Barcode scanning is a commodity hardware niche, it's ubiquitous to the extent that software for the devices isn't a problem. The distinction of the Cue-Cat is that the reader is being introduced into households as the basis for a datamining and behavior-tracking experiment -- people now have access to a free piece of hardware.
If you want your own barcode scanner, check out (not a plug, just the top Google hit) The BarCode Store. The low-cost scanner appears to be the CCD model, at just under $200, with typical prices ranging from $300 to over $1000. This for a not-quite-mass-market item.
Barcode scanning software is not the problem here, folks, it's the hardware cost.
Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
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