The Membrane blog: Posts about raspberry pi
Tuesday, May 09 2017 01:08 GMT
In a previous post, we discussed the concept of electronic devices that act as appliances, with the word "appliance" used to describe our requirement that the device should do its job effectively while maximizing user convenience. Under that guideline, a perfect appliance is one that always does what its user expects and never causes surprises. A simple device such as a toaster has few expectations and rarely finds a way to violate them, but a general purpose machine such as our old friend, the Raspberry Pi, has many possible functions and is therefore more likely to do the unexpected. Luckily for us, however, it's possible to get a Raspberry Pi closer to appliance-like behavior through software. If we take control over the methods by which such a device is able to receive commands, we can, through careful programming, ensure that those commands are always handled in a manner that best reflects the user's intent. Today, we'll look at the first step in programming the Raspberry Pi, which is the same first step we see in any programming project: build and install our target hardware to prepare an environment for development.
Tuesday, March 28 2017 01:12 GMT
The word appliance might conjure images of washing, blending, or garbage disposing gizmos, but in the area of computing we can use the concept to describe a device with the best quality of any appliance in your kitchen: it has one job to do, and does it perfectly every time with the absolute minimum help from you. At Membrane HQ, we have dozens of computing devices performing a wide array of tasks, and treat as many of them as possible like appliances. Raspberry Pi boards, in particular, are extremely useful for this type of work because they're easily programmable and can connect to other devices via Ethernet, module boards, or custom soldering. Armed with a board that can be programmed with arbitrary logic and then put in control of an arbitrary slave device, it's possible to create an appliance for absolutely any task if we put our minds to it. And what with Raspberry Pi boards being so inexpensive, we gain even more desirable appliance-like attributes: we can easily replace one that breaks, and we can get more of them if we have too much work for only one to handle.
Monday, March 13 2017 19:21 GMT
Posted by: Membrane Estimated read time: 5m Tags: raspberry pi
Raspberry Pi devices are remarkably inexpensive to buy, and their very low power needs make them inexpensive to run. We have a stable of no less than 10 Raspberry Pi devices running continuously. These replaced a set of unreliable and power-hungry PCs in running our display bank, as well as providing common IT functions around the office. However, as more services move from central systems to smaller distributed devices, we find new challenges arising in areas of coordination and control. How can we effectively manage a diverse set of technology functions that can be spread across any number of nodes? Today, we look at design ideas for a new application meant to bridge this gap and provide a seamless and enjoyable control interface for our computing needs.
Friday, February 10 2017 21:49 GMT
Posted by: Membrane Estimated read time: 2m Tags: raspberry pi
For the past few years I've been tinkering with a small, single-board computer known as a Raspberry Pi. These devices are equipped with a processor capable of running a full-featured operating system, as well as a set of pins allowing them to be connected to any other electronic device. They are also able to output video over HDMI and stream media over a network, and I've put those two capabilities to good use in running continuous content on a bank of monitors. Boring, empty screens are now a thing of the past, having been replaced by an endless repeating sequence of randomly shuffled video clips. Note: I don't usually keep all of them on at once, to prevent insanity.