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.