The other day, I pulled out a Wired magazine from 2001 to see how different the near future looked 4 years ago (If I had any bubble jumbo-size . On one ad on the first page, I got a little laugh from seeing a CueCat barcode in an ad– a reminder of, um, a completely pointless idea that still seems as ridiculous now as it did then.
Today, BoingBoing links to a site that has “two million CueCats up for sale. Only $0.30 each, in quantities of 500,000 or more.
For those that don’t remember, Cory offers a brief history of the CueCat:
The CueCat is a serial-based barcode reader. Wired gave away hundreds of thousands of them free with one issue of the mag, and you could also get them free at Radio Shack. They were intended to be used to scan in barcodes next to ads in catalogs and magazines, but they were most useful when you modded them to read regular barcodes, so that you could do things like build a database of your books and CDs by scanning the UPCs on their backs. CueCat even threatened to sue the hackers who figured out how to manage this trick!