Does the clock on your V-C-R constantly flash 12-o'clock? Then you fall into that group known as technologically-challenged. It could be one reason why the Internet revolution is leaving you behind. Now there's hope. Instead of getting lost in all that computer verbiage while you're trying to browse the internet, take advantage of something offered by a group of enterprising companies that have married new software to an old idea: bar code readers.
You've all heard of the mouse....well make room next to your computer, now, for the cat, the :Cue:Cat. A company called Digital Convergence put together a group of companies to finance an idea: browsing by bar-code.
'It's just an easier way to get to the information you want without having to go through jumbled-up web sites, and scatter through a hundred different things to find the product you're looking for," says Mark Brickler, a Radio Shack sales associate. You can order your own :Cue:Cat from the www.crq.com web site, or just drop by your nearest radio shack store, and they'll give you one for free. How can they give it away for free? "Uh, because they've all donated money to it, and they're all paying for it in unison, so we can give it to our customers for free," says Brickler.
How does it work? Pick up anything with a bar-code or a universal product code (UPC). Scan it with the :Cue:Cat, and watch the web site come up on your computer. A lot of popular magazines are incorporating the cue cat symbol and bar codes for products advertised on their pages, or even articles you want to know more about....Wired magazine, and Forbes magazine for starters....both of which are :Cue:Cat sponsors. Your free package comes with all the hardware and software you'll need to get up and running...including a self-installing CD-ROM, and automatic registration. "It works with your keyboard, works with your regular computer keyboard, so you don't need any different hardware or software," claims Brickler.
Just a little dose of reality, though: a couple of us in the newsroom have been trying to install and use the new :Cue:Cat hardware and software for more than a day, now, and so far: no success...but that may not be your experience.