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MagRead is an application to read magnetic stripe cards.

It was written by myself, Jeffrey Malone as a fun app to demonstrate the mslib
library that decodes the magnetic stripe data itself.
MagRead should be able to read any magnetic stripe that conforms to the
standards defined by the ABA and the IATA.  These two formats are by far the
predominant ones found, and the only exceptions I've personally run across are
hotel keys.

 - A hardware audio dongle to read the cards, such as those provided by Square
   for their payment service.
 - A compatible audio jack on the device.  Compatible jacks are ones that have
   a pin-out for audio output and input -- typically headset jacks.  These are
   found on some newer MacBooks and Thinkpads, along with many other devices.
 - Qt 4.6 or later (including Qt Multimedia plugin)

Confirmed to work on:
Mac OS X 10.6 on a current MacBook Pro
Linux on a Thinkpad W510
Windows 7 on a Thinkpad W510
Nokia N8 with Symbian S^3
Nokia N900 with Maemo 5 PR 1.3 (For <PR1.3, you must use MagRead 1.1 or older)

To build on the terminal, simply run:
qmake && make

You may also open the project file in Qt Creator to build.

For Nokia N900 owners, this application is packaged and found in the
extras-devel repository at:
Please vote for it so it can eventually ascend to the extras repo.

For Symbian users, at present you must compile this application yourself.  I'll
work on getting a dev certificate so that I can sign a sis file soon.

For Linux, Windows and OS X users, binary versions will be available very soon
on my blog.  The code however can be compiled yourself now, with Linux
instructions above.

Further information on how this program works and screenshots of it in action
may be found on my blog at:


Reads magnetic stripe cards on Maemo, Symbian, Windows, OS X and Linux







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