Which crowdfunded privacy routers are worthy of your trust?


After the spectacular rise and fall of Anonabox, a kickstarted $45 router that was supposed to protect your privacy but had its campaign yanked for not being entirely forthright with backers, a spate of shady, silly, and even serious projects have sprung up to fill the demand that Anonabox's $615,000 Kickstarter near-win demonstrated.

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Fallen Toronto: a calendar of Toronto's bleak sfnal future


Jim Munroe writes, "We've put our science fiction visions of Toronto's future together in a 2015 calendar called FALLEN TORONTO as a new Kickstarter reward for backing our neo-noir sci-fi webseries HAPHEAD. If you live here you can shiver in nameless dread all the year round, and if you live elsewhere you can revel in schadenfreude at the fall of our socialist den of iniquity."

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Kickstarting a new edition of the classic game Paranoia


Eric writes, "Paranoia is a cult classic tabletop roleplaying game that has sold hundreds of thousands of copies worldwide, won the Best Role Playing Game of the Year award, and been inducted into the Origins Award Hall of Fame."

Paranoia is light-hearted game of terror, death, bureaucracies, mad scientists, mutants, dangerous weapons, and insane robots, which encourages players to lie, to cheat, and backstab each other at every turn.

Paranoia is a darkly humorous roleplaying game set in Alpha Complex, a dystopian underground city of the future, ruled by The Computer. Alpha Complex is, according to The Computer, a Utopian society, but one threatened by all kinds of real (and imagined) traitors: mutants, members of treasonous secret societies, and terrorists. The players are Troubleshooters, agents of The Computer, whose job it is to uncover these enemies, and, well, shoot trouble. Each player is a mutant, and a member of a treasonous secret society, so each has a reason to discover the treasons of their co-workers -- and execute them, the better to convince The Computer of their own fervent loyalty.

Paranoia, originally published in 1984, was a product of, well, Cold War paranoia, but it is even more relevant in an era when the NSA and GCHQ work tirelessly to ensure that we are all safe and secure against the pervasive threat of Commie mutant trai.... Uh, I mean, evil, crazed terrorists. When we are all subject to constant surveillance by both government and private entities -- and when the kind of hard AI that might lead to The Computer seems just over the horizon.

This new edition of Paranoia...

...will include cards, special dice, reusable character sheets and other devices to promote fast play, a Paranoia state of mind, and a minimum of 'old school' paper-and-pencil logistics a la Dungeons & Dragons.

...will double down on the original darkly humorous premise built around a 24/7 full-surveillance police state (e.g., the cover of the 1984 edition showed a low-level guy's every move being watched from several different angles by The Computer and several of its Internal Security troopers).

...is being developed under the auspices of Mongoose Publishing, Britain's largest RPG publisher, which has run several successful Kickstarters before. It is being designed by James Wallis, a World Famous Game Designer (Baron Munchausen, Once Upon a Time), with assistance from the original game designers (Eric Goldberg and Greg Costikyan), as well as Grant Howitt and Paul Dean.

All good Citizens should show their fervent loyalty to The Computer by pledging eagerly. Those who fail to do so may receive an all expenses paid vacation in the HEL Sector Recreational Gulag & Reeducation Center. Trust The Computer! The Computer is Your Friend!

Paranoia RPG

(Thanks, Eric!)

Kickstarting mass-customizable furniture-on-demand


Massuni, an established cabinet-maker, is taking Kickstarter pre-orders for an ingenious furniture production system that lets you choose from among a suite of basic designs, then specify your particular, exact dimensions and have custom pieces turned out that exactly meet your needs.

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Kickstarting another season of the outstanding Relatively Prime math podcast

Samuel Hansen's fantastic math podcast is everything a technical program should be deep but accessible, thoughtful but funny, and free for all; the new season is on Kickstarter for a few more hours! I put in $35.

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Kickstarting Starshipsofacon, an online SF convention

With Joe Haldeman, Kim Stanley Robinson, Pat Cadigan, Charlie Stross, David Brin and many more!

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Kickstarting Haphead, a science fiction web series about gamer culture

Haphead, the wonderful science fiction webseries about gamer culture that I wrote about in March, is kickstarting a budget for kick-ass post-production. It's from Jim Munroe, who made Ghosts With Shit Jobs.

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Kickstarting a new double album from the wonderful Marseille Figs

I've written here before about the marvellous, versatile, eclectic London indie band -- and now I'm delighted to support the Kickstarter for their new double-album.

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Kickstarting The Origami, a new kind of portable laser-cutter

Created by a team from Pittsburgh's Techshop makerspace, the Origami uses a novel, fold-out arm that lets you laser-etch and -cut much larger designs than you could get into a normal, enclosed cutter.

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Kickstarting Yogajoes: green army men in yoga poses


They're from the creator of "Brogamats," a line of yoga stuff for dudes, and intended to inspire veterans and people who like the military to try out a little yoga.

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Kickstarting Tinyscreen: thumbsized color screen from the Tinyduino people


Ken writes, "We're a small hardware company based out of Akron, OH in the US in the US that make tiny electronics and have a popular platform called the TinyDuino (a small Arduino compatible board)."

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Kickstarting a DIY back-yard Tar Sands Kit


Jeff sez, "Turn pristine ecosystems into high-octane fuel in your own home -- all ages!" Public Lab'skit helps you understand the devastation and health risks from tar sands extraction by letting you boil your own back yard for oil.

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Kickstarting Matchstick, a Firefox-powered Chromecast killer


Built on Firefox OS, the Matchstick is free software and open source hardware -- anything in your Firefox browser-window can be "flinged" into your HDMI TV; it's an incredible $12 for one stick.

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Kickstarting a port of Glorantha to the D20 system


Rob writes, One reason that Glorantha, a legendary RPG world that has influenced designers like Sandy Petersen and White Wolf founder Mark Rein-Hagen, has been out of the mainstream is that its gaming systems (RuneQuest and HeroQuest) are not as familiar as D&D's D20-based system."

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Kickstarting a prismatic, hat-brim mounted heads-up display for your phone


The Hattrickwear is an improbable ball-cap designed to mount your phone horizontally along your eyeline with a mirror and prism that keeps your screen in your field of vision all the time.

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