I’ve been supporting people who have projects of Kickstarter for the last 6 years or so.  If it’s new, or piques my fancy, I’ll probably have a few bucks in it.  Some things work out, others don’t.  I’ve put my money into an innovative ice cream shop in Cannondale, Colorado (bust, they didn’t stay in business for more than a month) supported several indie films and have gotten in on several cutting edge (at the time) technological projects you may or may not have heard of; (Hudly, Beastgrip, SELFly, SideKick) several books, and even a fellow in NH who had the desire to turn part of his farm into a humane slaughterhouse and butcher shop.  (As for this one, it’s been 6 years, but they just got their certification through the USDA, so they may be able to ship out-of-state by this fall.)

With crowdsourcing, it’s very hit and miss.  At least it used to be.  Nowadays, a lot of the projects you see on the site are going to be completed, only because the people who do them have seen what occurs when their predecessors failed, and sometimes failed spectacularly.  When you gain several million dollars (US) for a project and then fail to deliver, your backers can get quite boisterous.  And downright nasty.  A lot of these backers fail to remember they’re for the most part investing in an idea, not necessarily a full-blown product.  So there are going to be issues with production and unforseen mishaps along the way.  Mishaps mostly cost money.  You may have a widget that you’re wanting to bring to market, you do your due diligence, do your research, find a manufacturer, the right components and all that, and the first run fails for some unforseen reason.  Now you might have enough money to make the run again, or you might have just blown through your capital and don’t have enough left to finish the project.  Now you have backers that are expecting the product you promised.

I just received in the mail yesterday something called a Hudly.  It’s a Heads Up Display, a lot like what you might see in a fighter jet, except it’s for your car.  We all use our phones in our vehicles, even to the point of what might be construed (depending on your locality) as illegal activities (texting, talking on the phone, or looking at the screen for directions instead of looking at the road).  The Hudly gadget eliminates the need for looking down at your phone because it mirrors what’s on the screen and displays it on a see through screen that sits on your dashboard.  Neat, right?  Too, it sits on your dashboard unobtrusively, and it’s powered by the cigarette lighter/12v aux socket.  Since very few vehicles anymore have a cigarette lighters in them, they have multiple aux sockets (my own 2016 Ford Edge has 4!) it’s relatively simple to power this contraption.  About the only thing you need to worry about it has to drape the power cord so it doesn’t get in the way of all the other doodads on your console.  With a few cord directors (that come standard) you can fix that relatively easily.

As of this writing, I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet.  But I hope it will become a good investment, and not just another piece of technology that ends up sitting gathering dust.  Time will tell.  Though I expect I’ll continue supporting other Kickstarter campaigns that interest me.

Change of the Guard

Warning: Geek talk ahead.

It’s been about 3 years, it’s time for a change.  No, not that sort.  This is more technical.  About every 2-3 years I change the identity of my SSIDs and the passwords that go along with them. For WiFi access to my home network.  Since I have older equipment that runs on the 2.4 GHz band as well as the 802.11g frequency, I have a dual band router.  But both SSIDs are visible to the neighborhood as well as to anyone that might be passing by or visiting.  I can’t have something completely technical, but it has to be me as well, so about every 2-3 years I change the names.  I’ve gone through my Harry Potter phase (2.4 was Dumbledore and 5.0 was Hogwarts); most recently I did my Greek God phase, where the 2.4 band was Hephaestus (the God of fire & metalworking [there, my geeky/kinky fetish for metal]) and the 5.0 band was Ares (God of War).

Generally I leave the guest accounts alone.  I honestly think they’re good choices (2.4 is GuestOfUs & the 5.0 band is StrangeWomenLivinginPonds).  If you can figure out why the 5.0 band is named the way it is, well, I’ll be more than happy to offer you a coconut.

Of course when you do a change of this magnitude, there are going to be hiccups.  Especially when you don’t mention to the wife that you’re tweaking the home network.  About an hour after I had switched everything over, she tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that she had been unable to access the home WiFi for the last 45 minutes.  Oops.  When I told her what I had done, I got an eye roll and the offending bit of technology, since it’s my job to ‘fix’ things when they’re broken.  Or borked.  Once I put in the new info, changed the password and handed it back, all was well again.  Until this morning, when I had to change her tablet’s info.  Of course, this reminded me that I needed to change the house repeater, which was still set on the old network info, so the wrong SSIDs were being broadcast upstairs, essentially blacking out that part of the house.  A few other things that also communicate with the router need to be changed, but I’m getting to them as needed.  I’ve almost gotten the 5.0 SSIDs password memorized, since that’s the one I’ve been using most often.

At the very least, I won’t have to revisit this for another 2 years or so.  Not sure what I’m going to use at that time for identfiers.  Probably Avengers.  Fwiw, I do the same thing with my hard drive names.  At the present time, they’re all CS Lewis characters from the Narnian book series.  Told you I was a geek.  Yes, and a dork, thank you for reminding me, pet.