Raspberry Pi 3 on top of its box

How I got started with Raspberry Pi 3

I’m not quite sure where the spark came from but once it hit me, there was no stopping. Perhaps it was my exploration to computer vision through OpenCV that mentioned Raspberry Pi. Nevertheless, I started manically watching YouTube videos of Pis, Googling instructions and looking for interesting projects.

A little kid inside of me had awaken. Just thinking of having a Raspberry Pi brought back memories of the days tinkering with old x386 computers installing OS/2 or playing QBASIC demo game Gorillas to learn about coding. It also reminded me of the days when I built model airplanes and cars.

I had seen videos and photos but the size surprised me. It was so small and you know it’s small when it fits in my hand. I got small hands, okay!


For my first Raspberry Pi, I decided to go with Raspbian operating system so I skipped NOOBS, the visual OS installer and instead downloaded the latest Raspbian Jessie image from their download page. Burning that image to the SD card through Terminal was a breeze with these directions.

I didn’t have any extra keyboards lying around so I decided to do the setup through SSH from my Mac following these steps.

Then it was time for the mandatory system updates and upgrades:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

To access my Pi’s desktop, I did what any self-respecting DIY hobbyist does and sought guidance on YouTube. Alternatively, one could follow guides from Adafruit or RaspberryPi.org official documentation, but I often prefer videos.

This is what I now use to launch myself a desktop environment on the Pi:

vncserver -geometry 1440x900 -depth 24 :1

For some reason the default mouse pointer on the Pi is an “x” and I couldn’t deal with it. Luckily, that’s easily changed to a black arrow by modifying /home/pi/.vnc/xstartup and adding the following parameter to xsetroot:

-cursor_name left_ptr

Getting started was fun and extremely easy as there is a plethora of official and unofficial tutorials available. Next I’ll probably set up file sharing or try to play audio through a Bluetooth speaker. Do you have any suggestions?

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