Friday, 2 November 2012

Pikea: A Custom Raspberry Pi Enclosure From an Ikea Plastic Food Container

After a long and disappointing[1] wait for my Raspberry Pi, friend and colleague Barry Carroll graciously gifted his one to me before I departed for Canada.

I finally got around to setting up OpenElec 2.0 on it as a media server to use in conjunction with my DNS-323 NAS, which works really well when you add the Android XBMC Remote into the mix.

I wanted an enclosure to keep it tidy and contained. A lot of the mass-produced ones available online are quite expensive so I had a rummage around the house to see what would suit. I found a small plastic  food container that my wife and I had purchased a few days earlier in Ikea; I believe it's part of the PRUTA set.

The board of Pi was big enough to fit in the top of the container but too big for the Pi to sit in the bottom of it.

All of the openings I created free hand using a Stanley (utility) knife, so if you feel like creating your own, use extreme caution! Alternatively, something like a Dremmel would be a good choice, but I didn't have one to hand.

I only made holes for the connections I'm using; HDMI, Ethernet, power and SD card. I marked holes for the USB and audio jack in case I need access to them in future. Making a hole for the RCA video connector was necessary, otherwise the Pi wont fit in this container.

Finished enclosure with ventilation holes in the lid

Notches were cut out for the corners of the board to make sure it remained seated. This also steadied the Pi when inserting/removing cables.

[1] - This deserves a blog post in its own right; suffice to say that Farnell/UPS made two failed attempts to deliver my Raspberry Pi to my office - an address that I've seen a UPS van outside of almost every day.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Making Konsole the Default Terminal in Linux Mint 12

Last week I upgraded from Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) to Linux Mint 12 (Lisa). One thing that bothered me in Lisa was the lack of ability to select a terminal in the Preferred Applications settings; something that was available in Natty. My preference is to use Gnome Classic and to have Konsole as my default terminal.

Although not explicitly available in the settings, setting a preferred terminal was not as difficult as I thought it would be. Gnome uses GConf2 to handle these kind of settings. Using the gconf-editor on Natty, I could see that there was a setting entry for a terminal at /desktop/gnome/applications/terminal

On disk, this setting is stored in


In Lisa, there is no path to this file on disk, so lets sort that out. First install konsole, or your terminal of choice

sudo apt-get install konsole

Find the location of the konsole command. This is needed below:

noel@behemoth ~ $ which konsole

Now create the setting

mkdir -p ~/.gconf/desktop/gnome/applications/terminal/
vim ~/.gconf/desktop/gnome/applications/terminal/%gconf.xml

In Vim, paste in the following text and save (:wq). 

<?xml version="1.0"?>
  <entry name="exec" mtime="1337527678" type="string">
  <entry name="exec_arg" mtime="1336942220" type="string">

With that in place, you should see your favorite terminal used with the Launch Terminal keyboard binding:

System Settings > Keyboard > Shortcuts 

Within Nautilus, the "Open in terminal" still launches the Gnome terminal. I suspect this is because Nautilus is a compiled dependency.