Enter Raspberry Pi

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 ūüôā

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.

The RaspberryPi really is a diddy little thing!

The RaspberryPi really is a diddy little thing!

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…

Well, that's not nice.

Well, that’s not nice.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  • Speed
  • Revs
  • MPG
  • Temperature
  • 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.

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