SainSmart 5 Inch LCD HDMI Touch Screen Display

SainSmart 5 inch LCD HDMI Touch Screen Display – For Raspberry Pi 3.
sainsmart 5 inch lcd hdmi touch screen display

I recently purchased this neat little sainsmart 5 inch LCD hdmi touch screen display, on Amazon.com for under $40. So far it works pretty good on my Raspberry Pi 3 with the Raspbian PIXEL desktop. And, worked fine for playing games on RetroPie.

It’s a little tricky to use as a touch screen for me, because I have fat fingers and the stylus pen (if included) is a little shaky in my hands. But it’s ok, as long as you don’t need to double click on anything.

hdmi coupling adapterWhat makes it neat though, is it comes with a special HDMI coupling adapter and female GIO Pin connection header, to connect it directly to the Raspberry Pi board and HDMI output. So there is no soldering needed. And when connected this way, there is no extra power adapter needed to run the screen.

 

You can connect it just to the HDMI output with an HDMI cable, but you will need another power supply, to get the power going on it that way.

If you are running the more recent Raspbian image (Nov. 2016 PIXEL Desktop), you can connect the display directly to the Pi and it will work right out of the box. But you will need to add some lines to the config.txt for the resolution to display correctly. And, you will need to download and install a driver, for the touch screen to work.

To Adjust the Screen Resolution

Something they don’t include with the screen, is the instructions on setting the resolution so the desktop fills most of the screen. To correctly set it, you will need to ssh into the Pi and add some lines of code to the config file.

Once at command prompt, type: sudo nano /boot/config.txt. Then move the cursor down past the last line of text at the bottom and hit enter to create a skipped space, and then copy and past this in:

framebuffer_ignore_alpha=1
framebuffer_swap=1
init_uart_clock=16000000
hdmi_group=2
hdmi_mode=1
hdmi_mode=87
hdmi_cvt 800 480 60 6 0 0 0

Then hit the Ctrl x on the keyboard, then Y and enter to save it. Then type sudo reboot at the prompt.

When it reboots, it should fill most of the screen.

How to enable Touch, on the Sainsmart 5 inch lcd hdmi touch screen display (WARNING!!! Will not work on noobs install, only jessie! Download here and follow install instructions here, if you don’t know how to do that.).

It also has no instructions included on how to enable the touch screen (you can find them on the sainsmart.com wiki). You need to install the driver for that. I suggest going through the GUI on the Pi itself, instead of ssh into it. Open a browser on the PI and download the driver from http://repository.sainsmart.com/index.php?share/file&user=bbu_sainsmart&sid=hPpZMsVO. Once downloaded to your Pi, open the downloads file and cut and paste the file to the home/pi directory.

1st open the terminal and go ahead and do an update and upgrade the OS (PIXEL/Raspbian):

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get upgrade

Then reboot.

Then open a terminal again and copy and past this in at prompt and hit enter:

tar xvf LCD-show-151020.tar.gz

It should unzip the file.

Then either type or copy and paste this into the terminal at prompt:

cd LCD-show/

Then either type or copy and paste into the terminal at prompt:

sudo ./LCD5-show

Wait a few minutes, and the system should automatically restart. Once booted up successfully, try out the touch screen with the included stylus pen or your finger.

And there your go!

5 inch lcd

Anyway! I like it and plan on using it to one day build a hand held gaming device. You can find it here for purchase!

 

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Amazon Echo with Alexa – Featured Products

Amazon Echo

amazon echoWhat is an Amazon Echo? The Amazon Echo is a hands-free speaker you control with your voice. Echo connects to the Alexa Voice Service to play music, provide information, news, sports scores, weather, and more—instantly. All you have to do is ask.

You can also use Echo to switch on the lamp before getting out of bed, turn on the fan or space heater while reading in your favorite chair, or dim the lights from the couch to watch a movie—all without lifting a finger.

Echo works with devices such as lights, switches, thermostats, and more from WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Nest, ecobee, and Wink. Learn more about compatible smart home connected devices, including starter kits for easy setup.

This would make a great family Christmas Gift!

Go check this thing out! Learn More Here!

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Cyber Monday Shopping Tip! How to Earn Cash Back!

Here is a great tip for saving money, shopping on Cyber Monday! Sign up for Ebates! Get double cash back offers from 1000’s of stores online, and you can *refer friends and earn even more! And, you could possibly even win a 2016 Toyota Highlander! It’s FREE to signup!

Install the cash back button extension to your browser, that will popup when there is a cash back offer or coupon on the online store you are shopping on! It works in chrome or firefox!

Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

*Certain conditions apply! Check for details on the Ebates website!

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Select Soccer Rant – Tired of Driving

Select Soccer Travel Rant

 

select soccerHere is my rant! why can’t we figure out a way to play some of these games at home?

Both of my kids play select soccer on a u15 select soccer team. They usually play 2 games on Sundays, but we travel 3 1/2 hrs to play in Arlington, TX in the APL.

Usually will have 4 to 6 trips a season and we will get up early on Sunday morning and drive there and return, the same day. Luckily for us they are on the same team this year! They have been on separate teams in the past and we have played games in two different locations in the DFW area, at various times. Every once in a while, we will go on Saturday, and stay over night, depending on hotel rates. And sometimes, they will play a few Sundays in a row and then we will get a break, like a bye week.

Sometime the weather can be an issue and extend the season longer! Like yesterday, we get there and the weather is rainy, play a half and then they canceled the rest of the game and the other for later that day. So we just wasted 3 1/2 hrs, to turn around and go back! Then we will have to make up the games!

Anyway! All the travel is really getting old and wears on us. Our schedules times this season are at 12pm and 4pm. So, while 12pm is good, 4pm is kind of late. We get back around 10:30 to 11, because we stop for a couple of breaks and sometimes stop and eat. So, it’s tiring and puts lots of miles on our car. And the next day, the kids are pretty tired, and they have school to go to.

Question? Why can’t we form a league where we play a couple of home games, and then next Sunday, we play a couple of away games. Make it more like a school sports schedule! We go to them, and then they come to us! Just makes sense to me!

Most of the teams we play, are a lot closer then we are. But we do play some from Waco, and Odessa TX area, so they have to travel as far as we do.

And unfortunately, my kids school doesn’t offer soccer, so to play, they have to play select or rec. But to play rec where we live would be a big step down. My kids aren’t soccer dynamo’s, but they are little higher skilled than rec. It would be a step back in their development. I guess we could just quit but I would hate to see them give it all up, after playing since they were 5 and 6 years old!

There has to be something better we can do!

Of course I am sure this is more about making money, then getting the kids to play the game of soccer!

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Change Task Bar Location & Background Images – RPi

How to change the task bar location and add or change the background image or color, on the Raspbian Raspberry Pi Desktop!

Change Task Bar Location

When you first install the Raspbian OS and startup your Pi, you will notice the task bar location and application quick launch icons, are at the top of the desktop.

change task bar location

Did you know, the task bar can be moved to the bottom, left or right, of the desktop? And, you can edit the quick launch icons too? Here is how to do that.

1st, right click in a blank space of the task bar to bring up the task bar settings menu, and click on “Panel Settings” in the list.

taskbar preferences

Under the Geometry tab, you click on the location you want the task bar and it will move there. There are a few other settings there you can change, if you want to change the length and width, etc. Click OK to save the location.

panel loation

Edit the Quick Launch Icons

Usually, the default quick launch icons in the task bar are the web browser, file cabinet, terminal, Mathematica, and Wolfram. But these icons can be edited to what you want.

app launch barUnder the same Panel Settings menu where you changed the task bar location, click on the Panel Applets tab at the top.

It will bring up a box like the one here to the right. Click on Application Launch Bar in the list and then click on the Preferences button and it will show a box like the one below.

add remove apps

On the left side of the box, are the icons that are already there in the tray. Click on the ones you want to remove and click the remove button in the middle of the box. On the right side are applications you can add. Click on the ones you want to add and click add button in the middle of the box, at the top. You can also switch them around with the up and down buttons. Then click OK when done.

As an example,  I removed Mathematica and Wolfram icons and added the Sense HAT Emulator, to the quick launch tray.

task bar new app

How To Change the Background Image

With the new PIXEL desktop Raspbian update, you can choose from several images to use as a background. Just right click in any area of the current desktop background and it will bring up a window box with a list. Click on Desktop Preferences, at the bottom of that list.

desktop background

Then to change the background, click the little folder icon next to Wallpaper, to bring up other background image choices.

desktop preference

Choose the one you want (it shows a small thumbnail preview to the right) and click open and it will be set as your background image.

change background image

Or you can also just use a background color, if you want.

Just above the line that has the image, is the Wallpaper mode. Select “Fill with background color only” in the drop down list. Then adjust the color wheel and click on the color you want. Once done, click OK and then click close to close the box. Then the background will change to the color you picked.

bgcolor bgcolorselectok new background color

You can also use both, a color and a background image. Play around with these settings until you get the desired look you want, on your Raspberry Pi!

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Disk Cleanup – How to Help Speed Up Your Computer

slow computerDoes your laptop or desktop seem a little slow, or maybe a lot slower than it use to? Maybe you need to run a disk cleanup on your C: hard drive!

See, over time, lots of useless temporary files, system files and other stuff, builds up on your main hard disk, taking up space that can cause it to bog down. But with just a few clicks and Ok’s here and there, you can remove some of this clutter, and perhaps help make your computer run a little smoother! So here I will show you a simple way to do that.

How to do a hard disk cleanup!

file explorer1st, you will need to find your C drive: On windows 10, go to your start menu in the bottom left corner and click on it. When the menu pops up, look for the folder icon that will say File Explorer when you mouse over it, and click on it. On Windows 7, click on your start menu and look for “Computer” on the right side and click on it. 

Now in the left window pane, you should see a list, and you will find “This Computer”, and click on it. You should then see in the window to the right, Local Disk (C:), like in the pic below.

local disk c

Right click on the Local Disk (C:) and click on Properties, at the bottom of the list.computer

properties2Then you should see a box that looks like the one on the right, and under the tab that says General. Now click the button located a little more then half way down on the right that says, Disk Cleanup.

diskcleanup2

A box should pop up that says, Calculating how much space you will be able to free on (C): It might take a little while to go through that, depending on how much stuff has built up. When done, you should now see a box that has a list with boxes checked next to them.

disk cleanup

Check all the boxes in the list. It will not hurt anything to delete all of these files. Any system files that Windows uses that are shown in this list, get recreated as you use your computer. Then click on the Ok button at the bottom. Then another box will popup and ask if you are sure. Click, Delete Files. This also may take a little time depending on how much stuff was built up.

delete files

And there you go, you just cleaned the hard disk! You can do this as often as you want to. And, you can repeat the process to check if it did it.

Coming soon! I will also show you how to clean up your internet browser. So stay tuned! If you have questions, send me an email or post it in a comment below.

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Dirty Cow Linux Kernel Bug – Fix

Dirty Cow – DANGER WILL ROBERTSON!!!

It has been recently reported, that there is a bug in the Linux kernel, called “Dirty Cow”. It can effect some devices and computers running versions of Linux, like Android phones, web servers, and even the Raspberry Pi.
dirty cow bug

You can find out a little more information about this bug on The Hacker News blog. Also, here is a post on the RaspberryPi.org blog, on how to fix it on the Raspberry Pi.

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New Raspbian Desktop – PIXEL

Have you seen the new Raspbian desktop for the Raspberry Pi 3? 

The new Raspbian desktop has a smooth new look. And, it’s called PIXEL!

new raspbian desktop

So what is new?
It has a new startup splash screen. It comes with some scenic pics that you can use as the desktop background. There new icons for the desktop, program menu and taskbar. It also installs the chromium browser and real VNC (optional).

I think it’s pretty cool, though the chromium browser can bog things down a bit.

To learn more and get PIXEL, check out this blog post on the raspberrypi.org website!

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New Member Registration – Thank You!

new member registrationI have noticed an increase in new member registration and subscriptions to my blog this past week. I certainly appreciate it! I don’t know why you are here, because I know my blog isn’t all that. But it gives me some place to talk about things I enjoy doing and hope that it can help someone.

To the real people who have registered, thank you very much!

Come like me on Facebook!

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Text View, How to Easily Adjust the Font Size

Is the text view too small or large on the website you are viewing? Want to zoom in on that pic that doesn’t expand when you click on it?

I am in my mid 40’s and don’t have the eye site I use to, plus after looking at the screen for a while, things get a little fuzzy. I have reading glasses I am suppose to use, but often leave them somewhere in another room. So I will find myself squinting at the screen. Then I remember this tip to adjust the text on the “fly” without changing any settings on the computer. Works with most browsers like Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

change text view sizeTo zoom in, hold down the Ctrl key on your keyboard and press the plus key.  The Ctrl key is usually below your shift key, and the plus key (+) is located at the top of the keyboard, toward at the end of the row of numbers. To zoom out, hold down Ctrl and the minus key (-). The minus key is right next to the plus. You can press the plus or minus several times, to zoom in or out, to where you like it.

Happy, no more squinting!

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