Some R-Pi for my birthday. Almost.

So the day did finally arrive: I received my R-Pi 3:20pm PST, exactly on time for my birthday. What a treat!

Like everyone before me has mentioned, it is indeed a very small and light board, yet feels remarkably solid. And not just “$35-board” solid, but sturdy enough to feel like you can leave it running weeks on end, and yanking the micro-USB (only power source, and also the only way to control power on/off) will not render this board inoperative. Well done and well designed! After the quick unboxing (yeah, we’re not talking Uncle Steve’s Apple packaging here), it was time to fire up the little thing. I had already used ‘dd’ to put ArchLinux-ARM image on a micro-SD card (SanDisk 8GB Class 2) and planned on using one of the many micro-USB/charger combos I have lying around from various mobile, dead and alive, devices. Eben, the R-Pi project lead claimed a Kindle/Nook charger would work fine, so I was not about to spend an extra $15-20 for another charger.

Being well aware this is a developer board, and that many, many obstacles lie still ahead, I was not expecting to have an issue booting Arch. Alas, after all the great anticipation, in the end, I got nothing. My Samsung 22″ monitor complained there was no signal. The board itself indicated it was on, sort of, but main suspect after reading the wiki, was and is, power supply, and at close second, my SD-card.

After playing with various combinations of power supplies and USB cables, including one iPad charger — blasphemy! — nothing worked. I decided to then make sure it wasn’t the ArchLinux image on the SD card not playing nice, dd’ed Debian Squeeze (the preferred distro for R-Pi) on the SD-card and rebooted. Nothing. Since my Nook charger is the specified 5V-1000mA spec, my next step is to swap the SD-card. But I have to say, R-Pi: I’m a disappoint 🙁

But, tomorrow shall be a new day. Off to a big box store to buy a “guaranteed-to-work” SD-card, and we’ll commence round deux with the Pi. Good times.

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