The NAS-ty Raspberry Pi

So I have just moved into a nice new house and it has inspired me to clean up my tech mess.  Currently I have two old PCs which I have stripped down and re-purposed as a torrentbox (including Network Attached Storage (NAS)) and a Media PC.  They look terrible, use up a heap of space and use way too much power.

While moving house I found a couple of Raspberry Pi 2’s I forgot I had bought.  I was going to use them on my electric car project.  As they aren’t needed anymore (thanks to some smart work with a couple of PIC chips) I’m going to use these as a low powered NAS/torrentbox and the other as a Media PC replacement.

To make it easier (mostly for me writing this post) I’ll break up this instructable into four parts:

  1. Building a Raspberry Pi NAS box (this post);
  2. Building a Raspberry Pi torrent box;
  3. Automating your torrent downloads; and
  4. Building a Raspberry Pi Media Centre.

Continue reading…

 

The NOOBless way to Flash a Pi

I thought it was about time that I move away from my product reviews and DIY instructions and continue my series on the Raspberry Pi. If you haven’t played with a Pi before or are a little bit lost reading through this post then I recommend you read my introductory Raspberry Pi post found here:

http://www.mygeekinterior.com/raspberry-pi-a-beginners-guide/

This instructable is going to focus specifically on how to install a Pi Operating System (OS) from a disk image rather than using a PI installation manager like NOOBs.   If you want to learn more about NOOBs – I recommend you read the instructables found here:

http://www.mygeekinterior.com/raspbian-the-os-x-way/

http://www.mygeekinterior.com/raspbian-for-the-windows-user/

So, why would you want to install an OS this way instead of the simple way? A lot of  niche OS builds available for the PI (such as OpenELEC (media platform) and RetroPie (game emulator platform)) are not available through installation managers like NOOBs. In this case the easiest way to install the OS is to download the disk image and then flash it onto your SD card. I’m going to walk you through the easiest way to do this using both Windows and OSX (Apple)  I’ll going to assume if you are using a Linux distribution you’re already going to knowhow to do this. Continue reading…

 

Raspbian – For the Windows User

Okay,  if you now have all the parts ready to get started with your Raspberry Pi the next step is to flash a MicroSD card with a Pi Operating System (OS) and get cracking.  If you’re a bit lost about what I’m talking about or have landed straight on this page then I suggest that you read my introductory article to the Raspberry Pi here:

http://www.mygeekinterior.com/raspberry-pi-a-beginners-guide/

To make following this guide a bit easier I’m going to break it up into the following steps:

  1. Preparing the MicroSD Card;
  2. Installing the Operating System; and
  3. Basic Raspbian Setup.

Continue reading…

 

Lapdock – The Raspberry Pi Laptop

The Problem

I have a problem (well lots of problems really – but I’m just focusing on just one at the moment). I live in a three by one house which I share with my wife and three kids. We already use laptops as our primary computers as we don’t have room for a desktop. My problem is I have just bought a Raspberry Pi (well three actually but that’s another story) and I have no room for an extra monitor or keyboard etc.

Easy you say – there are heaps of options available to use the Pi without a dedicated monitor – just Google it. Well these are the ones I have tried so far and why they don’t work for me:

  • Connect it to your TV and use a wireless keyboard. Yep – tried this and it works fine – but we have only one TV so the wife does not like being relegated to watching shows on her Macbook while I use our 50inch TV to muck around with my Pi’s. So that options out.
  • Setup the Pi on the TV and then use a remote connection to access the Pi (see my article on how to use remote connections here – once I write it of course :-$). So this is the technique that I have used mostly up to now. However, I find I spend most of my time playing with multiple Pi Operating Systems (OS) and variants of these OS’s.  This means setting up remote access every time I compile a new kernel. This just gets tiresome as I need to wait for TV time each time I want to setup a new image on the Pi – so this is not the best solution.
  • Surely you can get a cheap small HDMI screen of Ebay. Actually, this is more difficult than it sounds. It’s easy to find 5”-7” sized screens for the Pi reasonably cheap. Some of them even have a touch screen interface but if you are looking for anything larger than 7″  you are going to be disappointed.  At this size you start entering GPS screen territory and a big jump in price.

The options above seemed to be the only ones I had available to me – unless I start using a dedicated monitor (which, as I said earlier is not an option)……………….that is until recently. I was trawling through some Raspberry Pi forums and came across a post about a Raspberry Pi laptop. Intrigued I had a read and found the answer to my problems – enter the Lapdock! Continue reading…

 

Raspbian – The OS X Way

Okay,  if you now have all the parts ready to get started with your Raspberry Pi the next step is to flash a MicroSD card with a Pi Operating System (OS) and get cracking.  If you’re a bit lost about what I’m talking about or have landed straight on this page then I suggest that you read my introductory article to the Raspberry Pi here:

http://www.mygeekinterior.com/raspberry-pi-a-beginners-guide/

To make following this guide a bit easier I’m going to break it up into the following steps:

  1. Preparing the MicroSD Card;
  2. Installing the Operating System; and
  3. Basic Raspbian Setup.

Continue reading…

 

Raspberry Pi – A Beginners Guide

So you have heard about the Raspberry Pi – maybe your tech head mate is talking about it or your kids have said something about it because they are using it at school.  You could have read about it in a magazine or seen it on TV.  You want to know a bit more about it and what you can actually do with it.  You’re even interested in getting acquainted with it but are a bit unsure how to get started.  Luckily I should be able to answer most of these questions here.

To give this article some structure I’m going to loosely stick to the following questions:

  1. What is a Rasberry Pi?
  2. What can you do with a Raspberry Pi?
  3. What do I need to get started?
  4. How do I load something useful onto my Pi?
  5. Where to now?

Follow me after the break to get some answers.

Continue reading…

 

Arcade Coffee Table – Plan and Parts

So if you have read my intro post to building an Arcade Coffee Table you know what I want.  If you haven’t read it yet you can find it here – http://www.mygeekinterior.com/a-table-of-a-different-kind/.  To make sure I actually meet some of my goals on this project I’m going to need a cunning plan.

I am breaking the planning stage  two parts: The Geek Stuff (i.e. electronics) and The Table Stuff (i.e. the table legs, top, frame)

The Geek Stuff

Lets start with the Geek Stuff.  So I started off with this simple block diagram to organise my thoughts and put together a list of electronics that I needed.

Block Diagram

Continue reading…

 

A Table of a Different Kind

When I was a kid one of things I always loved to do was head down to the local fast food joint (back then called the Hungry Spot) and play the old cocktail table arcade machine they had tucked away in the corner. It was an old coffee stained affair and I only remember playing three games on it: Pac man, Ms Pac Man and Galaga.

So when the Raspberry Pi first came out and I was poking around the internet looking at what people were doing with them I was drawn to the projects that involved using them as MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) emulators.

I started mucking around with various MAME builds however at that stage in their development all the available emulator images were buggy and took a fair amount of tweaking get them going. Once there were up and going in the majority of cases the loaded ROMs (game data files) were unplayable so eventually I just gave up.

That is until recently. I was looking through a magazine and I found this

2506-double-7-1

Continue reading…