Adventures with Chumby
Listing 1. Sample profile.xml File
<profile> <widget_instances> <widget_instance id="1"> <widget> <name>Breads</name> <description>Various bread recipes.</description> <version>1.0</version> <mode time="180" mode="timeout"/> <access sendable="false" deleteable="false" access="private" virtualable="false"/> <user username="myusername"/> <thumbnail href="file:////mnt/usb/breads.jpg" contenttype="image/jpeg"/> <movie href="file:////mnt/usb/breads.swf" contenttype="application/x-shockwave-flash"/> </widget> </widget_instance> <widget_instance id="2"> <widget> <name>Cookies</name> <description>Various cookie recipes.</description> <version>1.0</version> <mode time="180" mode="timeout"/> <access sendable="false" deleteable="false" access="private" virtualable="false"/> <user username="myusername"/> <thumbnail href="file:////mnt/usb/cookies.jpg" contenttype="image/jpeg"/> <movie href="file:////mnt/usb/cookies.swf" contenttype="application/x-shockwave-flash"/> </widget> </widget_instance> </widget_instances> </profile>
I haven't been able to get all the things I wanted to get onto the Chumby onto it. However, after actually using the Chumby for a couple weeks, I'm not so sure they were good ideas to begin with.
The main reason for this is that my intended recipe search, shopping list creator and meal planning widgets all would require extensive text input, and that is where the Chumby is not ideal. The Chumby is mainly an output device, suited to displaying various bits of information. Input is best limited to simple interactions, such as tapping on buttons and sliding your finger around the screen.
The Chumby can handle text input, and some widgets require it. The control panel, for example, has a simple on-screen keyboard where you enter in your wireless settings during the Chumby's initial setup. Also, in the music interface, there is another on-screen keyboard where you enter in the location of the music stream to which you want to connect. But, supporting text input where required and doing a lot of text input are two very different things.
After entering text in just those two above-mentioned places, I could see it was not something I would want to do on a regular basis with the Chumby, because although it works, it's slow. The problem is that when using the Chumby, the natural thing to do is to use your fingers, and most widgets—if they have buttons at all—keep them large and few in number. For effective text input, you need a lot of small buttons, and on the Chumby's screen, lots of small buttons practically requires you to use a stylus—not something I want to have to use with the Chumby.
I toyed around with using an RSS widget to display recipe data from sites that offer it, such as Taste-of-Home's Recipe of the Day, but as you can see from the screenshot, my testing did not go so well.
The Chumby is an amazing device. It can be adapted to fit in with almost any room in the house and can display any sort of data that can be displayed within the confines of the Flash file format.
New widgets come out all the time, and the basic software is under constant improvement. Check out chumby.com and browse the available widgets; there's something for everyone.
The Chumby is also very hackable. The underlying operating system is embedded Linux, and all the source code (apart from a few licensed bits that they aren't allowed to disclose) and complete hardware schematics are available on the Chumby Web site. The developers really seem to get the idea of making a device hackable, with their only warning being a gentle reminder that if you take your Chumby apart, it will void the warranty. Beyond that, they actively encourage you to turn the Chumby into anything you please and are eager to help you in any way they can through their Web site, forums and wiki.
In these days of locked-down, don't-you-dare-look-behind-the-curtain-or-we'll-sue gadgets, having one that you can mod to your heart's content, with full schematics and source code—and the original developers—to guide you, is a nice feeling.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
Join Linux Journal's Mike Diehl and Pat Cameron of Help Systems.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- SourceClear Open
- SUSE LLC's SUSE Manager
- Murat Yener and Onur Dundar's Expert Android Studio (Wrox)
- Tech Tip: Really Simple HTTP Server with Python
- My +1 Sword of Productivity
- Managing Linux Using Puppet
- Non-Linux FOSS: Caffeine!
- Doing for User Space What We Did for Kernel Space
- Google's SwiftShader Released
- SuperTuxKart 0.9.2 Released
With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide