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CueCat Patent Granted, Finally

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the you-lose-even-if-you-win dept.

Input Devices 184

RobertB-DC writes "Who could forget the :CueCat, the amazing device that would bring 'convergence' between the real world and the online marketing Utopia of the late '90s? Belo, the Dallas-based newspaper and TV conglomerate, spent millions of dollars on the project, only to be ridiculed from the start and eventually becoming a sort of poster kitty for the Dot-Com Bust. Well, the device's inventor and chief cheerleader, J. Jovan Philyaw, didn't forget. His patent application, in progress since 1998, has finally been granted. The story comes from a Dallas alternative weekly, since the local Belo paper is still smarting from its $40-million-dollar black eye."

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Maybe I should take advantage of the situation... (2, Funny)

netglen (253539) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572045)

and write the book ":CueCat for Dummies"? I'll be an instant millionaire!

Re:Maybe I should take advantage of the situation. (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572359)

Ummm....Most authors only get paid if their books actually sell...(Hence the reason JonKatz lives in abject poverty.)

Re:Maybe I should take advantage of the situation. (5, Funny)

netglen (253539) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572893)

Oh no! Are you saying that the book that I read "Writing Dummy Books for Dummies" was inaccurate on how much money I can make?

Schrodenger's cueCat (5, Funny)

Majik Sheff (930627) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572053)

So, the cueCat was in a box (the patent office) and its state was unknown for years until someone finally opened the box and looked at it? I can only assume the cueCat was dead, but that assumption probably changed the outcome.

First again?

Re:Schrodenger's cueCat (4, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572123)

First again?

You assumed you were first, and by doing that, you changed the outcome.

Re:Schrodenger's cueCat (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572443)

I guess the cueCat is out of the bag... You know, I'm glad this is anonymous.

Re:Schrodenger's cueCat (1)

anomaly (15035) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573727)

If I want a sermon, I'll go to church. If I want to be entertained, I'll go to the movies. NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

Every movie or TV show I've ever seen is preaching something - perhaps not something you or I might consider "religious" but it's preaching nonetheless.

Re:Schrodenger's cueCat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573753)

Quantum decoherence is due to interaction with the environment. Looking has nothing to do with it. The term "observer" does not refer to the guy with the lab coat.

I already used this... (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572103)

... to buy my flying car!

Anyone thinking that getting a patent will make a broken concept work is naive.

Re:I already used this... (2, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572537)

A method for interconnecting a user's location to a destination location on a network. The unique information is received at the user's location, which unique information has no associated routing information embedded therein. Network routing information is associated with the received unique information in response to receipt thereof. The user's location is then interconnected to the destination location across the network in accordance with the routing associated therewith in the step of associating.

I smell a patent troll brewing...what better place than in Texas?

I used one (3, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572113)

I declawed one with the software patch that stripped the 'encryption' to use it as a normal barcode scanner. It was great for a little inventory problem I had at work. I made an Access DB that kept track of LTO tapes by scanning a label on each box and tape. That way when I had to do a restore from tapes on hand all I had to do was pull up its label in the DB and it gave me the box and row number.

Re:I used one (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572327)

What happens when your Access DB is what needs to be recovered from the backup tapes? What then?

Re:I used one (3, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572473)

What happens when your Access DB is what needs to be recovered from the backup tapes? What then?

He gets stuck in an infinite loop!

Re:I used one (1, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572771)

It wasn't in the backup set, it was on my laptop. The only loss if the DB went tits-up was that I would have to go back to hand searching the boxes, it's not like deleting a row in the DB destroyed the tapes =)

Re:I used one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572933)

That involves a bale of hay, 17 gallons of molasses, three left handed sporks, and a midget names Jerry.

Re:I used one (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572481)

I declawed 20 of them one by soldering a jumper that disabled the encryption at the unit. Most of them were easily hacked this way. I've got several still in use as Point of Sale barcode readers at a couple of customers.

In fact I still have about 5 of them in their poly bags in the basement. I had more but fittingly, my cat peed on them.

I cleaned out 5 radioshacks when they were trying to get people to take them.... please take them!

Re:I used one (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573391)

I remember the radio shack bins outside when I was a kid full of things. I grabbed a couple and lost them over the years...

Few weeks ago a buddy asked if I knew what "this" was... It was a CueCat...

Now it hangs proudly ready to be soldered on my cork board next to the bills.

Re:I used one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572673)

I had one. I thought of printing the barcode, scanning it back in, and then storing the coded-decoded pair in a lookup table. But then I realized I had no use for barcodes or a barcode scanner so I threw it out.

Re:I used one (1)

merreborn (853723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572703)

There's a serious secondary market for those things. I used to work for a used book merchant. We had a half dozen of 'em, and used 'em to scan ISBN bar codes on the books we received for quick cataloging.

You can pick up a "declawed" CueCat for $10. Most better barcode scanners *start* at $60.

Re:I used one (3, Informative)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573487)

It is worth noting that there are two different basic types of CueCat declawing.

The normal format for the CueCat is a long "encypted" string that contains three pieces of information, A serial number, information about the barcode type, and the raw barcode data.

The first type of declawing merely makes the serial number be a sting of dashes or zeros. This was only really useful with the official software, as the unoffensive drivers that support the CueCat's native format normally ignore the serial number.

The second type of declawing, which would be more accurately described as "fixing" (neutering) the CueCat, is a modification that results in the CueCat retuning just the raw barcode data in plaintext, followed by the enter key.

(My understanding is that the CueCat always functions as a keyboard, in all modes, but the official software intercepted the output.)

I vaguely remember that one configuration Code128 bar codes would not scan correctly, but they did work in a different configuration. Does anybody remember what configuration that was? I think it was either the neutered configuration, or the non-neutered configuration when using the official software.

Re:I used one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573593)

What good is pr0n on tapes...?

Re:I used one (1)

nsanders (208050) | more than 5 years ago | (#25574087)

If only they made software and hardware to do this for you..

Brilliant!! (4, Funny)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572127)

A barcode scanner at every normal person's PC that "allows" them to view advertisements on products they've already purchased? Count me in!

Preview! (1)

Wescotte (732385) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572297)

Criminals will no longer break into a home and leave with nothing because there isn't anything worth stealing!

Re:Brilliant!! (4, Interesting)

Rycross (836649) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572381)

The idea would be that you could scan a barcode on an advertisements or articles to get more information on a product. The problem is that you need a special piece of hardware to do what a URL written down on the page could do.

The basic idea isn't without merit, however. In Japan, they use barcode-like codes [wikipedia.org] to encode extra information with advertisements. You could see a product that interests you, use your cell phone camera to take a picture of the code, and then have your phone load up the web site based on the code. The difference here is its more convenient instead of less.

Re:Brilliant!! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572499)

I think it was before its time. Back then cell phones were not as ubiquitous as now, and they didn't do anything other than call people. Nothing like the wireless infrastructure of today. Imagine a small barcode scanner that could do the same task today. You could instantly do this with your iphone today and it would make a lot more sense. I still think this is a good idea with poor implementation. Too much though has to go into actually getting the data you want.

Re:Brilliant!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572657)

The iPhone cannot do this as it is a fixed lens solution and can't capture a barcode clearly...buy a G1.

Re:Brilliant!! (3, Interesting)

earthloop (449575) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573243)

Re:Brilliant!! (2, Informative)

Zadaz (950521) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573375)

Have you tried these? They stink out loud, and it's mostly because of the iPhone's camera, specifically the lack of a macro mode. I was completely unable to get a good reading from anything but a 2 ft wide QR code in bright light. And then it took forever to process it.

My ancient (4 year old) Japanese phone recognized QR codes the size of a postage stamp in real time, even in low light. No need to take a photo, you activate the QR code reader, point your phone at it and the application will stop capturing when it finds good data.

It's also important to note that it's not only used for URLs and marketing, but its an incredibly easy way to share contact info. Most Japanese mobiles recognize this kind of info and with a simple wave of your phone you can add someone's complete contact information to your phone. Just put it on the back of your business card.

Re:Brilliant!! (1)

sesshomaru (173381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572697)

You know, that makes me think of the barcode reader Nintendo made for the Gameboy advance:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nintendo_e-Reader [wikipedia.org]

You could buy barcode cards to work with GBA connectivity to open things in Animal Crossing, among other things. It was about as successful as the Que Cat.

Re:Brilliant!! (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573327)

It was about as successful as the Que Cat.

You might be a bit confused as there was never any indication the e-Reader line lost money.

Re:Brilliant!! (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573521)

It, too, like most Nintendo products, probably printed money.

Re:Brilliant!! (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573653)

It was about as successful as the Que Cat.

You might be a bit confused as there was never any indication the e-Reader line lost money.

It, too, like most Nintendo products, probably printed money.

Or at least scans money....

Re:Brilliant!! (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572477)

It was more then just advertisements in practice. You could order items out of catalogs 'out of the box'.

Much more if you made some changes.

Re:Brilliant!! (1)

WGFCrafty (1062506) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572917)

As I recall it was more than just that. In the Dallas Morning News, news articles had barcodes which you could scan and a window would pop up and load more relevant information from the Dallas Morning News website.

Re:Brilliant!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573119)

A barcode scanner at every normal person's PC that "allows" them to view advertisements on products they've already purchased? Count me in!

The original idea was to be able to scan barcodes from magazines to obtain information on products.

Re:Brilliant!! (1)

fprintf (82740) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573295)

No, but I have been toying with the idea of a UPC scanner that allows me to record nutrition facts for foods I eat during the day. So every time I bring out a twinkie, I scan the box, enter N twinkies, and it adds the fat, sodium etc. to my daily intake. For non-packaged foods, like salad or fruit or whatever, I'd have barcodes preprinted that I can just scan and indicate what serving size. This would make nutrition tracking much simpler than the FitDay and other web based tracking services.

I the main problem is that UPC info does not carry nutritional information within it. So somewhere there needs to be a database of product identifiers and nutritional information.

I think there are companies that do this with very expensive (~$180) handheld scanners, though I am not sure they incorporate the serving size for personal nutrition scanning.

I have a CueCat (PS/2) version I picked up at Rat Shack and have never really used it. I picked it up because I knew someday I'd tinker a use for it.

Re:Brilliant!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573383)

Allows you to see advertisements on totally unrelated products half the time too. What a bonus.

HOLY TOLEDO! (1)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573905)

This is big.

Crap patent (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572207)

Clearly, this one got approved via the Patent Office's rule that "If you can't decipher the run-on sentence, approve the patent".

Yeah, I know the patent rules pretty much require run on sentences, but Claim 1 here is ridiculous even given that.

Best I can tell, Claim 1 covers doing a lookup of a code at a remote site and receiving something like a URL back, then following that URL. The code has to have been received before the user connected to the network.

That is, if I set up a server which returns a redirect for "8972" of http://www.cat.example.com/ [example.com] and "1513" to http://www.dog.example.com/ [example.com] and I send you (via US mail) "8972", which you then enter at my site and get redirected to the cat site, the patented method has been used.

Re:Crap patent (2, Funny)

RayMarron (657336) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572611)

> That is, if I set up a server which returns a redirect for "8972" of
> http://www.cat.example.com/ [example.com] and "1513" to
> http://www.dog.example.com/ [example.com] and I send you
> (via US mail) "8972", which you then enter at my site and get
> redirected to the cat site, the patented method has been used.

Are you saying that makeashorterlink.com and tinyurl.com (for example) are infringing on this patent? Holy vague claims, Batman!

Re:Crap patent (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572627)

Seems to me your redirects are overly complicating things. The first 3 claims would appear to represent a URL. If I'm misreading then I'd still suggest that just having the domain servers translate the URL would be covered by the claim.

And I think any software patent that can't be understood by a typical software developer (e.g. me) should be invalidated on the grounds that that's what patent law says!!!

Re:Crap patent (3, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572631)

Maybe their business plan is to sue tinyurl?

Re:Crap patent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573141)

Yeah, I know the patent rules pretty much require run on sentences, but Claim 1 here is ridiculous even given that.

FYI - what we now call a run on sentence is a relatively recent concept.

Go read anything that we would now call classical literature and you'll find sentences the length of paragraphs and paragraphs that go on for a page or two.

The legal profession is one of the few places remaining where really long, yet grammatically accurate, sentences can still flourish.

Re:Crap patent (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573581)

MS Word's reading grade level calculator checks for run-ons and bumps the grade level up a bit everytime it finds one.

Re:Crap patent (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573737)

You mean tinyurl.com?

A day late and $40 Million Dollars Short (5, Funny)

timpintsch (842091) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572291)

Does anyone know if I can still pick these up for free at Radio Shack? I remember having a stack of them but my Grandma threw them away because she thought they were pens that were defective. No, really, she did.

Re:A day late and $40 Million Dollars Short (1)

zidane2k1 (971794) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572421)

Probably not. The company that ran the advertising service (Digital Convergence) is long gone, iirc. (You could still find these on eBay, though.)

Re:A day late and $40 Million Dollars Short (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572605)

I still have a dozen cardboard boxes of them, including all PS/2 revisions and the short-lived USB versions, that I used to test my CueCat driver for Linux (here [myspace.voo.be] if you care about abandonware.)

Re:A day late and $40 Million Dollars Short (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573157)

I bought a USB one on ebay for just a couple of dollars. Works great, no special software needed. It pretends to be a USB keyboard.

Re:A day late and $40 Million Dollars Short (1)

doconnor (134648) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573587)

I remember seeing some recently at Active Surplus Electronics, the legendary Toronto electronics store.

I didn't get one (5, Funny)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572305)

The plastic bag that my copy of Wired came in had a big hole in it when it got to my house. The CueCat was either stolen or it fell out.

/not really disappointed

Re:I didn't get one (4, Funny)

Stele (9443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572451)

Perhaps it became self-aware and clawed its way out. Did you ever think of that?

Oblig (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573195)

I, for one, welcome our new self-aware clawing CueCat overload.

Re:I didn't get one (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573657)

Perhaps it became self-aware and clawed its way out. Did you ever think of that?

at this level of (cough) evolution it could be :cuecat jesus in a few thousand years.

Re:I didn't get one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572465)

That's funny since my CueCat came in an entirely separate box.

Re:I didn't get one (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572789)

Maybe what happened to me happened to a bunch of people, and that's why they started putting it in a separate box.

Still have mine.... (3, Funny)

SomeoneGotMyNick (200685) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572337)

What do I do with the box of these that a frustrated Radio Shack manager gave me?

I went in asking for one and he told me I can't have one unless I take his entire inventory of them. I ended up with dozens of them.

On a side note, I then went to the bank and asked for a dollar, but they didn't give me a boxful of them... no fair...

Re:Still have mine.... (1)

UberMorlock (1391949) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572395)

Actually, this sounds interesting to play around with, even though it wouldn't be remotely useful to me. I'll hop on over to my local Radio Shack this afternoon and see if they have any they'll give me.

Re:Still have mine.... (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572501)

Actually, this sounds interesting to play around with, even though it wouldn't be remotely useful to me. I'll hop on over to my local Radio Shack this afternoon and see if they have any they'll give me.

I seriously doubt your local RatShack will have any left. They cleared them out like 7 or 8 years ago.

Re:Still have mine.... (1)

UberMorlock (1391949) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572865)

Oh, well. I'll just have to keep an eye out on sites like Craigslist. Maybe I'll get lucky and be able to find one there.

Re:Still have mine.... (1)

Klinky (636952) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573351)

...or you could go to eBay if you really want one. There are plenty of homeless CueCats looking for owners...

Re:Still have mine.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572523)

I wish I still had mine, I'm pretty sure I threw it out. I also got mine free from Radio Shack. I then went home and scanned a pack of Magic cards and told it to link to the Wizards of the Coast page. The next day they had a completely unrelated wizards site linked to the cards, probably for the Washington Wizards or something. Best product ever.

Re:Still have mine.... (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573181)

Is it entirely too obvious that maybe you could sell them on ebay?

Still have mine! (2, Funny)

JungleBoy (7578) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572343)

Awesome! I still have a brand new unused CueCat in my desk drawer next to me right now! My ship has come in! ...I think. Wait, what's going on here?

What now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572371)

I've still got a few laying in my spare parts box, unhacked. Do I have to pay a patent fee to use them, now? ;^)

i still have mine (4, Funny)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572449)

it looks like a sex toy

all its good for anymore

i guess

i said i guess!

Re:i still have mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573033)

And if your like the average slashdotter, you've never been able to use it. :D

Re:i still have mine (1)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573183)

And if your like the average slashdotter, you've never been able to use it. :D

Sure he has. (I'll leave the rest to your imagination)

Ah, CueCat... (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572495)

Am I the only one who read the headline and then burst out laughing?

Re:Ah, CueCat... (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572527)

In related news, the inventor of the "rabbit ears" television antenna has finally been granted a patent.

Fail2o!rs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572509)

elected, we took isn't a lemonade Whether you abysmal sales and fact there won't are about 7000/5 Real problems During this file to download the

Re:Fail2o!rs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572835)

your bot is fucked...fix it

wrgawerg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572531)

I find my CueCat useful for LibraryTHing to where you just scan and go.

Though the OLD system was actually a big huge bundle of adware, however considering that's gone down the tubes, it's now nothing more htat handy barcode scanner.

I have two of them... (1)

agent (7471) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572549)

and I beleive the Software CD!

An Idea with Potential (3, Interesting)

GospelHead821 (466923) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572613)

I understand why and how this idea failed, but I think that it had such a great deal of potential. Not for flashy things like electronics, but for mundane things like office supplies. Rather than digging around Corporate Express's web site or typing in a list of part numbers, how much easier would it be just to use the CueCat on a barcode printed in the catalog? I was kind of disappointed that the worthwhile, vaguely interesting applications for this technology never materialized.

Re:An Idea with Potential (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573187)

how much easier would it be just to use the CueCat on a barcode printed in the catalog?

Much more difficult actually...

Opening the company website and typing in a short product code is pretty damn easy. And as an added bonus, it works on every computer out there... You don't need to carry around a big, bulky, barcode scanner, attach it to the computer you're using, install the software from CD, just to scan a bar code, and then remove it later.

Even if you're only ever using it on a single computer, having a big bulky barcode scanner setting on your desk that you barely ever use isn't my idea of good product. Not to mention the added space taken up by a barcode on the page would probably be prohibitive, not to mention ugly, all to support very few die-hard regular shoppers.

Re:An Idea with Potential (1)

bendodge (998616) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573193)

It failed because the producers bundled it with what their consumers considered to be a nuisance good - junk mail. Nobody I know of pores over advertisements often enough to want anything of the sort. Now, if they had just sold it as a cheap barcode scanner WITHOUT ENCRYPTION and provided some subscription service that housed a zillion barcodes from everything (Google?), then perhaps it would have fared better.

I was actually one of the first to hack it (3, Interesting)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572655)

Geez I guess it has been that long. I was one of the first to figure out that it sent a coded mix of letters and numbers with the scanned barcode inside so that it could be hacked to function as a proper barcode scanner. I also was one of the first to get a certified cease and desist letter and a followup call by one of their attorneys.

I still have a bunch of both the serial and USB versions wrapped and new... however now they would actually have proper legal grounds to prosecute so I won't be redistributing my code online again :)

Never thought I'd see :CueCat come up again on the 'ole Internets.

Re:I was actually one of the first to hack it (1)

Panaflex (13191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572929)

CueCat was developed pre-DMCA, and so was your code I would assume. You're not breaking their patent by replicating their method - and I assume you distributed code previously which did not result into a court-ordered injunction. No one brought full enforcement of their cease and desist and you never signed a settlement or agreement.

In other words - you're totally clear.

Re:I was actually one of the first to hack it (1)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573437)

Yes, it was certainly pre-DMCA... I still have the letter as a kind of geek badge of honor but I don't remember the exact reasoning or law they cited. I did run it past my families lawyer at the time and he said to take down my code and just call it a day. I was young and had no money so that was what I did.

Basically it was about circumventing their software and making public the fact that each :CueCat had a trackable ID that was associated to you (Radioshack had to take your name, address, and phone# to get one for free) and it logged what products you scanned and I guess they planned on either selling that data or using it for marketing.

I actually still have a pretty cool database app that catalogs CD's and interfaced with I think it was called freeDB for artist/track info. I was working on an ISBN version for my books but lost interest by then.

Re:I was actually one of the first to hack it (2, Informative)

rAiNsT0rm (877553) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573499)

Heh, I actually found an article that explains it from 2000 and I even got a mention in it :)

http://www.securityfocus.com/news/89 [securityfocus.com]

I just found it now googling for what the legal basis was... I had never read it before... so I gotta thank you for making me curious!

Re:I was actually one of the first to hack it (1)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573055)

Doesn't the right of first sale cover this?

Re:I was actually one of the first to hack it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573807)

DMCA?

More useful than you might think... (3, Interesting)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572725)

A bit offtopic, but with the aforementioned "hack" to enable it as a more generic device, a friend of mine uses it to catalog his book, CD, and DVD collection. He has a whole spreadsheet for his books that tells him how many pages, how long it took to read, his overall "review" (couple of sentences) of the book, etc.

A bit anal retentive? Yes, but I could see it being useful for making a record of just about any "collection" you had that already had barcodes on it.

I smell a lawsuit! (2, Interesting)

Teilo (91279) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572743)

Hmm. This is the same thing the CompareEverywhere app for Android (G1) does.

http://compare-everywhere.com/ [compare-everywhere.com]

Is the patent broad enough to ace these guys out?

Bringing Back Memories (3, Interesting)

Whafro (193881) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572805)

I remember being the first to publish the basic decoder for the CueCat... got a nice little writeup in Wired, which led to a nice little writeup from a Kenyon & Kenyon lawyer in the form of a C&D.

Highlight of my sophomore year in HS: http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=7222&cid=835493 [slashdot.org]

Their patent claim is interesting -- launch a web browser when an item is scanned. Sounds like it shouldn't meet the non-trivial requirement to me, but I'm not in IP law anymore...

Bad Summary (3, Informative)

Zordak (123132) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572833)

If you look at the "Related Applications" section, I see something like a score of issued patents in this family, give or take a few. So this is not anything like the "real" :CueCat patent. This is a continuation-in-part, meaning they are adding new matter to the original application (some incremental improvement, usually). Apparently, these guys are intent on patenting every little incremental improvement they can think of for their famous failure. Why? Are they stacking their portfolio with an eye to future litigation? If true, that's the real story.

Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25572899)

funny. I just found mine in an ancient box last night and drug it out to play with it. how timely.

Does that mean... (1)

Astadar (591470) | more than 5 years ago | (#25572951)

that no one else can _EVER_ make this thing again?

*fingers crossed*

Joking aside, I do see many practical applications for a device such as this, as long as the software that comes with it is better than the bloated, ad-ware infested stuff that came with the original.

--Chris

I have a USB Cue Cat (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573059)

It works great. The computer thinks it's a keyboard. When I swipe a barcode it types the digits and hits return at the end. Who needs software?

Here's An Idea: Link Your Summery to Wikpedia! (1)

gregbot9000 (1293772) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573145)

That way People will know what obscure piece of tech trash you are rambling about.

Re:Here's An Idea: Link Your Summery to Wikpedia! (1)

72beetle (177347) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573663)

Never heard of the cue cat? And you call yourself a geek?

Hmph.

meow (1)

EncryptedSoldier (1278816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573289)

the cuecat was awesome, I still have 2 of them, and I actually still use them. Such an awesome little gizmo! There are some cool programs out there that work with it too!

Does it cover some technologies in use? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25573387)

I'm not a patent attorney, so understanding the legalese of these things isn't my strongest point - so I could be entirely mistaken. However, taking the abstract:

"A method for interconnecting a user's location to a destination location on a network. The unique information is received at the user's location, which unique information has no associated routing information embedded therein. Network routing information is associated with the received unique information in response to receipt thereof. The user's location is then interconnected to the destination location across the network in accordance with the routing associated therewith in the step of associating. "

Sounds very much like it would cover such things as the use of a mobile phone to read a barcode and compare prices online.. which I am sure I read about existing somewhere?

Best review of a product ever.... (1)

Trailer Trash (60756) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573757)

"It fails to solve a problem that doesn't exist."

I can't remember where I read that, but it sums up the entire thing perfectly...

I got my cat! (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#25573981)

And I got one of the early ones that could be turned into regular scanners by cutting a trace.

Finally decrypted mine (3, Informative)

macraig (621737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25574059)

This news prompted me to drag out my two :Cats and decrypt the output on them, so I can finally use them as raw scanners. I dug out the copper trace to pin 10 of the Hyundai IC on both of them and, voila, it outputs raw numeric ASCII data whenever it spies a barcode. I've had archived details on how to do this for years, but never got a round tuit (those tuits are pretty scarce and hard to find in their own right). Turns out I Googled the part number on the PCBs and found several pages detailing the process for that specific PCB.

BIOS settings needed? (2, Informative)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | more than 5 years ago | (#25574143)

I remember those, when they first came out, they seemed stupid. It solved a problem for an advertiser, but never solved anything for the end user. Doomed to failure.

Plus, in the install instructions, it gave instructions on how to reset your BIOS settings if it wasn't recognized. You expect someone to reset BIOS settings to use something not really useful? Whatever.

we used one at my last place, a 'declawed' one was a useful cheap barcode scanner for books.

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