Make your own personal notification center with Raspberry Pi

Two ways to use Raspberry Pi as a personal notification center.

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Make your own notification center with Raspberry Pi

Two ways to make your own personal notification center (or dashboard) with a Raspberry Pi and stay organized!

Skill Level: Intermediate / Advanced

I wanted to write this and showcase you can turn an extra screen, and a raspberry pi into an awesome HUD dashboard for your organized life. If you’re a nerd like me, you’ve always loved the futuristic HUDs you’d see in movies or cartoons. Now it’s possible to have them yourself!

There are 2 options I will show you on how to turn a raspberry pi and an extra screen into your own personal dashboard. If you don’t have a raspberry pi already, you can find them on Amazon, I recommend a kit package just so that you have everything right away.

Now, because I spend a lot of my time browsing tutorials and doing DIY projects, I’d like to make this concise and focused as I can. With technology, the same thing can get done multiple ways, so I will be linking to already made tutorials and further explanations of the necessary steps.

There are quite a few small prerequisite steps to get everything running correctly, and I will be linking the extra details of those steps in conjunction with mine to the others whom have already created awesome tutorials. Ready to get started?

Step 1: Hardware & Accessories

Extra Screen

Raspberry Pi

Wifi Dongle/Ethernet Cable

HDMI Cable

SD Card

Take your assembled Raspberry Pi, hook it up to a screen, and turn it on!

If you need help setting up your Raspberry Pi from the package, there is “The always up-to-date guide to setting up your raspberry pi”.

Step 2: Prerequisites

Download the latest version of raspberry pi from raspberrypi.org and format the microSD card (I use win32diskimager).

Once you boot your Raspberry Pi, go to raspi-config.

Once in Raspi-config there are a few steps:

1) Expand the file system

2) Enable SSH

3) Auto boot to desktop

4) Change some of the internationalization options.

I left the account as the standard “pi” on mine since this is only a local device – no outside access. However, it is most recommend you change the account/password from default settings for security reasons.

STRONGLY ENCOURAGED: I would recommend setting a static IP for your Pi. There are two options to do this. You can setup a dhcp reservation on the router, or you can modify the /etc/network/interfaces file on the Pi itself. In the interfaces file, modify the line that says:

  • iface eth0 inet dhcp
    
  • to the below (with your data filled out instead of “x”). Breakdown instructions – here:
    iface eth0 inet static
    address x.x.x.x
    netmask x.x.x.x
    network x.x.x.x
    broadcast x.x.x.x
    gateway x.x.x.x
    
  • Reboot the device

Once your device is booted up, run the usual update process of:

sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo-apt get update

One your Raspberry Pi is on, there are 2 routes you can go here depending on the type of information you’d like to have displayed on your dashboard.

OPTION 1: Pre-Customized Dashboard

  1. Instal Chromium + iChrome Extension

This one is really quick to setup but is limited in the information it can show you. However, this is perfectly adequate for most people. iChrome allows you to add and adjust widgets that can connect to your calendar, email, social media, news, maps, and more!

To setup, simply go to your terminal and input

$ sudo apt-get install chromium

If you run into any errors, try running

$ sudo apt-get update

and then re-run the first command again.

Once chromium is installed, open it and go to extensions, from there search for iChrome and they have an excellent step by step process to get setup!

______________________________________________________

OPTION 2 – Personally Customized Dashboard

  1. Setup a web server for custom web page.

To install a custom web page and server there are 2 great tutorials setting this up from the Raspberry Pi team here and Readwrite here.

2. Once you configured your pi and have a web page up and running, make a list and compile the embedding codes of what information you’d like to display (suggestions below) in a text editor.

This step can take awhile in terms of styling and optimizing the code to fit on an HTML/PHP page.

  1. Setup custom web page

With a web page, depending on your skill the possibilities are just about endless.

There are some great HTML starting templates here.

Here are a lot of options to embed applications into your website.

News/RSS Feed Widgets:

Feed Grabbr 

MikleFeed

RSSFeedWidget

Map:  I used

I used Google Maps and showed local traffic. It’s a little time consuming and you need to create an API key to show the data. Tutorial here.

Weather:

Forecast.io

Wunderground

Calendar:

Google Calendar, tutorial for embedding by Lifewire, here.

Conclusion:

I’ve fiddled with both of these options on dashboards multiple times. I’m in the process of designing another dashboard again…So I’m happy to update this tutorial with any crowd interest or provide further information if anyone gets stuck. Hope you find it useful, they’re pretty fun to have and have actually shown to be extra useful some days. They also make for a great conversation piece 🙂

 

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