The Headless Pi-ManBy Bobby Neal Winters
As those of you who have sampled this blog recently will be aware, lately I’ve been into building a robot. I am progressing in that and will report on that shortly. My account wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t share what got started on that was the Raspberry Pi. I originally saw--was shown--Raspberry Pi on Facebook over Christmas Break.
I googled it. Raspberry Pi was backordered, but the Arduino processor showed up on the search. The rest is history, as they say.
But I’m nothing if not stub..tenacious. I got my Raspberry Pi and have been trying to work it in amongst the Arduino/Robotics. I may eventually try to marry them, but we have to see whether they get along first.
The Raspberry Pi is a computer based on an ARM chip...blah, blah, blah. I’ve seen it described as the motherboard from a smartphone with some nice connectors glued to it. They sell two varieties. You want Model B and you can get it for $35 here. You will also want to get the SD card with the operating system on it; that will cost you $13.
And you will need a TV at first. It will have to have either an HDMI connector or a RCA jack connector. These are the two ways that the Raspberry Pi connects directly with monitors. The Pi was designed to appeal the the hacker mentality. Since Christmas break, I’ve learned a lot about this psychology.
There are folks who will spend hundreds of hours to find a way to do something outside of the constraints of the system. (Be kind to them because you will want them to be your friends come the Zombie Apocalypse.) For these folks--and to make it as cheap as possible--the Pi has been designed so that you can make it work with things you might have laying around: keyboard, mouse, TV, ethernet hub, cell phone charger, etc.
I must confess that this peculiarity of working with anything BUT a computer monitor has cost me the most. All of the TVs in my home are being watched by someone. After a couple of misadventures with monitors designed for use with backup cameras and CCTV such as this. I got a cheap little TV for $100. The bright side of this is that it can be used later for something else. My youngest daughter is already lobbying for it.
This is all going to be filed under “I” for Irony in the Twilight Zone, however, because I believe I am going to be running my Pi headless.
That’s right, headless.
As it is a Linux box, you can use secure shell (SSH) to connect to it remotely. As it is such a small little fellow, running a GUI on it makes it run slowly. The light little browser that comes on it doesn’t do the things I like.
But it is a Linux box so I can put it on my network and set it up as a server. The only thing I needed the monitor for was to get its IP address so I could connect to it remotely.
However, in the course of this, I have resurrected my Ubuntu box so I may put together a Linux network: A little computer farm in my own office.
There will be more entries as madness descends.