Three-platform Software Release

I’m happy to announce that we have posted software releases of the Transit Appliance platform code for three hardware platforms:

All three downloads represent version 1.1 of our HTML/Javascript Loader system. I’d like to thank Matt Conway for his continuing work on improving the robustness of this tool. Additional information about each release, including installation instructions, follows.

The web site to configure Transit Appliances created with these downloads can be found at http://transitappliance.com/configure.

Chumbys

The Insignia Infocast was the device that inspired this project, and while it is no longer being manufactured by Best Buy you can still find a few units in some stores (for a very good price). However, Chumby Industries (the original designer of the platform) has now released a very similar device, the Chumby 8 and we’re delighted that the software we created for the Infocast works without modification on the Chumby 8.

And the new V1.1 release is even more robust!

We are also including a software release for the smaller (3.5 inch screen) Chumby One. While our Transit Boardâ„¢ application will run on the smaller screen, you’ll need a magnifying glass to read it. Watch for an announcement of a transit display application tailored for the smaller screen.

The installation procedure is the same for all the Chumby/Infocast models:

  1. Boot up the device normally and use the built-in tools to calibrate the screen and establish a network connection.
  2. Download the appropriate zip file above for your device
  3. Insert a FAT32-formatted USB thumb drive into your computer
  4. Unzip the zip file into the root directory of your USB drive (don’t unzip into a subdirectory – this will not work)
  5. Power off your Chumby, insert the USB drive, and power it back on
  6. The Chumby should launch into a web browser, and if you have not previously established a configuration, it will prominently display the hardware ID (MAC address) for your Chumby. You can then use our configuration service to set up a display configuration.
  7. After creating your configuration, reboot and your Chumby should display your bus and train arrivals!

Linux/PC Release

While the Chumby devices are great for “counter-top” applications, we’ve been itching for a larger flat-screen Transit Appliance and we’re now releasing one!

Our Linux/PC software turns any PC into a transit appliance. The typical configuration is an inexpensive Atom-based PC (we’ve tested on the Foxconn NetBox-nT525 and ASUS EeeBox B202) coupled with a monitor or flat-screen HDTV.

To use this release you’ll need to download the ISO image and then burn it to a USB drive or SD Card (depending on the media your computer accepts). There are a number of tools for different platforms that allow you to do this. I personally use UNetbootin from Windows, but there’s a nice tutorial on the many tools available at http://www.pendrivelinux.com/ and you can find tools for any platform.

You may also need to modify the BIOS settings on your PC to make the removable media the first boot device – follow the manufacturers instructions.

Boot off of the removable media and you should launch into a web browser and get a report indicating that your device is not yet configured. Use our configuration service and enter the hardware ID (MAC address) to create your display configuration. Then reboot and go!

At this time the Linux release only supports wired Internet connections, but we hope to add reliable WiFi support in the future.

I’d like to thank Scott Garman for his assistance and coaching in adapting the Webconverger kiosk browser project code for use in this effort!

This entry was posted in Chumby/Insignia Infocast, Linux/PC. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Three-platform Software Release

  1. Aaron says:

    You rock! It installed easily, works nicely, and seems nice and stable.
    My Infocast 8 has been chugging away since yesterday.

  2. dwainedibbly says:

    I have an 8″ Infocast that has been sitting around for way, way longer than I care to admit, waiting for me to set it up as a transit appliance. Now that the Chumby platform is going away, will this version of the Transit Appliance software remain available & functional?

  3. Chris Smith says:

    The Transit Appliance software does not depend on the Chumby/Infocast being able to reach the central servers to download the Control Panel, etc. So even if those central servers go away, any Infocasts or Chumbys will continue to work as Transit Appliances.

    Maybe we should start buying up used Chumbys…

  4. Brian Millan says:

    Chris, this is the coolest thing! Wish we had it here in New York!! Would it be peeking under the rug to ask if the Infocast/Chumby is running a distro of some sort? Debian? If you wrote this, then we sure could use you on the Chumby forums. Great work!

  5. Chris Smith says:

    We’re still using the native Chumby OS, we just replace the boot script and run a Webkit browser that’s actually available on the Chumby forums.

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