Being a father of two and having many friends in the same category. The goal to having a great party is ensuring, the kids are entertained. So my goal was not to turn the raspberry pi into the ultimate rave machine, but to use it to keep a bunch of modern age over stimulated kids out of their parent's hair for a couple of hours at least.
So the focus of my experimentation was on finding the most reliable and easy to use operating system for the the raspberry pi.
The Hardware Setup:
The hardware I am using is
- a Model B raspberry pi, (Raspberry Pi at element14)
- a Pi-Face Expansion Kit, (Formerly Farnell | Electronic Components Distributor | element14 Australia)
- an Element14 XMBC Solution Kit including (Raspberry Pi Media Centre | element14 Australia)
- a 4Gb Class 4 SD Card,
- a HDMI Cable
- a Wireless USB Keyboard, and
- a CAT6 Network Cable
- a class 6 8Gb SD card, and
- a AusPi Wifi 802.11n Dongle (http://www.buyraspberrypi.com.au/shop/auspi-wireless-adaptor-802-11-bgn-wifi-for-raspberry-pi/)
Raspberry Pi Model B (left) , Element 14 Pi-Face Kit, AusPi WiFi Adapter, Combined Unit (right) shown against a retro background.
Other existing items affecting my decision.
- Synology DS1813+ NAS
- Billion 7800NXL ADSL Modem
Billion 7800NXL router (left) and a Synology DS1813+ NAS (right)
The raspberry pi gained an almost cult following overnight, mainly because of its low cost and yet feature rich development board. The raspberry pi entered the multimedia dev board market at a time when a cheaper alternative was desperately needed. The multimedia possibilities at this time were the TI OMAP based alternatives such as the BeagleBoard and PandaBoard, these boards retailing at well over $100. Making the $30 Raspberry Pi a hot item.
The Raspberry Pi is a single board computer consisting of a BroadCom BCM2835, with an ARM1176JZF based power house running at 700Mhz. This is supported by 512Mb of RAM, dual port USB, a 1Gb network interface, a HDMI and S-Video port, audio output and numerous digital IO expansions.
The Raspberry Pi is gaining not only support from hobbyists, but also has the backing of some very well know companies. I recommend the reader should head over to http://www.raspberrypi.org/ to see the wonder and possibilities that can be unleashed with a Raspberry Pi.
The method of attack in solving this issue was to trial each of the mainstream Media Center OSes for Raspberry pi. These included (but are not limited to)
Since almost all of these OSes (except rasplex) run an XBMC front end. One of the focuses of this study was to find which of the three XBMC clones, was the most responsive and usable across a WiFi connection. But before putting the XMBC clones head to head I thought I would firstly test the Plex offering.
Being a fan of Plex, I thought I would start this experiment with RasPLEX, so head over to "New Year’s Party Pack - To entertain the masses or just babysit the kids - RasPlex".