What have you done with your Raspberry Pi?


(Daniel Hollands) #1

I’ve decided I want to play with the Pi a little more.

I’ve got an idea for a little web-based control panel which I’ll place next to my front door, and use to hook into various home automation bits, starting with my Sonos - as that’s pretty much the only IoT thing I own right now - but expanding it with more things as time goes on.

I’ve just discovered the official 7" Touchscreen Display which looks amazing, and pretty much perfectly fits in with my idea.

I can use Node to build the app/server (although, depending on how much tolerance I have for pain, I might give up and just use Ruby), and make a basic, touch screen friendly, interface which people can use to check themselves in and out of the flat.

To do the above properly, I’m going to buy myself a new Pi 2 (as well as the display), which leaves my existing first-gen Pi without a job, so I’m going to give it something to do by installing Pi-Hole on it.

Anyway, that’s me - I’m keen to know what you lot have used Pis for.


Does anyone have an old HDMI monitor or TV they don't want any more?
Encouraging people to blog/write
(Jon) #2

I don’t have one yet, but I’ve just bought a new flat-screen TV, and I hear a Pi makes a good media centre. I expect I’ll run XBMC (now called Kodi since it runs on a lot more things than just an XBox).


(Marc Cooper) #3

Elixir and Nerves: http://www.gregmefford.com/blog/2016/01/22/driving-neopixels-with-elixir-and-nerves/


(Andy Wootton) #4

I use it as a Real Computer for web access. It’s comparable, but different to, my Atom PCs in performance. I’ve installed Leiningen for Clojure which starts incredibly slowly but seems OK once it’s running and Freemind which was broken on my 64 but Ubuntu box by a recent upgrade of something else. I still haven’t bought the MPEG licence I’d need for video and sadly BBC iPlayer doesn’t work without Google add-ons.


(Daniel Hollands) #5

I installed XBMC on a Pi a few years ago for a friend. It worked fine for a couple of days, but I did something (playing with the settings I think) and it stopped working - I don’t remember the specifics - but I do remember that I was going to reinstall it (to unfuck whatever I’d fucked in the first place) - and never got around to it - which is also the story how of I ended up with 2 of them :sweat_smile:


For my own part, after reading the PDF edition of MagPi issue #40 (the one that got away) I found the MirrorMirror project, and have added it to my list of Pi-based things I want to build.

The technical part of it should all be fairly simple (and I imagine I’ll build my own info screens using HTML and CSS, rather than using the MirrorMirror repo) - but the bit that worries me the most is the actual building of the physical thing - I’ve never done anything like this before, and frankly, I’m not even sure there I’d begin. :hammer:


(Michael Brett) #6

I don’t think that’s quite fair, though they do require Flash, their browser support is quite good and the reasoning is pretty straightforward:

Due to the resources required to develop, test and support BBC iPlayer
Radio for each individual browser currently available and in the
interest of delivering value to the licence fee we only support the most
popular browsers currently used
. We’ll continue to follow user trends
and support the top browsers accordingly, as and when they change.

(emphasis mine)


(Andy Wootton) #7

Flash isn’t available on ARM Linux, so you need HTML5 and it depends on Google proprietary stuff to provide DRM or some content providers won’t let them put their material on iPlayer.

It’s Free Software people’s own fault for refusing to cooperate on Open DRM software. it was always obvious that someone else would. I think the BBC should offer their own content DRM-free and ‘let the market decide’.

We’ve paid for a licence, despite having a pensioner in the house, so we didn’t need to, because I used to believe in the BBC but they’re being prejudiced against Free software and distorting the market now.


(Andy Wootton) #9

I’ve never personally had a problem with the principle of DRM, only the implementation. As long as the market is fair, Free culture wins in a genuinely Free market. Give people choice and they’d prefer to buy than rent, if the price is the same. That’s Conservative housing doctrine, isn’t it. The thing that always worried me about Free software though, is that it seems incompatible with capitalism.

DRM could be applied to geographical areas that didn’t make a financial contribution to the UK licence fee, and the BBC could sell to those areas. China might subscribe, to encourage English speaking among the poor.


(Michael Brett) #10

I took down my last comment because it came across as a bit ranty.


(Andy Wootton) #11

It seemed fine to me :slight_smile: I’ve always agreed with your point that if the BBC are being criticised equally from the left and right then they’re doing OK. I wish there was more openess about the pressures on them right now, because I detect a huge swing to the right recently which could be a defensive measure.


(Steve Pitchford) #12

I’ve tried using Gnash on my arch linux laptop, and it seems to work on some sites occasionally. https://www.gnu.org/software/gnash/

Google seems to suggest some vcan install it on the pi.


(Daniel Hollands) #13

I’ve ordered a bunch of Pi stuff from Amazon, which should be arriving today. Specifically:

I’ve decided I need to learn more about the GPIO, and what sort of things I can do with it, so these two should give me plenty to play with.

Although I do have plans on getting the 7" touchscreen, that’s a little outside my budget for now, so I’ve ordered this HDMI to VGA adaptor so I can plug my pi into an old VGA monitor that I’ve got.

Thanks to @defsdoor I already have a wireless keyboard and mouse (which run off a single dongle), and have found a bunch of GPIO tutorials (doing things like blinking LEDs and reading from sensors), so I should have plenty of new toys to play with.


(Daniel Hollands) #14

And here is the initial outcome of the booty I received yesterday:


(Andy Wootton) #15

That’s amazing. When I looked 6 months ago, you’d have had to pay at least £50.


(Ben Paddock) #16

I have a Pi behind my shoe cupboard, powered by the router on top of it, running my website (on a Python web stack). I might upgrade to the latest Pi now to get a bit more speed as it’s a bit slow running although it doesn’t get much traffic either, so maybe not :smile:

They’re such good value, versatile machines!


(Andy Wootton) #17

Powered by your router? Is that via a USB port on the router or have I missed something about Pi power options?


(Ben Paddock) #18

My router has a USB connection that is powered. The Pi probably draws less power from it than my phone does from a charger.


(Andy Wootton) #19

I was going to get an adaptor but the Pi Zero came out, so they sold out. I’ve been running my Pi 2 off the USB of my PC. The only problem is that I’ve forgotten a few times when I’ve shut down my PC.


(Jon) #20

Having recently seen the Raspberry Pi 2 in a funky little case, I might get one. I fancy an inexpensive audio player for the bedroom, so I can throw my alarm clock away. It sounds like a really angry duck! :angry: :bird:

I think headless will be fine, and then web-based software to configure an alarm schedule. For bonus points I might use the USB port for a better DAC - depending in the quality of the headphone out.


(Matthew Steer) #21

We work with UK rail ticket printers - a little box that spits out an orange ticket just like the big machine at the station. And just like the machine at the station, you need a UI to tap in your booking reference so you can get your ticket.

So we offer a desktop app that performs this function and our clients plug the ticket printer we provide into a PC. It’s a bit of a PITA and usually some poor schmuck at our client ends up being “ticket printing guy/girl” because it’s plugged into their PC.

So yeah, we’re working on a Raspberry Pi solution that’ll give them a neat little touchscreen on top of their ticket printer instead of having to have it permanently plugged into a PC. Anyone who needs to print their train tickets can just use the machine.