If it’s been awhile since a gadget made you smile, then you haven’t met Chumby. Call me geeky (you wouldn’t be the first), but this quirky new Internet device had me grinning from the minute I saw it.

Equal parts clock radio, Web browser, music player and digital photo viewer, this adorable Wi-Fi touch-screen device might look like nothing more than a teched-up alarm clock, but don’t be fooled. Not only can your new chum wake you up in the morning, it’ll tell you the surf report, morning traffic conditions, daily weather forecast, celebrity gossip, news headlines, stock updates or last night’s sports scores. Any audio or video you choose. Chumby streams only what you ask for via a broadband connection and your home’s wireless network. 

Enjoy the latest podcasts on your interactive Chumby, video chat with your BFF on its webcam, browse the classifieds on Craigslist, pick it up to play one of its Flash-based games or check in with friends on MySpace or Facebook.

Compact in size and wrapped in yummy Italian leather (latte, black or pearl), the stylishly funky Chumby fits in anywhere. Whether you put it on your nightstand, bathroom counter, office cubicle, kitchen counter, end table or out on the screened-in porch, don’t be surprised if the cute little bugger draws as much attention as your kids.

 $179.95; chumby.com 


Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".