Business English: Computers – The Raspberry Pi

The text is about the new Raspberry Pi Computer. Some phrases about computers are highlighted in bold. Don’t forget to answer the quiz and the discussion questions. If you want a pdf version of this article click here.

The words Raspberry and Pie are normally found together on a restaurant’s dessert menu but not anymore. The Raspberry Pi has nothing to do with raspberries or pies but it is proving to be far more popular than either. In fact, it looks set to revolutionise the computer industry and strike a serious blow to the current big name computer manufacturers like Apple and HP. The Raspberry Pi is a computer, a basic one but a computer nonetheless. It may not look like the kind of desktop or laptop you would find in a computer store but it’s not meant to either. Its creators offer the core components of a computer at a rock bottom price which is why it doesn’t even have a case. In essence, it’s a tiny single circuit board which includes a 700 MHz processor, 256 MB of RAM, and a powerful GPU capable of running high quality games and 3D applications. Connectivity is a key word when talking about the Raspberry Pi because it’s aimed at getting young kids into programming and IT. This is why the computer comes with an Ethernet port for internet connection, an SD memory card slot for storage, 2 USB sockets for a keyboard and a mouse and an HDMI output for hooking it up to a screen. The result is a lot of freedom for the user as they can just add more USB sockets and thus more devices and hardware like external storage. You won’t find Microsoft Windows 7 or even Apple’s Lion OS on this computer. Instead, the Raspberry Pi comes with the latest free Linux OS which is Open Source. The company also plans to develop its own App store for mini programmers to share their programmes. Due to programmes like Open Office any Raspberry Pi owner will be able to download and use word processors and spreadsheet packages as good as Microsoft Office, but for no cost. So, how much do you think this computer is worth? Well, it was selling at $35 but now the improved model has gone down to just $25. Sadly, the website crashed within 2 minutes of it going on sale and because of manufacturing issues, you may have to wait a while to get your hands on one.   Watch the owner of the Rasberry Pi company talk about this low-cost computer invention.   [poll id=’32’]

Computer phrases

To revolutionise sthg
To change it radically
To strike a serious blow
To have a large impact
Core components
The important parts of a computer
Rock bottom price
Extremely cheap
The plastic/metal box the computer is in
Circuit board
A flat electronic board with connected components
Megahertz or a measurement for microprocessor speed
Megabyte or a large unit of information
Random Access Memory or data than can be accessed in any order
Graphics Processing Unit or an electronic chip to manage graphics
Small programs
Getting young kids into programming
Making them interested in making computer applications
Information technology or computing
To do with connecting a computer to a network
Secure Digital
Universal Serial Bus or a connector for attaching various devices
High-Definition Multimedia Interface
Operating System
Open Source
Free for everyone to download, use and develop
To get your hands on one
To own one

Discussion questions

1. Which kinds of people will buy the Raspberry Pi? 2. Is this the future of the computer industry? 3. Will it create a new generation of computer programmers?   Here’s a full lesson on the Raspberry Pi for teachers:

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