Category Archives: Raspberry Pi

How to upgrade to the new Nano 5.0 on Mac and Pi

The Nano command line text editor has reached a new milestone: version 5.0.

There are the usual array of bug fixes and tweaks, but what caught my eye among the release notes was the introduction of a scroll indicator. This tells you where you are within a long file and is particularly good for mouse users so you can see where you’ve got to as you mouse-wheel through a document.

Nano 5.0 features a new scroll indicator on the right
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Spruce up the Nano text editor with syntax colouring and more

I use the Nano text editor for command line work. The version installed by Apple (2.0.6) is well behind the curve; use Brew to supersede it with the latest version (5.x at the time of editing).

Nano on macOS with syntax highlighting enabled — and much more
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Using the Z shell on the Mac and Pi

When Apple released MacOS Catalina, it decided to switch the default command line shell from the Bourne Again Shell, aka bash, to the Z Shell, aka zsh. One reason for this was that Apple installs a rather old version of bash, 3.3.57, to allow it to include the software under a licence it’s happy with. This isn’t a problem that affects zsh, so Apple can bundle a much more recent release.

That was no problem for me, either, because I long ago used Homebrew to install an up-to-date version of bash, 5.0.17, and have been happily using in preference to the Apple one. To do so yourself, run brew install bash and then go to System Preferences > Users & Groups. Unlock if you need to then right-click on your name in the left-hand column and select Advanced Options…. Now highlight the Login shell: field and set the path to your preferred shell, in this case /usr/local/bin/bash. Afterwards, you can enter echo $SHELL to confirm the change.

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Easy Ethernet access for a headless Raspberry Pi

This neat trick is implemented on the Raspberry Pi-based Twilio Developer Kit for Broadband IoT, with which I’ve been working a lot of late (as a Twilio staffer). It lets you connect a headless Pi to your main machine via Ethernet just be plugging in a cable. It also maintains the Pi’s own wireless connection to the Internet.

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How to view a Raspberry Pi desktop on an iPad

My exploration of using a mouse with an iPad got me thinking: since I log into my Raspberry Pi remotely using SSH and the app Termius, could I also run a remote desktop session on my iPad too?

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Raspberry Pi Knowledgebase added

I’ve created a page containing simple sets of instructions for some key — and not so widely used — Raspberry Pi setup tasks. The goal is to have a single source that I (and anyone else) can check when they need to look up what they should do to perform a specific action: setting up Node.js, for example, or using Dropbox.

You can find the Knowledgebase here.

Run a Raspberry Pi 4 from a USB 3.0 drive

The Raspberry Pi is notoriously tough on micro SD cards, which were never intended to be used as primary computer storage.

The Pi 4’s USB 3.0 bus presents a high-speed alternative to the SD card… almost. Unfortunately, you can’t yet boot the Pi 4 off a USB 3.0-connected drive (as you could with the Pi 3) but you can at least use USB for your primary storage and retain the Pi’s micro SD card solely for boot duties. This minimizes the risk to this fragile medium.

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