Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Google Ventures Into the Physical World

By using, of course, barcodes. The big G has "..launched a new effort to send window decals to over 100,000 local businesses in the U.S. that have been the most sought out and researched on and Google Maps".

Locate the 2D barcode decal at a participating store, snap it with your phone's barcode reader, follow the URL link to the web and behold: store hours, user reviews, special offers, whatever the retailer's loaded up on the intertubes for you.

We love this idea (and began implementing it locally a year ago but hey, when Google bites your idea it's a compliment) because our love of cellphone app gadgetry is second only to our love of real world barcode implementation.

Wonder how the folks at Yelp are taking it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free 2010 Calendars!

Azalea Software, Inc. and Peg Ogle Design have just released a series of free 2010 calendars for immediate download from

The press release is available from

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Get Azalea Software's 2010 Calendar (PDF)

Azalea Software's 2010 calendar can be downloaded from for free.

Jerry's photos of industrial textures found in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. You know, metal and stone.

Our holiday gift to you and yours!

I may be a barcode nerd but I have my limits.

I've been doing barcode software for almost 21 years now. At no time did I think it was necessary to learn how to read Code 39 barcodes in my head. Never.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Barcoded Lexus? Really?!?

Seen coming out of the parking lot of the Azalea Software offices here in West Seattle.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Goodbye Barcodes, Hello Lasers!

Ariel Schwartz of Inhabitat's got a quick piece up about "annoying" fruit labels and the new process of etching them with low energy lasers.

Not sure I've ever devoted much time to being annoyed by the tiny labels on fruits and veggies, but LASERS. We love lasers.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Our namesake

Azalea OR 97410
Why we're called "Azalea Software, Inc."

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Google Recognizes Barcodes 07oct09

Make note: Today, Oct 9 2009, Google celebrated barcodes by making a bar code the icon of the day.

Thank you!

- the gang at Azalea Software, Seattle

Thursday, September 24, 2009

How evil is your food? Scan the barcode to find out.

FoodScanner is an iPhone app that makes me wish I still had an iPhone.

Oh yeah, that's right. AT&T's reception SUCKS at my house. Happiness is a G1. Yes it is.

But still, the app is cool in that it adds a social, political, & nutritional bent to your shopping.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

DIY Barcode Software

That's right. For those of you who want to roll your own barcode decoding software, here's a project you can sink your teeth into.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Consolidating the Barcodes in Your Wallet

You don't have to know much about barcodes to appreciate this suggestion. Of course it leaves the poor cashier to scan every shortcut on your dance card until the register beeps. Still, it leaves your wallet thinner. File this one under "ultralight shopping".

Thursday, July 30, 2009

UPCTools Mac on sale now!

UPCTools for the Mac is now on sale for only $149, a savings of 25%, now through Aug 10th.

ordering details...

NeoMedia Business Model in 3 Easy Steps

1. Patent an existing technology

2. Shake down existing players for license fees (or, you know, sue the pants off them)

3. Compete directly with your licensees.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

AzaleaRSS Website Hosted On Cutest Server Ever, the Pogoplug

AzaleaRSS is both rockin and rollin, and now officially hosted in-house on the most adorable server you've ever seen.

CloudEngine's Pogoplug is a tiny Linux box, smaller than most laptop power supplies. It's made of a power cord, an ethernet jack, a USB port and rainbows.

Behold the Azalea server room:

We've got a whiteboard full of ideas for the next eighteen 'Plugs we buy. Love these little critters!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

DataMatrix Barcodes On Irish Chickens

How did I miss this one? It's barcodes! On chickens!

Scientist at the Bioresources Research Centre at University College Dublin have created a way to place 2D DataMatrix barcodes on the beaks, legs and combs of the wee birdies in order to more efficiently track them.

They were careful to use non-alive birds for the testing however, bless their cruelty-free hearts.

“Although these experiments were carried out in the laboratory, real chicken body parts, sourced at poultry processing plants were used. No animals were purposely culled for this research programme as per UCD ethical committee directives.

“In real life situations, ways will have to be found to imprint the barcodes on to live poultry whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of the bird.”

Story via The Irish Times

Friday, June 26, 2009

New York Times Notes UPC Barcode's 35th Birthday

The Times takes an interesting look at the UPC code, grandaddy of all modern barcodes. Thanks again, George Laurer!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Barcode Game That Will Drive You Mad

For a few minutes at least. Gregory Weir's Bars of Black and White is a barcode-based 'escape from a locked room' game that challenges you to scan your way to freedom.

Scritchy-scratchy hand drawn illustrations and figuring out how to kill a big spider make it a whimsical way to waste some time on the company dime. Tell your boss that you're researching auto-ID and real world barcode implementation. That's what I did.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Free desktop wallpaper images

free cell phone wallpaper photosAs part of the relaunch of our humble website, we've added a growing collection of free wallpaper images you can download.

So all of you bored with your current desktop background can grab one of our stone & metal, azalea & rhodi photos. They're great as cell phone wallpaper too.

Set a bookmark because there will be a lot more free photos and artwork to come.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, UPC!

At 8:01 am on June 26th, 1974, the very first ever UPC (Universal Product Code) was scanned at Marsh's Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The item? A 10 pack of Wrigley's Juicy Fruit gum.

Monday, June 01, 2009

That good ol' "Global Supply Chain"

It's not called a global supply chain for nothing. Shipping and distribution are assumed to be international these days. All over the map. Worldwide.

To that end we're now whispering about barcodes in Albanian, Arabic, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Vietnamese.

Now that's global. And you just know there are barcodes lurking around in there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009 *finally* gets a makeover

We call it The Mother Ship, sometimes The Vending Machine. Venerable she is but neglected too long.

Over the looong weekend Azalea Software's website has been updated. Including new photos of us.

There's more yet-to-come. Much more...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

AzaleaRSS: Free RSS Creation Tool Hits The Interwebs

Version 1.1 of Azalea's free RSS feed maker, Azalea RSS, is now available.

Azalea RSS is a quick and dirty RSS maker that walks you through creating your own RSS feeds. Based in MS Excel, it's user-friendly and as easy as falling off a log. And falling off a log is SO EASY. Trust me, I fall off logs all the time.

Give it a try, RSS wizards!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

NeoMedia Wins One For the Dark Side

UPDATED 30 Apr 09: Interestingly, this post sat dormant for weeks and just today three new replies came in a flurry. What a coincidence! One talks of how TinyURL infringes on NeoMedia's patent. One is a reply to another commentor. And one, why, one suggests that I have no testicles! At all! Which is true! But rather a mundane fact to point out, and so angrily (also, Jim, water is wet!). And also, things may be "getting legal", yowza! Not sure what that means but it sounds scary, doesn't it? Eek!

Clearly this economy (and swine flu!) is affecting everyone, creepy mouthpieces for random strangers coincidentally interested in NeoMedia's "interests" and barcode bloggers alike.

Like I said, all y'all folks with dogs in this fight: I'd be taking notes and backin 'em up to hard disk if I were you.

After protracted review, the US Patent & Trademark Office recently ruled in favor of evil attorney cabal tech company NeoMedia. For years NeoMedia has argued that they own absolutely everything having to do with barcodes + cellphones, and they own all barcodes + looking them up on the intertubes. They also own a patent on you. And your dog. And your mom.

While the Electronic Frontier Foundation valiantly begged to differ, devoting years and miles of effort, funds and reason to disputing this sort of mercenary dipshittery, it's all over now but the crying.

"Overbroad and invalid patents threaten to chill important innovations, especially for startups and other nascent entrepreneurs. It's important that technology in the public domain stays there." EFF Senior Staff Attorney Jason Schultz said in 2007.

The US PTO has changed all that in one fell swoop of patent validation. NeoMedia can now threaten and actively initiate lawsuits against anyone who creates, uses, promotes or dreams up anything having to do with their special corner of the auto-ID universe. Pay the NeoMedia licensing fee/s now, or pay them after a financially crippling lawsuit- it's entirely up to you!

This would be marginally acceptable if NeoMedia had created a unique technology of their own. But they didn't; these patents are based entirely on murky, factually-suspect claims of prior art. They now have a patent on using barcodes that they didn't create (which are based on font and image technology that they didn't create), with camera phones (which they didn't create) that take photos of said barcodes, the phone applications (that they didn't create) which translate those pictures into data (which they didn't create) which can be used to direct the user to a database (that they didn't create, and don't own) on the internet.

This means that if you scan a barcode that has a URL in it with an app on your cellphone, NeoMedia may attempt to squeeze cash from every developer in the chain: the maker of the barcode, the cellphone app developer, the cellphone maker, the cellphone carrier, and the owner of the destination internet database. Also, of course, your mom.

This means you, Google. NeoMedia's sure to go after the big guys first, right? Some dude who's running from blog to blog threatening lawsuits sure thinks so. Wonder if NeoMedia knows he's picking fights with some very big dogs on their behalf? Of course he could be NeoMedia's president and CEO for all we know (either way, I'd be making a hard copy or ten of all such blog and forum comments if I were, say, Scanbuy or ShopSavvy or ZXing..).

Whatever happens, it will certainly be interesting to watch. Pop some corn and pull up a chair.

US patent #6,993,573

US patent#7,383,209

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Barcodes That May Just Prevent Vomiting (and Death)

Two University of Rhode Island researchers and a company called SIRA Technologies have teamed up to create temperature-sensitive barcode ink.

The fancy "proprietary thermochromic printing ink, printed in a non-scannable color..emerges to a scannable, deep magenta when activated. It is therefore capable of adding a temperature and shelf-life monitor to any other barcode thus preventing the sale of contaminated food and archiving the incident."

In English, this means that your grocer can't try to kill you/make a buck with expired products because the barcodes will change color and become unscannable. Man, barcodes really might save the world.

Monday, February 09, 2009

This Friday the 13th is also 1234567890 UNIX time!

In a couple of days it'll be Friday the 13th. Not just any Friday the 13th. It's also 1234567890 in UNIX time at 11:31:30pm UTC (11:31:30 here in Seattle). Read all about it on Slashdot (where else).

This should give all the 666 Mark of the Beast nutjobs something else to ponder.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Two Steps Forward, 1,400 Steps Back"

An interesting article in Business Daily Africa takes a hard look at how increased business efficiency can lead to a slump in customer service.

"..modern technology came to their rescue by introducing the barcode. Today, every supermarket worth its salt has a scanner system for reading these codes.

In addition, virtually all manufacturers now print the barcodes on products to make it easier for supermarket staff: the bulk packages are now simply unwrapped and the items taken to the shelves directly. This saves a lot of time.

Unfortunately, a new problem has emerged: in the hurry to display products, workers do not take care to ensure that a price tag has been posted on the shelf next to the items.

[]The workload increases as demand for their products rises. Consequently, management begins looking for ways of making work easier for the company. Many times the improvements are made at the expense of customer services."

It's an excellent reminder that progress in business should always be tempered with an eye to that most valuable of creatures, the customer.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Azalea Software as part of Seattle software community

The Washington Technology Industry Assoc. did a wild map of the Seattle software family tree. I'm proud to say that Azalea Software is in the solar system, proud of our lineage as an Aldus spin-off. The only Aldus spin-off still around 16 yrs later.

The only surviving Baby Paul!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

666 Mark of the Beast is about to come true!

So some goofball has just patented barcode tattoos for commerce.

Dude, you realize all those fundamental nutjobs are going to go nuts re: 666, Mark of the Beast, Book of Revelation, etc., etc.

Here we go...

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Azalea Software Sponsors Winning Lava Lamp Webcam

Azalea Software, publishers of barcode software, are the proud sponsors of JetCityOrange's live Lava Lamp webcam, winner of EarthCam's "25 Most Interesting Webcams 2008".

Azalea Software hosts the webcam on one of its web servers. JetCityOrange benefits from Azalea's generous offer to house the two lava lites on timers and the webcam that broadcasts them across the internet.

This year's winning webcams was selected by a panel of celebrity judges including NY Nicks asst. coach Phil Weber, actor/comedian Pauly Shore, and Beauty and the Geek winner Amanda Corey.

Azalea Software RSS feed Now On Feedster

Azalea Software started the New Year by launching an RSS feed with news and updates about barcodes, barcode software, and related issues. The raw feed is:

The Azalea Software feed is also available on Feedster: