Raspberry Pi

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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:26 am

The guys at the Pi factory have a Model A+ now... and only $20. All these boards are made by Sony in Wales.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/raspberry-pi ... s-on-sale/
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby jon » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:10 am

Doesn't sound like much, but for many school age kids and anyone on a low fixed income, especially in poorer Economies, cutting the price in half will really help.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby Toomas Losin » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:14 pm

I bought a Pi B+ a couple of weeks ago. The main reason was to use the GPIO pins to interface with some ancient hardware (first use was to dump some EPROMs) and to have something a little bit more powerful to play with than the repurposed NAS boxes I use as cheapo Linux servers.

There is a hidden cost for most people that one should factor in. For most hobbyists I highly recommend buying a case of some sort. It'll protect the board and keep one's fingers away from whatever is used as solder these days. I also recommend a wifi dongle so that one doesn't need an Ethernet cable that likely weighs several times what the Pi does and could easily pull it off a desk. I'm running my Pi headless, so there's no heavy HDMI cable or keyboard either.

What surprised me is that for a device marketed for educational purposes the Pi Foundation used closed hardware; lots of programming info is available but hardware details are locked behind NDAs, so complete data about the hardware is not publicly available.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:32 pm

jon wrote:Doesn't sound like much, but for many school age kids and anyone on a low fixed income, especially in poorer Economies, cutting the price in half will really help.


The import tax that some countries put on the device makes it out of reach of many students... I read Brazil hits them with an $80 tax, and if true, is absurd.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Mon Nov 10, 2014 9:38 pm

Toomas Losin wrote:What surprised me is that for a device marketed for educational purposes the Pi Foundation used closed hardware; lots of programming info is available but hardware details are locked behind NDAs, so complete data about the hardware is not publicly available.


There are complete diagrams/schematics available for all the Pi models. Easily found in a search.

The operating system is Debian linux on an ARM processor. Is the core of the processor, what you are referencing as behind NDA's.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby Toomas Losin » Tue Nov 11, 2014 12:21 am

PMC wrote:
Toomas Losin wrote:What surprised me is that for a device marketed for educational purposes the Pi Foundation used closed hardware; lots of programming info is available but hardware details are locked behind NDAs, so complete data about the hardware is not publicly available.


There are complete diagrams/schematics available for all the Pi models. Easily found in a search.

The operating system is Debian linux on an ARM processor. Is the core of the processor, what you are referencing as behind NDA's.

The B+ schematic at raspberrypi.org isn't complete. This thread has a statement made in July that one will be released but it hasn't happened yet, as far as I know.

It's the Broadcom SoC used in the Pi that's behind an NDA.

Electrical specs that one would typically find on a datasheet are not publicly available. My understanding, without tracing the lines, is that the GPIO pins are directly connected to the SoC; I'd like to be sure I'm not abusing them when I interface them to something, which is why I prefer to see a datasheet rather than depend on searches to find anecdotal specs — there are anecdotal specs but no formal datasheet. The issue is nicely illustrated by an ego-filled thread on the same site, about interfacing 5V logic to the Pi's 3.3V pins.


Unless I'm mistaken, the details of the boot process are also not publicly available. It's well-known — at the block-diagram level — how the Pi boots but can one replace all of the blobs in /boot with one's own code? That's the code that the GPU runs before it loads kernel.img and gives control to the ARM CPU.

Can you imagine curious students wondering what needs to happen from the time when power is applied to when the OS finally runs, but the instructor can only hand wave around the fact that the GPU is doing some "unknown proprietary stuff" before it finally loads the Linux kernel? Not an opportunity to get to know some hardware.

These issues seem to me to be contrary to what an educational machine should be like. Doesn't mean I can't have fun with what we do get to play with, though!
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:45 am

Perhaps these can help you. The regular Pi model B docs are in PDF.

GPU/CPU pinouts http://elinux.org/RPi_BCM2835_Pinout

GPIO http://elinux.org/RPi_BCM2835_GPIOs
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:35 am

Was in a hurry writing the above.

I agree they should be more open on the SOC since it is an educational push. It is patented, and should be available for viewing/learning.

The Pi foundation is probably amazed at the public response and is catching up to it. They have sold over four million of them.

I have been following this, since it started. I have some programming library issues that get no response when I asked. but I can work around it for now. It is a great piece of engineering.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Mon Nov 24, 2014 5:08 pm

For those that are into the operating system, a fellow has created a bare bones version of the Raspbian OS and it is available at GitHub.

https://github.com/debian-pi/raspbian-ua-netinst

It is impressive for many reasons, including only needing 512 megabytes of SD card. There is documentation on the page and some discussion that can be found at the Pi site on this.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Tue Dec 30, 2014 6:54 pm

There is a new graphical front end coming for the Pi... and it can be installed now if you have a Pi device.

http://www.raspberrypi.org/changes-to-t ... interface/

The menu moves to the top of the screen from the bottom... the upgrade includes a widget to get the temp from your local weather office. Their own web browser is getting better.

The linked page covers the details and the commands to install on your Pi. I repeat them below... and they require a command window

apt-get update
apt-get dist-upgrade
apt-get raspberrypi-ui-mods

and then reboot to see it all.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:20 pm

Want to change the last command line to

apt-get install raspberrypi-ui-mods

Couldn't edit after logging out etc.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Tue Dec 30, 2014 9:32 pm

Tried the Pi weather widget, and it needs some work .. It doesn't save the location, although it does a good job in finding it. Those using a linux desktop are familar with the weather widget, and it would be similar in the Pi, when it works. All good things take time...
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:43 pm

Some big news for those that use Windows and like the Raspberry Pi device...

The next device of the PI concept is labeled as the `Raspberry Pi 2' and it will run Windows 10. It continues to run Raspbian or Ubuntu too.

The processor is faster at 900 mhz... more details are here http://www.raspberrypi.org/raspberry-pi-2-on-sale/

The beauty of this is, the price stays at $35 and the Windows 10 is free.
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:07 pm

Adding to the above, this is a link to Microsoft's site about the Pi and Windows 10

http://dev.windows.com/en-us/featured/W ... am-for-IoT
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Re: Raspberry Pi

Postby PMC » Fri Mar 13, 2015 7:58 pm

Because of visit to the Pi site, I found details on how the British grade 7 kids in the country were getting a free tech device for educational purposes. Read the piece...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/schoolreport/31854427

This effort impresses me and I am asking why is it not done here.... the BBC also runs tech tv programs for kids. I love all of this because it isn't dumbing down the audience.
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