Tag Archives: Linux

RasPad Test

So before getting started, i need to clarify something. I’m not getting paid for anything! This is a personal review and was in no way influenced by anybody! This said, here comes my review.

So i fell onto that Kickstarter campaign just before it ended and quickly decided to give it a try. Getting a touchscreen for the raspberry pi platform had always been my wish. I also included a nice screen, casing, and a battery for off grid usage. Honestly the only similar product i know is the pi-top device which comes at another price. Even it’s crowdfunding price was way more expansive… So this was why i decided to give it a try!

Only 4 month later, and this honestly is for Backer’s a really short and fast time, i received my device. Packaging and quality seems to be more than okay! Only a small hunch was the back cover where you place the raspberry. I don’t know if it was meant to be like that but still it closes completely and does what it’s meant to do.

Because i ordered a new Raspbery Pi B+ for my new toy, and because i ordered it to late, i first tried out to connect it to a Windows10 Computer. So as described in some pages on the net, i connected a HDMI from the PC to the Raspad and as well i connected it via Micro-USB to the PC as well, like any regular USB Device. And right out of the box without any more drivers needed Windows accepted the Touchscreen. So very positive for the first impression.

After receiving my Raspi, I continued my tests and out of the box with a new SD-Card with Rasbian on it, it simply worked! No need for touchscreen drivers, no calibration, everything worked fine! You might want to add a keyboard and mouse, because not everything is simply possible without these. But still… You find small and fancy things like that for reasonable prices.

I continued with a few security distributions and I have to say that they all worked fine for the touchscreen! No issues at all. But I realized that you might need to tweak the system for sound reasons. After reading around on the net, I saw a few posts about temperature issues. Some people even modified their houses and added fans to get rid of the heat. For the moment I can not yet confirm that, but I will definitely keep that in mind for the longer tests.

Another thing I will have to test out and keep an eye on, is the battery. I´m not sure yet if it simply is the way the battery indicator works, but I´m pretty sure this is the case. I will use my device for a long term test but here again you can read in some posts that the run time might be shorter than thought. What I can say is that by adding an additional USB WLAN Adapter the indicators dropped immediately to the last indicator, which might confirm my initial idea, that the battery indicator orientates himself on the voltage of the device. Turning of the Raspi immediately brings up one more indicator light of the device.

The only objective critics I have, are those for the internet and social media. The makers did put a web page on the packaging, which is non existing! That´s poor! A very simple page, with the digital descriptions and links to their project pages as well as some technical details or maybe the story of their Kickstarter campaign, some pictures. If you raise over 600k $ from more than 3.000 Backers, you should be able to do this… And to become member of their Facebook page, which is restricted to backers only apparently, you need to enter your details of your order to get accepted. Not very open minded there as well… I know that they might have other priorities but nowadays, this is a few hours of work and for your PR in my opinion a must have.

For the rest I can not complain about the product. Seems to bee good quality, properly worked out with a lot of thoughts for some details and the speed of the campaign was remarkable!

As always I’ve added a few pictures of the device, because they always tell more than a Story.

Virtual Server made easy

I was shown by a colleague of mine a nice tool I wanted to share. Ever wanted to have your own cheap Linux server on the net? So did I and the prices were not so, let’s simply say, attractive! Either you get a real Virtual Server and these come starting for at least 10€ / month, but you can find prices for about 5€ / month where you get a scalable server.

The service I tried out is called DigitalOcean and it appears to be one of the most simple services in this sector. You can, in less than a Minute, create a new server, scale them up and much much more. And the best of it, you pay as you use it. Not using any space or CPU etc, means you’re not paying anything.

It’s easier than running your own Raspberry at home and not having a fix IP etc. For the fix IP you’re already paying much more, and many tools need an own IP so if you’re interested in this, you might have a look at it.

That’s the way the cookie crumbles…

pi-top CEED

After a few month of waiting for my second Crowdfunding Project, i finally recieved my pi-top CEED. I aditionally backed the Speaker so this was an Option in the funding. So wanted to Review a litte bit this Project which i followed from the beginning on.

First i have to say that the Initiators always kept a very good contact to the funders! They posted on a regular Basis News of the Project and so as a backer you were always kept informed. This was especially interesting due to the fact that at some Point they ran into Problems and had difficulties to stay in the schedule. In my opinion very positive and so as a backer i always felt myself very comfortable even with some weeks falling back! I never got the idea that my Money could get lost.

Another nice touch was that they posted on a few occasions Pictures of what we could expect as a result.

As the package arrived at my home i have to admit, that it was very well protected. The packaging itself was as already seen on the Pictures nice and trendy.

Using the device itself… Inserted the SD-Card which was provided and connected the Raspberry-Pi (i did buy it separately) and booted the device up. No Problems with defective Pixels for my device and the Speaker worked after the Installation as it should! Okay… It is not only the physical Installation but you also Need to install the Drivers. Inside the package you could find the How-to or you can read it from the page under this link.

Finally i have to say that the Linux-OS package provided from them is not my favourite… It is quiet Special and has apart from the standard Desktop a Icon based second Desktop. Apparently invented for Kids or Linux-Newbies this should do it work, but for People who are used to Linux not the Thing you want… I will try to get more into that distro and see if it is what i Need. Otherwise i will stick to as usual Distro for the Raspberry.

Anyway… The device itself is of very good Quality in my opinion! I got a green one and the Color is flashy =D I´m lovin it! The idea to hold the Raspi with Magnets is another glorious idea! The only negative aspect is that inserting any USB device may result in misplacing the Raspberry… By being careful it should work.

Roundabout it is a nice Piece which i got for a reasonable price by being a backer.

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How To Remote Desktop to your Raspberry Pi

So at some point i wanted to access my Raspberry Pi without the need to have it always hooked up to my (or any) screen. So I looked it up and collected all the needs and the problems with its solutions.

First of all, you need a running Wheezy installation. It needs to be hooked up to your network and to the internet. After that you need to connect yourself with your regular operating System onto the console of the Pi. I use therefore PuTTY which is a common program for these things under windows. Download it and make an SSH connection into your Pi.

After that to start we simply update the Raspberry to the latest Version. To do that use the following command:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

You will need to confirm that you want to update and that these updates will take some more space on your partition. Depending on the state of your device, this might take some time. Have a break…

This is not really needed to install the remote desktop server, but it is always good to have the latest version of the programs so that errors which might occur are reduced to the maximum! Now we can come to the main part.

To be able to connect to the Desktop we will use a tool called XRDP. To install it you need to insert the following command

sudo apt-get install xrdp

Again you will need to confirm that you want to install it and after that all the needed stuff is installed. After that a reboot of the device should be done.

sudo shutdown -r now

When the device comes back up the complete process should be finished. All you will need is to connect yourself with your RDP Program to your Raspberry. In Windows you can use the Standard tool “Remote Desktop” for that. You will need to enter the IP of your Raspberry. See my screen-shot as an example (it is in German but it should be similar in English) and simply click connect.

remote1

When everything went right you should be seeing a login screen similar to this:

remote2

So if you reached as far, you did everything right! But there might be some problems logging in…

The language Problem

Some more informations for people with having issues logging in. If you came to that screen everything is working fine. If you cant log in, there might be an other problem with your keyboard! In the field of the username you can test your keyboard to see if all your keystrokes are transmitted the correct way. This is a language issue. Here comes the solution i had to look for on a few places on the net.

SSH again into your Pi. Then you need to go tho the following location /etc/xrdp so you have to use the following command for this:

cd /etc/xrdp/

After that you can use the command ls to see which files this directory contains. It s all about km-????.ini files (???? stands for numbers corresponding to the country code). Initially xrdp uses km-0409.ini (English) but I want to use a German Keyboard so i should be using the km-0407.ini. The country codes can be found here. Not all the ini Files are on your device but Google should be able to help you to find them. You simply need to copy them into the same folder and do the same trick.

To start, we will create a copy of the original km-0409.ini which we will name km-0409-copy.ini with the command:

sudo cp km-0409.ini km-0409-copy.ini

After that we copy the German layout (km-0407.ini) over the Original Version (km-0409.ini)

sudo cp km-0407.ini km-0409.ini

Finally the xrdp program needs to be restarted which we do with the command

sudo /etc/init.d/xrdp restart

After that use your Remote Desktop Program to login and your keyboard strokes should arrive the correct way on your Pi.

Mission Accomplished! Now you can enjoy your Pi on your regular system without hooking it extra to a screen. Okay there might be some limitations but regular stuff works anyway!