A Piece Of The Raspberry Pi

Photo courtesy Switched On Tech Design

Happy New Year! A fresh year with new ideas … To start off, I first saw the Raspberry Pi at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show. It was released to the public awhile ago, and more recently, the official Raspberry Pi Store was launched. The Raspberry Pi really should have been on my Christmas gift list, but it slipped my mind until now, so I apologize.

What is the Raspberry Pi? It’s a credit card-sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. In short, it’s a very capable little PC that can be used for many of the things your desktop PC does, such as spreadsheets, word-processing, games, not to mention high-definition video. Back in 2006, it was created to offer a tiny and cheap computer option for kids. How cheap? I’m talking 35 bucks! Well, actually there are two versions: $25 will get you the Model A, which has 256MB RAM, one USB port and no Ethernet (network) connection, and the Model B costs $35 and has 512MB of RAM, two USB ports and an Ethernet port. Unfortunately, you cannot add extra memory to it, as it is not removable or swap-pable.

This all sounds like a great idea, and something I might want to invest in, but the company is a charity, so you cannot purchase any shares. The only way to support it is to buy one.

The bottom line is the company wants to see this being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

In addition, Eben Upton of the Raspberry Pi Foundation is enthusiastic about the potential of the new Raspberry Pi Store. “With the Raspberry Pi finally having a dedicated software store, it’s going to bring together the already-thriving Pi community in a way that’s simply not been possible before,” he says. “Our driving aim has always been to use Raspberry Pi to encourage and introduce a generation of children to programming and creative computer science. By now enabling Raspberry Pi users of all ages to gain critical and commercial success from their work through the new Pi Store, we also believe it will be a powerful incentive for others to get involved and further spread the word.”

The new Pi Store features a one-stop shop for users to share Pi content and is now part of the Raspbian operating system and available from the Raspbian repository. You can find free and paid titles (games and apps), as well as development tools for creators.

Visit raspberrypi.org to purchase your Raspberry Pi (via Premier Farnell/Element 14 and RS Components).

Unfortunately, a power supply or SD is not included, but you can purchase one separately on the website. Note that you do have to boot from an SD card, but your USB hard drive can “take over” after the initial boot.

Hawaii State Public Library System Receives Tech Award

The state public library system (HSPLS) earned the first State of Hawaii Excellence in Technology Award in the category of Improving State Operations. HSPLS has been increasingly recognized by information, communications and IT experts for its many accomplishments, leading some of the vendors to pursue new and unique partnerships, such as the Microsoft IT Academy, which provides free online digital literacy and technology training that can lead to official Microsoft Certification. Other successful implementations include free wireless Internet in all 50 libraries statewide; 1,400 computers replaced (desktops and laptops); a new Public Access Portal; data center virtualization and storage consolidation; massive security implementation and more.