My raspberry pi (model B) arrived yesterday and it is amazing how small it is.
The raspberry pi is trully the hardware hacker’s dream. Small, powerful enough to run small applications or media centers, low powered (can be powered by usb), quiet (no fans), cheap (around 35 euro) and hackable! It’s main use is of course as a media center but people have been doing a lots of crazy stuff with it. Here are 40 things that you can do with it. What I also like is that its storage is on a SD card, so you can have multiple configurations on different cards or if you mess up with it, you just format the SD and reinstall the OS.
Raspberry comes with its own linux distribution, Raspbian, a debian variant but if you are going to use it as a media center I recommend RaspBMC, a xbmc variant. There is also an android port but I am not fond of OS’s, that have been developed for touch screens, being used with mouse/keyboard.
I installed a TP Link wireless N usb that I had and tried RaspBMC. My raspberry could handle all sorts of files (no mpeg2 yet as it needs a small license fee). I had read that playback of big video files from wifi was not ok, but I had tried many different files (even 1080p movies) and I didn’t have a problem. Sometimes the HD video stopped for 1 or 2 secs but it was not that often. RaspBMC also supports AirPlay so you can watch any videos from iphone/ipad. Add a xbmc remote application to your android/ios and then you have the perfect remote control.
I can’t wait to build a LEGO case for it and maybe use it to control LEGO mindstorm sensors. I also want to check how well it can run a MAME for my future arcade cabinet