Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Web Wand

easier phone #/email/ URL input
(+3, -3)
  [vote for,

How many times have you seen a xxx- xxx-xxxx phone number, www._ website, or _@_ email address in print you wished to remember for later? No matter how simple the alphanumeric formulation, storing any phone number, URL, or email address data in your head over time can be challenging. Look around your life and see how many pieces of paper you have with hard copy records of these three types of information.

These often abstract symbol combinations have no inherent monetary value, but when typed into a keypad could be the "priceless" tag of a Mastercard ad. Wouldn't it be worth it to simplify this code transfer process?

The "Web Wand" is a small personal scanner optimized to record phone numbers, email addresses, and website URLs. It's a little stick, with a lens at the tip and a connector on the top. When you see a set of characters referencing a basic telecom connection, you simply pull out your "Web Wand" and swipe it over the text and it is digitally stored for later.

Back at your PC, the wand snaps into a USB port or makes a wireless connection and downloads the recorded numbers, letters, and punctuation into a cache with routes to browsers, contact software, and communication devices where the information can be used to make a phone call, send an email, or find a website.

The Web Wand Deluxe includes a microrecorder to voice tag entries with metadata. Future generations are being designed to include functions for transfering longer and more complex text string sets from print to bits. The popularity of these advanced models, however, is not expected to approach the anticipated market penetration of the basic design.

The beauty of the Web Wand is in its elegance and utility. Like a bottle opener, soft squeeze flashlight, or compact flash drive; it is small enough to carry on a keychain; deployed quickly, efficiently, and reflexively; economically mass-produced; and nice to have near when you need it. Versions with customized case construction and coloring and preloaded contact information would make ideal promotional items for businesses of all kinds.

Say goodbye to bundles of business cards, piles of post-its, reams of ripped newsprint, and all the solid strips, scraps, and shards scratched and scribed with sometimes cipherable symbols strings supposed or suspected to be saving some thing somewhat significant.

Cube, Feb 01 2006

Receipt Scanner Receipt_20Scanner
a related interesting idea [Cube, Feb 01 2006]

Like this? http://www.google.c...q=%22pen+scanner%22
[st3f, Feb 01 2006]

The "Qoder" http://www.flyingbu...ys.com/foocat/qode/
extinct mini barcode reader technology [Cube, Feb 01 2006]

even better than the real thing http://semacode.org
I like this a lot, and your mobile becomes the scanner [neilp, Feb 02 2006]

Google has this already http://googleblog.b...-feeling-silly.html
Their new data warehouse is based on silly-putty technology. [pathetic, Feb 02 2006]


       Admittedly, I bloviated on this concept in ignorance of the current state of "pen scanner" technology. Thanks to [st3f] for prodding me on a belated research surf to bring me up to date. This would be different in that the scanner would be optimized for the specific function of reading only a few of the most common types of text strings with proven recognition and digital transfer value. Ideally, it would be a cross between an expensive sophisticted OCR pen scanner and the give-a-way gadgets, the "Qoder" and ":Cue:C.A.T."
Cube, Feb 01 2006

       I have a device exactly like your description. Unfortunately, while scanning the text of your idea, it ran out of memory.
pigonthewing, Feb 01 2006

moomintroll, Feb 01 2006

       I always thought that was a funny sounding word. Likely to be used by those who are guilty of it.
half, Feb 01 2006

       Gosh, it's a real word. Who'da thought it. Prefer 'sciolist', myself.
moomintroll, Feb 01 2006

       I use the camera on my phone for this....It may not be automated (I have to type in the info manually from the phone screen) but I can capture any kind of information. I can keep the pictures on my PC for future reference. OCRing the text out of these pictures would be possible, but the number of different text fonts and sizes, and the light, colour and photo quality mean that it would be very complex to setup a reliable solution.
Minimal, Feb 02 2006

       This has been done before... its called silly putty. When you get up in the morning, you put a blank piece of silly putty in your pocket/purse. You stop into a bookstore, and while browsing, come upon an URL. Immediately, you whip out your silly putty, flatten it against the URL, and walk away with a perfect (though mirrored) imprint.   

       Remember, to keep in in the other pocket/purse than your supply of blank putty. Mixing silly putty notes together can cause some badly mangled URLs.   

       Check out what the Google employees are doing with this stuff in the link annotated to the left ---> (I mean my other left).
pathetic, Feb 02 2006

       Hmmmm.... wait a minute.... maybe I should buy myself some silly putty, repackage it in thousands of boxes labled "web putty". I could put a 100% mark-up on it... and make millions in profits! Are there any venture capitalists in the house? This is totally scalable!
pathetic, Feb 02 2006

       Looks like the existing products could use some improvement, but what is really needed is software that knows what you want done with the OCR-ed text, and does it. URL's go to bookmarks in your web browser, phone numbers go to the contact list on your PDA or cell phone, and bibliographic citations go to your bibliographic database (with automatic download of PDFs when available), etc.
Ford, Dec 06 2007

       I like it. It would be nice if it were integrated into a USB memory stick, in the same way that MP3 players sometimes are.
MaxwellBuchanan, Dec 06 2007


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