January Nostalgia

Let’s do the Time Warp again…..

Today nostalgia takes me on a trip to the year 2000 when a nifty little wonder was release way ahead of its time. The fact that it was brought out in the year 2000 as well as the fact that the company participated in some questionable practices lead to it being an overall flop.

I am referring to the :CueCat by the now-defunct Digital Convergence Corporation. What this little “cat” would do is scan a or bar code (UPN, SKU, or ISBN) or “cue” code and take you right to a website that would provide additional information for the product or item scanned.  This is the exact same thing that we do now with the advent of QR codes and our mobile devices.
What went wrong here was simply that Digital Convergence tried to justify that each device was individually serialized and the data was routed through their website cataloging what this user or that user was scanning. This of course didn’t sit well with the public at large and multiple users began posting methods to hack and disable the :CueCat’s serial number so that your data couldn’t be tracked. Another issue that happened with them was that their website was identified as not being secure, allowing anyone to access the Users information.

Amazingly you can still find these nifty cats to go along with your mice (they actually connected inline with the keyboard initially via the PS2 connector, then later via USB).  They are now mainly used for cataloging standard bar code outputs to various applications since the company and their websites are no longer operational.

I loved the idea of them when they first come out I of course was still early in  my own computing days at that time, and I think it was the sad novelty of having a cat and a mouse for my computer that made me like it.  Much like my desire to have my computer able to do 5″ floppies, 2.5″ floppies as well as ZIP and Jazz drives.  I never did get everything before the computer itself broke down as the Jazz drive just seemed unattainable used.  That is another story for another time though.

So I hope this little nugget was able to enlighten or at least bring back a little nostalgia for some of us out there.