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Pay Money, Scan Barcodes With Your Cellphone

ScanZoom, which allows camera phone users to scan barcodes to compare prices in stores and obtain other information and services, is now available. It will work with most camera phones, but there’s a catch: You have to pay $10 for the software, $10 for a special macro zoom lens, and another $5 or so to get it to you. A similar version if available for webcams. I haven’t tried it out yet, but if I recall correctly a barcode reading pen was available a few years back — the C Pen, if I’m not mistaken, which turned out to be less of a success thanContinue readingPay Money, Scan Barcodes With Your Cellphone

More On Camera Phones As Bar Scanners

Here’s more on a subject I looked at in December (and then promptly forgot about): Using your camera phone as a bar code scanner. Wired says there are at least four software companies that have released applications that let you take a photo of a bar code, which will then trigger the download of coupons, reviews and other information about that product. Not a bad idea. As the article points out, most phones have inbuilt browsers, so in theory it’s possible to check out competing prices and more information about a product you’re looking at. But who actually does that? This is what the folkContinue readingMore On Camera Phones As Bar Scanners

News: The Ugly Truth About The Self-Checkout Lane

 I live in Indonesia, which teaches you tons about credit cards and how easy they are to get fraudulent with. But at least here they don’t allow you to swan past security with riding lawn-mowers you haven’t paid for. From the Sacramento Bee, a cautionary tale about the self-checkout lane in supermarkets where you swipe your credit card, wave a scanner over your goodies, and leave.     Speed and convenience, the paper says, have made the most basic fraud deterrent — checking IDs — nearly obsolete. Crooks know this, police say, and are abusing the technology with frequency. Sacramento County sheriff’s detectives estimate theyContinue readingNews: The Ugly Truth About The Self-Checkout Lane

News: When An ATM Isn’t An ATM

 From the These Thieves Are So Smart, Why Can’t They Get A Real Job Dept comes a story about ATMs. The Canadian Press reports of a scam in Ontario where the bad guys have rigged a number of existing bank machines allowing them to make working copies of customers’ debit cards by putting on a mask.     The thieves install a false front on an ATM machine for a few hours, painted identically to the actual front of the real machine.When a customer slides a debit card into the card slot on the false front, a small electronic device attached to the front readsContinue readingNews: When An ATM Isn’t An ATM

Column: Christmas stuff

Loose Wire — Have a Bidet Christmas   By Jeremy Wagstaff, from the 27 December 2001 edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review, (c) 2001, Dow Jones & Company, Inc. For most of us, this Christmas is going to be what I would call (remember where you heard it first) a “bidet Christmas.” In a nutshellthis means we’re not looking to buy a whole new bathroom, but we’d like to buy something to remind ourselves we’re still consumers and there are still things out there we don’t need but we’ll buy anyway. Hence the bidet. I’d like to point you in the direction of someContinue readingColumn: Christmas stuff

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