Initial Thoughts On Raspberry Pi B+

The Raspberry Pi Foundation release a new version of their wildly successful mini-computer platform today. The Raspberry Pi model B+ is not really an upgrade to the existing platform, but rather an update.

Image of Raspberry Pi B+

  • The layout of the board has changed significantly without changing the size or dimensions. So, while this will fit in the same project space, you will have to buy a new case for it or use the new mounting holes to mount it. You may also have to reroute your cables if they are tied down.
  • There are now a total of four USB ports instead of two. Which is great since it always seemed like people needed to plug in at least three peripherals at a time. This has the potential to reduce the cable clutter of a USB hub as well. Three or four USB devices could be a power drain if it weren’t for …
  • Reduced power consumption by the Pi itself. Maybe this will mean you will actually have enough power to drive those extra USB devices. It will depend on  your power source to power draw ratio, so you might have to resort to a powered USB hub anyway.
  • It now uses a Micro SD instead of standard SD memory card. This is great going forward, but I am not sure what to do with all those cheap standard size SD cards I bought for the original Pi.
  • The analog display is now build into the audio jack. Saves space, but I guess I have to buy another cable now.
  • 40 pins instead of just 26. People that were used to using an Arduino have been asking for this for a while. The downside of this is that if you have been using 26 pin connectors or the Pi-Cobbler for your projects you will have a difficult time re-using them on this new board.

If you have been struggling with performance, there is nothing here for you. In fact, Eben mentioned that we are not likely to see a next-gen board with more powerful specs from the Raspberry Pi Foundation until 2017. 2017! IMHO, this is where the problem lies. There is a lot of momentum built up around Raspberry Pi, but too few options for taking this to the next level in terms of performance. That momentum is turning into new companies and projects springing up to address the need for similar systems with more horsepower. My fear is that if the Raspberry Pi does not iterate more quickly when it comes to performance people will migrate away which will detract from the great community that exists around this platform. Maybe I am expecting too much from this small team, but I feel that there is so much untapped potential here.

So here is my free advice for The Raspberry Pi Foundation:

  1. Establish two new price points that you want to go after. You have succeeded in your original goal of a $25 computer. Now it’s time to expand that vision. Let’s say $55 and $95.
  2. Target doubling the current performance in the $55 model and quadrupling current performance in the $95 model.
  3. Instead of a “model C” or a “2.o” go for better branding with “Blueberry Pi” and “Strawberry Pi” or any other type of pie reference.
  4. Either hire some new people who can make this a reality in 6 months for for the $55 model and 1 year for the $95 model or …
  5. Partner with Broadcom or Intel to help you reach this goal.
  6. Try if possible to stick with the same layout as the B+ so we don’t have to buy new cases for each model. (this one is a nice-to-have)

It seems that there is enough demand to justify this accelerated timeline, and, let’s face it, three more years is way to long to wait for next gen when both the industry and user base is evolving much more quickly than that.

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Steam In-Home Streaming Feature Streams Screens (not just games!)

SteamStreamingI dare you to say that title ten times fast. But it’s not just a tongue twister. It’s true! I tried out the new streaming feature using the Linux PC attached to my TV and I able to stream all the games I tested from my Windows PC. Then I happened to hit Alt-Tab on my Windows PC keyboard. Lo and behold there was my entire desktop. Just like VNC or any other remote control app I was able to navigate around, open other applications, and point and click to my hearts content. For the next test I opened up some tabs in chrome and tried to stream some video. No problem whatsoever. Netflix, Hulu and Vimeo all worked just fine. And why wouldn’t they? As far as those services are concerned they are running on a Windows 7 desktop with the requisite close source applications without any issues. Linux users have long had a desire to run streaming services like Netflix and Hulu for a long time, but have been stymied by requirements to run Microsoft Silverlight or other crapware that is unnecessary in this day and age from a technology standpoint. The benefit of Steam’s Streaming technique is that it is essentially a high quality compressed video stream with great audio. VNC and other remote viewing applications can have very choppy video and sometimes no audio at all. I found the quality even better than using Chromecast from the desktop with the Chrome Plugin. So if you don’t have the steam client loaded on your linux PC already, go get it and enjoy streaming your Windows desktop for all those applications that just don’t run on Linux/Mac and you just can’t do without … including games.

Here is a little video I recorded to show all the details.

 

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Logitech Harmony Keyboard Review on BYB

Here is my review of the Logitech Harmony Keyboard. It is a really nice device especially if you are bought into the Harmony platform.

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This Week In Google 244

In this episode we discuss the Heartbleed Bug, Google Wireless, Google stock split, Google Project Loon, and more!

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Mifos on Floss Weekly

I had the chance to interview Ed Cable and Vishwas Babu from Mifos about their new product Mifos X and a host of other things related to open source financial applications. Check it out.

Posted in Shows, TWiT

First appearance on TWiT

It is hard to believe I started helping host at TWiT about 4 years ago, but have never been on This Week in Tech. It was an awful lot of fun to be on the show and meet John C. Dvorak for the first time. The dude makes his own vinegar. That’s hard core. Also, I found out that not understanding women explains why I don’t like Windows 8.

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Check out my first review for BYB

I am so glad to have been asked to do a review on BYB. Check out my review of the Anker 6000mAh battery at about 29:30 as well as a sneak peak at one of the projects I am working on.

Posted in Shows, TWiT

Welcome To The_Source.2.0!

I have decided to kick off a new version of my website that is more of a blog and less about the Open Source show that I produced from 2006 – 2011. This new site will feature how-to and project content and longer blog posts that don’t fit well in a single post on social networks. I would really like to keep a canonical record of some of the things I talk about here instead of spread out all over the place where it might disappear some day. I will also try to post my appearances on various shows so it will be easier to reference.

So, I hope you find the new site enjoyable and useful. If you have any suggestions for what you would like to see on the site be sure to let me know either in the comments or on Google+. You can still access the old content at archive.thesourceshow.org or by clicking on “Old Site” in the menu above.

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