Saturday, May 19, 2012

Raspberry Pi First Impressions

It's my Pi!
The long wait is over and I finally have my hands on an actual Raspberry Pi. Initial impressions was that I'm really nervous about getting this protected and supported in a case. It's no more vulnerable to abuse than any other PCB, but a case will give me some peace of mind.
Getting the SD card was easier than I thought it would be, and the instructions at http;// were clear and easy to follow. One caveat, however: they don't explain that the partitions need to be adjusted after you dd (the command for copying the image onto the SD card) the image onto the card. It gives you a filesystem partition of about 1.7 GB and if you have a 4GB card, a bunch of it is going unused if you don't fix it. I used gparted on an Ubuntu computer to move the swap partition to the end of the unallocated space and then grow the filesystem partition to fit. I'm pretty sure it would be a bad idea to change the start point of the filesystem partition, and I didn't. 
It was a little dicey on first boot. I was a little dissapointed because it didn't sync up with my plasma TV via HDMI right away. I got some horizontal lines going across the screen. Information to help me troubleshoot this issue is hard to find, and the search function on the Raspberry Pi forums is, as one element14 user put it, "about as useful as a fish on a bicycle." I punted and switched over to the RCA output and that was no problem. Then I tried HDMI on the presentation projector, and that was fine too. 
Getting the audio to work was a small saga, which I can not now relate because the file containing my notes are on the Raspberry Pi.
I have two more units on order with element14, which I'm happy to see both have delivery dates now. This first one was from England through RS Components. I'll have it a whole month before the first one from Newark element14 gets here. I registered interest with RS in the first hour of the announcement, and at element14 about 9 hours later. Not sure how that 9 hours really accounts for a month's worth of delay. I suspect things are just especially slow at element14. 

This is a repost of my article on WixsonIT. Follow updates there.