Put the tiny bud­get PC to good use

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There’s a big prob­lem with the Rasp­berry Pi, and that’s the price. It’s too cheap. $35 might make it ac­ces­si­ble to the widest pos­si­ble au­di­ence, but it also makes the Pi a per­fect im­pulse buy—and don’t even get us started on the gum­stick-sized, Happy Meal­priced Rasp­berry Pi Zero. Low cost, tiny size, min­i­mum ap­pre­ci­a­tion—and that’s a crime. There are thou­sands of per­fectly ca­pa­ble Rasp­berry Pis in draw­ers and junk boxes across the world do­ing noth­ing but col­lect­ing dust, be­cause their own­ers didn’t have a plan. And it’s time to change that.

So, dust off that unloved hard­ware, put vi­sions of the slightly un­der­whelm­ing Rasp­bian desk­top ex­pe­ri­ence be­hind you, and stop wor­ry­ing about the dark depths of Linux. Achiev­ing ev­ery­thing we’re go­ing to show you here is plau­si­ble for just about ev­ery user, com­mand-line vet­eran or not, and ev­ery one of these po­ten­tial projects will put your Pi to work around your home. Maybe it’ll find its niche tucked away next to

your router, silently earn­ing its keep as part of your net­work lineup. Maybe you’ll be able to make it part of your home en­ter­tain­ment setup, loudly work­ing as a me­dia stream­ing box. Per­haps you’ll even add hard­ware to your Pi, tak­ing ad­van­tage of its ex­tend­able ar­chi­tec­ture to turn it into some­thing more. Ev­ery one of these ideas is the start of a new jour­ney. Each as­pect is yours to per­son­al­ize, to im­prove, to ex­pand on.

What­ever you de­cide to do with it, we do have a key rec­om­men­da­tion: En­sure you’re sup­ply­ing power to your Rasp­berry Pi with an ap­pro­pri­ate USB power sup­ply. If you don’t feed it the 2.5 amps it de­sires, you’re likely to get se­verely de­graded per­for­mance, but be care­ful to buy a qual­ity PSU. We’ve seen (and bought, and safely dis­posed of) some hor­rific bud­get wall warts that look as adept at start­ing a house fire as they are at juic­ing a sin­gle-board com­puter. Many of these ideas will see your Pi pow­ered up at all times, so some­thing safe, ef­fi­cient, and re­li­able is a must.

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