Sunday, January 17, 2016

My Raspberry Pi Journey continues

When the first Raspberry Pi was announced I knew I had to have one, so of course I preordered one.

When it finally arrived, I was sure I would find the time to play with it…. but somehow the Pi never made it to my front burner.  So when a friend expressed interest in my Pi, I offered to let him borrow it and play. The  next time I saw my Pi it was in full use as a media server in my friend’s house. 

Last year, the Pi2 came out and  I decided to try again.  This time I ordered the Canakit that included everything I needed to get started. 

This time I got it out of the box, and ran into some problems with getting a display output.  Even though we had an HDMI TV/monitor  the Pi refused to recognize our monitor.  Eventually we were able to bypass this barrier using a projector.  I highly recommend having a projector handy when setting up your Pi as they auto-adjust to the resolution of the device sending the signal.  It was interesting to explore the Pi, but again, I didn’t have a project in mind, so it didn’t get taken out much.   I used it to run Scratch - a popular program to teach kids to create with code.

The next time the Pi caught my attention was when the Kano came out.  Wow.. a flavor of the Raspberry Pi set up so that a 6 year old could assemble it and start using it to learn to code.  I ordered the Kano for my grandson and it proved as easy to assemble as promised, and brought us immediately to the Kano OS, especially geared towards the tasks of having kids learn to code! Nicely done!  

When the  $5 PI Zero  was announced, I was eager to delve into the world of Pi again. My confidence as a maker had grown,  so I quickly ordered one for myself and a few extra for friends to join me.  After all- who wants to make alone!  I had enough experience with the Pi to know that it would take more than a $5 bill to get it up and running, so I ordered one PI Starter Kit  and  a few Pi Budget kits from Adafruit, hoping that they would contain everything I needed to geek out with the Pi once again. 

Each time I venture into Pi land I build a little more confidence and become more familiar with the  Pi environment.  When my package from Adafruit came in over the holiday season,  I happened to be gearing up for my first experience boon docking in the desert with some friends.  I wasn’t surprised to find the desert filled with geeks, after all who else besides a DIY personality would volunteer to go live without power, water, and sewer and call it fun! ;-) 
So knowing there was backup around me, I put out the word that I was about to unpack my Adafruit box filled with Pi goodies and sent out a Facebook message inviting anyone who was interested to join me. 

I was quickly joined by Kelley who showed up carrying a battery pack and a Pico projector.  Soon Eric came over with his Dell Mini projector.  Both had enough experience to know that these might come in handy.  One of the things I learned about boon docking in a group is that everyone around you is always willing to share any resources they might have to help their neighbors. 

Kelley and I quickly explored the various components that had come in the box.  
First step in any project is too familiarize yourself with your materials.  It wasn’t long before we had power.  Next we played with display options, and finally came to a standstill realizing that the Pi Zero would need a new version of Raspbian.  I immediately started the two hour download process and then we all went off to look for palm trees in a nearby canyon!  But I had what I needed — a boost of confidence to set forth on my exploration of the Pi Zero.

In my next post I’ll document my journey from unpacking to successfully getting the Pi Zero up and running!  Special shoutout to Kelley and Eric and all the other geeks who live, work, and learn from the road who inspire me with both your knowledge and your DIY spirit! 

Oh and by the way.. we found the Palm trees about a mile into our hike in Palm Canyon.  Who knew there were palm trees in this Arizona desert! 

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