DIY : Software Setup For My Smart Mirror – Mitchell Marino – Medium

Setting Up Raspbian

I decided to use Raspbian, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s official supported operating system (a Linux distribution), to run my Raspberry Pi.

Downloading Raspbian

I downloaded a Raspbian OS Image from the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s website on my PC. I made sure to download Raspbian Stretch with Desktop and not the minimal image (which only has a command-line interface) because the Operating System requires a GUI to display the MagicMirror interface.

Once the download was completed I used 7zip, an open source file archiver that supports many formats, to unzip the Raspbian Image.

Flashing the Micro-SD Card

“Flashing the SD card” refers to writing an OS image to the SD card. My PC did not have an SD card reader, so I used a Kingston USB 3.0 Card Reader which allowed the micro-SD to be read from and written to like a USB device.

A Kingston USB 3.0 Multi-Card Reader.

I used a free open-source software called Etcher to flash the Raspbian OS image onto my micro-SD card. Etcher is a simple SD card flasher app that works on any platform.

Using Etcher is a three step process:

  1. Select the OS image on your file system.
  2. Select the drive to flash the OS image onto.
  3. Press Flash!
Some screenshots of the Etcher interface, before and while flashing the micro-SD.

Booting the Raspberry Pi

Now that the OS image was flashed onto the micro-SD card, it was time to boot the Raspberry Pi! I slotted the micro-SD into my Raspberry Pi and turned on the power, where I was greeted by the Raspbian Desktop.

The Raspbian Desktop on the Raspberry Pi.

The first thing I did was setup RealVNC so that I could control the Raspberry Pi from my PC. This required RealVNC connect on the Raspberry Pi and realVNC viewer on my own PC. After some configuration, this allowed me to remotely control the Raspberry Pi with ease from my PC, rather than plugging my mouse, keyboard, and monitor directly into the Pi.

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