I’ve been trying out a few things during the commercial breaks.
First, using the analog RCA connection is rubbish. At 640×480, the command line is not too bad but LXDE is cramped: the xterm window is more than full screen so you can’t see the bottom of it. This may affect my plans to show it off at the computer club.
Second, subsequent boots have been much quicker than the initial boot. My guess is that the distro had some internal sorting out to do the first time around. I don’t know.
The Pi has no clock and defaults to April 2012 each time. I suppose setting the date and time could be automated by connecting to a time server during the boot sequence. In the meantime, it is necessary (or at least advisable) to set it manually. The boot script is polite enough to suggest how this is done.
In the process I discovered another possible glitch: it seems not to know that my keyboard is a standard US keyboard. (Actually, it isn’t: it’s an old Mac keyboard but that shouldn’t matter. It’s the only USB keyboard I can lay my hands on.) For a double-quote (“) I get a commercial at sign (@). Curiously, it figures it out by the time LXDE is loaded. Because of this I have to set the date and time separately:
sudo date --set=2012-06-07 sudo date --set=18:55
or I do until I figure out which key on a UK keyboard gives me a double-quote.
It connects to our network. With the Midori browser, I was able to view this site, and The Guardian site in the UK. Still, scrolling is lumpy, load times are quite long, and you need patience if you want to do anything else. Not a great experience. Some of this would improve if drivers were available that would fully exploit the relatively powerful graphics processor on the Pi (also here, and here).
Python is also installed. I mentioned Geany and Scratch last time.
The last but one issue is that this is a TV on a TV table with no work-space in front of it — an ergonomic nightmare. So, for the moment at least, working on the thing is an uncomfortable and uninviting experience.
My best bet, absent a second HDMI-capable monitor somewhere, is to stuff the Pi away somewhere in the basement and access it with SSH. First job, then, is to install and configure an SSHD so that I can run it headless. Second job is to decide what I’m going to use to SSH to the Pi. This may push me to install Linux on Alex’s old machine dual-booted with XP.
The last issue I’ve already mentioned: that this is a TV and therefore in demand as a TV. These, however, are not Pi issues.
Reality is starting to set in.