Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Barcode this!

etchamac laser etches iPod's & Mac's. I hope they do Thinkpads too. Note at the bottom of the page they'll put a barcode on your laptop. How cool is that?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My next vacation...

...will be in ZIP code 55172, where else!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Yeah but does it have a barcode in it?

I hear "unique code" and I think barcode. Silly me. So does this dating gimmick have a barcode in or on it? If not, why not??

Seems an impersonal and statisticly challenged replacement for Claddagh rings. What, you never lived single in Boston??

Friday, December 01, 2006

The NY Times style guide

The NY Times Style GuideI love the NY Times, really, I do. I've been reading it for almost a quarter century.

I do get annoyed at their style guide. They do dumb sh*t with abbreviations. Oh, it's "IBM" and "NATO" but "Dram" chips? Gimme a break. Great high tech writers and they can't conform to normal abbreviations. Bozos.

But today's headline takes the cake. I love Morgan Freeman and I do want to see what appears to be a charming little film but "Bar-Code"?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Bad barcode. Bad!

This story about fake boarding passes would be truly funny if the loophole(s) it highlights weren't so serious. Seems this enterprising young lad had a web-based boarding pass generator complete with counterfeit barcodes.

The FBI wasn't amused.

Barcodes, even Michael Crichton gets it

Next, Michael Crichton
I see Michael Crichton's new book Next features a big barcode on the cover. Further proof that barcodes have mainstreamed into our collective visual vocabulary.

I dunno know what the book is about. Don't care. Probably won't read it. But it has a barcode on the cover. That's what's important. It's further proof that my white paper is on the mark.

Told you so...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Another wacky barcode idea

You know why I love working with barcodes? Cuz with predictable regularity someone comes up with a "better mousetrap". Or so they think. Here's someone eager to prove that current barcode technology isn't good enough.

a.) I didn't know I needed to hang that much data on my wall
b.) If I was going to use an auto ID technology I'd use something like PDF417 which allows multiple symbols to be chained together.
c.) I'd also consider using a technique that stood a hope of a prayer of a chance of a possibility of being read by someone else, today and 10 years from now.

I've been publishing barcode software for 18 years now and the stream of new-and-improved technology is neverending, to my continued amusement.

Keep it comin' folks!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Barcode Archaeology

A friend passed this article about bogus barcode patents along to me. This campaign focuses on NeoMedia's claims of inventing scanning barcodes to visit web sites and other online databases. Yeah right...

It struck a chord with me because I have an issue with bogus patents and patent trolls in general but it really hits home when it's about barcodes. Once again, follow the bouncing ball, repeat after me: barcodes are based on open, non-proprietary specifications, global specifications. The system works around the world between trading partners sight unseen because we all agree to and honor open, non-proprietary standards. Misuse of these shared protocals is a grave sin.

I explain things in detail in this white paper, Barcodes: From Jargon to Slang. Don't take my word for it, look at the pictures.

Please support the EFF's The Patent Busting Project.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Yeah. But why?

So this is another barcode scheme that makes me ask "So?".

From what I gather it turns my music collection into PDF 417 barcodes. So dum (sic) I can't even muster a good laugh. This is from someone who's been doing barcode software for almost 18 years, and has an iPod with 3977 songs spanning 48.4 days & 21.13 GB.

And I'm supposed to carry around how many volumes of your barcode books????

Thursday, November 09, 2006

And all for bad beer

Regular readers already know that I'm not a big fan of RFID. I'm not even a small fan. It's also a widely known factoid that I love beer. Good beer. Microbrewed beer as in Dogfish Head.

But this story pairs bad technology with bad beer. An example of two wrongs not making a right.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Bogus Barcode = Airport Boarding Pass

Woe be unto those who ignore Bruce Schneier. He speaks about one misguided person's web site that generated fake boarding passes complete with barcodes.

Nothing like having the FBI kick your door in to get your attention.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A novel use for UPC barcodes

I'm sick and tired of me-too cameraphone barcode startups. Repeat after me: NO ONE CARES! If they did the rest of you chuckleheads would be chasing the market leader. THERE AIN'T NO MARKET TO LEAD.

Meanwhile, I find this social hack a relatively unique application of barcode technology if I may say so myself.

Code 128 barcode web site

I'm on a roll now. Just launched a new web site about Code 128 bar codes. You know, sometimes it's the small things in life that bring us such great pleasures. For me, that'd be barcodes.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

a newly resurrected barcode web site

It seems that one of our old friends has undergone a bit of a rebirth. This barcode site has gotten a little attention. A modest offering but a friendly one nevertheless.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Barcodes, part of our collective visual vocabulary

JetCityOrange features a photo gallery of barcode tattoos, barcode graffiti, , graffiti t-shirts.

It also hosts a white paper, "Barcodes: once jargon, now slang" (PDF). An interesting read, if I may say so myself.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Enuf with the cameraphone barcodes already

Shotcode. Yet-another-who-cares-nobody-wants-them barcode scam, errr, scheme for cell phones.

I make a proprietary barcode. I stick my barcode somewhere you're going to see it. You take a picture of my barcode with your cellphone. Your cell phone calls or emails or interweb dot orgs my barcode to my server. Wonderful things happen to you but more importantly I make money.

Who fucking cares?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Double up barcodes

My eye falls to things like this.

Great book too.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

ISBN-13 Barcodes Are Coming Ya Know!

ISBN-13 barcode, Bookland bar codeYep, the old Bookland barcodes are soon to be extinct. 01jan07 to be exact.

Read this to get a leg up on the new ISBN-13 barcodes. This site is more to the point. OK, sparse is more like it. But hey.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

666 Mark of the Beast & Barcode T-shirts

Nothing sez "barcodes" like 666. When I say "UPC", you say "Satan!"

I wish this urban myth would go away but fundamentalists of the Christian persuasion insist on spinning wild yarns about the Mark of the Beast being embedded in poor ol' Uniform Product Code symbols.

This web page attempts to squash this falsehood yet again. No, 666 isn't hidden in barcodes. This is all a bad, if not outright wrong, interpretation of Book of Revelation 13:16-18.

Meanwhile now's the time to buy your very own barcode t-shirts. Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa are coming up (not to mention my very own birthday 12/12). Buy online today!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Barcodes + Cell Phones. AGAIN!

So Fujitsu thinks they've got it figured out. Yet-another-barcodes-on-cell-phones scheme/scam.

Lots of people have tried it. No one seems to be the clear cut market leader. Leads me to believe there ain't a market here folks. Mature markets shake out to 1, 2, maybe 3 clear cut winners. Mature markets aren't littered with has-been's, wanna be's, also ran's, and me too's. Too many players without any significant market share equals nada.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress...

Monday, September 18, 2006

Homeland Security is at it again
Seeing this on my checked bag when I picked it up made me feel better. Homeland Security has in-spected my luggage. I'm free to go.

Never mind that the airline themselves hands me a snack box that includes a serrated plastic knife. As does every coffee shop and most takeout restaurants past the security check point.

Things they call "shanks" in the Big House.

At least my oversized barcode has a hologram sticker on it. Collect the whole set!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Loooong barcode

Every once in a while, you see a barcode that sticks out. This barcode sticks out. Or across. Or whatever...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Chinese vegetable barcodes

Let me get this straight. Putting barcodes on produce is somehow supposed to make me feel more secure about what I put in my mouth. Or so the Chinese want us to believe. Why? What's wrong with your apples and cabbage I should be worried about?

It's as if the UPC on my cereal makes me feel safe a breakfast. Yeah, right...

Meanwhile we at Azalea world headquarters have more important things on our minds. The water hyacinth in our office bloomed overnight. I thought it looked nice with the Port of Seattle in the background.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

DIY barcode scanner

For those of you really obsessed with barcodes, you'll need your own scanner. I mean really, what home is complete without one.

If you're anything like me you already have a CueCat but outgrew that long ago. What you need is a homebrew dee-vice.

Well, here's one for you. Don't say I never gave you anything.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Barcoded toys? Why??

This story makes me think they're sellinga solution to a non-problem. What? You're too busy to read to your kids so you're gonna scan a barcode that initiates an electronic babysitter? This is good parenting? Oy vey!

Barcode tattoos

barcode tattoo photographs
It started out slowly enough but it's hard to deny that JetCityOrange's barcode tattoo photo collection has blossomed.

Something tells me that there are more bar code tattoos out there waiting to be discovered and submitted. You wouldn't be holding out on me now would you???

Monday, July 24, 2006

Whole Foods needs to change their POS

I love Whole Foods. I went to their mothership store in Austin. Three times in four days while on a business trip. Blew me away so much I called Lisa from the store and told her we're coming back just to shop.

Yesterday I noticed something odd. When two UPC symbols wouldn't scan yesterday, the cashier had to call for a price check. I asked and no it doesn't always work to simply type the 11 or 12 digits in. She said that not everything was "in the system".

Gimme a break. This is a massive, global retailer. If they can't figure out how to scan everything they stock they should call Bentonville.

Friday, July 14, 2006

You know what pisses me off?

I'm in the store. I buy 5 different flavors of fruit leather. They are different colors in different packages. Different SKUs with different GTINs, hence each has a different UPC barcode.

So what does the cashier do? Scan one and hit the 'repeat X5' key. I realize all she's doing is harvesting the price. To hell with real time inventory tracking.

When I mention it she mumbles something to the effect of "well, if that's the way you want me to do it sir."

Her MIS dept. must love her.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Weird barcode at the post office

USPS barcode
Someone mailed me something in a photo mailer from the post office. The buck twenty-nine price is a little high but hey, convenience, right?

What caught my eye was the barcode on the back. Seems our pals at the Post Office are too cheap to buy a company prefix from GS1 and use number system 4 which is reserved for in-house use. Product code (SKU) is 94009284 and voila, there's your barcode number.

Even odder is that the 5-digit supplemental isn't the price, otherwise it would be 50129 following Bookland rules.

And perhaps most upsetting of all is that this item is made in Mexico. So much for supporting domestic manufacturers.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Barcode Nerds on My Space

Yep. It finally happened. Your favorite bar code nerds are now on MySpace.

"Why?" you ask. Cuz that's where the party is. And Lord knows we don't want to be left out.

Besides, how can I let my kids be hipper than me?

"It's too late for that now."

Yeah. I know.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Unique or Not?

Pyramid Ales X3 barcodes
Excuse me but all this time I was under the mistaken notion that one of the hallmarks of barcodes was their uniqueness. Not only are two different items supposed to have two different barcodes but the corillary is that each item is supposed to have one and only one barcode.

So what's up with the homies at Pyramid Brewing? Didn't they get the memo?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Guess where I'm going to park?

Barcode? Did someone say 'barcode'?

We all get those bulk mailed envelopes bursting with coupons we have no interest in. Oh, if you're anything like me you paw through them every time, pulling a few out, swearing you'll use them. But no, the expiration date comes and goes.

But this one got my attention. Why? Cuz it has a barcode, that's why.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Font thieves busted!

Stories like this hit home. Overal, I'm glad they got caught and I hope it serves as a warning to others. Fonts are intellectual property just like all copyrighted software. Stealing fonts is stealing. Period.

I just wonder how nobody knew they were committing a sin. Sounds like what we call grand larceny where I come from. Paying up retroactively isn't good enough for me. If I find out they were stealing my fucking software I'm calling out the lawyers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

myspace: me too, me too!

As if a family of web sites and this blog isn't enough, I just establish a myspace presence.

Just what I need, another project...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Mosquito Ringtone

NPR had a story about the mosquito ringtone. Colleen email it to Clyde, Ben, and I. Seems as we age, we lose the ability to hear high frequencies. Someone made a machine that generates such noises as a way to disperse loitering teens. Then the teens realize they can use it as a ringtone to avoid having their teachers hear it in class.

I decide to unleash a mosquito ringtone of my own. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Old barcodes on new bottles

Apple barcode
I'm always intrigued by non-standard barcodes, especially UPC bar codes. I find this product-inspired packaging creative. The label is diecut to resemble an apple and the bump in the upper left is the stem. Clever.

Reminds me of a bottle of wine I ran across years ago from a winery named Eye of the Swan. The barcode was part of the illustration: cattails with a swan. The barcode was part of the stalks.

Makes me laugh when I hear about companies trying to patent barcodes-as-illustrations. A Japanese company with an American partner here in Seattle comes to mnd. Can you spell "prior art"?

Friday, May 12, 2006

Barcode scanner as camera

Take a look at this photo. Looks like it was taken with a camera phone, right?

No. It was taken using this barcode scanner and its bundled software.

Not really a big surprise given that barcode scanners are CCD devices.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

We told you not to trust RFID...

As we've been saying, RFID ain't safe. And here's someone who's done what we've all had nightmares about.

The cat's outta the bag. You've been warned.

Friday, May 05, 2006

666 is coming! 666 is coming!

We all know that 666 is the Mark of the Beast. Don't we??? If not, read this.

And we all know that UPC barcodes include the Mark of the Beast .

So all fellow barcode nerds are hereby given notice of the upcoming date: 06/06/06 Read all about it right here. Better polish up that barcode tattoo of yours.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Let's all move to Wisconsin!

Prgressive politics have been part of WI's political heritage for generations. This proposed stance on chip implants makes me smile.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Would you believe a barcode robot?

Now herer's a guy with an interesting hobby.

There was a barcode in there somewhere

This story strikes me as funny. On a number of levels. My only regret is not having been there to witness this man-machine interaction.

You just know barcodes played a part in this drama!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Suntan tattoos as barcodes

This story reminds me of using laser printed transparencies to make suntan tattoos.

If only I'd listened to Ray Delnicki and done RSS barcodes oh those many years ago we wouldn't be struggling with PLUs today. Sh*t...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Linux Barcode Fonts. For IBM no less!

We sent out a press release today announcing our new Linux barcode fonts for UPC, Code 128, Code 39, and Interleaved 2 of 5.

Let's just say that the 'official' release was somewhat sanitized. I encourage you to read the real press release instead!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

RFID virus

We all knew it was possible. We all suspected it was coming. But you wouldn't believe me because I own a barcode software company. I'm not supposed to like RFID.

Well, read this. Stop and think about it. RFID is coming in at the top and being deployed enterprise-wide. Just ask Walmart. This makes the RFID story incredibly scary.

The good news/bad news is that this story comes out of academia, not Def Con.

With that said, things like this don't look so paranoid, now do they? In fact, I'm writing my letter to Santa right now!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Time to get your passport. NOW!

Reading this underlines the fact that I need to get a new passport before RFID chips are mandatory. In fact, I need to get them for my kids too. Nobody should have RFID chips in their passports until the weakass encryption is fixed.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Not this again...

If I had a dollar for every time someone comes up with a scheme to use UPC barcodes to index a database for endusers, I wouldn't have to sell barcode software myself. Sheesh, doesn't this reek of the CueCat? Again.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Chip implants

Now this story on RFID chip implants gives me the willies. Guys, that X-Files story line was fiction. F-I-C-T-I-O-N. Make believe.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Drunken UPC

drunken UPC

So was the barcode done by an intoxicated graphic designer or is this an indication of what'll happen to me if I drink this brew? And which is the better of the two?

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Gotta love them barcode tattoos!

Barcode tattoos. Who knew they were so popular. Don't believe me? look here. If you've got one, please contribute your favorite photo. Dont' be shy; step right up.

This proves that barcodes have moved into the mainstream visual vocabulary. Me? I'm not tatted.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Here we go again...

Here comes another barcodes-as-interactive-marketing scheme.

Come on folks, didn't the ill-fated CueCat fiasco teach us anything? Or is our collective memory that short and/or defective?


Friday, February 03, 2006

RFID passports

So you think passports with RFID chips in them will make us all more secure? Read this. Now will you sleep better at night? I won't.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Big enuff for ya?

big barcode big barcode

This is a multi-pack so the barcode really is this big. Waaay too big to be in spec. IMHO

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A barcode building

Now I like my office. In fact I love my office. But this building is over the top!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Barcode Tattoos

Do you have a barcode tattoo? If so, someone we know (wink, wink) is putting together an online photo gallery of barcode tattoos.

Don't be shy. If you've got a tat odds are you want others to see it. Now's your chance.

BTW, check out this web site too.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bar Codes, SMS, & tickets

Now this kind of scheme should make you glad I'm an honest man. Unless these folks have given some serious thought to fraud prevention, a nefarious barcode nerd could do some serious damage. Not necessarily getting me in an event but selling you a SMS message that looks like a valid ticket but doesn't get you in the door. By then, I (and your money) are long gone.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I'm sure that all of you are just dying to read about barcodes in languages other than English. Right?
Spanish | German | French | Portuguese

Italian | Japanese | Chinese

Monday, January 09, 2006

Does this involve a tattoo?

This kind of stuff makes me nervous. Really, really nervous.

On a lighter note, this makes a strong case for video on the net. A little too long but funny as hell! Andy pointed this one out.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Dear Santa,

I know I'm a little late for this year's delivery but next Christmas I just gotta have one of these.

Think how jealous all the other kids will be. Imagine the science fair projects I could do. Visualize the possibilities...

If nothing else, it can keep my CueCat company!