Connecting a Raspberry Pi Using an Ethernet Crossover Cable and Internet Connection Sharing

I’m preparing for an upcoming speaking engagement around the topic of using Node.js and the Raspberry Pi for IoT applications. While at home, I enjoy the luxury of being the owner of my network which provides complete freedom in network configuration. On the road, I will not have this luxury whether it is at a hotel or when speaking at the conference.

Raspberry PiHere’s the problem I am trying to solve. While on the road, I want to be able to connect my laptop to the Wi-Fi hotspot on my phone rather than utilizing the wireless network at the conference location which might be fraught with both security and reliability issues. I also want to be able to get my Raspberry Pi system on the Internet. Additionally, I need my Raspberry Pi and my laptop to reside on the same network so I can easily connect and share files back and forth. Finally, I need this to be easy and foolproof so I’m not sweating on stage and trying to tweak Raspbian network configuration settings in order to establish network connectivity.

How about you? You might also have a similar need if you are seeking to get your Raspberry Pi on the Internet at a hotel, university, or other venue such as a conference. I’m going to show you how you can get your Raspberry Pi on the network when you are not connected to your home network using an Ethernet crossover cable.

I have read a lot of guides on the Internet, but they involve way too many steps. Surely there must be a better way that requires minimal fuss? Absolutely! Let’s get started! Continue reading


Right click on Windows folder and open with Visual Studio Code

I’m all about using Visual Studio Code for Node.js development.  It is a lightweight code editor and runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.  I enjoy it so much that I also use it for Node.js projects on the Raspberry Pi.  To accomplish this, I create a Windows file share on the RasPi as described in my Beginner’s Guide to Installing Node.js on the Raspberry Pi and map a drive on my Windows system to the RasPi.  I am then able to use VS Code to create my Node.js code and jump onto the RasPi to run the actual code.

Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled program…  Today’s topic is aimed at Windows users who are using Visual Studio Code and want to be able to right click on a given folder and launch VS Code.  We’re going to add a right click context menu item to “Open Folder as VS Code Project” since it saves time—and it’s more fun! Continue reading


Solution for Can’t Ping Raspberry Pi Hostname on the Network

In preparing for my upcoming tutorial which is a beginner’s guide to installing Node.js on a Raspberry Pi 2, I ran into an issue. After getting the RasPi is up and running on the network, I was not able to ping its hostname (raspberrypi, by default) from another machine and find it so I could connect to it through Putty, xrdp, VNC, etc.  After all, I wanted to be able to run headless and disconnect the monitor, USB keyboard/mouse, and still connect to it from another machine on my network.

One option was to run ifconfig on the RasPi and take note of the IP address for eth0 (if connected through Ethernet) or wlan0 (if connected through Wi-Fi).  I could then hard code this IP address in the hosts file on the Windows (or other) machine. The problem is that the RasPi retrieves its IP address through DHCP by default from my local router at home, and this IP address is not guaranteed to remain the same.  I could log into my router and note the static IP address range and reconfigure the RasPi to use one of these static IP address rather than DHCP.  However, I am preparing a beginner’s tutorial and not all of my readers want to become Linux TCP/IP networking experts.

I discovered an elegant solution if you are trying to ping and connect to the RasPi from another Windows machine on the same network.  Samba to the rescue! Continue reading


Launching a Windows Command Prompt in a Folder of Your Choice

Here’s a handy Windows shortcut I use quite frequently for launching a Windows command prompt in a specific folder using Windows Explorer. Thanks to fellow San Diegan Jon Galloway for teaching me this shortcut in one of his Microsoft Virtual Academy classes.

Scenario: You are navigating through Windows Explorer to a folder of interest and realize that you need to drop down into a command prompt to run a specific command in that folder. For example, you want to launch Visual Studio Code from the command prompt using code . in that folder.
Windows Explorer

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