Boise Linux Users Group April 19 Meeting Summary

Another good meeting with 13 in attendance but we need to work on that, getting more out to the meeting that would be in all fairness to those who take the time to put together their presentations in preparation for the meeting.  Tonight, we meet in a new location and that may have had an impact on attendance.  We are now meeting at CWI, across the street from TAOS.  Again a heartfelt thanks to our friends at TAOS that host our meetings and makes sure nobody goes home with an ample supply of pizza, cookies, and soda.

Marc Young was our presenter of the evening on providing an update on the Raspberry Pi or should I write, "The State of the Raspberry Pi" in bringing us current on the recent release of the Raspberry Pi 3 and the history of the Rasberry PI in all it incantations over the past three years.

History of the Raspberry Pi

There was a short dicussion on "HAT"s (Hardware Attached on Top) that available for the Raspberry Pi and other Single Board Computers that use the GPIO header.  HAT's are available in several flavors including pHAT's for prototyping.  Some Audio Boards available:

Audio Adapter Boards - 3 Available 2 X Hi-Fi 1 X DSP
    HiFiBerry Optical Out.
    HiFiBerry DAC + HW 2.2

AdaPlus Pi Plate 16X2 40 Pin GPIO Display System.

The Pi 3 comes with both wireless and bluetooth "on board" and it is Marc's observation that the WiFi comes up faster than Wired on Pi 3.  He also issued a caution on when connecting a wired Ethernet connection to a Pi; apparently, there is very little protection against static energy destroying the Ethernet port as Marc has been witness too.  Most of us have been witness to the static energy discharges of thousands of volts just from walking across the room along with horror stories of electronics that have been destroyed by such static discharges.  We also discussed the power packs for the Raspberry Pi.  Current recommendations is for a minimum 2.5 Amp capable supply, not that the Pi actually requires that much current in its running state (under an amp)  but not having a sufficient power source can result in damage to the Pi.  Clint also brought up the topic of using USB strips that have several ports, all powered by a stand-alone 4 or 5 amp supply which is useful for powering several Pi's.  One limitation of the Pi 3 is that it only supports USB 2 speeds presently.

Windows 10 on Pi, not really vialble, the Windows 10 IoT is basically a "shell" where you can run a singular Windows 10 application.

Other comments included using Systemd, HDMI rev levels 1.3, 1.4 no 4K, 1080p default resolution. GPU drivers are sore spot but Full 1980 OpenGL support is provided using the Broadcom sourced Video Core 4 Video GPU.

Marc then continued with an update of the Monster Piano Development.  Marc has done an incredible job of re-engineering this product in moving it from a very complete environment running a ATX computer and an old version of Ubuntu, a lot of Java modules, plus many "sub boards" to interconnect to the Piano Keys where he now uses simple codeless "Octive(slave) Boards" with custom Printed Circuit Boards.  Very Impressive work and he has done the coding in the C++ environement for Raspberry Pi that runs "The show". Marc also mentioned that his "project" list is getting  a little light and he is looking for other projects to get involved with.

I am impressed by the Raspberry Pi 3 and it's clones.  The Pi 3 is a linux based computer (choose your flavor - Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, etc) and fits well with the interests of the group as you can do so much using this Single Board Computer that really does have the power to replace your ... Desktop ... Server ... Laptop and the actual device is small enough to fit in a shirt or other similarly sized pocket.  I have purchased a Orange Plus2, another Pi clone reminescent of the 80'2 when when we had the Orange and Pinapple clones of the venerable Apple II.  The Orage Plus 2 has 2 GB of RAM on board plus SATA connections for a 2TB hard disk along other added features.  I am looking forward to working with along with the HAT's I have acquired.  Things have come along way since my initial foray into the Pi world a year ago where a "HAT" consisted of a huge GertBoard among other IO options.

Thanks to Marc for his presentation!  Very informative.

Our Next Meeting will be on May 17th, at CWI unless things change.  Stay connected! Suggestions for the meeting are open, especially if you have something you would like to share with the group.  c_tinsley at