I got a nice little surprise at the end of last week, a colleague had several RaspberryPi kits delivered and offered me a loan of one over the Christmas break. An easy sell if ever there was one to be honest, I’ve been pondering getting one for a while 🙂
It’s not until you actually get one in your hands that you realise just how small they really are. To describe them as credit card sized is pretty fair (they are a teeny bit bigger if I were to be pedantic about it), although the stacked USB ports are a bit of an unnecessary height addition in my opinion.
After an admittedly hurried visit to a computer parts place to pick up a spare SD Card (the only ones I had knocking about are for my helmet camera for my motorbike) and a cheap keyboard and mouse (as all the stuff I have is wireless Apple stuff or gaming equipment) I grabbed a Debian “wheezy” image and got it on the SD card. I gleefully booted it up for the first time…
Sadly, in my hurried excitement to grab an SD card, I overlooked having a scout online for compatible equipment beyond getting something Class4 or better. My 16GB Kingston Class10 didn’t work and a google search confirmed it was known to be problematic.
Do not buy if you are wanting to use a RaspberryPi with it: Kingston SD10V 16GB
Thankfully I had a Transcend 8GB card for my helmet camera as mentioned before, it works a treat *phew*.
The next problem is what am I going to do with this? I’ve no interest in the “Media Server” route that many take as I have an AppleTV that I quite like, and I don’t have a big library of media anyway (I prefer to stream). It’s no good as a development system as my iMac will run any environment as a VM at much faster speeds than the RPi can muster… I pondered a build server at one point, but the majority of my development is for iOS, so it’s of use there either.
This leaves me with 2 options that hold some interest for me:
- Create a full-on motorcycle computer that interfaces with my new bike (I’m picking up a Versys1000 soon, yum!) via ODB2 and have all sorts of whizz-bang data showing up as a I ride.
- A weather station/alarm clock/etc that grabs data off the net etc. Have a really nice little display etc and maybe wall mount it.
#1 immediately got me excited until I started thinking about what data would be interesting/useful to display:
- Traction Control/ABS data
- Lean angle
The Versys1000 already shows me all this on the dash, with the exception of lean angle. To be honest I could hook something up for lean angle pretty swift with the Arduino kit I have knocking about. An RPi certainly seems like overkill…
#2 however is something I’d use and I’m pretty sure I have some code buried away somewhere that grabbed Yahoo weather codes for given locations that the Arduino could access easily. I’m a bit fan of interesting interfaces for things, so I think I might be something a bit more interesting than buttons navigate the data that’ll be displayed, maybe some light sensors so you just wave either side of it could be cool? I think I have one or 2 little light sensors knocking about somewhere that would be ideal for that purpose.