Friday, 21 June 2013

Why did I decide to do this?  I bought a raspberry pi.  I thought it would be a harmless hobby for a semi-retired (they stopped buying my work) man of 64.

Raspberry Pi is a tiny computer invented by Eben Upton and others to encourage computer science learning.  I presume it's infuriating and delighting millions as I write.  There's a charitable foundation and everything.

For now I'm in an infuriated phase.  I'm telling myself there's no hurry.  Stay calm.  I have the pi itself, an sd card - pre-programmed with an operating system - that fits into the pi, a power cable, an hdmi cable to attach it to the bedroom telly, a powered usb hub because I read I might need one, a little dongle so I can go wireless, a cheap keyboard and an old laptop mouse that's held together with selotape.

It took me two mornings of viewing youtube guides, reading handy little online manuals, and just fondling the components for a while (Health & Safety note: beware static electricity) before I had the nerve to try switching the initial arrangement on.

Nothing happened.  NO SIGNAL said the telly.

Well, on the pi a red light came on next to PWR.  Even I guessed what that stood for.  A good sign.  A green light next to the red light came on.  Not so good.   Googled 'raspberry pi red green light' and found the green light was supposed to flash if the card was doing anything.  Staying lit meant it was doing nowt.

I disregarded various instructions.  I took the sd card in and out without turning the power off.  I scrolled through the telly's options pointlessly.  I walked around the house fretfully and gave the cats a bonus snack.  I turned everything off - you're supposed to only turn everything off after you've told the pi to close down, but how can you tell it to close down if it won't speak to you?  I decided to folllow some online advice to plug one thing at a time into the pi and power up and -

DA DAAA!  It works!

I went off triumphantly to my local U3A meeting, failed to insinuate my new-found technical expertise into any passing conversations, and the next time I powered up, the day after - that was this morning - I resolved to make the wifi dongle work so I could really get to grips with things.

This resolution has failed.  That's why I'm wasting valuable raspberry pi time writing this blog, because I'm stuck.

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