Sunday, 29 April 2012

Quake 3!!

Thanks to a lot of people on the Raspberry Pi forums, I was able to get Quake 3 up and running with a fairly small amount of effort.  As I don't own the game itself I'm simply playing the demo levels, but that's more than enough for now, as I've realised I'm particularly bad it would seem.  I wasn't ever much of a gamer, but was addicted to Quake 1 & spent a fair amount of time on Quake 3, but it would appear the years have robbed me of the meagre skills that I spent days and weeks of my youth building up.

But, regardless of the number of times I've had to start a new game, it's still bloody cool.  Playing it at 1080p on my 40" LCD looks beautiful!

As with the other tutorials I've created separated pages for them - hopefully this should give you everything you need to get Quake 3 up and running.  As always, let me know how you get on, and if you hit anything I haven't covered.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Setting up VNC

While the Raspberry Pi does provide a superb picture over hdmi, there are a lot of scenarios where one might not need a display, and connecting remotely via VNC will suffice.  For instance, any programming could be done remotely, while still having access to the physical hardware.  It's also particularly useful when the TV is in use and getting it back to "play on" isn't an option.

EDIT 29/04/2012: I've had a done a bit of a clean-up on my blog, creating separate pages for specific tutorials, keeping the main page free.  You can find the VNC guide here, or click on the tab at the top of the page.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Initial thoughts

I've had my Raspberry Pi for 4 days now so thought I'd provide some feedback. 

On the whole, it's definitely living up to my expectations, although if you're looking for gaming machine, media centre of something that is a finished, production-ready product then you might a little disappointed.  As it's been said many times before, this is a development release, aimed to get people using the hardware and software and helping to improve the product to a state that it's ready for schools at the end of the year.

First impression - it's smaller than I had expected, and very light.  It fits easily into the palm of my hand and feels like I'm barely holding anything at all.  I don't have any concerns about strength - everything on the board feels stable and solid.  The Ethernet jack & USB ports seem quite tight (snug rather than worryingly tight I'd say) and therefore need a bit of a wriggle to disconnect, but I felt confident to (gently) do this without fear of it coming apart in my hand.

Booting up it's nice and fast too.  As mentioned in earlier posts the Debian image boots up in less that a minute - I timed it at 50 seconds when poised & ready to log in.  LWDE is responsive with no massive lag that I've seen.  Every now and again I've found a spot here and there where I have to pause for a second or so after a window's opened before I can start typing.

As far as networking goes, everything seems to work straight out of the box.  Connecting my Pi to my laptop (configured with Internet connection sharing) it immediately picks up a DHCP-assigned IP Address and can go online.

I've tested out SSH and this also works without any setup required.  I tried using this in a headless setup with just power & Ethernet connected as I plan on using it like this going forward and it was relatively painless (see my other post with the details on setting this up).

So - any issues?  Just a few.  I've found a few stability issues with the Midori browser - when trying to browse and log into twitter the CPU spikes.  Browsing to appears to work without issue.  When browsing to this blog CPU spikes again, and after about 5 seconds it crashes completely.  Issues with JavaScript perhaps?  Audio doesn't work either, but there are reports of a fix on the way.

 To sum it all up - great device with a lot of promise.  Any issues should be quickly resolved as there are a lot of people out there hard at work to resolve this.  This is what everyone, especially the foundation, has been waiting for.  It's time for the community to step up and take this product to the next level.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Let's boot this up, shall we?

After admiring what a awesome little thing this is, I decided to plug it all in.  I'll say upfront here that I've been pleasantly surprised at the performance.  I'd heard several gripes about speed, but from plugging the power in, logging in and launching the GUI it took less than 60 seconds.

For this I used my Samsung Series 6 40" LCD, using a fairly standard HDMI cable (can't remember where I got it).  I'm using a 4GB Class 4 Kingson card with the latest Debian image.

Let's plug it in (HDMI, keyboard & SC card - power pending):

The first thing you see it a login prompt.  The latest credentials for this version are pi and raspberry.

Once logged in I just need to run startx:

And there we have it - Debian running on the Raspberry Pi!

Here you can see the Pi running at 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz:

You can see it all in action here:

Pi in a box!

Today's been a good day.  Today I received my Pi.  Oh, what a good day!

I unfortunately had to work today, but my Pi was delivered just before 4PM, so not too much play-time that I missed out on.

So, lets get on with the good stuff!

Here's my box:

An another box!

Almost there:

And there she is!!

Here are some closeups:

And an idea of scale:

Next - see it in action:

Friday, 13 April 2012

And they're shipping!!

There's been a lot of activity over the last few days.  The Foundation posted a bit of information about what was happening during the middle of the week - this covered general updates about paperwork being signed off, plans for the educational release, the latest Debian updated - no concrete information, but the update was nice.

Then late on Thursday there were several posts from forum members stating that they'd received an email from RS Components, inviting them to order their Pi.  Now, as I've mentioned before I placed my 'RS registration' at about 06:03 - I was fairly confident that I would receive one of the first units, but it wouldn't seem so.  After digging around the forums I found out why.  It would seem that RS issues emails to the first 700 registrations.  They also decided that they would spread these 700 units world-wide, across 30 countries.  This means that there were less that 30 boards issued in the UK (theoretically).  That made me feel a bit better.

It was a tough Friday, I must admit.  I wouldn't say bitter was the right description, but I was quite disappointed that I wouldn't be one of the first people to receive a Pi, one of the first people to post my photos and experiences here for you to read.  But hey - at least it was Friday!

The I received my good news for the week (it happens on Friday it seems?!).  I received this email from Farnell:

This really made my day!!

A slight hiccup almost threw things - I received a call from Farnell, saying my credit card was declined!  Luckily this was down to my cancelling the card I used to purchase my Pi 6 weeks ago due to it going - I would've REALLY been kicking myself if that had been responsible for me missing out!!  Luckily the guy that called me was happy to take new card details and process my order.

I received an updated email from Farnell minutes later, along with a UPS tracking number.  My status is showing up as "Ready for UPS" - not as far as a lot of other people who have firm delivery dates for Monday, but at this point I think I need to count myself lucky!

I'll be sure to post an update when a receive my Pi, and will be posting plenty of pictures and first experiences.

EDIT: It looks like I did actually make the Monday delivery - UPS updated my status today - "Monday, By End of Day"