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Is anyone else having doubts about the Raspberry Pi?


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#21 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1813

Posted 30 December 2012 - 02:58 PM

I'm sorry, but it is FOR something. There's actually a large, growing thread in the forums about this very issue. It seems I'm not the only one: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=25501

Alright, so let's assume that you're right, and the Raspberry Pi fails at the task it's intended for. Does that mean that the device itself has failed? Must a device only be used for its intended purpose? I'd say definitely not.

Personally, my perception of the Raspberry Pi was that it was supposed to be a relatively cheap and nostalgic "toy" computer that was meant to evoke the days when a computer was a simple device that you plugged into a TV and programmed by hand. I highly doubt that it's meant to be "easy to use" at all, it's meant to be minimal enough (like the computers of yesteryear) that just figuring out how to use it teaches you about how computers work. I remember when I was learning to code (back in the 90s), the clunky old DOS machine I was using gave me lots of headaches just in trying to do anything more complex than moving files around. I learned a lot that way, however; I was actually solving problems that forced me to think about how the system worked and how I was going to tell the system what I wanted it to do. The Raspberry Pi seems to me like it's meant to evoke memories of a time when computers were that or even more primitive than the good old DOS 5.0 that I personally started my programming career with. A lot of people in our industry got started in an environment like that, so I'd imagine that the creators of the device figure that it would be a good way for "kids these days" to start in the 21st century. There might be problems with that approach, of course, seeing as this is the 21st century and "kids these days" are no doubt used to computer interfaces that are much easier to work with by the time they encounter the RP.
 
You called the device "painful to use." I guess my point is that if that is the complaint you're making, I'm not sure you're seeing the point that I think the creators of the device want you to see.
 
 
I'd love to have a true discussion about this, but there's nothing more boring than when someone tries to downplay my opinion or right to speak by saying that "You're not makin no sense! What you talkin bout!?"

Er, pointing out that an opinion (or an expression thereof) makes "no sense" on the face of it is a perfectly legitimate thing to do in a discussion. In a truly rational discussion, ideas which do not make sense should be shot down, in fact. Pointing out that a statement doesn't make sense gives the speaker an opportunity to revise their statement so that no misunderstanding is made; or possibly revise their opinions, if that proves useful. And I admittedly haven't read the entire thread all that closely, but where is your opinion being "downplayed" and what exactly do you mean by that? Again, contradicting another person's opinion/pointing out flaws in their argument or understanding is not "downplaying their right to speak" - it is the whole point of rational discussion in the first place.

Edited by Oberon_Command, 30 December 2012 - 03:15 PM.


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#22 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8286

Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:24 PM

Personally, my perception of the Raspberry Pi was that it was supposed to be a relatively cheap and nostalgic "toy" computer that was meant to evoke the days when a computer was a simple device that you plugged into a TV and programmed by hand. I highly doubt that it's meant to be "easy to use" at all, 

 

That is my perception as well. I can kind of see the educational value of the Pi (from an engineering point of view, anyway, for software a generic computer is probably more cost-effective) but to be honest it wouldn't be my first choice to get someone interested in computers. Nor my second, for that matter.


The slowsort algorithm is a perfect illustration of the multiply and surrender paradigm, which is perhaps the single most important paradigm in the development of reluctant algorithms. The basic multiply and surrender strategy consists in replacing the problem at hand by two or more subproblems, each slightly simpler than the original, and continue multiplying subproblems and subsubproblems recursively in this fashion as long as possible. At some point the subproblems will all become so simple that their solution can no longer be postponed, and we will have to surrender. Experience shows that, in most cases, by the time this point is reached the total work will be substantially higher than what could have been wasted by a more direct approach.

 

- Pessimal Algorithms and Simplexity Analysis


#23 Recantha2   Members   -  Reputation: 106

Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:40 AM

@Bacterius - what would you choose to get someone interested in computers, out of interest?



#24 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 31 December 2012 - 02:39 AM

Just to put this out there, and not to say people don't have their biases, but you, the op, are letting your biases become emotional. You are taking disagreements to be personal, and that's not going to result in anything beneficial for anyone tbh. You have a lot of legitimate points, but your emotions are pushing them toward extremism. It's important to be aware of when your emotions are muddying your points. If this were American political media your tone might be more apt, but here you'll find a more objective/less emotional tone is much better.

 

Not to say I've never been emotional here, but the majority of times I have I have it was either the wrong audience for it or I have regretted it.



#25 markr   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1653

Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:56 PM

No doubt the foundation could make it more like a, say, Rasperry iPi. However, to do so would be missing the point. It doesn't boot into the GUI, it doesn't have autoconfiguration wizards etc, work super-fancy out of the box, because it wasn't intended to.

 

Requiring the user to source their own power supply, was actually part of that, in my view (Also many different countries use a different type of power socket).

 

It's supposed to be about learning, not having things premade. If you want something pre-made, go buy an iPad mini.



#26 Bacterius   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 8286

Posted 01 January 2013 - 11:56 PM

@Bacterius - what would you choose to get someone interested in computers, out of interest?

 

It depends on the person, really. What initially got me interested was more the algorithmic aspect of things than their implementation ("how does performing this particular series of operations on an input give me a meaningful output?", "why does it work for every input?", "what magic is this?", etc..) which is a more abstract perspective, some people prefer the hands-on, "make things happen" approach which seems more compatible with the Raspberry Pi's goals.

 

It just comes across as more of a cool gadget for geeks than an educational tool. I mean, I could see it being used as one, but it doesn't strike me as its primary purpose.


The slowsort algorithm is a perfect illustration of the multiply and surrender paradigm, which is perhaps the single most important paradigm in the development of reluctant algorithms. The basic multiply and surrender strategy consists in replacing the problem at hand by two or more subproblems, each slightly simpler than the original, and continue multiplying subproblems and subsubproblems recursively in this fashion as long as possible. At some point the subproblems will all become so simple that their solution can no longer be postponed, and we will have to surrender. Experience shows that, in most cases, by the time this point is reached the total work will be substantially higher than what could have been wasted by a more direct approach.

 

- Pessimal Algorithms and Simplexity Analysis


#27 Recantha2   Members   -  Reputation: 106

Posted 02 January 2013 - 01:20 AM

Oh, I agree. Slight bit of rambling here:
The whole educational goal aspect of the Pi has been neglected, in my opinion. I fear that the Foundation has missed the boat a bit on this by not doing the promised "educational version". I also think that the lack of a VGA output is a mistake, simply due to the number of VGA monitors schools have that could've been used had the port been added to the board. Leaving that aside, though, schools at the moment are under no obligation to teach programming or computer concepts in a manner in which the Pi would be an essential, so the market is limited to those in ICT who see the Pi and understand what it can do. There's the problem, of course, that schools love to teach students how to use MS Office which, of course (duh), can't be used on the Pi. So, it's not like schools can just buy Pis to replace their PCs. It would have to be in addition to the PCs. Straight away the question is "What's the point of getting the Pi?" At which point the answer becomes a huge burden on teachers to create their own mini-curriculum.

I guess my point in all that is that the Foundation needs to come up with a plan for teachers - the why and the how of Raspberry Pis in education. And I'm not sure they have anyone actively working on that plan in their self-confessed techie group.

That's not to say they do everything wrong, you understand. They're pretty good at getting themselves "out there" and the product known, it's just that they often leave people wondering "Okay, _now_ what do I do?" It's the difference between _saying_ that education is your goal and actually doing something about it.

Edited by Recantha2, 02 January 2013 - 01:21 AM.


#28 game of thought   Members   -  Reputation: 212

Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:36 AM

I got a raspberry pi this christmas. It is brilliant, even for £50. Sure, the processors slow even on the connect 4 graphical game, and can't run any dos game past 1991 in dosbox, but it is useful as somewhere i can program without the internet and beats an emulator like qemu or bochs. One major problem is the current for extra components with a 1 amp charger. You can connect nothing more powerful than a keyboard and mouse. So a powered usb hub is the only way short of disconnecting the keyboard to put infomation on the sd.

#29 dave j   Members   -  Reputation: 587

Posted 02 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

Oh, I agree. Slight bit of rambling here:
The whole educational goal aspect of the Pi has been neglected, in my opinion. I fear that the Foundation has missed the boat a bit on this by not doing the promised "educational version".

<snip>

I guess my point in all that is that the Foundation needs to come up with a plan for teachers - the why and the how of Raspberry Pis in education. And I'm not sure they have anyone actively working on that plan in their self-confessed techie group.

That's not to say they do everything wrong, you understand. They're pretty good at getting themselves "out there" and the product known, it's just that they often leave people wondering "Okay, _now_ what do I do?" It's the difference between _saying_ that education is your goal and actually doing something about it.

As if by magic - the first release of The Raspberry Pi Education Manual appears.

It's worth bearing in mind that the foundation haven't done the official educational launch of the Pi yet. The original plan involved getting the 10,000 Pis out in the first year into the hands of early adopter techies who would iron out the software bugs whilst educationalists were producing educational material so that both would be ready together for an educational launch. Of course, it became wildly popular before they had chance to complete those developments and people's expectations have been that everything would be available at the start and before the foundation had planned or announced.

#30 Sean T. McBeth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1379

Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:21 AM

I have a couple of technical problems with the RPi: some of the soldering is kind of shitty (I had to reattach a filter capacitor after it snapped off when I put it back in the box for the first time. This is apparently common, and the common suggestion is to do without it) and the GPIO pins are hardwired to the chip with no static protection built in (static electricity can be very high voltage, much higher than the 3.3v max for the GPIO pins). For these reasons, I think a case is absolutely necessary. But honestly, if you can't build one out of cardboard, you aren't creative enough to be bothering with the RPi. Go get yourself a Facebook account instead.


Edited by capn_midnight, 03 January 2013 - 09:22 AM.

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#31 Recantha2   Members   -  Reputation: 106

Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:40 AM

And if you want inspiration for cases....

http://forum.stmlabs.com/showthread.php?tid=719



#32 slicer4ever   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3323

Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:45 AM

But honestly, if you can't build one out of cardboard, you aren't creative enough to be bothering with the RPi. Go get yourself a Facebook account instead.

that seems a bit harsh.


Check out https://www.facebook.com/LiquidGames for some great games made by me on the Playstation Mobile market.

#33 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1813

Posted 03 January 2013 - 09:58 AM


But honestly, if you can't build one out of cardboard, you aren't creative enough to be bothering with the RPi. Go get yourself a Facebook account instead.

that seems a bit harsh.
 
 
 
 
 
 



He does have a point, though. A case in particular is pretty easy to improvise. As a somewhat unrelated example, I used to keep my model paints in an empty box that used to hold teabags. Something like that would be about the right size for an RPi (maybe a little too large, but it can be cut down, of course). When I ran out of space in that, I could have gotten a dedicated carousel for them, but I didn't want to spend the money, and so now both my modelling supplies live in the bottom part of the (somewhat larger) box in which a model I already built came. My first thought for the RPi was Lego, though.

Things like these are why I have a giant pile of cardboard (and various other materials) in my closet. One can find a use for all sorts of things with some imagination.

Edited by Oberon_Command, 03 January 2013 - 06:35 PM.


#34 Firestryke31   Members   -  Reputation: 350

Posted 03 January 2013 - 06:53 PM

He does have a point, though. A case in particular is pretty easy to improvise. As a somewhat unrelated example, I used to keep my model paints in an empty box that used to hold teabags. Something like that would be about the right size for an RPi

 

You could always just poke a few holes in the box it came in and use that as a case. I'm considering doing that with mine for until I can get around to getting the bits I need to make the things I want to make.






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