I ordered the latest and greatest Raspberry Pi over the weekend from Amazon, along with a couple of C++ reference books, two Samsung micro SDHC 32GB cards, and a Sunbeam heating pad for my right leg. Everything arrived earlier this evening with a doorbell ring that sent the dogs into their usual barking mode.
Earlier in the day I’d grabbed the latest Raspbian image from the Raspberry Pi foundation and had it uncompressed and ready for use for when the Pi3 arrived. Then, in between getting supper ready, I copied the image to one of the 32GB cards and booted up the Pi3.
I used this image rather than the image I could get from Raspian.org. I wanted to play it safe and make absolutely sure I could not only boot it, but be able to bring up the WiFi interface that is now built into the Raspberry Pi 3 board. And I did. Connecting to my wireless router was absolutely dead simple. What I found interesting is that the system booted immediately into the desktop, and didn’t even attempt to resize and use the full 32GB micro SDHC card on first boot. I’ll investigate why later.
I didn’t do much more than power on the board and take a quick peek at some of the features. Since this image is built for 32-bit rather than full 64-bit, I was unable to see if the kernel could identify it as a 64-bit ARM architecture. As far as this Raspbian is concerned it’s still running on a 32-bit machine.
And run it did. I can’t believe how much smoother and faster the Pi3 is over every other earlier release. What I find amazing is that it’s all still just $35 for the board. It now feels like a “real” computer. Everything is very smooth, with no jitters and delays, especially when working on the graphical desktop.
I will be digging deeper going forward, in particular picking up where I left off a good year ago using Node.js to provide control and an interface. A lot has happened and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to so-called Internet of Things devices, of which the Pi3 is a very good example. I want to add solid encryption to the device now, both for data at rest (the file system) as well as data on the wire. I was already headed down a path of locking down all but the absolutely needed ports into the Pi2 when I stopped.
2016 is going to be an extremely interesting year for cheap, powerful itty bitty computers.