Monday, August 04, 2008

Chumby Kicks the Clock Radio to the Curb

Is an alarm clock a hideous way to get ripped out of a peaceful slumber? How about a clock radio? Oh, yeah, nothing fit to listen to. OK, then. How about a high tech way to get your day started? Imagine some streaming music from your favorite Internet radio channel. Glance over and see what's coming for you on the weather radar. Check the market report to make sure you haven't gone bust before you even get started. See how those auctions you been watching are coming along. Get the latest news and sports headlines. Or just grab the thing and play a game. What thing? Why, Chumby, of course.

What's a Chumby? It's a wireless Internet device with audio amps and loudspeakers, a large touch sensitive video screen, and motion sensors. It looks like a really nice clock radio, but it puts clock radios to shame. Alarm clocks? You're kidding, right? Those things went obsolete right after Jacob Marley and Ebenezer Scrooge went out of business. Oh, you still work for Scrooge? In that case, I suggest you use
Chumby to keep you posted of the latest job openings. Get it set up before those ghosts come back.

The Jobster, Linked-In Network and Monster USA IT are all job search widgets that run on the Chumby. They're just a few of hundreds of widgets you can get for things like video clips of The Early Show, Letterman's Monologues, CBS NASCAR Sports Clips, VH1 Mobile Video, and YouTube Videos. Who can possibly start the day without seeing that skateboarding dog?

Other widgets let you keep an eye on the stock market, today's weather forecast and local radar screen, Olympic headlines, baseball scores or surf reports from around the world. Wouldn't want to get caught buried in the server room when surf's up, now would you?

As you probably have guessed, a device like this is really too good to be used only as a substitute for your tired old clock radio. You'll want to pick it up and put it on your desk wherever you happen to be. That's fine as long as you have access to a decent WiFi signal that's not encrypted with some exotic enterprise security. The Chumby is designed for wireless routers that support 802.11b/g with typical home-type security such as WEP, WPA personal or WPA2 personal.

Alas, you'll just have to keep the Chumby for your own personal use in the bedroom, living room or home office. Maybe take it in the bathroom while you're getting ready. OK, not if you're inclined to panic when your tech shares takes a dive. Jerking a razor when the stock ticker goes south can result in one nasty cut.

Anyway, Chumby is the coolest way to get a wakeup call short of five star hotel service. You can customize the clock and alarm functions and it will both play and charge your USB connected iPod. The 3.5 inch color display is big enough to see without fumbling around for your glasses or putting the contacts in. If it looks blurry, just pull it closer. If it still looks blurry, you better hope that the clock function on your coffee maker works as well as Chumby's.

You're intrigued, right? It's truly well past the time to kick that old alarm clock or clock radio to the curb and embrace THIS century's technology with Chumby.

Follow Telexplainer on Twitter