If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m have several technical interests. Two of these are security and hacking. Interestingly, the word “hacking” has inherited several definitions in addition to the most commonly known one used to refer to the nefarious and often illegal intrusion of secured computer systems. In a general sense it is basically a creative or ingenious way of modifying something to be used different that what was intended. There’s tunnel hacking, life hacking, and of course technology hacking. This creative way of looking at new solutions to problems, even exploiting and enhancing a current solution is more of what I mean when I say that hacking interests me. In particular, I find hardware hacking to be a fascinating subject.
That is exactly why I was so excited about a year or so ago (maybe longer, who knows) when I heard about the Chumby. Its a hardware hacker’s dream. Who in the world of personal digital devices is not sick of DRM and other proprietary limitations placed on them through their devices? Chumby is entirely open source which is what makes it so exciting. And not just the software it runs either. In a completely unprecedented move in modern consumer electronics, Chumby Corp has even released the hardware schematics for the device, allowing anyone with the will to improve, enhance, and expand its functionality.
The device contains a 266 MHz ARM processor, 32 MB SDRAM, a 3.5″ touch LCD, wireless, and several sensors, runs on Linux, and has been designed to run flash widgets, play mp3’s and accomplish several other interesting tasks. Check out their website, which has links to the Chumby forums and wiki, for more info.