Raspberry pi - Introduction

Hello once again.

This is the first of series of Raspberry pi related posts. I believe that the Raspberry pi (rpi from now on) can help us learn from basic electronics to coding, presenting alternative solutions to existing or not problems. In this series I will make a step-by-step installation of a simple, descent LAMP (Linux Apache MySql PHP) server.

This is what a rpi looks like, compared to a D, a AAA battery and a SD card.








 Introduction
For those not familiar with the pi, I think it will enough to start with the following bullets:

  • it is a single-board processor
  • it has low cost, (approximately 35$)
  • low performance, ARM6 700Mhz single core processor with 256/512Mb of RAM (type A/B)
  • runs a distribution of GNU/linux based on Debian, called raspbian
  • has some GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) pins, used to connect sensors, devices etc in order to control them, get data or output data to
  • it has a large community for project ideas/solutions
I believe those are enough for now. In a few words the rpi is a small pc that is not meant to be used as a pc (what th.. ??).

If you don`t have one, then I hope after reading this post, you will consider getting your hands on one. 

No arduino
Arduino is a microcontroller, it is not to be confused with the pi. They can work together, but they are not the same. Both projects are very popular, which is the reason why there are clones. In the case of the pi, a popular clone is the banana pi, shown in the pic below, on the right. It is in the same price range, faster (1 GHz dual core ARM7) with more RAM (1 GB), but still ... Not so well supported. More power does not always mean better.



Why bothering?
The best answer is why not? I own mine several months and I have tried a few projects. Through those projects I had to read and learn a few things about electronics (remember that Ohm's law you have learnt in school, that R=I/V?). Moreover I  got my hands dirty with solder, cables, LED's, but I also had to use python, setup an apache web server, remember the mysql syntax and of course so many more. So, yes, I believe I have learnt a thing or two. 

Disclaimer
I am not an expert, so throughout these series I am only putting together pieces I have found online, I have tried and they work. At least in the cases mentioned. Maybe there are better ways (most likely) to get the same result. Maybe mine suck, but at least, so far, I do know that they do not suck hard. If so please make your point in a comment.

Getting started
If you about to order your slice of pi, then keep in mind that you will need:
  • one SD card
  • one USB type A to male micro USB type B (the standard USB cable that comes with a smartphone)
  • one USB charger (5V, 1A)
  • one USB keyboard *
  • one USB mouse * (just to login in the GUI and play around)
  • one HDMI cable *
  • one monitor that supports HDMI *
  • one UTP Ethernet cable
* you will need them only once, to boot the first time, then SSH will be used

If you have put things together, then check again in a few days for the next post. 
C u.

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