First impression


 
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by JohnSan » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:44 pm
Sorry.

I don't believe an 8 year old set up a raspberry pi out of the box, on their own. (Home page story).

If this is aimed at school children, the scrolling text during boot has to be removed or suppressed. Anyone viewing the screen during boot must be put off instantly by that.

After booting, logging in and launching 'startx' Debian squeeze, the experience then feels too much like windows 3.1

That's not good.

But, if you have a Blackberry phone, the charger works fine as a powersupply for the Raspberry!
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by Chris_Reynolds » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:55 pm
I'm not so sure.

Kids who aren't interested will ignore the boot messages. Kids who are 'into IT' may have their curiosity piqued and may end up with a better understanding of how a computer starts and bootstraps than just seeing a Windows start screen.

I don't know about an 8 year old but my 10 year old had been reading both editions of MagPi cover to cover before we got ours and I'd have said he stood a chance of getting it sorted on his own if needed and I don't think he's unique in this.
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by rockhawk » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:26 pm
I'm fairly sure that when I was 8 plenty of text scrolled when the computer booted up, and it didn't put me off. In fact, I was looking at what it said to give me clues to edit config.sys and autoexec.bat to make DOS games work.

Now maybe adults that have never seen anything but a GUI might get scared by scrolling text - but I'd suggest an 8 year old, at least one who is into computers, is more likely to be interested in what it means than put off by it!

I do agree an 8 year old would have trouble setting the Pi up from scratch, but there's plenty for them to learn once someone had set it up for them. And I'm sure once they'd played with it a bit they'd be able to set one up for a friend :)
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by AndrewS » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:32 pm
Surely we all remember being asked to set the VCR record-timer by our parents...? ;)
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by liz » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:40 pm
I can assure you that that's exactly what happened, having had an email exchange with the kid concerned and his Dad (who was actually a bit peeved, because he'd wanted to do it himself, but got back from work to find the Raspi set up for him).

I'm not a particularly credulous person, but I find that a *completely* cynical worldview can harm the soul. How's yours feeling, @JohnSan?
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by Gert van Loo » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:38 pm
Do you prefer the windows solution: A log file somewhere on the disk (hopefully) which you can look at afterward (if you get your PC to boot) which contains on average a few thousand lines of information, 99.9% not usable? And then you don't know if anything went wrong until you try to use it and it does not work!

I prefer Linux. Even if I don't watch it consciously I somehow notice if an error pops-up. I had a few times that my Ethernet was not working. I really appreciate knowing that before I try to do anything network related and waste my time trying to find out what is wrong.
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by jamesh » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:50 pm
JohnSan wrote:Sorry.

I don't believe an 8 year old set up a raspberry pi out of the box, on their own. (Home page story).

If this is aimed at school children, the scrolling text during boot has to be removed or suppressed. Anyone viewing the screen during boot must be put off instantly by that.

After booting, logging in and launching 'startx' Debian squeeze, the experience then feels too much like windows 3.1

That's not good.

But, if you have a Blackberry phone, the charger works fine as a powersupply for the Raspberry!


Gotta love these first posts.

Got any alternatives for the desktop you get with startx?
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by jojopi » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:04 pm
jamesh wrote:Got any alternatives for the desktop you get with startx?
I was confused by the Windows 3.1 reference, since LXDE is obviously much more modern than that both in appearance and behaviour. I think what OP is really complaining about is typing "startx" — like "win" before Microsoft made the GUI compulsory.

I have to wonder whether people who are scared by scrolling messages, or typing a command, will ever enjoy programming, however. And also whether hiding this stuff would not just perpetuate the myth that it is no longer used; and programming these days consists of feeding money into the app shop.
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by AndrewS » Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:41 pm
jojopi wrote:I think what OP is really complaining about is typing "startx" — like "win" before Microsoft made the GUI compulsory.

Which (for the benefit of the OP, if he's still reading) is easily 'fixable' :)
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by JohnSan » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:20 am
Since my initial pi startup, I haven't had much opportunity to 'play'.
Apart from typing startx to kick 'windows' off - oh, alright then, 'launch the desktop', the win 3.1 feel was definitely enhanced when opening File Manager.

Other than investigating how to find an internet explorer application that could understand html5 stuff, or flashplayer or whatever, I didn't get any further.

This is supposed to get more kids interested in computing.

So my point about all the bootup status on the screen still stands. This is even before the GUI is launched. It will put anybody but a potential programmer off.

I hope this at worst is taken as constructive criticism.
I'm not in the 'it's no good, so I won't use it' camp......

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by AndrewS » Fri Jun 22, 2012 1:56 pm
"internet explorer application" ? :shock: I think you mean "web browser" ;)
Because of the limited resources on the RPi, I think the most 'modern' web browser that runs on the RPi is currently Chromium, see http://elinux.org/RPi_Guides#Installing ... eb_browser for details.
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by mikerr » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:25 pm
I think you'll find modern kids know only too well how to google any problems they have,
they probably find/read this place pretty quickly too.

My nephew knew how to get to cbeebies to play games online at 4, he's nearly 8 and I'm expecting him to popup on facebook/twitter anytime soon ;)

I only wish google/web existed when I was programming on a zx spectrum aged 8 in the 1980s,
it would have speeded up debugging listings from the magazines... rambles on about kids having it easy...
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by gritz » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:33 pm
mikerr wrote:I think you'll find modern kids know only too well how to google any problems they have,
they probably find/read this place pretty quickly too.

My nephew knew how to get to cbeebies to play games online at 4, he's nearly 8 and I'm expecting him to popup on facebook/twitter anytime soon ;)

I only wish google/web existed when I was programming on a zx spectrum aged 8 in the 1980s,
it would have speeded up debugging listings from the magazines... rambles on about kids having it easy...


This! Having to wait a month for the next issue of a magazine to print a correction to the code you laboriously typed in and then found didn't work...

One thing that Google's not always terribly good at is taking you to the solution to a problem. The first five pages of hits always seem to be unresolved forum posts by people who are having the exact same trouble. Probably a lack of search-fu on my part! T'internet is an absolutely priceless resource though.
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by W. H. Heydt » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:36 am
Well...it IS correct that when I was 8 I didn't see lines of text scrolling up a screen...

But when I was 8...the IBM 1620 came out that year and the 1401 was two years in the future. Sputnik I was launched about 7 months after my birthday, and VDTs didn't exist.

It would have been really hard for me to have seen lines scrolling up the screen at that age.

When my kids were 8, they were begging to get to use an ADM-3A (the very terminal model vi was written for) connected to a Cadmus 9000 (sort of a Sun 2 clone).

my 4-year-old grandson is fascinated with the Pi boot sequence.
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by mechanizeddeath » Fri Jul 06, 2012 11:13 pm
I didn't get my first computer until I was nearly 12, so while I can't compare myself to an 8 year old, the very first thing I did with it was begin teaching myself BASIC. This was on a 386 PC with DOS 5.0 and the only GUI was the ghastly Packard Bell desktop application.

Times may change, but children do not. Tech-minded kids will find this every bit as fascinating as I found that 386, of that I am certain.
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by waltontour » Mon Jul 09, 2012 2:21 pm
Hi,

Regarding the boot-up code, if it puts you off, I recommend taking a look at Puppy, there's a minimum of boot-fuss and no login/password issues as the user runs as root (which might sound scary to many folk, but removes need of all that su/sudo multi-user stuff). It's only in alpha2 stage at the mo' (Barry Kauler et al are working on sound etc) but will improve quickly.

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by Tom_Gilligan » Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:12 pm
hi

While my Pi sits here looking ever so pretty i find it to be the most frustrating thing i have ever owned. It stares at me whispering of hidden potential. However, not so savvy me thought that a hdmi to vga converter would be an easy thing to come by. In this i was wrong. So as I don't have a TV my raspberry pi as a rather pretty paper weight for the foreseeable future. :(
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by W. H. Heydt » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:48 pm
Tom_Gilligan wrote:hi

While my Pi sits here looking ever so pretty i find it to be the most frustrating thing i have ever owned. It stares at me whispering of hidden potential. However, not so savvy me thought that a hdmi to vga converter would be an easy thing to come by. In this i was wrong. So as I don't have a TV my raspberry pi as a rather pretty paper weight for the foreseeable future. :(


Well...as you work through the "if" conditions...it may be a lot more than that...

If you have a home LAN (that is router and/or switch), and...
If you have a PC of some sort, and...
If you set up the Pi to have ssh enabled, and...
If you are willing to do things with the Pi at the command line, ....
Then you can download PuTTY to your PC and log in to your Pi from your PC and explore it and do things with it.
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by mahjongg » Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:58 pm
/start_rant
my two cents are that I'm worried about the constant dumbing down of young people, it seems that being lazy and ignorant is actually seen as a "good thing", and that any complexity must therefore be removed. This greatly disgusts and repulses me!

People who insists everything must be "dumbed down to windows level" certainly irritate me.

The PI, in the first place, is for learning how computers really work, hiding complexity is counter to that!
/end_rant
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by MrBunsy » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:52 pm
At 8 I was happily navigating DOS on my dad's 286 so I could play games...
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by rurwin » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:07 pm
Tom_Gilligan wrote:So as I don't have a TV my raspberry pi as a rather pretty paper weight for the foreseeable future. :(
Second-hand LCD monitors are cheap on eBay.

Many of them have unrealistic reserves but there are bargains to pick up, like this one.
Last edited by rurwin on Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by mikerr » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:11 pm
Tom_Gilligan wrote: However, not so savvy me thought that a hdmi to vga converter would be an easy thing to come by. In this i was wrong. So as I don't have a TV my raspberry pi as a rather pretty paper weight for the foreseeable future. :(


HDMI->VGA is a digital to analogue conversion, so needs electronics and is relatively expensive (£20+)

HDMI->DVI-D is a just a cheap lead though (£2 on ebay) - does your monitor have DVI-D ?
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by johnbeetem » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:14 pm
Tom_Gilligan wrote:hi

While my Pi sits here looking ever so pretty i find it to be the most frustrating thing i have ever owned. It stares at me whispering of hidden potential. However, not so savvy me thought that a hdmi to vga converter would be an easy thing to come by. In this i was wrong. So as I don't have a TV my raspberry pi as a rather pretty paper weight for the foreseeable future. :(

The RasPi wiki has some useful information on HDMI -> VGA converters: see http://elinux.org/RPi_Screens#RGB_analog.2FVGA and http://elinux.org/RPi_Verified_Peripher ... rter_boxes. There are some challenges to power the converter box and to tell RasPi the resolution of your VGA using config.txt. Not trivial, but doable.
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by piglet » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:28 pm
mikerr wrote:My nephew knew how to get to cbeebies to play games online at 4, he's nearly 8 and I'm expecting him to popup on facebook/twitter anytime soon ;)


My eldest's first two recognised words at the age of two were 1) their own name 2) "LOADING." Yes. We had dial up...

A few years on and one of my other children at the age of three could fire up the PC, pick Ubuntu from the GRUB list of operating systems, find their name in the family username list with the mouse, log in using their own password, start firefox, and happily play the cbeebies games. All at 06:30 in the morning rather than waking me up.
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by kadamski » Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:58 pm
rurwin wrote:
Tom_Gilligan wrote:So as I don't have a TV my raspberry pi as a rather pretty paper weight for the foreseeable future. :(
Second-hand LCD monitors are cheap on eBay


I had the same problem as Tom and thought I will have to work on Rpi headless. Then I found a shop with some refurbished computer components. Bought some monitor with DVI-D with one year warranty. It's small (15") with crapy resolution (1024x768) but it works great with Rpi and it costs me equivalent of 20$. One just have to look hard enough.
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