How’s the Raspberry Pi 2?

Desktop Ubuntu MateThe Raspberry Pi is an educational device and it certainly does all it can to make you learn. There are some things you just can’t do. There are some things you have to work at to do and then there are things you don’t know and you have to find out. It runs on ARM so not everything works according to a familiar version of Linux Mint or Ubuntu. My first major problem with both Debian Jessie and Ubuntu Mate was they would only take up 4GB of the SD card. No more and that was that. It meant I was getting out of space messages very soon into using either operating system. I’d hardly done anything! So I went looking. I tried the disk manager in Windows and an open source partition manager , Partition Guru , and they could do nothing about the huge amount of unallocated space. I downloaded an iso of the live version of Gparted and no, it was not going to burn to disc with or without an iso burner. With Ubuntu Mate I tried the coding on the raspberry pi site so I could extend the partition to include the unallocated space – 11.9 GB of it! Epic fail on that one. When I rebooted in the anticipation of writing the last line of code my poor little Pi went into  kernel panic mode. I reimaged the Raspian stuff back to the factory settings ,so to speak, and then the Ubuntu Mate I reimaged as I had done it originally. Both SDs I put into my old Compaq with Linux Maya and Gparted. I changed the size of the partitions and added the unallocated space. It’s astounding that GParted is no longer freely available. It is acknowledged as one of the best partition managers there is. It is. No further discussion needed. The Debian SD card refuses to boot. I’ll fix that later. Much later.  The Ubuntu Mate has not only booted, it has updated, allowed me to download gimp, put on quite a few files and get my calendar up to date. The updates have made it look more like Linux Mint Olivia. I have installed the Green Submarine theme and I love the Ubuntu logo screen saver. Very effective. It is running on ARM so there are some issues. It doesn’t play aiff, flv or video on mp4 files. It plays mp3 sound and sound on mp4s. All of this may or may not get sorted out in time. It doesn’t play flash, but neither does my iPad. It plays online videos . It doesn’t like media rich pages like Jamendo. Everything else is fine. I tried to use Vivaldi because that runs really well on Linux. There isn’t an ARM version as yet. Firefox is clumsy by comparison. I can do office type things easily and am writing this blog post on my Raspberry Pi. disk usageMy plan now is to visit the Raspberry Pi site and have a good look at what they recommend. I am also going to look at the Ubuntu Mate site and have already signed up for disk usage terminaltheir newsletter. The Ubuntu community has done a fantastic job on this OS. I connected my 16BG flash drive and the thing installed and showed me my files just about immediately.My flash drive  is full of files. That was great. Ubuntu Mate also boots up really fast and shuts down really fast. I am really happy with how much I have learned and know I shall continue to learn. I shall just keep adventuring and find out what to do next.

Coming to you from Ubuntu Mate on Raspberry Pi 2

 

UbuntuMate Installing and running Ubuntu Mate on my Raspberry Pi 2 has been a hard won victory. Lessons in patience and tolerance as well as persistence and perseverance . I chose 3 direct download sites and each of the downloads broke a third of the way in. The fourth time I downloaded it but when I unzipped it there was a message to say I did not have all the files. In the end I used the torrent option on the Raspberry Pi site. For someone new, you can skip some of the information on the page because you might find it intimidating. There are 3 steps

1. Download the file
2. Unpack the file with 7-zip
3. Create the mirror image on your formatted SD card with Win32 Disk Imager

Use the official SD card formatter here. If you follow the Raspberry Pi site where the links to 7-zip and Win32 Disk Imager are , watch the video and proceed, then you should be all right. For me it took time. Hopefully it is more reliable for you. I’m glad to see Ubuntu , though, it’s an old friend. I have another SD card which boots up Debian Jessie and I have been setting that up better now I am a bit more familiar with it. Once you have the image on the SD card , the Raspberry Pi boots up with it. It is slow to get going but gets faster. Ubuntu Mate is running more slowly than Debian Jessie but it’s not too bad. I think it will improve as it settles in. I’ll let you know!

Get going with your Raspberry Pi

I have taught students to use Powtoon .They loved it and made some great videos  using it so it was really good to see this Powtoon on the Raspberry Pi. It is effective at showing you what it can do and what it is capable of. Many people do use it for electronics and robotics. I might do robotics but I cannot see myself using any of the electronics stuff. I don’t need it as a media centre either but I believe people do that because they can. I have a media centre running off an older HP computer and it works really well, thank you. Last night I downloaded the phone apps to remotely control the Raspberry Pi but haven’t had a chance to try them yet. There are plenty of apps for the Pi, incidentally. I have been getting used to Debian which I now realise is KDE and a bit retro , really. I am finding things I used to do and use but I went with gnome desktops which are a bit cruisier. KDE is reminding me to think things out again and it does actually get you to understand computers and computing better. I have found the Pi is slower on loading sites like You Tube or image sites but once they are loaded there is not a problem. It’s not that slow more like when the network is congested and you watch images load bit by bit.uk keyboard Nothing else has been noticeable but it is still running a UK keyboard even though I changed it to US. Not really a problem. I am just amazed at how good a computer the Pi is and the trick, I think, is to keep it simple. There have been sites which I have found invaluable and I’ll share those with you:

A beginner’s guide to the Raspberry Pi

Geek Gurl Diaries

Ultimate Guide to Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Quick Start Manual

The official Raspberry Pi site is incredibly helpful and explains things really well. It has some excellent resources and the videos are very good at setting you straight when you want to get going with a Raspberry Pi:

raspberrypi.org raspberry pi

The Raspberry Pi 2 really is small!

raspberry pi 2The Raspberry Pi 2 is a mighty little machine. So far it can do everything and what it can’t do I have to learn so that it does  it. All part of the fun. I have used other Linux OS but not Debian which this one came prepackaged with.Raspberry Pi screen I’ve used Fedora which I could see would go well on a Raspberry Pi, Linux Mint, Mandrake and Ubuntu. I looked around online to get the right package. I have one with a WiFi stick which I haven’t tried yet and a power supply. I think the power supply is important . I am happy with what I ordered and it matches well with what I already have.Raspberry Pi 2 size There are lots of choices of packages so it means sorting through, thinking and then choosing the best one for your needs and what you already have by way of cables and hardware. I cannot believe how small it is and yet it runs like a perfectly normal computer and so silently. There is a lot of support on the net for the Raspberry Pi and tomorrow I’ll post some of the links I found invaluable. The first things I did were load Scrot and take screenshots through Terminal and then I used Terminal to download Gimp so I can edit my images properly. It’s the first computer I have built but that is stretching the meaning of the word a bit. I put all the bits together into the case and connected it to a monitor , ethernet cable, mouse, keyboard and power source. Not a bad effort!Raspberry Pi board

Coming to you from my Raspberry Pi 2

2016-02-09-075658_1776x952_scrotI cannot believe how small my Raspberry Pi 2 is and yet it is functioning as a complete computer. I have not had to compromise as yet. My big achievement was putting it together even though it is quite straight forward. Tip: Put the micro SD card in the slot UNDERNEATH the card. Nothing showed me or told me where to put it so it was a matter of looking hard!Tomorrow I’ll show you just how small it is. I have it connected to my computer monitor with an HDMI cable. It is running off an ethernet cable and I have a mouse and keyboard plugged in. When I switched on the power it just loaded a couple of screens of code and voilà. It runs Claws as an email client and I have used Claws before on Linux and like it. My gmail account thought I (someone) had logged in from Safari on a Macbook so Gmail can’t recognise a Raspberry Pi. Before I knew it I was in Terminal loading Scrot so I could take a screenshot or two. The images then go into the image viewer on the menu. I am running on Debian which is unix (apple) like. I got the Raspberry Pi as part of my two things to get better at this year – coding and making videos. There is a lot of Python on this Raspberry Pi and I can shift the Python things I have already onto here and I should be right. I am amazed how such a tiny piece of equipment can be so fully functional. All credit to the developers.

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