Technology and Internet

Making the most of your dusty Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi was one of those projects that were “godsent” (just like Arduido). A cheap and very small computer that would let the little ones and also older folks learn, explore, prototype and build lots of things that  previously would be inaccessible to many.

So in this post I want to give you some tips and ideas of things you could do with that Raspberry Pi you have unused in the drawer. The main objective is to set it up once, configure some services and utilities that are useful in several areas.

Protect the entire household from Ads

One awesome project you can easily install on your device is Pi-hole, which you can setup with a simple command and by changing the DNS entries of your router’s DHCP settings, it will let you have all of the devices in your network automatically “protected” against those Ad networks that try to track your Internet usage.

Protect your communications when not at home

Other tool that is very easy to setup and can help you when you are abroad or using insecure networks, is the PiVPN project. You will be able to create your own virtual private network, that will route your communications through your chosen network (home network for example), protecting the traffic and also letting you access your devices that are on the given network as well.

Extra Tip: Use this together with the Pi-hole’s DNS server to block the advertisements and tracking requests anywhere you go, by adding:

push "dhcp-option DNS <IP OF YOUR PI'S TUN0 INTERFACE>"

to your “/etc/openvpn/server.conf” (a restart is needed) and changing the “Interface Listening Behavior” to “Listen on all interfaces” on Pi-Hole’s administration.

Check who’s at Home or at the office

This one is a little more tricky to setup, but it might worth it when you need to know when somebody is at home or at the office. The Pi-sensor-free-presence-detector, makes use of your local network to check which devices are connected and then you can link to a person based on who’s the owner.

Other Stuff

For those who want to take things one step further and take control of many of the usual web applications you can take a look at the Freedom Box project. You can install it on your Raspberry Pi and configure many applications on your own server.

By Gonçalo Valério

Software developer and owner of this blog. More in the "about" page.