The RaspberryPI Zero

I was finally able to get hold of a Raspberry PI Zero. For those who have not yet heard about them, the are a small computer based on a SOC or system on a chip. The brain child of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, a group who wanted to make an affordable computer to promote computer science for students. The Raspberry Pi Zero is one of the most recent additions to the Pi family.

pi_zero

I aquired it at Adafruit, https://www.adafruit.com/products/2817, as a starter pack with the Zero, power supply with usb to mini usb cable, mini hdmi to hdmi adaper, OTG adapter for usb,  sd card for storage and a male header for connecting to varios GPIO devices. You have to solder in the header if you are going to use it. I also bought  a usb wireless adapter.

I also purchased a case, although the Zero cases are mostly covers for the front and back.The case I chose, from C4Labs , doesn’t have enough room next to the male header to connect the cable for using with the breadboard. If you are planning to use your PI in a pugin environment you might consider getting a right angle female header to allow the board to be stood on edge.

Assembling the case on the PI Zero was simple, although I suggest you don’t put the heat exchanger on until the case top is in place. If you do, then it may not line up. I did not glue the heatsink on the cpu so as to allow removal of the heatsink later. You may wonder why such a small chip needs a heatsink. From the manufacturers point of view you don’t. Due to some thermal phots of working PI’s it would be helpful to have the heatsink. The CPU chip has been seen to reach 100 degrees centigrade, waters boiling point. The system is supposed to begin throttling the cpu clock at 80 c.stabilizing the temperature.

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You will also need an operating system on the sd card to get started. I started out with the Jessie light install but found it was missing some things I needed, so I tried using NOOBS instead. It was a simpler install of the full version of Jessie.

Once on the card and booting it was somewhat slow. Similar to an early atom processor found in the netbooks. I was able to connect to the local wireless network and update the OS easily, I’ll cover that and the small test projects I did in another post. I suggest you get one of the Raspberry PI computers and begin learning,

These links below will help you understand the Raspberry PI a little better.

https://twit.tv/shows/triangulation/ePIsodes/61

https://twit.tv/shows/twit-bits/ePIsodes/2391

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_PI

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raspberry_PI_Foundation

https://www.raspberryPI.org/

 

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Protect your self on public computers

Today let’s talk about security for your email, accessing your email in the library, or on any public computer. You can safeguard yourself by having a long password and, when possible, turning on two factor authentication.

Two factor authentication is a system that prompts you to enter a code gotten either from an app, like Google authenticator, or by text message.

This makes it very difficult if not impossible for someone to access your account even if they do have the password.

One more tip would be to use an incognito tab rather than the normal tab. Here is an extrract from Chromes note about Incognito.

“Pages you view in incognito tabs won’t stick around in your browser’s history, cookie store, or search history after you’ve closed all of your incognito tabs. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be kept.

Going incognito doesn’t hide your browsing from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit.”

To hide your network communication from being watched you should also make sure to use https, the secure connection, to access your accounts.

This means that you should type https://gmail.com or https://yahoo.com to login. Some providers have a setting that will make https mandatory. It would provide better security to turn on this feature. You can also install add ons for the major browsers to force https if possible, https://www.eff.org/https-everywhere.

Another thing that will help is making sure that you logout of your account when your done. This will ensure that no one accidentally gets into your account. Some computers have software to provide tamper protection that will erase anything done with a reboot. So rebooting your public computer will eliminate what you did from casual public scrutiny.

With the lower cost of computers and tablets you can now get an adequate machine for $200 or less to access your email and type papers. They can be windows 10, Chrome OS or tablets. You could certainly pay more, but you don’t need to.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a helpful page with surveillance self-defense documents to help you, https://ssd.eff.org/.

That is all I have for now, safe web surfing!

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