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DesktopWeb FormText   first hour with ChumbySat, 29 Mar 2008 03:32:25 GMT # 

got a Chumby. hardware is decent. touchscreen is a little 'touchy', but works decent enough finger driven. it'd be nice if it came with a stylus that could be tethered to it. it also has a control panel button and tilt sensor. not sure about the squeeze sensor, it might really just be a button that's on top of the device. and i doubt that i'll find the tilt sensor useful. i.e. not sure how compelled i'll be to pick it up. the bottom has a velcro slit for a backup battery. the back has a power button, 2 usb ports, headphone out, and speaker. i'm assuming the speaker will be used to sound the alarm, even if i have headphones plugged in? at least i hope that's the case. i was looking for a volume control, but the volume is software controlled. the front face could use a button to quickly change the current widget.

the setup was simple enough : calibrate the screen, set the timezone, connect to wireless, activate the device on the chumby website (using a PC). then it downloaded some updates and booted again. on the chumby website, you can easily add and configure more widgets. the website is pretty decent. the widgets can be rated with user comments. there seems to be a sizable number of widgets too ... including more clocks than you'll ever need. you can also access a beta update on the website.

its main use will be as an alarm clock. in that regard, it looks pretty solid. the backup battery was a requirement and the alarms are highly configurabe. e.g. when to sound, what to play, how long to sound, backup alarm. it can also play internet audio streams. tried some shoutcast streams, but they timed out after a while and never recovered. this seems to be a network problem, because a Flickr widget was failing to load images too. hard to tell in the 1st hour, but it seems like they need to improve the network stack/clients. and for the price, it needs to be a solid music player too. anyway, it'll take some time for me to get a look at the different widgets and judge its reliability. my 1st impression is that it has alot of potential, and being an open platform keeps it interesting. the widget development platform is flash ... hmm, how about some Silverlight?