We need more Pi!

I am a HUGE fan of the Raspberry Pi, and have found so many uses for fun and utility for the Pi around the house. At any given point I have no less than 3 Pi's actively filling some role around my house, with a few more always sitting around for projects/testing/etc. The Pi 3 has really made the Pi a computing powerhouse for the price ($35 retail) and the size, and is not only significantly more powerful and faster than the Pi 2, but has integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well!
I think a common misconception is that Pi's are just for programmers and tech-savvy folks, but that simply is not the case. Because the Pi was created to be an introduction tool for learning some basic programming and understanding to how computers work, there is a massive amount of excellent documentation and tutorials that can walk you through setting up operating systems, installing programs, and creating all sorts of projects with your Pi.
Yes I know Massdrop has had some kits in the past (https://www.massdrop.com/buy/seeed-raspberry-pi-3-b-w-starter-kit), though the kits are not great (for example, the linked post included a USB wireless adapter....even though the Pi 3 already has integrated Wi-Fi), and better kits are cheaper elsewhere. I would LOVE to see some kits actually curated for some specific projects/uses on Massdrop BY Massdrop (I know there are some employees there totally capable of coming up with a great kit!!). Massdrop also already sells some great controllers that can be used with the Pi (https://www.massdrop.com/buy/8bitdo-snes30-sfc30-retro-bluetooth-gamepad) made by 8Bitdo at prices that are lower than anywhere else!
I thought I'd share a little about what I use my Pi's for, hopefully as a way to get even a few other people interested in them! I don't intend for this to be a guide (if more interest is around, I can do some though), just a teaser post to see what the interest actually is.
I think the absolute MOST FUN you can have with a Pi 3 is by setting up RetroPie. RetroPie can turn a Raspberry Pi into a full fledged retro-gaming machine, capable of playing games from early systems like Atari and SNES, handheld games from Gameboy and Gameboy Advanced, all the way up to Nintendo 64 and Playstation. Talk about Nostalgia overload!
For my RetroPie, I wanted it to look the part as well, so had a 3D printed case made and threw in a Green LED that turns on when the system is on just to give it some vintage NES vibes. I also have a case fan that runs constantly just because it can get pretty hot when running games that require a lot of processing power (mainly N64 and Playstation games). For those that are truly terrified to even try to set up RetroPie, you can even buy SD cards preloaded with thousands of games and RetroPie on ebay for relatively cheap (though I'd HIGHLY recommend setting it up yourself!)
The Pi can be used for more than just fun and games though. One of my favorite utility uses for the Pi is as a Pi-Hole (https://pi-hole.net/). Pi-Hole is a piece of software that acts as a network-wide ad blocking solution. This works on any device, regardless of the hardware or OS.
Pi-Hole works with many Linux distros, including Noobs and Raspbian, the software that comes with many Pi 3 kits. Set up is unbelievably simple, requiring a single command in the terminal, which will bring up a GUI to help finish the installation. During the installation you will set a static IP address for your Pi, and when installation is finished you simply need to open up your router configuration and change the DNS server to the IP address of the Pi. That's it.
I have a Pi 2 running Pi-Hole in my house and LOVE it! I had an extra 3.5 inch screen that I use to monitor Pi-Hole in real time:
(Just ignore my utterly obsolete router, forget you even saw it ;)
This is honestly even a little excessive, because you can easily access the admin page (which is being displayed on the screen) on any device on your network, I just wanted to use the screen for something. The admin page gives you detailed info about what the Pi-Hole is up to, and gives you access to features like a whitelist and blacklist.
The last thing I always have Pi's for around the house are as fully functioning computers for web surfing and general use. I have Ubuntu running on a Pi my wife uses as her home PC that mainly just involves checking email, and have a Pi running the stock Raspbian OS in my guestroom. Ubuntu is fun to have, though Raspbian does run noticeably quicker, and comes with everything you need from a browser, a full office software suite, and even Minecraft! When I upgraded my main PC's monitor, it was a no-brainer to put the monitor I replaced to use as the guest computer!
The Raspberry Pi is a very affordable little piece of tech with nearly unlimited potential. I'd love to see what some of you are using your Pi's for! I know many folks that use them as a media center alternative to things like the Roku and Apple TV. If there are any Pi specific things you'd like to see drop, or have ideas for kits, or just want to discuss the Pi in general please comment!
thumb_upMatthew Hansen, midnight madness, and 70 others

Jul 30, 2020
Hi.... Pi is an irrational number—you can't write it down as a non-infinite decimal. This means you need an approximate value for Pi. The simplest approximation for Pi is just 3. Yes, we all know that's incorrect, but it can at least get you started if you want to do something with circles. you can get the more information then click here Gmail Helpdesk
Jun 28, 2019
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Oct 3, 2018
I have 5 Pi's currently...
Pi 3 - Used as a home front end VPN server, monitoring all the other computers and IoT devices in the home. Pi 3 - Running RetroPie, clipped to the back of the TV. Pi 2 - With pan/tilt camera kit used in the kitchen to keep an eye on our dog when we're out. Pi 2 - Running OpenElec on a TV in the bedroom. Pi 1 - Still in use on my desk at work which I'll occasionally SSH into to convert some certificates with OpenSSL or various other tasks which are just easier with Linux.
Oct 2, 2018
As sad as this sounds, I have a pi just to program my qmk keyboards. I started programming them on linux, and was too lazy to figure out how to get it working on windows. I was also tired of dual booting, and the vm was giving me grief. 20/20, this seems ridiculous, but it was a natural evolution for me.
Jul 28, 2018
hello guys was thinking about making a system that controls my utilities (gas water electric ) especially during this summer months do you guys think pi would be a good fit , pls let me know your recommendations or ideas. PS: new to the community don't really know how this works.
Jun 28, 2018
I'm totally on board. If MD got us a deal on a Pi I'd definitely purchae one.
Jun 28, 2018
I like your thinking! How about a PI Zero 360° camera kit. Or a PI Zero battery/solar powered waterproof Wi-Fi security camera? A PI 3 NAS kit?
I just made a Pi 3 NAS a few days ago and a Pi Plex server. So far so good on both. I also have a Pi running a little git server now that is pretty handy.
May 11, 2018
I'd love to a Pi kit with upto 6 camera's. The camera's need about 3m of cable and a touch screen display to fit a stereo slot in the car... Front, rear and possibly all 4 wheels can be viewed from the drivers seat for the 4wd 👍🏼
Oct 26, 2018
camera's what? how many drivers?
Oct 26, 2018
Haven’t looked that far, happy for ideas at this stage
Apr 21, 2018
There would be a lot of interest, if there was a way to make this mine bit coins which is completely legal. Or if it could be used as a resource generator for some popular games such as clash of clans and war robots on Google play which would also be completely legal. Or if it could be used as a bot for those games. If it could be used for development work such as testing android for vulnerabilities to obtain root which is also not illegal as it is just developer work.
Apr 21, 2018
There are already ways to get Pi's working in tandem to mine coins : not worth it. The amount of Pi's you'd need comes close to the cost of what a single GPU costs, and a single GPU can't handle most mining operations these days either. So it's not going to magically boost interest on MD by tossing "Mining" on the box.
Everything else you stated isn't platform dependent...so, once again, no one is going to rush to pick up a Pi for what can already do, and doesn't do any better than a desktop/laptop.
Mar 12, 2018
This is awesome! Thank you for the post. These are some great projects.
I have been learning python, mostly for data analysis, and have been looking for a physical project to challenge my skills. I had seen the raspberry pi on massdrop a few times and this was actually the first place that I came for answers!
Yeah the Pi is so great for learning on! Not only is the hardware cheap, but you can use old SD cards you may have and easily try new OS' easily as well.
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Jan 20, 2021