One of the hottest current gadgets around is a small 30 dollar computer called the Raspberry Pi. It may not be the fastest piece of kit (although doubtless someone is building a supercomputer using a huge array of them out there). But it is a complete Computer system with 2 killer features:-
1. It uses very little power and generates no heat. You can run it off solar or batteries as well as mains and put it just about anywhere.
2. It is ludicrously cheap. At that price it is essentially disposable. So buying it really is a no-brainer…
It does not come with a hard drive, but instead you install an Operating System onto an SD card. So you can have a selection of cards with different systems on to switch between – you just switch off the machine and switch the card over. I have cards to run it on Android, several flavours of Linux, RISCOS and several other embedded systems. The only annoyance I found was that I would like to run Ubuntu on it – but the hardware is not supported.
The idea of the Raspberry Pi is to reignite the excitement of the early computing revolution and give you a platform to experiment and build on top of. And it certainly seems to be doing that…
But it is not just the ‘hobby’ market who have become excited about it. At the recent JavaOne conference, the Keynote featured Mark Reinhold (the man ‘in charge’ of Java), booting up Java on a Raspberry Pi.
I will be setting mine up to run Java and will post some updates on our blog. What are you using your Pi for???