As mentioned in an earlier article, I planned to replace the computer tied to the front TV in the lobby, as it is a waste of resources. We are replacing it with the Raspberry Pi.
As can be seen at http://www.raspberrypi.org/, there are many uses for the small device. And at only $35, this little appliance can be used all over the network, this is just the beginning. Parts were obtained from http://www.newark.com/, and 2nd day shipping gets you everything you need quickly. A complete configuration is going to cost around $100, and the parts list includes:
|Newark Part #
||Manufacturer Part #
RASPBERRY-PI / PROG-4GB-SDCARD
The most important aspect of the rPi is a stable and adequate power supply!!! This puppy runs 700 Mhz stock and can be safely overclocked to 900 Mhz through the config.txt file on boot. Memory can be allocated to video there as well. It comes with 512 MB RAM, HDMI output, video out and audio out, as well as a slot for SD memory (where the O/S runs) a slot for power, ethernet and 2 USB adapters. The 4GB SD card purchased comes with Rasbian, a Debian variant, pre-loaded.
This is the name of Firefox in Debian. Simple installation:
apt-get install iceweasel
Once installed, we want to install the RKiosk Firefox Addon. This will run full screen and remove all controls for us. They say you can configure it in safe mode as well as remove it, but I don’t even see it listed. All I know is, it works.
A couple of plugins help us out here. We have three websites set up as home pages on three separate tabs.
Each page is shown full screen by the FF Full Screen plugin. And we are using Tab Slideshow to display each tab for 45 seconds each.
Unfortunately not possible on the Pi. The Pi is not x86 nor x64 architecture, but ARM. Adobe has written Flash for some ARM architecture, such as Android, but not in the case of Debian, or this case Raspbian. There are Flash alternatives, but in the case of Google Finance, the Flash Player does not work. Two of the alternatives are known as the Gnash project, and Lightspark. Install is as follows:
apt-get install gnash gnash-common browser-plugin-gnash
apt-get install lightspark browser-plugin-lightspark
Kill Screensaver / Power Saving
We don’t want screen blanking, so we have to do the following to fix that up:
I fixed the issue, it has to do with the X server itself starting with DPMS + Screen saver. You need to edit your script that’s starting X. In the default build with lightdm the file to edit is
in the SeatDefaults section it gives the command for starting the X server which I modified to get it to turn off the screen saver as well as dpms
xserver-command=X -s 0 -dpms
I tried all methods as far as this was concerned. xinitrc doesn’t work. .bashrc doesn’t work. Here’s what does:
sudo vi /etc/xdg/lxsession/LXDE/autostart
Now that’s the configuration for the Raspberry Pi. Operations are much easier.
If something screws up on screen
Unplug the rPi and plug it back in. Wait for the magic and walk away.