[linux-elitists] Forbidden knowledge! The secret number is 67!

Heather star@betelgeuse.starshine.org
Wed Sep 6 15:07:17 PDT 2000

> Anyone else playing with the now-ubiquitous CueCat? (nice nightlight for
> your computer, among other things.) Here's a description of how to deal
> with its code, and I have two questions. 1. Is this text right, and 2.
> Can "they" suppress it?
> The string received from the cat contains three fields: the cat's serial
> number, the type of code, and the code, separated by '.' characters.
> Within each field, 0-25 are represented by a-z, 26-51 by A-Z, 52-61 by
> 0-9, and 62 and 63 by + and -.
> To interpret each field, first convert it to a list of bytes. For
> example, if you get an 'a' from the cat, convert it to a 0. Make sure
> that the number of characters in the field is a multiple of four by
> padding with zeros.
> Go through the list in four-byte groups. Use the low-order 6 bits of
> each byte to form a 24-bit number, which we'll call n.
> Append the following three characters to the result: first, the
> high-order 8 bits of n XOR 67; second, the middle 8 bits of n XOR 67;
> and then the low-order 8 bits of n XOR 67.
> Continue doing this as long as four-byte groups remain. Then chop as
> many characters off the end as you had to add zeros.
> The CueCat doesn't just read crap out of Rat Shack catalogs.  It will
> also read UPC and ISBN bar codes.  Catalog your book collection!  Search
> for boycotts on foods as you shop!  Print your own bar codes and
> inventory your laboratory specimens!  Get your CueCat today -- go to 
> Rat Shack, they're free ($0).  I expect all you people to have one,
> or several.

According to our experiments, it reads FedEx labels and a bunch of other
things around the office.  It's not so great at the tiny ones, and (you're
gonna love this) kinda had a tough time with the catalog.  Teehee.

  . | .   Heather Stern                    |   star@starshine.org
--->*<--- How many hats can I wear 2day? - * - webcritter for BALUG, SVLUG,
  ' | `   Sr. Dev Engineer, Tuxtops!       |   Augusta Ada, maybe even BayLISA

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