Raspberry Pi

In an attempt to interest and educate my children in the ways of IT, I borrowed a raspberry pi to see what they could do with it. Well it sat around for ages while they played on their iPads so it fell to the uber geek to download and install raspbmc.

Raspbmc is a minimal Debian based linux distro dedicated to supporting XBMC, which is an open source media player i.e. you can plug it into your TV and stream internet based content.

Overall it works very well and it a great (cheap) way to watch streamed media. My biggest gripe (maybe I was unlucky) is that the installer was not very robust and did not detect that the website needed to download raspbmc was down. How often the website is down is a pertinent question.

Once I managed to download to an SD card, the installation was easy, at which point I could get the offspring interested in configuring it to watch some programs. There are improvements that could be made to the UI and it can be slow – forgiveable given the hardware. The HD video output was great and when content worked, the experience was no different to satellite or terrestial. It’s a digital world after all.

Perhaps I can ditch my 13 year old Humax decoder and take down the ugly satellite dish from my house.

There are, of course, other ways to drive a raspberry pi and I look forward to having time to experiment with them too.

Windows 8

It’s time to bring Windows 8 to the home lab. So far I’ve been running it as a VM on my RedPixie laptop, which has worked very well and I want to do the same at home. With a bit of tweaking I think it will be very good, I’ve generally liked it so far.

My first challenge however is to get VMware Workstation up to scratch as I have version 7 which will not run Windows 8. Given the hassle I had getting the current version of Workstation to run on Ubuntu, I’m not looking forward to it so I will make sure everything is backed up and recoverable first.

Apologies for the outage by the way – forgot to put money in the meter.