Now that I’ve been working with my RPi, I am having a ball. This is fun. As I mentioned it has HDMI output and that’s a plus. After playing around with several of the distributions I found Raspbmc. It’s based on Debian, and the GUI is XBMC. XBMC is a media center program that does a lot of things. Photos, video, and other things that I can’t remember. Then I found out it will also work as a uPnP player. Now that’s something I’ve been looking for.
One of the problems I had was getting the system to connect to the network. If I wanted to use it anywhere so it had to be wireless. I ordered a wireless adapter from the same company that got the Pi from, and plugged it in. I had to configure it by putting in the password, and it connected. So now I can move it around. I took it into my TV room and plugged it into my TV. Oh, what a picture. I configured it to get the files from my uPnP server, and it connected right away. I got the list and selected a movie to watch. I couldn’t believe it. The picture was every bit as good as my blueray player. Yep, it’s that good. I was very pleased.
The folks at the Raspberry Pi organization have created a real winner as far as I’m concerned. Now to find out what else it will do.
Filed under: Computers, Raspberry Pi, SuSE Linux
At the beginning of the month, I got the latest issue of Linux Journal. In it is a lot of articles on a little computer called the Raspberry Pi. After reading some of the articles, I decided to order one. I mean, how much can you lose with a computer that only costs $35. I ordered the card along with some extra stuff like the power supply, a small case, and of course the operating system. The Raspberry Pi is an ARM powered self contained computer about the size of a credit card. Well, at least length and width. The version I bought has 512 meg of ram. It has two USB ports, and connections for the network cable, analog video, analog sound, and an HDMI port! Yep, that’s right. HDMI on it and it works quite nicely with my new monitor.
Credit for this picture goes to Switched on Tech Design(www.sotechdesign.com.au)
The little sdcard contains the operating system. One thing is that it runs linux. Yep, that’s it. Well, so far. According to the website, there are problems running Windows on this processor. Oh, well, I usually don’t do windows anyway. It came with the standard OS of Raspbian. It’s debian based and works OK. I’m not that familiar with Debian, so I had to do some research to get certain things done. Not hard at all. After that, I decided to find out if my old friend SuSE had an image. Yep, sure do. I downloaded it, and wrote it to another sdcard. Plugged it in, and it started right up. Sort of nice to have an old friend to work with. But there is work to be done on the image, so I’ll see what I can contribute.
As for what it can do, I’ve heard it makes a nice quiet file server, or a media server or even a webserver. Now that would be something. Low power consumption, and easy to work with. I’m not sure how well the webserver would work because of the processor, but the rest seem to be possible for a home network.
I’m off to play now, and see what I can do with it. I finally got a USB hub so that I can connect more things to the little box. Taking up one port with the keyboard doesn’t leave much space for the rest of the things I want to try.
Filed under: Computers, Fun Stuff, Uncategorized
Well, last night I turned my monitor off just as I’ve done for years. This morning when I started things up, no monitor. Dead. I tried everything I could think of to get it to work. I tried unplugging the power, holding the power on button while plugging in the power. Nothing. It is an older monitor, so I’ve been sort of expecting it to die. So I go down to Best Buy, one of my favorite stores, and pick up a new monitor. Not just any monitor though. It’s a 25in. HP IPS LED monitor. Damn, this is sweet. Picture is better, and of course bigger than the 22in. that I had before. It was also $60 off and that helped too.
I got the monitors switched, and started the computer. A few things flash, and then the picture comes up. Boy, talk about pretty. And it’s so big. I’m seeing little things that I don’t remember seeing before. It’s nice and I’m pleased. This one is definitely a keeper.
I decided to take the plunge and upgrade my internet connection. I’ve been cruising along with a 20meg down/876k up for a while and thought I’d take a look to see what was available. My ISP offered 40m down/5meg up. Yes, there was a price increase, but it isn’t that much. I order it last week, and they turned it on overnight. Regular pages aren’t that much different, but oh, what a difference it makes with downloads. I’ve got the openSUSE 12.3 install dvd going as I write this, and the download speed has doubled from yesterday. It bounces between 4.8 and 5.2m throughput. Amazing. Most I had with the old setup was 2.2meg and that was on a good day. I think I’m going to really like this new speed.
Now I’m off the play some more.
Many years ago, I started using SuSE linux because it was the only distribution that had support for ISDN. Well, that and I lived just down the road from the company headquarters. I bought my first version 5.3 from their office. Just something I remember. Now on to the latest version.
I don’t usually change versions that often. I ran 10.0 for years for my webserver because it just worked. No reason to change it. Then it was 11.0 for quite a while then 11.4 because it worked. But the service life runs out, and so it’s time to move on. I’ve been running 12.1 for quite some time, and liked it, but kept watching the later versions. There wasn’t enough of a change to get me to move to 12.2 so I didn’t worry about it. When 12.3 came out I watched the factory mail list and folks were saying good things about it. I decided to check it out. I have the ability to multi-boot from the bios, and not have to set things up with the boot loader. I kept upgrading the 12.3 computer and liked what I saw. When it went gold I decided that I’d go ahead and try to move my 12.1 install to this version.
I put in a new hard drive and started the install. Everything went quite well, and the initial setup went quite well. Now to begin the migration. There are several things that I do immediately after starting and I’ll list them.
1. Update the repositories and add Packman and Libdvdcss. The reason is to get the necessary codecs to use my collection of mp3s and other things. That part always goes well, and I did the necessary updates.
2. Add the FGLRX drivers for my graphics card. I know that a lot of folks don’t do this, nor use the ATI cards, but I’ve always had good luck with them so I keep doing it. As usual I had good luck and the graphics are great.
3. Move my mail and get Kmail working. I copied my mail and config file and all was well.
This is one of the best installs I’ve had in a while. It’s boots quickly and I’m up and running. So far everything works, and I’m quite happy. I think I’m going to rearrange my system and hard drives so that I can disconnect some of the drives until they are needed. I love the new SATA drives that let you just plug them in and use them as necessary.
It’s about time that I get back into the swing of things. I’ve been away for far too long. It wasn’t about lack of interest, but getting things back to normal after last years fiasco. I’m feeling pretty good now, and raring to go. I need to do a lot of updating to this machine and am going to start that soon. I’m going to update the OS as what I’m running right now is getting a bit long in the tooth. After that I’ll update the blog software and go from there. Hopefully that will put the spring back into my step and I’ll start blogging again.
I’ve often said that by using linux at home, I didn’t have to worry about the dreaded virus/malware attacks. I have also grown to know that there isn’t a lot that I can’t do. It sometimes takes a bit longer, but eventually I get what I want.
Yesterday, I got a webcam for this computer. Nothing really fancy. It’s a logitech Quickcam communicate delux. It’s a nice cam that fit right on top of my monitor. Ah, but getting to work with linux. Well, google is my friend. I did a search, and came up with what I thought would be a driver for it. Alas, it had to be compiled and for the life of me I couldn’t get it to compile. It kept coming up with an error 2 from Make. Luckily, I did a search of the openSuSE site, and lo and behold there was an RPM just for this. Did a one-click install and then inserted the module into the system. The cam came right up in Skype. Nice.
The second one was today. I have had an internet radio for quite a while that I listen to. Mostly public radio stations. But also knew that if there was a uPNP player, it would play the music from my computer. I looked around and again, found a program called mediatomb. Again, it was a one-click install and I was off and runnning. It’s really a nice program. It comes with a web interface for setup. I fired up the browser, and setup all the music that I’ve got on this machine. It took just a couple of minutes, and I was ready. I went down to the radio and went through the menu. Wow! There’s all my music. I can listen to it everyone I take the little radio in the house.
I’m really pleased on how well this all has worked. I basically use openSUSE 11.0 on this machine. It does everything I need and now even more. And it just runs and runs.
Now, someone explain to me why I need Windows anything?
I bought the upgrade to Snow Leopard for Jane’s iMac a couple of weeks ago. Before it arrived I started reading little things that might happen, and that perhaps I should wait for the first update to fix some of the problems. So I waited. Mainly because of everything I’d heard about problems with HP printers. We have a 2600n Color Laserjet, and it had been working quite nicely with all the computers in the house.
Yesterday I got the bug, and started the upgrade. It was easy and came right up. But not so unexpectedly, the HP printer was gone. My little brother Laser printer was found and properly installed. No problem, I’ll just re-install the HP. First I got the updates to 10.6 and that went well. But still no HP fix. I checked around the net, and found an update to the HP drivers for the Mac. I downloaded that, did the install, and still nothing. I worked on it for quite a while without any luck. Now where is that install disk for the printer. Searched the room, but couldn’t find it. No problem. I’ll just download it. Still no luck. I quit. Better to stop, than get frustrated, and throw the computer out the window.. 😉
I came back this morning, and found the disk. It was right beside the mac. I put it in, did the install, and then checked. There was still a problem, and it couldn’t find the right driver. But I clicked on something and up popped the printer with a strange name. I said install it, the mac said OK, and all is well.
Are there improvements? I think so. But she’s up to date now, and so far it works as it did when I bought it. It is nice to not have to worry about updating the virus protection, and so forth.
I was listening to NPR’s Morning Edition today, and the last story had me in stitches. It seems that the internet speeds in South Africa aren’t that good. One company proved it by strapping a memory card to a homing pigeon’s leg. When it arrived at it’s destination, only 4% of the file had come across the net. Now that’s slow. Here’s the short story