Tagged With barcodes


When George Laurer goes to the grocery store, he doesn't tell the check-out people that he invented the barcode, but his wife used to point it out. "My husband here's the one who invented that barcode," she'd occasionally say. And the checkout people would look at him like, "You mean there was a time when we didn't have barcodes?"


The scene: your girlfriend and/or boyfriend got you tickets to The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. You've been waiting your whole life to see those goats up close, so, naturally, you want to post pictures of your beloved gift on Facebook, rubbing it in all your friends' rodeo-less faces. Here's a tip: don't. Because someone will steal it.


QR codes are a technology that desperately wants our attention. They appear everywhere from supermarket shelves and magazines to hiking trails and tombstones. Never heard of a QR code? You're looking at one right now. Scan the image at the top of this article, and it will open a link to the mobile version... of this article. Very meta.


I loathe self-service checkouts at supermarkets. Not because I want to hang around there for the fun of it, but simply because they're so incredibly inefficient, especially if you're dealing with items that never had barcodes, such as fruit and vegetables. A new scanner from Toshiba might fix my woes, as it omits barcodes and just works out what it is you're holding in front of it.


Magazines: check. Bread: check. $US35 Whole Foods sandwich: check. Creepy guy in line: check. Seems like everything's got a bar code on it these days. But did you ever stop to wonder where those ubiquitous stripes came from?


Some cops have a tendency to ticket fix, or in layman's terms, make tickets disappear. And though it's a sweet perk for their friends and family, it's sorta against the law too. So! The NYPD has come up with a new tracking system that's trying to stop tickets from magically disappearing.


Ignore the overwrought, coming-of-age-type soundtrack and you'll see a rather neat idea: a musical instrument that plays music by "reading" barcodes. The Barcode Piano consists of tiles and a board. Each tile is associated with a number which triggers a certain tune. You can arrange the tiles in preset songs or any random way you'd like.


The newest version of Google Goggles has some nice upgrades - barcode scanning is faster, and it'll recognise and search print ads for you. But really, the hands-down coolest feature is automatic Sudoku solving. No need to use your brain!


Nothing ruins a recent purchase quite like finding lower prices online as soon as you bring it home. With one of these barcode-scanning, price-crunching smartphone apps, that never has to happen again.


True story: When I'm out shopping, before I make an impulse buy, I compulsively check what Product X goes for on Amazon. I know, I know, there are barcode scanning apps that I could use to price-compare. But Amazon's consistently as or less expensive than just about anywhere, and more importantly, I trust them as a vendor.