About Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi is a small pc that plugs into your TV and has USB inputs for a keyboard and mouse. The computer itself has 512mb of RAM, and runs a Linux based operating system called Debian. It costs around £35 for the computer, but a ‘Kit’ can be bought for an extra £55 containing all the basic items needed to get the Pi up and running.
In the Starter Kit I received from Maplin in the UK, I found the following:
- Raspberry Pi, Model B (the newest model with 512mb of RAM and Ethernet)
- 2.1A Dual USB Mains Adapter
- 4GB SD Card (Software Preloaded)
- Mains Powered 4-Port USB Hub
- USB Keyboard
- USB Optical 3-button Scroll Mouse
- N150 Wi-Fi USB Nano Dongle
- 1.5m USB A to Micro B cable
- 1.5m HDMI A to HDMI A cable
Setting up the Raspberry Pi
The Raspberry Pi is very straight forward to set-up, everything I needed was included in the Kit.
After plugging in a USB hub, a keyboard, mouse and Ethernet cable to the Pi, connecting the Pi via the HDMI cable to my TV, and switching the power on, a start up console is brought up on the TV enabling you to configure your settings such as your keyboard layout, time zone and password.
Installing Minecraft Pi and Configuration
After configuring the Pi, you can launch the desktop environment by typing ‘startx’. This takes you to a desktop with short cuts to LXTerminal which is a console for Linux commands, IDLE (an environment to run the Python language) and Midori, an easy-to-use web browser. After an hour of tinkering with LXTerminal, and learning basic Linux commands, I installed Minecraft Pi (a version of Minecraft designed for Raspberry Pi, a lot like the version for Android and Apple devices). It ran smoothly, with no crashing or frame rate issues. I then installed ‘Chromium’ ,a light weight version of Google Chrome, which was faster than the pre-installed ‘Midori’ web browser. Many of these programs can be downloaded to a USB flash drive and imported to the Pi via USB port, or even downloaded straight to the Pi.
Raspberry Pi Review
The Raspberry Pi is a very clever little computer, having many different and practical application. Here are just a small selection of things to do on the Raspberry Pi: turn it into a personalised door bell, create a case for it using Lego, or even use it to control a quad-rotor drone. The possibilities are endless due to its inexpensive cost, functionality and accessibility.