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Question for the Hive Mind

Several years ago at BayCon, there were flyers about a gadget that would read your books' bar codes and automatically enter the pertinent data into a spreadsheet on your computer. I can't remember the name of the thing, and I suspect it has been o'ertaken by more up-to-date gizmos - but they may be aimed toward iPhone or other smartphone users, of which I am not one. Does anyone know of such a gadget I could use with just my MacBook Air?


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 14th, 2014 06:22 pm (UTC)
You may be thinking of the CueCat, which LibraryThing bought up joblots of when CueCat went under. More details here: https://www.librarything.com/cuecat
May. 14th, 2014 07:29 pm (UTC)
Yes, that's it! I knew it was something short and catchy - only not catchy enough, evidently. I think you got one, didn't you? How did you like it? Is it outdated now?
May. 14th, 2014 09:35 pm (UTC)
I found it useful for scanning a stack of books with bar codes, although it could be flaky. It's not worth getting out for only one or two books, but I still use it occasionally when I've got a stack of new books to process.

The original manufacturers set it up to work with some weird interface software, which means you can't use it directly to read barcodes straight into your computer, but LibraryThing put an interface into their website so that you can use it with the normal "add book" page. There are also instructions on LT for people who want to fiddle about with the physical alterations to the Cat's circuitry to use it with other software -- see the guide here: https://www.librarything.com/wiki/index.php/CueCat_Guide

It's USB and is essentially a specialised keyboard, which doesn't need drivers or software. It should work with current OSes, but I'm still on XP so can't say for sure.
May. 14th, 2014 10:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the info! It sounds like something for someone who likes/ knows how to mess with stuff. I think I'll pass.
May. 15th, 2014 06:30 am (UTC)
If you're using it with LibraryThing, it's plug and play, no fiddling required. To use it with something else (that doesn't already have a backend converter), you'd need to open it up and clip a wire. It's not a big job, but if you're not confident it's probably worth having a hunt on eBay for a cheap bar code reader that doesn't need to be declawed.
May. 15th, 2014 06:42 am (UTC)
May. 15th, 2014 03:08 pm (UTC)
That *is* inexpensive. However, what I had in mind was trivial, not even worth the kind research you've done - I have about 20 - 30 books I was thinking of putting on craigslist collectibles and I was being lazy and wishing I didn't have to type all that stuff out. I am unworthy of your kindness, but thank you so much. *bows*
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )