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 http://www.subseavalley.com/ 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.

ras

 

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:

20130409_213359

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