Last Christmas I got a Raspberry Pi as a present. I ran out and got a used hdmi monitor for $40 so I could try it out.
I decided to choose Raspbian for my operating system but I had to find instructions for installing it from Linux onto a SD card. It seemed so complicated. Even though I have used Linux for several years now, I really do not use the command line very much. The easy instructions were there if you use Windows.
I nervously loaded Raspbian on to a SD card. knowing that it could wreck my system if I made a mistake. The first few efforts did not work because the instructions were written by someone who knows the CLI very well, and was not described with enough information for someone who had not done this a billion times before.
It booted OK and I began to play around with it. My first thought was I could use it in my Dalek: speech, camera, motor control and remote control all on one PCB. But after doing a little studying about the GPIOs and the overall capability, I realized the amount of current that the R-Pi draws, the limitations of the GPIO and of the overall speed and other complications. I felt that I could accomplish 80% of the items with a Picaxe or Arduino but without some of those extra complications.
So if not for the Dalek, what should I do with it? Well I thought I could turn it into a media centre, however we have a Boxee, a Roku and a Xbox already. How many media centres do I need?
I started looking at what other people had done with their Raspberry Pi’s but I could not find anything that grabbed me or that I liked that could not be done with an Arduino.
I was ready to install a media centre on to it, then inspiration came.
We had planned to have our kitchen renovated for the last year and I suggested to my wife how we needed a computer for the new kitchen. It was sort of a joke when I suggested it, but I looked on line and found a 10″ touch screen available. $134 plus s&h. I suggested this to my wife expecting her to squash the idea but she said, yes, go for it.
I promptly ordered the touch screen (before she could change her mind). It took 9 weeks for the screen to arrive because even though the website showed it was in stock it actually was out of stock. During this time I started to look for a suitable programming language and define the GUI in my head. I assumed that I would actually be using Raspbian.