I first purchased the original Raspberry Pi model B 256MB when it first came out in February 2012 I had lots of fun with it but hardly used the GUI interface as it was too slow. I ordered one from Farnell and another from RS in the hope of getting one from at least one supplier as back then there was a mad gold rush for them. I did manage to get one within two months of them coming out and a couple weeks later received the other. I was ecstatic as I was looking for a small project size PC and was currently working on a simple 8051 style single board computer at the time to try fill this void.
The first thing I set out to do was access the GPIO header as this was a God send for me. Previously to this most projects I had made involved using FTDI Chips connected to large Computers or if I was lucky a Computer with an old LPT port which has been harder and harder to come by these days.
I made a very simple line level converter using 4000 series IC’s and connected a few LED’s to the GPIO and was shocked at how easy it was to work with just a few lines of code in Bash script. I had always vowed to myself and my close circle of friends that I will someday sit down and learn Linux but had no practical implementation that would last more than a week. I had up till this point always found myself installing Linux playing around with it for a few days before becoming annoyed knowing I could do this in a windows environment 10 times as quick, this time I was locked down to only Linux and it was going to have to stay this way. Looking back at the last three years playing around with Rasbian and Debian as well on my Desktop now I’m glad I made the move.
The Raspberry Pi 2
The new super charged Raspberry Pi 2 is really awesome no longer constrained to so little memory and CPU cycles the New Raspberry Pi 2 really works well in a GUI environment as well as the now extended GPIO header bringing out even more IO ports than the original I had makes this super awesome for future projects.