What is a Pi and why do I need one?
A Raspberry Pi is a small and inexpensive computer that is a great tool for learning about computer hardware and/or software. With its low power consumption, you can run the Pi 24/7 as your home server.
A Pi costs as low as $13 CAD, and runs on Linux, a free operating system, with a huge library of open-source software, which is also free. Open-source also means that you can make any changes you want to the code that the software is built from, or just install it as is. You can create and customize projects to the way you like, where you would otherwise spend your money on something generic. That is a fulfilling experience.
There are projects of different levels of complexity for anyone, from absolute beginners to computer gurus.
- learn Linux without install it on your primary PC;
- block ads on any device on your home network, including ones in-app on your mobile devices and TV.
- connect your non-HomeKit compatible smart accessories (light bulbs, switches, plugs, even your TV) to your Apple devices for control with Siri or the Home app;
- encrypt your Internet connection when you are using a shared or public Wi-Fi;
- access your files and devices on home network through a virtual private network (VPN) from anywhere with an Internet connection;
- improve the security of your home network;
- create a media center to playback or stream music, movies, TV shows, or watch live TV through IPTV;
- build and host a website just like this one;
- and so much more.
The possibilities are endless.
You don’t have to worry about something going wrong with a project or experiment as everything that makes the Pi run, from the bootloader to the operating system, is stored on the microSD card. You can always reset the Pi by re-flashing the microSD card. The Pi is also a popular platform with a huge online community so you can always find support and tutorials for whatever you want to do.
Don’t know what some of the terms above means? Don’t worry. This tutorial has got you covered.