Thursday, 28 June 2012

4GB Too Small For Raspberry Pi

Just in case anyone makes this mistake too...

I brought a 4GB SD card for my Raspberry Pi but after trying to clone the Git project I've been planning. I'm about to buy a 32GB card but I'm a bit sad that I wont get my project tested tonight :(

How to start the Raspberry Pi without an HDMI Screen (or no screen at all)

I just downloaded the debian squeeze image and copied it onto an SD card. Then I realised I had no HDMI screen as I always use my laptop. I thought I'd have to get one but thought it looked a bit expensive so I thought there may be a way to start it without a screen at all!!


To enable SSH automatically every time the Pi starts you need to :
  • Prepare an SD card with the Debian “Squeeze” image
  • Insert the SD card in your PC
  • Rename ” boot_enable_ssh.rc” as “boot.rc”
  • Eject the SD card and insert into your Pi
When the Pi boots SSH is enabled by default.

All I needed to do was turn on the RPi, log into my router and wait for the RPi's IP to turn up. I then brought up putty and logged straight in using the credentials provided from where I downloaded the debian image.

I'm really glad I managed to start using my Raspberry Pi without having to buy a new monitor/TV!!!

Raspberry pi unboxing

Below are the photos of my BRAND NEW RASPBERRY PI!! Very excited to get this little thing up and running. First thing I need to do is set up an SD card with the OS. 

For anything who read my previous post... RS Components were very quick to send me a new one after I opened my empty box :(     The only issue is I didnt see it sitting where my house mates put in on the kitchen table so its been sat there a week!

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Raspberry Pi Empty Unboxing

Well the time has come for me to unbox my Raspberry Pi - it arrived earlier than expected! Unfortunately though I have had a bit of bad luck. I'll spare you the photos, but basically I unboxed two bits of foam with no computer hidden inside them!

That's right - an empty box!!

After looking around on Google it seems I'm not the only one, but I sure am disappointed! To be fair to RS Components (from which I brought it) I contacted them by email on a Sunday evening and got a response within 20 minutes... There should be another one in the post for me arriving soon.

If you order a Raspberry Pi and get an empty box simply send an email to 
Bray, Mike

My email:
I ordered my Raspberry Pi and it arrived today, but the box was empty. The box was not tampered with as far as I could tell. The security seals were still intact.

My invoice number is: ************

After looking through the forums ( it seems that this is a known issue.

Please send my raspberry pi to the following address as soon as possible:


I look forward to hearing from you.


His response:
Hi Hugh,

Thanks for letting me know.  Ive reported this to the Pi team, and asked them to issue you with a replacement as soon as possible.

Best regards,

Although disappointed I am somewhat impressed by the fast reply. I will post again when it arrives - hopefully it'll be better news next time round.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Raspberry Pi Project

You should all of heard of the Raspberry Pi by now, but in case you haven't head over to for a preview. As a summary: A Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized  Linux-powered computer that costs between $25 and $35. That price tag makes it VERY interesting to me.

Although the Raspberry Pi is designed for educational purposes there is a growing community using them for projects ranging from home automation to robotics. Recently I have been writing a program that scrapes data from both websites and xml feeds, aggregates that data, and does some useful things with it... I ordered a Raspberry Pi about 6 weeks ago (due to arrive next month) and I intend to use it to run my web scraping program.

As my project has grown I have had to distribute the scraping work and much of the calculations across multiple AWS servers while keeping the database on a single server. The database server I will scale upwards onto larger hardware due to the high write to read ratio (yes more writes), but the scraping work I hope to distribute across a small farm of Raspberry Pi computers back home. If this works I should be able to massively cut down my AWS bill.

I am yet to find out whether the Raspberry Pi will be able to run my scraping program in just 256MB of RAM, but if all goes well I will be buying at least 10 of these little gems!

I'll post again when my Raspberry Pi arrives.