The Life Unwired with Ben Combee (unwiredben) wrote,
The Life Unwired with Ben Combee

More Chumby Exploration

So, the Chumby One has been my main hacking activity for the last few weeks. Here are some of the things I've done:
  1. made a viewer for items stored in a "drop" with my fellow NYC Resistor hacker Eric Skiff. This ended up winning the hackathon.  This is now documented at
  2. made a SMS powered doorbell for NYC Resistor. This is a mashup of TextMarks (used to receive a text message with the payload "NYCRDOOR R", Google App Engine (running a couple of Python scripts that implement a simple counter), and a Perl script running on the Chumby (this pings the App Engine scripts looking for a counter change). When it sees the counter change, it plays a doorbell sound quite loudly.
  3. got a audio monitoring script running on the Chumby's web server. You can access this URL from VLC or some other streaming client and listen to what ever is happening near the device.  Details at
  4. made a Chumby widget to show the password-protected webcam inside the NYC Resistor space. This required making a proxy on Google App Engine as there's no way in Flash Lite to specify the Authorization header needed to pull down the picture through the normal loadMovie call.
  5. make some simple one frame Chumby widgets using the free SWF Tools. I used this to make a NYC Resistor logo widget that's played from time to time on the device in the space.
  6. mount my music volume over NFS so I can SSH into the Chumby and play music files from the command line. Details at
  7. built my own copies of busybox and elinks that give me updated command line utilities and a text-mode web browser on the device. Those are available online at
What's next? Get a better text editor than the busybox version of vi onto the device. Make a on-screen clock based on photographs of the MakerBot Watch. Finish getting DOSBox running on the device. Make a Twitter feed reader that lets you put QR Codes on the screen for the links in the messages so you can read the linked page on your smartphone.
Tags: chumby, nyc resistor, projects, technology
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