Gettin' Widggy With the Chumby

Who says you are too old to play with toys? It's soft, it's small, it's cute and it's socially acceptable to play with by those over the age of 19. I introduce to you, the Chumby .

Chumby is a bean bag Linux computer that has a basic alarm clock and wireless internet. This cutsie computer uses a touch screen, much like Apple's iPhone, for its interface and because it measures only 5 inches wide by 4 inches tall by 3 inches deep, the Chumby fits in the palm of your hand and can be easily moved from room to room. Unfortunately, the downfall of the Chumby is that it needs to be plugged in to operate.

It also has a decent CPU, 2 USB ports, touch screen, Linux environment, and embraces hacking attempts by those more techie advanced. Between the Wi-Fi connection and the two USB 2.0 ports, you have all the access you'll need to modify the system.

Even without modification, however, the Chumby can use widgets to amuse, inform, and entertain you. You will find everything from news to weather to games to TV to presidential delegate counts on the Chumby website.

There's almost 1,000 widgets, both user-created and made by Chumby, that you can get for free, with no monthly fees at all (Bonus!).

The most popular top 10 widgets are:

  1. Weather by The Weather Channel
  2. Blue Digital Clock
  3. Engadget
  4. Built in Clock
  5. Chumball
  6. Sun/Moon Clock
  7. Chumby Analog Clock (white)
  8. Food Network Recipe of the Day
  10. Reversi (1 player)

Whether you are an aspiring flash artist or a seasoned one at that, you can "flash" your talent by creating your own unique widgets and uploading them to the Chumby site.

Here are a few categories of widgets you can create on your own:

  1. TV/movie times
  2. Day by day calendars
  3. To do lists
  4. News/entertainment widgets
  5. Video widgets
  6. Fantasy sports
  7. Travel deals
  8. Webcams
  9. Shopping widgets, such as Amazon or eBay

Another added bonus for Chumby users is that access to the Chumby Network is absolutely free. There are no yearly subscriptions to have to pay, or plans to sign up for. The network is sponsored solely by Chumby Industries and by its sponsor companies who provide you widgets such as music, games, movie previews, customized alarm clocks, etc.

Still unsure if a Chumby is the way to go? No worries, you can try it out first by creating a virtual Chumby from the Chumby website that lets you play with widgets like as if it were a real Chumby. Even better, if you determine that you do like it and you want to get the real thing, you can load channels you have created for the virtual Chumby and transfer it to your real Chumby!

In summary, enjoying a Chumby is a great way for those who want to get a break from the full computer and if you're one of the unfortunate ones who don't yet have an iPhone, it's a great way to have a little fun with a high tech toy.

Vicki Kwong
Guest Blogger

Our Guest Blogger, Vicki Kwong is a Computer Support Technician, Web Designer, and Graphic artist based in beautiful Vancouver, B.C. She has worked in the IT industry for several years and those known to her consider her a serial enthusiast when it comes to technology.

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