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.

December Nostalgia

It looks like this is now becoming a thing with me and writing down my memories of things that I loved as a child or as a teenager, which unfortunately makes me appear older than I am (other than the items I am referencing).  Today’s trip takes us to another nostalgic object that really helped shape the me of today, it is a toy of sorts and I am not sure how many people will jump up beside me and say “Wow, I remember getting one of those.” but hey…  This is about my experiences.

As a kid I didn’t have much in the way of influence towards the geek side, mostly I had a Radio Shack® on the main street of my quaint little town and it wasn’t like any of the fancy and organized stores of today, it was the local electronics repair shop, automotive audio, and all around fixit place.  You would walk in and never in a million years think this is the type of store a kid would love to come in.  Matter of fact I don’t think I had seen more than two people at time while I was in there myself…  Anyhow one day I had popped in and there she was, the most awesome thing I had ever seen.

Original_RS_ScienceFair_60in1
The Science Fair 60 in One Electronics Lab.  I don’t remember if it was the jump into the unknown or if it was that it had a motor, but I do remember that it had a light that shown down from above and was accompanied by a choir of angelic voices.  Of course memories aren’t always what we make them out to be it most likely was sitting under a display lamp and that the owner loved the local hymns radio channel, none the less I knew at that time that it was what I wanted.  Now growing up I had a paper route and would mow extra lawns in the summer to earn my money but just like any other kids during those days my ability to save for what I wanted was crap.  I would get $20 bucks and hit the arcade and the penny candy store before I realized I didn’t save to get this thing.  Fortunately I was able to whine and cry for about 8 months or so to make sure I could get it at the one time of year we all get the “unexpected” gifts.