Raspberry Pi

    I’ve written before about how the then low cost Timex Sinclair 1000 personal computer was so influential on my life. Today’s equivalent to the Timex Sinclair is the Raspberry Pi, and I don’t think it’s coincident it also originates from England. In my opinion a Raspberry Pi should be provided to every young kid, particularly if they have any interest with computers. The newest model has just been announced and will start shipping at the end of October, you can pick up an 8 GB model with case and power supply for just over $102.

    Reading an article written by the folks at raspberrypi.com about why they set up their own Mastodon instance, and I find the following statement interesting and compelling. It goes on to state how their DNS registrar effectively provides verification that they are who they are.

    We’ve opted to host our own instance. We’ve done this because, with multiple instances out there, we had to decide how to make sure people following us knew that our Raspberry Pi account was the “real” one.

    Yesterday I had a Raspberry Pi crash after a system update and fail to boot. I figured out what went wrong and learned some things along the way. Breaking things is how one tends to learn.

    Happy Windows 11 day! I’ve spent the last several days experimenting with the ARM Version of Windows 11 on a Raspberry Pi 4. The installation process is pretty easy thanks to the WoR-Flasher utility, which I used to “burn” an installation image to a SSD. At first I tried installing by simply using USB drive, and while that worked I wondered whether using a SSD would be better. I ended up buying an inexpensive Crucial SSD and a 3.1 USB enclosure, which isn’t going to be as fast a direct PCIe connection, but the combo does time out faster than the thumb drive. One challenge I had was making sure the power adapter of the Pi was providing enough power for the drive, which I resolved once I used the 3.5A USB C power adapter from CanaKit. One constraint is that the Windows 11 build does not work with the Pi 4’s WiFi. I don’t know how long this version of Windows 11 will last, from what I read the update process is not smooth and may require a re-build, which will wipe out a product activation.

    During this process I learned about differences between SATA and NVME SSD drives and found a really helpful guide about the Pi 4 bootloader and USB mass storage. I also found a very extensive site of performance benchmarks of mass storage connected to Raspberry Pis.

    Learning Computing

    Back when there were several book store chains and plenty of stores I spent a fair amount of time in them and in particular looking through the computer magazine section. Magazines were a big part of my formative computing years, and I looked forward to each month’s issue of Byte. The magazines were not only a source of news about the latest hardware and software, they were also a means of software distribution containing pages of source code available to manually enter on a variety of computer platforms.

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    Home Computer Repairs

    Given the number of Raspberry Pis I have, you might get the impression that I am a maker, but I am not. I’ve just been enamored by these small, inexpensive single board computers. The closest I’ve come so far to a real project is what I call my desk clock, which is a Pi installed behind a five inch monitor that displays Chromium kiosk mode with a screen I configure using Dakboard.

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    Recently I was describing the Raspberry Pi 400 to my wife by asking her if she remembered the Commodore 64 because the Pi 400 is basically a keyboard with a computer beneath. I told her that for nostalgia purposes I was interested in the Pi 400, but frankly I am not sure how I would use it. It really doesn’t make sense to use the Pi 400 headless like I do my other Raspberry Pis.

    All this is preamble to point you to my retro computer that sells a case that looks nearly identical to the old C-64.

    Overclocking A Raspberry Pi 4

    I am using a Raspberry Pi 4 (daenerys) as my desktop personal computer during the work day, which I access from my work provided computer using VNC. By using this Pi 4 I can access the Internet from my desk without going through the corporate Internet proxy. I built daenerys in a Flirc case, which looks really nice and provides passive cooling, and it boots from a SSD in an Inateck case.

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    The official images of the Raspberry Pi OS are still 32-bit but there is a beta 64-bit version that I have been using on an SSD connected to a Raspberry Pi 4. When the 64-bit version was first released RealVNC Server was not available so I have been using x11vnc to remote connect to the Pi. Today I learned that RealVNC Server is now available for the beta but has to be enabled via the terminal using raspi-config, so I switched. I don’t know whether anyone else will find this useful, but it feels like RealVNC is faster than x11vnc.

    I like to do little projects during my week long Christmas holiday so this year I did a redo of a project from last year and built a new Raspberry Pi 4 and configured it to attach to my iPad Air via a USB-C cable. I don’t intend this particular Pi to serve a role on our home network, so I will also use it for other projects. I had have created an outline for my tech experiments in which you can view my project notes.

    Vivaldi Day 2

    Today is the second day of using Vivaldi on the Raspberry Pi 4 desktop, and it continues to perform better for me than Chromium. I decided to run Octane 2 and Speedometer 2 to see how Vivaldi benchmarks against Chromium and I am surprised to find that it benchmarks slightly slower in both even though my practical use finds it faster. For example, Speedometer 2 scores 7.93 in Chromium and 7.

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    Trying Vivaldi

    I use a Raspberry Pi 4 as a personal remote computer that I access using VNC during the work day, which enables me to keep my personal web access from going through my employer’s Internet proxy. It’s also an excuse of me to fiddle with the Raspberry Pi. I have been using Chromium for browing the web but grown frustrated with its performance on the Pi so this morning I decided to give Vivaldi a try.

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    Relive a part of Xerox PARC’s history: Smalltalk-80 on a Raspberry Pi

    Instructions for running Smalltalk on a Raspberry Pi. I may have to try this out.

    The Raspberry Pi org has released a SD card imager app that is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Ubuntu. I use balenaEtcher on my Macbook Air to create boot SD cards for my Pis, but the new app from the Raspberry Pi org has the benefit of automatically downloading the appropriate source files rather than my having to manually seek them out. These days I pretty much only drag out the Macbook, which is more than seven years old, when I need to flash a new card. I would rather be able to use of my newest computers to flash images, which is why I decided to try to install it on my Pixellbook. Unforutnately, the install failed, which has me wondering whether I should create a new Ubuntu container and try again.

    The Pinebook Pro is an ARM-based laptop that you can buy for $200. You get a 14-inch IPS 1080p screen, 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, and you can use SD cards for additional storage. Is it the Raspberry Pi of laptops?

    If you want to host a web application or service on a home network, make it accessible from the Internet, but not create a DMZ or enable port forwarding on your home router, you can use GitHub - inlets/inlets: Reverse proxy and service tunnel written in Go. Instructions for how to use a Raspberry Pi as the Internet gateway are in Build a 10 USD Raspberry Pi Tunnel Gateway.

    Configuring A Raspberry Pi as a WiFi Hotspot and WiFi client

    In episode 308 of the MobileViews podcast Jon Westfall talked about a blog post describing how to configure a Raspberry Pi 4 as a USB-C accessory for the iPad Pro. The instructions configure the Pi so that you connect an iPad to the Pi using a USB-C cable. A video is also available that provides step-by-step instructions, and you can also watch another video in which the author answers questions that were left in the comments of the original video.

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    I spent countless hours of my youth typing in programs and games from magazines in to my computer, which back then was the only way to get “free” software. Consequently, I find Code The Classics from Raspberry Pi appealing, so much so that I actually considering buying the printed version.

    LinuxLinks.com currently has a series of blog posts about using the Raspberry Pi 4 as a desktop. Added to my RSS subscriptions.

    I have completed the first week of using the Raspberry Pi 4 as a remote personal desktop computer during my work day. Call it an experiment of whether the Pi 4 can really serve as a desktop. The Pi4 is no where near as fast as my Pixelbook, but I find it good enough for the web browsing and reading that I have been doing.

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