Revenge of the CueCat

Most of you won't remember this dude: The CueCat.


This little guy was going to be the end all and be all of computer peripherals in the early 2000's. I even remember seeing an infomercial on it (scoured the webs to no avail) set in the future, where they started the years over at "BQ" and "AQ" for "Before CueCat" and "After CueCat". It was shockingly bad.

The product was almost universally panned. The Tech-Blog I read, Gizmodo, named it the worst invention of the "2000s". Ouch. Worse, Quicken has it on their list of Frightening Finances: 12 Epic Failures, along with such things as The Spruce Goose, WebVan, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, IndyMac Bank and the Ford Edsel. That's painful.

But what was it? Well, it was a bar code reader. Certain products, news papers, and magazines (I remember 'Parade' specifically) had these special bar codes in them that would allow you to scan the barcode, and it would take you to that website. (See, it's a "cat" to go along with your "mouse". And you wonder why it failed.) The barcodes were proprietary, so you had to bring everything to your hulking desktop computer with its dial-up modem, connect to the internet, and then scan the barcode to read more of that in-depth interview Parade had with Alf.

Oh, and they also had the "good idea" that they would imbed audible codes into commercials, so that if you were on line, AOLing with your peeps, it would launch a new browser and take you (slowly) to the companies website.

And to make matters worse, so people figured out hacks to make the product useful, like for scanning in their books' ISBN numbers in.

Surprisingly, this product crashed and burned.

But, the idea just won't die. There are tonnes of these "2D barcodes"

  • Microsoft has their own "Microsoft Tag" that uses colored triangles.
  • Data Matrix tags are squares of back and white dots.
  • AT&T has one, just like Data Matrix's.
  • There's an open source one called QR codes.

That's the one that I put up in my banner, the QR code. Maybe you've see them around? If your smartphone has the right software, you can scan the codes and go right to the web site. Cora and I bought some strawberries and the plant stakes had QR codes on them, so you could get more info on the plant while you were away from the computer.

If your interested in generating you own, this site will do it for free. In the mean time, watch out for something like this plastered on your local bus stop, office bulletin board, and drunken hobo. So, download a QR reader to your smartphone today.

Daddy needs to go on a readship drive.


(Actually, I have a separate blog I use for my Christmas newsletter, and then just send a slip of paper with a URL in the card. I think I'll add a QR link next year. Not that anybody would know what it was, but it would be cool.)

What do you know, Scope-Tech actually talking tech!


The One Where I Impersonate The BeckEye

And now let me do my BeckEye imitation and do an American Idol post. I've been watching all season, so, let ol' Scope look into his CrystalBallersox, and see what the future holds for our Idols.
And unlike the judges this season, limited sunshine will get blown up their asses.
ASHTHON JONES ASHTHON-JONES25 years old | Valdosta, GA
21 years old | New York, NY
#13 Ashthon Jones & #12 Karen Rodriguez: Have futures on the side of milk cartons and asking people, "Do you want fries with that" after making it into the final 13, but missing out on the tour. I'd say, "See ya." But, no. No we won't.
16 years old | Hayward, CA
26 years old | Milwaukee, WI
#10/#11 Thia Megia: After the Idol summer tour is over, Thia already has a standing gig. She will be doing the 3:00, 5:00, & 7:00 shows, Saturday & Sunday at Disneyland, singing the songs from "Mulan" & " Pocahontas". Visitors will be heard to remark, "She's almost as lifelike as the audio-animatronics in the Hall of Presidents at Disneyworld. But they still can't make the eyes look alive." #10/#11 Naima Adedapo: Giving up her summer job cleaning toilets at Milwaukee's SummerFest grounds to tour with the Idols this summer won't be the career limiting move that some might imagine. She'll play some of the swankier locales in the Milwaukee area, including The World Famous Brat Stop in Kenosha. (She'll probably open for Cheap Trick.)
22 years old | Howard Beach, NY
#9 Pia Toscano: Pia will have a reality mini-series where Maury Povich and Geraldo Rivera investigate to see if Pia is a lost Kardashian. In the end, despite DNA evidence,it will be proven that she is not a Kardashian.

Pia she has discernable talent, and has yet to appear in a sex tape.
PAUL MCDONALD PAUL-MCDONALD 26 years old | Huntsville, AL
#8 "Dancin' Paul" McDonald: Will taking his dancing style and freakishly white teeth back to the south, where he will be playing the finest hotel/motel lounges in the inappropriately named Memphis – Nashville – Chattanooga – Birmingham Triangle.

While "Hooterville" is outside those boundaries, a pretty boy like Paul with all his teeth will do just fine in those parts with the ladies. And with the boys, if he takes an ill-advised canoe trip and hears banjo music.
(Some jokes are just too perfect. Cora dislikes Paul very, very, very much.)
22 years old | Kent, WA
#7 Stefano Langone: Post Idol tour, Stefano will form a "boyband" with his roommate and fellow former Idol Sanjaya Malakar called "The Seattle Sevenths". Sadly, their first concert will be their last. The instant Sanjaya opens his pie hole, Stefano beats him to death with a microphone stand. His defense of, "That's how we do things in Kent," gets him acquitted, and a key to the city.
20 years old | Wilmette, IL / Idyllwild, CA
#6 Casey Abrams: Casey, escaping early elimination that would have kept him out of the tour, continues his close calls. After ending his relationship with fellow Idol, Haley (after the tour, natch, so that it won't be awkward, and it's not like he's got a shot @ Pia), Casey plays a series of blues and jazz clubs. Angry boyfriends and husbands are on the lookout for "The Fuzzy Wuzzy Blues Man" after Casey gave their girlfriends and wives a lesson in playing his "upright bass".
23 years old | Compton, CA
#5 Jacob Lusk: Will be performing Sunday morning in the Gospel choir.

And Tuesdays thru Saturdays in the Baton Club's drag show review, performing the best of Aretha Franklin.

No one buys for a minute that he is just cross-dressing for the show.

JAMES DURBIN JAMES-DURBIN22 years old | Santa Cruz, CA
#4 James Durbin: James will release the most successful CD of this year's contestants. Unfortunately, he'll blow it all on bandanas and tails. A "Behind the Music" film crew follows him around 24/7.




#3 Haley Reinhart: Without the pressure of being in the finals, Haley has a long career in music, playing mid-sized clubs across the country and putting out an album every few years.

One night, Randy Jackson tells her that she still hasn't found herself musically, and she kicks him in the balls.

Haley then takes over his place as an Idol judge, and actually offers coaching and valuable critiques and comments to the contestants.

American Idol's numbers plummet and the show is canceled.

16 years old | Rossville, GA
#2 Lauren Alaina (Suddeth): Goodie-Goodie Lauren, who had trouble even singing the word "EVIL" will learn all about the dark side of the music industry from a roadie in the back of her tour bus, aided by a bottle of Jack, a joint, 6 boxes of HoHo's and Nirvana's "Nevermind" CD.

None of them used as you'd first imagined.

Amazingly, Lauren manages to technically remain a virgin until she visits Steven Tyler's house on her 18th birthday.

Dubbed "Next Brittany" by the press, Lauren Alaina flames out, cleans up, flames out, gets "Born Again" (again) and cleans up for for good. She tries to become a serious artist by reclaiming her last name of "Suddeth". And that's where the comparisons to Brittany Spears end.
17 years old | Garner, NC
#1 Scotty McCreery: Scotty's post Idol career get cut tragically short when some crazee chick named "Ann" goes all "Kathy Bates / #1 Fan" on his mudflapped head.
After being rescued by the Texas Rangers (the baseball team, not the police organization), Scotty is only able to sing out of the LEFT SIDE of his mouth, effectively ending his career.
And if you're looking for a real recap of last night's show, I'm certain the afore mentioned BeckEye will have a hysterical recap up by the time you read this.


Getting En-Raptured Tonight

That's where the one fish is...
Guys, here's the move for your "Rapture Romp": (All times local)

5:30 pm - Tell your wife you have to run an errand.

5:55 pm - Call your wife and start a conversation

6:00 pm – Interrupt with "Whoa! Did you feel that? It felt like an earthquake! Why do I feel tingly? Oh no! The Raptu…" and hang up and shut off your phone.

6:01 pm – Meet up with your buddies at the bar.

2:00 am – When the bar closes, have your Puerto Rican friend "Jesus" drive your drunk ass home.

2:30 pm – Return home. Explain that St. Peter decided you didn't make the cut, so Jesus brought you home. And no, you're not drunk you're still gobsmacked (and you have to use the term "gobsmacked") from the awe of being at Heaven's gate.  And that's not beer on your breath, that Heavenly ambrosia. And ask your wife if she's really an angel who escorted you home.

Should totally work.  Let me know how this goes for you.  I'd try it myself, but the wife reads my blog.

Don't even think about it, punk.

And Cora would totally KEEEL ME if I tried a stunt like this.


About 21 Years Ago…

I found this while cleaning up last weekend, thought I'd share it with ya'll.

I haven't aged a bit.


My Mayor Can Send Your Mayor To Limbo

And so, after 22 years of Dire Wraith, Chicago has a new mayor:

Rahm-SpaceKnight-04 RAHM

Okay, to explain the joke:

  • Former Chief Of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, became the first new mayor of the City of Chicago after Richard M. Daley chose to end his run at 22 years.
  • Rom was a toy and comic of the late 70's and 80's. His main foes were Dire Wraiths, whom he dispatched to a dimension named "Limbo" with his weapon, the "Neutralizer".


Hey, I didn't say they were FUNNY jokes, did I?

10 points to anyone who got the jokes without the explanation.


Say WHAT Now?


So, Cora and I were walking through the grocery store the other day.  A store we don't normally go to, but part of the Dominick's (Safeway) chain.  We walked through a very odd "ethnic foods" aisle.  I'm used to seeing an ethnic aisle with Mexican and Asian items.

Not Irish.

And not Batchelors Processed Peas.

And it got me wondering, "processed" how?  Through a goat or something?

And then I started thinking about words like "colour" and "centre" and feared that "peas" and "pees" might be the same thing.

And I don't want no part of processed pee.  Especially if it's green and chunky.


Odds, Ends, and Singamajigs

So Cora, Wednesday and I went to Seattle for Wednesday's Spring Break, and Easter. It was also the 2 year anniversary of the plane ride that changed my life: when I flew out to meet Cora for the first time. (Here's a LINK to the first of that weekend.)

Since it was our anniversary, we did some repeats. Just like on our first date, we went to dinner with Callista and her husband, Mad Dog, at the Cheesecake Factory. And Cora and I shared a dessert again, too.

We also had dinner atop the Space Needle with Wednesday and Cora's mom.

DSC01750 DSC01754
DSC01760 DSC01729

The food and view were great. And the "Lunar Orbiter" dessert (there's always dessert with Cora's family) with the dry ice and smoke was out of this world.

While we were waiting on our table, this float-plane flew past. Nice.

Most of the rest of the time was spent hanging out with Cora's side of the family.


Even though Wednesday didn't have to visit her father while she was out there, she did have a bit of déjà vu while visiting her old stomping grounds.

Cora's sister's youngest daughter discovered the wonders of chocolate cookies…

While this sweet heart showed me her pink, pink pony.

And the boy just chilled, sans a sock.

I also got a few good laughs in at random spots along the way.

DSC01766 All I kept thinking of was a bunch of John Cleese like fellows gangily bumping into each other, with much mumbling of "Sorry" and "Pardon me" in the air.

Admit it, even with the royal wedding, you don't think of the Brits as a passionate, dancing people, do you.

I saw this on one of my first trips out there, and just had to laugh.

Casino – Restaurant – Bowl

About the only thing it is missing is like a bikini car wash.

And, it appears that if you can't make it to the scantily clad girls at the casino, the scantily clad girls will bring the casino to you.

What happens in the Hooter's bus STAYS in the Hooter's bus. Or at least as far as the free clinic, "Mr. Smith".

DSC01725 My first thought upon seeing these, "Dear Lord! What have we come to as a society?"

My second thought upon seeing these, "Dear Lord! First it was the testicles hanging from the trailer hitch, and now someone is making a butt-load of cash selling fake eyelashes for cars. WHY ISN'T THAT SOMEONE ME? I can pander to the lowest common denominator, too!"
DSC01726 Out there is the Seattle suburbs, coffee/cappuccino/ espresso huts are everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE! My wife pulled over so I could take a good picture of this one with 1/2 a real VW attached.

Oddly, she didn't stop and let me take pictures at the "Cowgirls Coffee' shop just up the road. Dubbed 'sexpresso' shops by the media, the baristas are more 'bear-tatas' at some of the joints, serving up your coffee while wearing bikinis, lace bras, or just pasties.

Want MILK with that?
DSC01728 I thought Barbie GAVE Hummers, not DROVE Hummers.

Guess all that plastic surgery paid off.

Other things we managed to do while in the area:

  • Wednesday got to spend hours with her friends, hanging out and staying in touch. 3 of them even spent the night.
  • Take a couple of walks past the place where we were married.
  • I got to see the inside of Cora's childhood home as her father is remodeling it.
  • I got to see mummies @ Ye Olde Curiosity Shop. But why isn't it named "Ye Olde Curiosity Shoppe"?

But a couple of things that we failed to do:

  • Go whale watching. We decided to spend the time with family and Gwen's friends instead. We'll check out the orcas this summer.
  • See ~E. She's a lapsed blogger who lives blocks from Cora's mom's place, but we just couldn't get our schedules to sync. Next time, dang it!

And then, there's this Easter toy.


Allow Me To Repeat Myself…


I know I used this last year, but it kind of snuck up on me.


I Guess I Can Retire This…

It looks like I can retire this old Dick Tracy cartoon strip.

Dick Tracy
This is an important milestone, but it's not the end of the race. We need to make sure we don't take our eyes off the prize now.

But I do consider this good news and a great day.

Great Loco / Local Commercials

While cruizing the 'net today, I ran across the following commercials on Break.  I have done a courtesy check, and these seem like legit companies (links included):

Our first one is for a family drug store in southern Indiana.  Love the "parking in the rear" joke, too.

Next is a guy who may have had a busy month with all the recent weather in Alabama.  And he can put those chainsaw skills to use.

And finally, this is Arizona store really gets it right.

Gotta love the local commercials.  Which is your fave?