Topic: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

From what I've been reading in these forums, I'm getting the impression that 99% of the functions available on my Chumby will no longer work if goes down.  If the company goes under and the website gets shut down, then all our Chumbys will be pretty much useless.

I've read that some people hack into these things and gain access to running things locally; has anyone done work in this area to create a setup (i.e. USB stick) that would enable the Chumby to continue working as a stand-alone device? 

I'm a bit worried that I've bought a gadget that will be totally useless if Chumby the company stops supporting it.  I've already read of widgets and functions disappearing without user consent; this strikes me as similar to the Kindle situation where users never realised that they're not really in control of the device they bought.


Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

Well Widgets are written by third parties - if they want to remove them it's their right - you didn't pay the develpoer for the widget did you? I don't know what functions you are talking about disappearing though.

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

I'm not sure either - I'm not aware of any function that's been removed.

The only thing I can think of is Pandora outside the US, but that has nothing to do with Chumby- you can blame the music industry for that one.

Widgets, as mentioned, can come and go at the whim of their authors - we have no standing to force anyone to support their widgets indefinitely if they don't feel like it.

As to the device working if Chumby goes out of business, we went out of our way to make it possible for any competent software engineer to replace every single byte of software of the device - in the C1, you can replace it all with a MicroSD card, and we provided all of the tools to create anything one wishes.  We've even been providing direct assistance to those trying to put Android on it, and we've assisted folks replacing the firmware, the kernel, etc.

Not sure what else we can do there.

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

It would be great if there was a simple way to put SWFs anywhere on the Chumby, and tell the system at boot-up to not look in the net but on the local storage only. Then one could collect all the offline apps necessary and run Chumby even in the shack up in the mountains smile

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

the removed function I alluded to was the wake-up or going-to-sleep soundtrack that someone recently mentioned had disappeared.  It turns out that it disappeared because the website couldn't access some other website for a period, so it removed the thing.  Or something like that.  Bottom line is that I can't expect that menu items on my device will remain there.

I don't accept the argument that since it was written by a 3rd party, they should be able to remove it as a right.  If that's the basis underlying this device, it should be stated up front for consumers to be aware of before they buy it - "Warning:  All widgets and capabilities can be removed at, or the author's discretion at any time, without your say-so."  It's the same argument about books disappearing off the Kindle.  People aren't upset that an illegal book was removed; they're upset that they weren't aware that Amazon controlled their device remotely, without their permission.

I don't like buying something this expensive to find that everything it does may, or may not, continue to work in the future, depending on factors outside my control.  I'm not talking about widgets that depend on websites, rss feeds, etc.  I'm talking about alarm clock widgets, or photo album widgets, or anything else advertised as being part of the device's core functionality.

But I'm glad to read Duane's response about ensuring that software engineers will be able to make the device work into the future, although that will depend on other external factors outside my control.

Anyway, I don't want to get into a debate with a bunch of unix hotheads that feel it necessary to beat all my arguments down.  The point is, I'm a new user, and this is my impressions.  Woe to those that ignore customer first impressions.

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

Do you complain to your ISP each time a 3rd party website disappears from the internet?

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

I have considered what would happen if Chumby went out of business too. It is a shame more people don't know about the devices and how great they are. A modest subscription would be preferable to going away. As for third party widgets, you can create as many widgets as you like if you don't want to depend on someone else. Being able to run widgets locally would be nice (maybe stored on a USB drive). Too bad I let my programming skills get rusty about 20 years ago. I would work on that project.

Tar, feathers, congress. Some assembly required.

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

I really don't see how we can be held responsible if a website in Poland went down, as was the case with Nirvana Radio.  I'm sure the feed will be restored soon.

I'm sorry, the Internet is a transient thing - things come and go, and there's no guarantee that anything that's available today will be there tomorrow.

It is indeed possible for widgets to go away - the terms and conditions make it clear that the widgets are the property of their authors, for which they are granting Chumby limited and revocable redistribution rights.

A widget could disappear from the service unilaterally if it contains content that violates the terms of use - ie it contains illegal or inappropriate content, or we receive and comply with a DMCA takedown notice.

Note that unlike the situation with the Amazon Kindle, nothing's actually being removed from your device, since nothing's there to begin with - it's removed from *our* servers, and is no longer available to the device when it asks for it.

We don't actually have the ability to remotely remove *any* data stored on your device.

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

Duane wrote:

We don't actually have the ability to remotely remove *any* data stored on your device.

Gee, you mean my MP3s are safe? wink

Thank you for all you do and Happy New Year to everyone!

Tar, feathers, congress. Some assembly required.

Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

Happy Holidays all...

Thought I would chime in as well...  received my C1 yesterday.  Love it.  It is an awesome internet device.  I love the way the device and the software are open.  I love the way that the company encourages and helps its customers in using the device --- that is so rare these days and cannot be understated!

I am really excited about this product.  I *used* to be a hardware/electronics guy and *used* to do a lot of low-level (machine-code/assembly) programming.  These days I do networks and servers and my former love has gotten a bit dusty, but this has really gotten me fired up again.  I can't wait to see what kind of things I can work into this device.  Brian O'Conner's plant sensor device is a great example of what can be done.

Now having said all that, and not having mine long enough to know much about it yet, and understanding that this is an internet device and is dependent on there being an internet, I hope the device does not become a brick when it is without a connection.  I can understand from a non-hardware/non-software/non-hacker type of customer POV that this would be a real disappointment.  Seems like there should be some sort of backup plan - clock, local music, etc.  Maybe an ability to select a couple of default widgets that live on the device (obviously these widgets would have to be non-internet feed types - but clocks, local pictures & music, and games come to mind).  Some of these widgets could be time-locked (they die after x amount of days if the device does not connect to home base, etc.) if needed.  My portable XM radio works this way, as does my portable slacker radio.  Of course that is due to licensing of music (obviously if the music didn't time out, why would I need to keep the service) and so may not apply to widgets at this time.  But it could be worked in in order for the device to get a fresh load of "commercials" etc. and keep chumby ind. viable.

Anyways, happy New Year all (2010 - wow!)...


Re: Can the Chumby run stand-alone?

Come across this old post accidentally. It make me worries for a second, but I guess Chumby Inc will out last my Chumby One unit.