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Comment: Re:Ah, the vaunted CueCat (Score 1) 330

And yes, the Cue:Cat scanner was so cheaply manufactured, by Tandy, of course, that it didn't scan very well.

They convinced Tandy corporation to put up the money to make them and then they executed that marketing blitz.

I remember sitting in on the very early C-level meetings at the Tandy center in Fort Worth. That was some scary stuff for a 20-year old. :-)

I think I was 20 then...

Comment: Re:Ah, the vaunted CueCat (Score 0) 330

I only saw the wireless scanner once when I visited the big, huge, overly expensive offices about a year after I quit. I was invited back by the CEO. He wanted to hire me again but I said no way, and it's a good thing too because it all went bust a year or so later.

It was a little triangle shaped keychain scanner that I think might have talked BlueTooth or some other tech to a nearby USB receiver. You could scan things on the keychain while you were out and then come back and download them all to your PC.

I don't think it ever made it to the public.

Comment: Re:Ah, the vaunted CueCat (Score 1) 330

It seems to me that the advertisers were who they were after as a revenue model. They could have done the tracking in such a way that it wasn't personally identifiable.

It was really pretty simple tech. The original proto-types were none other than off-the-shelf PS2 Keyboard style barcode readers that told the browser to go to a new URL (Ctrl-O maybe).

The later versions were keychains, wireless, etc. The original Cue:Cat was just something funny to get eyeballs.

The guy who was responsible for all of it (Jovan) wasn't a technical guy. He was a direct marketer. He sold millions of "Triple-Edged Windshield Wipers" and was responsible for Susan Powter's "Stop the Insanity" program back in the 80's. That was his thing. :-)

Comment: Re:Stop it (Score 1) 330

Actually, the REAL reason the tech crowd was furious was because DigitalConvergence starting sending Cease and Desist letters to hardware hackers who were reverse engineering the Cue:Cat to make it do other, useful things. They didn't understand the Open Technology paradigm like a lot of efforts do today and essentially tried to lawyer their way up to the top.

These were some really bad moves on DigitalConvergence's part and part of the reason I left the firm when it was still 20 or so employees.

-p

Comment: Re:Stop it (Score 1) 330

DigitalConvergence wanted to track everything that was scanned to use it for marketing purposes.

The counterpart to the barcode scanner technology was audio-cue technology that was embedded in video. You connected an audio cable to your TV and there would be this little sound that would be put in by the producers. A piece of software called Concerto read this sound and converted it into a URL. They wanted to replace Nielson.

It had such potentially cool uses. The company raised like 250million dollars and essentially blew through it all and ended up going bankrupt. They had major media outlets like Belo printing their special barcodes (Cue Codes or whatever) and also had TV shows embedding the audio cues.

Slashdot got all uppity about it because there was a unique id imprinted in every Cue:Cat and copy of Concerto. It allowed DigitalConvergence access to lots of behavioral data.

Scary from one perspective and a gold mine from another. This was all before Facebook or anything Social.

Comment: Re:Stop it (Score 1) 330

Wow, people still remember the Cue:Cat. :-)

I was the 1st employee at DigitalConvergence and saw the development of that product from the absolute beginning. :-)

I still have one in a box somewhere.

I mostly worked on the back-end code, I wasn't the one who came up with all the privacy-invading uses. I tried very hard to convince TPTB that it was a bad idea and Slashdot proved me right. :-)

-p

Comment: The Zuni method, of course! (Score 2) 447

by phungus (#42062871) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Geekiest Way To Cook a Turkey?

I always use the Zuni method, which is to say, the method popularized by Judy Rodgers from the Zuni Cafe.

Essentially, you wash your bird and completely cover it with 1 tablespoon of salt per pound. It's best to use the best quality salt you can find; I use Celtic sea-salt that I grind myself.

Put your salt-covered bird in the fridge for a day or three and then roast it at 400-425F (depending on how crispy you like it). The salt takes all of the juices from the inside of the bird and redistributes it throughout the meat. This is essentially an old-fashioned salt-cure.

It results in the most heavenly, moist poultry. I've tried all the other methods, frying, bbq, smoked, basting, etc, and this is how we do poultry now, period.

It's best to do this a few days ahead of time with a turkey but chicken can cure in as little as 12 hours or so and be ready to cook.

Good luck!

Comment: Re:Sorry but that's not "functioning beautifully" (Score 1) 232

by phungus (#38779291) Attached to: Is Facebook Becoming a Central Bank?

I just paid for school supplies with my bitcoins, though I would have rather used dollars had I any available.

You can buy anything on the internet that takes a credit card for bitcoins by using someone else to purchase it for you. Those people exist within the Bitcoin community. Make use of the Web-of-Trust and GPG authentication tools and always keep learning.

Comment: Plug for a good Bitcoin VPS provider -- BTCVPS.NET (Score 1) 375

by phungus (#38483674) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Inexpensive VPS Provider?

Just wanted to add that I am a fan of http://btcvps.net

They are a relatively new VPS operation but they have knowledgeable admins available in their IRC support channel at all hours of the day. The servers have been fairly reliable as they are hosted in very solid datacenters.

If you have a need for a VPS where you can pay pseuodononymously using Bitcoin, they seem to be one of the easiest to work with.

p

Comment: Re:Joke's on them. (Score 3, Interesting) 247

by phungus (#37904094) Attached to: New Mac OS Trojan Produces BitCoins

The mining difficulty has been dropping in relation to the number of miners that have been leaving the network. This is exactly how the system was designed, and it's a good thing, because now I'm making more coins than I was before. :-)

Lots of folks have mining hardware that was paid off in the $30 days and now they still run for free at work or wherever. Not everyone is paying for electricity.

Comment: You laugh, and we profit. (Score 1, Interesting) 247

by phungus (#37904076) Attached to: New Mac OS Trojan Produces BitCoins

Eh, you geeks may scoff but some of us are pulling in 20-30% profits *PER DAY* trading these "silly" Bitcoins.

It really is the ultimate geek fantasy project: a completely open ended, sky-is-the-limit, world political structure changing, disruptive open source software technology.

Anyone that hates without backing it up is just trying to feed you disinformation. Bitcoin directly challenges TPTB because it puts trading power back in the hands of the people.

Comment: Oracle is like this (Score 1) 106

by phungus (#36810358) Attached to: Inside Las Vegas' Biggest Data Centre

I worked at Oracle's large (at the time) flagship datacenter in Texas. The guards there were all armed inside of the building, which was protected by embassy-grade security. I only lasted a few months because the environment was so horribly repressive. I did *not* appreciate having my eye scanned or feeling like I was being watched (by armed guards) all of the day.

Thank goodness I found better. :-)

Weekends were made for programming. - Karl Lehenbauer

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