Hardware Programming

Yes, you can run Visual Studio Code on Raspberry Pi

This is the first in “Cobra Pi”, a series of articles on getting the most out of your Raspberry Pi!

Yes, you can run Visual Studio Code on Raspberry Pi!

You’ve got many options for editing code or other plain text files on your Raspberry Pi. It is, after all, a Linux machine, and you’ve got all the classic command-line editors — vim, emacs, and…

And the windows-and-mouse-based Geany (text editor) and Thonny (beginner-friendly Python IDE) come along with even the bare-bones version of the Raspberry Pi OS setup.

But if you’re like about half the developers who answered the 2019 Stack Overflow survey, your “home” editor is Visual Studio Code. And yes, you can run Visual Studio Code on Raspberry Pi.

How to install Visual Studio Code on Raspberry Pi

If you go to Visual Studio Code’s “downloads” page, you’ll see this:

Tap to view at full size.

For the Raspberry Pi, you want to download the Debian package for systems with ARM processors (click on the ARM button in the .deb row).

Once downloaded, go to your Downloads directory and double-click on the the .deb file you just downloaded. You’ll see greeted with this dialog box:

Click the Install button. You’ll be presented with another dialog box, this time asking for your user password, since it’s required when installing new applications:

Enter the password you use to log into the Raspberry Pi into the Password field and click OK.

Visual Studio Code will be installed on your Pi. Once the process is done, you can launch it by clicking on the Start Menu (the raspberry icon in the upper left-hand corner)…

…and in the menu that appears, select the Programming menu. A sub-menu will appear, and one of the items will be Visual Studio Code. Click that and…

Screenshot: Visual Studio Code on Raspberry Pi
Tap to view at full size.

You’ll be in the Visual Studio Code that you know and love from Windows, macOS, and Linux! And yes, all the plugins that you’ve come to depend on will be available.

Go forth and code!

Current Events Hardware Programming

Raspberry Pi 400: A lot of computer for as little as $70!

Photo: Raspberry Pi 400, front/top view showing keyboard as seen by the user.
Tap to view at full size.

The Raspberry Pi 400 — a Raspberry Pi 4 board with 4GB RAM built into a compact keyboard — was announced just today, and the base unit (just the computer built into the compact keyboard) retails for $70!

The computer

Photo: Raspberry Pi 400, back/top view showing keyboard and ports.
Tap to view at full size.

The Raspberry Pi 400 is a slightly updated model from last year’s Raspberry Pi 4, and has these specs:

Feature Notes
Processor 1.8 GHz ARM Cortex-A72 CPU
(A little faster than the Raspberry Pi 4’s 1.5 GHz CPU)
  • 802.11ac wifi
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 5.0
Video 2 micro HDMI ports that can each drive 4K/60 Hz video
  • 2 USB 3.0 ports
  • 1 USB 2.0 port (preferably for the mouse)
Power Provided via adapter and USB-C
Additional ports 40-pin GPIO interface

The complete kit

Photo: Raspberry Pi 400 kit, showing the computer, micro HDMI to HDMI cable, The Official Raspberry Pi Beginner’s Guide, mouse, and power supply, as well as the box they came in.
Tap to view at full size.

For an extra $30, you can get the kit, which is the complete “ready to go out of the box” package. It starts with the Raspberry Pi 400 computer-in-a-keyboard unit described above, and it adds:

The kind of computer that hasn’t been seen since the 1980s

Let’s quickly take stock of what you get with just the Raspberry Pi 400, never mind the kit:

  • A fully-equipped computer with a decent processor, decent RAM, wifi/wired/Bluetooth networking with 2 fast USB ports to spare once you’ve plugged a mouse into the slower one.
  • A computer that you can do hardware experiments with, thanks to its GPIO pins, and an abundance of hobbyist-focused expansion kits.
  • A computer that you can plug into your TV.
  • A computer that costs $100.

There hasn’t been a computer like this since the machines pictured below came out…

Photo: ZX Spectrum computer

Photo: Commodore VIC-20.

…and those machines couldn’t hold a candle to the proper desktops of that era.

On the other hand, you’ll find that the Raspberry Pi 400 can easily keep up with the sort of computer that gets issued for standard office work. You could easily use it to do schoolwork or office work, and it’s actually a decent Linux software development machine and retro-style gaming console, too! And with its expansion capabilities, it’s an excellent machine for IoT and sensor projects.

This is the sort of machine that children of the 1980s and early 1990s learned on, many of whom are today’s techies…

…and this machine will probably be the machine that a lot of children of the 2020s will cut their programming teeth on, and who’ll be the techies of the 2040s and 2050s.

Given a choice between a Chromebook and a Raspberry Pi 400, I’d take the Pi, because I can do a lot more with it. In fact, I might be able to do a lot of my new job with it (which is something I might try soon, just to see what happens).

Graphic: “Cobra Pi” logo

By the bye, keep an eye on this blog for a new feature: Cobra Pi, which covers programming on the Raspberry Pi, and whose motto is: “Code hard! Fail fast! No latency!”

It’ll cover all sorts of cool programming tips, tricks, and techniques on the Raspberry Pi, including JavaScript, Python, and even C and ARM assembly language!

Humor Programming

If “full stack” was a person…

Poster: If “full stack was a person”, featuring the same guy as a car mechanic, hairstylist, research scientist, doctor, and cook
Tap to view the full stack-ness at full size.
Current Events Tampa Bay

What’s happening in the Tampa Bay tech/entrepreneur/nerd scene (Week of Monday, November 2, 2020)

Tampa Bay tech, entrepreneur, and nerd events

Once again, here’s the weekly list of events for events for Tampa Bay techies, entrepreneurs, and nerds. Every week, on and on the mailing list, I scour the announcements for events that are interesting to or useful for those of you who are building the future here in “The Other Bay Area, on The Other West Coast”.

This list covers events from Monday, November 2 through Sunday, November 8, 2020. That’s right, this week has both Election Day and my birthday!

I’ve opted to list only those events that I can confirm are happening online. I’m not yet listing in-person events, as we’re still in the middle of a pandemic in one of the hardest-hit states (803,000 cases, which is an increase of 51,000 since last week, and 15,916 deaths, which is up 844 from last week) in one of the hardest-hit countries in the world (9.2 million cases, which is an increase of over a million from last week, and 230,000 deaths, which is up 11,000 from last week).

Events — especially virtual, online ones — can pop up at the last minute. I add them to the list as I find out about them. Come back and check this article from time to time, as you might find a new listing that wasn’t there before!

Monday, November 2

Tuesday, November 3

Sure, there are events today, but if you’re in the U.S. and eligible to vote and haven’t done so already — GO VOTE!

Wednesday, November 4

Thursday, November 5

🎂 Oh hey, it’s my birthday! 🥳

Friday, November 6

Saturday, November 7

Sunday, November 8

Do you have any events or announcements that you’d like to see on this list?

Let me know at!

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