raspberry pi

What are the blinking lights for behind Leo?

Raspberry Pi 4

Episode 1704

Dave from Los Angeles, CA

Dave wants to know more about the flashing lights box behind Leo. Leo says that computers in the 70s had switches, and the blinking lights would tell you when the software switches were enabled correctly. The irony is that the box behind Leo is run on a Raspberry Pi, which is hundreds of times more powerful than the box it's emulating. We've come a long way since then. 

Is Raspberry Pi a good secure computer for kids?

Raspberry Pi 4

Episode 1676

Brenda from Fullerton, California

Brenda wants to know if the Raspberry Pi is a computer that her grandkids could learn with. Leo says absolutely. It can not only teach kids how computers work but teach them how to program. You can run Windows on it; you can run Minecraft on it. It's an excellent computer for kids, and it's only about $35. But that's only the board. It's not the computer monitor, keyboard, or mouse. Check out ADAFRUIT; they have a great starter pack for around $100. Can you block websites? Leo says not on the Raspberry Pi, but you can do it from the router.

How can I get a text message when my solar power system goes down?

Solar Power System

Episode 1660

Scott from Laguna Hills, California

Scott has solar power and occasionally, the system will pop a breaker and go off. But he won't get notified that it's happened, even though he has an IP based system. How can he set up a text message that can notify him when it happens?  Leo says if it was public, you could use a service like If This, Then That, to send you a text. But since it's private, then you may have to create your system using an old computer or raspberry pi to run a process that would ping your system to see if it's up and running. 

How Can I Learn to 3D Print a Prosthetic Arm?

 Winter Soldier.

Episode 1638

Edward from Los Angeles, CA

Edward's brother in law lost his arm and he wants to work with his son to design a prosthetic arm that looks like the Winter Soldier. Leo says to check out OpenBionics.com. He can also search for 3D-printed arms. It's becoming a huge space in the Maker community, as people are designing and 3D printing the prosthetic arms. Also, look at Raspberry Pi projects that use voice control. Check out ChatterBox, a DIY smart speaker that is a homebrew digital assistant. 

How can I switch between two computers with one monitor?

KVM HDMI Switch

Episode 1621

Jay from Temecula, California

Jay would like to plug in a Raspberry Pit and Mac Mini into the same monitor. Is there a switch for that? Leo says that while the Pi has an HDMI, the MacMini also offers Thunderbolt 3. So you want to get an HDMI capable monitor. Jay also says that Pi 4 is going to be TB3 compatible. Leo says if that's the case, then a splitter could be easy. Or one that has multiple inputs. KVM switches are more flexible. IOGear makes some of the best ones. Monoprice have some that are good. Most use software to control them. Leo has one called IHSE DRACO for the studio.

How Can I Learn More About My Raspberry Pi?

 Raspberry Pi

Episode 1594

James from Ottawa, Canada

James is a HAM and he wants to build a Raspberry Pi for using D-Star to run his HAM online. Leo says James will need a few extra pieces to work, but it's the ideal device for that purpose. Check out RaspberryPi.org for more information on how to use a Raspberry Pi for a host of uses. You can even use it as a computer running Linux and Windows 10.

How Can I Create my Own Hosting Site That Only I Can Access With My Phone?

Raspberry Pi

Episode 1573

Jon from Indianapolis, Indiana

Gary wants to know if he can use a Raspberry Pi to host his own web site. Leo says that's a great idea. If he installs an FTP program, how can he get that to talk to his Apache server? Leo says this isn't ideal for a public site because of upload speeds and terms of service with the ISP. But if it's a personal file server that he can access for the web, that's legitimate. He also has to punch holes in his router firewall to get it, and that means to be sure his Pi is secure and up-to-date. Leo also recommends using Secure FTP to keep his system secure, and set port forwarding to Port 80.

Do HDMI switchers work?

Raspberry Pi

Episode 1482

Brian from Indiana

Brian builds Raspberry Pi computers for everything from running DVRs (via Kodi) to routers. Leo says that Raspberry Pis are great and for $35, they're incredibly powerful. But his HDMI switch died recently, and it won't recognize his Pi anymore. Leo says that HDMI switchers are notoriously finicky. He'd be better off with an A/V receiver with multiple HDMI ports. It's the best way to go because the audio gets switched and stays in sync as well.