I have gone (and will go back tomorrow) to the BarCampNYC3. The requirement for every person to speak was not enforced, but I figured I have something to contribute anyway. I brought and talked about the Chumby. I entitled my talk “Chumby – Open, Cool, Cute“.
My session must have only had 6 people in it, but I think all those people were interested and asked good questions. I certainly got some queries after the talk and even later in the evening, when I put Chumby on display again. Certainly, the accelerometer-based Chumball widget was inviting; after all, the only other well-known device that supports accelerometer is iPhone. I even got a positive review of the session already.
I also got to speak to some people about my research and allowed for a silly photograph to be taken of me.
I have enjoyed a number of other sessions. Not every presenter had a strong idea of what they wanted to say, but there was plenty of people in the audience willing to lend their understanding and interpretation. I think this must a part of BarCamp’s culture.
Since Dave Winer declared Chumby the next breakthrough device, there has been a small flood of people talking about how cool it is and how much they want one. The usual TechMeme effect, I guess.
I admit, it is a cute device. I have a black one, which I am hoping will work well as a picture frame for less-technically minded parents. It is certainly worth learning Flash for (Flash Lite actually), a decision I kept putting off.
For those just starting with Chumby, I have a list of interesting articles and videos people have already written about their experiences.
Interesting technical articles and resources:
There are many more articles and first experience videos around the web, but they very quickly start to repeat each other.
Bee.fm is an internet radio station that allows to stream custom playlists or individual albums. It is similar to pandora.com, but with full manual control over the playlist.
It uses open streaming that can be listened to from iTunes as well as from its own flash player. It can be also listened to with Chumby‘s btplay command.
To get Chumby to stream the Bee.fm’s radio, you need to get the URL for the playlist you are interested in. The URL is in plain text form inside the .m3u file you receive after clicking on larger play button. Normally this file is opened with iTunes or other streaming music player.
The streaming URL can file can be extracted by looking at the entry in iTunes and clicking Get Info, Edit URL. Alternatively, the .m3u file can be opened in a plain text editor.
The URL will be quite long and look like http://126.96.36.199:80/play/46df15a1e4f1 … f/66……
To play it, connect to Chumby via ssh and run btplay URL or btplay URL & ; the later if you planing to do other tasks in the shell. On Windows, if using putty, the URL can be pasted into the shell with right mouse button.
P.s. Warning: sometimes after btplay is stopped, it does not want to start again, complaining about missing /tmp files and unhappy ALSA device. This may specifically happen if btplay is run in a background and kill command is used. Restarting Chumby fixes the problem. I am not aware of other fixes at this point.