John McAfee’s Building $100 Gadget To Block NSA (

I guess it was only a matter of time before a top tier name tossed their hat into the recently energized privacy arena. At least with a big name behind it (and the fact that it’s just now being created), confidence will probably be high that the device will be as secure as they say.


John McAfee — the controversial founder of the anti-virus software company McAfee and has been under investigation for the shooting death of his neighbor in South America — wants to create a gadget called “D-Central” that would theoretically block the National Security Agency (NSA) from accessing your information.

During a speech at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center this weekend — and as reported by The Verge — McAfee detailed how he aims to build a $100 device that works with smartphones and other devices, so personal data can’t be accessed by the government. It would work on a small private network that others wouldn’t be able to infiltrate. “There will be no way [for the government] to tell who you are or where you are,” McAfee said.

The device would be localized and the network only covers a distance about three blocks long. Although there isn’t a prototype just yet, McAfee said it should be done in about six months and as of right now, it’s round in shape with no screens, the report said.

“We have the design in place, we’re looking for partners for development of the hardware,” he added.

The “D-Central” concept isn’t entirely new., which was developed as a part of the Occupy movement, offers a distributed network of Wi-Fi locations for people to communicate — and in its case, especially activists and supporters.

Meanwhile, FredomBox has built a secure system for connected devices and offers free and private chatting. The device, funded via Kickstarter, is priced at $50 and plugs into the wall.

Pressy: So Awesome It Completes Kickstarter In A Day (

So, I had my doubts. Would I really use a clicky in my 3.5mm port? Watch the video at the end. I bet you’ll pitch in $5 toward the Kickstarter, too!


DNP Pressy the onebutton Android controller so cool it was Kickstarted in under a day

If Kickstarter had a 24-hour funders club, Pebble and the Bolex Camera would be welcoming Pressy today. In under a day, the multifunction Android controller has more than doubled its $40,000 goal (raising $108,435 from 4,889 backers as of this writing) and with 45 days left to go, the numbers keep climbing. Perhaps its simplicity is what’s making it such a hit. Pressy plugs into any Android device’s headphone port (Gingerbread and above), and clicking its unobtrusive 0.7mm-tall button controls and automates any manner of your gizmo’s functions. Through its app you can assign a given task to a sequence of clicks; it’s up to you if it takes two short clicks to speed-dial your mom or one long press to snap an unobtrusive picture, for example. You can still use it if you have a pair of headphones in too, with the cans’ play button subbing in for control. Clever.

Unlike other Kickstarters, this isn’t some far-off prospect: Developer Nimrod Back has promised Pressy will be available within four months. A basic Pressy will set you back $17, for a choice of colors with a keychain storage sheath you’ll have to pony up $25. Oh, and if you fancy yourself a programmer and want the device’s API, then drop $1,000 and make that tier’s one other pledge less lonely.

Geek Bar: Chicago’s Answer For Where To Drink If You’re A Geek (

I don’t really drink alcohol, but I’d DEFINITELY be a patron of a bar like this if it launched anywhere within a 100-mile radius of me. (C’mon, Seattle!) You can check out their Kickstarter (which is still accepting money) and check out the Mashable article which includes a great, very geeky video.


Kickstarter has helped fund a lot of great ideas within the past few years, from an affordable 3D printer to the world’s first fruit piano. On Thursday it will add a new success story to that list: a full-service bar.

The brainchild of self-proclaimed geeks David Zoltan and Mathew Wolff, Geek Bar Chicago is billed as a place where geeks, games and booze will all come together under one roof. The project has enjoyed enormous success on Kickstarter, raising its initial goal of $9,750 within the first day.

Since then, Geek Bar has raised well over $30,000, and its creators have decided to get ambitious. If the campaign reaches its final stretch goal of $70,000 by the time funding closes on Aug. 22, Wolff and Zoltan will buy a life-size replica of the Iron Throne, from HBO’s Game of Thrones, to feature in their bar.

Clearly these two aren’t afraid to show their inner (and outer) nerd.

Still, $10,000 isn’t much to start a whole bar, not to mention Kickstarter’s ban on posting new businesses, so the founders came up with a mixed funding strategy. The money to actually launch Geek Bar came from traditional investors, who provided the several hundred thousand dollars necessary to get the bar off the ground.

However, according to Wolff and Zoltan, investor money only got them as far as “four walls, a bar and a kitchen.” They want to build the rest of the bar — its charm, character and content — with help from the community.

“Kickstarter was always a part of our overall strategy,” Zoltan says. “The investors got us far enough so we can get into the space and at least have the bare bones of what we need. The Kickstarter is to geek the place out, to put up all the trappings and all the cool things that are going to make the geekdom of the geek bar.”

The pair really wants the community to be invested in the bar’s plans. “That’s a really important thing when you’re [starting] a bar that’s centered around a particular culture — that they have some ownership,” Zoltan adds.

Current plans, for which the two say they have raised more than enough money, will include long, custom-built tables with outlets for laptops and extra room for board games. The space’s two bars will be themed, with one to resemble a mad scientist’s lair and the other designed around cyberpunk epics such as Blade Runner
and Serenity.

Geek Bar Sketch
Image: Geek Bar Chicago

Menus will feature not only geek-centric food and drinks such as the Cthulutini (named after one of H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional deities), but also a selection of board games that waiters bring to your table. Small touches add to the overall atmosphere, including servers in lab coats, action figures hidden in the chandeliers and TVs playing sci-fi movies instead of ESPN.

The question is, can it work?

Part of the challenge in creating Geek Bar will be breaking the traditional view of geeks as awkward, isolated people who would rather sip root beer in a basement than ever set foot in a bar. It doesn’t help when countless TV shows and movies depict geeks as a parade of helpless introverts. Even recent coverage of Geek Bar only grudgingly admits that geeks might actually want to leave the house on a Saturday night.

According to Wolff and Zoltan, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

There’s a “totally false image people seem to have of what a geek or nerd is,” Wolff says.

There’s a “totally false image people seem to have of what a geek or nerd is,” Wolff says. “People seem to see them as entirely antisocial, socially awkward and just clumsy in any kind of social environment. Whereas honestly, D&D is being played by groups of four, five or six very close friends from high school on through college. It’s a very social thing that you share; it’s not isolating.”Zoltan agrees with his business partner, emphasizing that skeptics have the geek demographic all wrong.

“Geeks want to be social,” he says. “It’s not a culture in which doing things on your own is prized or really desirable. They like to go out, they like to be with other people and share and be passionate about these things that they do. So I think that geek bar is a needed thing in that community. When you can throw a stone down any street in Chicago and hit a half a dozen sports bars and faux Irish bars, where are the bars for geeks? There’s a huge hole in the community as far as places that cater to geeks.”

Community is at the heart of this entire project. The goal of the Geek Bar is to build a space where people can gather and share the things that they love. After all, if a city can host hundreds of bars for people to gather over football and baseball games, why can’t it have one for everyone who supports Star Trek and Marvel Comics?

“We’re talking about a culture of people here in the city that has never really had a good outlet,” Wolff says. “I mean, you stay at home and you play your games. You stay at home and you watch your shows. [When] you go to work, you talk about your passions with your coworkers. You invite your friends to some random bar or some random restaurant, and you talk about stuff, but there’s no place actually inviting you to come in and share that passion with people who you don’t already connect with.”

Binary Bar
Image: Geek Bar Chicago

Still, whether or not you can name of all the Doctors of Doctor Who, Zoltan and Wolff hope there’ll be a place for you at their bar.

“We’re still going to have a great burger,” Wolff says. “It’s going to be a gastropub. All the stuff that we put around that concept won’t change what’s at the core, which will be food that just tastes delicious and that’s very accessible. We want to have some fun with it, we want to inject some science, some fun playful notes to it, but at the end of the day you can come in and get a great burger and a craft beer.

“The idea is, hopefully, you will get out of Geek Bar what you want.”

%d bloggers like this: