What can you do with a Raspberry Pi? If you haven’t figured it out yet, it’s time to check the best online and offline resources for ideas and projects to help you start using the computer to its full potential!
It doesn’t ship with an operating system; it often doesn’t come with a storage device. The Raspberry Pi has proved a hugely successful mini-computing device, picked up by schools and colleges (the target audience), enthusiasts and people wanting to build compact home media centres (among other things).
As the central component of projects as diverse as developing basic computer games to low-budget space programs, the Pi is a compact, low-budget computer that can handle many different tasks. But you won’t get far with it if you don’t know where to find support, suggestions and hardware.
5 Great RPi Resources Online
It’s probably unlikely that you would have bought a Raspberry Pi without first visiting the project’s homepage, but if you did then now is the time to hot-foot it to www.RaspberryPi.org, where you will find all of the news concerning the fantastic little computer. New projects, builds and notices for new Raspbian versions can be found here; you’ll also find community news, updates on what the developers are doing and access to the online forum.
When you buy a Raspberry Pi, you may end up with just the basic board, depending on where you bought it from. If you buy through www.modmypi.com, however, the chances are good that you will be able to buy a compatible power supply, SD card and cabling. I’ve heard of some unscrupulous Amazon and eBay sellers shipping the Raspberry Pi as part of a bundle with cheap or unsuitable hardware – making sure you have the best gear for your little computer is important, and at ModMyPi you’ll also find extra things like heatsinks, wireless dongles and more.
Downloadable, free magazine The MagPi (www.themagpi.com) is another vital resource for fans of the Pi, and now on its 18th issue the magazine can also be purchased in print form if a hard copy is more convenient for you.
Reddit is also a very good place to find news and project ideas – even YouTube videos – of some great Raspberry Pi projects. With a good community, a lot of help and assistance is available via www.reddit.com/r/raspberry_pi.
Finally, here on MakeUseOf, you’ll find a wide selection of articles about the Raspberry Pi, covering everything from retro gaming centres and cloud storage to finding the most attractive cases to house the device. We’ve also produced a guide to getting started on the Raspberry Pi.
5 Offline Resources For The Raspberry Pi
If you prefer to refer to books and magazines to use your Raspberry Pi, there are several you should keep an eye out on.
One comprehensive guide, Raspberry Pi For Beginners, is available in the UK in shops and by mail order (disclosure: article author contributed to this publication).
More interestingly, however a new monthly Raspberry Pi magazine, Raspberry Pi Geek, has recently hit the newsstands. You can find out more about it at www.raspberry-pi-geek.com.
Some particularly useful books include:
- Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree – Upton is a co-creator of the Raspberry Pi and spoke to MakeUseOf in early 2013.
- Haynes Raspberry Pi Manual, a wide-ranging look at hardware, software and projects that can be completed with the Pi, is written by Dr. Gray Girling, a Broadcom engineer with a close involvement with the computer’s development.
- Programming the Raspberry Pi: Getting Started with Python by Simon Monk provides you with all the tools you need to learn Python and program the Raspberry Pi. Among the things you will learn from this book are using the GPIO port to interface with external devices and even building an LED clock.
Conclusion: The Best Raspberry Pi Resources
With a store-bought desktop computer or tablet, the operating system and storage are provided. You don’t need to worry about installing anything to help you run the machine. Things are different when it comes to the Raspberry Pi – you need to do a bit of work in setting it up.
I can guarantee you that it will be a learning experience, however. Indeed, everything about this impressive little piece of kit will teach you something; it might be a new concept, or an idea or process you were already aware of, but in a completely new context.
The resources listed here should help you to get the most out of your Raspberry Pi and enjoy it, whether as a media centre or as a project box. If you think we missed any resources from the list, please share them below!