Raspberry Pi and Music (Media Center) Technologies

We are on the brink of SXSW 2014 in Austin Texas. How I would love to attend that one day. Talk about your geek and music nirvana ;). SXSW 2014 will be the announcement site for Neil Young’s PONO high resolution music technologies. Can’t wait to write about that on March 11th which is the announcement day.

Speaking of computers, music and technology directions I have written a quick post about Raspberry Pi and Music (Media Center) technologies.

Raspberry Pi was released to the public as an Open Source Linux credit card sized computer on February 29, 2012. It celebrated its two year birthday yesterday, March 1, 2014. The technology initiative has grown substantially in that time frame. The latest estimate is that 2.5 million Raspberry Pi computers have been sold worldwide.

I liken Raspberry Pi to the Radio Shack, Popular Mechanics hobbyist crowd. Raspberry Pi is a raw, unfinished computer in comparison with say an Apple iPhone. In terms of finished goods Raspberry Pi has many exposed components. In order for you to fully engage yourself with Raspberry Pi and the software, peripherals, cables etc it’s best to posses an erector set mentality to persist with this experience. Raspberry Pi is playing a major role in the M2M: Internet of Things (iot) that is disrupting how we are reshaping the InterWeb.

My interest as a music technologist is specifically focused on the Raspberry Pi Media Center and Volumio (formerly known as the RaspyFi Project). The Raspberry Pi Media Center when connected to your Hi Def Television, WiFi and your cable Internet system becomes a powerful, self-programming solution for you to curate your own media programming. Volumio is an entirely new music system. It is designed to play all your music, whether is an Hi-Res file or a Web Radio, with the highest quality.

Once I get the Raspberry Pi Media Center I want to experiment with I will post again about what I am learning about this cool technology through my living room entertainment system.

Here are some resources that I have discovered to help you with Raspberry Pi, music and the technology.

O’Reilly Books

O’Reilly publishes the best technology books bar none ;). I am pleased to finally see a Raspberry Pi Cookbook available and written by Simon Monk.

Packt Publishing

A definitive source is the book, Raspberry Pi Media Center by Sam Nazarko. You also want to make sure you are browsing and keeping up with Raspbmc* at this Web site: http://www.raspbmc.com/about/

*Raspbmc is a minimal Linux distribution based on Debian that brings XBMC to your Raspberry Pi.

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Raspberry Pi and Music Hacks (Raspberry Beret – Prince)

I am both a music and techno-geek. I have been employed in information technology for 32 years now. My interest has become refocused on software design and development. Call me a digital music wonk 😉  Just like my computer network management students I too want to hack.

I have followed the Music Hack Days actively for the past two+ years now. I have finally found the niche to pursue as a music hacker in earnest with a stated purpose and direction.

My tool of choice is to buy a Raspberry Pi credit card computer ($25-$35) and accessories (TBD)  that allow me to exploit the media center and music hack options. I am eager to emulate, test and then build upon that learning to create a music hack of  merit.

(I freely associate music songs with ideas and vice-versa, so the song by Prince, “Raspberry Beret” continually comes to mind when I think about Raspberry Pi and music…)

Raspberry Pi is a “hot” phenomenon with the ever-growing Linux crowd. It is the lowest cost way to teach yourself how to program in the Python programming discipline. First and foremost its a great toy that you can feel free to experiment with and make a modicum of success right away.

Like most technology revolutions Raspberry Pi has forged a community of enthusiasts that want to succeed together at the low-end of the spectrum for now.

Mark my words it is my “mind’s eye” prediction that Raspberry Pi designers/developers a.k.a hacks will produce commercial electronic solutions worthy of attention and initial sales by the time the Consumer Electronics Show happens in January 2014. Raspberry Pi is poised for exponential growth.

Here are just a few of the early music hacks I have discovered with Raspberry Pi.

1) How to Hack your Raspberry Pi to Play Music Wirelessly from any IOS Device

2) Raspberry Pi Synthesizer

And when all else fails, remember we Got The Beets LOL!

3) BeetBox