Uniqueness of Raspberry Pi 2
There are many websites that discuss the Raspberry Pi 2 specs and what to do with it, but I don't think they position this unique little board properly. Yes, it isn't as powerful as many laptops or desktops, but it does have an excellent role to play in today's computer industry. It is something that will do something, a specific task. It will be used as the internet of things (IoT) evolves. Many people have shown how it can be a server, retro gaming device, media server and more. This quick article expands upon my experiences, especially with audio applications.
Picked up the Raspberry Pi 2 on the second wave of availability early 2015. Started tinkering with it, first with different standard operating systems offered up at http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/ . But I knew I needed to run Ubuntu and followed these instructions for my specific needs to load the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) OS image and Lubuntu desktop: https://wiki.ubuntu.
My initial goal was to run a Digital Audio Converter (DAC) off the small computer. Here is a 3 minute video on the success: https://youtu.be/
RF2uRVm19ps . I use FLAC files, because MP3's don't run on Lubuntu due to licensing issues. FLACs are better anyway.
There are three types of audio being run off this board, the SMSL M2 DAC, the USB headphone and a normal RCA headphone. There is an additional HDMI audio which I am not using. I am able to control what audio output and inputs are used with the program called Pulseaudio.
A real eyeopener on the Raspberry Pi 2's functionality was when I was able to make outgoing and receive incoming phone calls using Google voice/hangouts with the USB headphones, for free. No phone service provider required! A wifi dongle (with associated wifi network), the USB headset along with some kind of touch-pad for keying in phone numbers would be all that is needed to set up public phones around the world.
There are a few Youtube videos that can help to optimize Chromium for this Raspberry Pi 2. I enable only the extensions I need. These include Mightytext, an extension that adds SMS text messaging to gmail though my phone. Very useful to immediately reply to text messages with this Mightytext function. Youtube videos are a place where the Raspberry Pi 2 does not work well yet. Using the lowest resolution helps some. I'm betting when the four core processors on this computer are optimized for utilization, then Youtube will work fine.