:CueCat is a handheld barcode scanner being given away for free by Radio Shack. :CueCat connects to your PC.

Radio Shack gives these devices away for free with their catalog. If you see an item you like in the catalog, just scan in the accompanying barcode and it will transport you to a page containing relevant information on RadioShack.com.

Currently, :CueCat is distributed with software for Macintosh and Windows operating systems only. Several tinkering Linux users decided to write their own device drivers and applications which would allow them to use the device on their computers running the Linux operating system. The manufacturer of :CueCat, Digital Convergence sent these individuals letters ordering them to stop developing and distributing this software. According to Digital Convergence, they are just attempting to protect their Intellectual Property Rights (by preventing people from playing with their hardware ?!).

http://www.flyingbuttmonkeys.com/ and click on "CueCat Decoder" for more information.

10/9/00 - tregoweth has pointed out to me that the official :CueCat software is not available for even Mac OS at this point, but only for Windows.

Interesting (but not surprising) to note is that, in the encoded string, there is a unique identifier. Observe the following, performed on the same machine (mine) with the same barcode (Hill Country Fare Strawberry Toaster Pastries) using two different :CueCat scanners.



Note that the two scans differ only in the first block (period-delimited).

Just goes to show how The Man keeps you under his thumb...

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