If McAfee was just having us all on -- or possibly battling an acid flashback -- he's going to some lengths to sell it. He's built a website, called Future Tense Central, which offers a logo borrowed from Fandango, royalty-free theme music from the Casio collection, and a movie-trailer-like intro:
In a world where information
Privacy and freedom are at risk
A new technology is arising
There's also a countdown clock, which stands at a little more than 174 days as I write this, and links to McAfee's various social media accounts. I especially like McAfee's Twitter account bio: "Eccentric millionaire and still alive."
In a little less than six months, we're going to find out something; what exactly that something is, we don't know. Or maybe he's giving the NSA a sporting chance to figure out what it is and build in a backdoor.
The great thing about McAfee is that he doesn't have to ship product. He doesn't have to turn a profit. He doesn't have to meet market expectations. He doesn't have to give a damn what anyone thinks of him. And he seems to be having the time of his life.
If you don't believe that, you need to watch his most recent NSFW video, in which he answers popular questions like "Were you really living with seven women in the jungles of Belize?" and "Did they all try to kill you?"
McAfee's answers: a) Yes, but usually not all at one time; b) less than 50 percent of the women tried to murder him, though who did seemed especially proud of that fact. He is, apparently, really good at dodging knives and bullets -- guess that's how he's made it to nearly three score and 10.
McAfee is a throwback to the early days of technology, which emerged from the nerd wing of the 1960s counterculture. If Abbie Hoffman or Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters were alive today, they'd be running startups in Silicon Valley, only they'd be a lot more fun than Google, Twitter, and Facebook.
McAfee is the last Prankster standing. And if D-Central is more than just a gag, and he really can pull off something that would give the NSA fits? That would be the most awesome prank of all.
Is McAfee serious? What do you think D-Central might be? Post your thoughts below or email them to me (and the NSA): firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article, "John McAfee wants to save us from the NSA," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.