Simply the best: the Raspberry Pi

Translation: Eva Francis

So you think your smartphone is cool? Maybe so, but a Raspberry Pi is at least 36% better than any smartphone. Why? Because you can do anything with it and move on from being a user to being a maker. A tribute to this revolutionary computer.

I’m looking back on a busy and exciting year. Together with video editor Stephanie Tresch, I travelled long distances, presented new smartphones in skyscrapers and talked to some of the most influential people in the industry. This was exciting and great fun, but there’s one thing that’s even better than that.

The Raspberry Pi.

RasPi, I really like you!

If I’d have to name one device that made my year 2017, it’s this tiny computer that, in some miraculous way, seems to be able to do everything. Streaming the news? Check. Network monitoring? Check. Super Nintendo emulation? Check. Penetration testing tools? Check.

What is it?

With all it can do, it’s easy to forget that the Raspberry Pi – fondly referred to as «RasPi» – is a bit of a masterpiece in itself.

Before you read on: Be aware that what I’m doing here is by no means objective reporting. I really like the Raspberry Pi and want the world to know how great this device is. Does this mean I don't like other things? Not at all. I like everything from giraffes and smartphones to popcorn.

There are three versions of the RasPi. I recommend the Raspberry Pi 3 model B for practically everything. This is the most powerful version and has all the features. It also costs the most, but you’ll get it for less than 50 francs.

That’s 50 francs for a fully functional computer.

But: You have to do everything yourself

The «problem» with the Raspberry Pi is that it is the antithesis of Windows and macOS: While the two major operating systems can do just about anything out-of-the-box and all you need to do is double-click in a certain place to have new features, the Raspberry Pi is nothing more than a circuit board with connectors. There is no operating system running on it yet. This is where you come in: You have to take over and teach the computer to think.

The Raspberry Pi is smaller than the palm of your hand and about the size of three or four 5-franc coins.

That's pretty simple and pretty awesome. And it's something you can do with kids. After all, our everyday life is becoming more and more digital. The use of smartphones and PCs is becoming easier and more intuitive every day. I sometimes get the feeling that the entire human race has forgotten to question things or think about how they work. A RasPi project gives you the chance to teach your daughter, your niece, your son, your nephew or any other person an important lesson: Computers don't have to be ready-made machines that you're presented with.

The invention of a charity

The Raspberry Pi is developed by an English charitable organisation. Exactly, you're even doing something good if you get on board. The Raspberry Pi Foundation takes its educational mission seriously and describes it as follows.

«We provide low-cost, high-performance computers that people use to learn, solve problems and have fun. We provide outreach and education to help more people access computing and digital making. We develop free resources to help people learn about computing and how to make things with computers, and train educators who can guide other people to learn.»
Raspberry Pi Foundation

Yes, please! This is the reason I go home after a day at the office and work on my RasPi until late in the night, sometimes getting only three hours of sleep and feeling restless because I have code snippets on my mind and am thinking about what could possibly go wrong. The reason I do this is because I want to know more about our digital world and I want to be an empowered citizen in this age of cloud computing and extremely complex processes. I’m not willing to say goodbye to this responsibility at the touch of a button.

What's even better: The RasPi is the perfect entry-level drug for future makers. If I had never started working with this miniature computer, I would never have realised what I can do. What it lead to: Today, Dominik is working with welding torches, sandblasters, sewing machines and angle grinders.

The Raspberry Pi is the perfect entry-level drug to start working on your own world.

And let’s be honest: There’s something super cool about building your own Super Nintendo. It might even be «better than all the rest».

That’s it from me. Now, it’s your turn. What could possibly go wrong?

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Journalist. Author. Hacker. A storyteller searching for boundaries, secrets and taboos – putting the world to paper. Not because I can but because I can’t not.

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