LAN parties — they’re not just good for playing Counter Strike and Unreal Tournament with people while drinking beer and gobbling junk food. Part of the fun is discovering what files everyone else on the network has. In fact, some cats drop in at LAN parties just to trawl through everyone else’s folders to see what cool stuff they can rip off. So why not hold a LAN party specifically for the purpose of sharing your crap? You can do just that anywhere with the PirateBox.
Created by David Darts, it’s a self-contained wireless file sharing and communication network in a box. Set it down any place and anyone with a WiFi connection can instantly connect, allowing everyone within range to chat and share files among each other anonymously.
PirateBox is a Linux computer housed inside a small bag with a pirate crossbones graphic emblazoned on the side. It comes with a built-in hard disk (which you can fill up with all the media and content you want to share) and an integrated WiFi router (so people can connect on the spot), with facilities for powering from either a battery module or the mains.
Designed to allow users to work privately, no logins are required and no usage data is logged. Everyone who connects can stay anonymous the entire time, so you can swap files and tawdry jokes with everyone in the vicinity without giving away your identity. It doesn’t connect to the internet either, so there’s no risk of any program tracking what’s happening in the network remotely.
David offers step-by-step instruction for building your own Piratebox. According to him, you can should be able to construct a set for as low as $50.