Computer Stuff…

Raspberry PI – Inital thoughts / first hours use

OK, so per the WINDOWS 8 PRO notes below, my RASPBERRY PI arrived the other day, not currently being hooked up to high speed broadband, took me a while, even with the torrent, surprisingly, to download the OPERATING SYSTEM, initially, have gone for WHEEZY, per the description at http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads – having waited 11 weeks or so for delivery, downloading the operating system is definately something I could have preparred before hand !

To keep costs down all I ordered was the RASPBERRY PI , £31 from RS components, had to wait 11 or so weeks, due to the slow production processes, the fun of being an early(ish) adopter ! The kit can now be ordered from MAPLINS http://www.maplin.co.uk/raspberrypi or AMAZON ! Once it arrived I had to scurry around to find the following to get things up and running :-

– Micro usb power supply, just like the one that comes with most smart phones

– HDMI cable, alternatively, I also grabbed a YELLOW composite video cable, like the ones used with most video cameras.

– USB Keyboard

– USB Mouse

– USB WIFI adapter, cheap and cheerful EBAY item 150713428236

– Headphones

– SD memory card, got lots floating around, but couldn’t find anything bigger than 2GB’s, which is fine, but it’s recommended to use a 4GB card if available.

Can’t believe the board is open and not protected, must be very robust, as it’s designed for use by school’s and sticky fingers !

After downloading the WHEEZY operating system, I had to download and use WIN32DISKIMAGER in order to read the WHEEZY operating system image and write it to the 2GB SD card, to write to the SD card I used a trusty SD card reader from the £1 shop, these work VERY well and connect by high speed USB.

Once, I had the image installed on the SD CARD, I plugged everything together and finally connected the power adapter, a couple of LED’s lit up on the RASPBERRY PI, but more importantly I started getting the familiar LINUX boot sequence appear beautifully in HIGH DEFINITION on my 32″ flat screen TV.

From then on it was pretty simple, follow the instructions on the QUICK START GUIDE to configure the installation and fire up the desktop.

Played around with a FEW games and they just worked, of particular benefit is GEMGEM as it has sounds when you move GEM’s around and allowed me to ensure that sound was comming over HDMI and through the headphone port.

Then I wondered if my cheap and cheerful WIFI adapter (EBAY item 150713428236) would work and allow me to connect to the WORLD ? biggest challenge here is that there are only 2 USB ports and I had the keyboard plugged into one and the mouse plugged into the other, unplugged the keyboard, plugged in the WIFI adapter and rebooted, once back up and running had to plug and unplug the mouse and keyboard (these items being hot plugable) in order to configure the WIFI access settings, but after a bit of fiddling I was connected to the WEB and checking E-MAIL on a computer that had cost me a few quid over £31 ! ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE !

So this was just the first 30 – 60 minutes of playing around and I am VERY impressed.

Currently I have the following to do :-

– Purchase a bigger SD CARD, how big, not sure yet.

– Purchase, from the trusty £1 shop, a USB expansion hub, so that I can connect the keyboard, mouse and WIFI adapter, all at the same time, would be great to be able to connect memory sticks and external hard disks as well, but I believe (?) in order to start connecting lots of USB stuff you need to consider a powered hub or the power to drive the cpu will fall and the system may not be stable – time will tell.

– Purchase, again possibly from the trusty £1 shop, another mini USB power supply, so the current one can go back to being used for charging the phone !

– Purchase a case, would love to support the PIBOW as it was designed and developed in cooperation with the incredible ACCESS SPACE in Sheffield, but being of low funds, believe there are cheaper options out there, one of which, due to the robustness of the technology is to not use a case !

Outstanding stuff to understand

– How do you connect to standard monitors, do modern monitors have HDMI / composite video connectors or is a HDMI / composite to VGA adapter required ?

– The alternative OS images, especially excited about RISC OS which has just been released for use.

– Excited about doing somekind of PLC / breakout electronics type projects, similar to what I saw being undertaken at ACCESS SPACE recently with ARDUINO kit, programming with WATER BEAR to control a GUM BALL machine, that had been created from wood with the computer controlled laser cutter.

– Visit MAPLIN’s and have alook at what they have to connect to the PI, MAPLIN’s supporting many off the shelf extra’s for the PI and ARDUINO
– Excited to understand the PI’s potential and then show others how it works and as always UBUNTU / PAY IT FORWARD.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS – WOW – get this in ALL school’s and college’s and let’s show the WORLD why the UNITED KINGDOM had an INCREDIBLE HOME COMPUTER movement in the 80’s – programming’s comming home 😀

Hope you enjoyed these notes and if you did, please leave a comment, cause it took PASSION, TIME, EFFORT, LECTRIC and CPU CYCLES to put this together for you to read.

~NAMASTE~UBUNTU~PAY IT FORWARD~

Infostocksy

 

Initial thoughts about WINDOWS 8 PRO

I am writing this after having upgraded to WINDOWS 8 PRO on Wednesday 21st November 2012, currently as I initially write this – two and a half days ago.

I used MACRIUM REFLECT FREE to completely backup my exisiting system before I performed the upgrade, I like MACRIUM REFLECT because it allows me to mount the backed up image and get back to the files I used to have very easily and quickly from a USB connected external hard disk.

Currently Microsoft have a special offer on upgrading to WINDOWS 8 PRO :-

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/windows/buy

currently this offer is set to run until 31 Jan 2013 and MICROSOFT are offering the upgrade at £24.99

A GREAT PRICE TO GET THE LATEST OS FROM MICROSOFT

So being an IT Expert (ex being something that was and spurt being a drip under pressure!) and generally an early adopter, I decided to upgrade my 7 year old laptop to Window 8 Pro from Windows XP Home, one of the target demographic’s that Microsoft is hoping to reach in order to hopefully move away from the incredibly successful 11 year old WINDOWS XP platform.

So the upgrade process was incredibly painless, but very time consuming,  taking over some 3 hours, but it worked with very little intervention, basically you buy a license key and then enter this into the upgrade website and a download of the upgrade occurs and the upgrade process occurs. One item I particularly remember is that the upgrade process connected the details of the hardware being upgraded to my MICROSOFT account.

VERY disappointed that, so far, haven’t found that I can create the WINDOWS 8 PRO upgrade media, others talked about being able to cut a CD / DVD or create a USB pen drive installation, but to date all I’ve found is that you re-run the update program and it re-downloads that that’s required in order to carryout the upgrade, shame, as I would like to create the media in order that I can upgrade other’s computers and just order the product key from Microsoft without having to download the 2 GB upgrade package every time !

The computer boot up / sleep process, is NOW very slow and I was hoping that this was going to improve over the old Windows XP process, but currently it’s VERY PAINFUL versus the old XP sleep process that would have me back up and running in 10-20 seconds, getting back into WINDOWS 8 is currently taking me well in excess of a minute now !

The corners of the DESKTOP are now your friends, when you move your mouse there stuff happens !

Windows key + C (Charms) is your friend and brings up an interface you can do stuff with.

The START menu and all your PROGRAMS have now disappeared !

So the old joke, how do you close windows, START, SHUTDOWN is lost on the next generation !

Windows key + C and then clicking on SEARCH now brings up the APPS menu, where alot of your programs now live.

Currently, something strange has happened with ADOBE FLASH player, apparently it’s now integrated in INTERNET EXPLORER 10, but trying to use it or install it under FIREFOX, it just doesn’t seem to want to play ball – not nice ADOBE, not nice !

The OLD windows installation was renamed to WINDOWS.OLD and I had to search out how to remove this directory, as it was obviously very large and needed to be removed to gain the space back, per the notes at the start of this write up the system had been previously completely backed up prior to the upgrade.

Stuff I’ve lost or had to re-install as part of the upgrade :-

– Itunes

– All my music

– VLC movie player

– Doubletwist player

– HFSexplorer

– IMGBURN

– Windows Movie Maker

– Nike Sportband interface

– Trusteer Rapport

– Firefox

– AVAST Antivirus

– Google DRIVE

– Stuff I haven’t found is missing yet …

Currently the METRO interface does nothing for me and I instantly flick past it and into the desktop view, this said I appreciate that on a tablet / touch screen type technology I can see METRO being VERY useful and really comming into it’s own.

To be absolutely honest, for a 21st century solution, initially, for me, it doesn’t blow my socks of, it just seems to be the next increment in the WINDOWS life cycle, having said this, connect WINDOWS 8 with a hybrid tablet / powerful ZEN book type solution and I would be very excited and can see the REAL potential in this kind of transformational type of next generation deployment and integration, this said I’m VERY impressed that the latest WINDOWS operating system is running on technology that is over 7 years old and it’s working and performing VERY admirally and VERY useable and has extended the life of this laptop probably to over 10 years, which is INCREDIBLE ! as historically I used to find myself replacing desktops every couple of years, so 10 years from a laptop is great for me, but not so great for technology manufacturers that need us to buy the latest stuff to stay in business.

BOTTOM LINE  

£25 to UPGRADE to the latest PRO version of the WINDOWS operating system is fantastic value for money and will extend the life of your technology easily for a few more years and it gets MY PERSONAL vote of approval !

Anyway, today my RASPBERRY PI arrived, so time and effort playing around with WINDOWS 8 PRO will be limited and at the end of the day shouldn’t this just be the way – it’s just another operating system that ENABLES me to do stuff 😀

Hope you enjoyed these notes and if you did, please leave a comment, cause it took PASSION, TIME, EFFORT, LECTRIC and CPU CYCLES to put this together for you to read.

NAMASTE

Infostocksy

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