You'll need to scavenge around your house for some extra parts to do more than just marvel at the Raspberry Pi's compact design. Find an old USB keyboard, a mouse, and a screen (most old TVs or computer monitors should be suitable) and plug them into the computer's sockets. Grab a four-gigabyte SD card and flash it with the free Linux-based operating system on the Raspberry Pi Foundation's website. Put the SD card into the slot, apply power, and you've got a 700 megahertz Unix workstation with hardware accelerated 3-D graphics—something that would have been state-of-the-art in 2001 and set you back several thousand dollars.
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You can get a lot for $35 these days. It bought me what looks like a credit card-sized James Bond gadget prototype, but is actually a fully functional computer.
It has an ARM processor like those in many cell phones, 256 megabytes of RAM, a wired network connection, two USB ports, an HDMI video connection, and a graphics coprocessor able to decode a Blu-ray DVD. It's powered by a cell-phone charger and is intended to revolutionize technology education by helping to create a new generation of hackers and makers (see "An Ultracheap Computer").
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