Topic: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

I just installed the Chumby screensaver and it's great.  I'm wondering if there is any way to mimic the top button of a real chumby in the screensaver (for example, space bar or right mouse button, etc.).  Also, does the screensaver allow (or will it eventually allow) full use of a real chumby's software including setting alarms, night mode, etc.?


Re: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

Very unlikely - since it's a screen saver, there's no guarantee that it would be running when an alarm would be supposed to go off.

The screen saver is just about the widgets - our assumption on a PC is that the user already has access to alarms, dimming, music, etc through other applications.

Re: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

Ahh, but I think by Chumbifying our PCs, you could create a new niche for PCs, especially given the massive popularity of ultra-small, desk/night stand-sized portable computers.  I used your screensaver to Chumbify a tiny old VAIO hand-held, which sits on my nightstand now.  I suspect others would also be interested in Chumbifying their netbooks or hand-held PCs with your new screensaver!

Re: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

So, you'd basically like something that turns a PC into a chumby?

The issue that would make this hard is that much of the interesting non-widget parts of the Control Panel rely on the specific extensions we've made our version of the FlashLite player.  While we could certainly port many of those changes to an x86-based player, our license with Adobe limits us to distribution of our player to embedded devices.  The question would be then one of interpretation - if we made a *full* distribution for a PC (ie *replace* the entire operating system with our variant of Linux) then we might be able to do this.  However, just sitting on top of an existing desktop operating system (Mac, Windows, etc) seems to be precluded by the license.

The screensaver uses the built-in Flash Player along with some .NET code, some HTML and Javascript, which is sufficient to deliver the bulk of the widget "experience" of a chumby, but it not enough to do much more than that.

I'll bring it up internally.

Re: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

Yes, exactly!  Or, to be more explicit, here's my perspective on how a chumbified PC could become a significant part of the modern computing experience.

I own three chumbies (all classics).  I bought the first one when the chumby was fairly new.  At the time, the chumby was was ahead of its time, and to a certain extent I still think that the chumby is just hitting its stride now.  More accurately, the way people think about using technology and information is just now reaching a point in which an always-on very easily customizable internet video and audio player can become an important part of our everyday lives.  That's certainly happened in our household, where each chumby plays a significant role in those three rooms in the house.

Thanks in part to the wildly popular iPhone/iPad/iOS/App Store and the mainstream success of Apple's "it just works" design and marketing philosophy, consumers are now looking for and even demanding that the internet and information in general be offered to them in the most convenient way possible, through highly customizable but very easy to use mechanisms.  The chumby is the distilled essence of one solution to that demand. 

That's why I was so excited to hear of the screensaver.  I don't think the announcement was quite done in the right way however-- it's significant not because we can "turn our monitors into chumbies", but rather because bringing full-screen chumby apps and chumby philosophy to mainstream PCs is potentially a very big deal... if chumby (the company) is willing to take the bull by the horns and drive the opportunity to widespread adoption.

Apple is frantically trying to get an App Store for Macs open by 1-2 weeks from now.  That move is ingenious in some ways, but missing the point in other ways.  The problem is not that it's otherwise inconvenient to buy applications for our Macs-- it's that there aren't many desktop computer applications that are designed to passively transmit information, entertainment, culture, news, etc. on our computers in an easy-to-use, customizable way.  So right now I see a niche in which the chumby world put on PCs and Macs everywhere could become quite popular, especially for those computers that aren't 100% dedicated work computers (i.e., probably 70% of all computers in this country, especially the ones sitting in our closets that we no longer use because they aren't sufficient for modern work tasks but are plenty powerful for chumby apps).

If it helps with coming up with a tenable business model for such a product,
1) It's presumably not too much more work to develop than the screensaver that you already have
2) People would pay money for this app (my guess is at least $10-$20 per MAC address)
3) Or you could offer the app for free with small advertising a la Google apps and make money from advertisers
4) It would immediately leverage the MUCH larger PC+Mac community of developers to make new apps for the suddenly much larger PC/Mac chumby customer base.

What do you think?



Re: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

an app for an iphone would rock!

Re: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

Since chumbys use Flash, and Apple has banned Flash, as well as any app that loads executable content from an external service, it's very unlikely that the Chumby system will ever be available on the iPhone.

Re: Any equivalent to the top button for the screensaver? Night mode?

There are always VMs.

Tar, feathers, congress. Some assembly required.