I know you likely are asking ‘What the hell is a Chumby’? It is a box not much bigger than an alarm clock, but it looks like much more fun than your regular point of pain at 7am in the morning!

With a price tag of $180 one would expect something slightly better than the $10 Wal-mart clock. Chumby seems to deliver in this aspect. I have not actually received mine yet, but you can rest assured that I will be writing a comprehensive review as soon as I have it. So for right now you are just going to have to play along with my guesswork.

Chumby

Here is what I know, or at least think I know. Chumby has a 350mz ARM processor in it and 64 meg of ram, it runs a variety of Linux, the exact flavor is as yet unknown. It also comes with two USB ports, a built in speaker, an accelerometer, and a 3.5 inch touch screen.

So what does an almost $200 alarm clock do? I hear you ask. Well it has built in Wi-Fi, so if you have a wireless router this little do-hickey will find it as soon as you power it on. The Press Release says it runs ‘Widgets’, now I am not quite sure I know what a widget is, but apparently you can use these widgets to check Google News (I like that), or play video clips, or display pictures of your favorite grandchild.

The most appealing aspect of the Chumby, is it is hackable. In fact the manufacturers make a big deal out of the open architecture. I like that, it is a shame that more manufacturers do not do this. You can basically roll your own widgets using Flash-Lite.

I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my Chumby. According to the company they are making one last engineering change before starting mass production. You can order your own Chumby from www.chumby.com

Simon Barrett

http://zzsimonb.blogspot.com

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