Raspberry Pi Diary : December 26, 2012

Gosh, my last post to this blog was back in April 2011.  Well, here goes.

I received a Raspberry Pi (B) as a holiday gift, along with a case and a wireless nub.  I had commented in the media on several occasions about the RPi phenom, but had never laid hands on actual kit until this week.Image

Well, I downloaded the Raspian image and rolled up my sleeves.

  • Burned Raspian on an SD card using my MacPook Pro – don’t bother with the graphical UI – dd works just fine.  Set bs=2m for better performance.
  • Hooked the cute little card up to my giant monitor using HDMI, inserted the SD card,  plugged in an old IBM USB keyboard/hub, ran a short CAT5 cable to the nearest Ethernet switch, and connected a borrowed Nexus charger/power supply.  And . . . nothing.  No boot msgs, no diagnostics.  Bubkes.
  • A little research revealed that the SD card (Sandisk Ultra 8 GB) I used was marginal, at least for the RPi (works great in cameras).    Bought a handful of alternate cards (after consulting http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeripherals).  Gotta love post-holiday sales. The next one I tried, a PNY 4 GB Class 6, worked fine – gave the rest of the cards to my kids for use in Xmas presents.
  • The RPi booted right up, albeit slower than I would have liked (700 MHz ARM).  Nice clean Debian distro, familiar in some ways, alien in others.  Awkward config utility – need to go back and reconfigure a few key items
  • Discarded the IBM keyboard (too much key bounce) in favor of an ancient Compaq I dug out of the garage.  Added an equally antediluvian MS mouse.
  • Having run out of USB slots, I dug out a nice little powered 7 position USB hub.  Moved the KB and mouse over, jettisoned the Nexus charger, and now draw power from the hub (up to 2A).
  • Stuffed a wireless nub in the now-available RPi USB slot.  Rebooted, ran the wireless config util and voila – everything just works.  Only issue – both the wireless and Ethernet interfaces present the same MAC address to my router.  Hmmm.

More later.

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