Read Magnetic Cards with CardTool

TokenWorks Inc. has released the CardTool 3-track magnetic card reader Springboard module, intended for mobile point of sale, age/ID verification, health care, law enforcement, and trade show lead retrieval. It has 2 MB of flash memory and ships with a demo program that configures the magnetic card decoding algorithms, displays the decoded track data on the screen, and stores track data in a database.  The app automatically loads on insertion and demonstrates the capabilities of the module.   The CardTool module sells for $190.

Developers can write custom card-processing applications with an optional developers kit. This includes a CardTool reader, software libraries, sample magnetic cards, the sample reader source code, and email technical support. Both the GNU and CodeWarrior C development environments are supported today with others announcing shortly. The development kit retails for $1500.

“The CardTool reader represents a significant advance in the PDA card reading market. The built-in flash memory eliminates time-consuming application installation and provides vital back-up storage of card transactions, “ said Charles Cagliostro, TokenWorks President and CEO. “The market now has an inexpensive alternative reader in this efficient, low cost, flexible, touch screen Palm OS device that extends the service capabilities of card issuers who deploy billions of magnetic cards every year.”

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Future of Springboard

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 10:55:47 AM #
It's nice to see all these Springboards finally reaching the market, however, the obvious question is whether the Springboard has much of a future or not. Given that Handspring, the only manufacturer of handhelds that use it hasn't exactly voiced a firm committment to making compatible devices.

Would you buy an SDK and develop software for a Springboard module and bring it to market later this year?

Future of Crime
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 12:00:48 PM #
Imagine swiping credit cards with this device. Since you can stick both in your shirt pockets, it'll be way easy to scan some CC's

RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 12:05:09 PM #
"easy to swipe credit cards"

I suppose though there are services that let you do that through manual entry into an WAP browser on a cellular phone even.

But if a person wants to swipe the card, vendors at PalmSource also showed serial sleds and CF versions of these.

RE: Future of Springboard
fkclo @ 2/15/2002 12:33:25 PM #
While this may point to a great use of the Springboard slot, its tight interface with the handware side may limit its migration to OS5.0.

I guess Handspring is in a dilemma. Stick with Springboard and they will win the loyal support of those springboard developers and users, but will loose favour quickly after OS5.0 device is in the market. Move the springboard innovation to the new OS may cause issue of backward compatibility, and cost too much for a company like Handspring, which obviously is deploying most of its resources on the Treo line of products.

Most corporates should be able to live with a device platform for 2 years. But the lack of clarity on the springboard's future may just hold back many corporate decisions on this otherwise attractive solution. That's sad indeed.

Francis Lo
Hong Kong

RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 12:35:43 PM #
Yeah, you really don't need anything more than a serial connection for one of these.

RE: Future of Springboard _Crime
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 1:38:30 PM #

There was a news about this and bloomingdales about 2 years ago. a Palm III series which a custom made card reader was attached to the back. The clerk in the counter swiped it quickly from below when a customers not looking. but she got caught and have reportedly recorded thousands of creditcard information.

the bad news is this will be readily available.
the good news is crooks wont have to custom made one.


RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 1:39:52 PM #
Before I even looked at the comments I just knew that someone was going to mention stealing credit card numbers with it. And as you can see I was not let down. We always have the same, tired debates when these topics come up. Let's stop it here. We will acknowledge the fact that you could steal credit card numbers with it and not mention it again.

Thank You!

RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 2:24:14 PM #
and why will we stop?

RE: Future of Springboard
Coyote67 @ 2/15/2002 2:50:20 PM #
Well, for those who weren't convinced before, you can be now. Springboard is NOT dead. How many springboard were released this year? More than SD addons, or memorystick. Always nice to see more products out for it.

To the OS5 thing. We don't know how deep into the OS springboard goes. What makes you think that its not possible to have springboard in os5. OS5 is backward compatible with dragonball palm. There shouldn't be anything limiting expansion. Palmsource has to realize that its licenses use different kinda of expansion and if they aren't completely insane, they will have prepared for this.

When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.

RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 3:05:48 PM #
SD cards didn't come out because the standard hadn't been released until late fall. So it's unfair to bash SD because of lack of HW when the vendords were waiting for the standard.

You'll see many SD technologies released in '02 at which point you'll be able to officially put springboard to bed.

RE: Future of Springboard
msmasitti @ 2/15/2002 6:20:33 PM #
Well, SD/MS is a LOT smaller in form than Springboard, CF, etc. Well, that means that the general perip has to be smaller. This is one limitation right now, but as technology gets better, there will be some weak 802.11b devices, etc available for SD/MS.

RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 6:56:02 PM #
"To the OS5 thing. We don't know how deep into the OS springboard goes. What makes you think that its not possible to have springboard in os5. "

hehe maybe because handspirng is going to stop making visor ?? and handspring is the only company that makes anythign with a springboard in it ?? and visor is the only thing on this earth that has a springboard in it !?

This product is obviously in the final stage of production before handspring annouces they are going to stop making visor, I am pretty sure they are just releasing it just for damage control, so they won't lose too much money on it, and squeeze every last penny they could.

RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/16/2002 12:19:37 AM #
SD in my opinion is too small..I wish they make make use of the serial connections and leave the SD slot alone! WE NEED IT FOR MEMORY!


RE: Future of Springboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/16/2002 12:22:01 AM #
Mr.Palm...can you buy me Springboard so that we can CRUSH SONY!!!! coz he's a bully.

CompUSA Tool

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 2:38:57 PM #
I was at a CompUSA yesterday and an employee was able to check or record a product code from a shelf via BEAMING from his Visor! He aimed the beam at the shelf (bar code?) ticket and it beeped.

What software/hardware add-on was this and what did he do?? I was in a rush so I could not ask. I thought it was cool. I did not see any hardware add-on.

RE: CompUSA Tool
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 2:46:15 PM #
Would have had to have been a Springboard bar code reader. I forget who makes them, but they are certainly available.

RE: CompUSA Tool
Coyote67 @ 2/15/2002 2:49:46 PM #
Symbol makes the only one if I remember correctly

When you have a Clie shoved up your mouth, you can only talk in vowels.

RE: CompUSA Tool
Kesh @ 2/15/2002 3:32:35 PM #
My mother works at Sears, and they have an item that is essentially a PalmOS unit that's been special made with a barcode scanner and wireless connection to the computer inventory system. They use it to scan items and update their prices, quantities, etc.

Of course, it's a custom model, but a small-buisness owner can get a similar function with the Springboard barcode scanner and then just physically Hotsyncing.

Regarding the card swiper, I'm not sure how much use it has in the retail market. However, this would be perfect for I.D. verification at airports & such. Keep a list of known violators in RAM, and swipe I.D.s as people come through... matches come right up, alerting the official to a potential security risk. Same could be done for bars or nightclubs... known troublemakers could be flagged, and the doorman would know even if he doesn't personally recognize the person.

RE: CompUSA Tool
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 8:11:37 PM #
The barcode reader and WLAN is from Symbol.

Symbol also makes a Springboard for the Visor. PSC offers the Momentum II. Both have SDK. I develop on both and they are a superb low cost option for inventory.
Symbol also makes rugged PalmOS barcode readers with WLAN integrated.

The card reader will also be very popular. You don´t need OS 5.0 here, as standard POS or standard inventory systems doesn´t even "know" what OS 5.0 will be.

Not all market needs "geeks" features. For instance an inventory personnel doesn´t need multitasking, multithreading or multimedia capabilities. People: stop thinking all manufacturers are stupid... ;-)

if the springboard was to fall into the wrong hands...

palm_pilot_guy @ 2/15/2002 4:51:40 PM #
just in case you didn't realize the other side of the story, it could also be used as a skimmer, a device that can get all of the information from the card.

"Uh, hello... uh, Mrs. Bart, is the pool ready yet?"


RE: if the springboard was to fall into the wrong hands...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 5:58:53 PM #
"fall into the wrong hands" as in anybody who clicks on the "Buy Now" button on their website?

RE: if the springboard was to fall into the wrong hands...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 7:20:24 PM #
who else?

RE: if the springboard was to fall into the wrong hands...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 10:26:10 PM #
How is this any riskier than the fact that you regularly give your credit card to waiters who you've never seen before in your life? Any waiter or waitress could easily write your credit card info down and order tons of CDs off the web. High tech solutions aren't needed. Mostly they are a waste of time.

maybe this will force smart cards

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/15/2002 7:45:12 PM #
The US credit card system is horribly insecure. Verification often relies on the supposed cost of getting a card reader. Well, this makes it even cheaper to get one. Let's hope US banks will finally do something for the consumer and switch to SmartCards (with SmartCards, you can't clone them even if you have a reader).



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