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Thursday, February 20, 2014

3.- N.O.O.B.S.

So, you have the hardware, but keep staring at it is not as interesting as it sounds, so, what do you need to play with the Pi now that you have the devices plugged in?  Answer: an operative system.  Without an operative system (OS for shorter), your PC, laptop, cellphone, TV, etc. would be as interesting as a gray stone (unless you are a geologist).  You may know it as "Windows" plus a number (or if you are old enough, some letters) after it, but in the open source world the OS's name we will hear is "Linux" with all their flavors (distros).  At the beginning, the Raspberry had the Debian 6 with LXDE as Graphical User Interface (GUI), but from 2011 at present, new distros have been developed, each one with their own instructions to install and setup (as well as with their advantages and disadvantages).  One thing that you may have noticed about the Raspberry is that it does not have a hard disk, and there is no need for it to have one, because the Raspberry uses an SD card to contain the OS and all the files you will download or develop in the future.

For newbies (or lazy people like me), someone came up with the idea to gather up the most popular OS's for the Pi, so we have the NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) SD card.  It is included in some "starter kits", or you can buy it as an extra.

Official NOOBS SD card.

The user simply has to insert it in the SD port of the Pi, and then wait for it to give some signs of life.


And then a fancy menu is displayed on the screen in which the user can select one (or several, as we will try in the future) OS to be installed.

The fancy menu.

If you have a spare SD or micro-SD card (minimum 4 GB), you can make your own NOOBS, you only have to follow the instructions given in this link.

I was able to use this one for my interests.

And after the multicolor screen it shows the following:

And then, the fancy menu.  After installing one (or several) of the OS's available, the Pi will restart and show you the following screen:

If you change your mind about the OS installed (or if you want to try them all one-by-one as I did), you can hold the SHIFT key until the "fancy menu" is displayed, you have to remember this because there is a probability that I will forget to mention it in the future.

In the following entries I will detail the OS's included in this card, and if the future is venturous, another OS's that are not included in there.

2.- Opening the package.

So, opening the package will not take a long time, because there is nothing more than the Raspberry Pi® in it.

The Raspberry in all its glory.

There is nothing to see here, people.

As the guys that developed it describe it: "The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard.  It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games.  It also plays high-definition video.  We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming." [The Raspberry guys]

Yeah... used by kids...

Of course there are some "combos" that include the power supply and the NOOBS SD card (this one will be documented later on this blog).  As I mentioned in the "Introduction", Raspberry Pi Foundation is a registered charity, so if you have the money, purchase it full loaded as they have "starter kits" (the charity does not apply to me, so basically I am making free advertisement for them, I am that cool!).

I was lucky to have this cover (for the time, because for some projects it is useless).

There are two models of the Raspberry, the model "A" and the model "B", basically the differences between them are:

Model A Model B
1 USB 2.0 port 2 USB 2.0 ports
No ethernet port 10/100 Mbps ethernet port
300 mA (1.5W) power rating 700 mA (3.5W) power rating
Lower cost Higher cost
Mostly unavailabe Mostly available

So, what else do we need to be able to use the thing?  Answer: anything you can plug-in to a PC via USB, and then cross your fingers for a driver availability for it (or develop it by yourself), lucky us there are a lot of devices with drivers for Linux (oh, did I mention that the weapon-of-choice operative system for the Pi is Linux?).  For starters, we need a keyboard and a mouse, piece of cake, then we have some options to connect it to a display:

  1. HDMI port  
  2. HDMI port using an adaptor to convert from DVI  
  3. RCA composite video conector  
Then plug the power and start to have fun!

Official steps to set up your Raspberry (

Next time I will talk about the Operative System(s) you can use with your Pi.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

1.- Introduction

Raspberry Pi® and its logo are property of The Raspberry Pi Foundation (which is a UK registered charity), when they appear in any part of this documentation is only for identification purposes.

Greetings everyone!  My name is Gonzalo Orellana, from Guatemala City; at present I am studying IT Engineering at Metropolia AMK and as part of the course "Orientation Project" I am having the precious opportunity to have my hands on a cool piece of technology as the Raspberry Pi® is.  In the following days (or weeks or months, depending on my free time and the amount of money that I can spend, as for this moment is basically 0, so if you personally know Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg or the dudes of Google, you can mention them about me and maybe I can have some funds to have some fun!) I will document everything that I do with this "tiny and cheap computer for kids" (

I will try to be as clear as possible, but if there is any doubts or clarification needed you can always ask for it in the comments area and I will do my best to answer you (or to "google it" and point you in the right direction).

So, let's the game begin!