Raspberry Pi camera module

I recently ordered a camera module for my Raspberry Pi, and finally got around to installing it this evening, to include the lego tower that it’s perched on. I also discovered that my ASUS AC66U wireless router has enough power in the two USB ports to run a Pi and charge an iPhone at the same time.

DSC_0807

The camera works great, it has five megapixels and can produce 1080p photos or 720p video. There are some updates and packages that need to be installed before you jump in, but that really only took about 30 minutes to run through that process, including download time. Step by step guide here.

The pictures from the actual sensor are great, if I have time tomorrow I’ll take the rig outside and upload some photos.

OSX – Imaging an SD card for use on a Raspberry Pi

My new Pi and it’s memory card arrived at the house yesterday afternoon. I got everything unboxed, downloaded the latest image from the Pi website and fired up Disk Utility on my Mac and was ready to start imaging. But it’s not quite that simple, the Disk Utility can’t verify the image as being valid, so we have to do this from the command line. But relax, it’s not hard to do.

First insert the SD card into the card reader, open a command prompt and run this command:

elmo:~ jgs$ df -h
Filesystem Size Used Avail Capacity iused ifree %iused Mounted on
/dev/disk1s1 29Gi 2.1Mi 29Gi 1% 0 0 100% /Volumes/NO NAME

You’ll end up with a lot more that what I’m showing you above, but in the interests of keeping it simple, I cropped out the extra disks and drives attached.  You’ll want to locate the SD card you plan on using either by the size of the disk or the name. Mine was new out of the box and was actually called “NO NAME” so it was easy to find.

Next fire up Disk Utility, and under the name of the SD card “unmount” any partitions that are listed, but don’t eject the media.

So we’ve identified the drive as /dev/disk1. It’s very important to make sure you have the correct disk, running the command we’re about to run has the potential to erase your entire hard disk if not used carefully. Always triple check the destination.

Once you’ve done that, go back to your terminal window and run this command – but alter it first to fit your system!!  The if (input file) parameter should point to the .img file and the of (output file) should point to the SD card.

sudo dd bs=1m if=/path/to/file/2012-12-16-wheezy-raspbian.img of=/dev/disk1

From the command line there won’t be any output while the program executes, which is slightly annoying, but there’s a way to force it to show us the progress. There are several ways to do this, depending on the OS you’re running, and sometimes these commands are not interchangeable and can kill the process. For OSX you’ll want to open a new terminal window and run this command:

sudo pkill -INFO -x dd

This will instruct the process running in the original terminal window to pause for a moment, report it’s status, and resume. You can gauge the completion percentage based on the size of the image you’re copying (mine was about 1.9 GB and took around a half hour to copy). The output will look like this:

392+0 records in
391+0 records out
409993216 bytes transferred in 335.052687 secs (1223668 bytes/sec)

And that’s pretty much it. Once it completes, eject the SD card, plug it into the Pi and have at it!

Raspberry Pi Model B on the way…

It’s been a good long while since I’ve written anything techie (or otherwise) here, been busy and lacked motivation.  Today I ordered my  Raspberry Pi Model B along with a Adafruit Pi Cobbler Breakout Kit and some other assorted goodies.  I’m pretty excited to get my hands on it, unfortunately the estimated delivery date is towards the end of January.

The possibilities seem relatively endless, there’s a myriad of forum posts in their official forums from members of the community that have done some pretty amazing things with them. Yeah, I know, they’ve been on the market for a while now, this is really tie first time I’ve taken the time to do any research on them. More to come on this, guaranteed.

If you’re still scratching your head wondering what it’s all about, check out this Google Tech Talk by Rob Bishop, he’s one of the engineers that has been dedicating their free time developing this product.

It’s a great cause, with a nice side effect of empowering techies to create some cool stuff.

Munin plugins and system configuration..

Munin is a great open-source monitoring solution for servers. I’ve used it in the past and was really happy with the results, but when I was using it my server was just a little VPS and running the server and node on the same box caused some system resource issues. But now having colo equipment in the rack at DimeNOC I decided to give it another go.
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