Friday, May 20, 2016

Can I have some Pi with my Havoc?

So the first thing I needed to do was figure out from an engineering standpoint, what I was going to make my calendar out of.

First, let's be clear here; I am not making a product to sell, I am making something for my home. Given that, money is not really an object here, so I don't have to look at the economics of building something that I can market at a price that would attract buyers, which is a good thing because my first hardware decision was to use a 21-inch touch screen. Anyone want to guess how much a 21-inch touch screen cost? Go ahead, Google it; I'll wait till you are done.

See? Not gonna be selling too many calendars when the price of admission begins with one of these guys. I was able to secure a refurbished 21-inch HP monitor for a little over $200 with tax and shipping. It is an oldie, still has the Compaq name on it, but it works fine and has a very nice picture.

Now you may wonder, why a touchscreen? Well, no keyboard or mouse required. "But how can you enter items into the calendar?" you ask. Well, I had a plan for that, but more my plan next time.

Second, I know that for around $600 I could have just gone out and bought an HP touchscreen computer and been done with it, but where is the fun in that? This is not a road we even need to consider going down.

So given that, I needed to find something to drive my big monitor and I looked to the new version of the Raspberry Pi to do that. The Raspberry Pi, for those who do not know, is a small computer that costs $39. Now there is some real cost savings!

I had been looking for an excuse to work with a Raspberry Pi for a year or so now and this seemed like a good opportunity to do so.  The latest version had just come out and it was faster, had more memory, built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, four USB ports, Ethernet, SD card slot, and HDMI. Best of all the new version supported Windows 10 IoT.

Also, considering that it would fit in the palm of my hand I figured it was small enough to tuck in somewhere back behind my monitor. Being a Microsoft programmer by trade, this seemed right up my alley, so I ordered one.

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