A little retro fun

October 25, 2010

When I was at my last company, we had a hard time in the early days explaining what we did to our potential partners at the wireless operators.  We would commonly say that we were doing stuff at the intersection of mobile blogging and social networking.  That would generally result in quizzical expressions and  the simple statement of, “Huh?”  Over time, as social networking became something that people understood, we could say things like, “It’s like Myspace.”  and then people would get it.

When I told some of my friends and relatives about chumby, I would be met with the same curious look from those days long ago.  Sometimes I would ask them if they heard of Dash and then they would say, “Oh, I get it, they have some of your stuff inside.”  Yeah.  Other times they would smile still and not really know what I was talking about.  The obvious big barrier in that case is that people need to see a piece of hardware from us, or Sony or Best Buy to have that visceral moment of understanding.

Today we released a fun piece of software to help people understand what a chumby looks like without having to have the hardware.  If you want to see what a Windows PC would look like as a chumby, you can look at this post here to get the details.  While this is meant to be mostly fun, I think it is also a good foreshadowing of some of the things we will be releasing in the coming months that help people understand what chumby means as a software platform and not just a hardware platform.

For those hardware fans who like things like chumby being converted to a robot, please don’t fear as we have a couple of new hardware things up our sleeve as well that we hope to share with you soon.

In the meantime, if you were ever a fan of flying toasters or other novel ways to protect your PC from “screen burn in”, feel free to put the chumby screen saver on your computer and give it a try.

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5 Responses to “A little retro fun”

  1. Bob Simril Says:

    This is such a cool gadget, my 7 and 9 year old can’t get enough. Gracie streams her pandora playlist while she does crafts and sammy likes the sports, weather and “your mama” jokes. One thought is to market it as a wirelss router booster – for household use. we have problems with our home keep good connection, it could be fun and practical . . .

  2. Mario Says:

    Ever since I found out about Chumby and what it’s doing to bring a localized and compact yet diverse offering of social media organization to the masses, I’ve been hooked. I don’t own one yet, as I’m not an early adopter of tech normally (heck, I just bought a Wii last week).

    But I see where apps and the whole mobile entity for information sharing is going. Blackberry is probably on it’s way out, and iPhone/Android continue to dominate, pushing out other OS platforms.

    You guys are basically doing what Apple was doing which is bringing a new and fresh take to the interface on technology, so it’s less of an I.T. guy kind of interest, and becomes more for everyone to enjoy.

  3. RO Says:

    Reverse the paradigm of the Windows Chumby screensaver.
    What I mean is that with the 800×600 space on the 8-inch Insignia Infocast, you should look at enabling windowed apps to show several at the same time. When I realized (after grabbing one on sale from BestBuy the other night – looks like they are dropping it?) that this big screen normally shows only 1 app at a time (vs the setup/menu screens that show a lot of stuff at once), I was very disappointed.

    Since Chumby apps are optimized for the original 320×240 Chumby size, they look too blown up on the big screen of the Infocast, and are wasting all the potential space (in my view).

    I have experimented with Linux on a Fujitsu Stylistic LT C500 which is a tablet PC with 800×600 touch screen – looks like the Infocast in retro PC disguise.

    What I have tried to do with it was to create a Chumby-like “live” Internet info display, but with several different types of info simultaneously in windows. The problem I ran into was a lack of dedicated apps that are comparable to what are available for Chumby. I did sort of get something working with Firefox running an html doc that has 4 frames with each frame dedicated to a web page that has what I want to keep an eye on, local news/weather, local radar, some other stuff like that.

    That is not very flexible since I have to hard-code the URL’s for each frame and Firefox incurs a fair amount of overhead in terms of screen space and memory (the Stylistic maxes out at 256MB), but I think that would be a possible model for the Infocast – enable it to have simultaneous display of apps in windows (or something similar), and get the most use out of the larger display.

    What do you think?


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  5. 1 Says:

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