Tag Archives: DIY projects

Technology is getting smaller and cheaper to learn from

Some of my favorite pies to eat are apple, cherry, and sometimes mixed fruit but there is one pie that I enjoy playing with that isn’t edible and you don’t have to refrigerate. The thing I’m talking about Raspberry Pi and its a computer that costs $35 dollars. Yes you read that correctly.

This little computer and changed how people learn about electronics and how to build a computer. You can do some amazing things with this little computer that is actually the size of a credit card as shown by this persons image. So besides the fact that this little computer is that size, where did it come from and why is it taking over computer design?

A Dilemma in Education
One of the problems with many students who go off to college is that more than majority of those students are not prepared for higher level learning. In report after report, students from American high schools are not prepared for what college expects from them. Students in high school are so focused on getting good grades that they forget to actually learn anything so they learn how to game the system and because high school teachers make it so easy to get good grades and re-take tests (something not allowed in college) they are able to improve their grades with little more than begging to retake the test and if that fails, have their parents bully the teacher into giving their child another chance.

Last time I checked, life doesn’t work like that when your an adult so why should teens be given any special treatment (sorry, the excuse “well they should be given second chances” or ‘their to young to understand their mistakes” doesn’t work here) life is blind to age and race and any other affliction you want to throw at it and if you give a kid a pass, what makes you think he’s not going to ask for another one (just like the story goes, “If you give a mouse a cookie…”).

College professors at University of Cambridge in Britain noticed that incoming freshman for computer science didn’t have the proper upbringing with what their courses required of them. In order to help them learn the material faster they created this little computer. All the basic parts that any computer needs is on that little board and every part is completely programmable. Students were able to catch up with the material faster now that they had a little device for them to follow along with that made their course work easier to understand.

Creativity Unleashed
They say that pressure creates amazing things and I think that is the case with this little device. If you had enough room and space on a board the sky is the limit and since we live in a world where resources are limited by financial means then space should also be a restricting factor. In any case people have been able to come up with some amazing things using this little device that you can pick up in any Radio Shack or electronics store. For just $35 dollars you can build your own little powerhouse computer, all you would need to do is buy a mini computer shell case (a search on amazon shows that most cases are under $15 bucks) and then you can connect a monitor, hard drive (with preinstalled OS), power adapter, keyboard and mouse, and you got yourself a small working computer that you can do some cool stuff with. Realize this is just a motherboard with components, not a full blown computer, if you want to use it as a computer is what the real cost of this device will be by someone how broke down the list. Understand though it wasn’t really meant to act like, it was meant to build devices with and create some cool projects.

The size of this board is where the creativity of the design shines through. Anyone, including kids, can take this board and come up with some cool projects. This one guy turned his Pi into a real-time gadget that tells him what his car is doing every second. Other people have created Wi-Fi internet radios, RC cars, and their own smartphones using that device. This device is also a great way to learn about electronics so if you have a kid who has lots of time on his hands then this might be a great summer project for him to work on. Here are some amazing projects  people have come up with.

DIY Work for Entrepreneurs
Creating a business is no different from creating a program, many times you will need to go out and learn about your competitors, do some homework about how to get registered, do research on other similar companies, and then try to put it all together. The only difference between Raspberry Pi and starting a business is that Raspberry Pi gives you a starting point to work from so all you have to do is learn how each part works. It you go around the board learning how each part works and what you can do with it then you can starting adding things and changing things.

Starting a Business is very abstract thing because you do not have a starting point so it is up to you to figure out where all the pieces fit and who or what will take them. If you plan to start a marketing firm then you will need to figure out how to get your first client (if you think that is the first step) or raise funds first to hire a staff so you look professional. There are many different ways of going about starting a business but it’s important to look for some type of blueprint because for entrepreneurs that don’t make it, they are ones that just let things happen instead of creating some kind of outline for where their company should be down the road.

In a report by Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer, Shikhar Ghosh, he found that 75% of startups fail but that number climbs even higher for those that don’t plan everything out correctly. Even business plans that are filled out completely don’t match what the market has in store for them. This is important in remembering that if you want to do something, plan it out, give yourself a guide to follow, and if something goes wrong, know when to jumpship.

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Creativity with Raspberry Pi