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Barcodes: The Number of the Beast

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the 867-5309 dept.

Technology 287

writes "The concept of UPC barcodes on packages at the grocery store is a little pedestrian these days. Much creativity has gone into the use of barcodes for many more applications than originally conceived (don't worry -- no Cuecat diatribe here!). For example, Scott Blake uses barcodes to create large, mosaic works of art. Andy Deck has reinvented classic literature with Bardcode which will stream the entire works of Shakespeare to you as barcodes. If you do nothing else, check out Art Lebedev, a group of Russian artists that manipulates photos to reveal hidden bar codes (The nod to Abbey Road in New Beatles By Robert Dyomkin is especially appealing to an ex-scouser like me). "

Boomzilla continues: Barcodes were first developed in the railroad business to keep track of which cars went with which engine. The barcodes were imprinted on the side of the railway cars. The barcodes on each car could then be read together to compile information on that particular grouping; what station they came from, where they were headed, etc. thus automating the process of marshalling. When the business world realized how well this system worked, these railway barcodes evolved into the UPC system with which we are all familiar. To really be able to take in the wonder that are bar codes, check out the excellent FAQ created by Russ Adams and an article from the BBC.

Coming full circle, the clever folks at Bekonscot Model Railway in the UK have utilized barcodes at every turn of their expansive system. For example, an MP3 player is driven off barcodes attached to trains. The trains are announced before they arrive and when they are leaving, stating their destination, route and at what stations they will call.

Want a barcode of your name?

cancel ×

287 comments

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YOU FAIL IT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837695)

Did you get the foistest of posts?

NO!
  • You
  • fail
  • IT!!

I==R0X0R! YUO == TEH FAIL! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837800)

Firstus Postus, Beeeeeeooootchii!

Bow down and worship my tardy entry!




pleeeeease?!!!

So wouldn't it be interesting if... (0, Funny)

freerangegeek (451133) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837700)

Bill Gate's picture were made of barcodes from products Micro$oft 'destroyed' through illegal competition. I'm sure there are plenty of them ;)

Re:So wouldn't it be interesting if... (0, Troll)

reelbk (213809) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837882)

Oh my god! hahaha, LOL, what a hoot.
Standard slashdot douchebag joke recipe:
- 1 cup of anti M.S tripe
- 1 pinch of slashdot story (MS content optional because they're always relevant)
- 1 ripe douchebag
- 3 teaspoons of jealousy

Mix them all together in one big tub and spread generously over the comments section.

Re:So wouldn't it be interesting if... (0, Offtopic)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837894)

RFQ: Can we plase add a "-1: Fargin' Icehole" moderation?

Re:So wouldn't it be interesting if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837980)

Yo, chill dude. That pole is a little too far up your ass today.

IF I EVER MEET YOU I WILL KICK YOUR ASS!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5838002)

Re:So wouldn't it be interesting if... (2, Insightful)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838024)

No it wouldn't.

2nd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837703)

post

boo ya!!

Stupid Games (3, Interesting)

rwiedower (572254) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837714)

What about all those games that came out a year or so ago with commercials exhorting kids to run around grocery stores ripping things off of shelves in an attempt to "power up" their videogame creatures? Those were cool...er...stupid.

Re:Stupid Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837750)

Hey, that kept my kids out of my hair when I had to take them to the supermarket!

RF tags: Not just for tagging consumers' clothes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837726)

Barcodes and RF tags are perfect for tagging clothes. But an even more sinister use than tagging clothes is tagging the people who wear the clothes. And I'm especially referring to a certain kind of person:

Slavery is alive and well in this country, and I'm not referring merely to rhetorical or political slavery, but actual slavery. Women from foreign countries, particularly southeast-Asian countries are flown to America and promised low-paying but normal jobs performing menial labor or housecleaning services, but when they arrive, they discover to their horror that the real purpose is to prostitute themselves for the financial benefit of their masters. These women (and even children) are trapped, since they don't speak English, don't have the money to fly home, and don't have the physical or mental stamina to escape their tormentors after so much abuse.

How is this relevant to RF tags? Think of how much easier it would be to kidnap people from airports if all you needed to do was wander around with a small device, picking up the signals from the tags embedded in clothing given to the erstwhile immigrants back in their home countries. No longer would there have to be complicated networks of international communication -- they'd just have to agree on a certain range of serial numbers (of which there are trillions, as the article points out), hand out "free" clothes to people boarding the plane at departure, and sit back while agents at the US airports haul in the "goods".

This never would've been possible if we'd stuck to normal barcodes -- it's simply impossible to read barcodes surreptitiously. And since criminals are always the first to adopt new technologies for these devious purposes, it's only a matter of time before it comes to an airport near you, Thirteenth Amendment be damned.

Re:RF tags: Not just for tagging consumers' clothe (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837744)

A surpremely ironic post, sir.

Re:RF tags: Not just for tagging consumers' clothe (0, Offtopic)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837958)

Do not be silly. The only reason that slavery works in the US is the Slave-Owners preselect non-assertive people. If they take random people, one out of 20 will make a run for it/learn english/tell the cops/ whatever.

That is what happened eventually with the NYC Deaf-Mute South American Slavers.

Instead of selecting submissive/non-assertive people, they selected Deaf-Mute people on the belief that they could not communicate.

Then they sent them out into NYC to sell junk (batteris, candy) at inflated "charity prices". It worked for about 2 years, then one of their "Deaf-Mute" people found someone that could understand the sign language they knew and told the cops.

so uh... cool or not? (5, Funny)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837733)

I got a big tattoo of my SSN in barcode format right on my forehead.

That way people know who I am.

It is unclear from any of those links if this makes me cool or not.

Re:so uh... cool or not? (1)

Blaine Hilton (626259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837924)

So what price are you?

Go calculate [webcalc.net] something

I'm going to regret this (4, Funny)

devphil (51341) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837990)


but here you go:

Microsoft's latest wall poster [devphil.com]

No, I don't remember who sent it to me. And I'm turning off the webserver in half an hour so I can go back to getting real work done, so somebody mirror the damn thing and stop hammering my home DSL. :-)

Use on railroads (3, Interesting)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837734)

The use on train cars was not without problems. Some roads ran the cars through a sprayer before trying to read the codes. Union Switch & Signal installed competing systems that used inductive loops; obviously more expensive but high reliability.

Re:Use on railroads (1)

PerlGuru (115222) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837799)

here is a link to the model railroad referenced in the last link... the link is to a case study w/ no pictures :-(

http://www.bekonscot.org.uk/index_railway.asp [bekonscot.org.uk]

Barcodes (0)

Luigi30 (656867) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837735)

Barcodes would be a good way of keeping track of prisoners to see where they are and have been.

Re:Barcodes (1)

Uber Banker (655221) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837864)

Don't we aleady do that - by keeping records?

Are you suggesting tatooing them? Tatoos can be forged v. v. easily and infringe them after thay have 'served their time' and deemed to have now 'paid for their crimes'.

Re:Barcodes (1)

perimorph (635149) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838020)

No, no.. The current phrase is "has been rehabilitated"!

Re:Barcodes (1)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838021)

Ok, you do realize that this was done in NAZI GERMANY! \sarcasim\Yeah, great system, worked well for them.\end sarcasim\

The Real Number of the Beast (1)

rwiedower (572254) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837736)

Actually, the number is right here [barcodemill.com] .

The sign of the beast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837737)

If you look at some barcodes on products, you will see that the number 6 corresponds to 2 thin lines with small spacing between them. Then you will also notice that all barcodes start with 6, have a 6 in the middle, and end with 6. So every product bought and sold with a barcode contains 666, the sign of the beast...

Ridiculous... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838037)

Does that mean that my car has the sign of the beast, since the mileometer is currently sitting at 160,561.6 miles?

useful at last (2)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837742)

Glad to see those things got a use past Mail in rebates. Never did like sending in those UPCs though, seems like a huge hassle for a little picture of a bunch of bars. Why can't they just be like removeable stamps that you just tape to the envelope or something? oh well, so much for my troll. btw, nice artwork.

Re:useful at last (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837887)

Because if they could be easily removed for mail in rebates, scumbags would go through the stores, removing them from boxes they are not buying.

Store employees will however notice someone cutting out little squares from all the cardboard boxes.

Re:useful at last (3, Informative)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837915)

At the grocery store where I shop, they put removable UPC codes on the large items like 25# bags of dog food so that you can peel it off to hand the cashier, rather than loading it on the conveyor and watching them try to flop it around to get the UPC side facing the laser and then dragging it quickly enough over the sensor to register. You could theoretically peel the lablel off of the generic dog food and load your cart up with Alpo, but that would be illegal.

Re:useful at last (2, Interesting)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837961)

yeah but you still have to have a reciept :-/, and since most plastically sealed things with rebates (cd players, other cheap electronic goods) have the upcs behind the plastic, you have to wrestle the plastic for like an hour before it gives up the item, then you have to hunt through the piles of discard to find and cut out a little barcode, that is if it isnt destroyed in the first process....

Well sheesh. (5, Funny)

Faust7 (314817) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837745)

Barcodes: The Number of the Beast

It never occurred to me that Satan might be living in my UPC symbols. Now I need a priest to accompany me to the grocery store.

Re:Well sheesh. (1)

Blademan007 (320541) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837862)

The "Barcodes: The Number of the Beast" was, IIRC, used in the movie "
Naked [av1611.org] " in which the protagonist has a major discourse of an impending The End, including a barcode speel.

Tattoo, not the little guy that yells at planes (2, Funny)

Jerry Jigglenuts (669566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837753)

This reminds me of a recent escapade that my good friend Julius and I recently blundered through. Our favorite magazine is "Club", a prestigious journalistic wonderworld of intelligence and quality. We decided to have the barcode for that magizine tatoo'd onto our male members. Painful, yet oddly spiritual.

Barcodes have 666 encoded on them? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837758)

Allow me to explain...

Standard UPC bar codes consist of a set of lines to mark the start of the code, the left hand part of the code itself, another set of marker lines, the right hand part of the code itself, and a third set of marker lines:
] ] IIIIII I I IIIIII [ [
] ] IIIIII I I IIIIII [ [
] ] IdataI I I IdataI [ [
] ] IIIIII I I IIIIII [ [
] ] IIIIII I I IIIIII [ [
] ] .5023. I I .7173. [ [
The marker lines are "0101", "01010" and "1010" respectively, where 0 is white and 1 is black.

Now, the encoding scheme is complicated, but it just so happens that "0101" if treated as data on the left hand side would decode to the digit "6".
Similarly, "1010" on the right hand side would decode to a "6" if it were data. The middle also has a "1010" or a "0101" depending upon how you want to look at it.

Hence every UPC bar code has "6...6...6" built into it.

There are some technical niggles with the theory. The middle marker has that extra white bar on the left, but this can be explained away by saying that a gap is needed before the next coded part starts, or that it is to make the thing scan both ways. Yup, it even reads "666" if you play it backwards.

In "The Master of Space and Time" Rudy Rucker jokes about this theory by having an alternate universe where people pay for their groceries by having the checkout operator swipe a UPC code that's tattooed on their foreheads.

Re:Barcodes have 666 encoded on them? (1)

Zaphod B (94313) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837898)

And people complain Slashdotters don't have any hobbies!

Re:Barcodes have 666 encoded on them? (5, Informative)

delta407 (518868) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837944)

Standard UPC bar codes consist of a set of lines to mark the start of the code, the left hand part of the code itself, another set of marker lines, the right hand part of the code itself, and a third set of marker lines:
True, but there's an important distinction. This only applies to UPC-A, not to other forms of barcodes such as Code 39, Code 128, interleaved 2 of 5, Codabar, etc. (I'm pretty sure it doesn't even apply to UPC-E, for that matter, but I'm not certain.)

To say that every barcode contains 666 is somewhat misleading.

Re:Barcodes have 666 encoded on them? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837966)

To say that every barcode contains 666 is somewhat misleading.

And to say anything about barcodes at all, let alone knowing the names of several different kinds of barcodes, is super nerdy.

Please take a break from your nerdiness and try to gather up the courage to talk with a female. You really need it.

Re:Barcodes have 666 encoded on them? (1)

delta407 (518868) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838032)

And to say anything about barcodes at all, let alone knowing the names of several different kinds of barcodes, is super nerdy.
Perhaps, but then again, I get paid to work on LISSARD [lissard.org] , and one of my projects is to build a library system. That is why I know this. ;-)

Please take a break from your nerdiness and try to gather up the courage to talk with a female. You really need it.
LOL!

Re:Barcodes have 666 encoded on them? (1, Informative)

rabidcow (209019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837994)

Each number in a UPC barcode is represented by 4 stripes. White/black is irrelevant to the number itself, the barcode has to alternate black and white, and the right half is inverted (or the left depending on your point of view)

Data is encoded not in the color, but in the width of each bar. There are three (I think, maybe four) bar widths, narrow, medium, and wide. Three narrow bars and a wide one represent a 6. If there is no wide bar, it is not a 6.

There are four narrow bars on either end, and five in the center for synchronizing the scanner to the code. You wouldn't interpret the start, stop, and parity bits on a serial port as data, would you?

Re:Barcodes have 666 encoded on them? (5, Informative)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838035)

Now, the encoding scheme is complicated, but... Hence every UPC bar code has "6...6...6" built into it.

Um, no. [snopes.com]

Gray Code (2, Informative)

j0hnfr0g (652153) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838044)

Now, the encoding scheme is complicated, but it just so happens that "0101" if treated as data on the left hand side would decode to the digit "6".

It appears that the encoding is Gray Code, where successive numbers only differ by one bit.
Hence:
0000 = 0
0001 = 1
0011 = 2
0010 = 3
0110 = 4
0111 = 5
0101 = 6

Sweet Christ! (2, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837760)

How did I ever go on in life without know this stuff?

I'm trying to replace my useless trivia knowledge with something more worthy of knowing. This isn't helping...

So, seriously, what's up with the barcode expose? Is it that slow of a news day?

SOMEONE PLEASE MODBOMB FORTCOCKS INTO OBLIVION!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837812)

Re:SOMEONE PLEASE MODBOMB FORTCOCKS INTO OBLIVION! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837863)

you realize that fortknox has a powerful troll that everyone knows, right?
the fortknox account is for karma whoring but piss people off at the same time.
a damn good trolling account if i've ever seen one!

Barcodes (1)

methangel (191461) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837761)

We need smartchips, not barcodes.

My cat is a troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837835)

My cat has a chip.

Re:My cat is a troll. (1, Funny)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837919)

My friend Chip has a cat. Maybe we should put a chip in the cat that belongs to Chip. And buy him a Cat construction machine.

Then there would be a chip inside the cat, that belongs to the Chip inside the Cat.

Re:My cat is a troll. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5838008)

And to read it, you'd type cat ~chip/cat/cat/chip.

666 (2, Insightful)

gpinzone (531794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837767)

The 666 bugaboo has been attributed to so many different things, it's impossible for anyone to take it seriously. The pope, Ronal Regan, barcodes, socal security numbers, driver's licenses, you name it.

Holy moley (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837768)

Jiminy Christmas!!

Some people have entirely too much time on their hands!

Does anyone remember?? (5, Interesting)

ranolen (581431) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837775)

Does anyone remember the game barcode battlers??? You used bar codes from anything you could find and swipe them through a reader and they would give you stats for your character to fight other characters. Really neat idea. Ahh early 90's technology... hehe.

Re:Does anyone remember?? (1)

SoLoatWork (187259) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837893)

Ahh early 90's technology... hehe.

Ahh.. innovation.

UPC really universal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837782)

I have seen UPC barcodes on everything, of course.

Are they truly Universal? What is the namespace? Is there some trade association that keeps track of all of them? Or does each store have their own systems? How are collisions avoided? If you create a product, how do you register a UPC?

How about different countries? Does France have a different barcodes (or a different barcode system) from the US? How about other parts of the [non-western] world?

Re:UPC really universal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837884)

Gah, missed the link in the article pointing to an excellent description ... $500/year at a minimum to have one or more UPC symbols, that seems a little steep.

Re:UPC really universal (3, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837886)

I can't all your questions but I can tell you unequivicolly that many UPCs in the U.S. are not unique. I worked for a while as a pricing analyst for Safeway food and drug. Dealing with duplicate UPCs was a problem.

As I understand it-- there is a newer standard with longer barcodes and europe has moved to it but the u.s. still uses the older UPCs.

Re:UPC really universal (2, Interesting)

ManInBlac (40475) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838046)

European barcodes are indeed different from US ones. For example, US records will have a 12-digit UPC number, whereas European records will frequently have a a 13-digit EAN code. You can actually get several different length codes within both UPC (American) and EAN (European) systems. See e-centre [e-centre.org.uk] for more info on EAN codes. Of course, this does mean that only American products contain the number of the beast. Make of that what you will.

TTP! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837788)

twenty-third post

Brothers Quay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837789)

Rehearsal for extinct anatomies is a short animated film by the Brothers Quay that uses barcodes for backgrounds and sets. And as usual for their work, it's bizarre and surreal.

Mark of the Beast? (3, Funny)

mahdi13 (660205) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837793)

So exactly what does that bar code on the back on my neck mean? I had it scanned at the grocery store, it seems I'm cheap and can be bought for $6.66

Re:Mark of the Beast? (1)

SlaterSan (91405) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838009)

No, it just means that you were on another FOX show that was cancelled.

Summary inaccurate ... (0)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837801)

Bar codes have been in use for much longer than that - see for example these animal barcodes [zoo.org]

Re:Summary inaccurate ... (1)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837874)

Bar codes have been in use for much longer than that - see for example these animal barcodes.

So has your reasoning skills. [oberlin.edu]

Barcodes for DVDs Games CDs Video Games (4, Informative)

muscleman706 (654133) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837803)

Mediachest.com lets you scan in the UPC's and ISBN's on the back of DVDs, Games, CDs, and video games and keep track of your collection. You can even use an CueCat to do this.

http://www.mediachest.com/

*nix the mark of the beast? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837807)

what does it mean for a person to be able to read and write in user group world, without being able to execute?

rw-rw-rw-

Barcodes go open source! (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837826)

! [kbarcode.net]

MOD DOWN!! PARENT IS LINKING TO GAY PORN SITE! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837851)

Cuecat (1)

nucal (561664) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837841)

From the Cuecat [cuecat.com] link:

If you have a Cue Cat, save it. The patents and technology created by DigitalConvergence will again be available for business and consumer use.

If you are looking for a Registration code or To be continued...

Do you share this dream?

I think that if you scan this one [barcodeart.com] with a Cuecat, the world might end ...

What exactly is involved... (1)

duncanatlk (643480) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837845)

in becoming an 'ex-scouser'? Did you have to lose up your Liverpudlian accent?

Re:What exactly is involved... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837888)

You probably have to stop stealing cars.

101 != 6 (3, Interesting)

ee_moss (635165) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837850)

The 666 rumor comes about from illiterate, non-mathematical conspiracy theorists.. On a barcode, the black bars represent 1 and white bars represent 0. Most of us, I hope, understand that. When the barcode scanner reads the barcode, it must know when to start reading and stop reading, and it does this by finding the code "101" you see at the beginning and end of the barcode. Also, in the middle of every UPC is a 01010 combination, which basically tells the scanner that it has reached the middle of the barcode. The beginning, middle, and end lines are longer than the rest, and some people think that these longer lines represent the number 666. Actually, 101 in binary is 5, so if you are that paranoid and into conspiracy theories, the longs lines on the barcode read "555"

Re:101 != 6 (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5838004)

The 555 explanation comes about from illiterate, non-mathematical posters who don't realize that UPC barcodes aren't binary. If you look at the actual coding scheme, the bit sequence "101" actually *does* appear in the encoding for the number 6 (and 2,3,4,7, and 9). But you will not find "101" in the encoding for 5 on either side.

Re:101 != 6 (1)

rabidcow (209019) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838051)

When the barcode scanner reads the barcode, it must know when to start reading and stop reading, and it does this by finding the code "101" you see at the beginning and end of the barcode. Also, in the middle of every UPC is a 01010 combination, which basically tells the scanner that it has reached the middle of the barcode.

The code on the ends is *not* 101, neither is the code in the middle 01010. Think of it more as ternary (or maybe base 4, I'm not up on my UPC trivia) encoded in the width of the bars, it's 000 or 00000. The proper code for a 6 is something like 0003.

Did anyone else read (3, Funny)

Savatte (111615) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837865)

Andy Deck has reinvented classic literature with Bardcode

Did anyone else read that as Andy Dick? I thought the only things andy dick did was get naked and fall down a lot.

Re:Did anyone else read (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837953)

Have you considered that you may be a possible homersexual?

THE "MARK OF THE BEA$T" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837867)

THE "MARK OF THE BEA$T"

ALL Christians are PROHIBITED by Revelation 14:9-11 from cooperating with the "MARK-OF-THE-BEA$T" bar-code, OCR-number, and magnetic-strip scanning systems, (as found in local libraries, supermarkets, retail establishments, etc.), which also THREATEN to SUBVERT Individual Privacy and Freedom.

The scanners can serve THE SAME CRIMINAL PURPOSE as the TV cameras in the book "1984"!

The UPC bar-codes are probably the most blatant form of the "MARK OF THE BEA$T" so far, with the "NUMBER OF THE BEA$T", 666, ALREADY CODED INTO THEM. Each of the so-called "guard patterns", pairs of thin lines spaced close together at the beginning, middle, and end of each full-length UPC bar-code, is IDENTICAL to one of the two codes for a 6.

WARN YOUR FRIENDS!

Barcodese.cx (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837897)

Good ol' Art (1)

lebedev (620945) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837901)

Artemy Lebedev has almost the same name as me!

RFID (4, Informative)

Ayanami Rei (621112) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837905)

Even cooler than barcodes is RFID. You don't even have to aim to get it to scan correctly. The only problem is the printers that you let you arbitrarily mark the tags are expensive; about $1000, whereas barcodes can be printed on anything with black ink.

BUT!!... optical scanners are expenive ($250 and up). Yet you can get a RFID USB reader [hvwtech.com] for about $60. It comes with a few premade tags. You can buy pre-signed RFID tags for less than $1.00 each, and a sheet of them can usually be run through a printer; then you could have barcodes AND RFID.

We're considering using such a system to do inventory control. Fun!

Re:RFID (2, Interesting)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837935)

We're considering using such a system to do inventory control. Fun!
...until someone drives up with a jamming transmitter. Panic!

CT drivers license (2, Interesting)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837906)

My new CT driver's license has a bar code like stripe on the back instead of the sensitive magnetic one that other states use(d). Instead of solid vertical lines, the lines are broken into what looks like random segments. Reminds me of the "snow" on a TV with antenna that isn't working properly.

Re:CT drivers license (2, Informative)

ocelotbob (173602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838006)

Many "bar" codes are moving to that direction, as providing a second dimension allows users to encode much more information into a smaller area. The new strips are very widely used in the postal industry; UPS, et al can use them to make them more accurate, as they can insert redundant info into the code.

Re:CT drivers license (1)

MrP- (45616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838016)

We have those in RI now also.

I wonder if they contain your picture.. like if a cop wants to check if the ID is real, he can scan the barcode and compare the image on his scanner with the one (well 2 images) on the front.

Obligatory crossover (2, Interesting)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837913)

What about Star wars in ASCII [slashdot.org] in barcode [slashdot.org] ?

Messing with their heads (2, Funny)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837917)

"If you do nothing else, check out Art Lebedev, a group of Russian artists that manipulates photos to reveal hidden bar codes."

If you do nothing else, be sure to raise the hair on the heads of these unsuspecting Russian artists as they see the traffic on their server spike beyond reason or expectation...
-------------

The artsy stuff is ok .... (2, Interesting)

Compulawyer (318018) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837920)

but they seem to limit themselves to 1D barcodes. What about 2D codes like PDF417? 2D codes would seem to open up countless more possibilities for artistic use ....

And Now For Something Completely Different: The definitive book on barcoding is "The Bar Code Book" by Roger C. Palmer (4th ed., (c) 2001 Helmers Publ., Inc., ISBN 0-911261-13-3). How do I know so much about barcodes? Trust me - you don't want to know.

Barcodes have an incompatibility problem... (4, Funny)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837929)

...with the recruitment policy of our local hardware superstore.

B&Q is a large DIY chain in the UK. They might be in the US, I don't know. They have a policy of only employing people over 95 years of age.

So you get to the checkout with your self install kitchen. A little old 97 year old lady has now got to try and :

a) locate the barcode on each item of your self-install kitchen, containing many items that are several orders of magnitude BIGGER THAN SHE IS.

b) having located the barcode, get her scanner to it.

Barcode Hacking (4, Interesting)

stoolpigeon (454276) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837937)

O.k. - I never thought I'd find a forum where this story might even have the slightest relevance but here we are.

For a few years I worked for Safeway Food and Drug as a File Maintenance Clerk. I printed pricing labels and hung them on the shelves. I made price signs, applied the batches to change prices, etc.

Safeway has a system in place on the registers where certain activities require a manager with an override card. Checks of a certain amount, large voids, all kinds of stuff.

Since I worked on the computers all the time I was the one who changed the message on the bottom of receipt tapes- with the manager name- when we got a new manager. One day I'm moving around in the file that contained that information and I find all these long numbers in one location. They were all the managers override numbers.

Here's where the barcode part comes in. I wanted my own over ride card. I went into the software I used to print price labels and took a single record and changed the UPC of a product on the label to an override number. When I printed the label- the barcode in the corner for ordering now read the override number.

I cut the barcode part out, peeled the back and stuck it to a card I carried in my wallet. Now any time I needed an override I could just scan that card over the register scanner.

On a side note- I called company security and told them that all the manager codes were in plain text where anyone could see them in the machine. They told me it was o.k. because noone would ever look there. Kind of funny. It is probably still that way.

OT: "Abbey Road" (2, Informative)

MeerCat (5914) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837938)

It is, of course, Abbey Road [abbeyroad.com] not Abby Road and they are alive and well and still playing games with the famous photo (and have a webcam [abbeyroad.com] pointed at the zebra crossing so you too can see loads of tourists getting nearly run over while trying to re-create that photo). Plenty of geek technology there too, for anyone who's into serious playing around with analog and digital sound recording and manipulation.

Disclaimer: I do have links with people there, and yes it is a nice place to hang out (it's still the best place to record the soundtrack for big movies such as Star Wars, LoTR, etc).

Abbey Road Barcode (1)

nilram (32622) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837945)

Let me guess. When decoded that barcode says "Paul is dead." are something similar. After all He IS barefoot in the picture. :)

bizare != art (2, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837960)

Andy Deck has reinvented classic literature with Bardcode which will stream the entire works of Shakespeare to you as barcodes.

You know, I'm completely fed up with shit getting dressed up as art. Paint thrown at a canvas- it's just paint, thrown at a canvas. A bathroom sink, dragged out of a dump, is just a effin' sink, dragged out of a dump. I've seen both gussied up as "art", and it's not- it's a no-good, washed out artist, who couldn't think up something creative, got desperate to put the meal on the table...so they went "random", and dressed it up as creative; someone was stupid enough to fall for it(or they're hero-worshipping), and everyone else outright pretends, or convinces themselves to see something in it, all because they don't want to feel stupid. Random is not creative. Random is not unique, in the sense of unique = valuable; it's just unique.

Streaming the entire works of Shakespear as barcodes is just streaming the text of a book as a barcode. It has no creativity; it adds nothing to the original work; it serves no purpose; it cannot be appreciated or celebrated, and there would be no difference between using Shakespear or the latest copy of TPenthouse, as far as any observer could tell.

Applications? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5837969)

"Much creativity has gone into the use of barcodes for many more applications than originally conceived"

That's all well and good, but these sound more like art than applications...

Hmmm... barcoded Shakespeare... hmmmm... (1)

ProteusQ (665382) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837976)

This proves once again that there are too many people in this world with too much time on their hands.

(Sorry this post isn't longer, but I have to alphabetize my Harold Lloyd videos, hang a Finnish flag in my living room, and finish those bloody half-angle formulas before tomorrow.)

But I thought (0, Offtopic)

RatBastard (949) | more than 11 years ago | (#5837983)

the nuber of The Beast was 555-1212!

The stockcode of the beast (2, Funny)

ManoMarks (574691) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838013)

According to most slashdot posters: MSFT

I want to smoke dope. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5838039)

Several large puffs from a bong.
Summer is coming, people. I for one am ready.

It's clearly a slow news day (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838040)

Wow, the subject says it all. The submitter gets off on barcodes a little too much I think...

What is this? (0, Offtopic)

CausticWindow (632215) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838045)

Memepool? [memepool.com]

It's in the bones ... the bones never lie (2, Interesting)

adzoox (615327) | more than 11 years ago | (#5838047)

I wonder if the randomness of nature does have words to speak? Take this pic for example [artlebedev.com] from the article. I wonder if those patterns from the shade of tress on the snow if converted to barcodes would vaguely spell something out?

My title to the post makes me think of shamen. Shamen throw bones to tell fortunes and future events. In the Bible they cast urem and thumen to determine selection of elders and clerics. I wonder if either of those are TRUELY read like barcodes or whether Shamen and Biblical figures made things up to suit the task at hand or the situation.

I had turned my name into a barcode a long time ago after watching THX 1138. They all had barcodes on them that told their names. I have my barcode printed onto a laminated card in my wallet. If I can think of it, I scan it in different stores. If read by a Walmart Barcode scanner I am a bouncy ball from the toy department 99cents.

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