A Raspberry Pi Tablet, With A DSI Screen

A Raspberry Pi Tablet, With A DSI Screen

A Raspberry Pi Tablet, With A DSI Screen

Since the Raspberry Pi arrived back in 2012, we’ve seen no end of interesting and creative designs for portable versions of the little computer. They often have problems in interfacing with their screens, either on the very cheap models using the expansion port or on more expensive ones using an HDMI screen with associated controller and cabling. The official Raspberry Pi touchscreen has made life easier with its DSI convector, but as [jrberendt] shows us with this neat little tablet, there are other DSI-based options. This one uses a 5″ DSI touchscreen available through Amazon as well as a Pi UPS board to make a tablet that is both diminutive and self-contained.

Having fooled around ourselves in the world of Pi tablets we like this one for its clean look and a bezel that is little bigger than the screen itself. As is the case with so many Pi tablets though it has to contend with the bulk of a full-sized Model B board on its behind, making it more of a chunky brick than a svelte tablet. The screen has potential though, and we can’t help wondering whether there’s any mileage in pairing it with a much thinner Pi Zero board and a LiPo board for a slimmer alternative.

Probably the nicest Pi tablet we’ve brought you was this one, which managed to remain impressively slim despite its HDMI screen.


I Survived Using My IPad Pro As My Main Desktop PC For A Day (mostly)

Apps installed on my iPad for my day of productivity.

How you use technology is a very personal thing. That is particularly true for whatever device you use as your main computing environment. The tools, resources, and capabilities I need to do my work will be different from those you need, because we’re different people with different jobs and workloads.

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I’d like you to keep this truth in mind as I tell you about the day last week when I used my 2021 iPad Pro as my main desktop computer. What worked (and especially what didn’t work) for me will be different than what you might experience. But this story could prove instructive, because you’ll be able to gain some insight into what it’s like, and what you might (or might not) like.

Also: M1 iPad Pro (2021) vs. M2 iPad Pro (2022): Is it worth the upgrade?

It all started because my soon-to-be daily driver, my new Mac Studio, had just arrived from Apple. Even though I had a very busy writing day ahead of me, I decided I’d migrate the contents of my M1 MacBook Air to the Mac Studio, because I wanted the new fastness as soon as possible.

I erroneously thought I could keep using the MacBook Air while the data migrated to the new machine. The last migration I did was 15 months ago, and I guess I didn’t have a perfect memory of how that worked. Thinking about it now, of course both machines would be unavailable for any other work because both machines were sharing low-level snapshots, and any use of either machine would potentially corrupt the integrity of the snapshot.

Also: I bought a Mac Studio: Here are the specs I chose and why

At this point, I could have just stopped the transfer and come back to it later. If I didn’t write enough pages that day, I’d be pushed too far behind for subsequent days, and likely miss a deadline. I do not ever miss deadlines.

Hooking up the iPad

But I’m also curious and a bit stubborn. Sitting right next to where my MacBook Air lives on my desk is my iPad Pro. It’s always there in case I need to sketch notes or diagrams with the Apple Pencil. I do that a lot as part of my planning and resource process for projects.

Also: How to take notes on your iPad with an Apple Pencil

But I write using a 32-inch Westinghouse monitor, an older version of the Logitech K380 keyboard, and the Logitech MX Master 3 mouse. For a moment, I thought of digging one of my old 2012-vintage Mac minis out of the closet, but they’re very out of date, and using them wouldn’t be as interesting as attempting to use my iPad.

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Plug it in, plug it all in.

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Setup proved almost instant. My monitor’s HDMI output was already connected to the HDMI input of the CalDigit TS3 Plus Thunderbolt dock. That’s how I got USB 3 and HDMI functionality into the MacBook Air. I just unplugged the MacBook Air from the dock, and plugged the same Thunderbolt 3 cable from the dock into the iPad Pro and — like magic — the iPad Pro’s home screen UI was displayed on the big monitor.

Binding one of the three Bluetooth channels that are available on both the keyboard and mouse to the iPad was just a matter of pressing the buttons on the bottom of the input devices, and selecting them from the Bluetooth interface in the Settings app.

All told, hookup took less than five minutes and I had a full-sized monitor, a keyboard, and even a mouse cursor. So far, it was cake.

Getting the job done

My day’s work involved a lot of writing and some spreadsheet work. I didn’t have any coding or web site maintenance planned, so I didn’t worry about how to set up local sites with debugging. That said, the iPad has some nice FTP and text editing apps, so basic site maintenance wouldn’t have been too hard.

I also didn’t have any video editing to do that day. The iPad actually has some rather excellent video editing tools in LumaFusion. There’s also a solid DaVinci Resolve implementation for the iPad. I do all my editing in Final Cut Pro and, bafflingly, especially since the iPad has the same M1 processor as the MacBook Air I’ve been using, there is no Final Cut Pro for the iPad. Go figure.

For my day’s planned work, I needed the following applications:

Notion: This is where I write most of my ZDNET articles. I didn’t notice any changes in it compared to the Mac application.

Review: Notion app: Why (and how) I rely on this powerful productivity tool

Google Docs: Writing for my client deadline work was fine — until I created a table. Creating the table was easy, but I couldn’t find an option for turning that table back to text. I tried cutting and pasting the cells, which worked. But, ultimately, since I had a very large table I wanted to convert back to text, I did it on my Mac once I was reunited with it.



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