Chumby? What has gotten into you? God it looks ugly! Would you even buy a product called such a childish and pathetic name? Well yes, let’s go beyond aesthetics and nomenclature criticism, and let me tell you what this little bad boy can do. It might surprise you and be in line for ordering one (if not, I am at least certain that you will appreciate Chumby for what it is after reading this review)
What is Chumby?
Well according to chumby.com:
The Chumby is a compact device that displays useful and entertaining information from the web using your wireless internet connection. Always on, it shows nonstop what’s online that matters to you.
Clear? I think not! Well let’s think of Chumby as the picture frame or radio clock you have on your night stand, both are their to serve a function, one aesthetic while the latter functional. Chumby is both and much much more. Well let me explain, with chumby you can have a slideshow from flickr or facebook displayed. Just like those high ticket electronic picture frames that you always thought were cool and secretly envied your boss for. With chumby you can display the latest news, sports, and weather headlines, straight from the Internet. You could have 10′s of different clock displays, and configure it to wake you up with the song of your choice! Hell it could be a mini i-Pod boombox and charger!
The possibilities are endless! Oh and I forgot to say that what compelled me to this product in the first place. Well, it’s open source and runs on Linux! The flexibility that open source provides it’s users are unfathomable to those who don’t use it (or think they don’t). With open source, I discover new ways and new things to do on computers that I thought only applicable in Hollywood movies! To some open source means the world, while to most it just something too techie for them to bother about, not realizing that they are utilizing open source in more ways than one. Let me try to elaborate, think Firefox vs. Internet Explorer, the 1000′s of plugins, themes, and extras that are available for Firefox couldn’t be there had it been closed source. Compare it to the measly 400 of Internet Explorer which have to be pre-approved by a multi-billion bureaucratic behemoth. Anyways lets not turn this into a Linux vs. Microsoft rant, we have more time for that later .
So far chumby has around 500 (69 still in the labratory) widgets or channels that give you different functionalities (Note that IE has only 400 despite it being a flagship product of Microsoft and in the market for more than 10 years, while chumby has been around for less than a year and already surpassed that, keyword: open source). Love hot female celebraties? Add this widget to get hotties updated daily on your chumby! Get a live webcam feed of the San Diego Zoo shamu using this widget! Display all the latest news from digg using this widget, or a daily Chuck Norris quote with this! And if none of these widgets make your itch go away, code away!
Wi-fi connectivity access to the free Chumby Network 3.5″ LCD color touchscreen two external USB 2.0 full-speed ports 350 MHz ARM processor 64 MB SDRAM 64 MB NAND flash ROM stereo 2W speakers headphone output squeeze sensor accelerometer (motion sensor) leather casing AC adapter included