Declawed :cuecat

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Declawed :cuecat

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Fev 29, 2008, 6:00pm

What is the purpose of, and do you really need to, declaw a new :cuecat?

Fev 29, 2008, 6:16pm

There is a much-referenced article on Wiccipedia about the CueCat. Frankly, I don't know how to add it here, but if you wait a post or two, I'm sure it'll appear.

The CueCat acts as a keyboard device and sends an encrypted ISBN to (in this case) LibraryThing, which knows how to un-encrypt the message. It also USED TO send another encrypted message to the folks who originally manufactured the Cue Cat (See the article). They're out of business, so (we presume) no one is collecting that info (except the FBI, the CIA, the OCS and somebody's little old grandma, maybe).

If you 'declaw' and 'neuter' the CueCat, you can use it to read all kinds of barcodes (into Notepad, for instance), and it won't transmit the data anywhere. Depending on which model of the CueCat you get, you need to nip certain chip leads, or add a wire, or something. It's really easy to do, though.

Mar 1, 2008, 12:28am

See the CueCat Guide on the wiki for this and more.

Editado: Mar 1, 2008, 2:49am

I don't think it is possible for the CueCat to send the second signal--which wouldn't be received anyway--if you don't install the software. We don't have or ship the software.

Mar 1, 2008, 3:21am

Expanding Tim's comment a little. The CueCat doesn't actually *send* anything. It acts like a keyboard and autotypes a string of characters into wherever the cursor is. The clawed version sends what looks like a string of gibberish that includes a serial number. But unless the software can decode the string and does 'something' with the serial number it's lost.

LibraryThing does nothing with it. I'm not clear what it could do, count the number of books you scan in using that CueCat maybe.

There is no 'central database' of CueCat serial numbers to check anything against either.

Editado: Mar 1, 2008, 3:28am

Right, if we knew how to decode it*, we could associate a CueCat serial number with a user, but since we probably sent it to you anyway, that wouldn't help us much.

*We decode the data, but not the metadata. I don't know if the metadata is easy to decode or not.

Mar 5, 2008, 4:50pm

So basically, if all you're using it for is to enter books into LT, there's no need for the declawing/neutering. If you want a barcode scanner that will display the numbers for any barcode, you either have to find some CueCat software (not the original stuff, some of the (many) decoders created since) or declaw the Cat. I did mine - it was quite easy - and now use my CueCat as a grocery inventory tool as well as with LT. I think it's neat having a real barcode scanner...YMMV.

GreyHead's link (in msg 3) gives detailed instructions for the declawing.

Mar 5, 2008, 5:47pm

Sorry, I thought I read about the 'second message' thing in Wiki.
I hope I haven't started an Urban Legend! I'd never forgive myself!

Jan 11, 2009, 9:26pm

> GreyHead's link (in msg 3) gives detailed
> instructions for the declawing.

Link seems to be disconnected. I'll go read the other suggested docs and find it.

Jan 11, 2009, 9:37pm

Okay, short answer -- there are many topics about the bar code on the outside back cover of paperbacks. Apparently it's a price code, not a unique book identifier, so useless even if scanned in. (I'd been hoping I could declaw the cuecat, get some part of a useful number and edit it to save typing.)

Anyone know the date that paperbacks started putting the ISBN inside the front cover? IT was news to me, but I've got paperbacks going back to the Ace Doubles, lots of cover prices around 35 cents when that was real money.

Okay, anybody got a pointer to a VinylRecordThing site?
A CD-ROMthing site?

Else the CueCat moves to the refrigerator after being declawed for a kitchen inventory. That'll work.

Has anyone created TooOldToEatThing yet?

Guess I"m going to do some typing after all.

Jan 12, 2009, 3:41am

Random. I bought five new (SF) books in the past month - three had ISBNs on the back, two had price codes. I think it depends on the publisher (too lazy to get them out and look). There was also a period when the ISBN inside the front cover wasn't a bar code - or at least, not one the CueCat can read - but wider-spaced, short lines of varying heights. That was relatively early - late 70s-mid 80s or so.

It's not hard to glance at the back cover (if the number under the bar code starts with 97 it's the ISBN), open the front cover and scan if the code is there.

Me, I get books of varying ages enough that it's - glance at the back. No luck? open the front. No luck? Check the copyright page - sometimes the ISBN is there. No? Check the spine - sometimes there's a number there that can be modified into an ISBN (and sometimes the number can't be - data missing). All else fails, type in title comma author and try to find it in the list. But when I can scan with the Cat, it makes things fast enough that it's worth checking first before trying a title, author search.

BTW - I also use my Cat for a consumables inventory - or at least, I'm trying to set one up. Got an Excel spreadsheet at the moment, which is marginally functional. But it's really nice knowing what's the back of the pantry...

Love my CueCat!

Did you find GreyHead's guides? The one on declawing is here; the index page for CueCat stuff is here.

Mar 10, 2009, 4:17am

OK...Here is what I get when I scanned the barcode: ".C3nZC3nZC3n2Cxb0ENb6DxnY.fGj2.C3fXDxP2C3n3DNn0C3nZDNS."

Here is the ISBN number off the back of the book: 094427658x

It pulled up the correct book when I typed in the ISBN number by hand but gave me a no match message when I scanned it with the cuecat.
I also tried using it with the translator that GreyHead suggested but the number it gave me still didn't work. I really need to be able to use the eyes are just not good enough to enter all these tiny numbers and I want to use it to post books to Bookmooch and Paperbackswap. Bookmooch mentions being able to use the cuecat but so far, no luck in getting it to recognize the input.

What am I doing wrong?
I used and also have LoC checked as a source.
Please help me. I have about four thousand books to scan in, really poor vision which is why I went with the cuecat because reading the print requires a magnifying glass. Why isn't it translating the info correctly? If I am doing something wrong, please let me know. I would really appreciate some help and computers are just not my thing...I think mine just likes to see me get frustrated and bang my head on the desk:-).

Best Wishes,

Mar 10, 2009, 6:17am

The CueCat actually is translating the information correctly. You are scanning in the UPC and not the ISBN. Many older books only have the UPC and not the barcode for the ISBN (or, if they do, it is on the inside front cover, which is common in paperbacks).

There's a pretty comprehensive page on the wiki describing the differences. Generally, the ISBN barcode is longer and has two sets of six digits underneath it. The UPC is shorter and has two sets of five digits underneath it.

Mar 11, 2009, 1:55am

One thing - if the barcode is a valid ISBN (not a UPC), the CueCat's middle set of numbers (the ones that are .fGj2. on your scan) will be .cGf2.

But yeah, if the barcode number doesn't start with 978 (or 979, eventually), check inside the front cover for another barcode - that one's always ISBN when it's there.