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First Bite of the Pi


I was recently kindly given a Raspberry Pi. It is a clever little thing — a fully functional computer on a credit card sized board. It has none of the mod cons like, for example, a case but provides an inexpensive base for all sorts of clever applications.

The bare-bones presentation did present a few immediate challenges. I had an old USB keyboard and mouse I could use for it, a power supply (the one that came with my Kindle provides a suitable output) and an ethernet port free on my router. What I was lacking was a spare SD card and an HDMI monitor.

SD cards are cheap and readily available; I was able to pick up one in a supermarket. Getting the downloaded operating system on was a bit more of a challenge as I don’t have a Linux system available which can see the card (it doesn’t get picked up by the Virtual Box hosted install on my main machine and my old laptop is too ancient to recognise the SDHC format of the card) so I ended up downloading some software to copy the OS image via Windows. That worked smoothly although there was some delay as I hunted for the card, which turned out to have been accidentally shut in the old laptop when I put it away! Well done Jane for helping me find that!

I also came up with a cunning solution to get round the lack of a monitor; I’m running headless. That isn’t as messy as it sounds; it just means that I connect the Pi to the network and then connect to it using the keyboard, mouse and screen of another computer on the same network. Since I am quite adept at navigating a command line environment, that has been a very smooth process and I have just finished the basic set up tasks, like changing the default password and downloading system updates.

Now all I need to do is figure out what cunning task I can set it to but I have proved it works at only the cost of an SD card and now I’m ready to jam!

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