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Raspberry Pi's Eben Upton: How We're Turning Everyone Into DIY Hackers

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the isn't-that-how-the-borg-started dept.

Hardware Hacking 90

redletterdave writes "Eben Upton is the CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation's trading company, where he oversees production and sales of the Raspberry Pi. In a lengthy interview with ReadWrite, Upton shares how he invented Raspberry Pi, and what's coming next for the $35 microcomputer. Quoting: 'There's a big difference between [just] making a platform like Raspberry Pi available and offering support for it. I think if you just make it available, you'll find one percent of eight-year-olds will be the one percent who love that sort of thing and will get into it, regardless of how much or how little support you give them. ... [S]ince we can afford to pay for the development of educational material, we can afford to advocate for good training for teachers throughout this. There's an opportunity to get more than one percent. There's an opportunity to reach the bright kids who don't quite have the natural inclination to personally tackle complicated technical tasks. If you give them good teaching and compelling material that's relevant and interesting to them, you can reach ten percent, twenty percent, fifty percent, many more. We look back to the 1980s as this golden era [of learning to program], and in practice, only a very few percent of people were learning to program to any great degree. ... I think the real opportunity for us now, because we can intervene on the material and teacher training levels, we can potentially blow past where we were in the 1980s.'"

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Fuck you slashdot (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46707501)

From Soylent News:

(I had to redact the "junk" characters. Apparently people who may repost PHP are not Slashdot's primary audience.)
 
 

I've pushed an emergency fix to production to close bug #142 on the tracker. For those unaware, Slashcode portscans every user when they login or post a comment. While we knew that there was some code involved in checking for open proxies, I thought it had been disabled, and the default settings in the database all default to off. The fact of the matter though is the backend was ignoring all disable checks in the database and scanning every IP to see if they were a proxy on ports 80, 3123, 8000, and 8080.

I'm fucking seething; this is unacceptable for any site, and this behaviour isn't documented anywhere; we've been portscanning since day one and were completely unaware of it. My guess is almost everyone here was unaware of this "feature" as well. Our submitter reports slashdot did this as well. There is no notification or link in the FAQ that this is done, unless you were checking your firewall rules religiously, this would have been completely unnoticed.

I'm seething and furious at the moment. How on earth is this acceptable behaviour? I understand proxy scanning; most IRC networks do it, but they notify you that they are doing so. Furthermore, a basic web application should not be probing their end users; I'm absolutely flabbergasted that this exists, as were most of the staff when it was brought to our attention. On behalf of the site, I want to offer a formal apology for this clusterfuck.
Here's the revelent bit of code from Slash/DB/MySQL/MySQL.pm (yes, it lives in the DB API, no I don't know why)

I'm almost certain that other slash sites have this "feature" enabled and are likely unaware of it. If anyone here is fluent in either Spanish or Japanese, can you relay a message to BarraPunto and Slashdot Japan about this, and that the dev team is willing to provide assistance with their respective slashcode instances (the offer is open for any slash site, but these are the only two we know about). Leave your comments below, I want to know how others feel about this "feature", and the fact that Slashdot has seemingly done this for years.

Re:Fuck you slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708461)

Slashdot also phones home every time you close a comment page.

It's not the thing... (5, Interesting)

Rufty (37223) | about 7 months ago | (#46707527)

It's not the thing that matters. There are faster, cheaper boards than the Pi. But the community, with examples and workarounds so that the changes are you don't have to beat a path, but just hit google.

Re:It's not the thing... (1, Offtopic)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46707597)

The Arduino is much cheaper, you can even just run an ATmega328P on a breadboard. And the community is huge too.

Re:It's not the thing... (1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46707739)

I think Whoosh applies here for you.
It's not about the sodding hardware, or cost of said hardware. !!

Re:It's not the thing... (4, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46707769)

I don't understand the moderation on my comment nor your reply. We're talking about hardware and communities here, which the Arduino has too. In fact, I'd go as far as saying that the Arduino community, with its dozens of variants, is a lot bigger than the Raspberry Pi community.

Re:It's not the thing... (2)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46707889)

OP said there are faster & cheaper boards available, which is undeniably true, the article specifically says it's about the community & the provision of support for school children (Kids are the spawn of goats) which makes the Pi a better tool for school children, due to the community support - for teaching programming.

The Arduino may well be cheaper; but the point's moot.

Re:It's not the thing... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 7 months ago | (#46712571)

The Arduino may well be cheaper; but the point's moot.

The two are not even comparable. One is an embedded microcontroller platform with no video, a few k of RAM and flash, has no OS and uses C for writing software. The other is a computer, runs a variety of operating systems and software, can be programmed in a variety of languages and connects directly to a monitor and keyboard/mouse.

Re:It's not the thing... (4, Insightful)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 7 months ago | (#46707987)

The Arduino isn't a computer, it's a programmable microcontroller.

There really isn't any comparison between the two.

Re:It's not the thing... (1)

Polo (30659) | about 7 months ago | (#46709315)

But people naturally compare them anyway.

You have to admit there are lots of tasks that don't require realtime control where people could choose either system.

I think the Arduino shield system is brilliant, and the equivalent on the Raspberry Pi is not as well thought out. This is the biggest shame of all.

My top few wishes for the Pi would be:
- a well-thought-out, open shield system
- 4 support holes at the corners instead of 2 in the middle
- maybe a better case design - all ports along one side maybe?
- an SD card that would insert fully

The Raspberry Pi is wonderfully standardized, but the Arduino seems to evolve in a darwinian fashion because many vendors can make them.

The Arduino comes up a little short in tcp/ip connectivity, where the raspberry pi is brilliant from the start.

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709519)

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46720649)

You are talking about hardware communities. Upton is talking about his idea that cost is the main barrier to young children programming and that he hopes with software and teaching material Raspberry Pis "can reach ten percent, twenty percent, fifty percent, many more [8-year-olds]".He wants everybody to have his geeky childhood at a younger age than he did. Which is of course insane. He is also confusing indoctrinating teachers to get them to force 8-year-olds to play with RPis in class, instead of their parent's phone from last year, in class with learning useful skills. Raspberry Pi is a meme not a circuit board.

Most kids don't start school till six, seven in many European countries. We are already teaching kids too much useless crap in primary school so that a large proportion of them can't read, do simple maths adequately, let alone fractions or percentages by the time they leave. They have years to go before they can learn logic, abstraction, negative numbers, algebra etc. The "programming" they will be doing is pasting blocks together in a GUIs and is really just a digital form of playing with lego.

This ignores the reality that nearly all of the 2.5m RPis sold have gone to hackers using them as servers and multimedia centres which is why the discussion consists of arguments about uses and technical specifications and has nothing what-so-ever to do with the Raspberry Pi Foundation's aims which were the subject of the post.

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46707825)

The Arduino is much cheaper, you can even just run an ATmega328P on a breadboard. And the community is huge too.

Arduino is a different kind of board. Your program an Arduino in the Time Domain - that is, there isn't really interrupts like you have on a traditional computer, they're there but it's more like programming a DSP than a CPU.

Conversely, the RaspberryPi is more akin to a traditional computer in a nice, cheap form-factor that also has a lot of extras that allow you to do some cool stuff. For instance, there are motherboard layouts for Intel CPUs that are of similar size, but they don't typically contain Analog I/O ports; they're just shrunk down versions of ATX motherboards; where the RasberryPi contains GPIO, Analog I/O, and other ports that are very generic to be able to interact with non-digital devices with; or even custom boards.

Re:It's not the thing... (1)

Rufty (37223) | about 7 months ago | (#46708163)

I was thinking of things like the olinuxino [olimex.com] which is cheaper than a Pi and seemed to be building a fanbase when a change from mailing list to web forum chilled the community. Or the Beagle Bone [beagleboard.org] which is more open and technically superior, but has a nasty habit of throwing up problems no one else seems to have ever seen (according to google, that is). Or the Fox G20 [acmesystems.it] which is a nice board and seems to have a good community, but isn't generally well known since the bulk of the community round it is still Italian.

Re:It's not the thing... (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46709831)

Arduino is a different kind of board. Your program an Arduino in the Time Domain - that is, there isn't really interrupts like you have on a traditional computer, they're there but it's more like programming a DSP than a CPU.

There are multiple OSes for the arduino (well, most atmega chips actually, not specific to arduino). I know, I've written one myself. It most certainly does have interrupts.

Do you know what an Arduino actually is? I don't think you do because what you're saying doesn't make any sense, I don't think you understand how the hardware works.

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46713873)

Same author as the one you replied to -- sorry...haven't gotten around to finding/resetting my /. password...

And yes, I know what Arduino is. I've programmed them; but the "interrupt" in Arduino is different from an "interrupt" in Linux. As I said, it's more like a DSP than a CPU. The ATMEGA chip is a Micro-Controller (MCU), not a full out CPU.

Nope (1)

Kartu (1490911) | about 7 months ago | (#46708063)

Arduino is just a microcontroller with some IO ports, PI is a full blown computer that runs Linux.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708365)

Learning Linux on a RaspberryPi is like learning about cars by working on a lawnmower.
 
RaspberryPis are an ugly environment unless you 100% need the I/O ports. Butt ugly at that.

Re:Nope (5, Insightful)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46708667)

Learning Linux on a RaspberryPi is like learning about cars by working on a lawnmower.

That's how I did it... started with two stroke engines and worked my way up to four stroke engines.

Actually, I started with a suspended tin can with two angled holes in it, some water, and a heat source. After understanding the steam engine and its drive train, the move to a two-stroke engine with spark plugs didn't take much work; then I got to learn about throttles, priming, flow control, etc.

After mastering these bits, four stroke engines were much less of a mystery. Plus, I was able to build go karts well before I knew the details of the four stroke engine :)

I think this is precisely the point they're trying to make with the Pi.

Re:Nope (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46709377)

No, the Pi was made as an integrated device. Jesus fuck are you people that stupid?

Re:Nope (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46715647)

No, the Pi was made as an integrated device. Jesus fuck are you people that stupid?

Whoosh? This has nothing to do with how it was made, but how it is used. It is used as a simplified teaching tool, and still enables you to do cool stuff without having to learn the really technical stuff right at the start.

Re:Nope (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46726757)

That reminds me of my background as a kid, when I also learned to disassemble and repair gas lawnmower engines (and had an interesting wipeout on a homemade mini-bike!). Also tinkered with electronics before finally formally going to electronics school. (Even made an electronic "eye" so I'd know if my parents were trying to sneak up the stairs to see what I was up to in my upstairs bedroom.)

But now it's harder to get kids to tinker with stuff because there aren't many stores where you can go to buy electronics parts, etc., so things like the Raspberry Pi can be cool at introducing kids to the very *idea* that you can make things for yourself, and not limit yourself to what you can buy off the shelf.

Oh, and I have to add this: We had a college age network intern working in my workplace for a while who was always going on and on about how he kept trying to make his computer go faster. Faster motherboard, CPU, hard drive, graphics card, etc. Finally, one day when most of the other staff were around, I said to the intern, "You know, when I was your age us guys spent time trying to make our cars go faster, and I'll bet today you could still pick up girls a lot easier with a fast car than with a fast computer!"

Rusty

Re:Nope (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46727769)

But now it's harder to get kids to tinker with stuff because there aren't many stores where you can go to buy electronics parts, etc., so things like the Raspberry Pi can be cool at introducing kids to the very *idea* that you can make things for yourself, and not limit yourself to what you can buy off the shelf.

Yeah; this is the big issue. When I was 6, we had an LED calculator that wasn't working -- I took it apart with a screwdriver, cleaned it, patched up loose wires with electrical tape and put it back together -- presto! it worked! After that, my dad decided it was time to teach me how to use his soldering iron. Between that and the Radio Shack 160-in-1 electronics kit I had to play with, I had basic electronics stuff figured out by the time I was 10. Good luck getting a 160-in-1 kit these days (although I just found one on eBay). ...and now I did some digging and found Elenco. Seems like these kits are still alive and selling! I'd recommend a kid get some of the Elenco kits prior to moving on to a Pi; good to have the background knowledge as well as the programming experience.

Re:It's not the thing... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46707607)

It's not the thing that matters. There are faster, cheaper boards than the Pi. But the community, with examples and workarounds so that the changes are you don't have to beat a path, but just hit google.

There's a faster, cheaper board than the Pi? I've seen similar boards with less power/io at a slightly cheaper price, and I've seen more powerful boards with less IO that are significantly more expensive. But I've yet to see a cheaper AND faster board than the PI with similar IO. Could you link me please?

Re:It's not the thing... (-1, Troll)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46709767)

Its really not hard to be faster than the RaspberryPi if you do anything over USB, in which case the RaspberryPi is so horribly broken that you'll spend a decade just trying to get reliable networking thanks to its broken USB implementation and the fact that the network port is built into the USB bridge.

The RaspberryPi is crap and needs to fucking die.

Here's your starting point:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=raspberry... [lmgtfy.com]

The first link is the beagle bone black, which does not meet the requirement of being cheaper, its $10 more actually, but in every other way its superior since ... Keep looking at the results list if you want a comparably price but not broken alternative.

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711109)

As Gert notes in the rasp pi comments around the new pi-on-a-sodimm chip, right now the usb channel is the fastest i/o link into the broadcom chip. They hope that sometime in the unknown-timeframe future Broadcom will allow the public release of details which would allow alternate use of a number of the gpio pins for higher speed SATA or whatever. Gert also noted that the best bet for getting information off the chip in a hurry right now would be to hack the video or camera pins, but that's highly asynchronous so only half a solution.

p.s. lmgtfy is only used by pricks. are you a prick?

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46715905)

... and as I noted before, not a single one cheaper and with a faster clock rate than the pi. Just a rant on your perceived shortcomings and a condescending link that was completely irrelevant. The challenge was to link to a faster and cheaper product, and there isn't one at the moment.

Re:It's not the thing... (1)

WilyCoder (736280) | about 7 months ago | (#46708045)

Can you show me a cheaper board that can decode 1080p video using standard APIs (which are exposed to developers like me) such as OpenMAX?

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46708419)

No. Lazy fucker!

Re:It's not the thing... (1)

Walter White (1573805) | about 7 months ago | (#46708363)

There are faster, cheaper boards than the Pi.

Can you suggest any? My google-fu is not up to the task...

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708425)

THIS. I was a HUGE Raspberry Pi hater for most of the project's launch & delivery delays. For me it was Mhz/$ BoM metric alone that determined the projects merit.

Then I realized I was paying $12-80 for 8-16Mhz Arduinos and what a dumbass I had been. Why do I spend $150 for a PX4 Autopilot even though I can get the same chip for $20 chip with the STM32F4Discovery? Because of community support and standardized hardware!

I have a Cubieboard & 2x ODROID boards collecting dust in my living room while I just ordered another 2x Raspberry Pi's! I'm doing OpenCV on my Raspberri Pi's because Raspbian's Apt-get repos are actually maintained with reliable ARMv6 compiled code. Compiling everything from source with the ODROID X-5 is not a compelling argument because my project documentation will be outdated on arrival!

Hardkernel will have a new bleeding edge Samsung Cellphone SoC SBC rolled out before I've finished my project!

Who gives a shit if my Face Detector can only do 2 FPS on a 320×240 resolution webcam? The technical writing will be done for a disposable piece of technology that will be around forever and people can then translate what they learn from the experience to the "new hotness" in 3 years and I don't have to redo my 16 hour instructional investment every 3 months to stay current in the SOM/SBC arms race. Nobody wants to read how to build robots using a 3 generation old Cell Phone->SBC conversion. They want technical documentation that applies to the hardware they just purchased.

If that purchase is "the new hotness", your reader base is such a small demographic the entire process of documentation is an exercise in wanking that never profits anyone but the author.

Re:It's not the thing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46712193)

You like the Pi? Clearly you stumbled into the wrong forum. This is /. You're not supposed to see any advantage at all to owning a Pi. Just like with tablets. Look back at all the hate for tablets on /. when they first appeared. Sheesh. The Pi is useless. I have a popsicle stick that costs nothing and is not nearly as wide as the Pi.

Re:It's not the thing... (3)

petermgreen (876956) | about 7 months ago | (#46709243)

There are faster, cheaper boards than the Pi.

There are boards that are faster than the Pi and boards that are cheaper but I haven't seen anyone come out with a board that is both faster and cheaper.

Who is Eben Upton? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46707615)

Is he the husband of Kate?

Re:Who is Eben Upton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46707837)

OMG that's so witty. I see what you did. You took the name of an well known, unbelievably beautiful model and equated it with someone attached to the story with an identical name. At first, I was like... holy crap, did he just do something THAT EDGY, and then I thought it must have been a mistake because, ya know, who would have ever done such an unimaginably creative thing. But then, I look again; AND YOU TOTALLY DID!

Let me tell you, that was not a waste of time my friend. I will share this humorous anecdote with people for years to come. Take a bow sir.

Am I getting old? (3, Interesting)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 7 months ago | (#46707697)

There was a time I would have jumped at playing with a Pi, and I did take a look into using it as a media device like he mentions in the article. I looked at what it was capable of and what I'd have to do to get it to do what I wanted vs. building a media PC around XBMC... and bought a Roku instead. I just couldn't be bothered. I still love tinkering with stuff programming-wise, but I've completely lost my ambition to tinker with hardware. Am I just old, or what?

Re:Am I getting old? (4, Interesting)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46707775)

I'm 54 this year. I love playing with my Pi.

But then it's more powerful than the Minicomputers I started on in the late 70's

Re:Am I getting old? (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 7 months ago | (#46707831)

A frickin' ATtiny85 is more powerful than a minicomputer from the late 70's. ;-)

Re:Am I getting old? (-1, Troll)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46707935)

Your point is?

Stating the bleeding obvious is not making a statement at all.

It merely shows your educational lacking and, frankly, idiocy.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708073)

Stating the bleeding obvious is not making a statement at all.

Gee, I wonder what "But then it's more powerful than the Minicomputers I started on in the late 70's" is to the average Slashdot reader, then.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708083)

I don't see how "But then it's more powerful than the Minicomputers I started on in the late 70's" is any better than "A frickin' ATtiny85 is more powerful than a minicomputer from the late 70's. ;-)".

They're both stating the obvious and neither are statements.

Re:Am I getting old? (-1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46708137)

Comprehension not your strong point then?

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about 7 months ago | (#46708347)

What I saw was that you made an obvious statement, then got upset at another user that made a similarly-obvious statement. I comprehend that you're being kind of a hypocritical ass, but I'm not quite sure why.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46708401)

Didn't get upset, just love trolling /. Loop: See Loop. CRC fail.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 7 months ago | (#46708553)

Yeah, trolling. Good one, fuckwit.

Re:Am I getting old? (-1)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46708305)

Modded "troll" Heh. Giving mod points to 13 year old children was never going to work. Luckily my Karma is "huge"

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46712409)

Luckily my Karma is "huge"

And your ego, too. Shame about your self-worth, though.

You should have been modded Flamebait, not troll. But negative moderation is what you asked for.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46707871)

But then it's more powerful than the Minicomputers I started on in the late 70's

Hell, it's more powerful than the desktop computers of the early to mid-90's.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 7 months ago | (#46707977)

I'm 54 this year. I love playing with my Pi.

I'm almost as old as you and I've been playing with my pi since my early teens. I still play with it from time to time.

But when did they start calling it a "pi"?

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46708023)

You been "polishing" your Bell End?

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 7 months ago | (#46708001)

Well, that's not it then. I'm 34. I work as a computer programmer at a college, so if you'd asked me 10 years ago if I'd be doing programming or hardware tinkering as a hobby I'd have said hardware tinkering, because I wouldn't think I'd have wanted to come home and program after a day at work of programming... but that's exactly what I do.

It's different programming mind you. I play around with a PHPBB forum coding a custom shoutbox and D&D dicebot for me and my friends to play with, or playing with smartphone apps as opposed to customizing/fixing HR and accounting software, but it's still programming.

I even had someone else build my last computer. Still custom and I spec'd it out myself, but just couldn't be bothered with actually assembling it myself.

My other option was time, since I'm now married with two young kids (2.5 and 4 months), but I still find the time to tinker with programming outside work so it's not strictly that either.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708233)

You made the right choice, as far as the Pi goes. The thing is junk.
 
For learning Linux you're better off running something out of VMWare server.
For hardware hacking the thing is barely up to spec to do anything and for what it's worth it's worth spending a few more bucks and having a really versatile board.
 
Maybe it works for media hosting but what does it really do that a Chromecast doesn't do?
 
It may have sold tons of units but my guess is that most of them found their way to a dusty desk drawer awful fast.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | about 7 months ago | (#46708453)

Maybe it works for media hosting but what does it really do that a Chromecast doesn't do?

There's a market for seamless video looping that the pis are starting to fill. I use them for exhibition spaces to push videos remotely on a loop with omxplayer. Dispman_vncserver allows for remote viewing of content as well.

It's the small size that makes them attractive and I could see them being mounted to other devices than display screens as well. The new compute module and board would fit fine in home-made drones. I was thinking of trying to make a drone with a servo and 3d printer, but my 3d printer isn't up to the task unfortunately (maybe in a couple of years). You just have to use your imagination.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

Collective 0-0009 (1294662) | about 7 months ago | (#46709513)

The pi + arduino makes quite a powerful combo. The pi bridges the gap between microcontroller and network pretty well. We are about to use this combo to connect to our CNC machines to monitor certain variables and the status of the machine. I could see one day where we are adjusting for temperature changes by moving an offset by a thousandth.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 months ago | (#46709799)

Horrible idea. I've done this already myself. In the end, the frustration with the Pi's USB stack and asstasitic traces for USB power handling (they are hardly big enough to handle its own power demands, let alone something in the USB port that draws more than 10 or 20ma and the fact that an Intel Atom board is only $80 or so, and RAM is dirt cheap just makes the RaspberryPI cost effective if your time has little value.

Use a beagle bone black. The extra $10 you spend will be so ridiculously worth it that its utterly stupid for you not to do so. Or any other raspberry pi alternative just about, for that matter.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

Collective 0-0009 (1294662) | about 7 months ago | (#46716109)

Interesting... I am still new to the pi and haven't really looked at alternatives. I guess we need to finish one of these and test it. I'll check out the other boards. Intel Atom has a better brand and might look more professional when we present this plan.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46708239)

Bliss. When I started, you'd write your programme, send it - by sodding post - wait for the punch card operators to type it in. Then you would have to go through all the cards to make sure one had not *become* transposed, then submit & wait for the output. Could take a week. You iPad bods are lucky.........

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708263)

I'm now married with two young kids

Polygamist and pedophile? Arrest him!

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708523)

Programmers are like porn stars. We go to work and do things all day that bore us to tears, then go home and do variants of the same thing for another 6 hours.

Programmer: Spends the day writing enterprise productivity apps, then goes home and works on his VR game for Oculus Rift.

Pornstar: 3-hour skin-chafing blowjob while standing on one leg in a cold shower with puddles of lube on the floor that would give an OSHA inspector nightmares, then goes home and invites a few friends over for BDSM in the steampunk-inspired playroom.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

gmagill (105538) | about 7 months ago | (#46708533)

My other option was time, since I'm now married with two young kids (2.5 and 4 months)...

So they were born 6 months apart?

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708551)

6 weeks

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708817)

35 year old...picked mine up a few weeks ago. It's now providing wifi, openvpn, and webcam services and doing with 6 watts of electricity.

Next up I want to make a binary clock of it, a breadboard, and some LEDs I have laying around.

I love this thing.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46712207)

I'm 72 and I love all 15 of mine.

Re:Am I getting old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46707781)

It probably means you got a girlfriend.

Re:Am I getting old? (-1, Troll)

Finallyjoined!!! (1158431) | about 7 months ago | (#46707903)

You, on the other hand, have obviously never had a girlfriend.

Reckon you bat for the other side you pooftah.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 7 months ago | (#46708031)

Honestly I thought of that (married with 2 young kids), but I still find the time to program, play video games and D&D. Hardware tinkering's just fallen off my radar, and I never thought that would happen.

Re:Am I getting old? (3, Interesting)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 7 months ago | (#46708921)

Eventually your kids'll get old enough that hardware tinkering will be back on the radar -- with the added benefit that you'll be doing it with someone who looks up to you :) Only lasts a few years though.

Re:Am I getting old? (2)

Miamicanes (730264) | about 7 months ago | (#46708259)

No, you've just gotten burned too many times by consumer goods that were value engineered to the absolute limits of low quality.

Give Arduino a try... specifically, the Arduino boards made by RuggedCircuits.com. They're way too expensive to use for final versions of things you're building, but they totally rock for building your development prototype. Genuine Arduino boards are generally high-quality too, but aren't quite as "idiot-proofed" as the Ruggeduino. I'd recommend against Arduino clones from China that cost less than what you'd have to pay USPS to mail it from New York to Miami -- at least, for your first few experiments -- just because THEIR quality really is no better than an average consumer electronics product from the same anonymous factories in China.

If you used to be into hardware, you'll feel right at home with Arduino. Imagine what it would have been like to develop software for a Commodore 64... if it ran at 8-20MHz, had 5v-tolerant 3.3v i/o, and modern development tools and Stackoverflow.com. That's basically Arduino. And when/if the Arduino environment ITSELF starts to feel limiting, you can graduate to AVR Studio.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

nblender (741424) | about 7 months ago | (#46708345)

Me too. But when it comes to TV, I just bought the easiest thing because when it comes to watching TV, I just want it to work because by then I'm already too mentally exhausted to screw around with it... My mentally-useful hours are spent either working or tinkering with interesting (to me) things... I don't want TV to be a hobby. TV is how I shut my brain off at the end of the day so I can fall asleep.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

entrigant (233266) | about 7 months ago | (#46708395)

I feel much like you, and I attribute it to there being nothing particularly interesting or new about the Pi. It's just a small, cheap computer. I've installed and configured linux on a hundred systems big and small, and I learned everything this thing can teach me a long time ago.

DIY is fun and can be a great learning experience, but it ends there. After that it turns into a time sink just to keep the damn thing going for no gain other than to learn what having a second job is like. If you just want something to use let somebody else deal with the hassle of making sure it works and keeps working. Let someone else design the UI, negotiate relationships with 3rd parties for commercial application support, keep an eye on security issues, fix that random idiotic HDCP issue with that new TV, deal with that bug in ffmpeg, etc.

You have become too productive (2)

ranton (36917) | about 7 months ago | (#46708719)

but I've completely lost my ambition to tinker with hardware. Am I just old, or what?

As a kid I did far more tinkering with things than I do now. Part of this is because I have a family now, but another big reason is that I am simply far more productive at my core skills. I can do professional level work in my spare time with software related tasks, so tinkering in other domains holds less of a draw. I could either write some piece of software that may get used in the open source community or perhaps even sold as a product, or I could tinker with some robotics that isn't of much better quality than what some high school students could do.

It is an easy choice for me, even if part of me would like to branch out a little bit more.

Re:You have become too productive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708787)

I'm glad you found your specialization comfort zone early so you'll never feel hungry to learn something new ever again. I can relate to the sentiment of being "too good to tinker" but I only maintain that attitude towards shit I've done before and would learn nothing educational from doing again. I guess there are things that are simply not interesting to me like cooking or sewing but if it's STEM & new: "Bring it On".

Re:You have become too productive (1)

ranton (36917) | about 7 months ago | (#46709069)

I'm glad you found your specialization comfort zone early so you'll never feel hungry to learn something new ever again.

Wow, no hostility there. Also, I am not sure why you think people who are highly specialized never learn anything new.

I can relate to the sentiment of being "too good to tinker" but I only maintain that attitude towards shit I've done before and would learn nothing educational from doing again.

I would hope that everyone would have that attitude towards tinkering. Tinkering by definition is performing a task without much of a plan and usually with no useful effect. So if you are tinkering in the exact same way that you have done in the past, and aren't learning anything new, you are really wasting your time.

I guess there are things that are simply not interesting to me like cooking or sewing but if it's STEM & new: "Bring it On".

That is a perfectly reasonable way to live your life. There shouldn't be any hostility between highly specialized individuals and jack of all trades types. I was pointing out one possible reason why the GP may not enjoy tinkering with hardware anymore. I wasn't insinuating that everyone who becomes good at something automatically stops pursuing other hobbies.

Re:Am I getting old? (2)

CountZer0 (60549) | about 7 months ago | (#46708735)

The $35 Raspberry Pi is a myth, but a $100 Raspberry Pi based XBMC box is a reality and takes all of 10 minutes to set up. I have 5 of them and have completely cut the cord from Cable TV now.

Just grab a Canakit: http://smile.amazon.com/CanaKit-Raspberry-Complete-Original-Preloaded/dp/B00DLUXD64/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1397080142&sr=8-3&keywords=canakit
and a FLIRC: http://smile.amazon.com/FLIRC-Dongle-Media-Centre-Raspberry/dp/B00BB0ETW8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1397080187&sr=8-1&keywords=flirc

Install xbian: http://www.xbian.org/

Enjoy!

Re:Am I getting old? (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 7 months ago | (#46713589)

I use a stock $35 Pi running XBMC with no other hardware needed - what did you spend the other $65 on? I use the XBMC iPhone app to control it - no need for a remote. The Pi is taped to the back of the TV with ethernet and power plugged in.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

CountZer0 (60549) | about 7 months ago | (#46734513)

Flash card? Case? Power? HDMI and Ethernet cable? All of those items add up. Not using a remote saves you $30 on FLIRC, but I'm sure you've got at least $35 invested in the other items require to actually transform the Raspberry Pi into something more than inert circuitry.

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 7 months ago | (#46745805)

I already had most of the components laying around, but I did buy power supplies for the Pi's. I also have one in the attic running dump1090 and the upload client for flightradar24 - it has no case either, and I'm using a <$15 RTL tuner from nooelec.com.

Flash Card: $6
Case: None - taped naked to the back of the TV
Power: About $7 [newark.com]
HDMI Cable: $3 [parts-express.com]
Ethernet cable: already had tons laying around, or could make one for $1

Grand total: $17

Re:Am I getting old? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | about 7 months ago | (#46708929)

As with everything, it depends on (1) what you want to do now, and (2) your past experience.

IMHO, you need to separate the need for a media box from a tinkerable gadget. When you sit down after a hard day and grab a drink, the last thing you want to worry about is JTAG chains or something. I like having a few x86-64 boxes to just get something done, even though the idea of little-endian 4004 descendants isn't exactly elegant.

I still love tinkering with stuff programming-wise, but I've completely lost my ambition to tinker with hardware.

If you love programming, what's the problem? You're lucky to have something that excites you. However, it's nice to take hacking into new directions every now and then. Try to find an avenue from your software skills into hardware, or whateve else that might be remotely interesting. (As a teacher, I just have to mention http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Z... [wikipedia.org] ).

For example, in early 2011 I got into FPGAs, which for me was the perfect union of software and hardware tinkering, having a smattering of experience in both electronics and programming. It was life-changing in some ways, but eventually it's just one of the tools to hack with. For example, designing circuitry to run genuinely in parallel has given me great insight in the software world as well.

The Raspi always seemed kind of meh, both because FPGAs were already established in the embedded field, and because you'd be programming a chip someone else designed, instead of designing your own ;) Also, having first learned to program on the 1980s BASIC machines, I imagine something like Python (another life-changer of mine) on a regular computer would be much closer to the experience than something that appears to involve hardware hacking.

"microcomputer"??? (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 7 months ago | (#46708153)

I had always understood that the rasperry pi qualified as a nanocomputer... a computer that is approximately the same size as a credit card.

Eben Upton? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708205)

any relation to Kate Upton? Just wondering.

Re:Eben Upton? (1)

psergiu (67614) | about 7 months ago | (#46716411)

Nope.
But Eben himself is a good actor - you might have seen some of his movies, his screen name is Jason Statham [youtube.com] .

Another way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708539)

Get a basic 15.6" $299 laptop with Intel HD Graphics. Install a Linux distro. Start hacking.

For the price you get much more powerful machine than the R-Pi, and you have a screen and input devices included.

Re:Another way (1)

Narishma (822073) | about 7 months ago | (#46708723)

Power isn't that important at these prices.

Re:Another way (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46708855)

Well, think the extra power just as an added bonus. My main point was that a full R-Pi setup with peripherals will cost you $200+.

Re:Another way (1)

JRV31 (2962911) | about 7 months ago | (#46712809)

Get a $199 Chromebook, start hacking, install a Linux distro.

DIY ha ha ha (1)

AndyKron (937105) | about 7 months ago | (#46708649)

I don't want a $35 computer. I want a $10 computer, or I'll just keep using my chips instead. Everyone a DIY hacker my ass. More like everyone a DIY pipe dreamer with a little less money. Everyone I know who has bought an Arduino, with one exception, has told me it's "sitting at home and I've done nothing with it".

anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711009)

[S]ince we can afford to pay for the development of educational material, we can afford to advocate for good training for teachers throughout this.

I don't think "DIY" means what they think it means.

I think the real opportunity for us now, because we can intervene on the material and teacher training levels, we can potentially blow past where we were in the 1980s.'"

No, DIY would be writing your own materials and training and students finding or becoming their own teachers.

There's an opportunity to reach the bright kids who don't quite have the natural inclination to personally tackle complicated technical tasks.

If you give them good teaching and compelling material that's relevant and interesting to them,

Then it's not really DIY anymore, it's just a top-down system.

I can't wait for the next generation to grow up and when the space robots are invading, they will draft the "DIY Act" to protect us.

Who would be against DIY?

You're either with us or with the space robots I'm afraid.

Re:anonymous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46736727)

I am a space robot you insensitive human clod!!!

Correction: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46711175)

Eben Upton: How we're cashing in on tricking people into thinking they'll become DIY hackers and have an easy time learning about programming with the Raspberry PI.

Make it so easy in terms of teaching and docs... (1)

LaughingVulcan (3511853) | about 7 months ago | (#46716059)

...and then all the 1%ers, 8 year old or 60, will move on to something more challenging.
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