1 (edited by richardkaufmann 2008-01-03 16:26:04)

Topic: Just a few little changes could make this a killer device...


At the risk of showing my ignorance, I think a few simple changes to the UI would make the chumby a lot more useful -- at least to me!  If there's already a way to do what I'm asking for, please tell me!

The two things I don't like:

1. Having to time-slice widgets as the only usable way to get multiple widgets.  Yes, you can make a single-widget channel -- but then you have to do something cumbersome in the control panel to change to a different single-widget channel.

2. Night mode isn't easy to do (other than turning the chumby on its nose).  And there's no way to slam the screen to OFF, not just "lit black."  (I've seen other complaints here, along with someone showing how the hardware supports turning off the backlight.)

And my suggested changes:

1. A single, brief "top button push" cycles through channels.  A sustained push goes into the control panel.  I'd then set up a few single-widget channels (clock, weather, piercam) and maybe a few multi-widget channels.  I could then cycle through these channels in a brain dead manner.  Extra credit: briefly show a "subtitle" of the channel name on every button push.

2. A meta-widget that controls the flows of widgets.  One meta-widget would implement things like "[on <date>] at <time> change to <channel> [for <duration>]."  <date> could be "every_day," "weekday," "weekend_day," "20070109", etc.  <time> could be "8:00PM,"  "Sunset+1hr,"  "Sunrise+30mins," ...  <channel> would be a particular channel, e.g. "black_screen," "dim_screen_with_clock," or any other user-defined channel.  "<duration>" could be "10secs" or whatever;" if missing, it would permanently change the channel.  (This widget would be configured on the website, so most of this cruft would be implemented as simple pull-downs.)

  -- Night mode would require just a few lines:  "at sunrise+30mins change to my_clock," "on weekday at 10PM change to black_screen," and "on weekend _day at 11PM change to black_screen."  Voila!  (Pressing the top button while the chumby was snoozing would naturally cycle through the available channels -- and would therefore get the chumby out of black_screen.)

3. Meta-widgets would be user-extensible, and as bloody complicated as anyone could want.  (Not me, I lost all the little brain cells necessary to figure out crontabs years ago.)  Possible ideas: mail marked important from your boss could cause the chumby to change to a channel whose first widget causes an alarm tone, and whose second widget shows the mail header.

Anyway, just a few little changes could turn this thing into an insanely useful background device.

Apologies if this stuff has been discussed previously, or if I've missed some amazingly simple and elegant ways to do what I want.


Richard Kaufmann