My Chumbys and Me

18 04 2011

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Woot and the excitement that can accompany a Woot-Off, that festival of consumerism and feeding frenzy for those susceptible to impulse buys.
A few frenzies ago included offering up a Chumby One for the attractive price of $49.
Chumby one!
I bought two.
I’d been trying to figure out various ways gaining ‘shelf-top’ access to online music resources. Back in the day, I’d picked up a Roku Soundbridge or two, but I’ve never been completely satisfied with the results. Even modern versions of these devices are in my opinion too expensive and too limited. They play music, that’s it. Even though Roku has moved on, other manufacturers are offering similar devices for $250.
Screw that.
The Chumby One is a small 450mghz Linux computer with Wifi, 64meg of RAM, and a 3.5″ color screen. It has everything I was looking for in a ‘bedside’ or ‘shelfside’ device. It can play music, it has a touchscreen that can show a wide variety of content, and it’s controllable from a centralized server. It has line-level audio out via a headphone connector, as well as internal speakers. The design allows for easy ‘bedside’ use, along with unattended modes.
The final button for me was the inclusion of a powered USB port on the back. This means I now had an easy charging station nearby for my iPhone, without taking up another power outlet and the accompanying cable mess.
I love the variety of apps, both the whimsical (David Letterman’s Top 10) and the useful (A constantly updated weather / traffic / time / date page that shows ‘local status’ in real time) – all while happily playing Radioparadise for me.
And. Heck. They’re cute.

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