For Entertainment Purposes Only—Jeremiah Tolbert

Jeremiah Tolbert is a writer and web designer living in Northeast Kansas. His stories have previously appeared in publications such as Lightspeed Magazine, Way of the Wizard, and Asimov’s. He’s an avid watcher of television and films, and has completely given up on avoiding spoilers.

Spoilerfree: A Device for 21st Century Entertainment Living


Funding Suspended. Funding for this project was suspended 1 day ago.


499
backers

$127,000
pledged of $250,000

A brain-altering device and app for dealing with an all-too-common problem of television and film spoilers. With our device, you can live a SpoilerFree life and enjoy the media you consume without concern.

 

The SpoilerFree Plan

How many of us have lived through this situation on both sides?

Friend: Man, I still can’t believe how they killed Walt’s dog in the season finale of Breaking Bad.

You: But . . . we’re still watching the first season on DVD. You’re a big jerk!

Friend: The show’s been over for a year! It’s not my fault you’re slow at TV.

You: We are no longer friends!

Friend: Fine! By the way, I slept with your husband and/or wife!

You: YOU WHAT? Now I have no reason to live. Please excuse me while I kill myself.

Friend: Oh no! My friend is dead. This never would have happened if he or she had just backed the SpoilerFree Crowdfunder project!

It’s kind of amazing that any of us have any friends left at all thanks to spoilers, isn’t it?

Spoilers ruin lives and end friendships, and until now, there hasn’t been anything we could do about them but live with the horrible consequences.

If we meet our goals for SpoilerFree, these ruined relationships will be a relic of a primitive era, like manual transmissions or Jay Leno.

How The SpoilerFree Device Works

Simply place the neural harness on your head and adjust the straps until it is comfortably snug and the electrode pads are as close as possible to your scalp; for maximum effectiveness, please shave your head. If we meet our first stretch goal, you will also have the option of applying our special conductive gel to the electrode pads.

Next, press the green button on the control pad or your Bluetooth-enabled mobile device running our SpoilerFree app. Now, think of the thing that you want to forget—really picture it, the outrage and indignation, and the smug arrogance of the person who ruined everything. Now press the red button and keep trying to remember the spoiler. When the device has scrubbed all traces of that enjoyment-sapping experience from your head, it will play a pleasant chime.

And that’s it. It’s really that simple. Our prototype has been thoroughly tested and safeguards in our application’s software will ensure that you don’t forget anything important like your spouse’s name or the smell of lavender.

The Science Behind SpoilerFree

Promise you won’t get weirded out?

We’ve taken the revolutionary work done by the McGill University and Canadian Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health, and Addiction in Montreal and iterated on their initial results to build a much more powerful device, utilizing a combination of basic electroencephalography and targeted electromagnetic pulses at the memory centers associated with spoilers.

The process of recalling a memory is called “memory reconsolidation.” Basically, when you remember something, your brain actually removes the memory from storage in order to interact with it, then re-writes it when done. SpoilerFree interrupts that process—specifically synaptic consolidation, which is why SpoilerFree is best used within a few hours of the spoiler event—preventing the memories from being saved again. Basically, our brains delete our “memory files” in the process of interacting with them, moving them into our “brain RAM.” A quick jolt to the right set of synapses puts a stop to reconsolidation, and just like that, you’re unburdened of that horrible, horrible knowledge.

It’s a little more complicated than that, but we don’t want to bore you with the details, and some of them are trade secrets we’re not able to share at this time.

Who We Are

Doctor John Figero

John has a PhD in Neurobiology from Stanford under Dr. Uel McMahan. SpoilerFree is a direct product of his post-doctoral work. John brings vision and critical expertise to this project. Also, donuts whenever he is late.

Lena Wong (That’s me!)

I graduated eight years ago from MIT at the top of my class (can’t even call that one a humblebrag), and was recruited heavily by Google, Apple, and Microsoft. I’ve done stints with Apple and Google developing hardware, but I’m still confined by NDAs and so I can’t go into details. Suffice to say you might just be carrying around some of my work in your pocket!

John and I met in a coffee shop in Berkley when he accidentally spilled an entire mocha on my keyboard, ruining six hours of work. For a genius-level scientist, he’s a bit of a klutz. After accepting his apology, we discovered that we were both avid social media users and fans of Game of Thrones. It wasn’t long before we were complaining to each other about spoilers, and then John said the fateful words:

“You know, I have this idea . . .”

• • • •


Pledge $50 or more

300 backers LIMITED (0 left of 300)

JUST A TASTE. This offer is available to backers in the Bay Area only. If you support at this level, we will schedule a time where you can stop by our lab and experience SpoilerFree firsthand! This backing level is limited to 300 backers.


Pledge $500 or more

74 backers

THE REAL DEAL: SPOILERFREE EARLY ADOPTER KIT. At this level, you’ll receive one of the very first SpoilerFree kits, fresh out of the shipping container from Longhua. You will also receive a code to download the mobile app for free! You may also receive the benefits of the Just a Taste level, but you must pay for your own transportation if not in the Bay Area.


Pledge $1000 or more

75 backers LIMITED (0 left of 75)

EARLY BIRD DEVELOPER KIT. At this level, you’ll gain everything above as well as early access to our APIs and documentation so you can be one of the very first to start developing alternative uses for SpoilerFree. We anticipate there will be a lot of neurohacking possibilities although again we must state that the SpoilerFree device will be sold FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY. What you do with it after you receive it, though, is not something we can control, of course. Update: I have been informed that we must strike that last sentence from the website, so consider it struck. 😉


• • • •

FAQ

This is totally going to fry my brain, right?

Definitely not! We have extensively tested SpoilerFree on over three hundred Alpha Adopters, all of whom have been carefully monitored for side effects. The effect is targeted and minor, and we’re confident that there are no long-term effects, as our product has been in testing for two years now. The only side-effect we have logged is a tendency to smell fresh citrus for a few minutes after the operation is complete, and the occasional 2-3 word vocabulary loss. It will be up to you whether or not you consider such a loss, uh . . . what’s another word for “okay?” A quick search says, “acceptable” would be the appropriate word here. And just like that, I’ve restored the loss! See, nothing to worry about.

What if I think of something other than a spoiler when using SpoilerFree? Can it make me forget that too?

We recommend you use the SpoilerFree neural harness ONLY for spoilers. Safeguards are in place to constrain the size of a memory, and if the application detects too large of a brain region being triggered by the memory recall, it will enter failsafe mode and only work once you are working to remove a memory utilizing a smaller number of synapses.

Why not use SpoilerFree for something more important, like those who have suffered extreme psychological trauma?

That would be a medical use, which would require our device to go through extensive FDA testing, and it might require years of testing. Even after all that time, politics might keep SpoilerFree from the market. And between you and me, the FDA is crooked as politician with scoliosis.

For the sake of our lawyers, let’s be absolutely clear: while SpoilerFree will be a 100% open source piece of hardware, we will be selling it FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES ONLY.

Literally and figuratively. See our Legal FAQ on the SpoilerFree website for more information.

• • • •

Risks and Challenges

Because we are just two people working out of a garage in California, there are some concerns you should note before backing our kickass project. While James does have a PhD in Neurology and I have worked extensively with tech companies like Apple as a hardware developer, neither of us have tackled the creation of a company altogether. However, we have an anonymous angel investor who is providing considerable consulting expertise on the nuts and bolts of business. This investor has fronted us the funds for development and testing. We need YOUR help in funding manufacturing and marketing. Unfortunately we are not able to reveal the identity of our silent investor at this time, but you have our assurance that they have limited involvement on the development side.

Thanks to my contacts, we have manufacturing lined up in China that should scale well with demands. James and I have extensively tested the SpoilerFree device with over three hundred Alpha Adopters, who, working with their primary care physicians, have demonstrated no unusual side effects. That said, significant success of the project may delay delivery of the final project to some backers.

We feel we should also mention the risk that the FDA will attempt to shut down manufacturing, but we have invested some of our initial seed money in securing a retainer with Bright, Young, and Dawson, a very well-respected tech industry law firm based in San Francisco. Initial consultations with them have given us the confidence that we can launch our product with your help.

• • • •

Update #1 • Apr 1

Stretch Goals

We’ve decided to add some stretch goals, so get ready!

$750,000 – I’ve been tinkering with a special conductive gel formula, and at this level, we’ll put it into production and add sixteen fluid ounces of awesome to each backer’s kit.

$850,000 – We’ll expand all kits to include a stylish faux-leather carrying case so you will never be without your SpoilerFree. You never know when some thoughtless jerk at work or in the supermarket checkout line is going to decide to talk about last night’s game, which of course you had to Tivo because you had a sick baby and/or stay late to finish writing that report for the boss. Why are people such insensitive jerks?!

$1,000,000 – If we reach this goal, and we think we might just, we will be able to extend the window of time between spoiling and utilizing the device. Right now, SpoilerFree works best within a 30 minute window, but with your backing, we think we can get that up to 60 minutes within the year. This will be a firmware update, so if you back now, your early adopter kits will be automatically updated.

$2,500,000 – First of all, we’ll buy an inexpensive bottle of champagne and drink it until we giggle. Once we sober up, we’ll add the special Taster mode, which will allow you to forget the tastes of foods by tasting them and activating SpoilerFree. Imagine it! Taste ice cream again for the first time any time you like. This is just a hint of the things to come from Memory Palace Renovators, Inc.!

$25,000,000 – We’ll fund a second Firefly movie with the stipulation that Wash didn’t actually die! (Just kidding!)

Update #2 • Apr 2

Sorry!

John Figero here. See, there’s no such thing as a statute of limitations on spoilers. I apologize for the poorly-thought-out humor in the previous update. Lena apologizes too, but she’s busy coding so I’ve stepped in on the updates. Just imagine—pretty soon, this will never happen again thanks to SpoilerFree. Thanks again for your support.

• • • •

Comments

Lou Frenkel on April 1

Is this for real? Wow!


C. Patel on April 1

Welcome, to the internet, Lou. You have never heard of this? It’s an old one!


Bear Weiter on April 1

I could have sworn I bought one of these a couple of years ago, but I guess not!


W. Einerstein on April 1

Come on, Crowdfundr. I know it’s April Fools, but I feel bad laughing at them. You guys should have never let this one go up. It stopped being funny last time, I think.


Creator Lena Wong on April 1

We don’t really know what you’re talking about, sorry!


Bear Weiter on April 2

Okay, they’re clearly not going to take it down, so I guess it’s up to me to “spoil” this one for everybody new to the site.

Lena Wong and Dr. John Figero really did invent SpoilerFree and it did kind of work. And they really did start a fund for it, but they forget every few days, because, well, their brains are FRIED.

See, the whole thing works on the same principle as electroshock therapy! That’s right, you shock yourself in the brain with their device and it can make you forget stuff. They did most of their testing on themselves and a few volunteers. This was a huge scandal five or six years ago, which I guess is centuries ago in Internet Time. Anyway, these two are just batshit crazy now. Apparently someone thinks it’s funny to give them internet access so they can relive how it all fell apart on them. The FDA shut it down last time before it got too far. The brain damage part came out later.


Alice Waters on April 2

I feel kind of bad for them. What I heard is that their psychologists let them do this because they’re hoping they’ll start to form new synapses and break out of the loop they’re stuck in.


Bear Weiter on April 2

If that’s the case, then I feel bad too. I do follow the work others are doing and there’s some hope that SpoilerFree will become a reality some day, but they were unfortunately ahead of their time.


Creator Lena Wong on April 3

Is this supposed to be a joke? It’s not very funny at all. SpoilerFree is a brand new idea, and the time for it has certainly come!


4Chan Awesome on April 3

CHANGE THE CHANEL MOM I SEEN THIS ONE ALREADY


DeShawn Witt on April 3

There are still pending lawsuits against Wong and Figero by the families of their test subjects, so this is really not a good idea to dig this up now.


Michelle Atkins on April 3

You guys are mean. WONG AND FIGERO ARE HEROES! At least they tried to do something about this problem which is very very real!


Billy McTrollerstein on April 4

SNAPE KILLS DUMBLDOR!!!1


Bear Weiter on April 4

Sigh. It was a flawed idea anyway. The burden of correction should be on the spoilers, not the spoilees. What we really need is a device that can kill trolls through the internet.


Creator Lena Wong on April 4

I’m starting to think that is a very good idea.


SITE ADMINISTRATOR on April 4

This project has been suspended. Comments are now closed.