Superfluous and unnecessary.
October 3, 2000 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Superfluous and unnecessary. The :Cue Cat reader has insinuated itself into the very fabric of the Dallas Morning News, promising links to "expanded content" and "special promotions" by using this $50 future garage sale item. Is there a real need for bar code scanners in the average household? Or is :Cue Cat merely artificially creating a need for their services?
posted by ethmar (13 comments total)
[insert standard self-linking flame here]

If anybody's paying $50 for one of these things, they certainly have reason to be pissed off. I walked into *ugh* Radio Shack yesterday and asked for one, and all it cost me was an (outdated) address. If there's any kind of license agreement, it's in the standard software, which I (like Jason) have no intention of using. The things might have other uses no matter how D:C tries to prevent them.
posted by harmful at 8:27 AM on October 3, 2000

mea culpa. This has been my one allotted transgression.

Although I wasn't trying to jack up my "hit count" so much as I was still steaming about the non user-friendliness of the Cue Cat site and I truly feel that this gadget in and of itself serves no noble purpose, and I wanted to see what others thought about it.

ah me.
posted by ethmar at 8:35 AM on October 3, 2000

It's not a bad idea it's just executed poorley. It can have some other uses.
posted by Mick at 8:45 AM on October 3, 2000

There was a piece in Jim Romanesko's MediaNews about the Dallas Morning News' substantial investment in the CueCat, and the way that it skewed the editorial. The love-in piece was bylined "from staff reports" because none of the staff writers wanted anything to do with it. Lovely.
posted by holgate at 8:52 AM on October 3, 2000

You may also want to check through the cuecat thread that was on MeFi last month.

posted by gluechunk at 9:12 AM on October 3, 2000

Last night I was lucky enough to watch the second half of the cuecat infomercial! Has anyone else seen this? It features testimonies of "actual users" and scenes of a fake family learning to become "internet experts" by using the device.

Seriously, I love this kind of stuff. There's actually a shot of the daughter scanning a jar of Skippy peanut butter while the narrator yaks about the convergence revolution or confusing web addresses or something else.

It's way better than the commercials.
posted by gluechunk at 10:34 AM on October 3, 2000

"Just because I give you the Cat scanner, it does not immediately give you the right to go into business against me with my own technology," [Digital Convergence CTO Doug] Davis said. "We have an intended use for it."

That's nice.

Yes, Doug, it *does* give us that right. The fight has already been fought, and lost. If you give something away, and the way we use it doesn't fit in with your business plans, the only person who is in trouble is the person who wrote your business plan.

The Second American Revolution is not that far off, and it's stupid corporate shit like this that will likely trigger it.
posted by baylink at 11:50 AM on October 3, 2000

to answer the first post; yes, digital convergence is trying to create a need; but, hey, with all the small business entrepeneurs out there, who doesn't need a free bar code scanner that they can use for their own purposes?
posted by bliss322 at 1:16 PM on October 3, 2000

Courtesy of John at Genehack, this much more cynical story on the whole affair.
posted by baylink at 1:27 PM on October 3, 2000

Courtesy of Fred at came this link from the Privacy Foundation regarding some scary abilities of this "Cue Cat".
Gluechunk you're link to the previous thread had a referrence by chiXy to these abilities. Beware gifts wrapped in a wooden horse, (or a plastic cat).
posted by daddyray at 9:18 PM on October 3, 2000

okay. i just got my cuecat and downloaded some alternative software. so now i have a barcode reader. anyone need a barcode read?
posted by bliss322 at 7:16 AM on October 4, 2000

We recommend that Digital:Convergence provide a patch that disables the ID number for current users. The company and its partners – including Radio Shack, Wired, and Forbes – should notify users of the existence of the tracking potential, and the availability of the patch to remove it. In addition, we recommend that future shipments of the product have the user ID number feature disabled.

"We recommend that Digital Convergence disable the only feature of their product that justifies *giving away* 50 million readers, and then give them away anyway."

Shyeah, right. Fat chance *that's* gonna happen.

*I* want to find the nuclear physicist who came up with this business plan, and sit him down in front of his vulture capitalists whilst we explain why we're going to put him out of business.

That'll be better than stoning him.

But get your CueCat first. :-)
posted by baylink at 7:36 AM on October 4, 2000


Here's the damn thread.

Sorry for opening a second one, folks; for some reason I just couldn't see this one earlier. Before lunch, I think.
posted by baylink at 2:42 PM on October 4, 2000

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