Problems using the cue cat
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I wrote a brief note about CueCats to go out with a few I sold on eBay. It needs updating with the recent changes on LT which I'll do in the next few days. Meanwhile the old version can be downloaded as a pdf file here .
I read that document and I have followed all the steps. Nothing really happens. Noting appears on my notepap program or library thing.
1) When the CueCat is plugged in and you look at it's nose can you can see either a red flashing, or a constant red light?
2) Do you have a book handy with a good clear black and white barcode on it?
3) Open up Notepad and make sure the cursor is flashing.
4) Rest the book on a table and the CueCat on it's nose over the barcode - the red light should go steady and bright (you can see the relection on the book cover usually).
5) Make sure that the flat bottom of the CueCat is aligned with the lines in the barcode.
6) Keeping the CueCat vertical and gently in contact with the book slide it back and forth going at least half-an-inch either side of the barcode, vary the speed and direction.
If this fails try the same with a different book just to double check. It took me at least five minutes playing with my first CueCat to get it to read smoothly, there's a kind of a knack to it.
If the second book shows nothing then maybe you've got a duff CueCat, don't know much about those. Is it modified or unmodified? (If it's from Tim it's unmodified.)
The idea of testing on notepad is good too. I find my biggest error is scanning when my cursor's not in the right box on LibraryThing. It puts you there by default and whenever a scan is successful, but you can click out of it and then scan over and over again with no success, until you notice you don't have your custor in it.
I haven't found a method that works every time—and just go back and forth slow fast, etc. I DO find that the light in the room makes a huge difference. In so-so light it's hard. In good light it can scan 100% for me.
If you really can't get it to work, I can send you another. (Email me with details.) I'd like to get yours back, however, to see if it's broken or not. I'll credit you $5 for the postage back, and send out another before I receive it. (I'm not going to promise to do that with everyone forever, since it could be abused, but I'll do it until it's abused.)
The lighting in the room really shouldn't make any difference the CueCat only reads its own red light. I've only got the light from my lcd screens on here and it works fine.
In a moment of obscure thinking I did try scanning an on-screen barcode - it doesn't work, no real surprise there.
I've done a thousand or more entries now and usually I find I can get a 'good' barcode on the first swipe. I put the book on a flat surface - paperbacks bend a bit much if you hand-hold them; start in a clear area to one side of the barcode - there needs to be between and eight and a quarter inch of white space for the CueCat to recognise the start of the barcode; then swipe pretty quickly right through the code; the Cue Cat needs to be vertical, feet on the cover - but only enough pressure to keep them in contact.
1. First a red flashing, then a constant red light.
2. Yes. I have tried several bar codes.
3. Yes, I have done that.
It is unmodified. I am finding that it may be easier to write the title of the book or the ISBN. Even if I make it work, I think it is not as easy as I believed.
I will continue trying. Thanks for all the help.
I love the site. Today I received my cuecat in the mail. I was excited...now I'm dismayed. It is, evidently, unmodified and I'm a complete airhead when it comes to electronics. Is there a schematic or something out there which will show me which 'thingy' to cut to get the thing to work? I've many, many books left to enter both at home and in my school classroom and I would love to use the bar code scanner. The scanner is working well otherwise. I've searched about on the blog and whatnot but can't find the precise entries where people have talked about dealing with this problem. Your help would be appreciated,
The first step is to plug it in and see if you can scan at all. Try scanning it into Notepad or Word or whatever. If that works—no matter how ugly the output looks—you're in business. Just go to LibraryThing, make sure you're "in" the search box on Add Books, and you should be set.
If you have problems, give us more detail on where you are in the process. What have you done? What works, if anything?
I've never been able to get it to read whille it rests on a book, though. However, I've read many excellent suggestions here about scanning techniques, and will give them a try.
Can you paste something you're getting? (And give us the code it should be showing?)
Now that I've got the 'cat scanning at all, can someone tell me what field I'm supposed to put the results into? I mean, I've been scanning into the Add Books: Search field, just as if I were entering an ISBN by hand, and it auto-submits when I do. (This is the correct behavior, yes?) But not once has LT managed to identify the books I've tried scanning. (And, oddly, when decrypted, the number does not in any way match either the ISBN or any other number printed around the bar code.) Am I doing something wrong? Is this the wrong field into which to scan? Is my 'cat broken?
Posts here and elsewhere might have a few troubleshooting ideas:
* Do you have an "alternative" keyboard layout?
* Are you using an older version of Windows? (Windows 98/ME might need drivers)
* In Notepad, is the CueCat's scan different from what you see in your Internet browser?
If the answers to all are no, you might want to explore replacing the CueCat. (If you've bought it from LT, just e-mail Tim.)
Hi Tim! I didn't see your reply to my >18 WholeHouseLibrary: message until just now.
I haven't performed surgery on the CueCat yet -- it's been one of those lifestyles, you know?
Here's a great example from just about an hour ago --
The book is a Hardcover edition of The Meaning of Everything by Simon Winchester.
Its ISBN is 0-19-860702-4 CueCat coughed up the following fur ball:
It yielded no finds in Amazon or LOC. I entered the ISBN manually, and got back the correct info in just a couple of thousand nanoseonds.
As to legallypuzzled's queries, I'm up on all the latest revs of XP Pro on a real workhorse of a laptop. I have an MS 'ergonomoic' keyboard attached, but I've already tried using the Cat after the keyboard has been removed and the computer rebooted.
It's pretty much a crap shoot as to whether the Cat will work or not. I entered 6 books today. It took me 2 hours (more or less) -- some of that was because I am running parallell catalogs (the other in Excel) until I can get all of my books into LT. Some of the books took maybe a dozen swipes before the Cat finally read it. Most took more than 50 swipes, but in the end, I got results. The book mentioned above was well over 200 swipes, with 3 "sightings" by the Cat, but it wasn't usable code that came out.
Good luck Tim! Love the site!
The place to input stuff is on the Add Books page with your library/amazon of choice selected and the Advanced Options set if you want them.
I don't have a clawed CueCat to test so can't really judge what happens with the undecoded strings.
> 22 : WholeHouseLibrary : with a declawed CueCat (se above) I've never had to go anywhere near 50 attempts even when I was learning. I reckon that I get 99% success with 'good' barcodes and it only takes a few seconds to enter a book.
'Bad' barcodes are those printed fuzzily; with small bars; with pink or red barcodes; with box borders that are too close to the barcode; too close to the spine; etc.
It might be worth looking at the device in the System Manager to see if there is any helpful error message (possible not probable with XP). Open Control Panel | System | Hardware | Device Manager and look under Keyboards - it should show up as a 'HID Keyboard Device' - probably with a yellow question mark. Right click and select Properties.
Tim may have more of a clue why the the speed should be slow with dial-up. A clawed CueCat sends maybe ten times as much data as a straight ISBN but it's still a trivial amount, and the processing that LT does is pretty quick.
I was having problems: out of 15 books only 2 happened to get recognized,the others were either not found or the wrong book...
I could see that the resulting cuecat number showed the wrong digits, a 5 where there should be a 0 and such
Then i searched on the net and found that little nugget in the readerware FAQ: "Make sure your system is set up to use an English keyboard. CueCat will not work with other languages." I figured it's worth a try, so I went to the international settings and added english/us as a secondary keyboard, and that gives you that little swapper tool on the status bar.
After swapping the settings to EN the books that were wrongly scanning suddenly get scanned fine!
Anyway, it's no big deal for me to have the keyboard swapper and switch when i scan books in - except windows has the weird habit to switch without (to me) reason, so once I am done with all my boxes I will just take it off probably.
CapsLock doesn't affect mine but it is de-clawed, perhaps if yours are still clawed then it does make a difference. The easy answer is to run a little set of tests.
BTW we do know that non-English or non-standard keyboards can cause problems but that doesn't seem to be the case here?
I just got my kitty in the post its a 68-1966, initially it worked fine (I scanned a couple of books). Embodened I then declawed it and it has stopped working. That is to say my computer registers it and the light is on (it even goes into sleep mode) but nothing happens when I try to scan anything. I have checked that there is no lingering connection on the clipped leg and tried several different books and scanning techniques. Has anyone any ideas?
And did all the parts stay in it during the declawing?
It sounds like you may have clipped the wrong leg.
Also there is a small lens that is partly loose you may have dropped it with out realizing it.
I've got the same model that you have (USB connection -- correct?) Mine would work maybe 1 out of 40 swipes until I both neutetred and declawed it. Now, my only excuse is tiny barcodes and poor scanning technique.
It sounds like you spayed and defanged rather than neutered and declawed it. Can you take a picture of your work? If so, post a message to my Profile page, include your email address and I'll email you. Then you can attach the image in your reply.
I'm glad it was a simple, low-tech solution.
Evidently that did something to cuecat because the cuecat icon disappeared and I haven't been able to get the cuecat to work. When I plug the cuecat in the light blinks but running it across a bar-code does nothing. I have never been able to load a book with cuecat.
Download my CueCat guide and read that (link is in message 2 above). Probably all you need to do is hold the CueCat still with its nose down until the light stops flashing.
The real clue was that the keyboard numeric keypad didn't work upstairs. The solution is to go to the Start menu, to Control Panel, to Accessibility, to Mouse, and clear the Use MouseKeys selection, and check to see if you can then use the numeric keypad.
If so, then check to see if the cuecat is able to scan.
Happily, this was the solution for my daughter's computer. Not only can I use the cuecat upstairs, now I can also use the keyboard numeric keypad for those books without barcodes.
Next I'll check to see if this helps me any on getting cuecat to work on my laptop. Enjoy!
ISBN librarything looks up:
Numbers underneath the first part of the barcode and above the second part of the barcode:
0 7116200395 6 16073
it seems awfully serendipitous that the numbers it's outputting are the same as the 3rd through 13th numbers under the barcode.... any ideas?
edit figured it out, was scanning the wrong code. Paperback ISBNs, are on the inside of the book cover. *sigh*
At present all ISBN-13s (those you see in barcodes) start with 978, some 979s to come in the future.
I'm getting nothing. I'm holding it touching the book, the cat's head down, red light on, sometimes it blinks. Flat bottom of scanner to my left moving scanner from right to left and left to right, nose/mouth of cat touching the book. I have done it fast, slow, medium. On hardcover, paperback with and without num lock on. I have a Mac PBG4, 10.4.8. I did a restart and still nada. I've tried to input on a blank text edit or Word doc and on the LT add book page. I am using Brit English keyboard and tried USA eng and it didn't work.
I'd really like to get this thing to work. In the time I have spent trouble shooting I could have hand entered over a hundred books, but as I have more than a thousand books, I'd like to get this to work.
It sounds like it should work. To find out what's wrong, start with the basics, before even using the cuecat.
Test this first. Go to LT add books, and make sure the cursor is flashing in the Search block (bordered in green). Make sure the radio button for Amazon.com is selected.
Type in an ISBN using your numeric pad (not the numbers above the alphabetic keys). Hit enter.
Did you get a successful lookup from Amazon.com? If this step isn't successful, at least we have something to work with!
Then you've scanned the wrong type of barcode. That's symptomatic of scanning a UPC barcode. When you scan an ISBN barcode, the middle chunk should be .cGen. or .cGf2. (there's another obscure thing you can sometimes get that also begins with .cG, but I can't remember what it is)
If the back of your book has a UPC symbol, look inside the front cover. That usually has a proper ISBN barcode.
54Redhead_El Primeira Mensagem
My CueCat was working fine, scanned maybe 50 books. I took the laptop to another room and tried to scan a book, and nada. I had the cursor in the right place. The cuecat's nose was a steady red. I scanned and got a line of characters, and LT did not translate into a title. I've tried all the troubleshooting, triying number lock off and on, checking keyboard settings, testing on text editor. I have no idea why the cuecat has stopped working or more accurately, why LT can't translate the titles scanned. Is there something I've missed? Any advice would be much appreciated.
It worked, then you took it to another room and it didn't work. What happens if you go back to the first room and try some of the books it originally worked on? Do they work or not?
My CueCat is not having a problem with LT codes, so any LT problem is not universal.
Good luck getting this squared away. Having the CueCat makes things SO much easier!
My problem is that even though I've followed the advice above and make sure the cuecat shines red before scanning I get no result.
Most of the time in either notepad or library thing I don't even get a code at all, then one try in 50 I get this as a result " 5YBN6....................."
I've tried fast and slow, hold the cue cat differently and scanning inside covers, but no result.
Any help would be appreciated.
My CueCat has been working great from day one, but she's a heavy sleeper. I have never been able to wake her from one of her naps by any method other than unplugging and re-plugging her into the USB port. I've tried putting her nose down to a white piece of paper, to a shiny surface, even to a mirror. I can see the red flashing light, I've wiggled her around, but so far no luck. And, she does seem to fall asleep awfully fast - perhaps less than a minute. Not a big deal, but has any one else had this problem? I'd like to make sure she's ok and this isn't a symptom of some bigger health issues.
If she's working OK otherwise, it may not be worth your time and effort to try to fix it. Just her own personal quirk...
to be clear--I'm getting the code but the book isn't being found.
I have a dell inspiron1525 laptop with Vista. I tried to check the keyboard setting but it looks like there is only but it does't say if it's QWERTY or not. I'm assuming it is because it's a Dell.
If it worked for 30 books, it shouldn't be a keyboard problem. You're getting the scrambled code, right - the one that starts .C3n...? I can't test right now, but I'll try to work up some samples of a valid ISBN in CueCat scramble, and a valid UPC (that isn't an ISBN) in ditto. I'll have to do that in the morning, though. Can you post some of the codes you get - do some scanning into LT or Notebook and list them here?
I got my cuecat and was very excited. Because I have vision problems and seeing the little numbers to post books required using a magnifying glass, I thought the cuecat would be the answer to my problem. I have about four thousand books I want to enter both on LibraryThing and on Paperbackswap and Bookmooch. I have tried for the last two days...almost six hours and cannot get mine to work right. I did what was written above, opened Notepad and used the scanner but all I get are things like: C3nZC3nZC3n2Cxb0ENb6DxnY.fHmc.C3rYE3bYC3nWENP0. which LibraryThing doesn't seem to be able to translate. I tried opening up all of the search sites you have listed but none of them work. Since I am getting the code above, doesn't that mean the cuecat is working but not translating the information into something usable? I have now tried seventy two different books and haven't had one that popped up the correct information and added it to my library. I am NOT a computer or technical wizard and with my poor vision it is nearly impossible for me to do much modification to make it work. Can someone please tell me what I am doing wrong and how to get the cuecat to work correctly so I can get the books onto Bookmooch and Librarything and Paperbackswap? These aren't terribly old books and the lines I am scanning have an ISBN number under them. Is there a UPC to ISBN translator that I can try in case that is the problem? I went to Google and typed in cuecat but all the declawing and neutering information is Greek to me...can someone please help me with this problem?
Guilt By Silence by Taylor Smith (2000), or
Economic Foundations for Pricing (Working Paper, Report No 83-106) by Thomas Nagle (1983).
CueCats are, by default, not "declawed." They produce that gibberish. LibraryThing reads that, however. To make it work on other sites, you need to do the "declawing" (Google for directions; they are fiddly).
And as we mentioned in the other thread, some books have a UPC on the back cover rather than an ISBN (but Tim says your scan was a valid ISBN, so that's not it).
Does any one have some information that would help me with this. I've got a a great big CD collection and it would be wonderful to use this tool for that.
Here's one of the articles I mentioned earlier.
Many people have added CDs to their accounts, but they have probably done so using title or artist.
My CueCat arrived today and appears live and well despite her trip to Australia! She is plugged in, my computer says she is there and working correctly. Her lights are on etc. I have tried scanning three recently purchased books - including one bought online from Amazon, in case she has trouble with an Aussie accent. I hope put Notepad under her nose, but she ignored it :(
I am running Vista on a Dell Latitude D820, without an external keyboard or mouse attached (they are installed, however, if that makes a difference, but they live in my office, not at home. They are your basic Microsoft wireless keyboard/mouse package)
I have tried by my preferred Google Chrome and IE (just in case she had a preference) and my cursor is indeed flashing in the Add Books search box. I manually entered the ISBN of one title and up it came. All three books have the ISBN printed above the bar code and none have bar codes anywhere but the back cover.
Is my Cat comatose? Jet lagged? Sulking?
I want to use her so much it hurts - please wave magic wand from afar!
If it's totally blank, which is what I'm getting from what you wrote - try again. The Cat is plugged in and the red light is blinking - put her nose down on something white/light (if the barcodes are in a little white box on an otherwise dark cover, sometimes the Cat doesn't wake up for the scan) until the red light goes solid. Scan slowly but without stopping over the barcode - it doesn't matter which direction you go, but start before the code and stop after, and don't shift angles or stop at all in the middle. Try going slower, and faster. Try it over and over - I've seen people say they take 10-40 scans to get a barcode the first few times. Eventually your hand will know how to do it and the scan will start working the first (or first few) times - assuming it is a timing matter. Oh yeah, make certain the Cat is nose-down square to the book cover - not skewed or slanted.
BTW - once you get the scanning working - make sure that the number printed _under_ the barcode matches the (one of the) ISBNs printed above. For recent books it should have the ISBN barcode either on the back or inside the front cover, so if it's not inside the front cover the one on the back should be right. But publishers can do some amazing things.
And I'll belt out my usual chorus - a declawed Cat is often better at scanning than a clawed one, and it's really not difficult to do.
Do you think it is the Cat or the Computer??
Is it USB or are you using a USB translator on a PS2 plug? As I understand it, normal PS2-to-USB converters don't work, you need one that does something extra. I have one PS2 Cat and have had three USB ones (one I still have and use, two I've passed on), and I have a lot more trouble with the PS2 Cat than the USB ones.
Um...I think I've run out of suggestions. It's so frustrating when it just sits there and does nothing...
we got our cat from LT a couple months ago. we haven't declawed it, and for the most part dont have any real issues getting it to read barcodes into LT.
Our problem - its comatose. the ONLY way to wake this cat up is unplug it from the USB port and plug it back in. scan a book, and hope it doesnt go back to sleep before scaning the next one.
Anyone have any idea what we can do to fix this problem? its pretty annoying, and renders it close to useless. beth manages out LT on her PC (not a laptop) and its hard to get to where the cable plugs in.
BTW - I don't know if it would have helped, but most laptops without a separate number pad have a 'hidden' one on some of the letter keys (usually a square from Y or U in the upper left) and a function key that acts as a numlock to turn on that 'number pad'.
That aside - yes, in my experience a declawed Cat works much better at reading the codes, so it's worthwhile doing the operation even if the clawed Cat is reasonably functional.
You might try the declawing - as I say (frequently) above, it's not all that difficult and it does make the Cat easier to use. Or return the Cat and get a new one - see if it is a defective device. Or, last resort if you really don't want to do either of the others - stack up a bunch of books with bar codes and do them in one group so you don't have to keep switching - yes, switching around is a real pain even without the unplug-and-plug step.
I'm also getting nothing. The red light blinks/wakes up as described. I hold it per all instructions above, with an empty notepad open and cursor set in it and the number pad on.
I've tried fast, medium, and slow; turning the book to move forward/away; right on the book and just above the surface; big and small UPCs; on a paperback, hardback, and the box of chocolate sitting on my desk; making sure it has a nice lead-in/lead-out space on either side.
And over and over and over: And it gives me nothing. Is this some Win7 thing? (I'ts listed as a keyboard, but as a generic "keyboard" (not a "cuecat" or anything).
I've used my Cat frequently on a Win7 laptop - it's fine. It's possible, of course, that you've got some different configuration that interferes - but I'm not aware of any. And yes, it gets listed as a generic keyboard - an "HID keyboard device" - on my computer.
However, I've just signed up for another service, for which I'm considering inputting my extensive CD/Album library ... would the "unclawed" Cuecat work for scanning those bar codes, or would I need to do that for this project as well?