My self-checkout software goals for 2023

 Hi again. Hope you've been well. Software can be kind of boring. No one really cares about most of the cool little features that we spend months developing. I mean, think about a utility such as a word processor program. I have used "MS Word" about every day since the early 1990s. How many features can you think of that were added since then that are really useful? Seriously, the last cool feature that I use regularly was mail merge. MS corp needs revenue so every year they release a new version of the software and hope people will buy the same software yet again. I used the 1997 version for ten years or so. Now I use the 2007 version. Office software is like a microwave oven or a toaster. They were pretty much perfected more than 20 years ago. Of course they can add bluetooth, and enable Alexa to inform you when the toast is ready. It will be cool when your robot can serve your poptarts in bed.

So here's what I am currently working on: Camera integration. This is actually two features: (1) You can record a video of people using the self-checkout for security and (2) Use a camera as a barcode reader. I use a super cool Razer webcam which I purchased for $80. It has excellent resolution and built-in lighting. You can use two or three of them to cover a large surface. (Might be useful for those colleges with big Art books).

Another feature is the releasing of source code. For years I have given source code to libraries who want it and assuming they are willing to sign an NDA. But this year I hope to make the user interface parts of it freely available for download by anyone interested. All you will need for editing our software is MS Visual Studio 2019, of which the "Comunity edition" is free to use.

The price for our basic version is still $400 and will include the above features. Small rural libraries serving underprivileged communities may obtain the software for free. Also educational institutions of any size may have the software for free. Premium features, including Pinpad payment integration and RFID support, have additional costs however. An updated user manual is in the works too.

I am seeking partners and beta testers. :)

Bill Potter


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