For hackers, the fun part of consumer electronics is taking things apart and making them do things they werenâ€™t originally meant to do. Since most consumer electronics devices are closed source, itâ€™s a laborious process to do a hack; first you must reverse engineer the platform, and you are often relying on gut and instinct to grope around at the edges of your knowledge about the platform. Thus, on most platforms, itâ€™s a challenge to reskin or case-mod the device, and deducing the location of a debug port and opening a console shell on the device is a big deal.
Chumby is different; it is open source, and designed to be hacked. For example, the serial port is spelled out on the silkscreen for you and thereâ€™s a backdoor to enable sshd, so itâ€™s not big deal to bring up the console. Because of its hackability, you are enabled to do significant modifications due to the availability of all levels of design documentationâ€”hardware, drivers, and application software. While it would be an enormous task to, for example, open up a Zune and put a larger screen on it, here, in this post, I will show you how to hack a chumby to have a larger, higher-resolution screen without too much effort. The native chumby screen is a 3.5â€ QVGA (320Ã—240) display, but after you complete this hack, you will be treated to a 5.7â€ VGA (640Ã—480) display.