Raspberry Pi, or is it Pie? – The $35 computer that could

I’ve always been positively fascinated with technology and how it continuously becomes smaller, faster, and more creative.

Take this little gem. It’s been a hobbyist’s joy within tech circles for years. The Pi is a playing card sized full fledged computer that has the capability to run almost any modern operating system you want. It’s been huge in the science and hobbyist communities because it’s cheap, surprisingly powerful, and extremely versatile. I have a few ideas for these little gems (more later), but for now, I wanted to focus on just how much punch this little guy has.

Case in point. As you read this, I’m now hosting my entire website (all 30k+ hits a week) off of this $35 computer.


Let’s take a look at the specs:

SoC: Broadcom BCM2837
CPU: 4× ARM Cortex-A53, 1.2GHz
GPU: Broadcom VideoCore IV
RAM: 1GB LPDDR2 (900 MHz)
Networking: 10/100 Ethernet, 2.4GHz 802.11n wireless
Bluetooth: Bluetooth 4.1 Classic, Bluetooth Low Energy
Storage: microSD
GPIO: 40-pin header, populated
Ports: HDMI, 3.5mm analogue audio-video jack, 4× USB 2.0, Ethernet, Camera Serial Interface (CSI), Display Serial Interface (DSI)

wiringI’ve built many a custom computer in my life. I originally did something with similar hardware, back in the 90’s. I had custom built an arcade cabinet to emulate arcade games. Was a rousing success, and there were many a night lost; laughing with friends, nursing sore fingers!


I’ve since built a desktop version of that setup for four players. It’s great to kick back on the couch, and play 4 player Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with the kids! Ahhh, but I digress!

We were talking about running a serious web server, weren’t we?

I’ve been a huge fan of the *nix style operating system for many decades. Why pay $100 for Windows, when you can do the same thing for $0! That’s right, *nix style operating systems are free, the software is free, and they are so efficient that you can use an old Pentium 4 and breath usable life back into it! In fact, that is the exact type of computer my kids have had in their bedroom for years. They run Youtube, Firefox, Chrome, etc. To them, *nix operating systems are just as familiar to them as their IPad, or Windows PC.


I selected one of my favorite *nix operating systems, Ubuntu v16.04 to run this website.

jorge@jorge-pi:/var/log/apache2$ free -h
total used free
Mem: 925M 330M 72M
Swap: 2.3G 456K 2.3G

As you can see, with 330 megabytes of RAM, I’m not only running this web server, but also running a full on desktop operating system!

But, back to that video game fixation. I saw a little “DIY” project that I simply must build! To me, these would make some awesome Christmas presents for some people I know…

I’ll just throw out a picture. The rest should be self explanatory.


I’ll be doing a followup article in a few months. I think that will make for a fun fall project!

So, in closing, Google “Raspberry PI”. You’ll be pretty surprised at how creative people have gotten with their little $35 computer. I know it’s no big deal to some, but when you consider the possibilities with weighing a few ounces, an after market that includes cameras, built in WiFi, Bluetooth, and being able to be battery powered. Well, now you’ve opened up avenues for drone pilots, artists, investigators, etc. No longer just the realm of a hobbyist or techno geek.


I’ll have my Pi, ala mode with some coffee, please!


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