Raspberry Pi Setup

A Raspberry Pi is a super cheap ($35-60) computer. I spent a few hours setting up a Raspberry Pi, connecting it to my home wifi, enabling remote access and setting up WordPress.

My goal was to get a home network set up and give myself a platform to try things like hosting a WordPress locally, play with mini home automation projects (e.g. change the light outside my door when I’m in a meeting), or a long horizon timelapse of each day outside our window with a cheap camera.

What do you need?

I spent around $100 to get all these components (with Amazon links):

  1. Raspberry Pi 4 (4GB Ram)
  2. Micro SD Card (32GB)
  3. USB C SD Card Reader (for Macbook Pro)
  4. USB C Charger (for Raspberry Pi)

What can you do with a Raspberry Pi?

I read a bunch of articles, but here are my a few that I recommend:

  1. A couple on Hacker News with my favorite being the good samaritan who shared the live bus schedule with travelers
  2. Hardware add ons and corresponding use cases
  3. A good write up of all the home automation software options
  4. Home automation ideas here and here
  5. Set up a WordPress site

How do you set it up?

I pretty much followed this guide, which was pretty good, and it’s designed for folks who want to use their Raspberry Pi without a screen, as a stand alone device.

The main steps are:

  1. Install the Raspbian operating system on your SD Card (don’t bother with the Etcher step, you don’t need that)
  2. Set up your Raspberry Pi to connect automatically to your home WiFi (SD card slot is on the other side)
  3. SSH into your Raspberry Pi and change your login credentials
  4. Download Real VNC and set up and update the operating system
  5. Install and set up Docker to allow containerization of applications
  6. Install a web app (I installed WordPress afterwards)

A couple of other useful videos are:

  1. Raspberry Pi getting started beginners guide from Crosstalk solutions, but it assumes you have a screen plugged in.
  2. Useful video guide for explaining Docker and containers but it’s a little more technical and in depth.

How To SET up WordPRess?

I followed this guide which let me set up via command line (not using Docker). This was pretty straightforward except when installing MariaDB which needed s different command to install (updated below):

sudo apt install default-mysql-server php-mysql -y

I’m looking forward to playing around with this some more, and potentially investing in some light home automation in the future.

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