One of our favorite publications/tech blogs is MAKE Magazine. And I don’t just say this because the owner of Make, O’Reilly Media, through their involvement in OATV, is also an investor in chumby industries (but at least I got that disclosure out of the way). We like MAKE because they advocate what we advocate, i.e., for people to get more directly involved in the creation, adaptation and enhancement of their own stuff and not to be just mindless consumers of it. The original premise, still in effect, of chumby was that a chumby product should allow its owner to completely personalize it, and in every way: not just change the content on it, but even, with the tools and the talent, to alter the enabling software and modify the housing and the electronics. The marching song was “warranties are for wusses!” And some people did some amazing things. But we really didn’t make this easy for our hardware hacking and “case mod” friends: they had to purchase a chumby at full price and then deconstruct it, likely ruining parts of it in the process, in order to get to the electronics and other components needed to turn it into something else. You had to want to do this pretty badly in order to pay for the parts you didn’t want and then destroy a lot of things in the process.
Now, along with our friends at MAKE, we’ve made this process easier for those of you who want just the raw electronics of chumby for your own creations — you know who you are.
You can now go here and, for $99, which is half the price of a fully-built chumby, get yourself all of chumby’s electronic parts, okay, the “guts” of a chumby — btw, no one consulted chumby’s marketing department on that description, but …whatever. If you’re brave enough to assemble a chumby, this description won’t turn you off. Move fast, because there aren’t a lot of these kits. And please let us know what you create. Maybe you’ll even get a crazy idea like encasing all of these electronics in soft Italian leather and adding a “charm hook” for amusing rubber charms.
Hack on, and don’t forget to write.