Wednesday 29th February 2012 0600 GMT, the internet exploded because of the Raspberry Pi.
It was six years in the making, but finally the most revolutionary piece of equipment was about to arrive. But wait, what does it actually do? What’s the point of it? What was all the fuss about?
When the Raspberry Pi foundation went live with the launch on the R-Pi, it announced that that it would licensing the manufacturing and distribution to two British firms. They are Premier Farnell and RS components. By doing this they can get more units out quicker and a lot more efficiently than doing it all by themselves. Farnell reported of a 300% uplift in web traffic and over 600 visits every second and they clearly were not expecting it. Both websites crashed almost immediately and RS components have now received over 500,000 people who have expressed an interest in the R-Pi.
I have ran through the specs of this machine before so I won’t bore you with the facts, but the general consensus I hear from people I know is they don’t understand what it is used for or what I am going to use it for. Obviously this is never really going to replace PC’s in anyway shape or form, it’s far to weak to do that. But the foundation’s aim is to get kids back into computing and enthuse them about programming. This is what we need. What we don’t need is subjects that make kids make a powerpoint presentation every two weeks about the types of cheese made in Hampshire. I won’t name the subject but it begins with an I and ends in a T. 😉
What we need is to generate a real interest in computers and their nuts and bolts as it were. This is demonstrated through the fact that Britain has dropped from 3rd in the video games industry world rankings, to 6th in just two years between 2008 and 2010. Experts put this down to a ‘lack in fresh talent’ i.e nobody wants to code anymore.
So what can you do with the R-Pi? One of the most popular options at the moment is to turn it into a media centre. Plug it into the back of your TV and stream movies and videos from websites such as NetFlix with no problem at all. Or similarly make a cheap ‘Smart TV’, instead of LG ripping you off for a TV with a limited browser and a handful of apps, why not make your TV a fully fledged desktop environment.
Another option is to use it as a web server, OK you wouldn’t exactly be able to cope with huge amounts of traffic, but for a small business this could be the cheapest solution to hosting a website.
Finally and what I am most looking forward to is ripping it to shreds and messing around with it. Playing around with programs, reprogramming a few things, seeing how easily I can break it, after all it’s only £20 if I really screw it up.
Finally, I did get my order in on Farnell at exactly 8:29 on Wednesday moring … two and a half hours after logging on, oh well it will be worth it. Expected delivery date now 23/04/12 instead of the original 26/03/12. 😦