Bar code scanners can be setup to decode the scan code on the card and
output it as text. On your incoming site, place cursor in text box, scan
card, code on card is entered as text, hit enter, text field sent to
database where all the F* Magic takes place.

You will also need a method to create the cards and get the data into
the database associated with the number.  You can use Word or other text
program and a bar code font to print the cards with bar-code, or use
pre-printed peel and stick barcode labels to place on a card. To
Initialize the card, have an new member interface where the data for the
member is entered, along with their bar-coded number.

There are a LARGE number of bar-code codes.  Pick one of the more common
that uses alphanumeric and symbols.

Tips: Have a backup reader or hard wire the bar-code scanner into a
power outlet.  The cheaper hand held ones don't have a very good battery
life.  Print the number on the card under the bar code.  This will help
when a drink smears the bar code or it becomes unreadable.  The door
person can enter the number by hand.

Dewey Williams

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Daevid Vincent []
> Sent: Thursday, February 18, 2010 5:43 PM
> To:
> Subject: [PHP] Magnetic Stripe Reader or Barcode to PHP
> I'll confess that I've done almost zero research on this topic as of
> right
> now aside from pricing readers and blank cards.
> So we're opening a new super-club here in Seattle. One of the ideas
> we'd
> like to pursue is that people are assigned a card. This can be a
> magstripe
> card or something with a barcode. Not really sure at the moment which
> way
> to go.
> The idea being that when they enter, we "swipe/scan" their card and we
> can
> log stats (# of visits, # guests, favorite drink so the bar has it
> ready,
> enter into contest, etc.) I was thinking we setup a simple netbook
> a
> USB reader at the front door when they pay. Then we have another back
> at
> the bar. Connect via WiFi. Have a notebook somewhere behind the scenes
> that
> runs LAMP (or a VM thereof). No internet needed.  The backend database
> and
> even web/GUI stuff is of course trivial with any LAMP stack.
> What I don't know is how do I interface _to_ PHP from say a magstripe
> reader. They're dirt cheap ($50), but I assume come with zero
> . And there are
> hundreds of these gadgets out there all the same basically.
> I guess what I'm hoping for is some pointers, from someone who's done
> this
> sort of thing.
> My gut thought is something so simple, where there is some XP software
> (or
> Linux I suppose) that reads the card (and generally they only have a
> number
> encoded on them) and this is sent via a URL we define, such as
> or
> etc. (ignore the security
> issues
> and all that. It's trivial to encode the parameters, plus it's a
> system with WEP/WPA/WTF). But does anyone know of such a key piece of
> code?
> Like I said, I'm not locked into magcards. It could be a barcode
> just as easily. Or fingerprint scanner, or facial recognition. In the
> end
> it's just a unique "thing" that maps to a unique number. I just need
> the
> "FM" (F*ckin' Magic -- it's a programmer term -- look it up!) that
> in
> between PHP and the hardware.
> "Some people, when confronted with a problem, think 'I know, I'll use
> XML.'"
> Now they have two problems.
> --
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