I just counted. I have 21 plastic cards in my wallet… credit cards, ID cards, membership cards, you name it. And there are four barcode tags dangling from my car keys.
Being a geek, I keep all the relevant numbers encrypted in my Palm Treo (using SplashID… I really hope they’re doing an iPhone version!), but rattling off a ten-digit number doesn’t do much good when the clerk at Barnes and Noble wants to see your card.
In preparing for the switch to an iPhone this weekend, I started thinking. Why not carry images of all those cards instead?
Here’s the video of the result:
(Sorry that it’s a little fuzzy. I didn’t want to recreate redacted versions of all my cards.)
Getting there is simple.
First, scan all your cards, front and back, on a flatbed scanner, at 200 dpi. (Actually, I didn’t do my credit cards, since I’m waiting for someone to come up with an encrypted version of this hack.) You’ll get a scanned page with multiple cards on the page.
Then, open the scan in Photoshop (or whatever image editor you like) and scale it so that each card takes about 470 pixels horizontally. You can do math, or you can just do trial-and-error. In my case, I found that scaling the image from 1700 pixels across to 1150 pixels worked well. Be sure to check the “Constrain Proportions” and “Resample Image” boxes.
Now select a rectangular selection tool and, using the pulldown menu, lock it to a fixed size of 480 x 320 pixels (the size of the iPhone screen).
Now play cookie-cutter… center the rectangular selection over each card image, copy, and paste each one into a new GIF file. Make sure to get the backs of cards where that information is relevant.
Save all these images into a folder. Launch iPhoto (on the Mac… I’m not sure how this works on Windows, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out) and import that folder. Rearrange the images to taste.
Now, in iTunes, sync that photo folder with your iPhone.
Here’s what you get:
Every card is displayed as a square icon. Most are recognizable, even at this small size.
Tap on the one you want, and you get a very legible version of each card on your iPhone screen:
And you can double-tap to zoom in, so you can read the fine print without your glasses!
In the zoomed view, I’ve been able to get a barcode scanner to recognize the image.
I hope this is useful to others out there. Now… someone wrap some encryption around this so that someone stealing my phone doesn’t wind up with all my ID numbers! 🙂