Raspi success!

I finally took my raspberry pi out of it’s “punishment corner” and started working on it. When I bought it and a pair of touchscreens last winter, I immediately ran into trouble getting anything working. I tried 4 or 5 different operating system images on 6 different SD cards. They would all boot but then freeze up within about 5 minutes. I was so mad that I just put everything in a box and hid it under my desk.

Last week I pulled it all back out and downloaded a new (updated) image of raspbian, the official Debian release for the pi. I dumped it onto an SD card and everything worked fine! I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry! Hooking up the touchscreen was also ridiculously easy (plug in a handful of connectors). The light sensor is a bit strange, and keeps the screen too dim, so I will probably replace it with a 10k pot. It’s also kind of laggy, so not really the interface I want to use while setting everything up, and the USB keyboard I had handy doesn’t play well with the pi (it’s an antique Apple keyboard with that hideous squishy key action and some kind of key release problem leading to hundreds of repeated letters).

I suspect my problem was firmware related: there was a change in RAM chips that had a firmware conflict.

Sooooo, I’m installing nx server!!!! I’m following this tutorial, planning to make this addition. I had trouble with the second patch step for freenx server, so I had to add the –ignore-whitespace flag, as per this post. It’s all installed, but now I’m unable to connect with it (I can connect, but then I get kicked out instantly after starting a new session with an I/O error). My google fu is weak, so after 3 hours of trying I haven’t been able to figure this out. I think it’s some kind of client-server mismatch, but I don’t know. I threw tightvnc on it and was up and running in about 3 minutes.

I have installed the Gourmet recipe program  and put the database on our networked disk so that I can add recipes from other computers (with nice keyboards). We will build a case and mount the touchscreen system in the kitchen! I can access the database directly from my regular computers! For now, the pi is downstairs hanging off the router as a headless computer.

Now that I have the whole pi up and running, I’m pretty impressed. For a $35 computer, it’s pretty impressive. It runs a full desktop environment almost as fast as my laptop!