4 Raspberry Pis on a mini ITX board; The Turing Pi 2

This is a fun (but expensive) project:

A cheap M1 mac would smoke it but you know…
And the M1 mac can’t run linux. Looks like a fun project but a total waste of space and money. It’s one of those “let’s put a v8 in a dodge omni” kind of “what if” things.

Incidentally, my two personal computers:

  • An ancient mac mini 2010 running Kubuntu
  • A mac mini with M1 processor

Guess which one I love more and use every day? (the 2010 version).
The funny thing is that both boxes look identical. I am smitten with the idea that I could find a computer over 10 years old to be perfect

Volumio – the DIY Media Streamer

You can have an inexpensive media streaming device connected to your TV or HiFi by using an inexpensive Raspberry Pi and an SD card.

If you visit Volumio.org, you can download an image for a Raspberry Pi, PC or ASUS Tinkerboard. Once you have the image downloaded, attach a micro SD card to your computer and use Balena Etcher to write the image to it. If you need a quick tutorial on how to image an SD using Etcher, here’s a video that images the Raspberry Pi OS to SD. You would be imaging Volumio instead…

Once your SD image is complete, you will want to put the SD into your Pi. A Raspberry Pi 2, 3 or 4 should be sufficient, though a 3B is probably the lowest I would go because the Pi 2 would be quite slow. The Pi 3B has an advantage over the Pi 4B because it runs much cooler.

Then attach an ethernet cable to the Pi – because wifi will not be setup. This is the lamest part of the project but bear with me. Power up the Pi and let it run a boot cycle. You can setup your Volumio now by either downloading the Volumio app in the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, or by typing volumio.local in your browser. Because the browser method isn’t reliable initially, I would use the app if possible.

After you launch the app on your phone/tablet, the app will search for any installations of Volumio. Make sure you are on the same network between the Pi and the phone. Once the app finds it, you will be instructed to give your setup a name and configure wifi settings. To setup your plugins, click on the setup icon in the bottom right corner. There are several plugins that allow your Volumio setup to connect to Spotify, Pandora, a Subsonic server etc. After you add and enable the plugins, you will need to go to the “installed plugins” tab to configure them with your username/password.

There are many other nice features, like the ability to make this setup a DLNA server. When everything is done and setup to your taste, you can go back into the menu, shut down the Pi and unplug the ethernet cable.

You can plug an HDMI cable into the Pi and run it into your TV or Stereo now and turn them both on. Once your Pi boots you will hear a chime through the TV/Stereo and that tells you it’s ready. You can now use your app to control Volumio to play internet radio, Spotify, etc.

You can also add music to Volumio. If you put mp3s or FLAC files on a thumb drive, plug it in before boot and the system will index the files so that you can play them. If you are technologically inclined, you can find your IP address by going into Volumio’s network settings. Then use that address, followed by /dev (example: 10.0.0.100/dev). From there, you can enable SSH, then use Filezilla or similar SFTP/FTP program to add music and video files to the /mnt/INTERNAL directory.

Volumio allows you to create an account. Though the setup is free, there is a paid tier that allows other features like the ability to use HiRes streaming services Tidal and Qobuz among other features like connecting a CDROM to rip CDs. At one time, I did subscribe to this a few years ago, but found that the free features like internet radio, local media and my own Subsonic server were enough. So for now I’m happy to use the free version. If you end up setting this up, I hope you enjoy it! I work from home and believe me, it’s nice.

OBS Studio on Raspberry Pi 4

Here is an extremely well documented guide on installing OBS Studio on your Raspberry Pi 4. I tried it and was successful in stalling. I even had the video driver error and was able to overcome it with “MESA_GL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=3.3 obs” as the guide suggested.

The only issue I found was that the icon under “Sound & Video” does not work. You have to type “MESA_GL_VERSION_OVERRIDE=3.3 obs” in a terminal for OBS Studio to work.

Alternately…you can install piKiss, which has an easy way to install OBS Studio. There’s a guide here. Once installed, navigate to “Multimedia”, and then “OBS”. With piKiss, you can also install many games, emulators, tweaks, multimedia programs and more. Very interesting program!

Pi-hole DNS Server

Vote For Your Favorite New Pi-hole Logo - Pi-hole®: A ...
Network-wide Ad Blocking

I have had a Pi-hole set up near my cable modem for at least 1-2 years now? Time moves differently for me for the last 18 months. Regardless, my Pi-hole device just sits there, filtering out ads from the network. I highly recommend setting up a Pi-hole for your home. It’s cheap, easy, effective and efficient!

What is it?
A cheap Raspberry Pi computer with an SD card. Gets power from a phone charger and connects with a simple Ethernet cable. Runs passively without any fans at about 37 degrees C.

How do you use it?
You can set it up as a Wifi source, or you can add the IP address in your wifi settings for DNS server. Use the same IP address in your web browser to see a web interface. From there you can modify the whitelist/blacklist and see in real time how many ads are being rejected.

Pi-Hole on Docker using OMV Raspberry Pi 4 "Network Wide ...

How do you set it up?
There are many guides. Here is a good one:
https://www.instructables.com/Pi-Hole-Setup-Guide/

Essentially, what is involved?
You flash a linux OS for Raspberry Pi onto your SD card using something like the Balena Etcher. I prefer “dietpi”, which is a low resource Debian distro.
https://dietpi.com/
A simple 8GB or higher card will suffice. Then you install Pi-hole on it.

How do you maintain it?
Every now and then, it’s good to log into it with SSH and run a “sudo apt update/upgrade” (if you choose a Debian distro). That’s it.

I have over 4 million domains on my blocklist and it makes a HUGE difference when I load websites without Pi-hole DNS configured in my wifi settings.

Bonus: You can SSH into it and install lynx, mc and any other useful linux terminal programs and have fun with it. As a double-bonus, you could even host web services like subsonic or ftp using it!

Setup a DIY Retro Gaming device with all of your favorite games

Using a Raspberry Pi, create a Retro Gaming device that can connect to a TV or computer monitor (HDMI or RCA).
Equipment needed:
*Raspberry Pi 3 B+ or Raspberry Pi 4 with Power Adapter
*Micro SD Card & Reader
*PC to setup the SD Card
*USB Keyboard
*HDMI Cable or 3.5MM Video AV Component Adapter

Migrate from Windows to Ubuntu with 3 lines in a terminal

You can obviously tailor this list to your needs, but with this post you can install at once these programs in a Debian-based distribution (x86 or Raspberry Pi!):
FTP, audio editor/streamer/player/tagger, office suite, radio streamer, remote desktop client, video editor, web browser, social media, disc utility, bit torrent client, email client, virtual machine, photo editor, CAD, CD burner, comic/ebook reader

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

sudo apt install filezilla audacity vlc rhythmbox thunderbird lynx mc krita libreoffice brasero gparted picard freecad transmission remmina obs-studio kid3-qt sound-juicer snapd p7zip-full p7zip-rar

sudo snap install freac foliate telegram-desktop

At the end of the page is an explanation of which programs do what.
Note: Every program on this list works on almost any Debian-based Raspberry Pi distribution, including Kali, Ubuntu Mate, Ubuntu Desktop, Raspberry PI OS

Tip for games and tweaks:
There’s a CLI program called pi-kiss that can install multiple games, emulators, system configurations, tweaks, tools, scripts, etc.

curl -sSL https://git.io/JfAPE | bash

Launch the program:
cd /root/piKiss
./piKiss.sh

Continue reading “Migrate from Windows to Ubuntu with 3 lines in a terminal”

Install nifty Raspberry Pi Imager program on any Debian distro

The Raspberry Pi Image program that comes with Raspberry Pi OS allows you to install an OS (similar to Etcher but with Pi images incorporated into it) to SD card, SSD, etc. Has lots of stock images, including Retropie, several Ubuntu variants, Raspberry Pi OS and more. You can also flash a custom image and wipe drives.

sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt install snapd
sudo snap install rpi-imager

My64 – mini ITX system in a *new* c64 case

This is a project that I definitely WILL do early next year:

I thought the whole setup was great except for one annoying thing: I don’t like cables coming out the sides of anything.  I know this is standard procedure – even a macbook pro costing thousands of dollars does this. Would have been nice to have the power on the back. But this is a clean setup, looks great and isn’t too expensive, relatively speaking.
When I got to the end and saw what the function keys did I almost spit my coffee.
Outstanding!
The mainboard/CPU mini-itx combo was really interesting. I didn’t know those existed, especially at that low price. I tried to find the board and they are out of stock everywhere but even better – the highest end version of the board is available for only $120:
Now that ARM processors are coming to the market for desktop computing, I wonder what kind of mini-computing setups we will see in the near future. I can picture something that looks like a 5″x5″x1″ shape that people shove behind a monitor that has Windows 10 and an SSD drive for under $200. We’ll see…

Raspberry Pi OS Update December 2020

There are many great improvements to Raspberry Pi OS for the Pi enthusiasts.

  • Chromium browser updated to version 84, which allows smoother video playback in sites like Youtube.com.
  • PulseAudio sound server instead of ALSA, which allows for simultaneous playback and improves Bluetooth options.
  • CUPS, the Common Unix Printing System was added so that wifi printers are now accessible.
  • For the visually impaired: The screen reader audio can now be played through Bluetooth devices and improvements to Orca screen reader support.

To update your Raspberry Pi to this new OS update, open a terminal and type:

sudo apt update
sudo apt full-upgrade

Then, install the PulseAudio Bluetooth support:

sudo apt purge bluealsa
sudo apt install pulseaudio-module-bluetooth

Next step is to reboot your Pi. Enjoy! 🙂

For those having issues updating the audio, the Pi Foundation created this guide:

To swap over the volume and input selector on the taskbar from ALSA to PulseAudio, after your Raspberry Pi has restarted, right-click a blank area on the taskbar and choose Add / Remove Panel Items. Find the plugin labelled Volume Control (ALSA/BT) in the list, select it and click Remove; then click the Add button, find the plugin labelled Volume Control (PulseAudio) and click Add. Alternatively, just open the Appearance Settings application from the Preferences section of the Main Menu, go to the Defaults tab and press one of the Set Defaults buttons.

Some people have reported that some applications are ignoring the effect of the PulseAudio output switcher. This is probably caused by an old ALSA configuration file still being on the system. Once you have updated, execute the following in a terminal window, which should fix this:

rm ~/.asoundrc

To remove the old Audio Preferences application, which will not work with PulseAudio, do:

sudo apt purge pimixer