Learning Raspberry Pi: Changing Over a Micro Center Pi

Micro Center Raspberry Pi shown with access slots for power, HDMI, audio, Ethernet, and USB
Micro Center Raspberry Pi shown with access slots for power, HDMI, audio, Ethernet, and USB

The computer and hobbyist retail chain, Micro Center is offering a Raspberry Pi 3 deal that includes a Raspberry Pi 3, microSD with OS already installed, and a power adapter with conversion plugs.

The price was $79.95 at the local store, and at first it seemed a very good deal at the time. But, for the normal use that the average user of a Pi would desire, it is totally inadequate.

The Case

The major issue with the case is that it is sealed. The various Raspberry Pis have General-Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) pins, that allow for other boards or interfaces to be connected to the Pi. If one desired to use the included case, a slot would have to be cut in the top, a terrible proposition.

The Power Supply

The power supply is also inadequate for normal use. A Raspberry Pi 3 requires a 5V, 2.5A source to ensure proper operation. The one included is on 2.0A.

The Operating System

A 8GB  microSD card is included, that is a good thing. The pre-installed OS is just Citrix client software, and not a full-blown OS, that is bad. So, in order to transform the Raspberry Pi into what an average user would need for intended use, a complete overhaul is required. In this article, I will concentrate on the case and the power supply. The next article will deal with the operating system.

Replacing the Case
Micro Center Raspberry Pi with back removed to show microSD slot, and Torx screw
Micro Center Raspberry Pi with back removed to show microSD slot, and Torx screw

The first thing required is to snap out the back is the end opposite the USB and Ethernet ports. This exposes the Torx screw. A Torx screwdriver is required, a flat head or Phillips-type will not work.

Torx Screwdriver
Torx Screwdriver

Unscrew and remove the back, then pull out the side away from the micro-USB power slot and audio port.





Micro Center Raspberry with cover removed
Micro Center Raspberry with cover removed

This is how things look with the cover removed:




Getting Official
Official Raspberry Pi Case - Black
Official Raspberry Pi Case – Black

The Raspberry Pi Foundation provides a official case for each Pi. It can assembled and disassembled based on need of the user. Plus, it allows for access to the GPIO pins, and easy access to the microSD card when needed.

Raspberry Pi 3 and Case
Raspberry Pi 3 and Case

Remove the Raspberry Pi from the Micro Center case and place it in the official case. It does not have to be snapped in. The port openings match the USB, Ethernet, micro-USB, etc.

Before placing the Raspberry Pi in the case, remove the microSD card. You will need it later to install a proper operating system.

Official Raspberry Pi Power Cord
Official Raspberry Pi Power Cord

Lastly, an adequate power supply certified to be used with the Pi is needed. When using a Pi, always consider a supply that can power the Pi, and the Pi only. A Raspberry Pi should never be used to power any peripherals that may be attached to it, a powered USB hub should be used instead.

A Completed Pi
Raspberry Pi 3 inside Official Case
Raspberry Pi 3 inside Official Case

This completes the hardware conversion of the Pi. Next time, we will concentrate on choosing an operating system, installation, and then set-up of the system.




Random Musing Cogitation #5

You know what really irritates me? It’s those instructional videos on YouTube that feature hand-drawn cartoons. I’m not talking about the cartoons themselves, rather, when there is an actual hand being shown drawing the cartoons. The creators want to make it seem like some artist is drawing while speaking at the same time.

What the heck is the purpose of doing that anyway? Why can’t they just show a completed panel? Why must I see it being drawn? It is nothing but total distraction. With a completed panel, I would have more time to process the information they hope to impress on me. Yet, some big, crusty hand is taking up most of my screen. Even worse, most of the drawing sucks. Have any of these people ever heard of Power Point?

Random Musing Cogitation #4

I am back, finally. After so long a time of being away. I am finally moving into the next chapter of my life. It is time for that period that hopefully, we all dream about. I’m talking about a life of independence. For now on, I will do what I want to do. I will be who I want to be and not be beholden to anyone.

That means I can finally get this blog to be what I want it to be. So, stay tuned!

Learning Linux: LXLE

It has been awhile since I have posted; unfortunately, school and life has gotten in the way. This post will not be detailed, but a summation of my activities.

Find A Linux Distro That Works

Micro Center USB Drive
Micro Center USB Drive

I initially chose to install Lubuntu, which is a version of Ubuntu Linux, that is meant work on older machines. Before that I purchased two things, a USB drive and a cheap mouse, both from the local Micro Center. I wanted to make this project as cheap as possible, so both came to less than $12 in total. Linux is open source, and therefore free, so my drive and mouse was my greatest cost so far.

I did attempt a battery purchase from a seller on Amazon, but was sent a charger instead. I returned the charger and decided to worry about a battery later.

Cheap Mouse
Cheap Mouse

As I said, I had chosen Lubuntu, which is available for download from the Ubuntu site. Ubuntu comes in all shapes and sizes depending on your needs, so it pays to do your research. Lubuntu contains the same kernel as Ubuntu, with the difference being a reduction in included software.

Screenshot of UNetbootin Homepage
Screenshot of UNetbootin Homepage

The download is a compressed image that must be unzipped before saving it to the USB. Special software is needed to properly save the image to an USB so it boots properly. I chose UNetbootin as recommended by the Ubuntu website. Make sure you follow the instructions to the letter, or you could damage your current system.

Before you can perform an install, you must set your system to boot from USB. Each system may be different, I had to hit the F2 function key as soon as the splash screen appeared. This takes you to a configuration menu, which is where you change boot priorities.

One good thing about using an USB drive is that you can test drive a Linux distro before deciding to install. That is what I decided at first, and everything worked great. Windows Vista was shot, so I decided to install Lubuntu. That was when the fun started as I tried about ten times and could never get things to work. Another problem was Ubuntu does not work with Broadcom modems, which the Dell has. I ended up buying a TP-Link TL-WN722N WiFi dongle, which works out the box with Linux.

I finally gave up and tried to find another distro which brings me to…


Screenshot of LXLE Desktop
Screenshot of LXLE Desktop

Per the LXLE, “LXLE is a GNU/Linux operating system based on Lubuntu which is an official Ubuntu OS using the LXDE desktop environment.” Unlike my attempt of installing plain Lubuntu, LXLE installed quite easily. That is a photo of the desktop to the left. It has made a dead and almost buried Dell alive again. In fact, this post is being written on it. I’m still learning the ends and outs and will address those in due time.

That is all for now, and I have much, I mean much more to share with you. Can you say “Raspberry PI”?



Random Musing Cogitation #3

“Thank you for your service.” I hear it all the time from persons once they know I am a veteran. Those are such kinds words to hear and it shows that people care. That said, I wish to reflect on some things concerning that particular phrase.

Before 9/11, no one ever said it, after 9/11, many have jumped on the “thank you for your service” bandwagon. I do not want to sound bitter, but it is a shame that it took a tragedy for people to start saying it. Did people not care before 9/11? Now that people are saying it, it makes one wonder how genuine someone is when they utter those words. Are they just saying because it is the right thing to do?

Some people feel an obligation to say it, why? Does it make their conscience better if they say it? Is there some kind of hidden guilt that gives them relief after thanking a veteran?

Truth be told, many veterans, not all, do not want to hear that. Many are angry because military service has damaged their lives, especially as it applies to mental and physical health. Then veterans have to deal with the number one enemy of the military and veterans, that is the Federal Government, specifically, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA). You think combat was bad, wait until fight the VA. You know what the longest war in U.S. history is? It was not the Vietnam War, or Iraq War, Civil War, or even the Revolutionary War. For over 150 years, it has been the War on Veterans. The government of the U.S. has failed completely in meeting its promises to the military veteran. So, as far as “thank you for your service” is concerned, tell it to someone who cares.

Let us move on to the most irritating saying of them all, “We are so proud of what you do.” First, of all, do people know what it is we do? The military kills people. That is what war is, when one country, or organization, kills citizens of a country, or constituents of an organization. Once again, many veterans are not proud of that. Most who have served would prefer peace, but would pick up arms if necessary to defend what they think is right. If veterans were proud of what they did, then we would not have 22 suicides each day. Think about that.

Random Musing Cogitation #2

The problem with bullying is not the bully, it is the bullee. In these current times, the unfortunate truth is that our kids have become soft. Of course, it is not the children’s fault, but that of parents and society as a whole.

First, it was the elimination of dodge ball, that great American game. I was a dodge ball kid, and got my but kicked more times than I can remember. There is nothing like getting hit with a large, hard, reddish-brown rubber ball while standing on hot asphalt, and getting teased by your classmates for being a wimp. The thing is, it made my generation tough, and gave us the ability to cope with stressful situations. Most of us don’t flake out when things get hard, instead, we face our problems head on. Now, apparently, it is detrimental to a child’s psyche. Well, if people would take more interest in their children, instead of letting xbox or playstation raise them, then maybe, the child’s psyche wouldn’t be so damaged.

Then there is participation trophies, which do more harm than good. Kids must learn about success and failure. Kids must learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Kids must learn that you will not always get what you want. Now, we have kids that are always expecting something in return. Contrary to popular belief, hard work does not always pay off, and kids need to understand that early in there developmental lives.

Now to big one: corporal punishment. I grew up with parents that believed in whooping ass. I say whooping ass, because my parents did not give spankings. My mother would hit with anything that was in arms-length. I grew up at a time in the 70s and 80s when parents could punish their kids in public, and nobody said a thing. Our parents would remind us that they brought us in this world, and that they will take us out of it. Now, parents who spank (or beat, whoop ass), or whatever you call it are arrested and charged with child abuse. Just using strong language can land you in jail. As a result, we have kids that are disrespectful toward their own parents, old persons, and people in authority in general. I’ll be 50 years old in October, yet till this day, I would not dare curse or disrespect my mother, because I know she would end my life at that very moment. Plus, many kids do not understand what exactly is the difference between right and wrong.

On to the bullying. I, and many of my generation, were taught that the way to stop a bully is to fight back, even if that meant getting your ass kicked, at least you fought back. If that did not work, then use the “Great Equalizer”, which is a swift knee, or kick to the groin. It is guaranteed to stop bullying in its tracks. Now, because of the Sensitivity Epidemic that has infected this country, we are a nation with wussy kids. Wussy is a combination of wimp and pussy, for those that do not know.

It is very sad to see the state of the younger generation as it is today. I do worry about our country’s future because of it.

Random Musing Cogitation #1

Okay, so I sit in my Introduction to Rhetorical Studies class and some days, I just want to scream. It’s all Trump this, and Trump that. Now I said no politics ever on this site, and I meant that. I don’t want my site ruined by over-opinionated banter from the masses. That said, there some things I need to get off my chest:

  1. If the emails from the Democratic National Headquarters was exposed by a respected American news outlet like the Wall Street Journal, or say, the New York Times, would that make Trump’s election legitimate?
  2. ¬†There was a published article a month ago that said the Russians didn’t hack the DNC. It said a Department of Defense Security Specialist did it because he hated the lax attention Hilary had toward national secrets.
  3. Did the Russians force people to vote for Trump?
  4. Might the American public have actually chose Trump over Hilary?
  5. When are the Democrats going to address the corruption exposed by the email leaks, or the liberal media for that matter?
  6. Oh, Jimmy Carter issued a Muslim ban too.