Topic: Custom messages on Infocast

I've been toying with my new Infocast for about a week and I'm 90% loving it. It's that other 10% that has me considering a return.

All I want to do is push custom text to the screen, on demand. The only way that I've been successful is to stop the control panel, then write to the frame buffer or launch my own app. After that I can restart the control panel when I'm done. It is inelegant, to say the least. Although I could leave the control panel up and fbwrite() my text, screen refreshes quickly overwrite anything that I write to the screen.

With earlier Chumby control panels, you could force a channel change, or a widget change, which I guess I would have expected to move forward with the Insignia model. These commands seem to be now discarded with this version.

With the Infocast, is there any way to:
A) Force a channel or widget change from the shell?
B) Overlay text or images on top of the currently flash app?

Any tips here?

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Not at the moment, that I'm aware of - however, we'll talk to Best Buy about it.

Don't return it - the original chumby was lacking certain features when it first came out, and had to evolve to get to where it is.  Hopefully these other products will do the same.

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

We working with chumby to address features and issues being raised by our customers, stay tuned.

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Thanks for the reassurance. I’m looking forward to the new (and hopefully frequent smile ) updates.

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

digitaldel wrote:

working with chumby to address features and issues being raised by our customers, stay tuned.

Better streaming audio support, please!  It seems the player all regular chumby'shave  (My Streams?) would be a nice step in the right direction.  Some of the stations I want to listen to simply can't be reached by the applications currently available.

Thanks for tuning in, Del - always nice to know "the company" is listening.

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Still staying tuned, but haven't heard anything since my original post. Is there any public roadmap for Infocast updates? It seems a shame because it could be such a capable device. In some ways, the original Chumbys are more flexible.

7 (edited by phoenixflames 2010-10-27 05:47:33)

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Well the infocast is limited because it is a Best Buy product, so Chumby Industries has certain input on it, not everything (so I've been told).

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

My friend and I bought an Infocast this past Black Friday and we would love this feature.
Any updates on this situation?

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Add another person interested in basic functionality of remote control.

I bought the 8" to use as a living room clock, but I want to turn off the lcd at night, and back on in the morning.  Was looking for a way to cronjob a nightmode, or similar.  At this point I'm going to have to have a cronjob that does a "shutdown -h now" at night, and manually turn the thing back on in the morning.

My next trick would be to just download a "nightclock" app, stop the control panel, start the clock app up, and kill it in the morning, and restart the control panel.  I'll be trying this later today.

ANY suggestions on how to do this easier would be appreciated.  Are there any linux commands to turn on/off the lcd panel?

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Matt Drown wrote:

I bought the 8" to use as a living room clock, but I want to turn off the lcd at night, and back on in the morning.

A regular chumby has better alarms that allow doing exactly what you're asking.  It's a great disappointment that the 8" doesn't have these alarms.

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Quickly displaying custom messages on the 8" Infocast is something I am also interested in.  I don't own one (yet) because I want to make sure I can make it do what I want before I dish out the cash.   

With the Chumby One, I think I would write an app/widget that would grab and display my message off of an external server, and then send a signal to the control panel to change to that widget (using the control panel signals described at … trol_Panel ).  But I can't find any information about sending signals to the 8" Infocast control panel.

I could do what Sempo suggested in the original post, and kill the control panel and then write to the frame buffer.  This would be a shame to kill whatever might be going on just to display a message.  Maybe there is a way to suspend/background the control panel just long enough to write a message to the frame buffer and then resume/foreground the control panel?

Another idea (if I'm brainstorming) might be to do fancy renaming/symlinking of the framebuffer device.  Suppose that the control panel wrote to a symlink to the framebuffer device.  When a message needed to be displayed, the symlink could be removed (or redirected to /dev/null or something), then the framebuffer could be written to without interruption, and the symlink could be restored (allowing the control panel to write again) when the message expires.

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Like Pearmaster and Sempo, I would also like to remotely control the channel and app being shown on an Infocast 8”.

I bought a unit for my parents so that they could see photos of the grand-children and see when e-mail arrives in their gmail account without needing to turn their PC on (which otherwise may only be very infrequently). Unfortunately the Infocast sometimes gets unplugged and often does not automatically return to the usual channel when powered-up (showing the green intro screen instead). This usually results in a “support” call to me to talk them through how to select a channel and start the app rotation.

Although I can use the web portal to remotely control the apps in each channel, I cannot find any way of remotely controlling the channel being displayed. It would be great if this could be done, and even better if I could send them messages that automatically over-lay the normal app rotation until acknowledged.

Perhaps Duane and/or Digitaldel could comment on any progress towards being able to perform such remote command line actions on the Infocast 8” (Silvermoon) platform?

Many thanks.

Re: Custom messages on Infocast

Here is a tip about using fbwrite or imgtool while the Control Panel is running:

Send the unix signal SIGSTOP to the chumbyflashplayer.x process to suspend the control panel.  Then use the fbwrite or imgtool.  Sleep for a while, and turn the control panel back on with the unix signal SIGCONT. 


kill -STOP $(pidof chumbyflashplayer.x)
/usr/bin/imgtool --mode=draw /tmp/sample.png
sleep 10
kill -CONT $(pidof chumbyflashplayer.x)