Sunday, December 23, 2012

LATEST IN COMPUTER TECHNOLOGY GOING INTO 2013

I have about 5 of them here at my place - they've replaced my networked media players which were old and had noisy fans. I have one running my file server for the media players - 4 x USB hard drives connected to it. One I am configuring up to be an Allstarlink/Echolink amateur radio network node using the Asterisk VoIP server, and another connected to a Thunderbolt GPS Disciplined Oscillator for some super accurate NTP time source. About to order some more to be data loggers and sensor nodes around the place (eg water management, weather station, power usage). To have a fully functional Linux PC for $35 just can't be beat.
Some issues I found with it are:
- OpenELEC with XBMC is a bit more stable than RaspBMC for use as a media player.
- need to have at least a 5V 1A power supply - some phone charger supplies just don't cut it and will cause brownout hangs when the ethernet starts up.
- the ethernet is provided over the USB2 bus so performance isn't great (although it is enough to stream 3 video streams at once with XviD codec
- the need to have a powered USB hub for some peripherals (eg wifi and bluetooth dongles) as the R-Pi can't source enough current to drive the devices
- It's only USB2 not USB3... bit of a 1st world problem.

I've been asked to give a talk on the R-Pi at the local Tasmanian Linux User's Group meeting in January. I'll post my talk slides when I've finished it, some of the links on it could be of interest.

Don't bother buying from RS Components (RatSh%t)... much quicker to order from Farnell/Element14.

Cheers,

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