David Findlay

Come in Chumby

So, my copy of Linux Journal arrived in the post the other day. I happened to show the front cover to my wife, and happened to point at the Chumby that was featured there. She saw what it could do and asked for one for her birthday, which happens to be just around the corner. So now I'mshe's getting a Chumby! I know I'llshe'll like it a lot.

I've been looking at the Chumby for quite a while, but the flash-only GUI put me off. However, the LJ article points out that you can save OpenOffice presenations to flash, and of course Keynote can do that as well. In the article, the author used that to create recipe cards that you could view on the Chumby, which I thought was a great idea. The Chumby folks are keeping the device as open as they can, so there should be opportunity to do some good ol' hackery on it too.

For example, if you
turn on a slightly hidden setting, you can enable SSH, and you get this neat welcome message when you sign in:

Chumby SSH Welcome Screen

It runs the Freescale iMX21 processor, which is a little old in the tooth - stuck on a 2.4 kernel for example - but still, it should be fun. By comparison, the Bug runs an iMX31 on a 2.6 kernel, but then it goes for $549 and the Chumby is only $179. My only real concern with the Chumby is the feeds concept, where it seems possible that they might push stuff to your Chumby that you didn't necessarily ask for, like adverts for example. But even then, since it's open you could just stop pointing it at their site and do your own thing.

I'll post back once I've had a chance to play with itset it up.