Barberian
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Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:39 pm

I have a moderate level PC that has Win 10 and LinuxMint on it. Win 10 tablet/laptop that runs on a phone main processor. I have an Android tablet and phone. I can run/link my tablet on my PC via WiFi with a program called SideSync. I have an Echo Show and Dot.

I have been interested in getting a Pi since they came out, but I can't justify getting one because I can do everything I need/want on my other platforms.

I am not much of a hobbyist because I lost most of my ability to concentrate for long periods of time for reasons I don't want to get into here. I am easily confused/frustrated following a long list of directions. I want to create something that fills a niche I could use with/instead of the above. I am mildly OCD and am trying to avoid redundancy of having something that I can do with the above computer devices.

Please, within the limits posted above, give me a reason I can justify buying a Pi other than simply having one. :D I am very interested, but can't justify getting one and probably a touchscreen.
Last edited by Barberian on Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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DougieLawson
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:55 pm

What? You really can't afford £5 for a Zero or £10 for a Zero with WiFi.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:59 pm

Here's a justification for you...

Think of a fairly simple project you'd like to do. Needn't be intellectually challenging or take a lot of concentration.

One you might consider is one I did that takes a Pi and 7" touch screen. That is a Pi-based alarm clock. The only thing it takes that you'ven't mention is a set of self-powered speakers. You should be able to find a pair of speakers for free, or find a set in a second-hand/"thrift" shop for very little. An option (if based on a Pi3B or Pi3B+) is to add a cable to connect to the internet with a wired connection. My alarm clock streams a particular radio station from the internet. The time it turns on and shuts down is controlled through cron. Likewise, the backlight setting for display is controlled through cron so that it is bright during the day and dim enough at night not to have an adverse effect on sleeping, but still bright enough to read the time easily in a dark room.

Barberian
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:04 pm

DougieLawson wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:55 pm
What? You really can't afford £5 for a Zero or £10 for a Zero with WiFi.
Yes, I can afford a Pi, I can afford a full blown Win 10 Pc, doesn't mean I want to buy something I will play with for a few days, then abandon.

I am looking for something that I will CONTINUE to use that I don't already have the ability to do with my above posted computer devices.

Thank you for your helpful response, wait...

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DougieLawson
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:13 pm

Go and read some back issues of the MagPi magazine, see if there's anything that interests you.
https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/issues/

It's difficult to tell you what you need a RPi for. The project usually follows buying one because you're interested in escaping from Microsoft or Apple's walled gardens and having a go at physical computing. Or we've dabbled in the world or microcontrollers like Arduinos and want to move up to something that extends on that.

Some of us are going back to physical computing because that's where we started with microprocessors back in the tail end of the seventies and start of the eighties.
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nobbit
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:27 pm

I have four RPis, but really only use one of them consistently.

My idea for that was to install Owncloud/Nextcloud on it, to stop using google drive for backups and document writing. I have all the skills needed for it (work as a sysadmin), but I tend to spend my spare time on other hobbies.

Eventually I just put it in a box, plugged in a usb hard drive and my router, installed Raspbian Lite, set up auto mount for the drive and a user with its home folder on the drive. Now I put my backups there using rsync, through a port forward in the router (I have static IP) so I can reach it from anywhere.

For me that's been extremely valuable, even if its a simple setup. I'm considering going the extra mile to install Nextcloud (might get a Pi3B for that - this one is only a B+), but not sure when I'll be bothered.

One of the others runs the latest full Raspbian and uses my TV as display. I intend to do some game develoment on it, but haven't gotten around to it. The other two... well, one was an xbmc machine at a friends house until she got a beefier later model. The other I don't even remember how I came to own in the first place.

LTolledo
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:33 pm

I use this RPi3B+ desktop to replace my win10 pc, as the win10pc is always suffering from "indexing illness" which I hated.
and my RPi3B+ desktop boots faster than win10pc and RPi3B+'s overall power usage is much less than those of win10pc. Its my media player (via Kodi) as well.

as for usage percentage
RPi3B+ desktop: 90%
win10pc: 5% (now used mainly for Etcher only)
other SBCs: 5%

the other RPis are used as NAS, torrent box, adblocker, "security camera" and most recently setup is a retro-gaming unit (retropie).
I also use my RPi to flash code to micro-controllers.
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DarkPlatinum
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 9:58 pm

I use 4 Raspberry Pi, 1 RPi 3B+ is my main desktop (gotta wait till uni to get my own laptop :D ) , 1 RPi 3B is my Kali Linux/ aircraft tracker, 1 RPi 2B is my Surveillance camera and lastly my RPi Zero W hosts a Raspberry Pi/Linux tutorial Wordpress site.

Think of it this way: You can create many projects on a main PC, but you will almost never get the availability. A Raspberry Pi barely takes a electricity, only £4 per year when running 24/7! Due to the raspberry Pi size, projects that are small are easily portable, make a mini PC that fits in your pocket! :)
1 * Raspberry Pi Zero W, 1 * Raspberry Pi 2, 1 * Raspberry Pi 3 1 * Raspberry Pi 3B + :mrgreen:

Check Out My Raspberry Site (Run on a Raspberry Pi 3B :) ): https://html.dynu.net

Heater
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:45 pm

Barberian,
...give me a reason I can justify buying a Pi...
Having read your expansive post I would say "no" do not waste your money on a Pi.

You clearly have no need or desire for one so don't buy one. Keep your money in your pocket.
I want to create something that fills a niche ...
Ah, wait a minute...

Now perhaps if you could say what that something is, what niche, then we have something to talk about.
Memory in C++ is a leaky abstraction .

drgeoff
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:59 pm

Sounds like the OP is looking for a niche that he doesn't yet know needs to be addressed.

In terms of raw computing and data handling there is little that a RPi can do that can't be done as well or better by what he has. But as hinted in posts above, it is when adding computing, intelligence, networking etc to physical world things that RPis open up better possibilities.

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Sun Oct 28, 2018 11:38 pm

drgeoff wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:59 pm
Sounds like the OP is looking for a niche that he doesn't yet know needs to be addressed.

In terms of raw computing and data handling there is little that a RPi can do that can't be done as well or better by what he has. But as hinted in posts above, it is when adding computing, intelligence, networking etc to physical world things that RPis open up better possibilities.
Even without getting into "projects" Pis are good when you want something running 24/7 (e.g. my alarm clock), for providing computer access and use for someone young enough that they may unwittingly trash the system, or where low power, low weight and/or small size are priority requirements (e.g. I have an electronic name badge; it consists of a Pi0W, 3.5" LCD, 4Ah powerbank, an 8GB microSD card, and a short USB-A to micro-USB-B cable).

jbudd
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:46 am

One of the most satisfying uses I've seen for a Raspberry Pi is Pi-hole https://pi-hole.net/.
It blocks all those distracting adverts on web pages.

You can easily run it on a Pi Zero W even "headless" - without keyboard or monitor.

oksage
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:56 am

Rpi's are great for "always-on" stuff, as mentioned already. This makes it great headless (no monitor) applications like: for network attached storage (NAS), transmission-daemon, mopidy, piratebox.

I've tried all of those. For the nas, I went bare-bones with samba. There's good instructions for samba at https://wiki.debian.org/SambaServerSimple . This is probably the thing I use my rpi3 for the most. I don't back up all my files to it, but I back up my 'Documents/computer' directory (where I keep all my configs/how-to's/etc that I make) from my Desktop. The nas makes a great go-between for other computers that aren't on. So if I want to save something to my main (office) computer, I put it in my samba share in a directory called 'transfer-office'. I have another called 'transfer-phone'. On android I have the ghost-commander file browser with the samba plugin.

Transmission-daemon serves up a web-interface so I can download a linux distro and keep seeding it until I've got a high share ratio or it's not being 'accessed'. This is great for starting downloads and turning off all other computers. There's good instructions at https://www.robertsetiadi.com/installin ... pberry-pi/ . I got stuck with the config because I was editing the line rpc-host-whitelist (or something like that) when I should have been editing rpc-whitelist.

Mopidy is good if you've got some speakers hooked up to the pi. Not the greatest sound without a hardware addon, though. Control mopidy from any browser on your lan.

Piratebox I played with and it was cool.

Other self-hosted things with web-servers I'd like to try: calibre, etherpad (apt-cache search etherpad gives output of 'node-channels - event channels in node.js'), sonerezh, syncthing, tinytinyrss.

If you like to tinker, get a pi for sure.

PhatFil
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Mon Oct 29, 2018 3:02 am

Depending on just who you are your first purchase of a pi or any small board computer can naturally involve a period of on the shelf dust catching. However as soon as you apply it to a single task you will probably find quite a few other tasks/jobs for it to perform.

I own 4 x pi s 1 3b and 3 x pi-0-w s ..

My Pi3 sits as a nas connected to 6x hdds via usb and also performs as a pi-hole DNS server that blocks loads of banner ads and crud..

My first Pi-0-W is my home automation server hosting mqtt, and Node-red which i use to connect to bluetooth ble temp and humidity sensors and wifi enabled tasmota devices to turn on and off electrical devices like lights etc..

Pi-0 #2 is a backup configured to take over from Pi-0 #1 at the drop of a hat aka execution of a script to reset the ip addy ;) (old habits....)

and my 3rd Pi-0 configured with a camera is currently a work in progress as my security video server that will both record via its camera and also from web streams from some cheap ip cameras i still have to 'crack'.

btw even if your pi sits catching dust on a shelf/desk leave it somewhere prominent and it may just spark a conversation that could inspire you..

Lord knows how many brilliant products started with a question from someone without any tech savy asking 'can it do .....?'

hippy
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:30 pm

Barberian wrote:
Sun Oct 28, 2018 8:39 pm
I have been interested in getting a Pi since they came out, but I can't justify getting one because I can do everything I need/want on my other platforms.
I can understand that; The Pi is just so neat, small, cheap and powerful, it's almost impossible to not want one.

It's also near impossible to not get caught up in the excitement of the Pi which is still fresh today. I won't say 'hype' and 'fad' because, while there are elements of that, the Pi is so much more.

The big question though is what to do with it once one has it ? It's the perennial "must have" set against "do I really need it?" internal debate.

The only options are to succumb to desire, buy and see what happens, or hold out until one has an identified need.

I gave in to my urges and have a number of PI, most of them not being used in projects yet, but still used enough, and being educational for me, to have made those purchases worthwhile.

For yourself, and your circumstances, it may be better to resist those urges and put off purchase until you can resist no longer or have identified a clear use, or can reconcile yourself to buying something which is what it is but may not have a specific purpose in your future.

I think you may really be wanting reassurance of "is it okay to resist?". I believe the answer is "yes". But that may prove hard :D

W. H. Heydt
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Re: Interested in a Pi, but...

Mon Oct 29, 2018 10:37 pm

OP has put more data in the "Introduce Yourself" sticky. Going off that...

Yes. You should buy yourself a Pi and start playing around with it. From your own statements, you'll regret not having done so. One thing you can do with one right off is use it to become comfortable with the command line interface on a machine where mistakes are are only minimally "fatal" because you can re-flash the SD card and be back in operation in minutes if you do something catastrophic to the system. That will help you get more use out of your Mint system.

Oh...and from your description of your computing history...while you may (age-wise) be among the relatively senior cohort here, it is likely that you're a good deal younger than some here.

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