1 (edited by TheQwerty 2007-09-21 16:40:52)

Topic: The Process For An Insider

I know there's a lot of very curious people out there wondering about the details of the Insider process.

While I can't give you any official details from Chumby, I did receive my Insider invitational e-mail and thought I should share a bit.

Now I'm not sure when I signed up for the e-mail alerts, but I did do it multiple times and once way back when they were still looking for homes for the prototypes.

On September 18 I got home from work and discovered the following e-mail sent at 4:56 PM EST:

Insider's Release chumbys available wrote:

Greetings from Chumby Industries!

In appreciation of your past interest in the chumby, we wanted to let you know that a small number of "Insider's Release" chumbys are available on a first come, first served basis.

If you haven't had a chance to check out the chumby lately, you'll find the compact device is packed with features: access to the free Chumby Network loaded with cool widgets and content, 3.5" LCD color touchscreen, wi-fi connectivity, two external USB 2.0 full-speed ports, 350 Mhz ARM processor, 64MB SDRAM, 64 MB NAND flash ROM, stereo 2W speakers, headphone output, squeeze sensor, accelerometer (motion sensor), and leather casing.

We also have a great selection of widgets for the chumby and we're working on more every day. Have you checked out all the things you can do with a chumby? Use it like an electronic photo frame for your pictures on Flickr or Facebook. Wake up to the multi-tone alarm clock. Monitor incoming email on any POP3 account. Track any eBay auction. Use it as an iPod player. Catch the latest news headlines or use keywords to search for specific stories. Browse the widgets at http://www.chumby.com/guide to see all the things you can do.

The best part about the chumby? It never stops evolving. Because of its ability to receive over-the-air updates, your chumby will take advantage of our continual software improvements, and we have some very interesting additions that we're working on. Hoping the chumby can do something in the future? The future is always just around the corner for the flexible chumby!

Go to the Chumby Store at http://store.chumby.com and sign in using the following information:

Email Address: ...
Password: ...

Choose a black, latte or pearl chumby and check out. If you see a message that the chumby you selected is temporarily out of stock, you can choose another color or backorder the color you want. (We anticipate that inventory may quickly be depleted; if your chumby is placed on backorder, it should be delayed at most by three weeks).

Insider's Release buyers are limited to one chumby each. Please do not share your credentials; if more than one order is placed using your email address and password, the order will not be processed.

After checking out, your order will be placed and you will see a "thank you" screen and receive a confirmation email. If you have any problems during the ordering process, please contact our Customer Support Team at http://www.chumby.com/help/service .

Your chumby will be shipped within a week, and you will receive a shipping confirmation email with tracking information.

We hope you enjoy your new chumby!

Thank you,

Rick Maiero
VP Product Management
Chumby Industries, Inc.

So I obviously said "Yay!" and rushed to the store, where I placed an order for a latte Chumby with free charm set for the price of $179.95 USD.  No shipping, no handling, no tax - how wonderful!  I opted not to purchase another set of charms as I'm not sure I'll use the free set, but there's a total of 5 sets each one is $10 and consists of 3 different charms.

A few minutes later (5:08 PM EST) I got my receipt for the transaction.

Chumby Store receipt for order ...  wrote:

Thanks for ordering from the Chumby Store!

If this is your first purchase, welcome to the Chumby community! If you've purchased from us before, thanks for being a loyal customer. We like having you in the "chumbysphere."

When your product ships, we'll send you a shipment confirmation email. If applicable, the order will also show a shipping tracking number (this will depend on the carrier). You should receive your order within five business days after it has been shipped.

If the item you purchased is currently out of stock, it will ship as soon as it's available. Your credit card will not be charged until your order ships.

To check the status of your order, sign in at store.chumby.com. After you've signed in you'll go to your Order History page where you can click on the Detail button for more information about your order.

Thanks again for shopping with us,

-Team Chumby

Billed To:
My Address, PA
Phone: My Phone Number

My E-mail Address     Order Number: ...
Order Time: 9/18/2007 2:08:08 PM
Current Status: In Process
Payment Method:
My Credit Card & Last 4 Digits $179.95

Promotional Code(s): none
Special Instructions: none
Qty     SKU     Product Name     Unit Price
1     CHLATTE3NXXXX     latte chumby  Unshipped $179.95
Subtotal:     $179.95
Tax:     $0.00
Shipping:     $0.00
Handling:     $0.00
Grand Total:     $179.95

Please save this email in case you have any questions about your order.

That e-mail looks a bit messy without the HTML formatting, but you get the idea.  I then went back to handling everything else I had planned to do that day.  The next morning I woke up to a new e-mail sent at 2:35 AM EST.

Shipment Confirmation wrote:

Hi from the Chumby Store!

We wanted to let you know that your order has shipped and that it should arrive within 5 business days.

Your shipment tracking number for order # ... is: ... http://wwwapps.ups.com/etracking/tracking.cgi...

You can track the shipping status by clicking on the link (if the link is on two separate lines, you may need to paste the information from the second line into your web browser's address bar).

If the carrier's site isn't showing your order, check back again later. We assign the number as soon as we process the package; the carrier may still need to enter it into their system.

Thanks again for shopping with us,

-Team Chumby

It had shipped already!!  Geez that was quick!  I hoped over to UPS found that it is expected to be here on September 25!  Great news considering two days earlier my Xbox 360 finally gave me the dreaded RROD and would thus be in the shop when Halo 3 comes out that same day.  I then went to see if the charge came through on my credit card, and sure enough it had.

So now I'm anxiously counting down the days and checking UPS far too often.  As you can see it's traveling all the way around the world:

UPS Tracking wrote:

Type:       Package        
Status:     In Transit - On Time     
Scheduled Delivery:     09/25/2007     
Shipped To:     ... PA, US     
Shipped/Billed On:     09/19/2007     
Service:     EXPEDITED     
Weight:     .80 Kg     

Package Progress
Location     Date     Local Time     Description
LOUISVILLE, KY,  US     09/21/2007     1:19 P.M.     IMPORT SCAN  09/21/2007     9:31 A.M.     IMPORT SCAN
ANCHORAGE, AK,  US     09/20/2007     11:30 P.M.     DEPARTURE SCAN  09/20/2007     1:20 P.M.     ARRIVAL SCAN
CHEK LAP KOK, HK     09/20/2007     7:43 P.M.     DEPARTURE SCAN
CHEK LAP KOK, HK     09/19/2007     3:05 P.M.     HUB SCAN  09/19/2007     3:01 P.M.     HUB SCAN
SHENZHEN, CN     09/19/2007     11:46 A.M.     ORIGIN SCAN
CN     09/19/2007     12:32 A.M.     BILLING INFORMATION RECEIVED

Tracking results provided by UPS:  09/21/2007 7:06 P.M.  ET

I was a bit surprised to see that they're sending these out with free expedited shipping from China.  It's somewhat disappointing to know that my Chumby will be more traveled than me, and even more so that it got to go to places I've been hoping to go (Alaska), but I think I'll manage to forgive and forget.

Well, that's all for now.  I'll try to keep you updated when my little buddy finally arrives from his (her?) global travels!

For the Chumbians I should add that everything has gone really swimmingly.  All the e-mails have been prompt and everything is well worded and looks great.  (And I'll be sending an e-mail to the support address when I've got my Chumby and can give more thoughts on everything as a whole.)

I only have a few suggestions so far:
I think the store needs to have an estimated shipping date listed in the future.  I can understand that that is probably still slightly unknown so it makes sense to not have it now.

The e-mail receipt should include the time zone of the order time.

The shipping confirmation e-mail should include some links back to the Chumby store for checking on the order and getting the tracking number there.

The website addresses in both the receipt and the shipping e-mail should probably include the http:// prefix for better copy/pasting or automatic linking by e-mail programs.

I now have a separate username/password for the store, the main site, and the forums.  Could the store and main site be consolidated as it's a bit of a pain having three different ways to login?

The order history details should include the ship date, and whatever is supposed to happen when you click the "Details here" link for the "Shipment Tracking Number" isn't completing.  It opens a page with the tracking number and a link to UPS, but sits there claiming to still be Loading minutes later (in Firefox on XP SP2).

Now I'm going to have to seriously look at how one creates widgets!  lol

EDIT: Another note, we could also use some more General sections of the forums, for just general chatter or something like this post (which I didn't know where else to put).

Re: The Process For An Insider

Sweet.  I got the email, but 4 hours late.  By the time I got out to the site they were sold out of all colors.  I purchased anyway with the promise to ship upon arrival.  Only problem is that I just dropped into the store to check on my order and there is no trace of such.  I just sent an email to the Chumby team to see what is up.  Hopefully they know about this and are working on a remedy.

Goodluck and send us some feedback upon arrival.

Re: The Process For An Insider

Got one...Hopefully i will be getting it Tuesday 9/25. Waiting restlessly....

Re: The Process For An Insider

WOW! When did you sign up to get the "newsletters"?I want to have a rough estimate of how muchlonger I have until I gte my chumby!


Re: The Process For An Insider

Is it random how people are invited because I registered before he did or is it by rank of signing up for the first 50 so like 50-100 get an early chance?

6 (edited by TheQwerty 2007-09-30 15:56:59)

Re: The Process For An Insider

chandler wrote:

WOW! When did you sign up to get the "newsletters"?I want to have a rough estimate of how muchlonger I have until I gte my chumby!

I had signed up a while ago (6 or more months I'd say?).  It was the last round of units before the First 50 was announced.

ncoop23 wrote:

Is it random how people are invited because I registered before he did or is it by rank of signing up for the first 50 so like 50-100 get an early chance?

I believe somewhere they've said they were just doing it in a first come first serve order.  But remember it's people who put their e-mail in for more details, not registered here on the forums.
Well I got my little buddy on Monday (a day earlier than I had expected!!!)
The same day I got stuck with a new project at work, so I haven't had as much time to welcome my Chumby as I'd like.

Anyhow, first thoughts on opening it.

I opened the box and I was greeted with the Chumby mascot as a sticker holding the packing foam around the Chumby bag, which is a great sticker, but I had hoped there would be another one in the box for me to stick somewhere else and advertise.

The bag holding everything was much larger than I had expected, and it turned out to be because the Chumby itself is bigger than I was expecting.  I was thinking it would be a bit more square in shape/size but it's fatter and more rectangular.  It's the right size though and is easily viewable across the room.

Inside the big bag were two more smaller bags, a small instruction manual, and my Chumby!

A blue bag contained the three charms and a small strip of paper advertising the other charm sets, with a piece of plastic backing.  At least I think the little square piece of plastic is just meant to be backing to keep the paper fresh, but it turned out to be much more useful when I tried to put a charm on the Chumby as I'll explain later.

Another tan bag like the big bag contains the AC adapter.  It's your everyday adapter, with a wall wart that doesn't get too much in the way on a power strip.  Would have been nice to see a better tie wrap used to wrap the cord though, something that I could use multiple times.  Especially since all these bags imply I should be taking my Chumby places!  To be fair since the adapter has its own bag a tie wrap is not necessary.

The instruction manual looks like a little passport (in fact I think they should treat it as such and fashion it more like one, a page of stamps or something), and is pretty self explanatory.  I imagine this simple manual will be thicker eventually as there's actually some common trouble shooting situations to add to it.

As for the Chumby itself, the casing is a nice leather case, and I love the look of it.  There's of course a screen protector on it, and another over the Chumby's private area (the ports).  Overall it as a nice quality but the plastic frame around the screen could be better, it looks and feels really cheap (mine has some imperfections), and the plastic around the ports isn't connected to the case well.  The glue around it has already broken free from the leather.  It's not too noticeable unless you're really squeezing the Chumby.

The bottom of the Chumby has an opening with Velcro to hold it shut.  I haven't taken the time to pull out the squishy beads and such to perform a good autopsy but it feels pretty tight and the opening doesn't look large enough to me.

On the right side there is a small silver rivet near the top, which you are supposed to connect the charm(s) to.  It's really tight and I had a heck of a time trying to get even the thin rope of the charm underneath the button.  In fact I had to use the little plastic piece I mentioned earlier to get the charm on.  I slid a corner of that through the charm's string and under the rivet's edge and then was able to finally pull the string till slide under and was connected.  (Removing the charm was easy enough, but I haven't tried to put it on again.)

The back plastic protector came off easily, but I had a small problem with the screen protector.  The piece on the border came off fine, but it broke away from the part actually on the screen, leaving me with nothing to pull that square off with.  I had to carefully use a knife to lift the edge and pull the corner up, which seemed really stuck on there.  I was afraid the screen might have another plastic cover that I was going to rip off at this point, but all was well, and I luckily didn't scratch the screen doing this.

Enough looking at it - let's turn it on.

Plugged in, hit the power button, it slowly boots and makes a ton of loud noise!  Where's the volume?  On the control panel, which I can't get to until I have internet connectivity.  Watched the informative Welcome video (Nice to meet you all!), which was also very loud.  Let's get started setting up.  The touch screen took some time to get the feel of but is pretty responsive once you adjust.

The Chumby scanned for networks, and found mine just fine.  (But I had other problems getting my laptop to connect so I could update the MAC filtering and after about an hour got that sorted out.)  According to the website I should have been able to find the Chumby's MAC address at this point, but I had no luck.  The one image said go to the control panel, but I couldn't get to the control panel until after I got the Chumby onto my network.  The other image said it was shown on one of the network setup screens, but I checked everything and couldn't find it.  This really needs to be presented somewhere that easily accessible.  A similar device (the Logitech/Slim Devices Squeezebox) prints it on a sticker with the serial number and FCC stuff and places this on the bottom of the device.  This could be done and the sticker placed in the instruction manual or somewhere else.

After setting my WAP to allow the Chumby's MAC, it sat there for a while saying it was Connecting.  A couple minutes later it was still connecting and hadn't appeared to have requested an IP so I restarted it.  It gave me a scare and froze up until I restarted it twice more (once the video with the waving Chumby and the water bubbles completely stopped, and another time it just kept playing that same video but wasn't proceeding).  Finally, it booted properly, got the IP, and continued with the activation phase.

I had a problem where it appeared to freeze getting the software update, and I didn't get confirmation of it installing one if it needed it, so I'm not sure what happened there, but eventually it was up and running.  I was a bit disappointed to see the only PA city on the time zone selection screen was Philadelphia.  Would have been nice to see Pittsburgh as well, but there were a lot of dots over there to pick.  It might be even better if on the website or Chumby Americans could use their zip code for this, and then it could be the default for the plugins that use it (every weather one).  I'm sure something similar could be done for other countries as well.

The website was running a bit slow that night (I assumed everyone was trying to get their new friend set up) but after some time browsing all the widgets I got a few channels set up and displaying.

It's a great little device, and aside from a few birthing jitters has functioned well and is keeping me up to date on the news, whether, and morning commute traffic.  I'm really looking forward to writing my own widgets and seeing everything the community comes up with.

There's only three other suggestions I have, and for the most part they can be handled with a firmware update.

1) A way to cycle through the widgets without going into the control panel.  Is there a way to do this that I'm missing?
2) It would be neat if we could define a special night channel which would be activated with the dim brightness when clicking the Night icon instead of just the time.
3) Unfortunately, even at the dimmest setting, the screen still emits enough light that when on the night stand it brightens part of the bedroom.  The start up time is a bit slow, so it would be great if there were a way to either tell the Chumby to sleep (a low power mode, minimal updates, screen is off, but wakes up quickly) or just a way to turn off the screen.

To further expand that there could be an advanced alarm and sleep function.
The user could define a sleep timer and dim to setting (don't dim, dimmest level, turn screen off), which would fade the screen out to that setting in a user defined amount of time.
In addition, the alarm could be updated to include the opposite such that at x minutes before the alarm it could fade the screen back to the previous brightness (or a user defined brightness).

That's it for now.  Keep up the good work Chumbians!

Re: The Process For An Insider

My Chumby was delivered today - but I'm at work right now sad sad 

For those of us who were able to get theirs early... will we have "Chumby Insider" as our title in the forums.  I see that the "First 50" got this title.


Re: The Process For An Insider

Jasafar wrote:

My Chumby was delivered today - but I'm at work right now sad sad


For those of us who were able to get theirs early... will we have "Chumby Insider" as our title in the forums.  I see that the "First 50" got this title.

Hmmm - well, there were only 50 of those folks, so managing the titles was pretty easy - not sure we have the capacity to manage titles for the thousands of Insiders.