Crowdsourcing new Tips of the Day

One of the changes you’ll have noticed with our new site design is the addition of the Tip of the Day at the top of the home page. We’ve got enough tips to avoid having to cycle for a month or so at the moment – but we want more! This is where you come in.

We’re looking for a selection of useful hints and tips for using your Pi, which will always be the main focus of the Tip of the Day; but we’d also like to be able to include a few tips on…whatever you fancy, just every now and then. Got a one-sentence recipe for killer cheese on toast? A foolproof method for organising your inbox? A quotation that you think is life-changing? (At least as life-changing as killer cheese on toast, at any rate.) A neat idea for tidying cables? An elegant way to clear the sinuses? We want to share your tips with the readers of this site. Submissions, which should be short and snappy, in the comments please – and remember that you’re most likely to have yours picked if it’s a) something Pi-related or b) shocks us with its off-topic brilliance.


alex avatar

Great opportunity for some Linux tips. Here’s three off the top of my head…

1. reboot your pi with ‘sudo reboot’
2. see what storage you have connected with ‘df -h’
3. If you have an external HDD it will work much faster (x3) if you format it to ext4 (but it won’t work on windows)

Montekuri avatar

“A good power source is essential to your Pi”
“Use a powered hub usb to your external HD”

kirk avatar

“A good power source is essential to your Pi, so heres one:
Dual Port USB Power Supply with 3A outpout combined…perfect for Pi and friend”

Vareen avatar

1. Why are words merely reflected left-to-right in a mirror, and not also top-and-bottom? What’s so special about the horizontal axis?

2. Always go to the bathroom when you have a chance (King George V)

mahjongg avatar

Ah… an xkcd fan, I see!

I have one more:
3. Visit once a day!

Jcc10 avatar

And 1 more — Never import antigravity in python.

poglad avatar

1. ‘sudo sync’ to make sure all files are written to SD card.
2. ‘top’ to get a real-time display of running processes
3. Remember to back up SD card image from time to time!
4. apt-get install bsdgames for some classic Unix text games – adventure, wumpus, tetris, hangman, etc.
5. If you overclock too far and Pi stops working, hold down Shift during boot for ‘safe mode’.
6. Typing ‘file’ and a filename will display a description of the file’s contents.

alex avatar

2. top …. and Q to get out of top ;)

3. That should go on auto-repeat at least once a month

poglad avatar

Hehe yes!!!

Brian Hanifin avatar

Q to get out or top? Wow! You just blew my mind. I always flounder around trying to kill that process. :)

Brian Hanifin avatar

Q to get out or top? Wow! You just blew my mind. I have always floundered around trying to kill that process. :)

Brian Hanifin avatar

Note to admin: my double post occurred because the reply form did not disappear after I clicked “Post Comment”. A minute later I looked at my screen, saw the form still there and assumed I had forgot to submit it. :(

Norman Dunbar avatar

Hi Brian,

the new format of the blog appears to leave your previous comment in place when you post.

I found it best to refresh to ensure it posted, and hit the post button again if not.

It’s also disconcerting to find a reply on another topic pops up your previous reply as the default.



roland684 avatar

3. Back up your SD card image NOW!

psergiu avatar

sudo is nor required for sync

poglad avatar

Thanks psergiu – that should be a tip in itself. All the examples I’ve seen put sudo in, but you’re right, it works without it.

Thomas avatar

“Make a couple of sd cards for the pi ( etc. gaming , programming, and xbmc)”
“To run something in python 3 use python3 instead of python in the command line”
“Run python in ‘sudo’ to access the gpio pins”

poglad avatar

Thomas – “Make a couple of sd cards for the pi ( etc. gaming , programming, and xbmc)”

…and put a sticky label on the BACK of each card so that you can read it when it is sticking out of the Pi!

Haggishunter avatar

As it appears no-one’s said it yet:

A little potassium cyanide in the cheese will make a truly killer (and slightly almondy) cheese on toast.

3xBackup's avatar

SD cards don’t last forever! Always have at least one backup of any files that are important to you.

Eskimon avatar


bradley avatar

what do you get if you multiply six by nine?

(or in in it’s unformatted state: whatdoyougetifyoumultiplysixbynine?)

XTL avatar

tree -d can be handy for visual listing of directory structures.

time CMD will run CMD and display the amount of time it took. A quick way to measure long running operations.

pv when inserted into pipes will show progress and throughput. is a handy resource for tips, Q&A, and tutorials.

XTL avatar

If a command seems to get stuck, strace [-p pid] can be handy for a (near realtime) view of what’s happening. It has many other uses as well.

One is never (coding) alone with a rubber duck.

Nethack is an endless source of wonder and a sink of time. :)

Dan avatar

If you’re always using your phone charger to power your Pi, plug your phone into your Xbox instead.

A dollop of salad cream works wonders for cheese on toast.

Oliver avatar

Yeah, you said it!

Dominic Franchi avatar

Plant your pansies in spring time.
Russian proverbs
You do not get a hangover on other people’s Vodka
The sooner you go into jail the sooner you get out

Montekuri avatar

To watch youtube use yt and youtube-dl

Montekuri avatar

To configure keyboard and others things, use: sudo raspi-config

Michael Howell avatar

1) Run apt-get moo.
2) To keep your pi up-to-date, run sudo apt-get dist-upgrade .

tuxit avatar

Student Pizza:

Toast a slice of bread in a toaster, smear liberally with tomato ketchup when done, sprinkle with mixed herbs, cover in grated cheese, grill until cheese melts, eat, resume coding …

liz avatar

Reading that actually made me feel a little queasy. (And nostalgic for student days, when we really did subsist mostly on toast.)

Ben avatar

This actually made me lol. And it made my sister look at me weird (she’s watching TV like a normal human being – we all know little sisters aren’t normal :L)

mahjongg avatar

If you pull GPIO1 down, by connecting GPIO header pins 5 and 6 with a jumper, Raspbian will boot in “safe mode”.

Dr. Mouse avatar

‘If you pull GPIO1 down… Raspbian will boot in “safe mode”.’

OK, that’s a good tip I didn’t know. Thanks!

[Tim] avatar

Minor skin grafts can be performed on pigs by covering any cuts and grazes with thin strips of bacon

Bird avatar

Get fortune and cowsay and type “fortune | cowsay” to display a cow stating a random funny quote.

Dave Osborne avatar

Look for a wifi adapter on eBay, you can get a USB one compatible with the Pi for under £5

Norman Dunbar avatar

This one:

£2.98 + £0.98 P&P. Works perfectly on Raspbian, no extra drivers required.Powered from hub, not direct into Pi though.


Douglas Gore avatar

Did you know you can power your Pi from your TV’s USB port? Use the one marked USB (HDD) if available.

Noah Caldwell avatar

(P+L)(A+N) = (PA) + (PN) + (LA) + (LN)

I foiled your plan!

Norman Dunbar avatar

The “hostname -I” (capital i) will tell you the IP Address of your Pi.

Backup, backup backup.

The command “sudo amixer -cset numid=3 1” will send sound to the headphone socket. Use “sudo amixer numid=3 2” to return it to HDMI.

If at first you don’t succeed, skydiving probably isn’t the best sport to take up.

Learn from your mistakes.

If you can keep your head, while all around are losing theirs, you obviously don’t have a full idea of the problem!

Change the default password for the pi user, or, better still, add a new user and get rid of pi.

The Pi can do more than you or I can think of to do with it!

Never ever “tar” a file bigger than 8Gb (minus 1 byte). It will tar ok, but it will never untar and anything in the tar archive after it is lost. (See for a solution though!)

You can never have too many backups.

When making scones, where the recipe says add 100g dried fruit, add 300g instead. They are much nicer that way.

Read MagPi, the Magazine for Pi people, at

Use the source Luke, use the source.

That will do pig, that will do.


Norman Dunbar avatar

The ssh command can be used to run commands on a different machine – ssh user@server "ls -l /etc" for example. You will be prompted for the password.

Type sudo passwd root to give your root user a password. Now you can simple su - when you have lots of commands to execute as root, instead of having to put sudo in front of each one.

The world is your mollusc. [Terry Pratchett]

Scotland is the only country in the world where Coca Cola is not the best selling fizzy drink. barrs Irn Bru is the market leader in Scotland. (Clever Scots!)

Why do they put lightning conductors on churches?

A Pi in a PiBow is like a rainbow.

To keep up to date, regularly do sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade.

Learn Python.

Electronics is fun with a Pi, but don’t feed 5V down the 3.3V GPIO pin. It lets the magic smoke out!


3xBackup's avatar

I just do “sudo /bin./bash” when I have loads of commands to type in as root.

Ben avatar

And I use sudo su… Each to his own I guess :)

Andrew avatar

No! sudo -i is the one true way. All others are heresies ;)

Norman Dunbar avatar

Hi All,

it’s Linux, there’s always numerous ways to get something done. :-)


Norman Dunbar avatar

If running a Pi headless, make sure yo have activated the ssh system on the Pi.

Then, on your laptop that you connect to it on, the command ssh -X pi@raspberrypi will allow you ro run Pi GUI programs on your laptop.

Try the above, then type xclock & to see the Pi’s clock running on your computer.


Florent avatar

Mark V. Shaney’s quotes are life-changing e.g. “I Spent an Interesting Evening Recently with a Grain of Salt”.

Jeff avatar

Did you know… a raspberry (as in a rude sound) comes from the rhyming slang raspberry tart.

Mark avatar

Thanks! I always wondered at that usage.

David Gillies avatar

Use cvs, subversion or git for source control of code. Even for small projects it makes tracking the evolution of your project simple.

If you are operating on a large number of files and the command cannot handle the number of command line arguments, pipe the output of ls into xargs. E.g. to delete all files ending in *~ (emacs backup files): ls *~ | xargs -n 256 rm

find all files in current directory older than two weeks: find . -maxdepth 1 -type f -mtime +14

One I posted a while back:
if a process (‘producer’) on one machine writes to stdout and a process (‘consumer’) on a remote machine reads from stdin, they can be chained with SSH: producer | ssh user@host consumer

EdwinJ85 avatar

If you want to turn your pi into a file hub or media center, try adding a torrent client with a web interface so it can download files when you aren’t logged in and so you can control it from almost any machine in your home. It works great for me when I run Raspbmc. Instructions for how to do this are provided in the link below.

PS: try using the “top” command on the command line to see what is running on your pi under what user.

Peter Stevens avatar

If you eat chilli with your fingers, wash your hands before as well as after you go to the toilet.

liz avatar

Thanks for that, Pete…

Bj avatar

While it may sound delicious a raspberry pi is, in fact, not edible.

mahjongg avatar

Unless made with real raspberries… obviously.
Raspberry ice is also nice!

Bruce Richardson avatar

If you are running the Pi in GUI mode and you want to control the screen from a PC or Mac, have a look at Synergy.

It lets you run your mouse pointer off the side of your PC screen and onto the Pi’s screen. While the mouse pointer is on the Pi’s screen the keyboard will type to the Pi as well.

Dan Deufel avatar


“It’s no fun being stupid unless you can prove it publicly.”


“Nothing is impossible if you don’t have to debug the design.”

Peter Ryan avatar

Never put a sock in a toaster.
Never put jam on a magnet.
Never throw your Granny in a bag.
Never suck all the juice out of a vampire.
Never lean over on Tuesday.

Ben J avatar

Assume you’re trying to install a driver for a wifi dongle on your pi, but don’t know what package to install. Try typing ‘sudo apt-cache search X’, where ‘X’ is the chipset name or number of your dongle. This will give you a list of all of the packages you can install that contain whatever you typed in for X in the title.

Brian Hanifin avatar

Fedora: package search using ‘yum list {search_term}’.

Dinre avatar

Raspberry Pi tip:
Pure Data (puredata) is an excellent visual programming application for handling custom input, audio, video, and other crazy stuff. Use it to prototype your ideas or just to make wildly interactive audio and visuals. You can get up and running pretty quickly with the floss manual (, and soon you’ll be programming in real-time and doing crazy stuff like using an Xbox controller as midi input! Add a software hook and you can have custom input devices for any application.

Non-Raspberry holiday cooking tip:
Most people complain about baked chicken breasts being dry and not-so-tasty. This is because many recipes say to bake uncovered at 350F/175C for 45 minutes. Bake your chicken breasts covered at 400F/200C for 30 min, and they will be juicy and flavorful without adding any liquid at all. Personally, I like to butterfly the breasts and stuff the chicken with a tasty cheese and fresh spinach. 10 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking, and it’s a holiday dish that even impresses the in-laws!

paulie avatar

Capsaicin, the active ingredient in chillies, is fat-soluble (which is why yoghurt cools the burn)…
The ‘heat’ is measured in Scoville units.
Getting “Dave’s Insanity Sauce” in your eye is not recommended.

Marc avatar

Someone else knows about “Dave’s Insanity Sauce”. this is great news.

paulie avatar

Yep, on the bottle, it says “not for respiratory or heart complaints” or something like that….

Haggishunter avatar

Insanity sauce got me through my student days – when making rice & peas, one medium-sized drop replaces 2 Scotch bonnet peppers.

Jim bruges avatar

Easiest way to learn code is at !

Marc avatar

1. Wear rubber gloves when chopping Habanero peppers.
2. Take off the rubber gloves before ;
a. going to the lavatory.
b. scratching your eyelid.
3. Never sneeze with a full tank.

David Parrino avatar

“I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… and I’m all out of bubblegum.” – George Nada from They Live (1988)

Mark W avatar

Running headless and want to view a picture in ASCII in your SSH session, use Cacaview;

sudo apt-get install cacaview

Sample here;

BTW: -40 Celsius and -40 Fahrenheit are the same temperature.

Mike Grimwade avatar

Rules are there to make you think before you break them.

nigel young avatar

life is just virtual reality, don’t take it too seriously :-)

stuart avatar

Don’t buy a Pi until Rev 6 next year. 2,5GHz 2GB ram :)

tzj avatar

1. Books have endings, stories don’t.

2. You don’t get girls by playing with Lego, unless you get girls to play with Lego.

3. Operation This Will More Than Likely End Badly is a go!

4. ‘Synthetic’ reality and ‘Real’ reality are the same thing!

Mike Grimwade avatar

Love those first two

zelda2711 avatar

Tip of the day = …….nope, cant think of one

Don Brown avatar

It was a very great thing to have my wife even more confident than I was. She has always been that way.
– Henry Ford

psergiu avatar

Get a DC Voltmeter. The voltage between TP1 & TP2 points on the Raspberry Pi boards while running must be greater than 4.75V and lower than 5.25V. If it falls ouside those values, change your powersupply right away.

Need to make some quick computation while typing in a terminal ? Use “bc”, the Bignum Calculator (“sudo apt-get install bc” if you don’t have-it). It can handle Big numbers (try “12345^12345”). Use “scale=N” to set the floating point precision and “quit” to exit.

RTFM in Linux/BSD is very easy to do. Don’t know how to use a command ? “man command”. Want to find related commands ? Check the “SEE ALSO” chapter at the end of the man page.

Austin avatar

1( GUI’s are nice… but keep a good knowledge of Linux
2( Python and C/C++ make a great pair

Zachary Unferth avatar

If you can’t find Mozilla Firefox in Debian repo it is actually called Iceweasel.

Gert avatar

First rule of debug: what was the last thing you changed?
Second rule of debug: occam’s rasor.
Third rule of debug: whatever remains however improbable must be the bug.

Mike Grimwade avatar

Surely the first rule of debug is “Don’t talk about debug”?

Gert avatar

That is when you exchange information with management. There are no problems there are no bug there are (Quote from Dilbert):
“Issues, Challenges and valuable Work experiences”.

bjh avatar

Add this to your sibling’s ~/.login file:
echo sleep 1 >> ~/.login

Daniel Waterworth avatar

Simplicity is a prerequisite for reliability.

Edsger W. Dijkstra

Andy avatar

ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?

Todd Cowley avatar

Endless Loops.
10 Load a YouTube video of one of Eben’s talks
20 Drink if he says Uh
30 Goto 20


Norman Dunbar avatar

To run the Pi’s GUI applications, when the Pi is runing headless, do this on the computer you are using to attach to the Pi:

ssh -X pi@raspberrypi

Obvioulsy, replace “pi@raspberrypi” with your correct username and alias/IP address. You will get a shell as normal, but type in a GUI application’s command, for example:

xclock &

And the GUi will appear on your computers desktop. (Ahem, not if you are running Widnows it won’t!)

You need the trailing ampersand to run the job in the background and to free up your shell ready to execute more programs.


Chewy avatar

“…A quotation that you think is life-changing? (At least as life-changing as killer cheese on toast, at any rate.)”

“Which is more likely: that the whole natural order is suspended, or that a jewish minx should tell a lie?” ~ David Hume

Happy Holidays.

Andrew Wilson avatar

Probably the latter, on its own. But to find truth we need more than likelihood and probability. Who’d have said you could get a linux computer for under twenty quid ten years ago?
Happy Christmas!

Finnbar Keating avatar

1 If in doubt, use sugru. Probably.
2 If in doubt, try it anyway. And film the result. It could be helpful!
3 There is no rule 3.
4 If you’re messing about with audio, try pd-extended. It even has its own rPi build!
5 Enjoy it. I don’t know what “it” is, but it should probably be enjoyed.

timothy3592 avatar

use the alias command to make macros in bash eg. adding alias off=’sudo halt’ to your .bashrc makes powering off safely a breeze. WARNING! aliasing cat to rm may cause rPi to burst into flames

bradley avatar

when using veet for men always read all the instructions before use

Slaybel Zring avatar

1: Want more detail during your terminal-based program installation antics? Try running sudo aptitude – press ? once it’s running in order to see how it all works. You can also use aptitude instead of apt-get when installing programs ( sudo aptitude install yourprogramhere ).

2: Remember you’re a Womble!

3: Interested in setting up your Raspberry Pi for playing computer games? A wealth of knowledge is available in the Gaming section of the forum – .

Nathanael Smith avatar

Nuclear Fusion is the energy souce of the future – and always will be.

Nathanael Smith avatar

I don’t like russian dolls – they’re too full of themselves.

Andy avatar

If Linux appears too daunting for a beginner, why not try RISC OS?

Steve Amor avatar

Programmers are advised to wear gloves when using a kango hammer. You don’t want to damage those “office hands” :-)

SiriusHardware avatar

Something I genuinely had to look up a little earlier:

‘To clear the screen from the Linux command prompt, press CTRL and L at the same time’.

Guy Good avatar

Is the Tip of the Day archived anywhere? It would be helpful to have all the tips available because some may be over a users head today and helpful as their knowledge grows.

Andrew Wilson avatar

Whilst enjoying, but continuously struggling with doing simple tasks on command line Raspbian, (coming from a windows background), I took comfort in this – Jesus said: “in this world you will have trouble!” (John 16:33)

Roger Carter avatar
Patrick T avatar

I had an idea the other day for some tips of the day that could really make a difference to a few lucky people, unlucky enough to need the tips in the first place. This incluede apocalyptic survival tips and other comical, but factual information. Here are two off the top of my head:

“In case of nuclear attack, DO NOT look at the initial explosion! The blast, however beautiful, is literally blinding in most circumstances.” Paraphrasing may be necessary.
“If your car is stuck under a downed power line, jump from the vehicle instead of stepping out. This will insure that you are not electrocuted.”
Odds are these aren’t the kind of tips you want to show, I thought I would put them here for fun anyway.

SimonSmall avatar

Is this still open for suggestions?

“The answer might be ‘It just works’ but Raspberry Pi users should want to know why and how”

Luis Fernando Restrepo avatar

Here’s mine, from personal experience:

Don’t type rm -r -f path use rm path -r -f instead and double check path (you don’t want your root directory gone).

David avatar

!! or !-1 will repeat the last command you typed. !-2 the last but one and so on. If you don’t want to execute it, type !!:p

history will show all of your command history. !23:p will show your 23rd command, !23 will execute it again.

TypeOerrorist avatar

Wisdom is the booby prize given when you’ve been unwise. ‘Piet Hein’

and or any other Piet Hein quotes that seam fitting ;}

Dave avatar

Adding a vegetable stock cube to cheese sauce makes cauliflower & broccoli cheese amazing!

Comments are closed