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ProPublica’s new “50 states” commitment builds on a decade-plus of local news partnerships
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May 17, 2013, 2:07 p.m.
LINK: blog.mattwaite.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Joshua Benton   |   May 17, 2013

Matt Waite — ex-Tampa Bay Times and Politifact, currently professing at the University of Nebraska — promotes the Raspberry Pi as a Trojan horse for newsroom IT. (Trojan horse in the sneaky-way-to-get-around-obstacles sense, not in the malware sense.)

Unfamiliar with the Pi? The Model B Pi is a $35 computer that’s about the size of a deck of cards. It’s got an ethernet port, and you supply the hard drive in the form of an SD card, the keyboard, mouse and monitor. Now, for $35, you’re not getting a ton of horsepower, but for simple repetitive tasks it works great.

What kind of simple, repetitive tasks? Let’s pretend for a second that you wanted to set up a scraper that dumped data into a database every hour. Ideally, you’d have a server somewhere and you’d set up a task on it — I like using ‘nix’s cron for things like this — and off it would go, mindlessly gathering data for you and putting it into a database. You could then go about your life, stopping by from time to time to get that data and do whatever you’re going to do with it. So you ask newsroom IT for this and, of course, the answer is no. And no we won’t give you the money to run this in the cloud for a few bucks a month either.

Enter the Pi.

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