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multiple keyboards (keyboard and MSR actualy)

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ok, so I have a magnetic stripe (card) reader and what I want to make a program that runs in the background and deals with input from it (sending it off to an ODBC database, but that's not important). the MSR is configured to act as a keyboard, so when a card is scanned all the data on it is effectively typed in from a second keyboard. what I want to know is what is the best way to have this run in the background and listen to all input from the MSR (which again the computer thinks of as a second keyboard), if it involves giving the program in question exclusive access to the device that's fine (in fact slightly preferred). should I be using raw input? direct input? oh, almost forgot, I develop on a vista machine, but this program needs to run on a 98se (yeah) machine, so the latest version of directx I can use is 8.1 I think (if that is the road we go down). it's only jobs are to read from the card reader and send the info off to a remote database server, and to display (completely unrelated) information in the form of an HTA application.

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