QR Code contains TinyURL of this article.Kickstarter Troika


I recently received three products that I sponsored through the Kickstarter funding platform.


The first of the three to arrive was a pair of BelayCords, one with a Lightning connection for my iPhone and one with a Micro USB for my Kindle.

BelayCords are expensive cables, with their price-tag justified as follows:

  1. they feature reversible USB connectors (what a delight this is);
  2. “Made in College” has built the cables to last and include a lifetime guarantee;
  3. the Lightning cable is Apple MFi certified.

There’s not much else to say — they are just cables after all — but their quality has impressed me.


The next arrival was a SyncStop dongle (also known as a USB condom, for reasons that will become clear).

The SyncStop is essentially a USB pass-through for power only. The USB data lines terminate within the dongle. Hence it provides for charging a device without a data transfer. This is handy when one needs to charge a phone for example, from a friend’s or work computer, without the sharing of data.

Where the SyncStop really pays for itself is when one uses a public charging station or computer. A bad actor could use such a host to extract data from your device or to install malware upon it. The SyncStop prevents that as there is no data connection to compromise.

The SyncStop contains the circuitry necessary to negotiate with the host for the current required by your device. So, unlike with power-only USB cables, your device will still be able to charge at the nominal rate. That’s pretty cool.

Commodore Amiga: a visual Commpendium

Last to arrive, but most worth the wait, was a book: Commodore Amiga: a visual Commpendium by Sam Dyer.

The Commpendium1 is a beautiful, hard-back book with a UV varnish on the cover. Dyer had the book printed to a high standard and it has a sewn (as opposed to a glued) binding. It sounds corny, but it’s like this is a book built to last.

I have fond memories of the Amiga models I owned over the years. Amiga gaming was a different experience to today’s gaming. It was more pure, more fun, more addictive. Games often looked like shit, but played in ways that kept me up into the small hours (on school nights) with the “just one more go and I’ll beat that end-of-level boss” mentality.

Then there was the Amiga demo-scene, which stood in a class of its own, shaming the other computer platforms with its stunning visuals and catchy music. The scene both excited and encouraged me. I knew I was looking at the future of computer graphics and it thrilled me to feel that I was getting a sneak preview of that future.

The Commpendium then is, for myself at least, a trip down Memory Lane. A nostalgic, bitter-sweet reminiscence of an age long gone. A reminder of my youth and the countless hours I spent alone with my Amiga… and I love it.2

  1. Yep, that’s how it’s spelled. ↩︎

  2. I am so tempted to pick up an A1200 from eBay. ↩︎