When What You Need Don’t Meet Your Eyes

A few days ago I was out in the branches installing these new Raspberry Pi based digital signs I’ve been working on. It’s exciting to have them rolling out and living on their own but I ran into a couple of snags (more on that later) that necessitated a little change in how things are done. Nothing Earth shattering, but it was one of those things that you deal with when it happens. In this case, I needed to get content off of a server that the Pis couldn’t reach and put that stuff on the Pi directly instead of having it call it remotely.

Fine. I’ll just download that stuff on my trusty MacBook Air, pop it on a flash drive, and put it on the Pi that way.

Yet after rummaging through my bag, I realized that I didn’t actually have a USB flash drive on me. I knew exactly where it was when I discovered I didn’t have it, but the short story is that it was miles away and I needed it now. I look at my setup and what I have on hand. MacBook Air, Pi, cables that won’t work to transfer data between the two, Kindle eInk, WiFi dongle… wait a second.

The Kindle eInk contains flash storage formatted in FAT 32 which can be read by both my MacBook and the Pi! And of course I have a cable to charge it which means I have the cable to plug it in for data transfer!

So I hook up to my MacBook and bring down the content I need from the remote server, saving it directly to a folder on the Kindle eInk. Eject the device, pop it over on the Pi, and there we go! The Pi mounts it as a removable storage and I drag and drop the content where I need it!

I probably could’ve made it work through my Galaxy Note 3, but that would’ve taken work and a little configuration. The Kindle eInk? All I had to do was plug it in. Always remember that, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably carrying a little more file storage than you’re aware of. When you need to do a simple thing, chances are you can probably still do it, even if you have to hobo through your bag for a less than obvious solution.

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