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Slashback: Guido, Games, Felines

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the did-I-say-something-wrong-my-dearest? dept.

Slashback 168

This time, an astute reader points us to the place where Guido Van Rossum speaks out on the Python license issues recently posted about here on Slashdot, and an Everquest enthusiast points to the Official Word (well, chatroom response) to Everquest server emulators. Oh, and remember that CueCat scanner you picked up last week (and quickly wrote a Linux kernel driver for) -- did anyone at Radio Shack mention something about an embedded serial number? Hmmmm. I thought not. Good thing reverse engineering isn't yet a capital offense ...

That's one long and winding snake of an issue ... Kevin Reichard writes: "Since you covered the original issues surrounding Python licensing, you may also want to note that Guido van Rossum of PythonLabs has officially responded in a Linux Today interview. He has many interesting things to say."

Which things notably include: "The sad thing is that all of this is based on technicalities: Stallman agrees that Python is free software, but a technicality in the licenses prevents compatibility. The choice of law clause in the CNRI license, which is causing the incompatibility, is very common is software licenses, and CNRI doesn't want to drop it because the validity of the general disclaimers in the license may depend on it. At the same time, Stallman doesn't want to allow any choice of law clauses, because one could stipulate the law of "Unfreedonia" which might reverse the meaning of the GPL."

Abort, retry, fail, bend, fold, spindle, mutilate? L Fitzgerald Sjoberg writes: " A recent posting on the official EverQuest boards by a spokesperson for Verant states that even RUNNING an EverQuest emulator violates the EverQuest license agreement.

If the emulator is legal, and emulators seem to be making a lot of legal headway these days, doesn't this essentially amount to Verant forbidding you to use a competitor's product? Not a good sign, if you ask me."

"Sir! Sir! There's something wrong -- this knob goes up to eleven!" Signal 11 writes: "I took apart a cuecat and did a rundown of the circuit tracings on the board. What follows is a short summary of what I found. I'm working on putting together a schematic for it and hope to have it together within a couple weeks.

The cuecat is fairly simple. It uses a pair of infrared LEDs to direct light onto the sheet of paper with the barcode on it. It is then picked up by an IR detector, whose output is tuned by a single potentiometer (adjusted at time of manufacture, I would guess) and then fed into the analog input of a microprocessor. The detector is the same type one can pickup at radioshack. All you do is enclose it in a box and then make a pinhole at one end. Cheap, but it works well enough.

The microprocessor I haven't had time to put together a circuit from the specs provided by texas instruments to download the microcode out of it. It is also a matter of me not wanting to learn about microprocessors although I understand it is common in the industry.. I'm an analog guy. :) I suspect it is nothing more than running the output through a ACD (analog->digital) inside the microprocessor and then referencing the binary input with a list of values to produce the barcode string. After that, as has been previously noted, it is passed to an XOR algorithm, and then modulated to be fed out onto the PS/2 interface. There are a pair of transistors on the board near the outputs of the microprocessor - I suspect these are used to either boost the signal to run over the PS/2 interface (the microprocessor may not have enough power), or as part of an oscillator to get a clock for the processor. Until I finish tracing out the board paths, I can't say for sure.

Somewhere in the chip they probably set the serial number into the nvram, which is prepended to the output. The software does the rest. As has been demonstrated, there isn't much to do on the software side either - one could just create an indexed array containing scancodes. One might even be able to write a new key definition file under linux.. no programming required.

This is a really simple device. This is also probably why they were so concerned about competitors.. it wouldn't take them more than one afternoon with an EE and a microcode programmer to reverse-engineer it and produce their own. Then again, the device was probably designed in the same amount of time, likely by a random contractor. The reason it took me so long? I've been messing around with electronics for all of three months, so yes, I'm not a professional - I also haven't gotten into DSP technology yet, which is all the cuecat is. As always, if someone could provide me with a basic circuit for reading the contents of the processor's memory out, I'd appreciate it!

Anyway, DigitalConvergence - I'm waiting for my cease and desist now."

cancel ×

168 comments

Re:Query (3)

outlier (64928) | more than 13 years ago | (#796414)

<i>The implication is that if you set up some type of cataloging system [...] you can only use one particular scanner to do retrievals unless you take the time to strip out the (seemingly 5) ASCII output characters that are unique to each character.</i>

My cataloging program was written in VB (Shut up, it was fast and easy). It grabs only the bar code info, checks to figure out if it's a book (you can look at the field before the bar code, or just see if it starts with 978) or a CD (all the UPCs I've seen for CDs have a 3 before the check digit). It then hits the barpoint.com database and grabs author/artist and title info. I'm gonna have it grab track info for CDs next, and then maybe a graphic...

Anyway, its trivially easy to do the encoding stuff without having to worry about the serial number.

Re:Cue Cat Reality Check (2)

Accipiter (8228) | more than 13 years ago | (#796416)

No name, nothing to tie me to an "ID" number.

You'd think that if there were some sort of attempt to track scans vs consumer they'd be a little more attentive about getting, like, my name, or something.


Um, that's because it's not Radio Shack's responsibility. You give your personal information when you install the software.

-- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?

Re:ID (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 13 years ago | (#796418)

Digital[randomcharacter]Convergence doesn't care about your name, address or whatever. All they want to know is which scanner was used for a particular lookup. That gives them a huge database of purchase info that they can then sell to other faceless corporations for big bucks.

Is NOT a great title. (1)

dangermouse (2242) | more than 13 years ago | (#796421)

That is NOT a great book. It's a kids' book that basically says "if you share with someone, they're just gonna want more."

I didn't realize it til a few years ago, but that's a pretty fucked up children's book, if you ask me. It's cynical and mean, man.

it's NOT rocket science... (3)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 13 years ago | (#796422)

As I racall, the Motorola 6800 apps manual (not the 68000, the 8-bit 6800 chip) had a neat example program on reading Code 39 barcodes in software. It's really NOT all that tough to do this; you measure time intervals between bar edges, normalize them for swipe speed, classify them as wide bar/narrow bar ==> 1 and 0, and you're most of the way there. Then you need only identify the barcode type using the standard characteristics of each encoding (and they are designed to facilitate just this identification), do a simple forwards/backwards check in case the moron scanned the label right-to-left, test the check digit with a simple algorithm, and you're done. Not trivial, and there's effort required for handling multiple code types, but CERTAINLY not rocket science. (And I DO rocket science for a living...)

Software at K-mart? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#796424)

Who buys software at K-Mart? Its like McDonalds threatening to card anyone who wants to purchase filet mignon. I live in a small town in W.V. and software retailers are very limited, but I have never considered going to K-Mart to buy software. Sometimes I go to Wal-Mart, but not for the software. I go to Wal-Mart because its like watching the Jerry Springer show in 3D.

Re:BarPoint, CueCat, ReaderWare (1)

outlier (64928) | more than 13 years ago | (#796425)

wonder if windows users would have trouble reaching web pages if they scanned with their caps lock on then?

On a related note, I don't think it works with a Dvorak layout. If you have the Dvorak drivers loaded instead of the standard qwerty drivers, the scans come out different, and I get network connection(!) errors when I've tried (on someone else's computer of course, I wouldn't agree to the EULA). Of course, the network problem could just be another problem that has happened to co-occur when I've seen it done. Anyone else try this?

The program I wrote (But would never ever distribute, cause I don't want to violate their pseudointellectual property rights...) figures out if its Dvorak or Sholes and handles it appropriately.

Re:More on the CueCat internals... (1)

homebru (57152) | more than 13 years ago | (#796426)

OK, it has a microprocessor.

So how much longer before someone ports Linux to this beastie? Sure, it will need some more memory, but then, who doesn't?

Ladies and Gentleworms, I give you "The Next! World's! Smallest! Webserver!"

Really a Serial Number? (1)

jageryager (189071) | more than 13 years ago | (#796427)

I'm not convinced that there is really a serial number? Digital convergence will already have a way to track us, users already have to get an "activation code" that is emailed out, and you have to use the activation code to enable the CRQ software. They will be able to track most of us anyway even without a serial number.

More on the CueCat uC (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#796428)

(Note: Your device may vary, but I doubt it.)

The microcontroller in the CueCat is a Toshiba TMP87PH47U 8- bit microcontroller.

After a little searching, I came up with this:
TMP87PH47U Datasheet. [toshiba.com]

It has 16kb of OTP EPROM, and 512b of RAM and appears to run at 8Mhz.

There are two other chips on the board, a 4066 and an 8-pin SMT chip that I have yet to read the number off of. IIRC, the 4066 is a CMOS bilateral switch.

Cue Cat Reality Check (4)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#796429)

I just walked into RS and asked for the "Cat thing that reads barcodes", bingo, a guy hands me a bag with the Cue Cat and a catalog (praise "Bob" they're not selling the things any more!), he says "Y'know, you can scan anything - soda pop, chewing gum, whatever!", I wave goodbye and I'm out of the store.

No name, nothing to tie me to an "ID" number.

You'd think that if there were some sort of attempt to track scans vs consumer they'd be a little more attentive about getting, like, my name, or something.

Then again, this is Radio Shack we're talking about.

Anybody else miss the free flashlights?

Re:ID (2)

askheaves (207302) | more than 13 years ago | (#796430)

I have to laugh because when I picked up my :CueCat, I just walked into Radio Shack and got it. He asked me if I shop at Radio Shack (I do for parts) and if I use the catalog (I never had before). He scanned the catalog with his barcode scanner, slid it toward me on the counter, and said "That's it."

I was startled because he didn't ask my name, address, or even Postal code (which they always ask for when I buy resistors... they must really want to know which parts of town are buying the most resistors).

I walked out of the place feeling like I got away with breaking the neighbor's window. I don't know if this is happening elsewhere, or if I encountered the laziest Radio Shack employee ever. I like that I got something free and that DC doesn't have my address tied to the serial number. This way, when the revolution comes, Digital Convergence can't yank me out of my own home.

Accurate CueCat information / internal pictures (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#796431)

go to this site matrixpm.com/~haveblue/cuecat [matrixpm.com]

More on the CueCat internals... (3)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 13 years ago | (#796432)

Trying this again, logged in... >:/
(Note: Your device may vary, but I doubt it.)

The microcontroller in the CueCat is a Toshiba TMP87PH47U 8- bit microcontroller.

After a little searching, I came up with this:
TMP87PH47U Datasheet. [toshiba.com]

It has 16kb of OTP EPROM, and 512b of RAM and appears to run at 8Mhz.

There are two other chips on the board, a 4066 and an 8-pin SMT chip that I have yet to read the number off of. IIRC, the 4066 is a CMOS bilateral switch.

--K

---

Virginia is Unfreedonia (3)

JoeBuck (7947) | more than 13 years ago | (#796433)

Guido van Rossum writes: At the same time, Stallman doesn't want to allow any choice of law clauses, because one could stipulate the law of "Unfreedonia" which might reverse the meaning of the GPL. Even though the state of Virginia does no such thing!

Sorry, Guido, Virginia is Unfreedonia. It is the only state that passed UCITA [cpsr.org] without modification (Maryland passed a highly modified version that struck out some of the more obnoxious provisions). UCITA contains many horrors for free software developers and software users alike. Stallman pointed out many of these problems in this article [gnu.org] . Virginia is the worst possible state in the US to specify as the jurisdiction where disputes over licensing will be settled.

I don't know if RMS's warning about UCITA potentially subjecting free software authors to liability (while exempting those who use shrink-wrap licenses) is correct or not, but it is a worry.

If Python is incompatible with the GPL, what it means is that people won't be able to link together Python code and GPLed code. This will be a major pain in the butt, so I hope that it can be fixed.

I don't know why everyone is giving RMS so much crap when it is CNRI that is making a change to a more restrictive license than it used in the past. CNRI created the problem, not RMS; as Guido said The new license was imposed by CNRI on Python 1.6 (the last release done from CNRI's code base).

The best solution will be to find some language that satisfies CNRI's concerns without causing these problems.

but umm (2)

MrP- (45616) | more than 13 years ago | (#796434)

when you install the (windows) software, it requires you to register, no? and isn't that registration form about the same as insurance forms? i heard they ask for a lot of information... maybe im wrong, ill find out whenever I go to RS

#----------------------------
$mrp=~s/mrp/elite god/g;

Re:ID (1)

jwsh (8945) | more than 13 years ago | (#796439)

Really? I've never had a problem, I usually just say "No, thanks" or "I'd rather not" any they usually nod and say "OK" or occationally they'll explain why they collect the data "It's just so we can send you a catalog"

Naw.... (1)

Nanookanano (213568) | more than 13 years ago | (#796441)

It just means SOME people are like that. Kids need to see this kind of selfish behavior in a controlled environment so that they can recognize it in the real world later. That's the whole reson for storytelling.

ID (1)

mholve (1101) | more than 13 years ago | (#796443)

The serial number is mentioned all over the place on various sites.

Why else would they give this thing away if they could tie your interests to a person? That's what it's all about folks - directed marketing...

And you thought DoubleClick was bad. This is just as...

Re:Very true... (2)

Detritus (11846) | more than 13 years ago | (#796444)

The CPU on the chip can still read the ROM. The security fuse prevents external devices from reading the ROM. The typical programming sequence is:
  1. Burn data into ROM.
  2. Read back data from ROM and verify correct values.
  3. Blow security fuse.

An Everquest emulator is hardly a competitor (4)

vertical-limit (207715) | more than 13 years ago | (#796446)

While its legality could still be proved valid, to consider an EverQuest emulator a "competitor" to the legit EverQuest service is a joke. An EverQuest emulator is clearly a derived work -- you need the original data files to play the game, and the emulator's game world is still reliant on Origin for new material. To file a "leech" like the emulator in the same class as Meridian 59 or Ultima Online -- both of which are completely original programs -- is absurd, and no court would ever hold up and opinion like that.

That's not to say that an emulator isn't legal -- certainly, it's not in any danger of killing off the EverQuest craze^H^H^H^H^Hlicense to print money anytime soon. But it's certainly not competing with EverQuest; after all, if the actual EQ world went out of business, the emulator authors would be left without any new material! An emulator is a derived work and has been legally proven to be such.

RMS Not eager to read 150 countries legal codes? (1)

Quintus (147877) | more than 13 years ago | (#796447)

Seriously, why couldn't he just certify certain countries as "Freedonia" and incorporate this into the licence? I imagine there's some legal reason... It could be done at least for the major software producing countries... (It could be a whole new premise for flamewars: my country's free-er than yours! Even though it tortures Tibetans!)

After all, the US Senate seems hell-bent on unfreedonia!

Of course, it could get to be quite hard work... Especially after revolutions... :-)

Re:ID (5)

AndyL (89715) | more than 13 years ago | (#796448)

"(which they always ask for when I buy resistors... they must really want to know which parts of town are buying the most resistors)"

Well, Big Brother always trys to keep track of The Resistance.

-Andy

Build your own scanner... (4)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#796449)

The website h ere [washington.edu] describes how to make your own RS232-output barcode scanner.



---- ----

Other chip (2)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 13 years ago | (#796450)

The other chip is a 93C46 serial EEPROM.
I'd imagine this is where the serial number is stored -- anyone have the equipment to read these things? I'm kinda curious what else may be on it...

There's a data sheet here. [microchip.com]

--K
(And of course, my AC misfire gets modded up... ;)
---

Re:Query (1)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 13 years ago | (#796451)

Now, if only I could find a windows alternative. I tried writting one, but screwed up the encoding somewhere. Oh well. Guess I actually need to start learning languages.

Re:Really a Serial Number? (2)

MostlyHarmless (75501) | more than 13 years ago | (#796452)

Try looking at the output in your favorite text editor. (yes, text editor. it just sends the scan to the keyboard port; no special software required).

It looks like this:
.C3nZC3nZC3nZCxjWENrYCNnY.fHmc.C3f2Cxj2DNz1D3P3.
or, generally, .text.text.text.
The first one is the serial number, the second is the type of bar code, and the third is the value.

Here's another scan:
.C3nZC3nZC3nZCxjWENrYCNnY.cGf2.ENr7C3r1CNzZD3P1C xzYENP6.
Notice that the first part is the same.
--

Re:Reverse Engineering CueCat (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 13 years ago | (#796453)

This would make it difficult to read out the program. However it doesn't sound like it would be too much work to re-write the code from scratch.

Exactly. I've done this kind of thing before and I doubt that phototransistor is going to any kind of analog in. It's likely either pulled high or low (depending on if it's NPN or PNP) and the chip sees a 1 or 0, or the output of the detector is being brought into an on-chip comparator. Big whoop. This kind of thing can be done in an afternoon and on an 8-pin PIC (less than $1 in the quantites they're talking).

If CueCat would have kept quiet, noone would care (2)

geekd (14774) | more than 13 years ago | (#796454)

The irony of the situation is that if CueCat would have kept quiet about the OS coummunity's so called "IP Violations", very few people would know or care about the various "hacks" to their product.

Now that they've made such a big stink, everyone and their brother fred is eager to tear it apart and figure out how it works.

Moral:

Pissing off the geeks only motivates them more.

Re:Virginia is Unfreedonia (2)

nehril (115874) | more than 13 years ago | (#796461)

Indeed, I think lots of people here are bashing RMS more out of habit than out of rationality.

Some posters here perhaps don't realize that RMS isn't forcing the GPL on anyone. If the Python crew want to release a license that is not compatible with the GPL, they are perfectly free to do so. They just have to accept the consequences, for themselves and for the python community.

On the other hand, Stallman HAS been fairly consistent in his goals and interpretation of the GPL. He also has somewhat of an obligation to all the people who have chosen to use the GPL, to defend it to the letter. Anyone who has (freely!!!) chosen to use the GPL did so because they believe in this particular mechanism to release "Free Software," and in the FSF to defend it on their behalf. If any coder had problems with FSF/GNU, they would have used a different license and dealt with the possible consequences.

If Stallman were to "just ignore that trivial little incompatibility" in this case or that case, he would be doing do a disservice to everyone who got on to the GPL bandwagon. He can't stop now.

That being said, RMS does sometimes seem to go over the top. But otherwise we would have a GPL that is routinely breached, with not much consistency and totally watered down. Not the stuff of revolution.

Re:ID (2)

Donut2099 (153459) | more than 13 years ago | (#796463)

Why else would they give this thing away if they could tie your interests to a person? That's what it's all about folks - directed marketing...

Yer damn right about that. I decided to go ahead and install it last night to see how well it worked. I scanned in a few items and most of the time it just takes you to the parent company's home page. Some things pop up a page congratulating you on scanning something not in their database and would you please tell them what the hell it was. One item I swiped was a pack of Camels, which duly took me to the RJ Reynolds web site...

So, today when I get home, along with my usual daily dose of spam, is an email inviting me to visit www.qcigs.com, and buy some cigarrettes on the internet.... Hmmmmmmm....

Same for DeCSS, Napster and everything else (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#796465)

If Big Business could keep their damn mouth shut and their lawyers locked away for any length of time, they'd see that launching massive lawsuits just attracts more attention to something... look at all the press Napster got... it was mostly underground - now even my grandmother has heard of it, my parents have heard of it (and use it now) my PHB has heard of it (and uses it)... the list goes on and on... they got so many new customers for Napster that it is not even funny!

Re:Very true... (2)

Bill Currie (487) | more than 13 years ago | (#796467)

The previous poster forgot to mention that this is for eeproms in micro-controllers (cpus for embedded devices). You are perfectly correct that a standalone prom with a security fuse is about as useful as a stale french fry.

Bill - aka taniwha
--

Re:An Everquest emulator is hardly a competitor (1)

the_quark (101253) | more than 13 years ago | (#796468)

This seems to be a common misconception. It is not clear that no new content would be provided in the scenario you outline. Quite the contrary. On my server, I can create new characters with new names, spin a new story and set up an entirely new game world that happens to have the same basic character classes, monsters and geography of Everquest. But that doesn't necessarily make it "leech-like;" on the server, there is could be a LOT of originality. True, once Sony/Verant stop developing the client side, there will be no new monsters, lands, characters, etc. But there could still be a very rich world with lots of new material - if the new material you're after are things like story, a plot, characters...

Re:Virginia is Unfreedonia (2)

Arandir (19206) | more than 13 years ago | (#796469)

Before you start clammoring over unfreedonia, ask yourself one questions:

Since the only difference between the new Python licence and the tried and true BSD licence is the jurisdiction clause, where are the UCITA or UCITA-like clauses in the BSD license? Or for those hard of hearing, what is there in the Python license that some Unfreedonia ndictator can latch on to?

My cat's breath smells like cat food.... (4)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#796470)

This is only a little off-topic, but I've found a nifty application for the CueCat under BeOS. Using no special software other than an MP3 query tool, I can scan the barcode on the back of a jewel case and if I've got the album ripped onto my HD, the query tool (MP3 Flashlight) will seek out the songs, load them into my mp3 player (CL-Amp) and start playing.

All you have to do is store the scanner's output in the Comments attribute of the mp3 file (the Be filesystem allows indexable attributes to be associated with files). This can be done manually for albums you're already ripped, or automatically for albums you're about to rip (using a tool like RipENC).

If you have your jewel cases right next to you it's a cooler way of playing an album than simply double-clicking on a playlist.

After reading the thread topic about serial ID numbers in the CueCat's output, I decided to see it for myself.

Look at the scan outputs below. The top code is the output I got last night from doing a barcode scan of Motorhead's "1916" album. The bottom code was obtained just now from the same album, but using a different CueCat (I have 5, all from different stores).

.C3nZC3nZC3nYChPXDxzWCxnX.fHmc.C3r3DxD3DxT2E3f3.
** ***
.C3nZC3nZC3nYChTWD3D6CxnX.fHmc.C3r3DxD3DxT2E3f3.

The stars indicate differences in the scan outputs. Now, here is a comparison of the barcode output for Pulp's "Different Class" album using the same two scanners from above:

.C3nZC3nZC3nYChTWD3D6CxnX.fHmc.DhbYD3zXD3j1DNfZ.
** ***
.C3nZC3nZC3nYChPXDxzWCxnX.fHmc.DhbYD3zXD3j1DNfZ.

As you can see, the differences come up in the same 5 places each time. The last set of characters after the last dot seem to be unique to the album. So unless I go into the Comments attribute and delete out the part of the code where differences show up, I can only use one particular scanner to scan jewel cases and play albums. Worse yet, no one else who I share the mp3 with would be able to use their scanner if they happen to have the same jewel case.

Re:Accurate CueCat information / internal pictures (1)

tzanger (1575) | more than 13 years ago | (#796471)

Interesting pics... I wonder why they put so much hardware on the thing? An PIC12 could probably do everything I've heard to date about the cuecat, and a PIC16 could certainly do it if a PIC12 couldn't. There seems to be an *awful* lot of hardware there for such a device.

I've designed barcode readers before... it's not that difficult.

BarPoint, CueCat, ReaderWare (3)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#796472)

http://www.barpoint.com/ [barpoint.com] offers a wireless laser-equipped barcode scanner, with a docking cradle, and software that gets you coupons and produces shopping lists. $29 deposit, plus $25/year. They were smarter than CueCat, in that they made it clear that they own the device, but also made it cheap and useful.

Of course, you can always use your cuecat to get a $25 discount [pcpos.net] on a 'real' barcode scanner...

Interestingly, http://www.readerware.com/ [readerware.com] has added support for the CueCat to their software, and it does not report back to Digital Hemorrhoid. Normally, the CueCat device sends a request with your serial number and activation code embedded. THe CueCat output looks like this:

.C3nZC3nZC3nYDhv7D3DWCxnX.fHmc.C3rXD3T1C3nXD3nW.

It's an ALT-F10, your serial number, the bar code type, and the bar code data, spearated by periods and lamely base64+XOR67 'encrypted'. The CueCat software turns that into a request that looks like this:

http ://a.dcnv.com/CRQ/1..ACTIVATIONCODE.X.SERIALNUMBER .FhMC.c3Rxd3t1c3Nxd3Nw.0 [dcnv.com]

YOu can actually replace your activation code with anything. My software replaces it with "ACTIVATIONCODE". It briefly replaced it with "MOTHERFUCKER" but I switched it back. The X seems to usually show up as "04" but doesn't have to be, and seems to be irrelevant in any case. And the Serial number can also be replaced.

Their game is to track all products and magazines, books, etc. scanned by their users in order to target marketing. YOu have to answer a long list of nosy questions when you install the windows software, unless you don't run the "autorun" program, and just run "setup" instead.

This probably explains why they're pissed about Free software existing. Mine, for instance, strips out the activation code unless you actually want to send it in. This anonymizes your scans.

Of course, I can't distribute my software because of some questionable legal shennanigans [flyingbuttmonkeys.com] . I wonder if ReaderWare got a nasty letter... oh wait, they're a company that can probably afford lawyers, unlike me.

---- ----

Re:Virginia is Unfreedonia (1)

jhylton (65650) | more than 13 years ago | (#796473)

When Guido wrote about Unfreedonia, he was referring to a hypothetical country where the laws allow a judge to interpret the GPL in a way that subverts its intended purpose. The laws of Virginia do not subvert the GPL.

I presume that CNRI chose Virginia because that is the state where CNRI is located. I suspect it could also have chosen Massachusetts or California, where it also has offices, but neither of those states would satisfy RMS either. The problem for GPL compatibility is not UCITA, but specifying a state.

I think this is a technicality, and I hope RMS and CNRI will find a way to work it out. During the negotiations among CNRI, FSF, and BeOpen, RMS has made many helpful reviews of the CNRI licenses. He has always explained why provisions conflict with the GPL and proposed ways to revise them.

I am still hopeful that we will end up with Python distributed under a license that is compatible with the GPL. I am not convinced that the clause in question will end up being a problem. It really is a technicality; I expect even RMS would agree with that. Nearly every license I've ever seen has one.

Re:Query (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#796474)

Take a look at my post where I show you the outputs of various scans and where the differences show up. The serial does appear to be portrayed in the ASCII output. The implication is that if you set up some type of cataloging system (like I did with my albums' jewel case barcodes and my mp3's) you can only use one particular scanner to do retrievals unless you take the time to strip out the (seemingly 5) ASCII output characters that are unique to each character.

Do I have this right?? (3)

yuriwho (103805) | more than 13 years ago | (#796478)

You buy a cluecat and give a fake name at R$. You creat a temp free e-mail acct at snotmail and complete your resistration to get your activation code. You think you are anonymous but the cluecat can now correlate your unique scan code with your IP number (even if it changes every time you connect) cluecat can now partner with doubleclick to figure out who you really are and correlate all your scanning with all your online browsing/purchasing.

Man...so much for privacy for the average person. I'm beginning to consider boycotting the net till we have some truly anonymous credit/debit card system like photocopier cards in wide use. ie Buy a card at the corner store with cash and have the ablility to add money to it anonymously from a bank machine at any time.

This tracking and correlating of everything we do on computers must stop! We need some laws against correlating this data to personally identifying databases and selling of those. Could be worth a letter to the man.

spooked

Third Party Software? (1)

WD_40 (156877) | more than 13 years ago | (#796480)

Does anyone have some links to third party windows or linux software for the cuecat?



My grandfather was killed in a German concentration camp. He fell out of a guard tower.

_______

Re:Reverse Engineering CueCat (1)

Farq Fenderson (135583) | more than 13 years ago | (#796490)

This would make it difficult to read out the program. However it doesn't sound like it would be too much work to re-write the code from scratch.

Tell me about it. From the given description, that thing is so cheap and simple (yet effective) that I'm no longer wondering why they're giving them away.
---

Re:but umm (1)

klaymen00 (215138) | more than 13 years ago | (#796491)

That's right. You have to give a lot of info to register the thing. You also have to get a member name on their little service.

Re:RMS Not eager to read 150 countries legal codes (1)

substrate (2628) | more than 13 years ago | (#796492)

Seriously, why couldn't he just certify certain countries as "Freedonia" and incorporate this into the licence? I imagine there's some legal reason...
The freedom of a nation or a state can change with whoever happens to be in control at the time. Suppose that Ferdinand Poo was currently the reigning champion of freedom. RMS modifies the GPL to state that its written under the jurisdiction of Ferdinand Poo. Next week there is a coup, the previous head of state is now worm food. The new head of state is the antithesis of democracy and freedom.

Uh oh, the GPL is now basically null and void.

This is a bit drastic but things like the DMCA wouldn't have been passed even 15 years ago.

Re:Cue Cat Reality Check (1)

ibpooks (127372) | more than 13 years ago | (#796493)

They also get marketing trends, even if they don't have your complete identity. They can say, "People who have The Matrix DVD, also tend to have Fight Club, and tend to drink Jolt Cola." Information like that is just as useful as individual purchasing trends.

Re:ID (1)

kenf (75431) | more than 13 years ago | (#796494)

Gee, when I tell them no, I am accused of being rude, and reminded that they are only doing their job, etc and why do I have to give them such a hard time.

And, last night I was talking to a guy who used to manage a Radio Schlock store, and he told me "continued employment is contigenent on collecting data from a set percentage of customer sales."

I do wish there was somewhere else convient to buy this stuff, and I do miss the old Cortlandt St Electronics stores in downtown New York, now the site of the World Trade Center building.

Re:BarPoint, CueCat, ReaderWare (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#796495)

Actually, capslock biffs it, as it makes everything all-uppercase.
No it doen't observe:
.C3nZC3nZC3nXDNf2C3zYC3nX.fHmc.C3fXDNPXC3n0C3j3.
.c3Nzc3Nzc3NxdnF2c3Zyc3Nx.FhMC.c3Fxdnpxc3N0c3J3.
Without capslock:
.C3nZC3nZC3nYDhv7D3DWCxnX.fHmc.C3DWC3nZCxnZC3z1.
with caps lock:
.C3NZC3NZC3NYDHV7D3DWCXNX.FHMC.C3DWC3NZCXNZC3Z1.
-M

---- ----

Re:ID (4)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#796496)

I've been to 5 different Radio Shacks and the experience varied. I guess since some employees think it's a "free" item, they figure there is no need to collect name/address info. Whether or not they take your name, they are supposed to scan the item at the register because (as an employee explained to me) it is nonetheless an inventory item. When the inventory level reaches a certain number, more are ordered automatically.

At the first Radio Shack, I (stupidly) gave them my name and address and they scanned in the scanner and catalog. However, my fiance was with me and they just gave her a scanner no questions asked and nothing got scanned. The next two stores asked for name/address and I gave them fake info. At the fourth store, the guy said, let's just scan this using our "dummy" account. At the last store, the kid just scanned in the cat and catalog but didn't request my name/address.

When it's all said and done, YMMV.

Re:Accurate CueCat information / internal pictures (2)

askheaves (207302) | more than 13 years ago | (#796497)

I have a completely different :CueCat. I mean, COMPLETELY different. There is a complete packaged led/detector assembly (a 1.5inch Black plastic box). There are no exposed uChips (possibly under the metal shielding on both sides of the PCB.

On the PCB:
(HM+H Rev 1.1)
016-000370-10105

It appears that there are more than one version of the CueCat out there. Has anybody done an investigation as to how many versions there are? In addition, how does the idea of multiple versions complicate the "legal" matters brought about by DC?

Re:RMS can suck it! (1)

undertoad (104182) | more than 13 years ago | (#796498)

I believe that the pronoun was left purposefully ambiguous to allow us to use our imagination. Though this is not strictly grammatically correct, please let me see your grammar nazi permit.

Thank you.

Re:Query (1)

askheaves (207302) | more than 13 years ago | (#796499)

I appologize to slashdot, I originally misplaced this reply. This is where it belongs.

I started working on a Windows version, but I got really lazy. The first step toward making one for Win was to translate the Perl code to C++. After about 2 hours (and 6 beers) of learning Perl from staring at it in notepad, I gave up and went to watch Gundam Wing. If anybody knows about a C++ or C version, I'll be happy to work on 2 versions for Windows (an ActiveX control, and a standalone).

Re:BarPoint, CueCat, ReaderWare (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#796514)

For those of you that are curious, all the CRQ software does is invert the case of the output of the CueCat scanner, and insert it into the SCANDATA section of the url: http://SERVER.dcnv.com/1..ACTIVATIONCODE.X.SERIALN UMBER.SCANDATA.0

... a simple case inversion.


---- ----

Wow... (2)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 13 years ago | (#796515)

That is /WAY/ different than my unit.
The optics are different, the uC is different, and the ~28 pin SMT chip isn't even on mine.

I'll put up some pics of mine in a little while:
http://sausageparty.net/cuecat/
(Not linked because I have finite bandwidth and don't want to get raped...)

--K
---

OT: No CueCat in Canadia (2)

TheTomcat (53158) | more than 13 years ago | (#796516)

Nobody at the local Radio Shacks has any clue what a CueCat is. I guess it's an American thing.

If any of you fine americans have a surplus of stamps and feel like snail-mailing me one, please feel free to email me for my postal info (-:

Re:Competition (3)

burris (122191) | more than 13 years ago | (#796517)

You can't copyright an algorithm. Only a specific implementation of an algorithm is copyrightable. "Clean Room" derived implementations of the algorithm are not infringing. You can patent an algorithm, in the united states at least, but it's expensive and time consuming, and too late in this case.

Burris

Re:Cue Cat Reality Check (2)

pos (59949) | more than 13 years ago | (#796518)

I asked for one and the guy asked me all kinds of info which I didn't want to give him. He told me that they have to record who is getting these things and wouldn't budge even though I argued with him. I ended up walking out without it.

You might have just gotten lucky. Seems like "corporate policy" only goes as far as an employee cares to enforce it. =) I need to find me a Ripoff Shack that emloys "slackers".

-pos

The truth is more important than the facts.

What URL does their s/w go to? (1)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#796519)

Does anybody know what URL their software emits to take you to the information on the product? It would be nice to be able to actually *use* the thing the way D:C intended.
-russ

Re:Query (1)

askheaves (207302) | more than 13 years ago | (#796520)

Sorry, I misreplied to the post. It belongs elsewhere.

Re:An Everquest emulator is hardly a competitor (1)

Another MacHack (32639) | more than 13 years ago | (#796521)

An emulator is a derived work and has been legally proven to be such.

PLEASE cite caselaw for this.

Sorry, you got it backwards. (2)

lythander (21981) | more than 13 years ago | (#796522)

Virginia passed a highly marked-up version of UCITA, Maryland is the one that rubber-stamped it.

Re:Verant/Sony, not Origin/EA (2)

Sick Boy (5293) | more than 13 years ago | (#796523)

Orgin no longer exists, it is now fully absorbed into EA.
--

Verant/Sony, not Origin/EA (2)

Speare (84249) | more than 13 years ago | (#796524)

An EverQuest emulator is clearly a derived work -- you need the original data files to play the game, and the emulator's game world is still reliant on Origin for new material.

EverQuest is produced by Verant, for Sony. Ultima Online is produced by Origin, a subsidiary of Electronic Arts.

Re:Query (1)

kc8apf (89233) | more than 13 years ago | (#796525)

I found a copy of some C version of the software at http://www.beau.lib.la.us/~jmorris /linux/cuecat/ [lib.la.us] . They're intended for Linux (duh!) but I would think one could modify it. All I want is to have the barcode decoded. Would be really useful for say, UPS tracking codes. Scan, copy, paste, oh that's where my package is.

Re:Virginia is Unfreedonia (2)

Samrobb (12731) | more than 13 years ago | (#796526)

So... where *would* a GPL court case be tried, then? Without a doubt, if it ever comes to pass, the legal eagles for the large corporations will do whatever they can and need to do in order to make sure it occurs in a venue as favorable to them as possible.

While I can understand that RMS might be unwilling to place a restriction in the GPL to the effect that any contest of the terms of the GPL would happen in the courts of state X or country Y, would it be possible to add a similar clause that states that legal matters regarding the GPL will be settled in whatever venue the FSF chooses?

Re:Cue Cat Reality Check (5)

alhaz (11039) | more than 13 years ago | (#796527)

The ammount of corporate buyin among radioshack store managment varies quite a bit. Tandy has a long history of abusing them.

Mostly it goes back to the way they reeled in their privately owned franchises. The way it used to work, every year the franchise owner had to fill out a silly form and send it to Tandy, and every year Tandy would send back a form letter letting them know they're still a franchise.

Then one year, an aquaintences father, who owned a 'shack franchise, sends his form in, and gets back a letter saying something like "your franchise has not been renewed, here is a check for your original investment. While ownership of this store has been shifted back to Tandy corporation you will be allowed to keep your position as manager at a salary of $26,000 per year" - of course, that investment was made in the early 70's and no account was made for interest, increased value of the property, inflation, etc. 20 years and they basically told him to take his ball and go home.

So he contacts some other private franchise owners, finds out they all got the same letter and check. At this point, they figure they're screwed out of their businesses but not out of the actual value of their stores, and contact a lawyer to see if they can sue Tandy for the increased value of the stores.

The lawyer does some research, finds out this was nation wide. In one fell swoop, Tandy shut down every privately owned 'shack in the nation and gave every one of them the shaft. This becomes a class action lawsuit. Other greivances are brought up.

For instance, the franchise agreement stated that Tandy would aquire the merchandise and then sell it to the franchise at 10% over wholesale cost. Many franchise owners suspected over the years that they were not getting this deal, but hadn't rocked the boat. Some investigation was done, and several of Tandy's asian suppliers were identified. Many of these suppliers were contacted and told that a group of investors was considering starting a chain of electronics stores, and was seeking sample merchandise and quantity pricing for a list of items. The suppliers responded with an exaustive price list and sample merchandise.

The sample merchandise proved to be identical to radioshack merchandise, and the price list showed that the wholesale cost of the items was far below what Tandy had represented. Indeed, some popular items were being marked up as much as 600% before being sold to the franchises.

In the end, Tandy lost. Big. In excess of one million dollars per franchise.

It would be safe to say that i have no love for Tandy or the shack. It would also be safe to say that this is a corporation that doesn't engender much loyalty in their lower management.

What's more, two out of the three I've got were handed to me by teenagers, who obviously don't care. There are five shacks within 10 minutes of home and they keep separate customer databases.

great title. (1)

Nanookanano (213568) | more than 13 years ago | (#796528)

Great book. Great point. Changing from S-mail ordering to E-mail ordering with the mechanism of this CueCat gizmo insures proper SKU entry and automates the entire process. This cuts out the need for some poor schlamiel whose dreadful task is reading scrawled order forms. And, it allows the resource media of the order to be any printed form, such as magazine, mailer, flier and such. Thanks, Mooset. Good reality check.

Query (1)

Digitalia (127982) | more than 13 years ago | (#796529)

How would this serial be portrayed? It isn't in the ascii output of the scanner so how would it actually work outside DC's software? Thats probably why they are so angry about competition. Stick with using the linux drivers or windows alternatives.

wrong link (1)

dane23 (135106) | more than 13 years ago | (#796533)

To whom it may concern...
The link for the Everquest server emulators points to www.slashdot.org
Doh!

Competition (1)

Aphelion (13231) | more than 13 years ago | (#796534)

If they are really so concerned about competitors, why attack something they can't prevent like hardware drivers and/or devices?

They could far more easily and securely copyright the algorithm used to generate or scramble the barcode.

Sure they still face the interoperability offense, but at least all they'd have to face is ownership of the end result: the barcode generated with their code. Since each of the products also has a unique bar code and the generation thereof is on a case-by-case basis, they could trace violations directly back to the company responsible.

Re:wrong link (1)

dane23 (135106) | more than 13 years ago | (#796537)

After more QA checking...all three links point to slashdot.org

Re:ID (3)

Phexro (9814) | more than 13 years ago | (#796542)

whenever i go to check out at rat-shit, the exchange goes somewhat like this:

Employee: Can i get your phone number?
Me: No.
Employee: umm...

they just can't seem to handle any deviation from the usual reply. of course, it seems like they only hire the people who just couldn't hack it at mcdonalds.
--

Re:Query (1)

askheaves (207302) | more than 13 years ago | (#796543)

I started working on a Windows version, but I got really lazy. The first step toward making one for Win was to translate the Perl code to C++. After about 2 hours (and 6 beers) of learning Perl from staring at it in notepad, I gave up and went to watch Gundam Wing. If anybody knows about a C++ or C version, I'll be happy to work on 2 versions for Windows (an ActiveX control, and a standalone).

Re:BarPoint, CueCat, ReaderWare (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 13 years ago | (#796544)

Since the scanner's output runs through your keyboard port, you can invert the case all by yourself by hitting caps lock. I wonder if windows users would have trouble reaching web pages if they scanned with their caps lock on then?

Re:RMS Not eager to read 150 countries legal codes (1)

Jon_S (15368) | more than 13 years ago | (#796545)

Well, Freedonia (actually Fredonia [mapquest.com] ) is about 40 miles south of here (Buffalo NY). Heck, it's not all that far from Celeron (OK, (Celoron [mapquest.com] ) NY for that matter.

Re:My cat's breath smells like cat food.... (2)

Tau Zero (75868) | more than 13 years ago | (#796546)

Your asterisks aren't lining up with the appropriate text. Next time, use the <tt> and </tt> tags to format in a monospace font.
--

Getting the CueCat to work with InternetExplorer (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#796547)

Just stick this at the end of the perl code for the CueCat that's on FreshMeat

use Win32::OLE;
my $app = Win32::OLE->new("InternetExplorer.Application");
$app->{Visible}=1;

while()
{
chomp;
$decode = CueCatDecode($_,3);
$isbn = substr($decode,3,9);
$checkdig = CheckDigitISBN($isbn);
if($checkdig == 10)
{
$checkdig = "X";
}
$isbn = $isbn.$checkdig;
$app->Navigate("http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ ASIN/$isbn");
}

the system sucks (1)

moderatorssuckdotcom (230763) | more than 13 years ago | (#796548)

the problem with the legal system is that it is run by people who have no technical knowledge whatsoever.
A technical person will see this cuecat for what it is: a 2 bit barcode reader made by a 2 bit company who probably found the instructions on the internet and never did anything new.
To a non technical person, however, this is not obvious. Which is hy they might actually win with their stupid "intellectual property" claims.
They might as well be claiming intellectual property for a toaster...

Re:BarPoint, CueCat, ReaderWare (2)

1010011010 (53039) | more than 13 years ago | (#796549)


Since the scanner's output runs through your keyboard port, you can invert the case all by yourself by hitting caps lock. I wonder if
windows users would have trouble reaching web pages if they scanned with their caps lock on then?


Actually, capslock biffs it, as it makes everything all-uppercase.

---- ----

Re:What URL does their s/w go to? (2)

Russ Nelson (33911) | more than 13 years ago | (#796550)

Silly Russell, somebody just posted that information, PLUS it was in one of the other slashdot articles about the :Foo:Cat.
-russ

If you give a mouse a cookie... (2)

Mooset (9986) | more than 13 years ago | (#796551)

Okay, let me get this straight. You walk into Radio Shack and get the free scanner, catalog, and some software, and you are supposed to go home and install the software and register to buy things from the catalog online. But, because the software that was designed for the purpose of ORDERING THINGS requests your NAME and ADDRESS, it is equated with being a tool of Big Brother?

You people crack me up.

Tracking purchasing patterns is neither a new thing or an evil thing. There is no big "He ordered a case of Jolt, he must be a communist revolutionary! Notify the authorities!" conspiracy going on. It's simply a matter of statistics. If patters show that people who buy lots of Jolt and porno mags also like to buy copies of Everquest, and a store records a surge in Jolt and porno sales, then they better stock up on copies of Everquest. The exact same thing applies to how Radio Shack operates its online catalog. It's called basic marketing, and if you don't like it, don't pick up a CueCat. Your privacy isn't "infringed", Radio Shack saves money by having more CueCats for legitimate customers, and everyone is happy.

CueCat innards (2)

Rambo (2730) | more than 13 years ago | (#796552)

As someone who has done their fair share of embedded design and programming, I can assure you the CC is NOT simple, and it neither contains a DSP nor is it nothing more than running the output through a ACD (analog->digital) inside the microprocessor and then referencing the binary input with a list of values to produce the barcode string. The fact of the matter is, it's a fairly complex process decoding barcodes, as there are a fair number of flavors, such as UPC-A, and UPC-E. Each format is a little (or a lot) different, and last time I checked into writing such a beast, I canned the idea pretty quickly. Also, try pricing out the "wedges" that decode the output of barcode wands sometime; they're not cheap. Anyway, my whole point is the difficult part of the CC design is not the electronics so much as the software running on the microcontroller.

Grocery Store Discount Cards, SAME??? (1)

Spasmolytic (230767) | more than 13 years ago | (#796553)

When you fill out the little form at your grocery store to get one of those neat little cards you have to carry for the rest of your life in order to get cheap groceries, you put YOUR name / Address and they wanted my drivers licence number but I wouldn't give it to them... Any way, they now know who YOU are, and when they swipe the card and YOU'VE bought a jug of Vodka and a Playboy they know that YOU are the one who bought it...... With the CueCat do you have to fill out some sort of form to get one... If you do it'll be the same thing, You Scan a UPC out of BarelyLegal and they know that you are the one who used the CueCat to check out the Upc link to a porn site.....

Who cares? I mean who acutally installed the SW? (5)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#796554)

I have the reader built into a custom box bolted onto my monitor-less keyboard-less mouse-less Linux server. I have cards with bar codes printed on them which when swiped perform verious tasks. There's:

the reboot card
the system halt card
the cut the internet connection card
the kill all the print jobs card
the boot off all lusers card
and the FBI raid card (unmounts all encrypted filesystems)

Without the software, no serial number is being sent over the net.

Err, CueCat (1)

mholve (1101) | more than 13 years ago | (#796555)

I was talking about the CueCat scanner. ;>

Re:wrong link (1)

Quietust (205670) | more than 13 years ago | (#796556)

While I was in the process of tracking down the /. articles, the links in the article automagically fixed themselves. Oh well. :)

-- Sig (120 chars) --
Your friendly neighborhood mIRC scripter.

Cease and desist countdown? (1)

jageryager (189071) | more than 13 years ago | (#796557)

How long before Digital Convergence will have a few more letters out in the mail?

Reverse Engineering CueCat (1)

ShawnD (21638) | more than 13 years ago | (#796558)

it wouldn't take them more than one afternoon with an EE and a microcode programmer to reverse-engineer it and produce their own.

Most embeded microcontrollers have a security 'fuse'. Once the fuse is set the program cannot be easily read out. In fact some chips erase the program as an anti-tampering mechanism if you attempt to read the program.

This would make it difficult to read out the program. However it doesn't sound like it would be too much work to re-write the code from scratch.

Response (2)

Booker (6173) | more than 13 years ago | (#796559)

It's prepended to the output each time you scan.

---

Re:wrong link (1)

Quietust (205670) | more than 13 years ago | (#796560)

On the contrary, it DID point to slashdot.org a few minutes ago, though it seems to be fixed now, along with the cuecat/python links.

-- Sig (120 chars) --
Your friendly neighborhood mIRC scripter.

Serial Number on My Forehead: Stolen! (4)

webword (82711) | more than 13 years ago | (#796561)

Someone forgot to tell me that my serial number was stolen and put into my glorious Raid E O Shaq scanning device. I woke up this morning and the Mark of the Beast was no longer on my forehead! They took it and actually put it in the device itself. They stole my identity. They own me. What is the world coming to? I mean, this is like we are back in 2053 when pure humans still existed. How am I going to buy food if they can't scan my head!? What's going to happen, the scanner is going to scan itself and then give me food? Help! We must revolt against Raid E O Shaq and get back our souls!!

...One thing (1)

bvarro (169663) | more than 13 years ago | (#796566)

I think most of you are missing one thing, RadioShack would have no way of correlating the serial number in your particular Cat with your name, address, phone number unless you register with their software. When you get your Cat they ask for your phone number and scan the bar code on the Cat package into their computer, but the bar code on every Cat package is the same so their computer system would have no way of matching up your personal data with the serial number on the particular Cat you bought unless you use the software they give you.

Re:Competition (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 13 years ago | (#796568)

You can patent an algorithm, in the united states at least, but it's expensive and time consuming, and too late in this case.

Umm, why is it too late? Actually, I think it would be too late in the case of international patents, but for a U.S. patent you can file up to a year after you begin selling the product (or giving it away in this case), or at least that's what I was recently told by someone researching our company's options with regards to a certain product. The decision was made to screw the international crap and go ahead and start selling it, even though the patents were still being worked on.

Not that it mattered. I was happy (being I oppose patents) to discover prior art while crusing the web one day. The CEO was less than happy with the news my email brought, but happy to save the money that would have been wasted filing for an indefensible patent. (By the way, do you people know how much money attorneys want for patent consultation?! Trust me, you don't want to know...)

--

Re:Virginia is Unfreedonia (2)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#796571)

Since the only difference between the new Python licence and the tried and true BSD licence is the jurisdiction clause, where are the UCITA or UCITA-like clauses in the BSD license? Or for those hard of hearing, what is there in the Python license that some Unfreedonia ndictator can latch on to?

Part of the problem with UCITA is that it allows you to change the license retroactively. In other words the CNRI could simply be waiting for the entire world to become Pythonistas (hey, Python is cool, it could happen) and then they would change the license on us and charge us huge money.

UCITA makes that fair and square. The guys at Infoworld call it "sneakwrap" and it's only one of the very evil parts of an utterly despicable law. It's no wonder that RMS doesn't want the jurisdiction specified, especially if the jurisdiction happens to be Virginia.

With the regular old BSD license at least the people who don't live in Virginia or Maryland would have some sort of recourse. Because they could choose their home state as the venue for the trial.

After all... no one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Re:My cat's breath smells like cat food.... (1)

OmniGeek (72743) | more than 13 years ago | (#796573)

check the project on SourceForge [sourceforge.net] for lotsa info on the format, plus some neat decoders for the reader. One or the other of these (there are also kernel drivers available, despite DCNV's nasty letters) can be used as a filter to read the barcode, translate it to a readable number, AND strip off the serial number.

EQ like Samba? (1)

Atomizer (25193) | more than 13 years ago | (#796574)

Isn't an EverQuest server being illegal to use with official EQ clients, like MS saying that it's illegal to use Windows to connect to a Samba server? Especially if it emulate NT domains?

Re:Build your own scanner... (1)

_Bean_ (128235) | more than 13 years ago | (#796575)

heck of a lot cheaper to pick up a CueCat at the shack and not use their software.

Re:Very true... (1)

osu-neko (2604) | more than 13 years ago | (#796576)

Umm, what good is a ROM you can't read? Isn't that what the R stands for? And the O stands for Only, so if you can't even do that, you can't do anything with it!

Forgive me if this is a stupid question. I'm a programmer, and you're talking about hardware...

--

Very true... (1)

mholve (1101) | more than 13 years ago | (#796577)

I had a gig a few years back writing code and burning it to EEPROMs... There's a bit you can toggle that will effectively prevent reading from the ROM, so that you couldn't just snag it's program and copy it.

Re:btw.. (1)

redpicasso (139036) | more than 13 years ago | (#796578)

ummm... You need to get a "convergence cable" that will hook your tv's AV output into the computer's line-in
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