Friday, December 28, 2012

'Tis the Season for Pi(e)

So it's been a while.  Sorry about that, I've been lacking the excess energy blogging requires, but from here on in I'll endevour to do better.  I'll even make it a New Year's Resolution.

I haven't had time to do much new stuff with the Raspberry Pi, but I have found a new image that I now use as my base.  It has XBMC already installed, and though I haven't played with it much, it plays all my videos and music out of the box, so I'm pretty happy.  I used the instructions to install the precompiled version, as I've managed to break my original SD card (the physical card, not the install, which is new for me).  Though he's since created his own archive so you can 'apt-get install' XBMC from there:

If you're really geeky and keen you can try and build it yourself, but it takes about 12 hours on the pi, and is kind of tricky (I am not really up to trying it myself, but would love to hear from you if you have).

I've done a little playing with Arduino since we spoke last.  I love the Arduino microcontroller, so noob friendly.  Most of my code is stolen, which is not just allowed on the Arduino, but encouraged.  They have massive libraries of code for use with almost any sensor / servo / thingy / or doodad you can think of.  Most of my 'coding' has involved stealing code for the whatsits I'm using and mashing them together, and then asking our resident guru (Pix again) why it doesn't quite work.  I've just discovered the 'mapping' function (thanks Simon) which involves reading the input from a sensor, and mapping it to some kind of output device (so far I've used a speaker and a servo).

I'll post some more info soon, but to tide you over here's a picture of my claw which maps the distance you are away from the sonar to the how far apart the fingers of the claw are:
I highly recommend Arduino if you are looking for a brain for your next project.  The language is 'c-like' - whatever that means (coders know).  But it's relatively simple, even for non-programmers, once you've looked at a few examples.  In future I'll be posting more Arduino, as well as more Pi stuff, and hopefully getting them to play together nicely in the not too distant future.


  1. How does this XBMC configuration run compared to OpenELEC or Raspbmc?

  2. Sorry Mr C - I haven't gotten around to using it yet. I'll be giving the Ada Fruit version of Raspbian (Occidentalis) a run through first.

  3. No worries. I will be looking forward to your review of Occidentalis as well as the custom XBMC install if I haven't got around to it myself yet.
    Also looking forward to more articles in general as I like your writings so far.