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Handhelds Wireless Networking Hardware

UPS to Deploy Ultra-Connected Wireless Handhelds 160

Posted by michael
from the never-out-of-range dept.
Lyle E. Dodge writes "According to this article at Yahoo.com Symbol Technologies announced (on Tax Day of all days) that in 2004 UPS would deploy 70,000 handheld delivery computers based on Symbol's Fourth Generation hardware. Color screens, 128 megs of RAM, and uber-connected (GPS, GPRS, CDMA, WiFi, Bluetooth, Infrared, Analog modem), and, of course, the familiar barcode scanner. The obvious /. question is: Can we run Linux on Brown? Maybe UPS can fund an OSS startup, "BrownHat"? We'll see..."
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UPS to Deploy Ultra-Connected Wireless Handhelds

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  • Picture (Score:5, Informative)

    by chennes (263526) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:03PM (#5765151) Homepage
    What good is a slashdot article without a picture [businesswire.com]?
    • Re:Picture (Score:1, Funny)

      by digital bath (650895)
      Spiffy. I bet they get to play tetris on that thing...
    • What does private use mean? ;-)
      groan...
    • but isn't that exact same picture on the site on the left hand side? In fact it is even bigger. Are we all so trained to automatically skip the spaces on the page that we think might be adds at first glance?

      Anyway it shows for me.

      __
      cheap web site hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au]

    • Ugh, man.. do they ever need a hand model.. look at those fingernails! I mean... augh... I think I'm gonna be sick..
      • I had to laugh when I saw your comment. I wasn't aware nerds had such good manicures, or cared. I didn't notice the nails until I went back. Didn't seem that bad to me, but I guess we all have their peeves.
        • by PD (9577)
          Strange, first thing I noticed was that ultramodern abcde keyboard layout. I wonder if it's faster than qwerty.
    • I'm striken by the things that usually strikes me as I look at gizmos that has a 'keyboard-look-a-like-input-thingy' - why do so many people designing such gizoms where text entry is important insist of laying out the 'keyboard' like "A B C D E etc"? I mean, come on people, Psion [psion.com] has shown us that is is easy to put in a QWERTY-layout keyboard (or DOVRAK, if you prefer) on a handheld device. For me, and I have tried a handfull of small formfactor keyboards, you can't get better in a small package than the Se [series5mx.com]

      • but text entry on PDAs is another matter.

        The zaurus [baylor.edu] has the best keyboard I've yet seen in a palmtop. Their new model has a "laptop style" folding k/b, but with only 32 mb of ram it isn't worth buying. Anyways, text entry for single words is fine, or even short memos, but try coding on it and you see the design flaws. Many special characters require the use of the on-screen k/b, and your thumb start to hurt after extended use.
      • why do so many people designing such gizoms where text entry is important insist of laying out the 'keyboard' like "A B C D E etc"? I mean, come on people

        That is because the current line of UPS handhelds have a keyboard in that way. One reason for using an alphabetical keyboard vs qwerty is to slow down people and make sure they are keying in things correctly. Air Traffic Controllers used to use (and some still do) a keyboard called an ARTS keyboard. It is layed out in an ABCD format and the keys are in
      • --designing such gizoms where text entry is
        --important insist of laying out the 'keyboard'
        --like "A B C D E etc"?

        You have to consider the workforce intended to use the device -- not what you think should go into it.

        Most mobile workers (blue collar, field service, delivery, etc.) do not 'touch-type' and thus have no clue re: a QWERTY keyboard.

        Sure, over time they would learn, but how would you like to be the ops dept wondering why productivity is in the toilet during a new rollout which may take years (es
    • I wanted one of those things until you showed me what it looks like!

      What I'd really like is a "graphing calculator keyboard" addon for my Zaurus. Maybe I could use a terminal program for my 82 or my 85; they wouldn't be much of a loss....
    • Uhhh...there is a picture in the version of the Yahoo page I see.
  • My Q (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mattygfunk1 (596840) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:05PM (#5765159)
    The obvious /. question is: Can we run Linux on Brown?

    Hmmmm, and I thaught the question was can we run tetris on this?

    __
    cheap web site hosting [cheap-web-...ing.com.au]

  • by gpinzone (531794) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:08PM (#5765173) Homepage Journal
    Can we port MAME to it?
  • by Steven Blanchley (655585) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:11PM (#5765183)
    So next time something like this [slashdot.org] happens, it will be possible to see who or what is responsible, right?
    • I have been fighting with Canada Post and the U.S. for a insured package that was in a thousand pieces. Both say it's the other guy that should pay. The insurance coverage was for $525.00U.S. They keep telling me that they are backlogged. Three years.... They inquirying if I have the claim number and the paper work. I just respond that I made photocopies of the originals. They always respond, "oh.."
  • UPS and OSS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SiMac (409541) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:11PM (#5765186) Homepage
    UPS does not like OSS. I can say that for certain.

    A few months ago, I developed a package tracking application for Mac OS X. Since I had just done this in my free time, and I didn't really feel like selling it, I decided to make this application open source. My original plug-ins communicated to the package trackers via HTML, but it soon became apparent that the websites changed quickly enough to make this more difficult than I had first imagined.

    Since this was an application, and not a package tracker, I couldn't use a regular e-commerce account. I emailed FedEx and they gave me the proper key and information necessary to use their XML service. UPS, however, was not so nice. I got an email that stated:
    Our current license agreement does not support open source, and we are only able to authorize the use of the tools if the product cannot be altered in any way by subsequent users, including resellers.

    So, UPS is certainly not a fan of open source. My current UPS plug-in breaks rather often, but there's not much I can do about it, given UPS's stance on this issue.
    • Re:UPS and OSS (Score:4, Insightful)

      by anonymous loser (58627) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:24PM (#5765253)
      Did it occur to you that perhaps UPS didn't write their own software, and are limited by their license agreement with the vendor? That's what it sounds like to me.

      • This software is definitely developed exclusively for UPS. Who would sell a XML server for package tracking that only connects to UPS's system? Anyway, even if someone else did develop the software, why would the vendor put any restrictions on which end users could use it? It's not like it's a chunk of code; it's an XML API that requires an account to connect.
      • That is their own fault though!

        Part of buying a product is making sure that it will fit your needs. When you buy a product for external customers to interact with, many of whom are likely to want to do so automaticly, then you need to make sure that your requirements include the ability for customers to automatic their processes using whatever means they want.

        Saying that licenses are a restriction is a cop out. If this was data only intended for use internall to UPS, then not being open source compatab

      • Sorry, that's not the case. I used to work for UPS, and *ALL* of their apps are developed inhouse. The company is one of the largest MS whores around, and drinks the MS anti-Linux FUD as if its religion. About 3 years ago they were solidly a NT4 (workstation & server) company, and were avidly doing their best to phase all other 'legacy' OS's (Novell, OS/2, SunOS).
    • Re:UPS and OSS (Score:5, Informative)

      by seanadams.com (463190) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:39PM (#5765318) Homepage
      I can second that - UPS' XML interface is needlessly complicated and very unreliable. I implemented it as part of my ordering page and it was a disaster. It worked okay during testing and for the first couple weeks of deployment, but then their servers started going offline for 2-3 hours a day. Many sales were lost. Why, in the name of god, should an application have to go over the public Internet in order to get rate quotes and ship packages? UPS' own software doesn't do this, so why do they force their customers to use an inferior system?

      The main thing I needed from it was their rate calculator. After much digging around on their web site and several calls to my account rep, I finally found their rate tables. They came in tab delimited format which was great, except these spreadsheets were not suitable for automated processing because there were many formatting inconsistencies - the data was obviously maintained by hand.

      To make a long story short, in the end I was able to make some perl scripts for looking up domestic and international rates using those files, without having to go across the net. But I wasted a LOT of time finding out out how badly their XML interface sucks, and we still don't have a solution for automated shipping - only rate quotes.

      When it comes to software, UPS is as clueless as it gets. I'm going to be getting set up with Fedex soon and if they're any better software-wise, it will be my pleasure to drop UPS.
      • I've used UPS's XML service for not only tracking, but also order processing and have had few problems. The XML gets a little complicated because it has some powerful features (especially for order processing).

        I'd be interested in knowing if anyone has created any shipping solutions with the Fed Ex API. I've looked at it, but it didn't look nearly as nice as what UPS had.
    • Does someone know the cost of UPS's "WorldShip" application? I don't know if this is developed in-house or not, but I would guess they want everyone to use it and this is why they won't help the competition. The most likely reasons being so everyone has to pay for it or to keep it consistent. I would guess the former....

      That said, I've had to deal with both installing it, and to a limited degree, using it. It feels like a poorly written VB app. Very amatuerish and unprofessional, IMO. And this is t
      • The WorldShip Application is FREE to anyone who wants to use it. That said, in order to use it you need to have a UPS account. It is ment to be a turn key solution that meets then needs of about 90 percent of their clients. If your needs are not met by the WorldShip App, there are lots of other options they provide.
    • Re:UPS and OSS (Score:3, Informative)

      by Alien Being (18488)
      I can't attest to how well or poorly they work, but CPAN has Business::UPS and Business::FedEx modules.

      perl -MCPAN -e \
      'readme Business::UPS;
      readme Business::FedEx::DirectConnect;
      '
  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Can we run Linux on Brown? Maybe UPS can fund an OSS startup, "BrownHat"? "

    New slogans: "When it absolutely positively has to blow chunks." or "BrownHat: when neither your time nor package is worth anything"
  • How (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Subnirvana337 (572385) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:12PM (#5765189)
    Is this any different from the black and white touch pads they had before? It may have all the gizmos and gadgets, but is it needed? Are they going to be more productive now?
    • From what I've seen the current ones take down information, but until they get to their shipping outlet the information doesn't go anywhere.
      • Hmm...data getting back to UPS faster is nice, but if the customer has it already, why does is the data more treasured then? Their scanning facilities are nice, because it'll tell you where your package is in (city, state, en route etc etc) So getting the post data shouldnt be that important, should it?
        • The data I really want, as a receiver, is to know whether or not UPS has already made a delivery attempt today or not (If I haven't been around) so that I know if I should go home and wait or not...
      • by Deluge (94014)
        actually the minute the driver pops the board into a cradle in his truck, the new info's downloaded from the board via IR and sent through a cell network to the UPS computers. So tracking info should usually be accurate within a few minutes.
        • With the current hardware? Would be nice if it worked, but the last few packages I've received they didn't show as being received until 6-8pm that night (local time)
  • by Fjornir (516960) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:14PM (#5765197)
    OK... Ultra-Connected Wireless Handhelds

    Which is it?

  • by iabervon (1971) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:14PM (#5765198) Homepage Journal
    "Yes, I'd like you to pick up a package at these GPS coordinates, and ship it to me. I have no idea what it will be."

    On the other hand, it would be kind of neat to have UPS deliver something to the location output from your GPS. Driving down the highway, the UPS truck honks at you, you pull over, and the driver gives you the books you bought online...
  • qwerty? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by natefanaro (304646)
    looks good. The only con (to me) about it is that the keyboard isn't qwerty. I'm sure getting used to the layout wouldn't take much time but for people that are really used to qwerty may have a tough time with it.
  • by elitman (455012) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:15PM (#5765207)
    Have a look @ TI's WANDA platform [ti.com] for a cool reference design similar to this. I played with the platform at the CTIA show [ctiashow.com] last month, and the company that put it together for TI, Accellent, had working prototypes in cases ready to go.

    The best part about WANDA: it's $130 for the integrated board. Add a battery, display and a few controls, and you could have whatever kind of PDA you wanted.

    Additionally, Metrowerks [metrowerks.com] has been working to get their OpenPDA [openpda.com] Linux distribution (formerly Lineo's) working on WANDA.

    Symbol has a less than stellar track record of opening up their devices to alternative technologies, and their licensing relationship with Microsoft all but guarantees that you'll never see them shipping a Linux or Symbian device from them.
  • Palm just announced that the next gen would support 128Meg Symbol currently has 5 palm based handhelds.
  • by csg (7845) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:19PM (#5765226)
    Disclaimer: I work for FedEx, my comments are my own.

    From the Article Link: The incorporation of three different types of radio communication links in each unit will ensure that package delivery information is available to customers almost instantaneously...

    FedEx has done this sort of real-time updates on packages since the early 1980's when we started using the DADS radio network. Thats right, back when I was using an Apple IIe, and many slashdoter's weren't even in Kindergarten, FedEx had near-time tracking updates on packages. Let's not act like it's rocket science.

    As for running Linux on the device, that's not really important, except for a coolness factor. I do know that FedEx has many projects headed towards Linux and OpenSource.

    Funding an Open Source startup seems silly too. Why not just hire experienced Open Source talent. That's what we've been doing @ FedEx. Seems to work pretty well provided the hacker-types can live in the business-type environment. 200k person companies aren't for everybody.

    Anyways.. I digress. Cool hand-held custom built. Neat. They still call themselves "brown" and that speaks for itself. ;-)

    • I've never had UPS lose a package on me, and fscking FedEx did it twice. UPS customer service is also a helluvalot better and their tracking actually reflects the location of your package most of the time (unlike FedEx's). If this new gear makes even 1% of improvement they'll still be FAR ahead of any other carrier in this country.
      • UPS is inferior. Their slogan "When it absolutely has to be there overnight" isn't just hot air. Ask any company that deals with time-sensitive documents, I can almost guarantee you they use FedEx. When I worked at UBS PaineWebber, we shipped most things via Airborne Express, because we had a cheap deal with them. Since Airborne Express is a crappy company, however, we also had an account with FedEx, which brokers could get special permission to use for things that "absolutely have to be there overnight
      • So what?

        I'll tell you what - used to sell monitors from ubid.com on eBay.com (you'd be suprised the markup possible on those eBayers...)

        Had MULTIPLE customers inform me that UPS "rolled the monitor" into their home.

        NOT ON A DOLLY -- actually ROLLED the box end over end.

        25% damage rate and next thing you know I'm out of the monitor arbitrage business.

        UPS insurance? What a joke -- they should be jailed for their responses.

        That being said, yes, FedEx has been doing realtime for years. This "new" DIAD I
        • Let's see if Symbol can deliver.

          Oh, you took the words right out of my mouth. In my own experience with Symbol, while they generally do deliver eventually, it's rarely when they say it's going to be. One product in particular that my company purchased from them ( This 802.11b device [symbol.com]) was delivered well over a year late, and when we got it, it wouldn't work with our (Cisco) wireless backbone.
          So while this device UPS is getting sounds pretty cool, I am rather skeptical that the rollout will be on schedule.
      • There seems to be major differences on UPS and Fed Ex at various geographic locations. For example, every computer I've shipped to Pittsburgh has suffered case damage. One had a sheared corner strut (that bit of angle-iron, except it's not iron =-).

        On the other hand, Fed Ex has not damaged a single shipment. And this is despite the fact that probably 75% of my computer shipements (including cases) are Fed Ex.

        I've also watched the UPS tracking system track my packages into and right back out of Pittsbur
  • I would think the more logical name would be "BrownShorts"... well, it's not as bad as some distro names out there.
  • by Spoticus (610022) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:21PM (#5765237)
    Future CNN reports about dozens of UPS delivery people are getting mugged by redbull-toting geeks who want to nab these puppies and create beowulf clusters of them...
  • by swordboy (472941) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:24PM (#5765251) Journal
    Does this mean that I can get a package delivered to my house without taking a week off from work?

    We'll be there between 8:30AM and Thursday

    The other day, they stopped delivering packages without signature (they'd never had me sign anything before... just left it on the back porch). Then all of a sudden, then started playing by the rules and I realized how inconvenient it is to try to get a shipment.

    Now, I have to call and tell my credit card company that I am shipping to my work address every time that I need something delivered.

    Sigh...
    • Your lucky.. When i get stuff delivered by UPS they don't even bother bringing it to the house! They leave at the bottom of the driveway! Even when the package SAYS signature required, even when its insured, regardless of whats in the box. Be it junk, clothing or computer parts. Fedex leaves it by the front door, which we never use. Today we "found" a package that had been sitting there for about a week without us knowing. So, I try to get stuff delievered at work too.
      • possible solution (Score:3, Informative)

        by zogger (617870)
        keep taking the deliveries at home, just get a nice decorative box that doubles as a seat (maybe, that's not important) with a liftable lid. Install a hasp and leave an unlocked padlock inside the box. Screw the box to the back of the PO box down the driveway. Tell the delivery guy to drop the packages in there and lock the box.

        If you don't want to build one, rubbermaid has an exterior folding lawn furniture container/box you can purchase, then it's just a matter of installing the lock. Then you don't have
    • Now, I have to call and tell my credit card company that I am shipping to my work address every time that I need something delivered.

      Actually you don't. Just call your credit card company ONCE and have them add your business address permanantly as an alternate to your billing address. I have both my shop and another company listed with my credit card company, plus the home that is the billing address. I just order, decide which one, and it goes through. All the verification does is see if the address
    • What they basically tell the drivers is to use their best judgment when deciding whether to release packages. Some drivers are idiots, what can you do, but most try to be responsible in this.

      Releasing envelopes and small packages to between the main door and the screen door is probably the most common thing, and leaving stuff on the porch where it can be seen by passers by is usually by arrangement (even informal, where the customer tells the driver it's ok).

      Leaving computers and anything that can easily
  • Does anyone know how fast someone begins to type on this thinger, once they have used it for a while?

    is easier (or maybe harder?) to start typing at a reasonable rate since its layout is fimilar (A B C ....)

    I suppose anyone who programmed on their calculator during math class can answer this too. ( I always had the serial cable :D )
    • I suppose anyone who programmed on their calculator during math class can answer this too.

      I wrote a two-player Chess game [phroggy.com] for my TI-82 (mostly) during math class. After awhile, you kinda get used to the buttons.
  • I've had nothing but problems receiving UPS packages. I've had packages that were never delivered, packages damaged in transit, and I had to go meet a delivery man on a corner one time because he said he couldn't find my address. My apartment was in a town with a numbered grid of streets ... so I'm not sure where the confusion was. I'm all for Brown getting some new toys so long as it means I get my packages faster.
  • by Cecil (37810) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:30PM (#5765277) Homepage
    Then see how you feel about them.
  • by quandrum (652868) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @03:39PM (#5765317)
    Actually, internally UPS has been "wireless" for years. I work as a "Loader" packing boxes into 18-wheeler type trucks. (Whenever I just say trucks, people assume the brown ones they see on the street.) We have to scan the barcode on every box and the device we use is wireless and straps on teh wrist, with a scanner eye on our hand. However, the tech used is circa '94 and often the things have lots of problems connecting. Can be a problem.

    In may, these systems will be replaced with a system with better wireless performance. And the eye piece will be wireless too, so we can wear the computer on our hip.

    • I helped deploy the Symbol technology in the South Florida District a few years ago and we were one of the original beta sites. We had lots of problems with the scanners dropping into "batch mode" and sometimes locking up. Battery issues were also common. The sort shifts were around 3-4 hours but the batteries, though rated for that length, didn't really live up to the claims. Still, the technology was still fairly cutting edge during the delployment.

      Eventually the technology was supposed to help loaders d
      • Eventually the technology was supposed to help loaders determine which packages went into each feeder

        Seriously, this was needed a long time ago. The standard for UPS is that 1 in 2000 boxes is allowed to be missorted (Sent to the wrong destination.) I've been told each one costs the company between 10 and 60 dollars.(extra transit + customer refund) At millons of packages shipped every day, this has to be one of their biggest expenses. And it would be so easy to implement some form of computer check. Rel

        • And it would be so easy to implement some form of computer check.

          I think that if it were being designed from scratch it would be almost trivial to implement this. The problem is that there are thousands upon thousands of shipping sites, and many of them have the traditional barcodes that contain only a package ID and service level information. There's no destination ZIP or "extra" information that will tell where the package gets routed. This means that the system would have to, as the package is being s
          • Indeed it would be trivial to implement a misload prevention system if the scanning system were being designed from scratch. But, I do see hope in the next generation of scanners.

            As I understand it, UPScan scanners are supposed to be using 803.11b wireless networking for connecting back to the servers rather than radio transceivers. That right there helps the reliability of the data transmission and should provide for the possibility of transmitting more data quicker to and from the scanners.

            Now, to
  • When I worked at UPS (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pettifogger (651170) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @04:01PM (#5765391)
    I used to work for UPS back in 1991-1992 down in LA, and was one of the DIAD Techs that they had.

    For what it's worth, this new model looks a whole lot better than the original. For starters, it's a lot smaller, not to mention all the wireless capabilities. You used to have to "dock" the DIADs in big metal racks and spend a lot of time getting information on and off of them each night. That took quite a bit of time.

    I don't know if they still use it, but back then, the DIAD system was run under OS/2, which is why I'm still a fan of that OS.

    The only thing I'm curious about is the durability of these units. The original DIADs were pretty good, however, a significant drop or other mistreatment would either knock it out or send it into "bootloader" mode. And it was a pain to have deliveries done on paper.

    Anyway, this one looks pretty good- it almost makes me want to go back so I can play with them. Then again, the current carrer track is a whole lot more profitable.

    • The DIAD system is under Win now, though the sort scanners are still under OS/2 (at least in our center).

      As for durability, we're still on DIAD IIs, and I've seen them take some pretty nasty falls and survive - worst I ever saw was the LCD crack and go all black.

      I just hope that the new version gets signatures better than the old black pressure pads.
  • OK, it's really neat, but how do I steal one of these great toys if it has GPS in it and all those ways it can snitch on me and tell UPS where it is?
  • UPS would be a great environment to test out the latest and greatest in Wearable Computer stuff. Feedback from the employees would help the development of the technology.
    • Actually, internally it might be too rough. Flesh wounds are a daily occurance and cardboard dust gets EVERYWHERE. Like, my chest is black with the stuff after 4 hours. Under a t-shirt and sweatshirt.

      I tried taking my iPod into work to listen to music while I worked. I swear it aged about 2 years in one day. Hasn't worked correctly since. And if you're talking about the drivers who stop by to drop off packages, what company in their right mind would beta test anything that had to interface with the custo

  • by TV-SET (84200)
    Q: How does one make BrownHat?
    A: One needs to put a lot of shit into RedHat. :)
  • linux...never (Score:5, Informative)

    by sickmtbnutcase (608308) on Saturday April 19, 2003 @04:33PM (#5765530)
    "The obvious /. question is: Can we run Linux on Brown? Maybe UPS can fund an OSS startup, "BrownHat"? We'll see..."

    Just to let you know: I work at UPS. Switching to Linux will never happen. UPS is a Microsoft joint. Plain and simple, and i really doubt they will ever switch. They have too many programs written for Windows and that seems to be all the developers know. And, what's really scary, too much stuff runs on Access. A company their size takes forever to roll out new equipment and software, heck, the system i work with (runs all the scanning in the hub) is still on OS/2. We are waiting for our new scanners, which will run on a Windows 2000-based system. The new scanners for hub use(loading trucks) will even be running Windows CE. No chance of tux invading this place.
    • Agreed, as the company I work in is involved with writing the UPS shipping software, I know they have no plans whatsoever to port it to Linux, let alone making it open source.

      Also, I worry about the security implications in using access and asp for their backend work. I know because I saw and worked on it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Mark this OffTopic if necessary, but please read it.

    Take a peek at this as I would not at all trust Symbol Technolgies with anything IT related.
    Check the head lines here: Symbol Technologies in the news [yahoo.com]

    Take a look at this: Former Symbol Technologies Exec Pleads Guilty to Fraud [yahoo.com]. Its just the tip of the iceberg.
    Symbol Severance Assailed [newsday.com]
    Critics: Delay $2M payment to ex-CEO

    I had worked for their manufacturing team on Long Island, NY from 97-99 & did web development/IT stuff for them from 99-2001. The

  • Will they name it after Apple's naming convention (or the ipaq) and call it iBROWN or BROWN-i?
  • by Dr. Mu (603661)
    ...is a way to access the system to find out where my driver is when he's got stuff for me. That way I could go meet him early and get it, instead of waiting for an afternoon delivery.
  • they are making a handheld barcode scanner that would be used for grocery shopping. as you walk along putting groceries in your cart, you scan it in to the scanner that you have.
    then when you check out, instead of them scanning all of your groceries, they just take your handheld device and plug it in to see how much your bill is.

    the obvious point that came up is how easily one could steal. so the store would instate a rule where they randomly scan all of someone's groceries.

    I, and apparently many others a
    • --I haven't followed Symbol's stock in over two years,

      $35 to $10, upper echelon mgmt kicked/fired/leaving, SEC investigations, criminal/civil charges filed, accounting restatements coming from 1999, 200, and 2001 -- you tell me how they're doing...
    • That is actually not a "new" idea for Symbol. I work for a grocery chain and one of our stores used to have a system like that, but it was very old. I don't even think it was 2 mb wireless. We have since taken it out, but the customers absolutely loved it when it was there.
      As far as Symbol making "cool" handhelds - yeah, they're cool as long as you don't care about them functioning reliably. We have thousands of their 6846 PDT units and the failure rate on them has been 20%-50% over the past 2 years of use.
  • Scenario Time: anytime

    Location : Bathrooms all over the world

    Sounds : gasping and grunts from the bathroom...
    "uh", "brrrrrr...." .... "gasp!!???" , "ouch", (straining grunts...) , "brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"
    "sighh..........aaaaaaaaaaaaahhh"


    aaahhhhh the POWER of brown
  • I think the real question is what happens to all the handhelds that they have now, There must be tons of them and they look like some slick embedded hardware as is.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Looks pretty cool, but BROWN? Didn't they get the message that brown is SO 1970s?

    Oh, wait, I get it...

Some people have a great ambition: to build something that will last, at least until they've finished building it.

Working...