Happy Pi Day, dear BetaNews readers! What, you've never heard of the holiday? Well, it is a nerdy play on Pi, which is 3.14 (and so on). In other words, since Pi is 3.14, Pi Day is on March 14th, or 3/14. True, it only really makes sense in countries, such as the USA, that use MM/DD date formatting, but everyone around the globe can still celebrate.
In recognition of Pi Day, we here at BetaNews are giving away a Raspberry Pi 3 and a really cool case from Eleduino. Get it? A Raspberry Pi for Pi Day? Yeah, we are very witty! You can see the prizes in the video below. Not only can you use the Linux-friendly System on a Chip (SoC) for neat projects, but it can even be made into a media player thanks to Kodi.
The Raspberry Pi line of mini computers -- including the all-new Pi Zero W -- are wonderful devices for what they are. Quite frankly, they have inspired many young people to learn about programming, while helping makers to create some really cool projects. With that said, the Pi computers are not the only System on a Chip solutions on the market. Actually, there are more powerful ARM-based offerings available. The problem? They are often radically more expensive than Raspberry Pi.
However, there is a new Raspberry Pi competitor that is quite affordable. In fact, some folks may view it as a Pi-killer. The $30 FriendlyElec NanoPi M1 Plus has an arguably superior design and layout, plus important integrated features like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It even has an IR receiver, onboard microphone, 8GB storage, and both power and reset buttons. Best of all? It is ready to run Debian, Ubuntu Core, and Ubuntu Mate from the start.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the $5 Pi Zero in late 2015, and it sold out immediately. Every time new batches of stock arrived, they were snapped up in minutes of going on sale.
Launched to coincide with the original Raspberry Pi's fifth birthday, the new Raspberry Pi Zero W is likely to suffer from similar demand. It’s essentially a Pi Zero with the addition of the two features many people have been requesting -- wireless LAN and Bluetooth.
VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a client/server technology that lets you remotely control any target device. RealVNC has been around for many years and its VNC Connect tool is now available for Raspberry Pi.
VNC Connect is included in the Raspbian repositories, and lets you connect to your Pi from anywhere in the world, from a range of devices, using a cloud brokered or direct connection. The Pi version comes with some extra features and functionality, but there are some steps you'll need to follow before you can start using it.
Google has big plans for creating a range of smart tools for the Raspberry Pi, and is asking users what they would like to see.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation says the search giant is developing tools covering AI and machine learning, and potentially areas such as robotics, IoT, 3D printing, home automation, wearables, and drones.
If you love Raspberry Pi, but require a little more power for your projects, then ASUS’s Tinker Board could be just what you’re looking for.
Although there’s no shortage of Raspberry Pi alternatives, the low-cost Tinker Board is better than most because its quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex-A17 processor has the oomph to handle 4K video and 24-bit audio, and it comes with twice as much RAM as the latest Pi.
If you have never owned a Raspberry Pi, you do not know what you are missing. While it is designed for tinkering and learning coding, it can be used for so much more. It can run Linux distributions and even a special version of Windows 10. If you install Kodi, it can become a powerful media box too.
If you have been wanting one, I have good news. We here at BetaNews are giving away the best version -- the Raspberry Pi 3. We aren't stopping there, however, as we are also including a very nice aluminum case -- including heatsinks for overclocking. It is the exact Raspberry Pi 3 and case as seen in the video above. In other words, the case has already been installed by yours truly. Want to enter to win? There are multiple ways to enter. Just click the link below!
Most operating systems, like Windows 10 or macOS, are designed to do multiple things. After all, many people want their computers to serve many tasks, such as productivity, media, and gaming. Some operating systems, however, are targeted at a single use to minimize the overhead and maximize the power of the hardware. Not to mention, it can create a more immersive experience.
One such focused OS is OpenELEC. This Linux distribution is designed to serve as a media center -- nothing more, nothing less. Today, the popular distro reaches stable version 7.0. There are images for both x86 and Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, meaning there is a very good chance you own compatible hardware.
If you own a Raspberry Pi, you’re probably familiar with PIXEL. The desktop environment is included in the Raspbian OS.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation describes PIXEL as the "GNU/Linux we would want to use" and understandably so. It offers a smart, clean interface, a decent selection of software, the Chromium web browser with plug-ins, and more -- and from today it’s available for PC and Mac.
Amazon's Echo devices are incredible. I'll admit that I was a skeptic at first, but once I got my own, I was hooked. Not only can the Alexa voice assistant provide me with important data like weather, news, and traffic, but it can play music too. Most importantly, it serves as a brilliant IoT control unit. My house has several WiFi connected power outlets, and I can verbally tell Alexa to turn off my lamps. It can even control my television!
Much of Amazon's success with Echo and Alexa is thanks to third-party developers and hardware. Today, Conexant and Amazon announce the AudioSmart 2-mic Development Kit. This add-on for the Raspberry Pi should enable easier development of devices using Amazon's Alexa voice technology. This could ultimately lead to further growth and adoption of the Alexa voice assistant.
The Raspberry Pi has been an incredible success. Originally aimed at teaching kids to code, it has found an appreciative audience outside of the education system.
You can do lots with a Pi, but some projects require more storage than you might have on your SD/microSD card. WD has introduced a new series of storage devices designed specifically for use with the Raspberry Pi, which combine microSD card and USB drive functionality with operating system installation software.
If you need help to get into the festive spirit, and an Eggnog Latte from Starbucks isn’t quite cutting it, perhaps transforming a Raspberry Pi into an illuminated 3D Christmas tree will do the trick.
The Pi Hut has created a Christmas tree board kit that you simply assemble and plug into your Pi. Once done, sit back and feel the joys of the holiday season as they come rushing towards you. Ho, ho, and indeed ho.
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is the first 64-bit version of the popular barebones computer, yet despite its processor upgrade, there isn’t an official 64-bit OS available for it. That’s because the Raspberry Pi Foundation has focused instead on making its Raspbian OS run on all generations of Pi.
However, the good news is Pi 3 owners can now take advantage of the full capabilities of their device, thanks to SUSE which has released a version of its 64-bit Linux Enterprise Server product that supports Raspberry Pi 3.
The Raspberry Pi is great for all sorts of projects, including retro gaming. The Linux-based Lakka OS is perfect for this as it transforms the Pi into a full-blown games console that can run all manner of emulators.
You really need a gamepad to play most classic games -- especially Nintendo and Sega ones -- and The Pi Hut has come up with a Super Nintendo/Famicom inspired USB controller for the Pi that really looks the part.
As great as the Raspberry Pi is -- and let's be honest, all of the devices in that family are excellent, especially for the money -- it’s not the only such device available to buy, and some of the rival systems are arguably better as they come with Wi-Fi built-in, and other tricks, such as the ability to double as a wireless router, run Android, or display on-board scrolling messages.
While there are plenty of pricier (and therefore more powerful) options available, I’ve focused on the more affordable choices here -- ones that match, or better, the Raspberry Pi for value and will do everything you'd expect from them, and more.