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Raspberry Pi: The (Unofficial) Missing Startup Guide

Raspberry Pi Logo If you just ordered a Raspberry Pi (like me) and unboxed it only to find a circuit board and no instructions, let me outline a few things for you and make it simple to go from "box" to "running" with little to no hassle:

(also because the "Quick Start" guide was a little more confusing than expected - based on the directions, I thought it required a Windows-based computer to set up a Linux circuit board. I'm glad I was wrong, but it took me a while to find it out)

Step 1: Gathering the Necessary Parts/Cords


Here is a list of items that you will need to set up your Raspberry Pi:

  1. Micro-B USB Power Cord (with at least a 700 mA / 5V output - most cell phone chargers will work)
  2. A USB Powered Keyboard (hopefully with an input power of ~100mA)
  3. An HDMI cable (for HDMI TV's or Monitors) OR an double male RCA-RCA cable (for CRT TV's - if you have a double yellow male Video-Video cable, that will work too, as you will only need the yellow video jack). Don't expect to get a VGA connection out of this, because HDMI-VGA connectors are super expensive
  4. A Network cable (recommended)
  5. A dedicated blank (or can be blanked) 4GB+ SD Card (or Micro SD card with a full SD Reader - that's what mine is)

The SD card is here because that is the "hard drive" of the Raspberry Pi. Which means that the Pi does not come with it's own pre-installed OS, as I found out the hard way.

Alright, all of the parts have been gathered.


Step 2: Get the OS


Next, you'll need a functioning computer with internet, and go to raspberrypi.org/downloads to get an operating system.

Note Note: When I saw "For your free download go to raspberrypi.org/downloads " on the box, I thought it was for some free open source items - they didn't say "Go here for your Operating System"

At the time of this writing, the latest version of the common Raspberry Pi OS is a Debian-based distro called Raspbian (specifically, "2013-02-09-wheezy-raspbian").

Download the ZIP or Torrent of the OS to your hard drive (about 1.8GB in size) and unzip if you downloaded the ZIP.

Now, you will have to process the IMG to the SD card using a specific program.

Linux/Mac: you can use dd from a terminal
Windows: Follow the instructions on raspberrypi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/quick-start-guide-v1.1.pdf to use Win32DiskImager

I'll be discussing Linux instructions from here.

Linux


Put the SD card into your machine (or into the USB Dongle if you don't have a card reader). Once your machine recognizes the card, find the specific location of where the card is located in the mounted file system (Debian: Go to "Applications" > "System Tools" > "Disk Utility").

Once you find the location, format the card (if you haven't done so already) so it is blank (I recommend formatting using a FAT system). Now, unmount the card, but don't pull it out of the machine.

You will need to perform the following command to get the Pi to properly read the card:
 
sudo dd bs=1M if=[location of your img file].img of=/dev/[card location]
 

Example:
 
sudo dd bs=1M if=2013-02-09-wheezy.raspbian.img of=/dev/sdf
 

NoteNote: You will want to write to the whole card, not just a partition. Double check to see if there are any numbers after your mount location. If there are, you may be writing to a partition and not directly to the card

That process will take a couple of minutes. Once it is done, confirm that it transferred the full amount to the card (1.8GB). If it did not, repeat this process from the "Format" step.

Note Note: This took me about 12 tries before the card was properly written to for the Pi to read it

Once it is properly written to, you can just remove the card, but I recommend "Powering down the device" first.

Step 3: Starting up the Pi


Hopefully, everything up to this point has been successful. If so, please proceed.

  1. Assuming you haven't already, open the Raspberry Pi from the box. I have a Model B
  2. Put the SD card into the slot below
  3. Plug in the Network cord, USB Keyboard, and HDMI/RCA cable into their respective slots (also, make sure that your TV/Monitor is on the right Input setting to receive signal)
  4. Plug in the Micro B cord into the small port opposite the Network port for power

Success! You should now see a Red LED (PWR [Power]) in the corner light up. If it did, you have power!

You should also see a Green LED (ACT [Activity]) start to flash. If it is, your Pi is reading the SD card. If it is not, your SD card may have not been written to correctly (as in my case). If it's blinking, please refer to elinux.org/R-Pi_Troubleshooting for Troubleshooting tips.

Note Note: For the longest time, I could not figure out why the Red LED would come on, but I wouldn't get any display or additional LED's. From some of the forums I was on, they called for pulling out a multimeter and testing the power flow between points. I was expecting this to be an "easy DIY project", not "easy, but you need some electrical engineering experience before you can boot up" kind of deal. Luckily, my problem was the SD card, which I was able to finally rectify.

If your Network cord is plugged in, you should also see 2-3 additional lights: FDX (green [File Data Transfer]), LNK (green [Link Connectivity]), and 100 (100Mbps, orange if 100, nothing if just 10).

Step 4: Setting up


Alright! Hopefully everything went well and your Pi is powered up, fully connected, and reading the SD card properly.

I recommend to at least do the following, just so your Pi has a standard basis for operations, unless you have other plans for it.

  1. On your screen, you should see the Startup logo and sequences (unless you are reading this slower than it took to start up). Regardless, you should see a large blue box with options
  2. Select the 2nd choice: expand_rootfs. This will expand the root file system to the SD card for usability and storage
  3. Set your Locale (if necessary)
  4. Set your Timezone
  5. Turn on SSH
  6. Hit "Finish" and confirm a reboot

Default Login: pi
Default PW: raspberry - I recommend changing this to something you will remember

Last Note


I would highly recommend running "sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade" before too long, just to make sure you have the latest system updates.

That's it! Your Raspberry Pi should be fully configured as a base to do whatever you want it to do. Go explore the options!

What can I do now?


There are a gazillion+ things that you can do with a Raspberry Pi. My first project was to create a webcam-based monitoring system from the instructions I received from pingbin.com/2012/12/raspberry-pi-web-cam-server-motion/ (including making it Wifi).

You can make a:
  • personal music server
  • small desktop environment (try startx after you reboot)
  • small network file storage system
  • media center (see openelec.tv)
  • small web server
  • sensor for recording temperature, light, wind, speed, etc
  • lightweight search engine
  • multi-core cluster processor
  • ...and more! Go google something

Enjoy!

PS: This site/guide/reference point does not in anyway endorse Raspberry Pi or the manufacturer. This guide was written as a hope to help others get started without the hassle of spending half a day to figure it out, or (if like me) have little experience tinkering with projects like this.


Tags:#raspberrypi #startup #guide #power #led #blinking #help

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Double Twitter Explosion!

This has been one great day! I submitted an article to the popular social media site SocialMediaToday.com and I can't believe how much it has spread across the corners of the 'net. I submitted it less than 24 hours ago, and it has received more retweets and shares than I can track!

Here's a quick overview:
On SMT, it has 109 LinkedIn shares, 12 Facebook Shares, and 97 Tweets
Twitter Trend


To make things better, it was also picked up by TweetMeMe's Twitter account, @TM_Twitr
TweetMeMe


TweetMeMe has 39 retweets alone:

TweetMeMe
TweetMeMe


I know some of the other big-wig article writers have somewhere around 1k shares, but for my first article published outside of the company website, I call 257 shares within 24 hours a success!

Not too bad for an article that was a quick idea and written in about 3 hours!


Tags:#social #media #today #smt #twitter #retweet #linkedin #facebook

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Where has the time gone?

The past month has really flown by, hasn't it? Before I knew it, it's already a week before Valentines day and 2 weeks before I turn 25. Wow...a quarter of a century old. When it is put like that, I feel super old. No offense to the "old fogies" I know.

Anyway, here's a run-down of significant things that have happened between my last post and now:

- I'm finishing up DS9 on Netflix. I'm at the tail end of Season 6.

- Finally got my desktop at the house up and running. I can now work at home....into the wee hours of the morning. As I told Tom today, I work from 10-5(pm), and 10-5(am). Good? Maybe. But it beats staying at the office 24/7. Not that that's a bad thing, but I think Keat would miss me.

- Keat may be going to Japan for 2 weeks to a semester next year. On one side: I'm super happy for her (not sarcastic). Going to Japan for 2 weeks was an exhilierating experience for me, so I can only imagine what a semester could do. On the down side: I'll be left alone with 3 cats for a semester! I'm going to go insane.......again.

- We've launched a new "Fishbowl" contest in the area to get some leads. So far, it's looking good. We spent $100 on the materials, and should get more than 100% ROI on this. On a related note....

- Tom and I talked to the owner of Frog Level Brewery, a local brewery in Frog Level (next to Waynesville), about a potential event/conference for local geeks. The owner said "Yes" and planning hit full force. This event will allow the local non-techies to network and ask questions to the local geeks (and get a few beers while we're at it). It's called Drinks With Geeks, and it should be a great event! It won't happen in the immediate future, but maybe in April or May....

- We got a new client: ALP Systems Inc. The owner is a great guy, and it seems like we are copies of each other, if you know what I mean. He's a guy with a "No BS" attitude, and I want to make sure we keep it that way.

- We launched the TICS site on the 1st. So far, so good.

- Allan had a major computer virus that took out his PC for a bit. I'm still working on it after 48 hours, but I think this sums it up:


- Since my laptop finally called it quits, I was able to acquire some funds to get a new computer. I decided on a desktop for the office for the processing power and stability. I turned it on the first day I got it, and it hasn't been turned off since. I know it's Windows 7, but Quicken/QuickBooks doesn't run well on Linux, and I don't have the funds to get a Mac (although that is my wish)

- I'm working on a few new projects: Client Portal (project in progress), Sales Portal (planning has started), and a few others. I've been really preoccupied with other tasks at hand, but I think this sums it up well:
Ceiling Cat


- I found out about Star Trek RPG thanks to this little comic:
Real Life - Star Trek RPG

Since Kat's been helping us with WhiteWolf, I'm glad we are able to experience RPG gaming without having to worry about battling against super-experienced players.

That's it for now. The rest of the month looks pretty busy and my guess is that I'll have a lot more sleepless nights.


Tags:#ds9 #reallife #icanhascheeseburger #quicken #pc #whitewolf #tics #alp #facebook #drinkswithgeeks #fishbowl

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Busy Monday

Zits


Whoa, it's Monday already. What a busy day/week/month so far.

Here's the rundown:
Today:

  • I received 2 calls 15 minutes before my alarm this morning from 2 clients. Way for a Monday to start.

  • Stopped by Post Office to pick up package that wouldn't fit in the mailbox on Saturday

  • I got to the office and got ready to make some calls that I was supposed to make. Had the first client come in. Nice lady, but seemed like she just wanted to vent. No biggie - but did find out that her husband has some Pro Photography experience and could take pro photos of us on Wednesday for the Ad

  • Tom came in as I was finishing up with the 1st client. I finished things up and went to him. He and I started talking about some personal stuff.

  • 5 minutes into that meeting, client #2 walks in, talks for 5 minutes, leaves. I go back to Tom and discuss options for him

  • Spend an hour or so deciphering odd Paypal code. Tom makes packets.

  • I did some budget analyzing and found out that it costs us (figuratively) $13 to make an info packet. Whoa.

  • Tom left; I called/contacted most of the people on my list today

  • Responded to some emails, cleared up confusion in a contract, and graded an email

  • Ordered more ink for the business - $50 for each other, 2 standard blacks, and 1 XL black - not bad.

  • updated and re-printed a sign for the office (with hours and updated QR code)


All in all, it doesn't seem like a lot, but I've been going non-stop since I got here at 10:15.

And not to bore you with the finer details, here's the quick-and-dirty summary from last week:

  • My old phone was sick. I got a new one! YAY!

  • Kat, Keat and I played WhiteWolf on Saturday and Sunday

  • Had meeting with Shadow Dev staff on Monday, hired Kat on

  • Planned Developer Training for Shadow Dev

  • Working out the finer details of our Movie Night

  • Had to deal with the Copier missing the Scanning function - had a meeting with Allan and going to figure it out

  • Fixed a client's login/check issue - that took a while

  • Finally got ST:TNG Season 1 and 7 back on Netflix - now I can finish Season 1

  • My 2nd oldest sister and Dad stopped by on Friday - she is now in TN

  • Met wit 2 potential clients. Wish I was more professional

  • Finally got a response back from the Fox Carolina guys about the relationship. I was told to call another person. Here we go again

  • Had a major server outage on Friday for about an hour. I can honestly say IT WASN'T MY FAULT! Apparently, the server company had an issue with their main operations server and had to force a shutdown/restart. All details are at the Shadow Dev Blog

  • Fixed some issues with another client's site. Should be getting the final check soon

  • Watched the 4th Bleach Movie. It was really good.

  • Created a Site Reporter using Google's API. Now, I get daily reports telling me where Shadow Dev is in non-biased Google Rankings for our area

  • And of course, the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. Still can't believe I was a freshmen in High School when that happened. My support goes to those in need.


That wraps up last week. And now for something completely different (but TOTALLY worth it):
Blade!



Tags:#blade #twilight #foxcarolina #server #outage #google #sttng #training #developer #shadowdev #phone #ink #sign #calls #postoffice #zits