The strangest item on my desk — at the moment — is a PirateBox.
What is a PirateBox, you may ask? At first glance it appears to be a Jolly Roger lunch box plugged into the wall.
But it’s more than that; it’s a wifi network for sharing files locally. All you have to do is point your wifi-enabled device at the “PirateBox” network, open a browser and try to load any page. You’ll be directed to a list of files to download and given the opportunity to upload your own.
It’s all anonymous, at least as anonymous as any unsecured wifi network can be. The device isn’t connected to the internet so you have to be in (or very close to) our office to use it.
I built the box using an router capable of running open source firmware, following directions on the official PirateBox wiki. The storage is all on a cheap USB thumb drive. Everything was installed and assembled at our local hackerspace, just around the corner from the office.
As far as hobby electronics projects go this one is pretty simple to do, relatively cheap (less than $150 USD) and occasionally exciting as unexpected new files show up.