another one that doesn't get the RPi

Story: The Raspberry Pi: Is it REALLY the saviour of British computing?Total Replies: 9
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Oct 29, 2013
12:48 PM EDT
The Raspberry Pi isn't all about introducing the next generation to programming. It's all about the hardware:

-- designing new devices to connect to it

-- the ease of replacing the RPi when you used a resistor where the third band was green instead of yellow because you mis-placed a decimal point and smoked the GPIO/I2C/SPI interface

Seriously, do the people at the Register think the ISA, VLB, PCI, USB, IEEE1394 interfaces all designed themselves? I usually like their brand of snark, but this article falls way short.

Oct 30, 2013
10:26 AM EDT
They also missed the point with regards to pricing as well.

They say second hand laptops are cheap and most families have a laptop that the kids can play with. Really?

I wouldn't let my son loose on my laptop to install and replace operating systems, software and most of all I don't want him getting a soldering iron out to try a bit of amateur electronics.

I don't also want to shell out the cheap £150 for a netbook for him to try the same things.

If I shell out £35 and he gets a breadboard and learns electronics and programming and how to install Linux etc then that is more than fine.

The article also mentions that £35 only gets you the machine and nothing else. You still need a monitor, keyboard etc.

My son has a tv and it has a HDMI port. That is covered. Keyboards are 10 a penny and the humble mouse is given away in Christmas crackers.

The point is though that should the Raspberry PI fail and you completely screw it up, get another one for £35 and that is it. You still have the monitor, you still have the keyboard, mouse, dongles etc.

If a laptop fails then you probably have to reinvest in a whole new laptop.


Oct 30, 2013
12:21 PM EDT
gary_newell, not sure how old your son is, but Elizabeth Garbee was 9 when she did her first Linux install, in 2001. She usually includes a photo of the occasion in her presentations, as a way to establish her bonafides.

Oct 30, 2013
2:48 PM EDT
Well, to be fair, used laptops are fairly cheap. CedarPC currently has a refurbished IdeaPad S9 for $45. Even with $25 shipping that's only $70. That's twice as much as the Pi, but it's a complete machine. That sort of limits the hardware hacking opportunities though.

Oct 30, 2013
4:28 PM EDT -- I just took a look and saw a lot of very good deals.

Oct 30, 2013
6:03 PM EDT
The point about a bricked laptop also effectively trashing the screen, keyboard and trackpad is a valid one. With just supplying the cpu board, then you can turn to any number of cheap options to hand.

The HDMI might be an issue, which limits the secondhand video, but doesn't it have a VGA port as well?

Oct 30, 2013
6:27 PM EDT
Not VGA, but it does have composite video out as well as analog audio out.

Nov 01, 2013
9:30 AM EDT
My nephew is in his early teens and is an experimenter (I think he's going to turn 14 in December). He has a laptop that I gave him (a six year old write off from work, but of course it runs Ubuntu Studio with its XFCE desktop great), but I don't think that he'd be eager to do too much unorthodox on it (other than running Linux anyway) because he uses it as the "base machine," so to speak, for his experimentation.

He could fall back on his family's Windows 7 machine to download a new distro if he had to, or bring it to me, and I could get him what he needed. However, he has a Raspberry Pi (which I also bought for him) and a Nexus 7 that his parents bought. He recently told me that he is dual booting his Nexus 7 between Cyanogenmod and Ubuntu Touch. I was a little surprised that he decided to take the original firmware off, but like I said, he's an experimenter.

Nov 01, 2013
3:53 PM EDT

>> The HDMI might be an issue, which limits the secondhand video, but doesn't it have a VGA port as well?

It seems to me that this leads to two of the main problems with using the the pi as a semi-portable computer. 1st, you'd need a HDMI-VGA or DVI-VGA converter adapter thing for all the many VGA monitors out there. 2nd, even with such a converter thing, you'd STILL need a small enough VGA monitor to carry around and "dock" at your nearest power outlet. In laptops and tablets, the displays are specifically portable 'cause they're all BUILT-IN. Now if only someone could better market cheap enough and small enough monitors as well as cheap & small enough battery p.s.'s for the Pi. THERE would be something good!


Nov 03, 2013
1:15 PM EDT
Funny you should mention that, flufferbeer. There's a new Kickstarter for that:

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