Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Billy T, Dec 23, 2012.
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This is a great way to provide the advantage of equal learning opportunity to people who are disadvantaged by a lack of financial resources.
I applaud the Raspberry Pi Foundation although I expect that many competitors in the computer manufacturing world will not feel so charitable at this disclosure of just how little it costs to build their overpriced offerings.
complete computers on a single chip have been possible since about the late 1980s.
Sounds like an Arduino. You can get one of those for about $19.95. (And are much better for creating "robot slaves" since there's a huge network of programmers who support them.)
Doesnt this mean that computer techs who repair hardware are doomed?
Who is going to pay $100 for a repair when they can get a new one for $25?
Well, you can get a bicycle for $49 at Wal-Mart - but there are still bicycle mechanics.
Also keep in mind that 90% of what computer technicians do nowadays involves software, not hardware, repair.
I doubt mechanics are doing much work on $49 bikes.
Now that I think of it, what matters on software issues is back-up. If your data is not backed up, spending $100 on retrieval makes sense.
However, if you have everything you need on an external thumb drive, you are more likely to spend less and just buy a new machine.
agreed, but another large software issue is viruses (virii?) and faulty software installations/ removal.
these 2 issues can render your computer erratic at best and totally unable to start at worst.
another software issue is patching security holes and system configuration.
this will preserve your programs along with any "funnyware" you might have accumulated.
it will not solve the faulty installation/ removal scenario.
I have both a Pi and an Arduino and they are utterly different. The Arduino only runs specific programs you've written in that java-esque language and the programs cannot be more than 250kB in size, It is not a computer, it is a micro-controller. The Pi is a fully functional computer which runs an ARM compilation of Debian. You can connect anything with a USB socket to it, you can run any language on it (mine came preinstalled with Debian and Python libraries) and it has all (most) of the usual motherboard connectors like video out (HDMI), audio, ethernet and uses an SD card for booting.
The Pi also packs a lot more punch, even if its 700Mhz ARM chip is only equivalent to a Pentium 2 @330Mhz. It's enough to get rudimentary video processing up and running. I'm waiting for the day someone works out how to port the Kinect drivers over to the ARM architecture. At present I'm able to have it stream a webcam over a wifi network and it then read in by another computer.
Due to the set of pins on the Raspberry it's possible to use some Arduino hardware directly on the Pi, though it's a lot more involved than just downloading a library. I have a colour 1.8" TFT which I can use via my Arduino Mega but there's a website which explains how to use the TFT as a screen for the Raspberry, including being able to run videos on it! Obviously you can't do much with a 180x126 screen but still impressive.
While there's significant overlap in the applications of Raspberrys and Arduinos the Pi doesn't require a slew of shields to do certain things and it can run much more elaborate programs someone has written in their language of choice, while the Arduinos all involve Java in some way and their 250kB memory limit is surprisingly easy to hit, especially when using lots of libraries.
my ol ratty ass color computer 2 had just 64K and i wrote only one program that even came close to using it all, a DIY oscilloscope.
but it was not a single trace, a dual trace, but a quadruple trace.
yes, it could display 4 traces on the monitor.
most of that memory went into holding the received waveforms and it was a trade off situation between monitor resolution and waveshape frequency.
written in BASIC.
Right - because most people find $49 bikes pretty worthless. That $100 repair does, however, make sense for a more useful bike.
That works for your data. But when your new machine doesn't recognize your printer, that PC technician can be pretty useful.
That mini-baby-micro computer is awesome and all... but the real question is... can it blend?
*ponders* No, but seriously though... what are the capabilities of this mini machine? Can you set up a few of these in a developing nation classroom, connect them to a mouse, keyboard, monitor, printer, and the WWW, and have kids do research and such on it?
Yes, it's a fully working computer, the only issue is that it uses ARM chips so all software has to be recompiled to work on it. Microsoft just brought out an ARM based computer too but there have been huge complaints about how they let 3rd party developers implement software (must be rewritten from scratch). The Pi Foundation have already ported 35,000 packages from usual Linux to the Pi distribution!
I bought my Pi from a tech hobby-ish shop here in the UK called Maplin. Came with keyboard, mouse, 4GB SD card with Debian pre-installed, powered hub, wireless dongle and HDMI cable (it can hardware decode HD video). I've since set it up to have an ssh VNC connection so most of those bits I won't use but they are useful for initial set up. Due to power issues its recommended any USB devices are plugged into a powered hub or you get flaky performance.
There's also an overclocking feature endorsed by the Pi Foundation which can add 50% to the clock speed without voiding your warranty! As for networking people have already made clusters out of dozens of them!
I am not a good programmer for a start, this is meant to be a motivation for me learning Java and C++ via a Pi/Arduino project or two. I want to have something which can do processing on a video stream. Such programs are themselves quite large, relatively speaking, and require a lot more punch than a 20Mhz Arduino can manage. The Arduinos can use Java libraries but when you're considering image processing libraries 250kB won't get you far on the programming front, never mind having enough memory to manipulate or process 5~30 frames a second. Ultimately I want to use a Kinect but it doesn't have ARM drivers yet and even then the issue of driver size and required computing power puts it well out of range of the Arduino even if you could compile them for it.
Absolutely. I have one running the default Debian OS. There's no question these things are pretty slow, you won't be running any intense calculations on these things and you probably won't be multi-tasking. But if you only have one thing you're working on, these are perfect. For me, they can potentially replace low-cost real-time systems which have utility purposes (ie: a media display, an information interface, etc...). Typically these appliances require custom interfacing, take the Arduino for example.. you're interfacing with a programmed RTOS over a serial... that's great for some things. But it's a lot easier to do in a language with the features of the full fledged OS.
Pi's can run Processing, which as a similar IDE to Arduinos but is based on C, not Java. It takes ages to load on a Pi but it can do really nice and elaborate data representation via interactive displays. Ideal for things like museum displays, silent and low power but fully customisable. You could make your own NAS or hardware firewall using them, again allowing you to add in little touch displays to control or play media etc.
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