Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi 2

Innovation Challenge: Announcing the Winning Project

It has been many weeks since we first launched the UsenetServer Innovation Challenge, but at last, the time has come for our winner to claim victory and take home his or her Raspberry Pi 2 to build and complete their new project!

Before we declare our winner, we have a bit of background on the project and how our judges arrived at their decision. Our panel of judges consisted of four experts in the world of Usenet. They were tasked with judging and scoring their top two favorite entries based on four main criteria: 1) Creativity, 2) Feasibility, 3) Originality, and 4) the inclusion of a UsenetServer service. Each of the criteria was given a score rating from 1-10, meaning that with a perfect score, a winner could earn up to 80 points. The entry that received the highest overall rating score in all of the combined categories was declared the winner of our challenge. In all, there were 27 total eligible entries and our four judges narrowed it down to five finalists. It was a close race — our winner won with 69 points and our first runner-up earned 56. Many of the other entries considered included home automation projects and smart home features. Our winner, Jason, won by proposing the following project with a Raspberry Pi:

Jason – The current Raspberry Pi project I’m working on includes a PHP backend that runs a PHP script that routinely checks an NZB RSS feed from any online NZB search site service that offers one. It then pulls any newly posted NZB links, cleans up the RSS entry, and sends the NZB download link (via Pushover) to my Android phone and tablet. From there, Android’s Tasker and Auto-Notification intercept the notification, and create a new notification with a “Download” button and the name of the Usenet binary posted. Once the download button is pressed, the NZB Link is sent back to SABnzbd’s API (which is also running on the Raspberry Pi). Then the download is queued up and started. I also get a Pushover notification when the download has completed, and whether it was successful or not. This system currently works great, and I can easily queue up new binary downloads from my Android Wear watch-device as soon as they are posted to the NZB search site. The next phase of the operation is to build a web-based interface to tell the PHP script to skip notifying me if a post has any specific text in the title, or send a “high-priority” notification with different text in the title.

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We look forward to following Jason’s progress on his winning project, and we will have more posts in the future detailing its development! We were so excited and pleased with the variety of entries we received and would like to give a big thank you to everyone who participated in our challenge.

Never stop inventing and creating new things — you, the innovators, are building our future!

Innovation Challenge Top Entries

When we started the UsenetServer Innovation Challenge, we pressed our users to get those creative juices flowing when we asked them to build a Do-It-Yourself project using a Raspberry Pi 2 micro computer as the starting point and key component of the project. We had no restrictions and left the field wide open for entries with only one caveat: the incorporation of our Usenet or VPN service. While we don’t have our winners yet, we wanted to share with you some samples of the awesome entries submitted before the judging period comes to a close!

PocketPi

The PocketPi is a project that uses solar technology in conjunction with multiple

sensors to create a sleek, portable survival device that would function even

without common power. These devices are fitted with a module that allows for 3G

connectivity. This allows for the device to connect to the UsenetServer network

and provide search data with an easy to use interface. This includes current

weather conditions, and the network is also used to upload data from a range of

sensors, to provide cloud-based analysis and data mining to find patterns.

Basically, the PocketPi is a very portable, very sleek and rugged piece of

equipment that is waterproof, dust-proof, etc and utilises the cloud to provide data

to the user, even if they are out-of-bounds of accessible power

Continue reading

Raspberry Pi

How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine: Configuring Remote Access

In our last post, we wrote a step-by-step walkthrough of how to successfully setup your Raspbian Operating System for the first-time boot of your Raspberry Pi 2. Now we are going to show you how to configure remote access to your Pi. The reason for this configuration is simple: you want to avoid the extra hardware (monitor, mouse, keyboard, etc.) that comes with most computers. Setting up remote access will allow you to configure and tinker with your Pi’s setup, all from the convenience of your laptop or desktop computer (As long as your Pi is on the same network). Check out the first part of this series: Building the Pi

 

Configuring Secure Shell Access SSH (Command-Line)

The best and easiest way to administer your Raspberry Pi is via the command-line interface using a terminal connection over secure shell access (SSH). Using an SSH client like PuTTY for Windows or the default Macintosh app Terminal, you can connect to your Pi and send commands to it just as if you were typing commands via the Pi’s directly-connected USB keyboard. To enable secure shell access to login to your Pi, you will need to run the following command:

./raspi-config

This will launch the raspi-config utility on your Pi. Once the raspi-config is launched, do the following:

After you run ./rapi-config utility, go the the "Advanced Options," Go down to the SSH option and then select enable to turn on secure shell access for remote administration.

After you run ./rapi-config utility, go the the “Advanced Options,” select the SSH option and then select “Enable” to turn on Secure Shell Access for remote administration.

Turn on Secure Shell Remote Access

Go down to “Advanced Options,” choose “SSH” on the next screen, and select “Yes” to enable. This will authorize Secure Shell remote terminal access, allowing you to connect to your Pi from any other computer on the same network. Select “Finish” on the Main Menu and your Pi will reboot with the updated configuration.

Accessing the Pi Using SSHWindows

Now that you have enabled Secure Shell remote access, you’ll need to launch an SSH client on your desktop to test the remote access and ensure it is working correctly. If you are running Windows, you are going to need to install PuTTY. Once you open a copy of PuTTY, make sure you have the “Session” category selected on the left. Input your Raspberry Pi’s IP address (You can get this via your router’s DHCP table or by running ifconfig on your Pi), select the SSH connection type, and connect.

Connect via SSH using Putty client for Windows

Enter in your Pi’s IP address, select “SSH” as the connection type and click “Connect” to start a Secure Shell connection with your Pi.

You may be asked if you want to connect to your Pi, click “Yes.” If you are successfully connected, you will see a terminal window like the one below, prompting you for your Pi’s username and password. You will login with the username ‘pi’ and password ‘raspberry’ (Unless you changed it using ./raspi-config). After you have successfully logged-in you will see something like this:

Connect to Pi via SSH terminal access

After you have connected via SSH with PuTTY and entered your login information, you will see a terminal window to your Pi.

Accessing the Pi Using SSHMacintosh

Now that you have enabled Secure Shell remote access, you’ll need to launch an SSH client on your desktop to test the remote access and ensure it is working correctly. If you are a Mac user, you can connect to your Pi via SSH using the native Terminal utility included in your Mac’s Applications >> Utilities folder. To start a connection, launch the Terminal app and then type the following:

ssh pi@192.168.0.100

where 192.168.0.100 should be replaced with your Pi’s actual IP address.

Next, you will be asked if you would like to connect to your Pi, type “Yes.” After that, you will be prompted for your Pi’s login information. From this point, you can issue commands directly to the Pi without the need to connect a monitor or keyboard to it ever again.

 

In the next installment of our How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine series, we will walkthrough setting up physical storage devices on your Pi to store your Usenet downloads.

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Raspberry Pi

How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine: Setting Up the Raspbian OS

In the previous installment of How-to Build a Low Budget Downloading Machine, we covered how-to build a Raspberry Pi 2 with all the accessories needed to get it working. Now that you have all the hardware, the stage is set. What you need to do next is load your Pi with an operating system that will allow you to run your automated Usenet download software, SABnzbd. Your operating system of choice will be a customized Debian Linux installation called Raspbian OS.

How-to Install the Raspbian OS

  1. Download the Raspbian OS disk image here.
  2. Insert Raspberry Pi’s microSD card into the card reader/writer.
  3. Follow the instructions found here to copy the Raspbian OS disk image to the microSD card using your computer’s host operating platform (Macintosh, Windows, Linux).
  4. After the transfer of the disk image to the microSD card is complete, insert the microSD card into the Pi’s microSD slot. Once all of the cables and hardware are attached (keyboard, mouse and Wi-Fi adapter) to the USB Hub, HDMI cable to monitor) and your Pi’s microUSB power adapter is plugged in, you’re ready to power-up the unit for setup.

Setting Up Raspbian OS for the First Time

When booting up Raspberry Pi 2 for the first time, Raspbian will automatically detect and load drivers for Pi’s hardware.

Raspbian-OS-Boot-up

Raspbian OS boots-up on Raspberry Pi 2 for the first time, detects hardware and installs the drivers to make it function.

Then it will load-up the Raspbian config so that you can build your Raspbian OS first-time boot options.

After Pi loads the Raspbian OS, it will run the Raspbian-config utility so you can configure the Raspbian OS options for the first time boot.

Configuring Raspbian Boot Options

While there are many options that can be configured for Raspbian OS, this tutorial will only focus on what is needed to get the download project going.

1. Expand Filesystem – Select this option and then choose “Yes” to expand the Raspbian Filesystem, which enables use of all available space on Pi’s microSD card. This is recommended to give the OS more room for installing packages etc., should you choose to install additional features down the road.

2. Change User Password – Select this option to update the default password pre-programmed for your Pi. This is recommended to keep the Raspberry Pi 2 safe and secure, as the default password is easily searchable on the web.

3. Enable Boot to Desktop/Scratch – Select this option to update the default way the Pi will boot-up. The Pi can be configured to boot to the graphical desktop, the text based console Command Line, or the programming environment Scratch. For this project, boot from the text console to save system resources while running SABnzbd (don’t worry you can tackle the Command Line terminal later)!

4. Turn on Secure Shell Remote Access – Go down to “Advanced Options,” choose “SSH” on the next screen, and select “Yes” to enable. This will authorize Secure Shell remote terminal access so you can connect to your Pi from any other computer on the same network, without the need for it to be connected to a keyboard or monitor. As long as you’re powered-on and connected to the Wi-Fi, you are good to go! Now that all your options are set, select “Finish” on the Main Menu and the Pi will reboot.

In our next installment of How-to Build a Low Budget Downloading Machine, you’ll learn how-to connect to the Pi remotely and log-in to configure storage devices for Usenet downloads. Go to Part Three: Configuring Remote Access

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Raspberry Pi

How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine: Building the Pi

It can be really annoying having to run your home PC overnight to complete a batch of NZB downloads. Using the Raspberry Pi 2 (retail value: $35.00), you can build a low-budget, low-power Usenet downloading machine that runs Raspbian and SABnzbd. In this multi-part series, you will learn how-to to successfully create a fully functioning NZB downloader complete with web-based queue management and a network-attached storage setup for all of your downloaded Usenet binaries.

Why the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B?

The cost of the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, especially when compared to the set of technical features that it offers, can’t be beat at $35 for the core unit.  The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B is the second-generation Raspberry Pi. Replacing the original in February 2015, the Pi 2 delivers six times the processing speed of its predecessor with an upgraded Broadcom BCM2836 processor. The board also features an increase in memory capacity to 1GB of RAM. The Raspberry Pi is an open-source product designed to be supported by Internet-based user forums. As a starting point, you can refer to their official website for your base operating system needs.

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

Raspberry Pi 2 Model B

Other Features Include:

  • GPU provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode
  • GPU is capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM
  • HD 1080p video output
  • Composite video (PAL/NTSC) output
  • Stereo audio output
  • 10/100 BaseT RJ45 Ethernet socket
  • HDMI 1.3 & 1.4 video/audio socket
  • 3.5mm 4-pole audio/composite video out jack socket
  • 4 x USB 2.0 sockets
  • 15-way MPI CSI-2 connector for Raspberry Pi HD video camera (775-7731)
  • 15-way Display Serial Interface connector
  • MicroSD card socket
  • Boots from MicroSD card, running a new version of the Linux operating system
  • 40-pin header for GPIO and serial buses (compatible with Raspberry Pi 1 26-pin header)
  • Power supply: +5V @ 2A via microUSB socket
  • Dimensions: 86 x 56 x 20mm

 

What You Need to Build the Pi

Once you have the Raspberry Pi 2 that is great, but it might as well be a $35 paper weight without the other components needed to prepare it for some serious downloading action. Remember you will need a proper power adapter to power the device and although the Pi 2 Model B has an Ethernet port, you might as well have WiFi capability to save yourself another wired connection. You are also going to need USB storage to store your data and USB input devices (keyboard and mouse) to setup the Pi on its initial boot. The Raspberry Pi 2 Model B has 4 USB 2.0 ports, but it’s always good to have more so we recommend throwing a powered USB hub into the mix as well. Finally, you will need a decent sized SD card (4GB or more) to load and store the Raspbian Linux operating system that your Pi will run. Here is our list of recommended components you’ll need to build the Pi 2 downloading machine:

  • Raspberry Pi 2 Model B
  • microUSB Power Adapter (+5volts @ 2Amps)

    Raspberry-Pi-2-Starter-Kit

    Raspberry-Pi-2-Starter-Kit

  • USB Wifi Adapter (We Recommend the Panda 300Mbps Wireless-N USB Adapter (PAU05))
  • USB Mouse & Keyboard
  • Powered USB Hub to Support Additional Devices (We recommend the D-Link DUB-H7)
  • External USB Hard Disk Storage (Two is better for data redundancy)
  • HDMI Cable for Video Display on Initial Boot
  • 8GB microSD card (We recommend 8GB, minimum of 4GB)

If you’re looking to save time and money, a kit can be ordered here that contains most of the components needed to get started on this project. But if you’re looking for a more customized build, a full list of compatible hardware can be found here.

A bit about audio and video: For digital video to a standard computer monitor that lacks an HDMI port, an HDMI to DVI cable is needed for the video signal and a 3.5mm stereo cable for the sound (as you’ll lose the sound in the HDMI to DVI conversion).

What’s Next in Our Series? Time to Load the OS, Raspbian

Raspbian OS

Raspbian OS

In the next installment of UsenetServer’s How-to Build a Low-Budget Downloading Machine, we walk you through imaging your microSD card with the latest release of the Raspian operating system. Go to Part Two: Setting Up the Raspbian OS