My first encounter with the Raspberry Pi

So, I had seen it, and I had read about it, even touched one at a point, but I don't have a Raspberry Pi myself and I had never really done anything with it until today.

Thing is, I'm going to tomorrow, and we are playing some videos on the Computas stand. The video is in 1080 HD, .mov format, 7 minutes, looping. Doesn't sound like a challenge, except the TVs only have HDMI input and my main laptop only has VGA. I didn't really want to leave my laptop on the stand for two days anyway, so I went to infrastructure/IT and asked Steve if he had a laptop I could use. Only device with HDMI he could find was a Raspberry Pi. I had about 50 minutes before my next meeting, but was superstoked to try it out. The thing didn't even have a OS installed, but Steve gave me an empty SD card. Great. So I downloaded the default image, a tool to create an image on the SD card and started converting the movie to .mp4, which was the only format I could find that the thing supports. Clock was racing, I wasn't really confident this would work, but it was too cool not to try.

About when time was up (ok, honestly, I was about 15 minutes late for the meeting) I had it running. The image had a tool that would play the video, in full HD, from the command line. It accepted the USB stick with no issues, keyboard and mouse where also just working. When I got back home I wrote a small script to loop the video, and that was it. I could now disconnect keyboard, and ended up with the smallest, cheapest thing that would play my video.



Admittedly, a smart TV could probably do this without the Raspberry, but the TVs you normally get at a conference like this can not be trusted to play videos from USB directly.

What started as a joke ended up with me going to have the coolest setup tomorrow.


Playing my drill-bit visualization video with no keyboard/mouse attached:


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