll need a specially configured distro to achieve that. You could easily keep 2 or 3 memory cards to hand though - jut like changing your DS cartridge as you go.
  9. BrianUK

    BrianUK New commenter

    I still can't see the point of these......I am therefore very sad and feel very stupid for not knowing or being "inspired" by a PCB. I am sure someone here will help.
  10. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    @BrianUK - not just a PCB; it's a complete PC - with all the major, unnecessary gubbins removed. Install own OS, languages, IDEs whatever you choose. Back to the fun of tinkering - the joys of which got me into this job in the first place.

    Loving the idea and will be buying one asap. Looking to give, or subsidise, purchase by students for Computing at both GCSE and A level if the numbers are available in time.

  11. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    6am on 29/2/12 there is going to be "something special" on the RaspberryPi website apparently.
    06:01 website down
    06:10 sold out
    06:15 I get up having slept through alarm. [​IMG]

  12. Almost tempts me back into teaching...
    Just being able to see the internals of the device, how things are connected are going to give children more confidence to fiddle.
    Should be able to get an IDE loaded on them, they seem powerful enough for basic ones like blueJ?
    The price means children can be encouraged to get their own if they are interested, or loaning them out isn't going to be a huge issue.
    They're small and can be integrated with other USB things/sensors without having to worry about soldering.
    I can see the price of old USB keyboards/mice going up on ebay :)
    You can get a HDMI to VGA cable to plug into all those old monitors. Stick in a USB hub and you have lots of USB devices you can extend it with.
    They're low power so should be able to get battery options for them at some point.
    Most important thing will be if they can run doom or quake to take over the computer lab at lunchtime :p
  13. <double post>
  14. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    It's all a bit over-egged for what is really a keeky toy but being marketted as a pc for the poor. Bit like a car without a steering wheel, tyres or gearbox- why?
  15. Buy one, install XBMC, nice large external USB drive, wireless keyboard with trackpad, done. Media centre sorted.
  16. I had the same thought, as to a car without steering wheel etc. More like a steam engine that you can understand how it works and apply it how you like IMHO...
  17. Eureka!

    Eureka! Lead commenter

    Hmmmm ... I wondered by the BBC were plugging it like mad.... it's supposed to capture the heady days og the BBC computers. And of course, ARM are always looking for a new use for their RISC processors.
    Does "programming" consist of making lots of data protocols talk to each other? Will that really aid understandiong of anything?
  18. DEmsley

    DEmsley New commenter

    Con merchant &pound;85 on eBay - http://bit.ly/xGvUqY - read the small print at the bottom.
  19. I think this comment, stolen from HotUKDeals, sums up my current feelings on the whole RPi situation....


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