Linux - Ninja Pi

5/21/2012 9:29:35 AM

Raspberry Pi, Ninja Box and possibly Blu-ray support for Linux? David Hayward explains.

David Hayward has been using Linux since Red Hat 2.0 in schools, businesses and at home, which either makes him very knowledgeable or a glutton for extreme punishment.

Raspberry Pi

Description: Description: Raspberry Pi

What can we say about the Rasberry Pi that hasn’t already been said many, many times over? It’s small, cheap and represents great British ingenuity. It’s fab, and we love it.

Apparently, so does the rest of the world, which may explain why when it on sale last week, it sold out within seconds, possibly 3.14 seconds? Did you get yours?

After getting up at some ungodly hour of the morning, and trying several times, we gave it up as a bad job and wandered off in search of something else (coffee), but many punters did manage to get a hold of one, and have already started to show it off on YouTube and other places. Unfortunately, they all seem to be using it as a small media centre, as opposed to a development board, which is what the first batch were originally intended to be – a spring board for developers to write on to herald in the second batch.

Still at least demand is good, and getting Linux out there into the world and into the hands of users who wouldn’t normally bother with isn’t going to do it any harm.

Come what may, 2012 is certainly going to be an interesting year full of Raspberry Pi projects and other wonderful creations. Should the good weather hold up, we Linux uses could be enjoying a very fruitful year.

Ninja Box

Description: Description: Vizo Mini Ninja Box and Cooler

Vizo Mini Ninja Box and Cooler

The world is shrinking, we have the aforementioned tiny Pi, and now we have the Ninja Box, a very small unit, which is designed to trigger a response to certain stimuli.

The box comes with a number of sensors, as far as we can gather, which can be set up to respond across the internet and your local network. For example, you can install a motion detector and a camera, and point the thing out to your back garden. When something triggers the motion detector unit, a picture is taken and the Ninja Box will automatically send the image over to your Dropbox account, or Facebook, or whatever.

Using what the developer calls the Ninja Cloud, you can set the box up to integrate with a number of popular sites and services, with many more being just around the developmental corner.

It’s actually a rather interesting project, much like the old electronic kits you used to be able to buy, but taken a more modern and sociable networking step further. The project is currently on Kickstarter, looking for funding to the tune of $24,000, but it has now reached a grand total of $81,608 (at the time of writing) of pledged cash, and can be found at, should you wish to get involved.

VLC on Linux

Description: Description:  VLC plays pretty much any format you feed it with, including DVDs

 VLC plays pretty much any format you feed it with, including DVDs

VideoLAN has recently released a new version of the popular media player VLC. This simple little application has had the pleasure of being able to play pretty much every kind of media type for some time. However, Blu-ray has, until now, been something of grey area.

Using the experimental Blu-ray library, VLC can now play some Blu-rays without the need to resort to copyright removing software first. The emphasis is on experimental, so don’t expect it work flawlessly on the first attempt. Some tweaking may be necessary, and you won’t be able to view the Blu-ray menus either.

Bravo to VideoLAN we say, bringing free Blu-ray playback to the masses! Installation instructions can be found on the VLC site,, along with the ever helpful forum. Until next week, folks.
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