Free CueCat Device uses Barcodes to launch web sites

Subject: Free CueCat Device uses Barcodes to launch web sites
From: "Nick Carbone" <nick_carbone -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: WPA-L -at- asu -dot- edu, wcenter -at- lyris -dot- acs -dot- ttu -dot- edu, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2000 09:46:48 MDT

In today's _Boston Globe_, technology reporter Hiawatha Bray (what a cool sounding name) reports on CuCat, a infra red scanning device from Digital Convergence Corp (DC), which when plugged into a computer, can read a bar code and then automatically launch a browser to open to a web page/site associated with that bar code. DC is giving the CueCats away for now, seeding the market Bray calls it. You can pick one up at your local Radio Shack while supplies last, or have one sent to you for $10 shipping and handling from DC. Bray reports that so far the codes in circulation tend to be advertising extensions. A current issue of _Wired_, for example, will find most codes nestled in ads, though there are some that extend the editorial content. For reading that's not done next to a computer, pen size and key chain-sized devices are planned that let a reader scan and store a bar code. When they get to a computer, they can then call up the stored pages. This isn't new; at the start of this calendar year, I recall seeing stories about newspapers that use a similar technology to provide "instant" links from their paper to pixeled content.

But what's cool, for now, is that the thing is free. And kinda cute. It does in fact look like a cat. But since so much Writing Center/WPA/teaching in technology setting work involves the migration of moving folk from print to pixel, getting these things and playing with them a bit, even in a limited commercial context, can really fire the imagination about how we do things like outreach, supplement journal articles with more detailed data and online discussions, do WAC/WID outreach, and so on. Lots of interesting potential for us all in this little idea.

The full Bray article can be found online at
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