Mmmmmm, Pi

As a kid, I didn’t really eat pie very often. When we had dessert, I most often went for cake or ice cream. Or brownies. Or some combination of those. Or all of them.

Regardless, I have developed an appreciation for pie later in life. I will never turn down some warm apple pie or a decadent slice of key lime pie.

I have found a new kind of pie I want to try recently: raspberry. But you can’t eat this kind of pie. I have bought a Raspberry Pi, a mini-computer designed to teach students how to code and explore the world of technology.

The device, created in England, has started to take over in some geek circles. Since I like to operate on the fringes of that culture sometimes, I naturally started to try and figure out whether I could benefit from buying the $35 processor.

Maybe I could explore the world of coding like the creators of the Pi intended. I could bury my nose in books and tutorials and develop a new skill late in life.

This prospect sometimes appeals to me. Some friends still tease me because I built our home computer myself a couple of years ago. I didn’t do any electrical work or coding. I simply bought the individual pieces and put it together to try and save money as well as to find out if I could accomplish the task.

I did, even though the whole process had a few hiccups. That just helped me learn some new things, which I really like. That’s what I had in mind when I started doing my research on Raspberry Pi online.

The more I read online, the more I realized that I could choose one of two paths. Sure, I could learn coding and development like the creators of the product intended. Or I could take the work other people had already done and make something cool for myself.

I didn’t have a tough time making that decision, especially after I read about the number of people who have loaded software onto the machine and created their own old-school arcade machine for their house.

Yep, this tiny $35 computer – with a bunch of other accessories – can play Donkey Kong and Frogger and Missile Command and, God willing, Dig Dug. Need I say more?

The Internet has many sites with very simple instructions of how to load the proper software. A bunch of sites sell joysticks and buttons. I have an old monitor I can use for the display.

But these plans also call for the construction of some sort of cabinet to house the entire project. I mean, what good is an old-school arcade setup if it does not have some sort of custom housing? The whole thing will look cheesy if I just have a table cluttered with a monitor, joystick and the Raspberry Pi.

I just don’t know if my plan to learn new things as I get older can handle carpentry. First of all, the tools are expensive. Secondly, I like all of my fingers the way they are.

So the search begins to find someone who has already made cabinets for idiots like me who know their limits. I think I’ll have some pie as a consolation prize as I look.

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