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Salon: A scanner darkly (CueCat scanner)

“You plug the CueCat into your PC. Then, as you read your copy
of Wired and see ads and articles (but mostly ads) that have
special bar codes, you’re supposed to run your CueCat over the
codes, and it will tell your Web browser where to go online for
more information.”

“Designed with consumer-friendly cuteness to look like a little
kitty, the CueCat is, according to its parent company’s Web site,
‘the biggest computer innovation since the mouse’ — ‘like a global
positioning system for the Internet.'”

“Let’s see: The mouse helped usher in an era of graphical
computing, allowing millions of people who might otherwise find
command-line navigation forbidding to take advantage of the
personal-computer revolution. And the CueCat? Well, if it ever
achieves mouselike market penetration — an extraordinarily
unlikely scenario — it will allow millions of people who might
otherwise simply point and click their way across the Web to …
find Web pages by running their scanners over bar codes in
magazines and other marketing material.”

Complete
Story