raspberry pi 4b 2gb – more working observations

Arduino IDE configured to communicate with Circuit Playground Express

Working with the Raspberry Pi 4B continues. I installed the Arduino IDE version 1.8.9 (https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software) and was able to quickly start it and have it working with a Circuit Playground Express. I found a sample C++ program on GitHub (https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_CircuitPlayground/tree/master/examples/FidgetSpinner) and created a simple project, compiling it, but not uploading it. That will come later. I just wanted to check out the basic installation to see if it worked up to a point, and it all does. My only comment is that when you download the IDE that you choose the ARM 32-bit version. It’s a standard tar file, no compression. Once untarred, then execute install.sh. It will not only place everything where it needs to be, but set up permissions, groups, and add a menu entry under Programming.

The IDE seems fully functional. One aspect of using the IDE natively on the RPi 4B with 2GB is that compiles are noticeably slower than they are on my MacBook Pro. But that’s to be expected, and the time taken is not excessive. Just noticeable.

During this period of testing I’ve also managed to force Raspbian to hit the swap space. Unlike the 1GB RPi 4B, the 2GB version’s use of swap is one to two orders less than the 1GB version with the same application load. Right now I’m seeing 4.5MB out of 2GB of swap being used, or essentially next to nothing.

Finally, I installed two more software packages, Swift for ARM and PowerShell Version 7 Preview 2 for ARM.

In order to install Swift on Raspbian Buster, you neeed to add a reference to the repo, then install Swift from that repo. Those steps are:

curl -s https://packagecloud.io/install/repositories/swift-arm/release/script.deb.sh | sudo bash
sudo apt install swift5=5.0.2-v0.4

Once installed you can run this basic test:

pi@raspberrypi:~ $ swiftc --version
Swift version 5.0.2 (swift-5.0.2-RELEASE)
Target: armv6-unknown-linux-gnueabihf
pi@raspberrypi:~ $

You can read about Swift ARM here: https://swift-arm.com/
Note that you should check to see what the current version of Swift ARM is when you install. I chose 5.0.2-v0.4 because that was what was published in the announcement on the web site.

PowerShell Core for Raspbian Buster is available as a regular tar file here: https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell/releases

Once downloaded, create a directory on your login home. In my case I simply created ~/powershell. Step into it and untar the newly downloaded archive into the newly created directory. Once untarred simply run pwsh. For example:

pi@raspberrypi:~/powershell $ ./pwsh 
PowerShell 7.0.0-preview.2
Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Type 'help' to get help.

PS /home/pi/powershell> $PSVersionTable

Name                           Value
----                           -----
PSVersion                      7.0.0-preview.2
PSEdition                      Core
GitCommitId                    7.0.0-preview.2
OS                             Linux 4.19.58-v7l+ #1245 SMP Fri Jul 12 17:31:45 BST 2019
Platform                       Unix
PSCompatibleVersions           {1.0, 2.0, 3.0, 4.0…}
PSRemotingProtocolVersion      2.3
WSManStackVersion              3.0

PS /home/pi/powershell> 

And that’s about it.

One more thing. The Flirc case runs warm, but not excessively so. CPU temperatures seem to run between 45°C and 50°C. I’m still working on a 40-pin ribbon cable connector that will easily fit inside the case over the GPIO header.


powershell colored directory listing

I still continue to fiddle about with PowerShell scripting on Windows 10. With PowerShell Core, PowerShell is also available for Linux and macOS. With that kind of cross-platform availability I’ve been trying to write code that works across Windows 10 Desktop as well as the Core implementations. This post is about a colored directory lister written in PowerShell that does that.

If you’re a Linux user, then you’re probably used to the colorization abilities of Gnu ls. I wanted that basic capability for Windows 10 and I wanted it to operate the same across all platforms. One feature I wanted was for this colored directory to show soft links, that is, identify a soft link and show what it pointed to. I managed to get that to work. The code follows.

function Get-ColoredDir {
    $regex_opts =
        ([System.Text.RegularExpressions.RegexOptions]::IgnoreCase `
          -bor [System.Text.RegularExpressions.RegexOptions]::Compiled)
    # Save the foreground and background colors. We'll restore when finished.
    $fore = $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor
    $back = $Host.UI.RawUI.BackgroundColor
    # Create regular expressions for finding compressed, executable, and text files.
    # We'll use these distinctions for our coloration below.
    $compressed =
        New-Object System.Text.RegularExpressions.Regex('\.(zip|tar|gz|rar|jar|war)$', $regex_opts)
    $executable =
        New-Object System.Text.RegularExpressions.Regex('\.(exe|bat|cmd|py|pl|ps1|psm1|vbs|rb|reg|msi|sh)$', $regex_opts)
    $text_files =
        New-Object System.Text.RegularExpressions.Regex('\.(txt|cfg|conf|ini|csv|log|xml|html|java|c|cpp|cs)$', $regex_opts)

    Invoke-Expression ("Get-ChildItem $args -Force") | ForEach-Object {

        $timestamp =
            '{0,2}/{1,2}/{2:D4} {3:D2}:{4:D2}:{5:D2}' -f

        $foretext = '{0, -10} {1} {2, 10} ' -f $_.Mode, $timestamp, $_.Length

        # Look to see if any of the objects found is a soft link.
        # Microsoft's term for a soft link is ReparsePoint.
        # Note the use of -Force to pick up hidden files, or files that start
        # with a period (.)
        $linkedItem = ''
        if ($_.Attributes -match "ReparsePoint") {
            $linkedItem = Get-Item -Force $_ | select-object -expandproperty Target

        if ($_.GetType().Name -eq 'DirectoryInfo') {
            $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor = 'Cyan'
            if ($_.Attributes -match "ReparsePoint") {
                $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor = 'Magenta'
        elseif ($compressed.IsMatch($_.Name)) {
            $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor = 'Yellow'
        elseif ($executable.IsMatch($_.Name)) {
            $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor = 'Red'
        elseif ($text_files.IsMatch($_.Name)) {
            $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor = 'White'
        else {
            $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor = $fore

        if ($linkedItem.length -gt 0) {
            '{0}{1} -> {2}' -f $foretext, $_.Name, $linkedItem
        } else {
            '{0}{1}' -f $foretext, $_.Name


    $Host.UI.RawUI.ForegroundColor = $fore
    $Host.UI.RawUI.BackgroundColor = $back

I wouldn’t call this particularly exciting PowerShell code. I’m quite certain that a real PowerShell scripting guru would come up with something far more elegant. But it works, and it has examples of how to extract information for directory objects in a PowerShell environment, especially when determining soft links and what they resolve to. I hope you find it useful.

If you’re interested in PowerShell Core, you can find it on GitHub here: https://github.com/PowerShell/PowerShell