With the discussion of personal technology integration over the past few years we have seen ideas like internet enabled refrigerators, smart table top and surface computing, smart home systems and more. While some of these ideas seem a bit far fetched, others are much more of a helpful addition to our current lifestyles.
With Christmas now behind us and everyone I know, including myself, with new electronic goodies I have been giving this a bit more personal reflection. One of these gifts (and my personal favorite) was a Chumby (to be released to the general public in the next few months and more information here about their business strategy here).
More pictures here
Over the last few days of use I have realized how much the idea of integrated devices into our homes are going to fill the unrealized voids within our increasing digital lives pretty quickly.
With links to family and friends around the world via social networks and more digital connections to keep up with news and happenings are becoming more mainstream. Rather than keeping my notebook on while at home and having to open/close, move it upstairs/downstairs, login/out when needed and more "modern inconveniences", I can have a single household device that can move around, if needed, to let me passively retrieve information in the background that I will want to view on my own schedule without the hassles mentioned above. From streaming audio, pictures, social networks and access to most any type of digital information and/or updates I may want.
For anyone who might be interested in tinkering around with this type of device, whether you are a programmer/coder, artist or craftsmen its another platform for you to work within and make your own.... From the developer portion of the website it sums this up pretty well:
Hardware: Ahhh, remember back when the Apple II shipped with complete source code for its BIOS and schematics? We are happy to bring this tradition back to the public.
Software: The chumby client is a Linux-based, open-source platform. As our client evolves, so does our flavor of linux and the specific details associated with its drivers and helper applications.
Flash: Are you a Flash animator? We like to think of a chumby as a Flash showcase and encourage Flash artists to spread their talents through our network.
Crafts: The chumby is designed in a way such that the core electronics can be easily separated from its outerwear, enabling you to create that exact look you want.
So far this has been a great lifestyle unification tool, merging my digital life with my home life in a good balance. So which electronic toys did you get or have you had that you cannot live without, please reply via e-mail or in the comments section below.
Bonus: If anyone has the Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader let me know (e-mail me) as I am especially interested in this as my next electronic addition and would love to hear your feedback on real usage. :)
Clarification: the chumby was a gift from my family, not from the manufacturer.