How we use Rasberry PI in our office

The moment we saw Rasberry Pi we were thinking on how we can make use of it in our office. It came out that there are a few things Rasberry Pi 1 Model B+ can do pretty well and it was our geeky nature that pushed us to play around with it and see it in action.

What is Rasberry Pi?

“The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a computer monitor or TV, and uses a standard keyboard and mouse. It is a capable little device that enables people of all ages to explore computing, and to learn how to program in languages like Scratch and Python.

It’s capable of doing everything you’d expect a desktop computer to do, from browsing the internet and playing high-definition video, to making spreadsheets, word-processing, and playing games.”

What to know more? Read here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/help/what-is-a-raspberry-pi/

How do we use it?

Boombox

Main feature of Rasberry Pi in our office is a media player to listen to the music. We have our company Spotify music lists that people can add their favourite songs to. They are run using SpotiMC, a dedicated OSMC Spotify plugin. It creates great work atmosphere in the office as songs play in the background and there are changing visualisations on the screen using OpenGL Spectrum.

OpenGL Spectrum

Running Status board

A few months ago we wrote about one of our apps called Status board which displays a dashboard of what is currently happening inside of our software house. We used to have RasberryPI to display it on an LCD monitor so that everyone can see that. We are going to to launch a new version of it sometime in the future and we will be happy to share it.

Status board

Printing tasks for a Scrum Task Board

We used to work a on a proof-of-concept to see how “Internet of things” can be adopted to software company daily operations.

When building application using agile methodology you have a Scrum Task Board with things to do in a current sprint. Normally you would write them on small pieces of paper and stick it to the board but we thought we can do better.

So we configured ticketing system in the way that it calls a webhook every time a task is moved from backlog to a certain sprint. This triggers REST API of a little app launched on Rasberry Pi that pushes this task to the labeling printer. Then a sticker pops-up and we can put it on our story wall.

labeling printer

If you would like to dive in to the details about the gear and software that it runs on, read below.

What is inside?

Our model is called Pi1 Model B+ which was replaced in the meantime by Rasberry Pi 2 Model B with faster CPU and more RAM.

Rasberry Pi

Rasberry Pi 1 Model B+ has a CPU and 256MB RAM and it communicates with an outside world through the following interfaces:

  • HDMI - we plugged in a 23” LCD monitor to it
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports - minature keyboard and mouse is enough to have a full control over the device
  • Ethernet - connecting Rasberry to the global network
  • Audio - with speakers we cover the whole office with chilling sounds
  • Mini-SD card slot - little computer requires little hard drive
  • 5V micro USB power supply

Software running on Rasberry Pi

To make use of the beauty of this mini-computer we used Open Source Media Center (OSMC) which is a free and open source system based on Linux. It lets you play back media from your local network, attach storage and connect to the Internet.

OSMC has everything you need when you start your journey with Rasberry:

  • it is free
  • it takes minutes to install it
  • there is an App Store to get more software on board
  • updates are easy
  • it support most of the media formats
  • it has a growing community of users and contributors

And by the way, it looks great. Just have a look.

OSMC screen 1

OSMC screen 2

OSMC screen 3

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