Recently one day, one of my colleagues said "my Raspberry Pi is getting delivered today". I was very happy thinking that we are gonna get something new to "eat" today & just out of curiosity questioned him, what is it?? he smiled & pinged me a few links. Visualizing some red colored sweet dish in my mind I opened the links, first one was a picture of some PCB which had many ports in it.
This look gave me an impression of some Home Theater system as it has video output port, HDMI port & a 3.5 mm audio jack, it was an electronic device & hence there was no scope of me not reading more about it. I invested one full day reading about it & realized that it was worth much more.
This device actually is a credit card sized full blown computer with 600 MHz Arm Cortex processor, 512 MB Ram. It has one HDMI port, Video Output port, 3.5 mm Audio jack, 2 USB ports, 1 Ethernet (LAN) Port, 1 SD card Slot & one GPIO (General Purpose Input Output) port.
As of now it runs a few flavors of linux as operating system which can be found at the official site's downloads section. You need a memory card & burn the downloaded image to card, insert it into the card slot of Raspberry Pi. To power up this device, you need a 5V power supply with micro USB connector. you can use your mobile phone charger/data-cable as well.
Raspberry Pi can be used to make a print server, jukebox, home-theater system, wireless access point, domain/ldap server, HTTP server, home security/automation system & many more. Actually it depends on the individual, what can he make out of it.
This gadget is a life saver for gadget makers / hobbyists who are interested in robotics or automation. We can have our programs written in any of the languages/scripts which can run on linux shell & make use of GPIO port to make serial/parallel communication to your hardware. GPIO port has few pins for I2C & SPI as well. All of GPIO pins are 3v3 so you need to take special care while connecting it to your hardware which is generally 5/6/12 volts.
The day I got my Pi, I had a few issues to start using it. I used my MP3 player charger as power supply for my Pi. as soon as i connected the usb keyboard & mice, the device restarted automatically for few times & few times it didn't detect the USB devices at all. I changed my power supply to a decent one. After that, i was able to use keyboard, mouse & Ethernet, but for USB based CD Drive, hard-disk & wireless Network Interface, I again faced the power supply issue. I bought a Powered USB Hub which has a 5V, 2000 mA rating still i can't connect all of them together.
To finally resolve this, I am having plans to make a power supply & powered USB hub by myself which can provide sufficient amount of power to run any of the power hungry devices, will keep posted as I get it working for me.