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FringeWare, Inc.

Jon Lebkowsky and
Paco Xander Nathan, proprietors

FringeWare is a suite of goods and services offered by Jon and Paco (both of bOING bOING magazine, among other things). FWI has a stall of software and zines within Austin's Europa Books, an on-line catalog of hard-to-find hardware, software, and other warez, and they even produce several cool zines. FWI also maintains an ongoing electronic mailing list for discussing fringe technology, hardware, software, hacking, and cyber art and culture.

Paco Xander Nathan describes the idea behind FringeWare:

"FringeWare Inc. is a new biz formed to fill the crucial, emerging niche for distributing high-tech items from low-end developers. For example, a person can develop great software these days with only a couple thousand $$ worth of equipment, working over a few months in their spare time. BUT, it costs about $5-10K today to launch a retail software package and even then the middlemen take at least a 60-70% cut, plus expect you to pay Them for advertising. So what's new?

FringeWare. Do you write code, build electronics, author multimedia? Would you like to buy/sell/trade some of those funky gadgets in your closet, e.g. brain-toys, PowerGloves, Pixelvision, etc. ? Have you been looking for just the right gift for that special cyberpunk or neophile in your life? Would you like to find one of the weirdest coollections of technoid gadgets on the planet? FringeWare Catalog - both the electronic and paper versions - reviews and sells these kind of wares.

Goals of the FWI e-list:

1) Distribute free copies of our tech reviews..

2) Exchange DIY source info for developers/enthusiasts/ etc..

3) Publicize upcoming Fringe events..

4) Hear from the Net, chaotic post-it notes from the "real" Fringe..

To post a message or join/leave the list, send email to:

This list is an open forum for people to discuss DIY issues, how-to-build things, weird science, etc., but moderated/digested so you don't have to fret 'bout too much electronic junk mail in your virtual PO box. We'll have a paper version too; reviewers get discounts - details forthcoming ...

Talking about the Fringe vis-a-vis Mainstream computing ... One happy customer sez: "It's kind of like a coral reef: the whole structure seems pretty, but mostly dead - meanwhile all the Life is out on the Edge." Hey, it's been that way for a long time, and will probably continue. So let's go /find/ the Fringes!"

Jon Lebkowsky's fine zine Unshaved Truths is now published under the FringeWare name. Each issue is a tasty serving of ideas and opinions on fringe culture, art, literature, and the human dramedy. ($5/issue, 30 pages). Another zine called the Fringe Ware Review ($3.50/issue, 50 pages, slick 2-color cover) is a full-blown magazine with articles, interviews, how-to's and the FringeWare catalog in the back.

These boys are cookin'!

(G. Branwyn)

FringeWare Inc.
PO Box 49921
Austin, TX 78765 USA
Phone: 800 GUT-MEEK, 512 477 1366
(in subject field type:
subscribe fringeware <your name>)

graphic: The Mattel PowerGlove offered in the FringeWare catalog.

Here is the TEXT POPUP for FringeWare, Inc.:

[from the FringeWare e-list]

Here's a sampler of Fringeful email lists.. Only the subscription address and anonymous FTP sites (if any) are listed; you can hunt/gather specifics from the lists themselves.. Our emphasis here is on Fringe + Marketplace, ie. with a heavy emphasis on DIY tech - both mental and physical.

Please send in your cards and letters about new fringeful lists -- now that FutureCulture is offline, somebody's gotta keep track of good email list pointers :-) Error correx are highly appreciated!!


Extended and detailed discussion of applied memetics (the study of meme transmission) and the singularity, including Timewave Zero discussion, etc. Light traffic, about a half dozen msg/day.

How to build a not-so-Temporary Autonomous Zone out of an old tanker that's been retrofitted with the latest in DIY tech.. ie. how to create your own small, cyberpunk country. Light traffic.

Cypherpunks /pub/cypherpunks
Electronic privacy, PGP and other encryption tools, anonymous remailers, digital cash, TEMPEST shielding, group software projects, political action. Moderate traffic, around 10-50 msg/day, depending on what the nifty people in Washington DC have been up to lately.

extropians-request /pub/ExI-Essay
"For sharing libertarian, free-market, life-extensionist and other Extropian ideas with bright, like-minded individuals around the globe." Traffic is called "lively", i.e. expect hundreds of msg/day.

FringeWare (moderated)
An online marketplace for the fringes of technology, art and society. Weird software, strange gizmos, surreal expression, etc. Light traffic around 3 msg/day.

Future Culture
New Edge culture in general, cyberpunk topics, nootropics, literature, hallucinogen use, philosophy, more timely news reporting than CNN, etc. All the fun stuff you can imagine with a great FAQ compiled by founder Andy Hawks. Moderate traffic, generally under 10 msg/day. (NOW OFFLINE, BUT LOOK AROUND FOR THE LAST FAQ ANYWAYS..)

Discussion of the Nintendo PowerGlove and related devices for low-cost Virtual Reality input. Light traffic, about 5-10 msg/day.

Leri-L /pub/leri
Meta-programming, philosophy, expanding consciousness, etc. Nifty online community with a lot of unparsable chatter blended with some beautiful jewels of human expression. Reasonably heavy traffic, clocked at 30-100 msg/day, especially high during occasional "NetTrips" online neurofests which can generate upto 500 msg/weekend.

Mind Machine Digest /pub/mind-l
Use, construction and future potential of mind machines.. meditation, accelerated learning, hypnosis, float tanks, nootropics, etc. Light traffic, generally only a few msg/day.

rend386-request /pub/rend386
Discussion of REND386 software for DOS based Virtual Reality tools. Reasonably light traffic.

Discussion of robot controller boards, and robot control in general. Formed to support the Miniboard 2.0 and 6.270 board design by Fred Martin and Randy Sargent of MIT. Moderate traffic, around 10 msg/day and an excellent place to find scarce electronics parts.

"Reports from the field" by the quintessential technomad Steve Roberts of Nomadic Research Labs, combined with great discussion by other inventors working on truly mobile computing platforms. Light traffic - occasional and great info on how to find parts.

There are really two flavors of lists around, LISTSERV and Unix. Electronic mailing sprang from the LISTSERV software on BITNET sites (mostly on university mainframes) so these account for the more established (and/or more quickly installed) lists. To subscribe to a LISTSERV list, send a message using the following convention:

To: listserv@host
subscribe <list> <your name>

So to join the Glove-List, a fringoid named Jane Smith would send the following message:

subscribe Glove-List Jane Smith

Email lists based on Unix systems are less picky, but also less consistent and generally less reliable - that'll change as Unix lists take over the planet. To join one of these, just send the list request address a message.. To join AUtopia, send:


Many email list bytes spawn from schools, so the ebb and flow of list traffic and membership swells and withers with the academic year.

Most email lists run unmoderated in reflector mode, i.e. whatever gets sent to the list address gets rebroadcast out to everyone on the list. If a list's software isn't written well, every mail error message bounces back to the entire list..

Moderated lists actually have a human reading messages before they ever go to subscribers. Some lists are digested, so that you only get periodic (daily, weekly, monthly) mailings of accumulated messages. Many lists provide FAQ's for Frequently Asked Questions. These files/jewels distill the common wisdom of a list's focus area. Check 'em out.

Caveat subscriber: if you pay online fees per message, take care that you don't sign up to a high volume list unless you're eager to spend lots-o money!


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Gareth Branwyn -

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