In the best drunk monkey stumble around the net tradition, I found something near and dear to my heart today – people reframing technology for their own purposes – in particular, reinventing low tech for high tech purposes.
It all started when I was loading some books into boxes – I should do an inventory – as if I can be bothered with writing down the details of several box loads of books. I figure someone must’ve solved this before, and remembered someone had come up with some Mac software that you could load your book titles in and it’d search for the bibliographic details. I tried to find the software to see if it was available for xp yet. (Note: still looking for the software.) [No boxes packed]
In my searching found LibraryThing was able to read from CueCats, and they had some for sale. But do I actually want to order one from the USA and then they don’t work and on and on and on…
So I did a search for USB hand bar scanners at Dick Smith’s – they might have that kind of do-dah.
No such luck – well apparently not cheaply, but what I did find, is a bunch of lo-tec/high-tec hackers bent of turning innocent (‘THERE ARE NO BYSTANDERS!’) chinese cookware into wifi hardware. Very cool. From the web site:
Make 2.4GHz parabolic mesh dishes from cheap but sturdy Chinese cookware scoops & a USB WiFi adaptor ! The largest (300mm diam) shows 12-15dB gain (enough for a LOS range extension to 3-5km), costs ~US$5 & comes with a user friendly bamboo handle that suits WLAN fieldwork- if you can handle the curious stares! (Neater boutique versions may better appeal).
I still haven’t solved the bar code scanner issue, but I’m about to stop writing and start packing. I just need to read a couple more pages from the wokfi team… I may be some time…
I did eventually find a freeware eLibrary program stashed away in tucows, Songstech, the program developer’s site has later versions (now eLibPro), but I’m unsure if they’re still freeware. eLibrary is apparently also able to accept input from CueCats. I might be closer to getting a bar code scanner than I thought.
Have a great new year folks, see you in 2007.