You are hereBlur coupon? Not worth the risk!

Blur coupon? Not worth the risk!


By MauriceRevek - Posted on 23 June 2010

I wanted to print the famous Blur coupon (no I will not link to it), and was surprised by the fact that coupons.com wanted to install an active x on my computer in order to print it. After doing a little digging, I came accross this site, which also linked to this article.

One of the comments in the site seems to come from a marketing exec from Coupons Inc, where he states that the purpose of the active x is to provide proper resolution for the barcode to render properly on your printer.

BULLSHIT!

Having worked in the barcode industry, I call bullshit. All a barcode is, is a bunch of black lines. A local Active X component will not make the rendering of the barcode more accurate than if the instructions to print were transmitted over the internet. If your printer has a badly aligned or blocked print head, a local active x will not fix that. If the coupon is rendered as a PDF on the server side, and sent to your browser, a local ActiveX will not make any difference in how Adobe prints the coupon. If the coupon if actually transmitted to the ActiveX component, and the component is the one talking to the printer, it still will only send what will possibly be a Postscript stream, or whatever printer language is being used now, to give instructions to your printer. Sending an instruction to your printer to print a black line from position Start(x,y) to End(x,y) with a solid black fill will not be any more accurate with the local ActiveX than the browser talking directly to the printer. What a local active x will do though, if give the remote calling program access to internal information on your computer.

Since I have not printed the barcode, I cannot acertain what information is actually encoded in it, nor can I determine what type of barcode (1D or 2D). A 1D barcode is the one we are all familiar with. It has a bunch of black and white lines. A 2D barcode is one with a bunch of little squares. If the barcode is a 2D one, then beware. A LOT of information can be stored in that barcode. Especially if they compress whatever information they collect, then translate that compressed string to a barcode.

Even a 1D barcode can hold a fair amount of information if compression is used.

So imagine you print your coupon with the barcode, and in that barcode, when you turn it in, you just told the marketing company where you live, what computer you have, the colour of your eyes, the last 5 days of browser history (clear the porn!) your pets name, your pet name for your wife, etc... etc...

All this to say, print at your own risks.

Now where is my tinfoil hat?

Did Stormblade steal it again?

Swag's picture

a contest prize since it got double Coxxored! Hmm, that sounds dirty.

Coxxorz's picture

And since you won last time, I vote that you donate the prize this time around.

Swag's picture

Since I'll win anyway.

MauriceRevek's picture

You cannot win the prize that you yourself submitted.

Them's are the rules. You might as well just give it to me.

Coxxorz's picture

I'm never frigging eligible.

Swag's picture

n/t

Coxxorz's picture

For $39.97.

Coxxorz's picture

It actually uses both kinds of barcodes. Presumably the point of the coupon printing app is to track fraud, and limit the number of times you can print it. A moot point in a workplace with dozens of computers. I would be more concerned with ongoing espionage on people who forget to uninstall the app as soon as they're done with it. But that's where the workplace comes in again. You know that annoying smelly guy who listens to voicemail on speakerphone? Install it on his computer!

Or get Aku to make copy for you.

Problem solved.

fungster88's picture

A decent firewall will block the ActiveX download since it will be treated as Adware.

So, Aku is the only option then.

Akuf's picture

WTF? How the frak did I get dragged into this?

MauriceRevek's picture

We can only drag Stormblade so many times before even that gets boring. Well, maybe not. Ok, lets all go to Stormblade's place and print coupons that will leave behind malware on his computer.

We can still go to Aku's place and print another batch, like that we can get 2 copies of the game and use it for a trade in.

Coxxorz's picture
MauriceRevek's picture

He already printed one? I think it blocks multiple prints from the same computer, no? If it does not, then what other purpose would there be for installing the ActiveX? It's a conspiracy I tell you! It's all stormblades fault! He is after me!

Coxxorz's picture

Good thing our printer has a separate RIP that allows you to reprint recent documents without your computer.

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