Raspberry Pi made an AI PC worth tinkering with

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Hi, friends! Welcome to Installer No. 41, your guide to the best and Verge-iest stuff in the world. (If you’re new here, welcome, hope you like gaming gadgets and silly spy movies, and also you can read all the old editions at the Installer homepage.)

This week, I’ve been reading about the tough times at Humane and how Suicide Squad flopped, watching the TikTok dancing cult documentary and Furiosa, swapping my crappy Roku for a slightly less crappy Apple TV, listening to a lot of WikiHole, mixing up new mocktail recipes, and testing the Phanpy app for all things fediverse.

I also have for you a new Raspberry Pi accessory, an incredibly well-liked movie to watch this weekend, a couple of fun tech books, some gaming gear, and lots more. Let’s do it.

(As always, the best part of Installer is your ideas and tips. What are you into right now? What should everyone else be as into as you are? Tell me everything: email installer@theverge.com, share with @imdavidpierce on Threads, or find me on Signal @davidpierce.11. And if you know someone else who might enjoy Installer, tell them to subscribe here.)

The Drop

  • The Raspberry Pi AI Kit. This is my kind of AI PC: a super simple $70 kit that works with a Raspberry Pi 5 and gives you a surprising amount of power with which to do simple processing tasks. I don’t even know what I’ll use this for! But I’m getting one anyway.
  • Hit Man. A bunch of very smart people have said this comedy-action-thriller Netflix flick is one of the best movies of the year. And why not? Richard Linklater directs, Glen Powell stars, it’s based on an all-timer of a magazine article. I cannot wait to watch.
  • Dark Wire. This is as good a premise for a book as I’ve ever seen: the story of the FBI’s secret tech startup, designed to track some of the world’s most sophisticated criminals. A few places have published excerpts, and I already can’t put this book down.
  • Building SimCity. Two books this week! You love to see it. This is a story all about SimCity, yes, but also about the history of computer simulation, with lots of photos and diagrams to go with it. One for the coffee table for sure.
  • The new Rivian R1. Same look, same funky headlight design, totally new car underneath. A lot of what Rivian’s doing here is clearly just to keep costs down, but this continues to be the EV I lust after the most.
  • The Acolyte. This is a very different kind of Star Wars story, set in a very different time and place, told from a very different point of view, all of which I definitely think is a good thing. The reviews seem pretty mixed so far, but I’m excited to give it a whirl.
  • Sequel 2.3. A very cool update to the Installerverse’s favorite media tracking app for Apple devices. The new feature is called Magic Lookup, and it lets you send a URL to the app and have it automatically parsed and dumped into your lists. Perfect for saving those “20 things coming to Netflix this month” things you see all over the place.
  • The ModRetro Chromatic. The retro gaming hardware boom we’re in right now is just the best thing. And this, a $199 Game Boy homage from a team led by Palmer Luckey, looks great. It’s not shipping until the end of the year, but it’s up for preorders now.
  • The Asus ROG Ally X. Speaking of portable consoles! This one’s a lot bigger, a lot more expensive, and a lot more ambitious than the Chromatic — but it also sounds pretty great. Maybe this is the first Windows handheld that can really stand up to the Steam Deck?
  • Comfort Zone. Fun new podcast from the MacStories crew, with a gimmick I really like: every week, the three hosts have to basically do “Tech Show and Tell” and then issue a tech-related challenge to complete before the next episode. (MacStories also has another new podcast, called NPC, all about portable gaming.
  • “How ‘Wall-E’ Reveals Our Changing Feelings Toward Tech.” I am outrageously jealous of this whole series of episodes from the Offline podcast, looking at how movies like Her and The Social Network influenced the way we think about and build tech. This is the final episode in the miniseries, and they’re all worth a listen.

Screen share

Well, friends, it took 41 issues, but it happened: I had someone lined up for Screen Share this week, and it just didn’t come together in time. So let’s do something slightly different. I’ve recently become obsessed with the Niagara Launcher for Android, which is, in theory, largely optimized for one-handed phone use but is also just a better, quieter way of organizing your homescreen. In the last 10 days, I’ve probably redone my setup eight times. It’s a lot.

Niagara is just so clever! It turns your apps into a customizable list, pops up widgets and notifications right in place, and lets you do a shocking amount of stuff without ever opening an app. This is totally how phones should work. (If you want to understand how it operates, here’s a good thorough video to watch.)

Niagara just got a big update, too, particularly if you pay the $10 a year or $30 lifetime Pro subscription. Its search is better now, it got some cool new icons, and there are a few other little improvements, too.

As I’ve been tinkering with my own homescreen, I’ve been collecting some Niagara setups I like, and I figured I’d share a few. You can do so many things with this launcher!

Cool, right? There are rumors and reports that we’re going to get a bunch of new customization possibilities for iOS, too, so here’s hoping this is a year filled with chaotic homescreen reorgs. If you use Niagara, by the way, or any other awesome Android launcher, I’d love to see your sick homescreen setups. Send them my way. And we’ll be back to regular Screen Share next week!

Crowdsourced

Here’s what the Installer community is into this week. I want to know what you’re into right now as well! Email installer@theverge.com or message me on Signal — @davidpierce.11 — with your recommendations for anything and everything, and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every week. 

“New version of Vibescape just came out for Apple Vision Pro — new Oregon coast-inspired meditation environment! Completely new experience with this and the Forest Ledge environment — pushing the boundaries of what’s possible outside of Apple’s own environments.” – Gregory

“I’ve been using Beeper a ton on my Pixel 8 Pro and MacBook Pro. I actually installed it in early April when the acquisition announcement came out but have really hit my stride with it a month ago. It’s just so helpful to have all of your messaging in one app, both for work and personal.” – Josh

Patrick Willems has a new video this week about what’s next after superhero movies so I’ve been diving back into his channel after a while.” – Mike

“A friend introduced me to Guild Wars 2 a few months back. As someone who likes the concept of an MMO but always felt let down by the execution, I can confidently say this is one of the most underrated games ever made. A fun, free-to-play MMORPG with a healthy community and no microtransactions sounded too good to be true, but it’s not. Plus, with the recent announcements around the next expansion, there are more reasons to play than ever.” – Dallin

“I heard about Microsoft’s Recall, which felt exhausting and tedious to me. So, last weekend, I paved over Windows and installed the Bazzite Linux distro on my gaming PC and have been playing all my Steam and Epic games that way. It’s surprisingly so much better than the last time I tried Linux on the desktop. I’m sure mileage varies, but everything worked with about the same amount of tweaking Windows required.” – Les

“The LOTR movies are finally coming back to theaters. The extended editions — the only versions I’ll watch. So excited to go watch these with my pals, like high school all over again.” – Colin

“Watching Who Killed WCW? from Vice. It’s a three-part miniseries interviewing Eric Bischoff and a bunch of wrestlers like Kevin Nash, Konnan, and Booker T about the inevitable downfall of WCW. Everyone has their own thoughts about who to point the finger at, from Turner executives hating wrestling to Bischoff not knowing what he’s doing to the wrestlers only looking out for themselves. Only one episode out so far, but it’s good.” – Brian

“The new shows Thousandaires from Dropout and Trolley Problems from 2nd Try premiered this week and are both hilarious and great examples of modern media companies and the trend of creating their own streaming platforms.” – Zach

“On the anime watch. I highly recommend Delicious in Dungeon. Very fun to watch, the characters’ comedic timing is excellent. This anime is hilarious while keeping the stakes of the story high.” – John

Signing off

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about a blog post Andrew Bosworth, Meta’s CTO, wrote recently. He talks about his system of “Inbox Ten,” which basically means not trying to end every day with nothing on your plate but instead just trying to find a more manageable flow of information in your life. Boz has a whole system for managing his inbox in particular, which I really like — I used to be an Inbox Zero zealot and get stressed out when there’s stuff in there, but I like his slightly less drastic approach. And this sentence has popped into my brain all week, every time I get an email: “Don’t let it linger in your inbox or get yourself talked into work you don’t think is a good use of your time.” Words to live by.



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