The Raspberry Pi is an amazing little device. It gives you access to low level hardware interfaces that are normally off limits - does your Mac Book Pro have I2C ports? SPI ports? a CSI camera interface? The Pi does. It is also capable of running the full Linux operating system to provide tons of functionality for accessing and programming these interfaces and the hardware peripherals attached to them.
While the whole idea of the Raspberry Pi is to have fun connecting to and learning about its hardware pins, this is best done with some understanding of exactly what the Raspberry Pi is. There are various ways in which the Raspberry Pi can inadvertently be damaged in the process of using it. This guide will try to cover the most commons ways, so you can steer clear of them. Even if the Raspberry Pi seems to be working fine, other odd issues can arise. This guide will also try to provide some guidance on how to help troubleshoot these.
...what is this Raspberry Pi thing? What is this little Linux computer that was given away for free on the cover of a magazine? And what should you expect from you adventures into the land of Pi?
Let's start there...