Just recently I ordered a new Raspberry Pi (3B+) to replace my existing one (first generation B+) at home (and it already arrived!). I’m currently using the old one for running homebridge, my smart home compatibility tool and I’d love to use it for many more things as well, but right now this isn’t possible because it’s too old and has not enough resources to run everything I want. This changes with the new Pi. It has about 8x the processing performance (if my calculation was right) and 4x the RAM storage. I hope this will be recognizable and if not, I really doubt that it was a good idea to buy this new device.
Here’s just a small example of the performance the old pi delivers:
homebridge on my Pi 1 takes about 5 minutes (!) to fully start up while it took about 2 seconds (!!) on a 2014 Mac mini. Sure, the Mac has a lot more resources at all and you can’t compare a Raspberry Pi SoC (system on a chip) to a fully featured desktop PC like the Mac mini, but it shows how slow this Pi really is. I’m gonna test this with the new Pi 3 too and will report it here (if I remember that I wanted to do this ?).
Update: Ok, after testing it I can tell you it’s incredible! It’s running so much smoother and faster than the old one and its great! I love it! ?
Additionally to homebridge, I’d like to run some kind of media server on my new Pi. If it works out like I’m planning it right now, I then would be able to stream downloaded movies and shows from my external hard drive right onto my Apple TV to watch it without the need of my Mac or any other ‘big’ device. This is not possible right now because the hardware architecture of the old Pi doesn’t support the software… sad story… however the new one does support it and that’s (hopefully) a big leap for my home media streaming solution! I also thought about some kind of presence detection by using the new Pi’s Bluetooth chip. I could set it up to detect if my watch (and therefore me) is nearby and use this information to switch on my lights or use it for any other kind of automation where I should be present to trigger it. Over time I will probably get some more ideas for use cases of the new SoC but for now, I think it’s already quite good.
So what am I gonna do with my old Pi? For sure I will not put it in the trash, it still is too well-working for that. As I already thought about buying a new Pi, I also already thought about what to do with the old one and one possibility would be to put it somewhere in my home where I would be able to control even more things (but I think my mom wouldn’t be too happy about this), so another possibility would be to put it… in my car! ?
I know this plan is crazy and probably stupid but why not? I can always boot the Pi up when I start my car and there I could use it as receiver for Bluetooth media, act like a car Bluetooth device, while my radio is too incompetent to make Bluetooth work properly and probably even use it to control my cars interior lights. Right after writing this text, I’m gonna read some useful articles about how to install a Pi in a car. I’m so hyped! ? Maybe I could even order a PiDisplay and use it as a CarPlay receiver or something similar but that’s just some bit of early ideas and would probably require a new Pi in my car too..? ?? We’ll see what time will tell!
But that’s not enough! In the past ~year and a half as I used homebridge and my self-made smart home system in my room, I did experience some issues that I’d like to change during this upgrade. This morning I read an article on 9to5mac, about using an old iPad as smart-home-wall-switch-control-hub-device-thingy. As I don’t just have an old iPad lying around I thought about alternatives that I do have lying around and therefore found my old iPod touch 4 in my memories. It is just collecting dust in my room and it makes me sad that I don’t have any use for it anymore as it was something like my first “smartphone” even if it can’t call or use the internet without Wi-Fi. So I decided that I’d like to use it as some kind of smart switch for my room, that everybody would be able again to control the lights in my room, even without yelling to Siri on my HomePod to turn on the lights, which often doesn’t do the things you want and sometimes is just not responsive enough (some more reasons can be found in the article mentioned above). Another reason is that I have to admit that switches are quite useful sometimes. For example if I just want to go to my room to grab a cable or something which is lying on the other side of my room in the dark, right now I would go in grab it and would go out without any light or even with using my iPhone light, because it’s just faster to turn it on and use it, as it is to tell Siri to turn on some lights and turn them off again when I’m leaving. I would, however, turn them on with a switch while walking in and turn them off again while walking out, if it would be possible.
I already know by now that some people will come and tell me that I also could just use the switch right next to my door and that smart home is stupid and so on but I disagree with that. I don’t want not to be able to control my devices with my voice. I often do this and It is very useful if I’m upstairs in my bed and want to turn off all the lights, even if they would have a switch down there. But it’s sometimes inconvenient to talk or it just takes too long to process and do what I said and that’s the moment when this switch will be useful! It’s not a step back, it’s a step forward to making every single situation convenient – no matter if I’m chillin’ on the couch, sleeping in my bed or just running in my room for a second and leaving it right after again.
With smart home, for me, everything is about convenience and comfort – and the current situation does not always deliver this comfort as it should be – result: I change it to fit my expectations and to be more comfortable.
Coming back to my iPod, this will be kind of a challenge as it is quite old and wasn’t able to update for the last ~five and a half years… so I’m stuck with some very old kind of software without being able to just use any software someone developed and have to use some kind of workaround to achieve what I’ve planned… I already have a plan and it looks good although I’m not sure if I will have to make some changes to the web interface for it to be compatible with the iPod’s quite small screen size… I’ll also update here if I got some news about this (and if I remember that I was planning to do so).
Right now I’m just really hyped and want to thank you if you read until here. I know sometimes my texts can be chaotic and a bit unstructured but I hope it wasn’t too confusing to understand. If you have any more questions or if I may have inspired you to do something similar, don’t mind to contact me on Twitter (@dieserNiko) or somewhere else and I’ll try to help as good as I can 🙂
Have a nice day and see you the next time.