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David Pogue Gushes Over the Chumby

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the don't-mistake-it-for-charmin dept.

Hardware Hacking 134

stoolpigeon writes "IHT is running a David Pogue review of the Chumby. The Chumby is a small computer embedded in a soft case. The Chumby hardware and OS are open, and the review mentions that the device already has a large developer following, cranking out new widgets for owners. Pogue is obviously quite taken with the Chumby and gives a good introduction to a device that may be the inspiration for a new generation of hackers."

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134 comments

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423476)

I was about to post something really offensive, but I don't really feel that it is necessary. From my 4 seconds of skimming at the summary, it may actually be worthwhile.

I guess I'll just leave it at first post.

Way to wimp out, AC (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423996)

It's a good thing the Chumby comes in a soft fabric case if Mr. Pogue is going to go gushing over it.

There, that's at least mildly offensive. Damn ACs making the rest of us do all the work.

"Gentlemen!" (2, Funny)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423498)

"Let us name our revolutionary new open product a name that'll be 1 letter away from 'dick'."

"Brilliant!"

Even if this thing were to completely take off, Slashdotters will still be giggling over its name.

Re:"Gentlemen!" (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423826)

"Let us name our revolutionary new open product a name that'll be 1 letter away from 'dick'."
And along with "The Gimp", this too will never actually be used by anyone for anything serious.

Re:"Gentlemen!" (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423920)

Is this British or Australian slang for "dick?" Or am I just brain dead from being at work all day?

Can you give me enlightenment? Or even a hint?

But it can't be as bad as some auto names. As Danny Krell, a highly decorated Vietnam veteran once pointed out to me, I woudn't want to drive a KIA (Killed In Action).

They can't sell a Chevy Nova in Spanish-speaking countries. "No va" is Sopanish for "it won't go". Of course, that goes well with their commercials, "Chevy - Like a rock!"

Re:"Gentlemen!" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424008)

Chubby is slang for erection.

Re:"Gentlemen!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23426538)

Maybe yours :-p

Re:"Gentlemen!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424042)

Can't speak for British or Australian, but in a America seeing Natalie Portman in Darjling Limited gave me chubby?

Re:"Gentlemen!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23427294)

We can tell you're in America, colonialists Brits know how to spell Darjeeling.

Re:"Gentlemen!" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424622)

"Let us name our revolutionary new open product a name that'll be 1 letter away from 'dick'."

"Brilliant!"

Even if this thing were to completely take off, Slashdotters will still be giggling over its name.
Actually "Chubby" is the name of the after market vibrating handheld device that is used to control the "Chumby". My girl friend claims it has other uses but she won't go into details.

Re:"Gentlemen!" (5, Informative)

Alotau (714890) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424690)

You can begin the giggling by looking at this help page entitled "Handling your Chumby [chumby.com]". Some highlights include:

How do I clean my chumby?
Why is the squeeze sensor stuck?

I won't post the one about children handling the Chumby, because that would just be over the line.

Re:"Gentlemen!" (1)

DwightSchrute (1290056) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425014)

Tobias - I'll be your wingman. (Laughs.) Even if it means me taking a chubby, I will suck it up!

Michael - Well, that's enough family stuff for today.
Arrested Development [imdb.com].

Yes, that was what came into my mind as soon as I heard this gizmo's name.

NO! Get it away from me. (5, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423500)

I'm quite sure that I, along with most of the Slashdot audience, is not part of the target demographic, despite the fact that it DOES run Linux but

Any photo you send to it appears in the widget rotation, turning your Chumby into the world's most convenient digital frame.

really doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423976)

Um, mind if I ask why that doesn't sound like a good idea? You email your chumby a picture, and it displays it. Am I missing something?

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424034)

Two words:
goatse spam

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424046)

Um, mind if I ask why that doesn't sound like a good idea? You email your chumby a picture, and it displays it. Am I missing something?

You trust your "friends" a hell of lot more than I trust mine. Want anybody from Slashdot to email you a picture of "something". That just shows up on a screen. In your living room.

Maybe it's just me, dunno. I'm still not buying one.

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (1)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424094)

Alright, good point. I do believe my friends would send me some genuinely horrible stuff. I think i wouldn't let them in on the email address for the thing.

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (1)

Bigbutt (65939) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425592)

The problem even with _not_ giving it out is that spamming scumsuckers simply run through the alphabet trying addresses. It doesn't take long for an e-mail address to start picking up one or two spam e-mails.

Can you imagine a chumby botnet?

[John]

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (1)

LGV (68807) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424054)

It's great...until your "friend" emails goatse.cx man to your Chumby for you.

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424450)

Um, mind if I ask why that doesn't sound like a good idea? You email your chumby a picture, and it displays it. Am I missing something?


Well, since you had to ask let me spell it out for you:

goatse dot cx
tubgirl.jpg
etc.
etc.

Re:NO! Get it away from me. (3, Informative)

One Louder (595430) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425984)

The "email a photo" functionality is implemented by a third party as a widget. If you don't want to receive photos that way, simply don't choose that widget for display on the device. It's not like the device blindly accepts email photos and displays them.

I'm Chumby! Dammit! (2, Funny)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423506)

I could have sworn it said he was gushing over the "Gumby"

Re:I'm Chumby! Dammit! (1)

fitten (521191) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423992)

I did too! But then I read it again as he was "gushing over the chubby", and I was line "awww.. I don't give a flip or want know about that", and then I read it again and was all like, "wtf is a chumby", so I clicked on the link.

Supports what now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423536)

(supports) Flash Lite 3[3] which allows for Sorenson and On2 video playback.[4] Current Chumby units support GIF, PNG and JPEG images, but not progressive scan JPEG images.
So, no Theora, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264 or even progressive JPEG support, but this thing has Flash Lite 3?

Talk about messed-up priorities...

Chumby's cool but... (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423570)

Chumby's been out for a while. I remember reading about this device in an older LJ copy (last September to be exact). I guess what I am trying to say is This is old news but then again it would be presumptuous to think most /. readers also read LJ. Links: Link One [linuxjournal.com] Link Two [linuxjournal.com]

Re:Chumby's cool but... (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423748)

It's been in development for a while. Apparently this version has only been sold to the public since February '08.

Re:Chumby's cool but... (2, Informative)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424028)

Earlier than that, actually. February was the official launch, meaning they had the software (Firmware/Control Panel) in what they considered to be a state which was stable and feature rich. You could buy one earlier, it was just made clear that your device was not running final software (although the update was painless).

Worst. Name. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423598)

I can't be the only person who read the headline and went "WTF!?"

Seriously, I thought the story was about porn involving Gumby or something at first. That's probably not what they want people to think while marketing their product.

Well, unless it actually is Rule 37 Gumby porno. As a true Slashdotter, I don't RTFA and I barely skimmed the summary.

Re:Worst. Name. Ever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423692)

Rule 37? Uh. I don't think that rule means what you think it means.

Re:Worst. Name. Ever. (3, Funny)

Mr Abstracto (226219) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424756)

Rule 37: There are no girls on the internet....ever .

perhaps you mean Rule 34?
Rule 34: If it exists there is porn of it. No exceptions.

Rule 37 is worse. Far worse... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23425386)

> Rule 37: There are no girls on the internet....ever .
> perhaps you mean Rule 34?

Oddly enough, Rule 37 makes it far, far worse.

Please excuse me while I wash my brain for imagining Gumby yaoi...

WCC mod (1)

mmontour (2208) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423648)

I'm waiting for somebody to put a Chumby into one of those plush Weighted Companion Cubes that Valve was selling.

Re:WCC mod (4, Funny)

TexVex (669445) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424772)

While it has been a faithful companion, your companion cube cannot accompany you through the rest of the test. If it could talk - and the Enrichment Center takes this opportunity to remind you that it cannot - it would tell you to go on without it because it would rather die in a fire than become a burden to you.

The Enrichment Center is committed to the well being of all participants. Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test. Thank you for helping us help you help us all.

Wait a minute.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423650)

..you can't ship it to Canada? Lame! Why no Chumby love for canucks?

Re:Wait a minute.. (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423914)

The Canadian government is afraid what might happen if Canadians start importing these amazing devices.

Re:Wait a minute.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424216)

Canadians are not manly enough to handle American Chumbys, no matter how soft.

I have a Chumby... (5, Informative)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423670)

...and love it. About the only problem I have with it is the fact that in "My Streams" (an area where you can manually put in net radio stations you want the Chumby to play) long URLs simply cannot be entered in on the device itself, so I have to SSH into it and use VI to add any long URLs for streams manually. It came in a nice burlap bag (which I still use) and alternates between telling me the time, feeding me news, playing net radio, and displaying a friends photobucket account.

Re:I have a Chumby... (1)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423946)

About the only problem I have with it is the fact that in "My Streams" (an area where you can manually put in net radio stations you want the Chumby to play) long URLs simply cannot be entered in on the device itself ...
http://www.tinyurl.com [tinyurl.com]

Re:I have a Chumby... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424112)

Someone on the Chumby forums suggested the same thing, and it didn't work for me for some reason.

Re:I have a Chumby... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23426146)

Don't think that'd help with a stream. The Chumby would likely hit tinyurl, find no streaming server, and fail. I doubt a non-DNS-based redirect would work for something like that.

Re:I have a Chumby... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424100)

This to me just screams "We Need Innovation!"

I have a Chumby too, I've professed the profound awesomeness of an Open Source computer with almost a complete Open Source Software stack (right up to Flash, which Adobe is making headway for us to be able to replace!)

To me, every time I find a flaw in the device, I think, "Why hasn't anyone found a better way of doing this?" Input methods especially; tapping on touchscreens or shipping Chumby with a QWERTY keypad would be silly (as I think it is with most cellphones that do the same thing; QWERTY was practically designed to be evil, and yet we keep propagating it).

URIs are ridiculous to have to enter by hand anyways, especially complex ones like websites with databased content tend to give you (just look at Slashdot's HTTP URI for this page as an explicit example.) It's no wonder that the Googles, Yahoos and MSNs of the world have taken over our content; we can't remember where the shit is in the first place, we need them to find it for us!

So, great thinkers of the world: how do you input on a device that's 3.5", won't cause you to break your thumbs or want to throw it across the room, and is easy for anyone to use big and small hands alike? And how do you get around the wall-of-patents filed?

Re:I have a Chumby... (3, Interesting)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424108)

It looks to me to be just as useful as widgets in Mac/Windows/Linux -- nice enough that I toyed around with them and decided they were unnecessary.

The biggest problem, in my mind, is that it's showing one widget at a time. Looking at it to find out the information you want is, by design, not convenient. You have to make it a point to watch the thing to see the widget you want to see. Sidebars on computers at least have that going for them.

The clock widgets seem especially worthless -- if you have a lot of widgets in your rotation and just missed the clock, you're going to end up wondering what time it was when you started watching, waiting for the clock. (If you go to Walmart, you can get a nifty device that does a better job of telling you what time it is for $5.)

Honestly, dedicated devices for pretty much everything I've heard of the Chumby doing already exist, do a better job, and you could have one of each of them for about what the Chumby costs.

Re:I have a Chumby... (3, Interesting)

no_opinion (148098) | more than 5 years ago | (#23426972)

I also have a Chumby, and one thing going for this device is that it has a high WAF (or Wife Acceptance Factor, for you single people) if you set it up right. Ours is a clock part of the time, a photo frame, gets facebook and twitter updates so she can see what the family and friends are up to, panda cam & LOL cats for the kids, traffic update, two news feeds (NY times, CBS), a 5 day weather forecast, and a netflix queue widget. For a stay-at-home mom with two little kids, this is a great way to find out what's going on with the rest of the world that doesn't involve turning on the TV or sitting down at the computer.

Re:I have a Chumby... (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424228)

Can't you keep the file local, edit it and just upload that?

When I SSH inst someplace, the windows cut and past works with VI, it doesn't work on your set up?

Cooler than Chumby! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423684)

But , ah, Quimby is, ah, cooler.

(Chumby WORST name ever!)

Not made by Apple == Crap (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423734)

No thanks, I'll wait for the Apple version. Oh wait, I've already got one! It's my iPhone, which has a better screen, faster CPU, better operating system (faster, more secure, etc), better design, more portable, more usable, easier to develop for, and more open (it is based on open source, and unlike Lin-sux, OS X is *certified* UNIX, so it follows the standards more closely).

Didn't look so hot in Linux Journal May 08 (3, Insightful)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423762)

Developing with embedded flash as it's interface of choice, 220x240 scree, having ZERO battery life (9 volt backup only), etc... makes this a device that I would avoid for $180.00.

Re:Didn't look so hot in Linux Journal May 08 (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424252)

I agree. There are other things in that price range which might be more useful.


I can get a Dell Axim x5 for about the same price, which has faster screen updates and can be used away from the wall socket. I can also get a refurb of a BlackBerry 8700 [channeladvisor.com] or a new open box Navman PiN 570 PDA with built-in GPS [bottomdollar.com]. If you include specials that are running right now, Geeks.com [geeks.com] has a refurbished Axim x51 [geeks.com] for $180 or a refurbished Jornada 728 for a few dollars more.


I'm all for the open source angle, the soft shell, and the whole underdog thing, but usefulness is important.

Re:Didn't look so hot in Linux Journal May 08 (3, Interesting)

chappel (1069900) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425158)

I had a dell Axim - windows mobile crashed at least weekly with anything more than the default software - reseting to default in the process, and I waited patiently for over a year for the linux drivers to enable wifi on it before giving up. I have a chumby and am happy with it - it makes a cool clock, wakes me up to MPR, flashes the weather, my google calendar, and hopefully at some point lots more (RSS feed to my online to-do list). Hopefully I'll never again live somewhere that I'd have to worry about checking on traffic before I get up, but it can do that, too. I'd like to program it to tie into a home automation system, so when I hit 'snooze' it brings up the lights (if it's dark) and turns on the heater in the bathroom (if it's cold), and has a screen to monitor and control the lights and thermostat manually - it's a few places down on my 'todo' list. The resolution is pretty bad for photos, and the field of view isn't great - especially vertically, for some reason - but I still think it's great as a 'bedside computer', and love the fact that it's 'open' and has only begun to scratch the surface of what can be done with it.

Designed by Bunnie Huang (5, Interesting)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23423846)

You may remember on of Bunnie Huang's previous exploits - he's the guy who hacked the XBox. He's a hardware-hacking demi-god and has a fantastic blog [bunniestudios.com] for electronics geeks. You can read all about getting the Chumby manufactured in China, as well as other topics.

a solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23423928)

in search of a problem.

Sigh, is it Englishness or age... (1)

Zukix (641813) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424030)

... that makes me not see the filthy side of this name? Sounds like a cute version of chum - which is charming.

Re:Sigh, is it Englishness or age... (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425870)

In Florida, chum is fish bits and blood, spread into the water to attract sharks.

Chumby is real close to chubby, which was slang for a partial erection.

Is real difficult to come up with original product names that aren't offensive/derogatory in some language. Might be able to come up with a cool business researching stuff like this for folks.

Chumby? More like... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424120)

Chumby? More like CUMby, am i rite? Woot cum soaked computers for teh win. L0L. I'm using the internet and it fuckin rawks!! ^__^ Hellz yeah. Talk to ya nigs lata.

Sounds good, but... (5, Interesting)

Lonedar (897073) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424192)

You know, this sounds like a neat little thing to play around with when you have some free time. However, this quote on the manufacturer's website made me wary:

Access to the Chumby Network is FREE. No subscriptions to pay, no plans to sign up for. It's paid for by Chumby Industries and by sponsor companies who will be sending you widgets such as music, games, movie previews, customized alarm clocks, and special offers for products and prizes (called "Chumbooty" -- coming soon), and who knows what else the future holds? Chumby Industries is 100% dedicated to keeping your widget channels new, intriguing, fun and FREE.
The "sponsor companies" part could mean that they intend to include advertisement widgets in a future update. Definitely made me think twice about getting one.

Re:Sounds good, but... (1)

spribyl (175893) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424394)

This made me say Eww!
The next question I have is do I have to use the Chumby network or can I feed it my self.

No much use if I have to pay with my privacy or let someone else tell me what I can watch.

Oh and then there is the current MS fiasco now that they are turning off their first attempt itunes.

Re:Sounds good, but... (3, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424836)

It's Linux man, and has an sshd backdoor that is built in to let you do what you like.

Furthermore the designer has instructions on his blog for doing things like ripping it aart to add a larger screen, or add a WiFi sniffer.

Re:Sounds good, but... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23425714)

I have played around with the chumby but have not dug in too far yet. The question that is always on my mind is if the device will only work if the chumby network is available. I noticed that if it can not connect to the internet, wireless is down, then none of the widgets run. There is a second internal processor (the CP crypto processor) that does the authentication with Chumby Industries. I have not done any hacking yet but I wondered if the CP will only allow the main processor to run widgets if it has been authenticated. From looking at Bunnie's blog I think you can run your own applications but then again Bunnie does hold the "keys" to the chumby. One thing that bugs me is that there is an easy connector for the JTAG on the CP but the JTAG for the main processor does not even have all the JTAG pins routed to test points much less an actual connector.

Re:Sounds good, but... (2, Informative)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23426208)

Not only that, the hardware is open too - you can get complete schematics and it has an expansion card designed for easy addition of your homebrew electronics. You need an account (no Chumby required) and to agree to a not-too-onerous license to get the hardware docs. It's intentionally designed to be easy to hack, both hardware and software.

Re:Sounds good, but... (1)

tripmine (1160123) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424458)

oh shit! advertisements! RUN TO THE HILLS!

Re:Sounds good, but... (1)

Lonedar (897073) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424554)

Well, I'm not against advertising per se, it's just that I think that $180 is too much to pay for something that could turn into a mini-billboard in a couple of months.

Re:Sounds good, but... (3, Informative)

Lonedar (897073) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425050)

After digging around in their website it appears that they do include ads among the standard widgets. From their FAQ:

# Why are there widgets in my channels that I didn't add?

These are special Chumby Network widgets from Chumby Industries (like tips on how to use your chumby) and from partners with offers on music, games, movie previews, new products, and more. Sharing these promotional widgets with you is how the Chumby Network stays FREE. If you delete a promotional widget, another one will be delivered in its place.
What a pity. Well, I guess that the hardware costs have to be recouped in some way.

Re:Sounds good, but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23425218)

I, also, wasn't too worried until I read this (on http://www.chumby.com/help/faq/10 ):

"If you delete a promotional widget, another one will be delivered in its place."

Oh, goody... so I'm paying for a device that I can supposedly program to do what I want, BUT it's force-fed ads that I can't remove? No. Thank. You.

Re:Sounds good, but... (2, Interesting)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425520)

I've been lent a Chumby for a while, you're right they do currently insert 3rd party advertisment widgets into your own channels you can't remove, but that's only half the annoyance because the other half is I'm not in America and the adverts are currently targeted at Americans.

One would hope eventually you could pay for a widget subscription that stops any 3rd party advertisment widgets from being inserted into your channels - this would be especially useful for companies who want the content on Chumby's they sell to be wholly controlled by them, ie you buy a Chumby from company X who are using it's capabilities to display information from company X so they don't want you seeing adverts popping up from company Y & Z etc.

I hate to say it (2, Interesting)

pugugly (152978) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424282)

It's only about twice the price of a radio alarm clock I've been darn near desperate enough to get (With a separate alarm every day), with a *lot* more features.

Cutesy - yeah. But cutesy in a reasonable way, not sickeningly so, and with a nice feature set. I may wait till it gets reviewed for the technical aspects by someone I trust like consumer reports - can it take being knocked off the bedside table, does it wear well, if you have a power outage how long does the battery last, et al.

But, if it's put together well, I'm probably going to buy this or something like it. Not till I get some other stuff paid down. But It's a good idea, all around.

Pug

Needs more hackers (5, Interesting)

stickyc (38756) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424324)

Pogue hit it on the head: "The widgets are the biggest draw, though. So big, in fact, that the Chumby is filled with hardware features that pretty much do nothing at the moment."

It's got a reasonable CPU, accelerometer, 2(!) USB ports, wifi, touch screen, runs an acceptable linux environment, and hacking is encouraged. Here's to hoping Pogues + /.'s coverage turns a few more folks on to it.

Out of the box, it's still kinda .9 software - I'd hoped to use it as a smart clock-radio, but the software UI just isn't as easy as a dedicated alarm clock. The good news is, someone with decent skeelz could write an excellent replacement alarm clock.

It should be noted that you can create a "virtual chumby" on the company's site to preview all the widgets 'live'.

I feel... (4, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424408)

...I am not alone when I sincerely say, "I will never, under any circumstances, say the word Chumby."

Re:I feel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23425308)

...I am not alone when I sincerely say, "I will never, under any circumstances, say the word Chumby."
You just said it, genius.

Re:I feel... (1)

Leto-II (1509) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425580)

...I am not alone when I sincerely say, "I will never, under any circumstances, say the word Chumby."
You just said it, genius.
Do you say aloud everything you write?

Re:I feel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23426348)

I used to feel that way about saying
"OK honey, I'm gonna go play with my Wii."

Fortunatly (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424434)

since it's vinyl, Dave was able to clean up after gushing all over it with minimal staining.

All this thing needs is a camera (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#23424486)

and a microphone.

The perfect sit on your desk video phone.

Re:All this thing needs is a camera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23425176)

It already has a microphone built into the bezel.

I have a Chumby... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23424746)

And I have to say its one of those impulse tech purchases I've regretted.

Its mediocre at a lot of things and not good at anything.

The alarm clock is awful, there's no timed dimming of the screen, its a massive bandwidth hog (because it has no local storage and it always redownloading things).

The streaming music is cool, but its not as good at it as a dedicated streaming music receiver.

It makes a lousy photo frame -- the colors are bad on the display and it has no local caching so its always redownloading everything.

Maybe it'll be better in the future, but honestly its sort of a waste of money right now.

$180? (3, Informative)

grammar fascist (239789) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425074)

For $40 more, you can snag yourself the Nokia N800 Iternet Tablet [amazon.com]. The N810 drove its price way down, and the only differences are a built-in GPS, slide-out keyboard, and a 2GB SD card. The rest of the hardware is identical, and you can flash the latest N810 OS on the N800. The thing is highly hackable, with as much open-source software as Ari Jaaksi [blogspot.com], Nokia's open source director, could get them to embrace (about 2/3 of the base system). With a very bright 800x480 display, Firefox and mplayer, it renders everything almost perfectly. It's got a thriving open-source community behind it with a bunch of apt repositories and ports. It's also the nicest e-book reader I've ever used.

I don't work for Nokia. I just love mine. :)

Consumer-oriented reviews tend to emphasize its lack of pre-installed PIM apps and synchronization, but that's not a problem for your average technophile [slashdot.org].

To give you an idea of how hackable it is, I hacked the init scripts to set up swap and mount my home directory from an SD card's ext2 partition. I SSH into it when I want to do this kind of stuff.

Parts of the hardware (and thus some of the drivers) aren't open. If you're a purist, this might put you off. Which brings us back on topic: the Chumby is completely open. Maybe this'll push Nokia to open more. Ari Jaaksi has even said that the open source software on the N800 is of far better quality than the in-house stuff - it's just convincing the suits that embracing it is a good idea that's difficult.

You are missing the point. (3, Insightful)

jotaeleemeese (303437) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425464)

The Nokia tablet is ugly and does not combine with your furniture. Any furniture.

The Chumby could in theory fit nicely with how you decorate a room.

Their aims are different, the problems they solve are different, why you are comparing them is a monument to the lack of practical sense of most technical people.

Re:You are missing the point. (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 5 years ago | (#23426758)

Fair point, but I think his reply is more to the naysayers and the ones that whine 'You can't do this...' or 'It doesn't have...', and somebody looking for just that ONE item he may have mentioned can decide whether they're buying soft-and-cuddly or chrome-and-cool (later, Mother I got you something itsinthemail alright)

Re:$180? (1)

ncryptd (1172815) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425732)

For the same price as the Nokia, you can get a refurbished iPod Touch.

- 8GB SSD
- 420Mhz ARM processor
- comparable screen
- no stylus (pro or con depending on personal preference)
- OS X
- Strong aftermarket software community
- dedicated hardware H.264 decoding

Personally I chose the touch, but I almost got the N800.

Re:$180? (1)

mollymoo (202721) | more than 5 years ago | (#23426556)

Comparable screen? No, not even close. The N800 (and N810, 770) have more than twice as many pixels as an iPod Touch. The N800 has an 800-pixel-wide screen, which means you don't need a tricksy browser scaling things.

Re:$180? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#23426876)

Compared to the N800, the iPod does not have anything close to a comparable screen and nowhere close to as strong a third party software catalog. And for a hand held, "OS X" is not a feature, its a bug. The iPod also lacks a microphone (thus no VOIP) and any form of expandability such as bluetooth, SD slots, etc. Despite its faster CPU, its web browsing performance is sub-par compared to the N800. And don't get me started with Apple's retarded policy regarding batteries. The N800 has a user-replaceable battery, the iPod doesn't.

Really, unless you are a die hard Apple zealot, there is simply no comparison.

Re:$180? (1)

ntk (974) | more than 5 years ago | (#23426078)

I have both, sucker that I am, and I have to say they fill very different roles. On the other hand, I really like that they both run Linux, and so can talk to each other relatively easily. It feels very odd to have everything from a pocket device, to my alarm clock, to my laptop, to my server, essentially running on the same software platform.

Not a Product but a useful platform (2, Interesting)

MarkKnopfler (472229) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425198)

It is my personal opinion that if Chumby tries to market the thingy as a consumer product, it just might fail completely. What this product seems to be good for would be a platform product which could be sold to other OEMs, who could then use it as a platform for the development of small and smart consumer appliances. The customers of Chumby therefore would save a bunch of time and money by having to do away with the basic product design and schematics and work on the value addition via the idea. The would however would have to package a powerful development environment with their product.
If they wanted to just sell a Chumby as a standalone product I do not think that it would fit in anywhere. Neither is an internet tablet and neither is it a phone. It is not mobile. I really do not see the use for this thing as a standalone consumer product..

Too expensive for an alarm clock. (1)

Symbha (679466) | more than 5 years ago | (#23425712)

I have thought about getting one of these... it's a nifty alarm clock.

That said, they gotta get this price point down to $100 for an alarm clock.

It's not portable, needs the derned plug.
It does some neat things, if I'm lying in bed.
It doesn't seem like an awesome digital picture frame, those are supposed to look like frames.
But it does seem like a cool alarm clock... just not worth $180.

Bought one for the wife (3, Informative)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 5 years ago | (#23426864)

Got to play with it a maker faire and bought one the same day.

She currently uses it to listen to news and music streams and get weather reports and such. I don't think she's discovered the alarm features yet.

Nice and small and is excellent for the bedside, easy to operate, comes on quick and the touchscreen size is good for its purpose. The widgets are getting better more information feeds and stuff - even slashdot articles (not reply chains though)

I too wonder what happens if the parent co goes under what would be left, though I know it is flashable, as upon first power up it downloaded and installed a system update.
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