Ca-razy-Cool Kickstarter Picks

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Look. I love Kickstarter. I think that giving people the ability to choose what's made and marketed will be the end of social ills like Beanie Babies, dog leashes with no built-in poo-bag dispensers, and all contents of the Sharper Image catalogue.

So I've rounded up a short list of awesome stuff that is trying to get made right now. The benefit for you is that donating on Kickstarter not only helps to make dreams come true, but you also get cool new/unique products at a crazy discount. Here's how this works:

1. I tell you what it is in a fun and witty description.

2. How much it costs to get something worth it.

3. When the Kickstarter ends (when no more donations can be made and the project either succeeds or fails).

4. If it's funded yet (Kickstarter projects that don't reach their funding goals don't get made, and donors don't get charged. It's safe for everybody).

5. You donate!

Cash Music-

CASH Music is a non-profit organization that gives music artists and labels easy tools to maintain a slick web presence. In jargon we call these 'solutions', which is fair. What it solves is the sadness I feel whenever I have to go to a band's MySpace page which is a somehow demeaning experience for all parties involved.

All the classic bandsite classics are there: Tour dates, Merch, Music, etc. Best of all, the money goes straight to the artist (or whoever maintains the site for them). This is another one of those steps in the right direction for The Future of Stuff.

Cost: 10 bucks gets you a 22 track compilation featuring The Cribs, Deerhunter, The Night Marchers, Andrew Bird, (never-before-heard?) Elliot Smith track, and more!

For $50 you get Beta access to the platform for your, or anybody else's, band

End Date: March 9th 2012.

Funded?: It's totally funded already!

Mainstreet MMO-

This is sort of like if Second Life were filled with cool shit you actually cared about. Right now it's just a model of Dubuque, Iowa, which, whatever, right? But the concept is great: Look around the city at real businesses and landmarks. Sure, Google Earth does this to a degree, but in the long run the Main Street MMO people would have each city constantly updated, as it changes in the real world, by people who know and love their localities.

Cost: Minimum is 5 bucks, but for $50 the programmers will name one of the fake people walking around virtual Dubuque after you. A $50 visit to Dubuque for cyber-eternity? What a deal!

End Date: April 24th 2012

Funded?: Nope!

Ramos Alarm Clock-

Yes! A You-Proof Alarm Clock! If you knew me, you'd know that I am notoriously bad at getting out of bed. At times I've set three alarm clocks, each one minute apart, in different spots around my room so I'd have to move the sleep off. But the human mind is a powerful thing, and my blatant genius brain would simply make the rounds when the first alarm went off. The Ramos clock is a well designed deal with tricks to curb even the most genius snoozers.

There's a button to stop the alarm on the actual clock, so you can keep it safely next to the bed. "But I'll just unplug it," you say? Nope. A back-up battery keeps this beast alive for hours post-socket. The only way to kill it is by entering a code on a keypad that you've hung in the bathroom, kitchen, or wherever's most likely to get you out of bed.

Cost: $160 for the LED Ramos clock. $350 for the wacky vintage Soviet-era Nixie tube version. Freakin' awesome.

End Date: April 1st 2012

Funded?: Totally funded. Expect yours by September 2012. That's when I expect mine.

Dash: The Smartphone Car Stereo-

It's a Smartphone Car Stereo, dudes. I support any move to consolidate our digital peripherals. With the powerful potential of smartphone computing, there's increasingly little reason to collect other half-assed devices. Let bygones be gone like the mp3 player, point and shoot digital cameras, bulky and confusing to operate 'printed books', board games, and finally: The car stereo. Dash lets you plug your iPhone 4 or 4S (more versions coming soon) into a specially designed faceplate for your car stereo. Bam. It even charges the damn thing. If somebody had told me 15 years ago that I'd be able to plug my phone into my car I'd have said, "Why?"

Behold: The Future.

Cost: For $250 you can get this solid deal. Awesome. It's already fully funded so fear not.

End Date: March 21st 2012

Funded?: Yessir.

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