bamboozled
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 3:41 pm

For what it"s worth, I thought I"d post my first impressions of getting my Pi this week. I had managed to follow the instructions on preparing a SD card with the Debian Squeeze operating system, although I couldn"t get it to fit on a 2GB card and had to sacrifice the 4GB card from my camera

It booted up OK, although I found the requirement for a username and password an unneccessarily intrusive step. It"s oiny me who"s going to be using it, for heaven"s sake! Thankfully there"s enough space on the internet connector to write the username and password, plus the magic word to boot the graphics. So far, so crude.

The display seems really poor on my 1080p monitor - a small low resolution rectangle in the middle of a black box. Reminds me a bit of the old 80s micros. I was expecting it to fill the screen, like my real computer desktop does. Perhaps it"s to save memory or something, I don"t know.

So, I find the internet browser, which seems to be named after a bright green Japanese liqueur. I try the BBC websit - Success! Well, after a fashion. Apparently I need to install Flash. So I click the link and Adobe obligingly provides me with the Linux Flash. For Firefox. Only.

So I go to Firefox to download that. I get the files onto the desktop - but no way can I get it to run. I"ve managed to unpack the files into a folder called Pi, but that"s all.

So I turn to the Forum I register, and am given a password so fiendishly complicated it takes me four tries to type it in. Then I start posting here - and BOY IS IT SLOW! It is currently taking between 10 and fifteen seconds to register a mouse click, and a similar length of time to catch up with my typing.

So at the moment I"m rather bitterly disappointed, with a device that can"t even achieve what my four year old mobile phone can do effortlessly...

And yes, I have tried reading the forums, including the Absolute Beginners, for some time before I received the Pi. Most of it is total Greek. And there is SO MUCH of it - I don"t have three lifetimes spare to go through it.

toxibunny
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 4:18 pm

I don't think you're ever going to get flash running, unfortunately.  The monitor thing is a different issue though - sounds like you need to set a different resolution in your config.txt. Haven't you seen the videos?
note: I may or may not know what I'm talking about...

Joe Schmoe
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 4:47 pm

Really, seriously, no offense to the OP, but...

I don't think he is in the intended group for this release.  I mean, seriously, isn't it posted all over the place that this is the developer's release? (And that a better, more complete, more-like-Windows release is coming and will be available at some point down the road).

Anyway, that's what every word in his text screams out to me.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

tufty
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 4:56 pm

So, let"s see. You bought a developer release of a board, despite the fact that you presumably haven"t managed to understand any of the "absolute beginners" stuff. Yes, it"s slow. That"s because it"s a developer release of software, running on the equivalent of a slow pentium 3. The gpu acceleration that might make it tolerable hasn"t been developed yet - partly because doing so is bloody hard, and partly because the demand for boards from people who don"t understand any of that greek in the absolute beginners bit of the forum has meant delay in certifying what was meant to be a developer release, and that the developers largely don"t have boards.

No, this is not helpful. Sorry about that. Early adopters, especially those who have not done their homework, get burned.

I would strongly suggest getting yourself a "linux for dummies" book. Or offering your board on at cost to one of the developers here who need, and can use, one.

bamboozled
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:05 pm

Ah. Abuse. Thanks, guys. A couple of links might have been more helpful...

Yes, I have watched a couple of the introductory videos. None seemed to make any sense, and you can"t read any of the text on the screen anyway. I believe videos are far less useful than text: I can speed-read, but you can"t do that with videos.

jacques
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:14 pm

Having my board running, i must agree with the op,

except for the display, mine is perfect on a 27" 1900x1200.

(the hdmi/dvi cable cost me € 35, is there a relationship?)

But it's true, this thing is not for browsing the web.

Do not try google map or flikr, it's impossible. As soon as there is some javascript and complex rendering, the thing is on it's knees.

There are surely other use to this board.

On the positive side, i must say that it is quite stable for a dev. release.

And the chip is surprisingly cold even at full power.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:15 pm

bamboozled said:


For what it"s worth, I thought I"d post my first impressions of getting my Pi this week. I had managed to follow the instructions on preparing a SD card with the Debian Squeeze operating system, although I couldn"t get it to fit on a 2GB card and had to sacrifice the 4GB card from my camera


Quart in to pint pot?


It booted up OK, although I found the requirement for a username and password an unneccessarily intrusive step.


Pretty much every OS is setup like this, for user convenience Windows & Mac OS typically let you bypass it. It's just different, that's all.


It"s oiny me who"s going to be using it, for heaven"s sake! Thankfully there"s enough space on the internet connector to write the username and password, plus the magic word to boot the graphics. So far, so crude.


If you learn a little you can setup your own username & password and have it automagically boot in to the GUI - which will even show you your name so you just enter your password - just like Windows.


The display seems really poor on my 1080p monitor - a small low resolution rectangle in the middle of a black box. Reminds me a bit of the old 80s micros. I was expecting it to fill the screen, like my real computer desktop does. Perhaps it"s to save memory or something, I don"t know.


Some settings will need tweaking to optimise it for your monitor.


So, I find the internet browser, which seems to be named after a bright green Japanese liqueur.


What's in a name, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. FYI, the FireFox build for Debian is called Iceweasel, you can't get Safari but you might be able to get Opera - all good names - all with their own theme.


I try the BBC websit - Success! Well, after a fashion. Apparently I need to install Flash. So I click the link and Adobe obligingly provides me with the Linux Flash. For Firefox. Only.


You will need to install Flash if you want to watch video. For everything else Midori is absolutely fine.


So I go to Firefox to download that. I get the files onto the desktop - but no way can I get it to run. I"ve managed to unpack the files into a folder called Pi, but that"s all.


A little learning ....


So I turn to the Forum I register, and am given a password so fiendishly complicated it takes me four tries to type it in. Then I start posting here - and BOY IS IT SLOW! It is currently taking between 10 and fifteen seconds to register a mouse click, and a similar length of time to catch up with my typing.


Hmmmm, someone may be exagerating. My Pi is no where near as fast as my MacBook Pro but then it cost 50 times less. It's not 50 times slower that's for sure.


So at the moment I"m rather bitterly disappointed, with a device that can"t even achieve what my four year old mobile phone can do effortlessly...


Your mobile will have retailed for about £300 - about 10 times more than a Pi


And yes, I have tried reading the forums, including the Absolute Beginners, for some time before I received the Pi. Most of it is total Greek. And there is SO MUCH of it - I don"t have three lifetimes spare to go through it.


You've chosen to join a community that wants to make educational computing affordable for all. If you don't want to learn or can't accept the nature of Pi, drop me a PM and I'll buy yours off you for the price you paid and find a good home for it.

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grumpyoldgit
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:16 pm

I got my HDMI/DVI cable from Amazon for just over £2.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:20 pm

jacques said:


But it's true, this thing is not for browsing the web.

Do not try google map or flikr, it's impossible. As soon as there is some javascript and complex rendering, the thing is on it's knees.


I've found the FireFox version called Iceweasel much better at coping with the JavaScript heavy websites - still not spritely but they do get there - one I use has a 1.5Mb set of JS dependencies including Ext JS 4 which gives it plenty to think about.

For it's design use of providing a development environment it runs all sorts of code pretty well - if someone learning starts needing the big guns then they will have to trade up - but if it gets 1000's of kids in to the basics of programming then it will meet it's objective admirably.

jamesh
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:20 pm

bamboozled said:


Ah. Abuse. Thanks, guys.

Yes, I have watched a couple of the introductory videos. None seemed to make any sense, and you can"t read any of the text on the screen anyway. I believe videos are far less useful than text: I can speed-read, but you can"t do that with videos.


Sorry about the 'abuse' as you call it. Message to the posters - please maintain some level of decorum please.

Now, on to the brunt of the matter. Although the points raised by other repliers could have been phrased much more politely, the content remains valid. This is an early release of software, and the device itself it relatively slow, both these issues are well known. Let's see if I can be more specific...

Usename/Password. No different to Windows and/or Linux. SInce you have obviously connected to the internet this minimum level of security is vital, as without it you won't be 'the only user' for very long.

Boot the graphics: Not sure what you mean by this - is it 'startx' you refer to? Many users just want the 'command prompt' or text only interface, so that's how it boots. 'startx' is not difficult to remember if you want the graphical UI. Others versions of the software will probably boot straight to the desktop, as its not difficult to set up.

Display size: In order to cope with all sorts of TV's we need to underscan the HDMI output, as on some devices we were finding its was spilling over the edges. This is not a Raspi problem, it's a TV problem, and has been extensively covered in the troubleshooting section of the forum, and also on the Wiki.

Flash: Won't work, and without Adobe making it work, probably never will. This again is well documented.

Final point: It appears that you have bought a Raspi with very little knowledge of what it can and cannot do. Information that is readily available. This really is a case of caveat emptor. On the bright side, you can sell it for more than you bought it on Ebay, if you really don;t have the time or inclination to learn from it, which is it's primary purpose after all.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
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jacques
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:23 pm

tufty said:


The gpu acceleration that might make it tolerable hasn"t been developed yet - partly because doing so is bloody hard


What do you mean bloody hard, does it need quantum computing technology ?

No it is not hard, it would even be quite easy if there where some documentation available. But without, it is not hard, it is impossible.

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nick.mccloud
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:25 pm

bamboozled said:


Ah. Abuse. Thanks, guys. A couple of links might have been more helpful...


You haven't actually asked for any assistance as yet, just expressed your frustrations and laid out expectations that reach far beyond a version 1 $35 computer.

We can't make it do some things just yet - like watch video on the BBC.

If you're up for a little learning, google for nano to learn about text editting and then read this:

http://elinux.org/RPi_config.txt

to sort out your monitor settings.

What else would you like help with?

jamesh
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:38 pm

jacques said:


tufty said:


The gpu acceleration that might make it tolerable hasn"t been developed yet - partly because doing so is bloody hard


What do you mean bloody hard, does it need quantum computing technology ?

No it is not hard, it would even be quite easy if there where some documentation available. But without, it is not hard, it is impossible.


Not true. The documentation for accelerated OpenVG, GLES and EGL is all available - that's what you need to use. However, writing an X driver that uses those libraries is not trivial.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
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scep
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:40 pm

bamboozled said:

So, I find the internet browser, which seems to be named after a bright green Japanese liqueur.
Which was, in turn, was cunningly named after the Japanese word for "green"

I'm sorry to hear you don't like your RasPi. I'm not entirely sure what to make of your post, however, since half of it is a complaint about the web browser: the RasPi was designed to be a cheap, small computer to encourage computing and programming, not a replacement for a phone or desktop (of course it is good for other stuff too - and will get better as developers get their hands on it, as tufty says). But when it's actually used for its intended purpose, you get different first impressions.

I do hope that you persevere with it and get to see its true potential.

Joe Schmoe
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:50 pm

I say "Give Jacques the URLs for the documentation" (*) and a weekend, and we should be all set.  Good deal for all!!!

(*) Note that I am not assuming that the documentation is all free.  Some of those URLs that we supply him with will be sites from which he can order (for money) the documentation.  Still, the glory of doing it (since it is so easy as he says) will be worth the small investment.
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

shirro
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 5:56 pm

@bamboozled you have made some valid points but you haven't really gone about it the best possible way. Yes, it is slow. We know that. It is a $35 computer. The software configuration isn't exactly optimal for beginners but then this is a developer release and that is one of the things that needs to be worked on.

If you think this device is all about web browsing and Flash you have probably bought the wrong device which is a shame as that has been dealt with quite thoroughly in the FAQ and in the forums.

The Pi compiles small programs and runs Python scripts very nicely. The 3d graphics aren't amazing by todays standards but are much better than you would expect for the price. It is surprisingly good at playing video. It really just needs some polish on the drivers, a bit of software porting and a slightly better default config to be good for its intended purpose. If you want to stick with it and learn something, good on you, and remember you will get better results asking specific questions rather than dumping a list of gripes.

Otherwise please consider selling your Pi to someone who will appreciate it and perhaps check back later around the time of the education release and things might be a bit more polished. Don't expect to see Flash or for the Pi to magically turn into an expensive state of the art computer though. It is what it is.

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cheery
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 6:16 pm

Now I'm bit surprised about how much computing power some web sites appear to need.

Have to see it myself before can help you. ^^ My RPi hasn't arrived yet.

It's odd you think like that about the login prompt. I feel it's the most soothing things I can see after a sip of coffee at the morning.

Joe Schmoe
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 6:20 pm

All the crabbing about the login prompt was the major component that screamed out "I'm in the wrong place!"
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

tufty
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 6:25 pm

Sorry if my post came across as rude, but your original post came across as "I've bought this thing knowing nothing about it, and I don't like it".  There's an awful lot of people on here who *do* know what they are going to be buying, who *do* know what they are going to do with it, who are happy to live with the current limitations, who are trying to push the goals of the foundation, and yet who don't have a Pi yet.  Personally, it's been more than 5 months that my project has been more or less stalled awaiting a board, I was up at 6am (well, it was 7am over here, which made it easier), and I still don't have anything more than a "thanks for registering your interest" email.

As for your gripes.  Slow has been covered, scary is implied whenever you try something different.  Unfriendly - yeah, I can agree with that.  If you don't know what you're doing, Linux can be downright user-hostile.  It's been a while I've been coming out with the same old chant - Linux is not the right OS - but the only people who seem to be listening are the ones who want to go even worse and try to run Windows on the damned thing.

That said, my proposed solution won't make life any easier, at least to start with.  The user interface requires a serial interface to the GPIO pins, and when you get your terminal software at the other end set up, will look like this:

(??)

Still, at least you can moan about the greek

I might ask though, if you do decide to go the route of ebaying it for $$$PROFIT$$$, please think of sending a bit of a donation the way of the foundation.  They're trying to do important work.

Simon

bamboozled
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 6:34 pm

Many thanks to the later posters who have responded in a dignified fashion and included useful information in their posts, particularly links. I won"t respond to them all, other than to say that I am not exagerating about the 10-15 second delays when typing in this forum.

Yes I know I am an early adopter of an early release. I am also a journalist who works for a national magazine in a technology field and will be putting something positive in print very shortly. even though the R-Pi is outside our normal remit.

dcdevito
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 7:15 pm

bamboozled said:


Ah. Abuse. Thanks, guys. A couple of links might have been more helpful...

Yes, I have watched a couple of the introductory videos. None seemed to make any sense, and you can"t read any of the text on the screen anyway. I believe videos are far less useful than text: I can speed-read, but you can"t do that with videos.


Don't sweat it - I'm with you. I too am greatly disappointed on how SLOW this thing is. I watched videos of this thing running fedora remix and it ran 100% faster than mine (which is also running Remix).

As for the screen resolution, Fedora Remix upscales it perfectly to 1080, but is actually slower than Debian Squeeze (imagine that). So I'd stick with that for now. I'm waiting for someone to port XMBC to this thing or it will be thrown in the tech pile o junk.

2012 was supposed to be the year of the Pi, instead it's the year we got duped into buying the Pi. What a waste.

dcdevito
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 7:20 pm

shirro said:


@bamboozled you have made some valid points but you haven't really gone about it the best possible way. Yes, it is slow. We know that. It is a $35 computer. The software configuration isn't exactly optimal for beginners but then this is a developer release and that is one of the things that needs to be worked on.

If you think this device is all about web browsing and Flash you have probably bought the wrong device which is a shame as that has been dealt with quite thoroughly in the FAQ and in the forums.

The Pi compiles small programs and runs Python scripts very nicely. The 3d graphics aren't amazing by todays standards but are much better than you would expect for the price. It is surprisingly good at playing video. It really just needs some polish on the drivers, a bit of software porting and a slightly better default config to be good for its intended purpose. If you want to stick with it and learn something, good on you, and remember you will get better results asking specific questions rather than dumping a list of gripes.

Otherwise please consider selling your Pi to someone who will appreciate it and perhaps check back later around the time of the education release and things might be a bit more polished. Don't expect to see Flash or for the Pi to magically turn into an expensive state of the art computer though. It is what it is.


We all know it's a developer board - with developer software, and yeah I know it's $35 - but slow is slow. And it was an opinion someone gave, he/she has every right to gripe. That's what happens when you sell [insert something] to the public. Opinions develop, and you know what? They matter.

I'm sure it is quite difficult to get this thing running optimally, I'm a developer myself - but with the hype this thing generated people can't help but get excited - only to set it all up and be disappointed.

No need to jump down his/her throat about it.

Joe Schmoe
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 7:22 pm

Nobody twisted your arm (did they?)

I smell FUD (from the well known FUD-masters)
And some folks need to stop being fanboys and see the forest behind the trees.

(One of the best lines I've seen on this board lately)

dcdevito
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 7:23 pm

Hmmmm, someone may be exagerating. My Pi is no where near as fast as my MacBook Pro but then it cost 50 times less. It's not 50 times slower that's for sure.

Ummm...I beg to differ.

dcdevito
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Re: First impressions - Slow, Scary & unfriendly

Sat May 05, 2012 7:39 pm

dcdevito said:


shirro said:


@bamboozled you have made some valid points but you haven't really gone about it the best possible way. Yes, it is slow. We know that. It is a $35 computer. The software configuration isn't exactly optimal for beginners but then this is a developer release and that is one of the things that needs to be worked on.

If you think this device is all about web browsing and Flash you have probably bought the wrong device which is a shame as that has been dealt with quite thoroughly in the FAQ and in the forums.

The Pi compiles small programs and runs Python scripts very nicely. The 3d graphics aren't amazing by todays standards but are much better than you would expect for the price. It is surprisingly good at playing video. It really just needs some polish on the drivers, a bit of software porting and a slightly better default config to be good for its intended purpose. If you want to stick with it and learn something, good on you, and remember you will get better results asking specific questions rather than dumping a list of gripes.

Otherwise please consider selling your Pi to someone who will appreciate it and perhaps check back later around the time of the education release and things might be a bit more polished. Don't expect to see Flash or for the Pi to magically turn into an expensive state of the art computer though. It is what it is.


We all know it's a developer board - with developer software, and yeah I know it's $35 - but slow is slow. And it was an opinion someone gave, he/she has every right to gripe. That's what happens when you sell [insert something] to the public. Opinions develop, and you know what? They matter.

I'm sure it is quite difficult to get this thing running optimally, I'm a developer myself - but with the hype this thing generated people can't help but get excited - only to set it all up and be disappointed.

No need to jump down his/her throat about it.


*UPDATE*

The XFCe windows manager runs much better than LXDE. I'm sticking with that one.

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