Geek Pick: Raspberry Pi 3 Model A+ Is a Cute Computer
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The hot new way to prepare your kids (or yourself) for the future is education in technology. That could be taking a class to learn how to code. That could be using Nintendo Labo or Lego Mindstorms toys to learn the philosophy of making something yourself. Or that could be straight-up building and programming a PC with a Raspberry Pi.
There are lots of models of Raspberry Pi, each offering their own take on the cheap, tiny, and intuitive single-board computer concept. Depending on how much complexity you want, and how much you’re willing to pay, there’s a different version for you. But one of the best recent all-around models is the Raspberry Pi Model A+ ($30).
Like its cousins, the Raspberry Pi Model A+ is all about encouraging users to build their own little PCs and learn more about the PC building process. You can use it to make whatever smart device you want as long as the ARM processor (64-bit 1.4GHz quad-core Broadcom BCM2837B0) can handle it, from karaoke machines to Etch-A-Sketches. The 40-pin GPIO headers lets you attach all sorts of sensors and motors to this brain.
The Model A+ only has one USB port and no Ethernet port, a step down from pricier versions, but it does have an HDMI port, headphone jack, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and microSD card slot for installing the operating system. The limited 256MB or 512MB memory and lack of overclocking means you’ll want to stick with the modest Raspbian Linux OS for a smooth experience.
But again comparing the Model A+, or any Raspberry Pi, to a typical computer is totally missing the point. The real value of this device is how it affordably opens the door for creative and experimental technological engineering anyone can enjoy and learn from.
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