The CueCat® is a barcode scanner being passed out for free at various places along with a Windows9x® driver/package called CRQ. In it's intended use the pair is probably one of the most blatent privacy violations ever committed against a clueless populace, but once you strip away the unique serial number and the lame attempt to obfuscate the output it is a fairly good general purpose barcode scanner. This website is mostly devoted to these unintended uses of the hardware.
Basically it hooks inline with your keyboard the same as any other 'keyboard wedge' type of scanner. The difference is that it doesn't send out a plain barcode. Instead it sends the following:
It sends four sections seperated by periods, including a trailing period.
The last three fields are encoded using a simple scheme to both send a full 8-bit ASCII value as printable letters/numbers and to obfuscate the output to make it less useful for other purposes.
Take each block of four characters and convert them into six bit values by indexing into "[a-z][A-Z][0-9]+-" String the four six bit fields together to get a 24bit value containing three bytes. Exclusive OR each with 67 and you have three decoded bytes. Strings that aren't a multiple of three characters are zero filled and they should be stripped out if it isn't being processed by C code which takes a NULL as the end of string.
Update 00/09/28 According to the driver from Lineo, some cats don't encode the same. For these odd beasties you index into "[a-z][A-Z][0-9],/".
There is more software that was available before the Cease & Desist's started flying, as I find em I'll be mirroring them here.
I'm working on a more generic solution, hacking the Linux keyboard driver to transparently decode and stuff the output in as normal keyboard input. This would let us use them here at the Beauregard Parish Public Library on workstations which don't need a scanner badly enough for us to have already bought one. If anybody would like to help me figure out how to get time delays to work safely inside the keyboard driver, feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and clue me in.
This page was created when Digital Convergence began issuing Cease & Desist Orders to existing websites dedicated to similar efforts as an attempt to mirror existing material and as a future distribution point for the software I'm working toward.
Digital Convergence is free to send me one of their letters, but unless they specify exactly HOW I'm infringing their IP rights it will only be kept as a trophy, and scanned to include in this section.I'm not a lawyer, but as far as I know there are only a couple of catagories of Intellectual Property rights under US law.
As for their new claims that they are 'loaning' the scanners instead of giving them away I reject that theory completely. I have a receipt showing that I BOUGHT mine, even if the extended price was $0.00. Nothing on their website makes any such claim, in fact the words "Get a FREE :CueCat" appear in large letters. Perhaps my Friendly Local Radio Shack is trafficing in stolen merchandise when they sell em, but I'll leave that issue to be settled between the Tandy lawyers and the Digital Convergence lawyers. Should it come to pass that they wish to retrieve my unit as stolen property I'll be more than happy to comply with the law when they deliver the proper paperwork.
To make it easier for Digital Convergence's lawyers, here is my mailing address:
Removed. They obviously have my address now, no sense leaving it up to get harvested by spambots.
Somebody has to stand up for what's Right, Holy and Just dammit. So come get some ya stupid losers.
Update 00/09/03 The first hit from Digital Convergence appeared in the logs this morning. Now we see if they plan to fish or cut bait. Hopefully wiser heads will prevail now that it's turning into a protest movement, they will shut up and we can all go back to coding. Or I dig out the suit and get ready for an appearance in Federal District Court.
Update 00/09/09 Still no FedEx package from Digital Convergence. Guess their cluemeter finally kicked in.
Update 00/09/25 Guess they still have some fight in them after all. I was getting kind of disappointed. I was getting worried that I wasn't being enough of a pest to warrant their attentions. Today the FedEx guy brought my very own copy of the same boiler plate letter that flyingbuttmonkeys posted on their site. But I couldn't resist showing off my copy so here is page 1 and page 2.
Of course, since they have already read my page they should know what my answer is. But just to make things legal and tidy I sent the following out this afternoon by certified mail. page 1 and page 2 so the gauntlet is now thrown down.