Tag Archives: Wired

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 folk at trendwatching.com call SEE-HEAR-BUY: “the capability to buy everything you see or hear, wherever you are.”

Wired also takes a glimpse at the bit that worries me: The destruction of the small time retailer. If people are just wandering into shops, taking a snap of a product and then wandering off again, how helpful is that going to be to their business? Either they ban camera phones in their shops, or they try to find a way to make it work for them, perhaps by creating ways to make alternative recommendations for a product the customer is viewing. And of course, the edge the bricks and mortar folk have always had: Their extensive knowledge, onsite, online and delivered in human packaging.

Update: Sims Online gets serious

The Sims Online takes an unexpected turn
 
 
  Interesting article from Wired about The Sims Online, reviewed by Loose Wire a few months back. The Sims Online takes Will Wright’s vision of artificial folk being guided by their creators to the Internet world, in what was supposed to be a huge money-making operation for owners EA Inc. So far, it’s been a disappointing ride: six months after launch, EA is nowhere close to its target of 1 million active monthly subscribers. The Sims Online had, according to a May article in Wired, sold 125,000 copies retail, has been discounted from $50 to as low as $20 on Amazon and has 97,000 active subscribers.
 
What is more interesting, perhaps is the direction it’s taken. In an article published today, Wired reports that for some The Sims Online has become “a tool for serious social and personal expression. Who would have thought, for example, that abuse victims might turn to The Sims to unburden themselves of past torments?” Sims, it transpires, are using a feature called family album to “create dozens of staged snapshots, crafting what can be complex, scripted, multi-episode social commentaries, graphic novels or even movies, as it were, with the Sims starring in the lead roles.”