A tiny computer

A tiny computer like a million art lovers
Source: The New York Times
Translation: Inosmi

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Raspberry Pi sounds like a cross between the name and the mathematical concept of dessert (raspberry in English means "raspberry" - approx. Trans.). But in fact this is one of the most popular and cheapest at the moment in the world of small computers. Since last February has been sold almost a million of these small machines cost $ 35, which attracted worldwide attention of both professionals and people who are fond of computers.

Raspberry Pi story began in 2006 when Eben Upton (Eben Upton) and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge noted, that new student computer scientists are ill-prepared to learn. If in the past decade, many at the time of receipt not bad versed in the "iron" because of his hobby, but now newcomers were the most skilled web designers.

Modern computers are easy to use, but most of the mechanisms work, they hide under a user-friendly interface. Mr. Upton suggested that parents do not want to risk your expensive equipment and therefore do not allow children to experiment with it. Cheap car could become fair game for young engineers.

Raspberry Pi - single board computer, the size of about 3 inches by 2 inches and a height of less than - originally intended to replace the expensive computers in schools. It costs less than a new keyboard, and thus can work with it and attached to it an additional device. Pi originally worked only on Linux - a free operating system, popular with programmers and people interested in computers - and that was to provide students with additional skills.

Foundation Raspberry Pi Foundation began to sell these computers in February last year. Soon they run out of stock.

"We are very sincerely believed that sell computers 1000-5000 - says Mr. Upton. - We did not expect that he found another market - adults with technical hobbies. "

Ackerman Dave (Dave Akerman) from the English countryside Braytuolton even sent Raspberry Pi into the upper atmosphere, lifting it by 40, 000 meters up using weather balloons to make videos and photos, and make measurements.

"Now, every secondary school to take pictures of the near space, - says Mr. Upton. - It is enough to give people access to this tool so that they have started to do wonderful things ».

Buy Raspberry Pi is not so easy. Just drop him into the store did not succeed. Pi is so popular that many distributors are constantly running out of stock. On the Internet to find it too difficult.

"I think now we have to speak not" sold like hot cakes ", and" sold as Raspberry Pi ", - jokes Limor Fried (Limor Fried), founder and chief engineer of Pi trading company Adafruit Industries. - In a few weeks we have sold tens of thousands of machines. " Herself, Ms. Freed also uses a number of Raspberry Pi with special software to provide inventory control.

Pi is $ 35 ($ 25 for the old model), and consists of a single board. Since defenseless little car can not be left naked, for it relies also buy a plastic case. Adafruit sells them for $ 15, and the site Polycase.com solid opaque housing for Pi costs 17 dollars.

Raspberry Pi is best works with an HDMI-compatible monitor. The keyboard and mouse are connected via USB. To power it connects via a standard USB-cable, like the one with which to charge mobile phones. He has a sound output for connecting speakers and RCA jack in case you do not have at hand a digital TV or monitor.

Switch it does not. To disable it, simply pull the power cord.

By itself, Raspberry Pi is almost useless. He does not have any data storage device, or the operating system, so the necessary software must first be copied to a high capacity memory cards. Usually enough for four gigabyte cards, but if you plan to download apps or games, you may need more.

There are a number of operating systems for Raspberry Pi. On the official website you can download Raspbian - «raspberry» version of the Debian operating system with tools for beginners. Raspbian uses an interface familiar to users of Windows or Linux.

Adafruit site offers its own version of the operating system called the Pi Raspberry Pi Education Linux Distro. The system includes a user-friendly browser for kids. Also, there are programs that can help you add the Raspberry Pi additional features - such as support for Wi-Fi (also requires additional equipment), - and devices to connect to the Pi sensors, motors, and so on. D.

True fans of the Raspberry Pi can even turn your car into a small home media center. Since Pi is equipped with a powerful graphics chip, users can send photos and video on a widescreen TV using just Pi and the program for Linux - for example, RaspbMC. This full-featured media center allows you to transfer video from your hard drive to the network and supports AirPlay - transfer protocol developed by Apple audio and video.

According to Mr. Upton, software Pi is planned to develop more active than iron. "If you improve the program, it can be used by anyone - he said. - If you change the equipment itself, millions of customers left behind. "

Mr. Upton said that it shook the enthusiasm with which was greeted Pi. "I've never heard of the company, which would be at the start from the ground up for the year would have brought sales to a million copies, - he stressed. - It is a furious pace, and now I'm in my little time to sleep ».

On the question of whether he plans to give to your children Pi, Mr. Upton said that he and his wife, Liz, who, together with him working on this project, there was no time to have a baby.

"We are very busy and so happy that we do not have children - he said. - We decided that we will first be Pi, then the children and not the children first, then Pi ».

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