...that most people--some even highly educated and with outstanding technology credentials--keep forgetting that the Raspberry Pi does, and only ever HAS done, one thing well: flashing LEDs on and off.
Sunfounder, based in Shenzhen, China, has released RasPad 3.0, a 10-inch, 1280-by-800 touchscreen for the Raspberry Pi 4, packaged in a wedge-shaped case with a battery that converts your Pi into a tablet computer. This is Sunfounder’s third go at a Pi fondleslab. The first RasPad, based on Raspberry Pi 3B+, came out in 2018 …
What's wrong with flashing LEDs on and off. Isn't that exactly what the computer your sitting in front off is actually doing at this moment in time....
A Gen 4 PI is far more powerful than my first computer so I don't see the problem.. With 8Gb of RAM it means they can run some serious OSs...
Given that I have an RP4 here at home that acts as DHCP and DNS server ... oh, and also a network-wide ad blocker ... I beg to disagree with your analysis.
In fact, to state that it's only good for flashing LEDs shows a distinct lack of creative thinking on your behalf and says more about your limitations rather than those of the Pi.
"I have an RP4 here at home that acts as DHCP and DNS server ... oh, and also a network-wide ad blocker ... I beg to disagree with your analysis."
I used to do that on a Pi 2, but ended up reallocating the 2 for other purposes.
I've now received a couple of Pi 4s, one of which runs a pre-release of OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 quite nicely, and the Pi 2 is now back in its role as a PiHole. The Interweb experience is greatly improved now the PiHole is back on the home LAN.
The OP is probably trolling but during lockdown, buying a couple of Pis (Pi 4b and Pi Zero W) has kept me amused/entertained/interested for hours on the following projects:
1) ADSB receiver with flightaware for tracking flights where I've been stuck
2) Pihole for trying to keep crappy tracking and ads off the network here
3) Getting Visual Studio C# projects running, built on a Mac, deployed to the Pi
4) Kodi media server
5) NAS box with serving the Samsung T5 1TB drive full of (legit) films that luckily I brought with me
6) Using the Pi Zero to connect to TVs and watch the films on what were dumb TVs
7) Backup Citrix client to I can continue to log into work if my 9 year old Macbook Air gives up the ghost.
8) Buying an e-ink display and displaying quotes from The Office and the weather every 10 minutes because why not learn a bit of Python too?
None of it essential (although the Citrix client install could well be classed as that if it's brought into use).
I realise a lot do end up in drawers but these two have been well worth the cost.
And some more here:
1) a couple of network monitors, showing connectivity and status of various items on my network (which to be fair is displayed via either a Pimoroni Blinkt or a Unicorn pHat, so is indeed turning LEDs on and off).
2) At least 3 media players around the house, plus my travelling one which is currently in storage.
3) My VPN server for when we're allowed to go travelling again.
4) My internet radio that's providing the background music whilst I type this.
5) My PiHole network ad blocker
6) My general purpose server, running Calibre, Plex, Node Red plus file serving.
7) My magic mirror/desktop info display.
8) The "play" box that my kids use for Minecraft, Python, Scratch, web browsing and all sorts of other stuff.
So slightly more than lighting an LED or two from the GPIO pins.
I do have a possible use for one of these, I'm just not sure I'm prepared to take the gamble, even if I could get into the website (our security systems are blocking it at the moment due to certificate errors).
I want a wireless remote control panel t interface to a Pi being used to control a model railway. I've got two choices, either build an old-style physical controller using a Pi to send the commands or a Pi based tablet for which this would be ideal.
.. or use an old/cheap phone/tablet as the remote?
Once the controls are web based, you can control them from anywhere.
Including stood right next to it.
If you didn't want to go the web route (no pun intended), you can SSH into it, or use a VNC session.
Firewall/access control as necessary.
It’s an interesting concept - but not actually interesting enough that I want one. It seems to me that, of all the cases on the market, the ones that are missing are:
One to convert a Pi to ITX form factor, adding SATA, internal USB, power management, RTC and ATX power. If that existed I could build my own power sipping rackmount server.
One to give it a nicely designed Amiga 500, Atari ST, or Commodore 128 like keyboard case. I’d really like one of those - I do miss the computer-in-keyboard form of the eighties (but I’d want something bigger than a Spectrum or C64). I seem to remember that there was a case a bit like this - but made of metal rather than plastic, and looking a bit too industrial for my aesthetic sensibilities!
One to give it a nicely designed Amiga 500, Atari ST, or Commodore 128 like keyboard case.
I've thought the clever looking case for a RetroPi setup would be an Intellivision case (OK, it would have to be a replica case, as the originals have become too valuable to chop up). Although if you're looking at computer-in-keyboard formats, how about a TRS-80 Model 1 replica? (yeah, the KB would be near impossible to duplicate). Or just modify Perefractic's "BrixtyFour" design and make a Lego case.
But what I’ve been waiting for is a well engineered Pi laptop, for which Pi-top and CrowPi are not quite there.
I have an old (old in relative terms of course) 32bit Acer AspireOne netbook. I've wondered how readily a Raspberry Pi4 could be fitted as a replacement for the system board in it currently. You'd probably have to remove the on-board connectors and relocate them to the outside of the case, and figure how to interface the screen & keyboard, etc. Not a simple or (comparatively) cheap thing to do, but it wouldn't be why you were doing it anyway. (kind of like our friend who put a V8 into a Dodge Colt on a bet).
Although I have many tiny PCs in my workshop they are all anonymous Chinese NUC-type hockey pucks with J1900 or N3450 processors. With 4-8GB of RAM, USB3 and multiple 1Gb Ethernet ports they just seem more useful than a Pi. Even the Pi Hole which I thought may be useful was actually less useful than a pfsense box with pfBlocker-NG and 4 x Ethernet. I guess it's all horses for courses. Pi users seem very protective of the little beasts and they do seem to inhabit the ZX Spectrum / BBC Micro ecological niche, so probably perfectly designed for the people who find them useful/interesting.
As to a Pi laptop, an anonymous Chinese N3450 laptop seems to fit the bill better. I use one because it's as light and slim as a MacBook air and cost £200. A good toy to use for computing projects.
If you're talking about uses that are not hardware tinker related, you're right. The draw of the Pi is for playing with hardware. All the devices you mention don't have well-documented samples for turning pins on and off and lots of clever hardware modules to plug in. Sure, you could probably figure out how to toggle pins on a USB parallel port, but having to hack through Windows or Linux drivers to do it probably is beyond most people (myself included).
There's the hardware aspect, but one other reason that some of us swear by the Pi is that they are really cheap. The small desktops I've seen sporting low-end Intel processors, especially if they have more RAM, are four to eight times the price of the cheapest Pi. Sometimes you need more power than you'll get from that kind of tech, but when you either need something to run with low power or something to go into a situation where it can be a little disposable, I find that aspect handy.
They're also easy to manage in bulk. If I want to make one Pi do what another was doing, I can swap the cards between them and have that work (mostly). I can also take images of my cards for easy duplication. For instance, I recently wanted to do some network checks but I didn't have a free Pi. I took one off its previous duties and used a different card to run my checks. Once completed, I could restore the original functionality in five seconds by putting the old card back in. Finally, it's convenient that a Pi restarts automatically with power, while a lot of small boxes have a power button to press. That means you can use one for a nontechnical user with the knowledge that it will automatically come back if the power plug is knocked out or mains power goes down.
That said, there are things other than a Pi that do these things. Single board computers come from a lot of people and they mostly support this kind of thing. Some of the X86-based boxes you are talking about are becoming more interesting too. I'll admit I have some loyalty to the Pi product line, but it's not for every use case.
and all kinds of guff to get the ports to the outside, why not build it around the CM3? That would allow them to get it quite a bit thinner instead of having to accommodate stacked USB ports inside the case.
Okay, there's no CM4. Yet. But if you have a CM3-based tabled, a CM4 upgrade would be easy as pi. The only restriction that I see on a CM4 using the same socket as a CM3 is having to ditch the second HDMI port. Which doesn't strike me as a great loss for CM-based systems.
I've actually thought about such a tablet, using a CM3 and the DSI touch screen.
You missed a 'likely' there, still hasn't been confirmed.
But a carrier board that is based on a CMx would still be thinner than one using a Pi. And with not too much effort you could design carrier boards for the CM3 and the CM4 that would mount in the same case frame with just the shell allowing for the extra HDMI port,
The foundation 7"LCD @ 800×480 display begs the question WHY do half the job when the interface can handle the whole thing, along with more screen space (X,Y) to mount the pi and driver board side by side to reduce (Z) depth and make it more like a real tablet.
Perhaps the foundation will take note and make a version for the PI4 (since required firmware is proprietary) so people can add a battery, speakers and mouse keyboard combo and have a portable HD linux tool.
Back when the 7" screen was first in development, there was some talk about following it with a 10" screen. That has never happened, though I still wish it would. Given the very wide bezel of the 7" screen, it might even be possible to fit a 10" screen in the same overall space.
I have been hoping RPi Foundation would beef up the A+ for such purposes. With its single USB port for data connections, it has a much lower profile than any of the models with their 4 USB and ethernet ports. I dremeled a 4mm DAT cartridge plastic storage case to hold my A+, including mounting a 3.5 inch 480x320 display on the gpio pins for my home Pi-hole server - a very compact package.
They really should be able to take its basic layout for the 3b+ CPU/chipset, and swap for the Pi4 equivalents.
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