Author Topic: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic  (Read 31438 times)

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Offline dhalbert

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #15 on: February 09, 2014, 03:10:02 am »
would it be possible to make a little "pocket computer" that could run a browser that I could use for no other purpose than banking.

... My first guess is no because ebanking often requires specific browser like IE or it won't allow access. At any rate ... what say you?  Possible or keep dreaming?

I haven't had the problem of "IE only" on such websites for several years. So I don't think this would be a limitation. A Raspberry Pi would be a fine solution if you wanted to use a separate computer. Some other possibilities:
  • Install Linux in a virtual machine (e.g. VMWare player) and run it on your regular machine
  • Boot a CD/DVD-based distribution of Linux (e.g. Knoppix) on your regular machine and use its browser. The CD or DVD can't be infected since it's read-only.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #16 on: February 09, 2014, 03:24:14 am »
that's actually a good point.... if I run a live cd though, I couldn't save my links and login's though could I. I actually had not though of that idea.

I have run a live cd once to try to recover a drive and they seem to run well. The other issue is I don't know how to compile kernels and all that... It would be great to have something like a usb drive that stored my browser settings and was a barebones fast booting os.
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Offline bradt

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2014, 03:35:58 am »
TB, you could probably use a PI for that, but bear in mind that you will need a display of some sort. Raspberry Pi uses both HDMI and RCA video out, so you could do that somehow. You could maybe code for a small LCD display, but I don't know how well that would work with what you are planning.

As for the automatic watering and such, arduino may be something to look into there. Sensors and components are fairly inexpensive and easy to come by, and there's plenty of sample projects on the net. Raspberry Pi would certainly do it, and there's nothing wrong with using it, but unless you actually need an attached video output, it's a bit more than you'd really need.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #18 on: February 09, 2014, 04:14:45 am »
TB, you could probably use a PI for that, but bear in mind that you will need a display of some sort.


I was just thinking of that... that was a bad idea... I forgot I would need a display.

I'm trying to think of something interesting and useful.. I watched the arduino videos and he makes an led blink and all that, which I can simply see.... but it's not really something I want to do.  I wish I could just find a simple practical project with a walk through. I must not be looking in the right place.

So where are you seeing these sensors?
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Offline bradt

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2014, 05:07:15 am »
As far as tutorials, http://learn.adafruit.com/ is a great resource. Element14 also has some great ones.

For sensors, you can look on amazon or ebay if you know what you want
http://www.adafruit.com/category/35 (loads of fun things)
http://yourduino.com/ (Not a huge stock, but decent stuff)
http://www.sainsmart.com/ (Mostly arduino, but a 3.3v sensor is a 3.3v sensor...they make some great arduino clones too)

A lot of the walkthroughs you will find are mostly things that aren't very useful in themselves, but are pretty useful when putting things together. Some of the home automation tutorials on youtube are pretty good. Also Adafruit hosts a live "show and tell" stream every friday and posts the videos on youtube, you can see some cool ideas there.

Offline Majik

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2014, 12:18:09 pm »
that's actually a good point.... if I run a live cd though, I couldn't save my links and login's though could I. I actually had not though of that idea.

I have run a live cd once to try to recover a drive and they seem to run well. The other issue is I don't know how to compile kernels and all that... It would be great to have something like a usb drive that stored my browser settings and was a barebones fast booting os.

There are lots of USB booting Linux distro which will do just this. As a suggestion, check out puppylinux.org

The days of needing to compile kernels to use Linux are long gone; more than a decade ago. I occasionally compile my own kernels, but that's out of interest rather than necessity: I sometime test bleeding edge kernel patches for new audio drivers, and have contributed code in the past. Outside of this I haven't compiled a kernel in about 10 years.

Obviously that's not helping you directly in your Raspberry Pi quest, but maybe some familiarity with Linux on a normal PC might whet your appetite and give you ideas for the Pi.

Cheers,

Keith

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Offline dhalbert

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #21 on: February 09, 2014, 02:42:55 pm »
I have an Arduino, a Raspberry Pi and also a Beaglebone Black (http://beagleboard.org/Products/BeagleBone+Black). The BB is about $45 but harder to find. The community for the RPi is much larger, but the BB has a more modern CPU, has flash on board, and can run Ubuntu. I haven't done much with any of these.

As for thumb drive Linux, see also http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/create-a-usb-stick-on-windows.

Offline TB-AV

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #22 on: February 09, 2014, 05:17:57 pm »
Ok, thanks for the links and ideas... I'm definitely going to try to made usb drive for banking and perhaps shopping.

Still thinking on RPi and Arduino.... I did come to conclusion that you could probably make a very nice effects / amp switching system with one. Not that it would be inexpensive but seems like a good match.

I finally saw those sensors... they really do have a lot.  I think I'll check out some of those show and tell vids. That must be what that aqua-culture video was.... he seemed like he was talking to someone specific rather than just making a YT video.
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Offline Majik

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #23 on: February 09, 2014, 06:59:43 pm »
Ok, thanks for the links and ideas... I'm definitely going to try to made usb drive for banking and perhaps shopping.

You may want to consider Tails:

https://tails.boum.org/

Tails is a live operating system, that you can start on almost any computer from a DVD, USB stick, or SD card. It aims at preserving your privacy and anonymity, and helps you to:
  • use the Internet anonymously and circumvent censorship;
  • all connections to the Internet are forced to go through the Tor network;
  • leave no trace on the computer you are using unless you ask it explicitly;
  • use state-of-the-art cryptographic tools to encrypt your files, emails and instant messaging.

Although aimed at being able to use the Internet anonymously, as a side benefit you also get pretty good protection against people snooping on you, planting viruses or other malware, etc.

Cheers,

Keith
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #24 on: February 09, 2014, 08:09:54 pm »
Ok, thanks will check that out... sounds interesting...

I have a question.... On this 'television' ...
http://www.adafruit.com/products/1033

I see it doesn't show ATSC ( digital over the air )... am I missing something here? Seems like they would have wanted that and you could have a portable TV for travel, whatever, by simply adding an antenna.
 
10-4 on the Kernal -- I did not know that... I have tried Linux several times and the last few times it seemed pretty good but every time I start to get this feeling of ...'ok, is everything secure'... In windows I kind of have this understanding of where everything is, I'm not going to delete it by accident, I'm not going to loose it, pretty well assured no one else can see it ( outside of my home/lan )... but in Linux I feel like I have no control or understanding..... although my recent experiences with Windows are becoming more an more that way as well. 
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Offline Majik

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2014, 08:46:08 pm »
Ok, thanks will check that out... sounds interesting...

I have a question.... On this 'television' ...
http://www.adafruit.com/products/1033

I see it doesn't show ATSC ( digital over the air )... am I missing something here? Seems like they would have wanted that and you could have a portable TV for travel, whatever, by simply adding an antenna.

Personally, I think that is not a television. I think it is a small monitor.

I can see nowhere where it says it has a tuner of any sort, which would be required for a TV. I think the description is plain incorrect.
 
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10-4 on the Kernal -- I did not know that... I have tried Linux several times and the last few times it seemed pretty good but every time I start to get this feeling of ...'ok, is everything secure'... In windows I kind of have this understanding of where everything is, I'm not going to delete it by accident, I'm not going to loose it, pretty well assured no one else can see it ( outside of my home/lan )... but in Linux I feel like I have no control or understanding..... although my recent experiences with Windows are becoming more an more that way as well.

It depends on the distro, but most distros are pretty secure by design. Of course it depends what you mean by "secure".

For instance if we take two common distros: Centos and Ubuntu. Centos is a clone of Redhat commercial linux (RHEL) and is popular because it is compatible with most commercial Enterprise type software designed to work on Linux.

By the way, by "compatible" I mean it uses the same versions of all the software, the same configuration file locations, the same directory layout, etc. Most of this software can be made to work on other Linux variants, but it make take some tweaking and may not be supported. If you just want it to work "out of the box" and want to get full support for it, you need to use the version they specify. In the case of a lot of commercial apps, that is RHEL.

Anyway, I digress...

If you compare how RHEL/Centos and Ubuntu are set up post install, arguably Ubuntu is more "secure":

* Ubuntu is set up so that normal users cannot do anything to the system by default, but can escalate their privileges in order to make important changes, such as install software. Ubuntu also, by default, blocks login access to the root (admin) user.

* Centos just installs with the root user, who has god-like access to the whole system. In order to secure Centos, you need to log in (as root) and create new users accounts, and do some configuration to disable root logins, etc. This isn't particularly difficult if you know what you are doing, but it's an additional step, and you need to know what you are doing!

Most "desktop focussed" Linux distros will create a non-admin user during installation, and will do most of the basic security stuff for you.

The biggest learning curve is knowing where everything is and that can be distro specific, as with Linux the kernel is the heart of it, but most of the functionality is provided by other applications. Take, for example, the desktop environment. With Windows you have one choice: Windows. With Linux you could be using KDE, or Gnome 3, or Enlightened, or XFCE, or variations on these like Mate or Cinnamon. These are all based on a common framework (X11) but there are also some alternative frameworks coming along (Wayland and Mir).

The good news is most apps will work on most systems regardless of the choices you, or the distro maker, makes. Usually the distro make will create a distro specific version of the common apps, which is then available in their "app store".

Linux has had "app stores" for about 15 years (well before Apple) only they are called "repositories" and all the software in them is usually free! If I run Synaptic on my Linux Mint system, it shows 40,924 packages available!

Now not all are full blown apps. Many are small utilities or even just libraries (equivalent to DLLs on Windows), but a good chunk of them are apps. Of course there's a whole new set of application names to know, as the common Windows/Mac apps aren't usually available on Linux. There is often at least one or two roughly equivalent Linux apps though, but you may need to do some research to find out what they are. You're not going to find Pro-Tools in the Linux repositories!

Once you get used to one distro, you can usually change to another without too much hassle, as most of the key apps are the same. You generally find the major differences are in the system utilities, and it is no more difficult than moving between different versions of Windows.

Cheers,

Keith
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2014, 09:41:10 pm »
The biggest learning curve is knowing where everything is and that can be distro specific, as with Linux the kernel is the heart of it, but most of the functionality is provided by other applications.

I think that is my biggest hurdle and by secure I mean, do I know where all my stuff is.

I just have this built in 'feel' for Windows .. although lessening with every new OS... I think I never 'gotten' Linux to the point that I fell ok,,,, ok I know I'm 'root' now or ok, I know I need to make myself a user act and understand 'root' is behind the scenes...

As another example... I did something on a Mac once for someone else... thought I deleted a no longer needed thing... forgot what it was now. a year down the road, I'm looking at the PC for some other issue and lo and behold a reference to that item was still 'easily found' for lack of a better term. I foget the details.... the point being... I had/have no clue what's where and why... is it gone, is it moved, do I even have rights to really delete it, is it simply flagged, is the reference I see simply that, a left over reference to something that truly is gone... In windows I can pretty quickly figure that out.... like say a left over shortcut to a deleted program... I just know where to look to see if it really exists as an installed prog..

Maybe I need a Linux for Dummies book

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Offline Majik

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #27 on: February 09, 2014, 10:28:41 pm »
I think that is my biggest hurdle and by secure I mean, do I know where all my stuff is.

In that respect, you should be OK. Almost everything as a user will be in your home folder. This is always at "/home/<user>" by default (you can change it, but why would you?). So if you created a user "tbav" your files would be at "/home/tbav/".

Of course, you can put them other places if you want, but home is usually the default location.

The file system of Linux (and Unix in general) is quite simple: there is a single tree. This is unlike Windows where there is a separate tree under every drive (C:\, D:\ and so on). Linux doesn't recognise the concepts of physical hardware changing the structure of the filing system. Any drive (of any type) can be made to appear, arbitrarily, at almost any point in the tree.

Equally, any part of the tree can be moved to a new physical drive and will (or can be made to) appear in the same place in the filing system as it originally did.

This takes a little getting used to, but it is ball-achingly elegant.

What does sometimes confuse new users is that there is a, fairly standard file system structure with system directories cryptically called "/etc", "/usr", "/var" and so on. Most of these can be ignored most of the time. As a user your files and personal app configuration settings will be stored in your "/home/tbav" folder.

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I just have this built in 'feel' for Windows .. although lessening with every new OS... I think I never 'gotten' Linux to the point that I fell ok,,,, ok I know I'm 'root' now or ok, I know I need to make myself a user act and understand 'root' is behind the scenes...

The standard Unix/Linux permission system is relatively simple in concept. In most cases as a desktop user you normally have to care about your own user, and about root. You can use "sudo" to get limited/temporary permission escalation. That's automatically built into a lot of distros now, like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and so on. You basically get a pop up asking for your password before that action is allowed (to make sure that some other user isn't trying to mess up your computer). That's very much how Windows now does it too.

If you are doing Raspberry Pi type stuff, there's more of a chance you need to get "under the hood".

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As another example... I did something on a Mac once for someone else... thought I deleted a no longer needed thing... forgot what it was now. a year down the road, I'm looking at the PC for some other issue and lo and behold a reference to that item was still 'easily found' for lack of a better term. I foget the details.... the point being... I had/have no clue what's where and why... is it gone, is it moved, do I even have rights to really delete it, is it simply flagged, is the reference I see simply that, a left over reference to something that truly is gone... In windows I can pretty quickly figure that out.... like say a left over shortcut to a deleted program... I just know where to look to see if it really exists as an installed prog..

Linux can be brutal with deletion. However, a lot of desktop environments will overlay a "Trashcan" and make that the primary option, similar to Windows and Mac. However, a lot of Desktop Environments will specifically give you the option "Move to Trash" or "Delete". Delete is hard delete. I hope you had a backup because it's now gone!

If you are ultra paranoid, there are apps which will "shred" the file by overwriting the disk space with random patterns that so that even the NSA would find it difficult to recover the data.

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Maybe I need a Linux for Dummies book

Not necessarily a bad idea, if only to get you going.

Cheers,

Keith
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Offline Dan Graves

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #28 on: February 09, 2014, 10:35:32 pm »
Maybe I need a Linux for Dummies book


Offline Majik

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Re: The big 'ole Raspberry Pi topic
« Reply #29 on: February 09, 2014, 10:38:04 pm »
By the way, the temporary permission escalation is provided by something called "sudo" (super user do). This also works on command line, where you can prefix any command with "sudo" to get escalated privilages (again, subject to entering a password).

The term "sudo" has entered geek culture, as epitomised by this classic xkcd comic:



Cheers,

Keith
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