Microsoft announces shut down product you never heard of



  • "Tag" -- Microsoft's competitor to QR codes (which nobody except Ben gives 2 shits about) will be shut down in 24 months, in accordance with its terms of use.



  • Tag at least looks cool. But IIRC requires color printing too.



  • I've not only heard of it, but used it too! ... only once, at a Microsoft event where you could win prizes by using it. I didn't win anything :(



  • Microsoft tried to market a version of QR codes that are both harder to produce and harder to consume? And it didn't work?

    I did not expect that.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I saw these one time in the US (in a complimentary copy of USAToday handed out by my hotel) but have never seen them anywhere in the EU. If they don't even try to market them, why would they expect them to succeed? The magic power of Office? The ability of anywhere in the world to be hit by an intercontinental ballistic chair?



  • @dkf said:

    I saw these one time in the US (in a complimentary copy of USAToday handed out by my hotel) but have never seen them anywhere in the EU.
    That just about sums up my experience of them, only I had to buy the paper.



  • I've never seen a Tag code in the wild, but the iPhone app for it (which also reads QR codes) was the most sane one I found in the App Store.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Tag at least looks cool. But IIRC requires color printing too.
    There's a four-color version with five layers of triangles, and a B&W version with seven layers of triangles. The idea was that using colors and only supporting a short tag ID allowed for smaller code images. It was also more amenable to the crazy stuff Ben L. likes to do.

    <-- technically this one's black and white.



  • @ubersoldat said:

    I've never seen a Tag code in the wild,
    It wasn't until after I started this thread that I realized I had seen a couple of these "in the wild" but didn't pay any attention to them because I had no idea what they were.  Great marketing, Microsoft! 

     Oh well, it could be worse.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @TwelveBaud said:

    It was also more amenable to the crazy stuff Ben L. likes to do.
    But in some of those cases it's not clear at all that there's that level of information encoded. One of the most important things about a message is its “envelope”, so that the intended recipient realizes that there is a message there in the first place. That balloon picture in particular fails at that.



  • Given that "Tags" only contain a short identifier that is then sent to Microsoft's servers to get the real URL, that means all tags that already exist are going to stop working too. Unless they decide to keep the servers up, which would probably cost them less than $1000 per year but whatever.

    @dkf said:

    If they don't even try to market them, why would they expect them to succeed? The magic power of Office? The ability of anywhere in the world to be hit by an intercontinental ballistic chair?

    I don't think they expected them to succeed. They just like making things like that with their spare money.



  • 100 times as many people now know about Tags. Cheap publicity for Microsoft for the next two years.




  • I'd heard of Tag. Hadn't heard of anyone using Tag, mind you...

    Three cheers for the QR code, which at least doesn't require Microsoft or a similar entity to maintain servers in order to work.



  • I saw one in the wild once, in a tech magazine. The reason I noticed was the man holding the magazine was at sniffing his fingers and picking at the page.

    "Uh, sir? That's just a color bar code." "A new QR code? I thought it was a scratch 'n sniff or some AR game thing. I've never seen one." "Microsoft's been pushing them for a year or two." "Oh."

    He got really quiet. Pretty sure he was a Microsoft employee. 



  • @dkf said:

    But in some of those cases it's not clear at all that there's that level of information encoded. One of the most important things about a message is its “envelope”, so that the intended recipient realizes that there is a message there in the first place. That balloon picture in particular fails at that.
    Guidance called for, and all pre-generated images provided, an image of a phone with the Microsoft Tag logo to the left of the image, and the text "Get the reader at gettag.mobi" underneath. It was assumed that once both readers and tags were more commonplace, the border and wacky color scheme would be sufficient. Of course, then companies asked about borderless custom tags with non-CYMK color schemes...



  • Back in the olden days, before smartphones, there was the CueCat, a device you connected to your computer so you could scan codes in newspapers/magazines, like you would now with QR/Tag codes. The reviews of the CueCat seem to apply here as well.

    "It fails to solve a problem which never existed."-- Debbie Barham, The Evening Standard

    "What’s the proposition?  Learn how to scan like a supermarket clerk so that we can send you more advertising?  No thanks."  --Jack Powers, director of the International Informatics Institute.

    "The CueCat isn’t worth installing and using, even though it’s free. "  -- Walter S. Mossberg, Wall Street Journal

    "The CueCat is one of those clever gewgaws that would be brilliant, if only it performed some useful function. But it doesn’t."  -- Richard Des Ruisseaux, Louisville Courier-Journal

    "Almost impressively useless."  -- Clive Thompson, Newsday


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @El_Heffe said:

    Back in the olden days, before smartphones, there was the CueCat, a device you connected to your computer so you could scan codes in newspapers/magazines, like you would now with QR/Tag codes. The reviews of the CueCat seem to apply here as well.

    "It fails to solve a problem which never existed."-- Debbie Barham, The Evening Standard

    "What’s the proposition?  Learn how to scan like a supermarket clerk so that we can send you more advertising?  No thanks."  --Jack Powers, director of the International Informatics Institute.

    "The CueCat isn’t worth installing and using, even though it’s free. "  -- Walter S. Mossberg, Wall Street Journal

    "The CueCat is one of those clever gewgaws that would be brilliant, if only it performed some useful function. But it doesn’t."  -- Richard Des Ruisseaux, Louisville Courier-Journal

    "Almost impressively useless."  -- Clive Thompson, Newsday


    Wasting Money on Cats



  • Yeah but it wasn't a terrible barcode scanner, and you got it for free. With the right driver you could use it for scanning any type of code.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Yeah but it wasn't a terrible barcode scanner, and you got it for free. With the right driver you could use it for scanning any type of code.
    Waitwaitwait-- are you advocating obtaining something for FREE from a creator, then violating the implied social contract attached to the proper usage of the device?  They put their hardwork, soul, blood, sweat and tears into creating this device. They gave away this device SPECIFICALLY to be used in an approved manner-- which would compensate them for their hard, creative work. Each time you scan something unapproved, you are stealing directly from the mouths of the developers, their ancestors and descendents for all time.

    It's thieving scum like you that drove CueCat out of business.  You're literally worse than fifteen Genghis Rasputins!



  • You're not very good at this, Lorne.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne Kates said:

    @blakeyrat said:

    Yeah but it wasn't a terrible barcode scanner, and you got it for free. With the right driver you could use it for scanning any type of code.
    Waitwaitwait-- are you advocating obtaining something for FREE from a creator, then violating the implied social contract attached to the proper usage of the device?  They put their hardwork, soul, blood, sweat and tears into creating this device. They gave away this device SPECIFICALLY to be used in an approved manner-- which would compensate them for their hard, creative work. Each time you scan something unapproved, you are stealing directly from the mouths of the developers, their ancestors and descendents for all time.

    It's thieving scum like you that drove CueCat out of business.  You're literally worse than fifteen Genghis Rasputins!

    Too bad. Case law in the US is settled--if you send someone a gift (especially without them asking) they're free to do whatever they want with it. By spamming CueCats out to people, they lost the right to control how the device was used, as they found to their detriment when they tried to go after people who disabled the chip that sent back a unique ID to their servers with each barcode request.

    Somewhere in a box I probably still have 3 or so of 'em.


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