Last week, I ordered my Raspberry Pi and it duly arrived on Thursday. I’m quite impressed with it – although it is a little slow at times, it does well for such a small and cheap computer.
I ordered mine with a case, as I didn’t want to leave the circuit board open and risk it being damaged. It’s a clear plastic one so it’s still possible to see the insides and the status of the LEDs on the circuit board.
So far, I’ve played around a little bit in Raspbian, which I installed with the help of NOOBS. It makes it much easier to get up and running as you don’t need to faff around with an imaging tool on the SD card – you just copy it over as you would any other files. I then bought a second SD card to install XBian, so that the Raspberry Pi can be a media centre. It’s now connected to our TV, so only the ethernet, USB power cable and HDMI cable are connected. So far I’ve got it working with BBC iPlayer, and it can access the films on my Mac, as well as the iPhoto library.
Having some prior knowledge of the Unix command line and Debian package management has been very useful when getting to grips with the Raspberry Pi. Although NOOBS is a big help, being able to use Terminal competently is still something of a prerequisite to getting the most out of the device. Which is fine for enthusiasts and people who know what they are doing, or are willing to learn. But it isn’t suited to those who want a simple and cheap computer that’s easy to use.
Because I’ve got Raspbian on a different card, as and when I want to use it as a computer and not a media centre it’ll simply be a case of shutting it down and swapping the SD cards over, which is nice. The only caveat I’ve found is that SSH throws a security error when you try to log in after switching the card, as the host fingerprint has changed; hopefully there will be a workaround for this.