March 7, 2018
I always have lots of ideas buzzing on my brain. Most of them involve small form programmable devices, and the more connected, the better. So when I saw information on the new Raspberry Pi 3, I just went and got myself one. For those that do not know, it is a tiny computer with WiFi and Bluetooth! Excellent! Besides, I have used Arduinos, but not a Raspberry Pi before. This was a gap in my knowledge which I had to fill.
It arrived and as with most new gadgets, my experience was very limited to this point. Also, since I’m quite time constrained I bought it with a ‘newbies’ kind of SD card that was already prepared with some kind of partition that would let me select which operating system I wanted to use, and install it from there.
Physical setup was easy and enjoyable as I connected things I already have to this little tiny box: old Macbook Air, a USB SNES controller, a wired USB keyboard and Microsnot mouse, a USB mobile phone charger for power, and then the HDMI plug from the TV (but this is not old!).
Once it turns on, it displayed a gradient test pattern and then allowed me to select which system I wanted to install, all using a GUI. For some reason a mouse didn’t work, nor the USB controller I bought, but I could navigate using the keyboard. I selected RetroPi and it went ahead and installed the system.
During installation it displayed a few of those “here’s all the cool things you can do with this operating system” we’re used to see from the times of Windows 95, except instead of tacky suggestions such as improving productivity and synergies, it spoke about the creative applications such as Sonic Pi, programming environments such as Scratch and also just plain old Python. This was very nice and I felt right at home. But I plan on using mine for EmulationStation and RetroPi to play old classic Retro games.
This took about maybe 10 minutes? I don’t recall because I was doing other things (namely: dealing with Penelope and cooking). But when it finished, it restarted to boot into the newly installed operating system.
I turned it off and on again. This time it booted directly into RetroPi and EmulationStation, and seemed stable (no reboot loop!), the controllers worked this time, and I went straight to try to find if the WiFi would just work. Which it did, unlike other systems. Exciting! One of the main reasons I bought this Pi worked successfully on the first go. Beautiful.
I’m super impressed by the performance of the Raspberry Pi 3. The GUI is super responsive and it certainly doesn’t feel like a $35 computer at all. I would strongly recommend anyone with a techie brain like me to get one. Might get another one and use it as a NAS Server for all my movies. Hrmmmmm….