The raspberry pi is quite a wonderful, little piece of tech, it’s a £25 fully functional computer designed and made by Eben Upton and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge, as a educational device to encourage more young children into programming. I think this is a great Idea, especially seeing as the IT curriculum in most secondary schools only gives you a basic grasp of Microsoft Office, rather than to teaching you to understand how a computer actually works and how to write a program as I’m sure we would all prefer. Who knows maybe with a few more inspirational ideas like this, the curriculum may begin to change.
However hobbyists such as myself have seen past its educational uses, and are seeing it as a very cheap and exceedingly useful tool. The board itself is about the size of a credit card with an 700mhz ARM processor in the middle, a couple of USB slots, HDMI and composite video outputs and 256mb of RAM. It’s not the most powerful machine in the world, but who says it needs to be. There are an awful lot of uses I can think of for a five volt, cheap, USB powered device and the people of the internet have thought of a great deal more. I’m currently using mine to run a Bit Torrent client, for downloading perfectly legal torrents, as well as a mumble and print server. It’s doing all this while sat in its little Lego house that I built for it, on the edge of my desk and it’s taking it all in its stride.
Some other folks have had even cooler Ideas, I’ll list some of my favourites: HTPC, Car Computer, MAME Arcade Cabinet, Web servers, Smart Alarm Clock, NAS, building a cheap laptop, the brains of a Robot and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.