Oliver W. Kim

Easy As Pi

Feb 1, 2021

My Macbook is in the shop for butterfly keyboard and battery-related issues, so I’m operating off of a Raspberry Pi for the week.

Raspberry Pi

I’ve been meaning to get a Pi for some time to tinker with. (I’ve always had the strange vision of building a telegraph powered by a potato. Don’t ask me why.) My computer-less week—during quarantine, no less—seemed like a great excuse to splurge for the $100 Canakit version, which comes with 4GB of RAM, a quad-core CPU, plus a case and cooling supplies. (BYO monitor, keyboard, and mouse.)

To get straight to the point, for a $100 machine, the Pi is surprisingly good as an emergency desktop replacement. It can handle a browser with ~10 tabs open, and play back 1080P video with a few minor hiccups. I was able to draft emails to my co-authors, re-organize my Google Calendar, add notes to my Notion—all the standard fare of a grad student’s life, minus, you know, the actual work. The best part is there is no webcam, so one is automatically excused from having video on in Zoom weetings.

Below are a few small tweaks that have greatly improved my Raspbian quality of life. Please reach out to me if you have any other tips—I’m all ears.


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