Looking for Chumby feedback
December 10, 2007 5:55 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for feedback on the Chumby. I am attracted to the thing and I have read lots of positive stuff about them. Are they all that? Anyone out there have any real experience with one? What are the down sides?
posted by citybuddha to Technology (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Response by poster: http://www.chumby.com/
posted by citybuddha at 6:15 AM on December 10, 2007

If you don't know what a Chumby is you probably aren't qualified to answer the question, no? Dave Winer's review of his Chumby is pretty good.
posted by chunking express at 6:35 AM on December 10, 2007

Geek.com's review is pretty decent in terms of presenting several downsides to the device, and at least one commenter over at OSNews is upset about ads on the Chumby.

But overall, most people seem to be pretty pleased.
posted by SemiSophos at 7:16 AM on December 10, 2007

wow, requires AC power is a sticking point. It's not really portable then, is it?
posted by cosmicbandito at 7:32 AM on December 10, 2007

It'll run on the 9v battery, at least for a time. I haven't disconnected mine for longer than it takes to move a cord but it keeps going. I suspect the life wouldn't be too long, given its use of wifi.

It's an interesting toy, but if I had considered the matter longer than the "available now! must buy or lose shot!" I probably wouldn't have dropped the cash. If I had sufficient free time to really fiddle with developing things for it I might feel differently.

The touch screen is more persnickety than I would like - that would probably be my biggest complaint.
posted by phearlez at 7:43 AM on December 10, 2007

I've had mine for a month or two and I'd still say to wait a bit for it. It's kinda cool and it has a ton of potential, but it's just not realized yet until a bunch of developers start attacking it and building out more apps.

My first impressions were that it was fun, cool looking, but the first wave of widgets left a lot to be desired. I quickly found myself not using it as a clock radio, but just as a wifi picture frame loading flickr images and I haven't done much with it since.
posted by mathowie at 10:41 AM on December 10, 2007

I agree with mathowie. I think it's cool, but it's just not that useful yet.
posted by cerebus19 at 10:43 AM on December 10, 2007

I just need to say that a product named "Chumby" weirds me out. Chumby is what we have been calling my brother for the past 21 years. He's even got "CHUMBY" tattooed across his back. My dad wrote to the Chumby computer people and asked for a free one b/c of that- but no one replied :(
posted by kidsleepy at 10:43 AM on December 10, 2007

I like our Chumby.

Upsides: best clock radio ever, and the only clock radio I've ever seen with readable type. iPod connectivity is nice, and the Internet radio features that just came through on the latest beta are fantastic. Speakers are shockingly good for the device's size. If you're a linuxy type, it's trivial to ssh in and add your own cgis to do things via web interface, or create your own widgets if you're a flash type. It's very cute, the interface is neat, and the packaging is stellar.

Downsides: the little hardware clicker at the top doesn't work that well. I'd love to take it off of its leash for longer as a mini-Internet boombox (although as mentioned above it does work for a while on a 9-volt). Beta software unlocks a lot of power re: Internet radio and alarm configuration, but the betas are still a bit glitchy. Non-beta alarm and music features are too paltry, so you have to pick your poison right now. Most widgets aren't all that exciting yet outside of the clock radio or digital picture frame space, but that seems to be changing (ie, Nextbus widgets).

It is hard to justify the price unless you really, really want a hackable clock radio/iPod/Internet radio player/digital picture frame, but if you have a room that you don't have a computer in, and want a little bit of network connectivity for the little things, it's very neat. Right now it's a niche-y device, but cool things are likely to come given what I've seen so far.
posted by eschatfische at 10:53 AM on December 10, 2007

I love the internet radio. I want to replace the iHome's in my house with them for the iPod controls. It's cute and fun and easy to use and has really neat potential.


I woke up late this morning because we upgraded or something and the alarm didn't go off. After waking up Saturday at 6am because it was set to weekday only.

So I'd say, wow, it's awesome. But don't go for the beta software unless you want your wife late for work and grumpy. Just what we needed. An alarm clock with bugs.
posted by Gucky at 11:19 AM on December 10, 2007

It looks like it has potential, but why does it have to look like a car headrest w/ embedded LCD? Why not like a LCD picture frame?
posted by mphuie at 11:28 AM on December 10, 2007

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