Teach an old cue cat new tricks

Posted by Kevin Sunday, December 23, 2007

I did something the other week that I have been wanting to share with people, just because i think its so darn cool.


Remember these things, i used this when i was a kid to scan many a cocoa puff cereal box. For those of you that don't remember....... The CueCat was an amazingly free bar code scanner and software bundle that you could acquire at your local radio shack (if i remember correctly). The software that came with the cats allowed you to scan virtually anything that had a bar code on it, and it took you to that products website. I thought it was pretty cool as a kid, and so did many other people, but apparently due to the privacy infringement (transmitted personal data, demographics etc..to companies) it didn't hang on long.


The cue-cat is hard programed to take the bar code information that you have scanned, place it in the selected text field (or anywhere you can type) and press enter. But, without scanning software what you scan in isn't what you get.

The cat 'encrypts' the bar code data and its out put ends up as base64-XOR and also the serial number of the cue cat itself. So in turn this is the standard output you would expect for your cue-cat to make without the software decryption:


Talk about a strong password.....

alphanumerical, caps, lowercase, spaces, AND symbols ....ok symbol (.)

Are you starting to see the possibilities? I ended up using this crazy password for my wireless router. I set it up for WPA-Personal with TKIP encryption. This allows you to enter any password you wish. If you don't have a password on your router not only can you have people on your home network fiddling with your files, but also people (neighbors and or passerby) can easily connect to your router (especially in apartments) and this can bog down your connection.

So how do you keep that coke bottle you scanned for your password? The simple answer is, you don't. I suppose you could if you wanted to, but there are ways to print it out for easier filing. There are many online java enabled bar code creators, the one I used is HERE
make sure you select UPCE under the bar code type, or else you won't be able to scan it with the cat. After making the code you can print it and you've got a password you can scan into any computer for wireless network setup. I just used my numerical birth date with a 1 at the end and its easy enough to remember. **Remember: keep both the printed bar code AND a printout of what you get after you scan it with the cat ( just in case you should loose the cat).

If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them in comments,

Thanks for reading!