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Monday,  July 21 12:01 AM EDT

New Program for Swapping Hardware Enters Beta

By Brian Briggs

Tombstone, AZ - A new program called Hardster which allows Internet users to share hardware much like they share MP3s and other files has just entered the beta stage.

A Hardster user prints himself
out a new LaserJet

Hardster is the brainchild Stephan Iwo who created the equally unoriginally named Kangazaa program for sharing Kangaroos online. "I got tired of downloading just software from these file sharing services. Often, I'd get a program that required a lot more computing power than I had. Then came the "Eureka" moment and Hardster was born," Iwo explained.

Unlike Napster, Hardster appears to have a sustainable business model. Users of the system must purchase a small attachment called a Hardster Module for their inkjet printer to reproduce the hardware. Each module is capable of reproducing a limited number of components before they need to be refilled.

"You just set up a component of your system to be 'shared' and then any of the users on the network can copy that piece of hardware. It's so simple that my mother just downloaded a new laser printer from a guy in Poland," said Iwo.

"This is great," exclaimed one Hardster user, "I paid $30 for a Hardster Module and I printed out a hard drive, a new P4 and an ATI card. My system rules!"

Tia Broadhurst was tired of copying her friends hardware by hand and welcomes Hardster. "Putting together a Radeon card with old video cards and duct tape is a lot harder than you think. Hardster has really made my life easier," she said.

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Hardware manufacturers, who for years have laughed at the software and entertainment industry, now have something to really worry about. "We're not sure, but we think there are laws being broken by Hardster. If there's not then there will be soon," said the Global Alliance of Hardware Makers spokesperson, Emily Sodor.

Iwo said that there was nothing preventing Hardster to be adapted to items other than computer hardware and he had experimented with printing himself up a new car though he had trouble getting it out of his office.

Sofia Dickison also loves the system. "It's great. I just bought one of the Hardster Modules then printed out a few more. It's a self-sustaining hardware reproducing system. I'm not sure if they thought of that."

"Oh shit," responded Iwo.

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