General purpose computing is the best!

Written by Piers Cawley on

Once I’d added the Mac Mini to the rack, there was a space in the bracket it was mounted on that was designed to hold one or two Raspberry Pis. I had a Pi sitting about, so of course I added it to the rig thinking “I’ll work out what to do with that later…”

Of course, it’s proved invaluable…

I added a Raspberry Pi to my streaming rig on spec, and of course now it's indispensible

Sometimes folk ask why there’s a Raspberry Pi in the rack case that holds my streaming rig and I admit that the primary reason is that I had one kicking about the place, and the rack unit that holds my M1 Mac Mini is designed to hold a couple of Pis in the space that isn’t holding the Mac, so I might as well attach it. I had the feeling it would come in handy.

It turns out, I was right. It runs OBS to handle motion graphics, and Companion to control the ATEM Mini from a streamdeck. In the future I plan to use it as a router so the gear in the rack can live on its own private network with the Pi handling the connection to the outside world either via a network cable or (hopefully not) wifi or a tethered phone.

The latest “Oh, of course! It can do that too!” job it’s taken on is pretending to be an Apple TV, so I can mirror my iPad’s screen to it without mucking up the Mac’s display.

Once again, I’m reminded that computers can be anything you can program them to be… sometimes all at once. The Pi 4 is a mindbogglingly capable bit of kit. I’ve bought USB hubs

USB Hubs that don’t work!

that cost more and do less than my Pi.

There’s a Pi 3 plugged in somewhere

I think I know where it is, but I’m not entirely sure

that runs Pi Hole and helps eliminate intrusive ads from my web experience. It has sufficient spare power that, once I get around to it, I plan to hook up a cheap workhorse laser printer to it and configure it to work as a print server, which should let me retire the crappy unreliable bubblejet printer that only prints when you stand over it with a big stick and is always demanding the blood of innocents

The printer calls it ink, but have you seen the price of that stuff?

before it’ll deign to even try to print something.

About the only thing wrong with them (at the moment) is that they’re almost permanently out of stock everywhere. I watch rpilocator and it’s clear that people do get stock, but they sell out almost immediately. A chum who works for Raspberry Pi says that they are shipping lots and lots of boards, but the demand stays sky high. Which is a nice problem to have for them, I suppose.

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I added a Raspberry Pi to my streaming rig on spec, and of course now it's indispensible

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