Merry Christmas! Got a new Pi? Read on!

If you’re here because you got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas, then Happy Christmas – and welcome to the Raspberry Pi family! If you’re just here for fun, then Happy Christmas too!

The Raspberry Pi is a computer that you can use for all sort of brilliant and useful things, from learning to program, to making robots, to Tweeting when birds visit a nesting box, to taking pictures from the stratosphere.

Here are some tips on setting up and using your Raspberry Pi.

1. Make sure your software is up to date

The most important thing is to make sure that you have the latest version of our New Out Of Box Software (NOOBS). You can check this by starting your Raspberry Pi – here’s Carrie Anne to tell you more.

If you don’t have the latest version (1.3.3) we recommend that you go here to get the latest version and follow the instructions (it’s really easy – just download & unzip it and then drag and drop onto a formatted SD card).

2. Setting up

Full set up instructions are in the quick start guide. If you have any issues setting up your Raspberry Pi set up then please visit our forums. Our forum members are a very friendly bunch and will help you with any problems. The FAQ also has lots of tips and useful information

Power

Do make sure that you have a good quality power supply. Some cheaper supplies do not output the power that they claim!

Logging in

When you finally boot up you will be asked to log in. The login is ‘pi’ and the password is ‘raspberry’. Note that nothing appears when you type the password, so tpye caerfuly!

Command line and windows

The Pi boots into a command line where you type instructions to the computer. To start a windows-style graphical user interface, first log in, and then type startx and press enter.

Brain on a stick warning: The Raspberry Pi is special. We built this little computer so that you have to tell it what to do, not the other way round. You’re in charge. It’s a very different experience to unboxing a tablet or laptop—deliberately so!—but because of this it has so much more potential. We accept full responsibility for any learning, thinking or fun that may occur whilst using our product. :)

3. What can you do with your Raspberry Pi?

Because it’s a general purpose computer, you can do loads of stuff. But because it’s also small and light and doesn’t use much power, you can do even more amazing things. And if you just want to use it as a media player then that’s cool with us too.

Want to know more? If you’re under 15, we recommend Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi, which will get you set up and hacking away in an afternoon. For anyone over that age, we recommend the official User Guide, co-authored by our very own Eben Upton, which will take you from raw beginnings to automating your whole house.

Merry Christmas! We’ll be back in a few days – we’re taking a little while out to spend time with our families.

Additional resources and projects

The MagPi magazine is full of help, tutorials, projects and ideas. It’s free and quite excellent. The Computing at School Educational manual is also a free download and covers Scratch, Python, Linux and beyond.

Did we mention that we have a free version of Minecraft for the Pi? It’s great fun to play, but even better to program and there are some excellent resources to show you how.

Lastly, here are a few of our favourite blog posts of the last year. It’s a mixed bag, from beginners’ tutorials to professional  projects and we hope that they give you some inspiration and a flavour of what you can do with the Raspberry Pi.

Lincoln Heard, age 3, and his Raspberry Pi

Guest post #5: Raspberry Pi tutorials for complete beginners

Amy’s Game of Life

Oliver and Amelia make a bee box

Google Coder: a simple way to make web stuff on Raspberry Pi

Sonic Pi – a free music and computing resource for teachers, and for the rest of us

Zoological Society of London: saving rhinos with the Pi

BBC Springwatch – and a Pi

Bringing computing to rural Cameroon

Rapiro – the cutest robot you’ll ever meet, now on Kickstarter

High Altitude Ballooning, sixth-form style

Ted Bull Stratos: Babbage’s leap of faith

AirPi – the next step

Radio Lollipop – children’s hospital radio

Lincoln Heard, Minibeasts and Raspberry Pi

Pi 3D scanner: a DIY body scanner

Little Box of Geek from Geek Gurl Diaries

Kegerface – for all your beer stocking needs

The trick or treat greeter

The Wolfram Language and Mathematica on Raspberry Pi, for free