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January 12th, 2013:

The RPi Enthroned

I wonder how many Raspberry Pi boards will spend their entire working lives sitting cockeyed on a desk somewhere, at the center of a tangle of cables. That’s how mine was until a couple of days ago, when despite my cough I allowed myself a few minutes of quality screwdriver time to pull a proper RPi system together.workstation-500wide.jpg

It didn’t take much. Mostly what it took was a 2004-era Dell SX270 all-in-one system minus the SX270, which I now use as a bookend. The key component is a heavy stainless steel base with a VESA monitor mount and a bracket to hold the SX270 behind the monitor. The monitor itself is an unexceptional Dell 1704fp, with a native resolution of 1280 X 1024. (Those now sell for ~$50 on eBay.) That’s more than enough pixels for an RPi, although I tested it on one of my 21″ 1600 X 1200 behemoths and the little gadget did quite well overall.


I had already mounted the board on an aluminum plate, and all I had to do this time was drill two holes and bolt the plate to the SX270 mounting bracket. I may dress the wires a little to keep them from placing any torque on the connectors, but it works well as-is.

I was surprised to find out that the MagPi magazine is actually laid out on an RPi, using the open-source Scribus layout program. I installed Scribus via apt-get and poured some text into a layout. (I’ve been playing with Scribus for years.) Brisk! I guess we need to stop boggling at the capabilities of tiny little computers with all of two ICs on the mobo.

It certainly does a good job with FreePascal and Lazarus, which is why I went to all this trouble. They’ve now sold half a million of these things. At least a few of those people ought to be willing to buy a Lazarus tutorial for it. We’ll see.