I’ve had the Raspberry Pi 4 for about a month now and I’m really pleased with it. It is really ticking all the boxes for my good and geekiness. I’m learning a lot about the Linux command line while I am setting up a whole lot of different things. Using the command line application Nano to edit set up files is pretty easy once you get used to it. Moving around the file system is no problem when you learn a few of the essential commands. I have added extras to customise and personalise the experience.
I have added Zoxide which allows me to change directories using the letter z instead of cd. It also has a fuzzy finding thing going on. If I have already navigated to a folder such as Documents, I can get back to it again by just typing in the first two or three letters. This is a bit of a timesaver.
I installed an extra program called Exa. This gives me a tree view of whatever is in the folder I’m looking at. It also gives me another view which uses colours to show different types of files and data. There is GIT support in the standard view so you can see which files are staged. It shows extra information that you wouldn’t normally see with using the LS command.
I’ve also installed a small utility called Starship. This gives information about the directory you’re in and puts your command line below. It also gives you GIT information. It doesn’t do much, but it’s useful for what it does.
Started Again From Scratch
I was following a tutorial on YouTube to set up Docker and Portainer, and I got to a point where I could not go forward. For some reason or other I could not use localhost to see the configuration pages for Docker or for Portainer. I tried all sorts of things to work it out. Deleting things and reinstalling and looking in various configuration files for the Raspberry Pi. In the end I decided it would be quicker to take one of the SD cards and completely reinstall from scratch the operating system for Raspberry Pi. Obviously, it was annoying having to set everything up again. It’s a good idea to take notes as you go to remind you what do you have set up on what you haven’t. I had a few notes, but I did have to rely upon my memory to a certain extent. It took me quite a few hours to get everything back to working again.
I started again with the same tutorial for Docker and Portainer. Everything was going great and when I tried to install a container for Homer I had a similar problem crop up again. This time I looked through the comments for the YouTube video and I found something that helped me get past this problem. I noticed that even though following the tutorial exactly, it was not publishing the ports I needed to get access to the config webpage. I tried a couple of things and in the end I went with using an option for auto set up of a part of the setup. Hey presto, it worked and I’m in business.
What’s The Best Mac or Linux?
I have to admit I’m loving using Linux on the Raspberry Pi. You can do an awful lot with it. Using the Raspberry Pi 4 the operating system is quick, and it doesn’t feel like I’m using a tiny credit card sized computer. Obviously, when you’re using the command line things get done quicker because you don’t have extra layers of gui on top to slow things down. On the other hand, I couldn’t give up using the Mac completely because after using it for so many years I have things set up just the way I like it. There are loads of applications on the Mac I would definitely miss. All the customisations and personalisation I have on the Mac such as using Raycast and Alfred, make the Mac my favourite computing platform. The Apple computer platform, which includes the iPad, the iPhone and my Apple Watch, all work together to give me access to my data and files.
One thing I’ve done is to set up Syncthing, this allows me to share files across platforms. I have it set up so that files from my 2 Raspberry Pi’s are also shared to my iMac. I only have to drop files into the correct folder and they get shared wherever I have set up Syncthing. I tried using iCloud to make a bridge so the files could also be shared to my iPad and iPhone. It’s really didn’t work very well. iCloud is slow. When you drop things into the Syncthing folder you only have to wait a maximum of five seconds and the files move themselves across the systems. With iCloud you could wait forever. So instead I used an app called Resilio Sync to synchronise from the iMac to my iOS devices. This seems to work well enough so far. I can share files into the sync folder on the iPad and iPhone and they will end up on the iMac in the folder which shares out to the Linux computers.
Useful tutorial for Syncthing
One More Thing – Cloud Computing
I also have dipped a toe in the water with cloud computing. I have set up an account with AWS, Amazon Web Services. With this I’ve been able to set up Linux computers in the cloud which I can SSH into from any of my computers. This includes the iPad and the iPhone where I’m using an application called Secure Shellfish. I also use this application to SSH into the Raspberry Pi computers. It’s all pretty cool good and geeky stuff. I’ve even got into the Raspberry Pi computers using VNC. It seems kind of weird having the the Linux operating system inside my iPad. It’s a little bit useful even though it doesn’t work perfectly with regards moving around and pointing and clicking on stuff. Something else to play with!
Another One More Thing
Somehow or other I managed to break the ability to SSH into the Raspberry Pi 4. It would not let me login using the password. It said I had to use an SSH key. I tried sending the SSH key to the device by copying it across. Nothing seemed to work. In the end, I decided I would copy an SSH connection which was working. So made a duplicate of the connection to Wally the Raspberry Pi 3. I then twiddled with some settings within that and I’ve been able to login from my iPad using the application Secure Shellfish. Delighted I am (as Yoda would say).
There seems to be quite a few of these little gotcha moments. Often it can be quite annoying, but at least I’m learning stuff when I find out how to get around the problem. Frequently I need to go to the Internet and find the information on the huge number of websites with information about Raspberry Pi and Linux. Sometimes I can work it out with just a bit of twiddling and fiddling. It’s all part of the fun!