The Raspberry Pi… No It’s Not Edible
Sorry if the title is misleading, or if you’re reading this with an empty stomach, but I’m not exactly going to be talking about a delicious raspberry pie today. Instead, I’m going to be talking about the card sized micro computer, the Raspberry Pi, developed by the Raspberry Pi foundation. The Raspberry Pi (or RPi for short) features a 700MHz ARM processor (can clock up to 1GHz safely under warranty), 256MB RAM, HDMI and audio out, and depending on which model you get, A or B, USB ports and an onboard ethernet port. It weights a whopping 1.6oz and its dimensions are 3.37×2.125in. Basically take our your credit card, and that’s the size of it. All of that computing power, for at max $35. To read more about its specifics, visit the Raspberry Pi Wiki.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s main goal in producing the RPi was to provide low cost computers to schools with the intention of teaching basic computer sciences classes. So instead of spending $150-$200 or so on a small form factor computer plus the cost of any Windows licenses, you can spend $35 a pop on each RPi and install a basic version of Linux, and the students are all set to go. Now they have easy access to a computer to be able to learn the simple computer science and information technology basics. I think not only would using RPi’s in classrooms be cost effective, but just the fact that they’re mini-computers could get the kids very interested.
Okay, cool, they’re very cost effective for schools. But what would you as a college student do with one? I recently purchased one and over the summer had some time to play with it, and all I can say is that it’s pretty cool. Because it uses a SD card to boot and run off of, I can switch out SD cards for multiple different operating installs. For example, I have one SD card for normal every day use where the Raspberry Pi acts as a server for me to remotely access my home network, as well as a mini web server for me to test some things out on. But, I can plug in another SD card, and now my RPi has software installed for security penetration testing, where I can test network securities such as wifi or computers on a network. Give it a USB Wifi adapter and a battery to plug into the power source, and you could have yourself a mobile server/pen-testing suite. Honestly, the limits are endless with what you can do with a Raspberry Pi. Check out this video where Rob Mullins, Co-Founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, demonstrates a Raspberry Pi. Don’t forget to take the quiz on Reggie Net so you get your extra credit points!
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