Tag Archives: chumby

Hands On chumby

Hands On chumby —


After about an hour of playtime with the final version of the squishable $180 Wi-Fi widget ball chumby, I want one on my desk. Is it essential gadgetry? No. It’s not meant to be. Until you’re addicted to it. galleryPost(‘chumbyh’, 6, ”);

If you’re not familiar with the basic premise, chumby is a Wi-Fi gadget with a touchscreen centered around widgets. Think little snippets of the internet that it automatically picks up after you’ve subscribed to them, kind of like mini-channels. Like Chuck Norris facts. Or the weather, or MySpace, which has a pretty rich widget actually—you can add or delete friends, check out pictures or whatever. You don’t pay a monthly subscription for access, BTW.

My favorite (weirdly) was a clock that uses numbers clipped from Flickr photos. (It’s even kind of pitched as a brilliant desktop clock, ironically.) Streaming video, like for the Letterman Top 10 is a little better than YouTube. You could stream a whole half hour program and get through it, but I don’t recommend it.

Best of all, it’s not a totally closed device—it’s Linux and Flashlight 3-based running an ARM processor, and totally hackable—they’ve even thrown up the schematics online. So it’s easily to program new widgets or really dig into it to do something entirely different. The catch is that for now, you’ve gotta use the Chumby Network, which, as Saul points out, isn’t quite as open, and some widgets have ads.

The interface was designed by Susan Kare, who did the icons and fonts for the first Mac. It’s a great actually—clean, bright and attractive—only hampered by the slightly fidgety nature of the touchscreen. It responds better to taps w/ the back of your finger, but some of the widgets do scrolling, which isn’t as smooth as it is on the iPhone. But stil, fairly good.

Other than the touchscreen, there’s a button on top which sort of does everything. It’s easy to feel through the fabric, though I kind of resent it being there at all. Not really used yet are the mic (it’s developer candy) and the accelerometer, though I played a game that makes use of it which could kill hours of productivity time.

The squishability is ace, and I think kind of key to its appeal. I’m not big on the current color selection—black white and tan, but I was promised more were coming. I suggested green and blue, at a minimum, but they wanted to avoid giving off a kiddy vibe at launch.

The big question: Who is this for? Well, us, you. It’s for people with a “rich internet life” who “already have all those other things” like an iPhone. It’s supposed to sit on our kitchen counter or on our desk, bringing in little digestible bits of stuff we’re already neck-deep in, the morsels we “really care about.”

I’m not sure if they’re going to get people to care about chumby though. If you already have one, I could see it quickly becoming embedded in your personal sphere, something you look at constantly and regularly—but I think it’s going to be a challenge to get people to add another internet gadget to an already crowded desktop.

(Via Gizmodo.)


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aGEEKspot #7

Breaking News – Today Apple introduced a new 2GB iPod Shuffle for $69 and lowered the price of its original, which is now 1GB, to $49!

– It's official, the format war is over and Blu-Ray is the winner! So now the big question is, will downloads of HD movies kill off Blu-Ray??? My opinion is no, Blu-Ray can still be used for storage and backing up your data as well as HD movies. I guess we will have to wait and see.

Move over Craigslist, there is another new Free place to sell your junk, trade, goods, cars, services, housing, jobs, and personals…Kijiji (pronounced like key-gee-gee), which means "village" in Swahili. It is a subsidiary of eBay that launched in March 2005, and unlike Craigslist, is worldwide!

Pinch me I must be dreaming… dreaming of American Idol that is….Yeah, anyway, iTunes and Fox have teamed up to bring your favorite finalist performances and songs to iTunes for your downloading pleasure. I checked it out and they even have a section of older Idol contestants like William Hung. I'm crossing my fingers for a duet with Sanjaya.

– Do you have an iPhone? If you do, the good news is that Flash is coming soon…If you don't have an iPhone, there are still whispers about a price cut! Both good news and both…..rumors.

Gadget of the week
– I first saw this gadget and thought, "so what, it's an alarm clock." Oh no, my friends, it's SO much more. Say hello to Chumby. Along with its funny name, it has Wi-Fi! Cool so far? Also, touch screen, stereo speakers, and you can receive e-mail, sports scores, listen to internet radio, surf MySpace, eBay, Facebook, flickr…should I keep going? You had me at Wi-Fi! Oh yea, it's an alarm clock, too, with snooze! So all you need is some room in your heart for a gadget with a funny name, a wireless connection, and $179.95. It comes in three different colors and I can't wait to get one!

– We all have them, in the bottom of a drawer somewhere, under the car seat, or stashed in a shoebox. I'm talking about good old-fashioned CD's. So, when you are cleaning up and find that old Milli Vanilli CD and decide you've got to get your groove on (girl you know it's true…), but realize it's all scratched up, what can you do? Simply rub toothpaste on the scratched surface with a cotton swab until the scratches have disappeared. The paste fills in the scratches so the disc can be read. It may not work for heavily scratched surfaces, but it's worth a shot and "baby, don't forget my number!" (I was lip-syncing this whole tip).

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