Raspberry Pi for beginners

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No, its not the delicious raspberry pie your grandma makes you! It is a small, low cost and high performance computer. Since its debut in 2012 by Raspberry Pi foundation , Pi has gained popularity and rightfully so. The micro-controller has gained rapid popularity among students, experts and DIYers. The reason for popularity is the high functionality that comes packed in a small size. Pi is capable of doing anything that a computer is capable of. With so much to know about Pi, where should one begin? What is the science of Raspberry Pi for beginners?

What is Raspberry Pi

Very good question! No, that wasn’t sarcasm. If you are new into this whole Pi business, it is only natural to wonder this. Raspberry Pi is a credit card size computer. Initially, Pi was designed for students so the can carry out their programming and coding tasks with inexpensive high computing power. Soon after, the mini computer gained popularity in the circle of experts and hobbyists.  When Pi was first introduced in 2012, it contained CPU, GPU and audio/video processing all on a low-power chip. With these specs, you might be tempted to think that Pi can replace desktops computer. Well, we cannot say anything about the future but here’s a fact check: Pi is not an outright replacement of desktop and laptop computers. It is a small package with lots of functionality but it can not support traditional Windows. It does, however, support some distributions of Linux.

What’s the big deal?

If you read the first paragraph and are still confused of all the hype then worry not! It’s okay to be confused in the beginning. Let me summarize things for you. Pi is a he size of your regular credit card with the functionality of a whole computer. What makes it so famous for all people in all industries is the amount of high performing factors that it is packed with. Since 2012, a lot of changes have been made on Pi and the latest Pi 3 is even better than before. It provides a huge spectrum of support for different hardware.  Let’s see which ones:

  • 1.2 Ghz ARM processor Systems-On-a-Chip (SoC) with integrated 1GB RAM.
  • 1 GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) interface
  • 1 3.5mm jack that offers both audio and composite video out.
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports for connecting input devices and peripheral add-ons.
  • MicroSD card reader for loading the operating system.
  • 1 microUSB power port.
  • HDMI port for digital audio/video output
  • 1 Ethernet LAN port
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth radio antenna

Language Support

We mentioned that Raspberry Pi is better suited for coding. But in what language? “What if I don’t know that language?”, you must be thinking. Obviously Pi manufacturers took that in consideration. Pi comes with Python, C, C++, Java, Scratch, and Ruby all installed by default in it. Although, all these language are available, the recommended language to code and manipulate Raspberry Pi is Python. The sole reason for which is the ease of writing the language in Linux. Python offers a wide range of Libraries that increase its portability and functionality. Since Pi supports Linux, it is even better to use Python. Why? Because it is easy to install Python libraries on Linux.

All this was basic knowledge of what Raspberry Pi actually is. What OS it operates. What language it works with and all the nitty gritty details. Now, let’s jump on the next part of the article which is to explore some of the projects that you can easily do to get a hang of Pi. If you are a complete beginner jumping into the world of Pi programming, it is a smart idea that you begin by getting some basic concepts of coding. Then start off with relatively simpler projects.

To help you with that, we have compiled a list of easy peasy projects that you can use as a stepping stone for your Pi journey.

Weather Monitoring Unit

Raspberry Pi for beginners can be tricky but this project is your best bet. And might turn out to be one of the best projects for you if you are new to this. You can build a weather station that collects and analyzes weather data. This will leverage you the opportunity to get hands on practice on data collection and analysis. You can use Oracle Raspberry Pi Weather Station software for getting a great start off.

Twitter Bot

The Twitter bot is actually a web application. You can use Twython library for this purpose which is a Python library. The bot can be trained to automate certain task including the temperature of your CPU. While starting this project, you’ll need to set up a Twitter application with Twitter APIs.

Print Server

Another fun project that is only limited to being a ‘project’, but also serves practical purposes is printer sever. If you have a spare printer lying around in your house, you can easily turn it in a wireless server with the help f Pi. To allow Windows devices to use your print server, you’ll need to use Samba. As for the running the server, you’ll need to use CUPS (Common Unix Printing System) . 

Along with these projects, you can always add a touch of fun and design games, music and what not. All you need to do is unleash your creativity and get at it! We hope that after reading this, you no longer need to look for topics like Raspberry pi for beginners. Because you wouldn’t have been a beginner. Also, because we hope we equipped you with knowledge. If you are choosing to start off by making games, begin with the ones that are already in market. After all, you are just taking inspiration from them and not stealing anything. Once you feel like you have attained enough command on Pi, you can begin by visualizing your own ideas.

 

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