Decoding the :Cue:C.A.T. scanned string

Note: This page and the downloads were last updated November 18, 2000.  The Java version of the decoder was added and decoding of :Cue:Cat ":Cues" was improved. Also, an inaccuracy in decoding of :Cue:Cat ":Cues" was corrected in the Microsoft Access© database (only).

When I received a *FREE* :Cue:Cat barcode reader at Radio Shack, I wondered why they were giving away such a nice toy.  I found out.  It's more like market research or "Big Brother" than I prefer.

It is, however, a barcode reader if you can decode its output, so I decided to figure it out.  The result is a document explaining what I found (you can download it, as a PDF) and/or have a Microsoft Access© database, a command-line C program or a Java bean (and a command-line user of that bean) that will translate the scan to "regular" numbers.

Download the document: Cue_Cat_Writeup.pdf (18K bytes).  If you need an Adobe® Acrobat® reader, you may download one (free) at

Download the Microsoft Access© database CatDecoder.mdb (108 K bytes).  You will need a licensed copy of Microsoft Access© to use this.

Download the command-line version in C: CatDecoder.c (source) (4 K bytes) or CatDecoder.exe (Intel-based DOS or Windows executable) (23 K bytes).

Download the Java version:

8 K bytes

All 5 of the following items.

8 K bytes

The Java source for the decoder bean.


4 K bytes

The compiled Java class for the decoder bean.


5 K bytes

Documentation (using javadoc) of the bean.  In order to view this with the nice pretty images you get when viewing definitions supplied with your JDK, you will need to put this file in a directory with an "images" subdirectory which contains the same files found in your ....jdk/docs/api/images directory.

2 K bytes

The command-line test program (source).


2 K bytes

The command-line test program (compiled class).

If you like what you see, enjoy it.  If not, then ignore it.  It's here for free, but comes with NO GUARANTEES.

If you make a significant improvement, let me know at