You asked, Eben answered!

You might be one of the people who took part in the #AskEben questions on Twitter and YouTube last week. Here are Eben’s answers, kindly filmed and edited in a rock-and-roll style by the muscly George from element14.

These are worth a watch. They’re not the questions we usually get asked around here, a few of them had me choking on my glass of water with either horror or laughter, and some of you (UKScone, Romilly) might recognise your questions on the list.



bobbintb avatar

so, is eben tired of all these interview questions yet?

Whoop John avatar

There was a response from Ebeneezer about the restrictive number of USB ports, ie when you have a keyboard and a mouse that’s your two ports gone, so where do you stick your, erm, USB stick if you don’t have a powered external USB hub?

Well I am using a Mac Pro keyboard and this has two USB ports built into the keyboard.

I am happily running both the mouse and a USB stick from the USB ports on the Mac keyboard, which still leaves a USB port free on the RasPi.

Whether there is enough boiler pressure to power yet another device in that spare USB slot I don’t know. Perhaps I’ll slip another shilling in the meter and see what happens…

liz avatar

We don’t recommend you do that because the Raspi doesn’t negotiate for power, so your experience could go sour very suddenly.

And happily for us all, he was christened Eben, not Ebeneezer or Eben-anything-else!

PhilW avatar

Just as a matter of interest, and without wishing to intrude on anyone’s personal preferences – Ebenezer is originally from an incident in the Hebrew Scriptures being a composite of Eben=stone, and ezer=help i.e. a stone to commemorate help received. Apart, possibly, from the Charles Dickens connotations, it’s a great name. As indeed is Eben.

Whoop John avatar

Sorry for making the assumption that Eben was short for Ebeneezer. Eben is still a geezer. Are you an Elizabeth or would that be a further assumption?

I’ll try not to fry the Pi by using too much juice.

Plugging the same set of three devices, namely keyboard, optical mouse and crucial memory stick into my Mac, system profile reports a current requirement of 50ma for the USB keyboard hub itself, 50ma for the Apple Pro keyboard, 100ma
for the mouse and 100ma for the memory stick itself. So I am drawing 300ma max total.

liz avatar

Nope – definitely an Elizabeth. (And no offence at all taken – in fact, when introducing Eben to new people I often say “like the first bit of Ebeneezer,” because Bayesian inference makes most people mishear his name as Evan or Adam or something otherwise.)

Whoop John avatar

I am pleased about that, because when Eben gets his knighthood, and he will for sure, I think that lady Elizabeth has a much better ring to it than Lady Liz.

Paul Johnson avatar

Liz seems good enough for the Queen herself though!

alex avatar

I have keyboard and mouse running from one wireless dongle. Logitech MK260 set. It uses 0.1 watt and leaves the other USB port free – happy days.

WASD avatar

He did forget to mention that an external harddrive requires it’s own power supply.

James avatar

“kindly filmed and edited”

I initially read as

“kindly flamed and edited”

Well, maybe they did that too. :-)

Thomas Berends avatar

You ship ‘Midori’ as the default webbrowser. Can I run other elementary-software on the device? Or maybe Elementary OS itself?

bobbintb avatar

he kind of avoided the lock stock and two smoking barrels question.

Alex avatar

I’ve checked the amperage on most of the micro-usb chargers I can get my hands on (managed to lose my kindle one), a list of commonplace wall-warts that are powerful enough for the Pi would be great. Also, most of the wifi adapters that have been examined are tested on a powered hub, it’d be good to see a list of low power usb wifi adapters for use in robot based projects.

Andy avatar

I can’t view these videos from my R-Pi!!! Is there any way other than VNC to a Windows box or setting up a VM?

liz avatar

You can, actually – use XBMC!

reiuyi avatar

U vraagt wij draaien!

Frank Buss avatar

Interesting questions, but I missed my question, maybe too technical and not of general intereset: I’ve written an I2C driver for the BSC (with interrupts), which meanwhile is integrated by bootc in the Linux I2C framework ( ) but read/write transactions are limited to 64k by the chip registers of the BSC module. Is it possible to transfer more bytes in one transaction, without sending a stop condition, new start condition and address byte in between?

Michael avatar

He’s so dreamy… *sighs*

mahjongg avatar

well, there has been some discussion on what to call RPI expansion boards, similar to the well know board for the arduino, which are famously called “shields”.
So now we know from Ebens mouth that they are called “plates”, I think that more or less settles it, unless there will be different names for “shield” like boards, and the (much bigger) boards connected through a “vine” (flatcable) like the “gertboard”.

jardiamj avatar

I also get the power from caffeinated and sugared beverages… haha.

Chris avatar

It will support a Hard Drive connected to USB??? Requiring 500ma?

I’ll just plug in My WD USB-Powered Hard Drive and expect it to work.

No reference to a Powered USB Hub?

You might want to revisit the Questions vs. Answers.

Q. Is the “Sound” fixed yet?

Chris avatar

I’m guessing that there is a big “K-NOT”

Christophe C. avatar

Video is blocked by my work firewall … any chance a transcript would exist ? (… yeah, I know the likelyhood of a “yes” answer)

paulmac avatar

so nice to see this sort of engagement with community. Thank you all for taking the time to talk to us! :-)

bradley avatar

RISC OS is *not* the first OS on an ARM. Arthur pre-dates it. Dunno if owt existed earlier tho.

(And chocolate is far far nicer than caffinated/sugared beverages)

Wouter avatar

Arthur and RISC OS are not two distinct operating systems, for this they share too many components, like the original Arthur OS core, API interfaces and modular structures. Older are the never published ARX and the program that was in the bootrom of Acorn’s ARM Evaluation System (a Second Processor for a BBC Microcomputer).

Isaac Smith avatar
Tim avatar

Any plans for a pi-successor with ARMv7 for example?

Crundy avatar

Sheesh! Check out the hair on the woman at 06:38. That’s just being greedy.

aditsu avatar

At the end when he was talking about add-on boards, I first thought he said Atom boards. Wow, that would be cool, and quite revolutionary I think. But it will probably take some more years before Atoms could fit in the desired price range.

RicardoRix avatar

Really liked this feature, my favourite of all the video’s you’ve posted. Some good broad ranging questions and really good straight talking answers. I think this kind of attitude will stand you in good stead against other bigger commercial projects, you get a nice by the people for the people vibe – much more appealing than watching microsoft or apple adverts on the telly.

nicolas avatar

What about a low latency IOs card for external world interaction ?

A means a bunch of analog to numeric converter read in a raw every ms, and a bunch of pwm signal updated in a row every ms too. Most of the time USB stuff have terrible latency and very few IOs.

The goal is to use a DMA to read and write every IOs each ms, without loosing lot of cpu cycles by managing conversion one by one. This is needed for robotics and very hard to do with typical system using a PC + a microcontrolor (because the only common connection between the 2 is RS232 !).

Andy avatar

HI, re the MAC keyboard and mouse. If I use these either with the mouse plugged into the keyboard or both devices plugged directly to the PI board, intermittently it stops recognising keystrokes for a few seconds. Load midori under x windows and it is even worse typing in the url bar. Have tried amazon kindle power supply and blackberry one too. Is this just not going to work?

Lob0426 avatar

You are using the keyboard ad a hub so it is drawing power for two devices from one port. Use one in each port of the RasPi and it should work fine. There is 140ma maximum on each port. The keyboard probably draws 100ma and the mouse 25 to 50ma. Slightly over the max for one RasPi port.

dbhas avatar

“256MB should be enough for anyone”

That cracked me up

Chris avatar

Bill Gates said “640K should be enough for anyone”

Ralph Corderoy avatar

“Will it heat up? Can you use it for long periods of time?”

“If you drive the core pretty hard, you can probably heat it up to around about body temperature, it’s very hard to get it to go above that. Even somewhat overclocked, it’s still passively cooled to a safe temperature.”

Good to see Eben’s innuendo rise to the occasion!

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