Thursday, December 04, 2008

Coupon Barcodes

In these perilous financial times coupon-clipping is a really good idea.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Barcodes In Space

When you live and work in a tiny, airtight capsule for weeks or months on ends, things get a little messy. When over the years 150-plus roommates move in and out, leaving their various space tools and dirty socks all over, it gets to be a right pig sty. You can never find anything.

The solution, of course (as with all of life's challenges), is barcodes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yet Another Cautionary Tale of Inventory (Mis)Management

Volume forty-seven in this series is titled Maybe We Shoulda Kept Tracka' Our Guns, from the Fletcher, NC police department via BlueRidgeNow.

While running a recent inventory check officers discovered that four weapons were missing- including an M-14, a shotgun and two handguns.

“It could be the weapons were taken to a gun shop for repair and it was not documented,” [official George Erwin] said. “The guns could have been traded for others and no paper work was filled out. The guns could have been stolen.”

Oh my! But fear not, citizens of Fletcher, it might only be an inside job:

Erwin also pointed to the fact the department has had a high turnover rate recently and the guns may have been taken by former officers.

Phew! Sleep better now, won't you?

As always happens, the FPD is considering a comprehensive management system after the fact:

“We are making some changes due to this,” he said. “Previously, too many people had access to the supply room. Now we have one officer who has access to evidence and to the supply room. We are also looking to track the weapons by a barcode system.”

Sigh. Manage your inventory before it goes missing, folks.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The CueCat: it's *alive*!!!!

Damn CueCat just won't die. Now after all these years, it's been granted a patent! You gotta be kidding me. Someone's been paying a patent attorney all this time!!

Sh*t. Now I have to update my CueCat post mortem.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

QR Barcodes for Barack Obama

With the election quickly approaching, QR barcodes decided they couldn't sit on the sidelines quietly any more. It's time 2D barcodes took a stand and had their collective voices heard.

It's unanimous: Barcodes for Obama

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lego QR Code

We all love QR barcodes though maybe not as much as Pedro Morales does. A QR bar code done in Legos. Whodda thunk?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Barcode Dogtags!

Nothing says loving like barcode dogtags! Take my word for it. Or, watch the video on YouTube.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Barcode Tattoo Photo Gallery

barcode tattoo image
No sooner than I put up a new barcode tattoo photography gallery I run into someone working at my local plant nursery sporting yet-another bar code tattoo. Whadda the odds?

Rummaging around Flickr I'm no longer surprise how frequently photos of barcode tattoos turn up. I have literally dozens of barcode tat pictures on JetCityOrange too.

No, I'm not inked.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Steve Jobs has a barcode license plate???

I just got my first ever personalized license plate for my new Smart Car*. Now I hear Steve Jobs has a barcode license plate? How'd he do that?

Well, it isn't a bar code license plate but his car's VIN in a barcode under the plate. Glad we cleared that up.

* mine reads: 3JEWELS

Friday, August 29, 2008

Now it's Amazon and the CueCat

Hey, it's raining CueCats. Here's someone else talking about our favorite extinct auto ID kitty.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The CueCat Rides Again

Admittedly I'm a Luddite when it comes to tiny, expensive electronic toys; I never see the point and I hate carrying yet more crap around (plus they always make them so droppable. WHY WOULD YOU MAKE A THREE-HUNDRED DOLLAR CELLPHONE SLIPPERY?).

But it's with an extra jaundiced eye that I read a breathless review of the Groqit. It's tiny! It scans yer stuff! It keeps you from buying yet another copy of Steel Magnolias!

It's also already been done.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Barcodes in Schools. how long before the kids cheat?

From the Land Down Under comes a story of barcodes for kids' attendance. OK, so a parent wrote a barcode-based check-in system. Children as inventory. As a father of 3, I can relate.

My question is: how long before the little tykes realize they can photocopy their barcodes and have their siblings and friends check them in?

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Obama barcode tattoos!

Barcode tattoos, how can you not like 'em? Barack? We love us some Barack.

Put 'em together and whadda ya git? Barack barcode tattoos, that's what! All of this of course begs the question, "Why didn't I think of this???"

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Musical Barcodes from Malmö University in Sweden

If you love music and you love barcodes, how can you go wrong with this project? It's from Malmö Univ in Sweden and no I don't speak Swedish but I like what I see in this YouTube video.

The idea behind barcode beats is explained here. Sounds like fun! Do they do the Dead??

Friday, June 20, 2008

One More Reason To Never Leave the House

The NYT has a happy review of the new Ikan grocery scanner, a home countertop item that scans your empties and maintains an online grocery list for you. When the cupboards are bare simply log in, place your order and wait for your replacement sustenance to knock on your door.

Okay, so I love the technology. A consumer-level gizmo that reads barcodes? Yay! A gizmo that reads barcodes and communicates with the interwebs? Super awesome! An "online database of one million products"? Neato!

But we don't get outside enough as it is. Not one of us. We're isolated from other humans in ways unfathomable even 20 years ago. We work online, go to school online, shop online, chat online and meet potential dates and spouses online. Look, it's creepy. Internet-dependent living is just creepy.

I'm as web-addicted as the next nerd but I refuse to give up my scratch-paper-and-pen grocery list. I won't abandon my twice- or thrice-weekly trip to the neighborhood grocery store. At the store I can smell the birthday cakes being made in the bakery. I can ogle the olive bar, admire the asparagus mountains, fondle the navel oranges until I find just the right succulent few. I can chitchat with the checker, smile at the bagger, experience the actual sights, sounds, smells and sensations of an actual public place. And that's super duper awesome if you ask me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why we use barcodes for inventory management

This is a textbook example of why one wants to use barcodes for inventory & tracking purposes. Scan, hit the database, take the appropriate action.

Perhaps if CVS & RiteAid had relied on barcodes for tracking merchandise, said merchandise wouldn't be old and out of date.

Hey, wait a minute. Maybe investigators used barcode technology to inspect said stores! Barcodes to the rescue again.

Read the AG's statement here.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Hacking Barcodes!

Barcodes for birds

barcodes for birdsJust when you think you've seen every barcode use and permutation imagineable along comes barcodes for birds. It all makes perfect sense when you read about it.

Color bands (barcodes) on birds allow for quick identification out in the wild. Still, barcodes for birds...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Ye Olde Barcode Scam Once Again

Azalea Software UPC barcode fontsOh everybody thinks they can steal using barcodes. Some bozo realizes that UPC barcodes contain a unique number that identifies an item, not the item's price. Soooo, reproduce the barcode found on a cheap widget and slap it on an expensive widget. If the cashier doesn't notice the brand/price difference, you save money. Or should I say you use bar codes to shoplift.

Come on folks. Stealing is stealing. People have been teasing me about it since I began writing barcode software 19 years ago. Yes, I could. No, I haven't. No, I won't. Now go outside and play in the traffic.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I wanna Japanese cell fone that eats barcodes!

Short of moving to Tokyo, I really wanna Japanese cell phone. This insidiously clever barcode-based marketing campaign is brilliant. It reminds me of the cup of noodles monsters of years back.

Watch this video first and then read this article and this one too.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Best Part Is That It Made the Newspaper

Tennessee mail ends up in a Texas mailbox!

Sure sure. Blame the POSTNET. Blame the OCR. Never mind all the humans that eyeballed it along the way, it's gotta' be the barcode.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Barcode Tattoos (temporary tattoos but still...)

buy our barcode tattoos

The barcode tattoo photo gallery over at JetCityOrange is really popular. So that got me to thinking: who else would be interested in a bar code tat?

I'm not inked but every once in awhile I'd like to sport a barcode tattoo. A temporary barcode tattoo will do nicely, thank you very much. And at 3 for a buck, how can you go wrong?

Order yours today!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Barcodes in SE Asia

If you're looking for barcode software in SE Asia try: Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Javanese, and Indonesian. Not bad, ehhh?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Barcode Prank Video

Everyone loves a good prank, especially a barcode prank. Watch this video of a great barcode scanning prank.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't like RFID chips? Beat 'em!

I'm no big fan of RFID chips as regular readers of this blog will attest. But whodda thunk someone would document how to destroy RFID chips? With a hammer no less!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

China Doesn't Like Barcodes

Azalea software has been selling barcodes worldwide for years now. That includes China, or at least it used to. We seem to have had one visitor on 23sep07 from Beijing and then our traffic from China seems to have dried up overnight. And we even have pages in Chinese too.

The only explanation we can come up with is that our URL hit someone's desk and our about us page did what it's supposed to: tell the world who and what we are.

Guess the Chinese don't like the Tibetan Technology Center or the Burma Media Association, Electronic Frontier Foundation or any one of a number of groups we support. Speaks volumes about Beijing, now don't it?

Our response? Tor. Remember Comrades: information (and people) want to be free!

Thank you for guiding us towards another worthy project we can support!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Barcode Music!

As a fan of 8-bit music I was delighted to stumble across across a way to make music from barcodes.

A grrl nerd doing art with barcodes. I'm in love!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Texas City Smarter Than Federal Emergency Management Agency

The city of Houston, TX has found a unique solution to the frightening disconnection that familes often suffer during disasters. Rather than relying on hand-written signs, word of mouth or spotty cellphone coverage, families, hospitals, evacuation centers and emergency officals can now utilyze barcode bracelets to help locate and track families separated in the chaos of an emergency.

If only FEMA (a division of the Dept. of Homeland Security, doncha know) had this kind of acumen. During oh, say, Hurricane Katrina.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

2D Barcodes & High Fashion

One of these days someone is going to bring barcodes to the masses. Today's NY Times has a piece about QR codes on custom scarfes.

Kaywa, the company involved, is in Europe. Phone capabilities are as much a function of the wireless carrier as the physical phone itself. That means yanks have to wait til the Japanese & Europeans figure it all out.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dennis Quaid Is Down With Barcodes

Imagine my surprise and delight when I read that Dennis Quaid is a barcode fanboy. He's going to sue Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles unless they implement a barcode system.

Hey Dennis, wanna be on my Board of Directors?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Do barcodes need a Wiki of their own?

To quote those involved: "a site for storing user generated information to be stored against a product, identified by its barcode number."

A show of hands please. All in favor say "aye"...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

China & Tibet

Sometimes current events are so stark and immediate that they demand that we all do the right thing. To that end, I sent the following email to both the Chinese embassy and the China's ambassador to the UN:

Wang Guangya
Ambassador and Permanent Representative
Chinese Mission to the United Nations,

I would like to lodge a strong complaint about how the People's Republic of China has responded to the recent citizen protests in Tibet and other regions of China.

The violent suppression of these protests, especially those led by Buddhist monks, underlines how misguided Beijing's policy towards Tibet is. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is NOT some evil mastermind behind the current protests. The protests are the direct result of years of discrimination and oppression of the native Tibetan people by the Chinese government.

It is the will of the people to be free and to have control over their lives. This is a univeral wish shared by all people around the world. Yet the official government policy is diametrically opposed to this attainable ideal. Undermining the Tibetan people's struggle for self-determination will result in the undermining of the Chinese government. Remember: the international community has not forgotten Tiananmen Square.

I'm sure you're aware that the whole world will be watching China as the 2008 Olympics approach. Further repression of citizen protests in Tibet and elsewhere will shine an ugly light on an ugly domestic policy. I strongly encourage the Chinese government to stop, pause, and reach out to the Tibetan people and His Holiness the Dalai Lama and open a truly honest and sincere dialog.

All power to the people!

Jerry Whiting, President & CEO
Azalea Software, Inc.
Seattle WA

Friday, March 14, 2008

Barcodes & Christians? What about 666?

Hey. I thought Christians associated barcodes with Satan. You know, UPC barcodes include the Mark of the Beast. The Devil's in bar codes.

Well, here's a church embracing barcodes.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Barcodes in Excel, Word, and Access

Need to make barcodes in Microsoft Office applications? Mail merge with Code 128 barcodes using Excel and Word? Perhaps you're doing UPC barcodes in an Access database.

Wouldn't it be nice to have free sample code like macros, plug-in's, etc. to do all the hard work for you? Heck, who wants to write code from scratch for things like check digits? Not me! I'd rather bolt on a pre-built widget, how about you?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Friday is Leap Day!

Yep, 2008 is a Leap Year. Those of you born on February 29th can get the cake & candles out.

Trivia question of the day: what are those born on Leap Day called? See the above page for the answer to today's question.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Barcodes in Menus?

digital-menu.jpgMost people read about using barcodes in restaurant menus and see some measure of utility in it. It's faster, easier, uses machines instead of people. So goes the logic behind The Deli Touch pen. If that isn't enough, try the video. I can't speak Japanese but it's worth watching just for the end.

Someone says "barcoded menu" and "scanners for all customers" and I hear "prank waiting to happen". How hard can it be to substitute your barcodes for the ones in the menu? Think barcode fonts and Avery laser labels. Take a menu home, scan the barcodes, and figure out what they're doing. Re-do it for them and swap out the menus.

This is from someone who "played with" the CueCat back in the day...

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Barcodes & Interior Lighting

Some may think that there's no intersection between barcodes (our favorite topic) and lighting design. Think again. Introducing barcode lights.

An idea whose time has come.

BTW, what do they scan as???

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Finally, a reason for cell phones & barcodes

The Voice of the Street from Leif on Vimeo.

Lauren sent me news of this cool street art project that involve cell phones & barcodes. QR codes linked to voicemail tying artist to viewer. It's from The Voice of the Street. Check it out!!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Can Barcodes Help the Vision-Impaired?

Peter Abrahams hopes so.

"For anyone who is blind or cannot see well the kitchen can be a real challenge. The first challenge is to know what is in all the similarly shaped tins and packets in the cupboard or fridge/freezer. A related challenge is to know what is written on each of them such as the cooking instructions and ingredients.

..Any packaged product has a barcode so this seems the obvious place to start. So scanning the barcode should provide a key to all the information about the content."

Combine barcodes textured with simple bumps or ridges in the packaging with a text-to-speech doohickey, it seems an easy, elegant solution.

All that's left is for the supermarket industry to get on board with a centralized interactive grocery database. A robotic voice reading "Two three four seven six five five eight two three four five" doesn't help much in deciphering a can of pet food from one of corned beef hash (though the distinction between these two particular examples is debatable).

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Barcodes in Asia. Here we go!

There's a new barcode site focused on PacRim countries.

It's available in Japanese, Chinese simplified, Chinese traditional, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, and Tagalog. Oh, and in English too!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Double barcodes

Double barcodes on incense

Look what Santa brought me! Double barcodes: UPC and EAN-13!!

They even came with free incense too. Wow, isn't Santa swell? I'm gonna be good all year and get more neat barcodes next Christmas too.

The End Is Nigh

If you're of an eagerly apocalyptic bent, this story
should give you a little shiver of glee.

The UK Ministry of Justice is investigating the use of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals. Only this time they're not talking about ankle or wrist bracelets, no that technology is yesterday's news. What they'd like to do, if no one minds too terribly much what-what pip-pip, is surgically implant radio frequency identification (RFID) chips under offenders' skin and track them via GPS.

We have wanted to take advantage of this technology for several years, because it seems a sensible solution to the problems we are facing in this area," a senior minister said .. "We have looked at it and gone back to it and worried about the practicalities and the ethics, but when you look at the challenges facing the criminal justice system, it's time has come."

A multimillion-pound pilot of satellite monitoring of offenders was shelved last year after a report revealed many criminals simply ditched the ankle tag and separate portable tracking unit issued to them. The "prison without bars" project also failed to track offenders when they were in the shadow of tall buildings.

The Independent on Sunday has now established that ministers have been assessing the merits of cutting-edge technology that would make it virtually impossible for individuals to remove their electronic tags.

The tags, injected into the back of the arm with a hypodermic needle, consist of a toughened glass capsule holding a computer chip, a copper antenna and a "capacitor" that transmits data stored on the chip when prompted by an electromagnetic reader.

Bah, I say. Does the Ministry of Justice never watch movies? Wise readers will recall that in 87% of all futuristic sci-fi flicks at least one character bloodily rips the Evil Overlord's implant from his/her molar/sinus cavity/neck, typically using a dull pocket knife.

Not to mention the whole IMPLANTING THE BODIES OF HUMAN BEINGS WITH TRACKING DEVICES issue. The world has gone loco, friends. Prepare for the worst.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

RFID. Here we go again...

So Wal-Mart is tired of waiting for us all to catch up with them. "We want RFID and we want it now!" is what I'm hearing.

In fact two things about this article stand out: $2 fines for non-compliance and a 2010 sunrise date for item level tags.

It'll be fun to see how supplies react to this new pay-to-play attitude. Somebody may want to alert Wal-Mart to suppliers' pesky need for profits, even on low-cost items. Imposing an RFID tax may not sit well with candy companies for instance. "Pack of gum with your RFID tag miss?"

Meanwhile, I don't even know how to respond to bullsh*t like this. Sheesh...

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Barcodes as art.

I thought I was one of the few (twisted souls) who thought that barcodes had a place in art. Looks like I'mn ot alone. Even our pals at GS1 are behind this modest effort.

Obviously not our pals in Fremont trying to lay claim to a patentable idea themselves. This is further proof the idea is universal. Barcodes are now contemporary visual memes.

More prior art, more prior art,...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Real ID doesn't make me feel secure. How 'bout you?

So the Feds in their myopic post-9/11 daze want to impose a pass law on us, oops, I mean "real ID". As if the stuff in my wallet is fake. No, the guv'ment just wants us to have yellow stars with us at all times, with us in a huge database they control (and hence us).

You'd think a Bar Code Nerd who sells barcode software would be in favor of real ID. Heck, we might sell stuff to Uncle and make some do-ra-me. No, I'd rather keep what little privacy and security I have intact thank you very much. Homeland security (sic) aint'. I fly a lot and I don't feel any safer now than I did before 9/11.

Some advocate dropping a heavy object on the back cover of your passport to disable the RFID chip. Some object to further scrutiny of law abiding citizens by Washington. Me? Don't get me started.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Better Living Through Barcodes, part 741

Assisting "roo shooters", reducing retail grocery waste, the South Dakota DMV, making tours of the Library of Congress more accessible, and bringing the soothing trill of birdsong to your ears.

Is there anywhere that barcodes don't reach?

Lego barcode scanner

What house doesn't have Legos lurking in the corners? Nerds of all ages play with Lego Mindstorms. Andreas Peter made a Lego barcode scanner! How cool is that!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

XO? X No! G1G2 didn't work for me.

OK. I give up.

I was really, really excited about G1G1. In fact, I ordered two as in G2G2. Early the first morning; I have 5 zeros (000007519). Not bad for someone on the West Coast. Even had a web page setup in advance: [no rewritten]

Give One Get None!But it was not to be. Let me state upfront that some of the blame is mine. My PayPal address isn't current. But it hasn't been since Feb and it hasn't made a difference until now. Why? Because everytime I order something, the seller gives me a confirmation screen that spits back what I order, how I paid, and where it's going to be shipped. Your site doesn't so I never had a chance to correct the old address.

Most sites generate an automated email that echos what you bought and where it's being shipped. The good ones include tracking information too. Your site doesn't and again I never had a chance to notice the out of date address.

The first I hear from you is the attached email. Problem is, it was sent after the fact. By the time I used the FedEx tracking number to trace the package it had already been delivered. To the wrong address. Worse yet, it was left on the exposed porch of an empty house during the holiday season.

No signature required. Are you kidding me? Laptop computers tossed up against a door? What, to save 2 dollars on shipping? You've got to be kidding me. Add it to my bill.

So I call you. Courtney was very good. In fact, she called me back when we were cut off. Excellent customer service! I ask to speak to a manger.

I then spoke with Daniella. She heard me out. Yes, my PayPal account lists on old address. But it's the same PayPal account I use as the backend to my company's web site. So if I'm not going to notice any one PayPal email given the volume of sales we do online. (We sell barcode software online. I get a PayPal email every time we make a sale.)

I called FedEx and spoke with someone named Eva. She tried to catch the 2nd computer and re-route it to my office. Nope. It too get left on the doorstep of an empty house during Christmas without a signature. Now both machines are gone.

I try to do the right thing. My company contributes to a number of charitable causes: In fact, the two XO's I was ordering were a test for The Shames Foundation's project in Uganda for AIDS orphans. Steve Shames is skeptical of the XO's vision and these machines were an attempt to change his mind. Nix that idea. We also send hardware and funds to the Tibetan Technology Center in Dharamsala. They too were possible candidates for the XO. Not now.

The amount of money lost isn't a big deal in the larger scheme of things. I hope the XO project enjoys some measure of success. Setting customers' expectations and then not delivering on them stings. But I guess in a sense, it was *I* who set up the expectation. How foolish of me.

Jerry Whiting, President/CEO
Azalea Software, Inc.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Speaking of Barcode Hacks

Pay attention, folks.

Nothing is 100% foolproof- there'll always be thieves, filchers, pinchers, poachers, sticky-fingers and jerks- but you can do your part to make their lives just a little more difficult.

Build some security into your data, protect your database/s and take a good hard look at your barcode processes, from design to printed output.