Cue Cat tests -- preliminary thumbs up

From: <Adechert_at_aol_dot_com>
Date: Wed Sep 17 2003 - 21:46:10 CDT

I got my shipment of 18 Cue Cat scanners today. They came to about $1.30 ea
including shipping:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=2752079970

I printed out (on 600 DPI HP LJ 4) the dummy ballot Jan gave us

http://user.it.uu.se/~jan/voting-project/ballot.pdf

It took a little practice swiping the reading across the barcode but with a
little experimenting, I got so it would read just about every swipe. This led
me to conclude a couple of things:

1) I think they will work fine for the demo
2) The barcode scanner vocalization system will need to be attended for the
demo. I always expected that to be the case anyway. That is, the voter will
put on the present the ballot and an attendant will help with the headphones and
swipe the exposed edge of the ballot.
3) The software will need to have some indication for the attendant that the
scan succeeded. That is, the attendant cannot just swipe it and assume that
it was successful.

These were "unmodifed" meaning that they needed some hack to make them output
unencrypted symbols. Actually, it's not absolutely necessary to modify them.
 Some guys have provided code to unencrypt the output. I tried the code Dave
Schnee offers and it worked fine:
http://www.schnee.com/Cue_Cat_Writeup.pdf

Then I proceeded to try to modify the reader to bypass encryption. Here's
one page on that:

http://digilander.libero.it/electrons/CueKitty/Main.html

This guy suggests a soldering iron but I'm sure I read somewhere that the
deed could be done with an exacto knife. I tried an exacto knife. The first
Kitty perished, sadly. But I got it right the second time.

So, all you have to do is plug the Cue Cat in the keyboard port (wedge
connector allows you to reconnect the keyboard while using the Cue Cat. You swipe
it across a barcode and the symbols are entered as if from the keyboard along
with CR/LF at the end.

Here's the output from Jan's barcode:
With the unmodified Cue Cat
.C3nZC3nZC3nZDxz6DxrYCNnY.CNf7.C3TWC3r1DhD6Dhb1DNz0CxDXC3z1D3T0ENDYCxv0DNfYDNb
1.

The modified Cue Cat (with pin 16 severed)

083076749736557242056487941267521536

I will be mailing Cue Cats to those that requested them. If you want one,
give me your address and I will send you one customed modifed by me, no charge.
Offer good while supplies last!

I am asking Jan to give us more samples of various lengths of barcodes to
test with.

Alan D.
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Received on Tue Sep 30 23:17:07 2003

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