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Bar Coding The World Away

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the it's-the-mark-of-the-beast dept.

United States 470

778790 writes "The Bar Code, long used for inventory classification and sometimes feared as a tool of social engineering, has been regulated in the name of globalization, and the globe has defeated the United States. Bar Codes in America will now have more digits, to match the global bar code standard: the European Article Numbering Code."

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More digits... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675095)

...to include the "evil bit"?

Re:More digits... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675130)

And the Antichrist causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

And that no man might buy or sell, save except he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

-- Rev 13:16-18 KJV

Re:More digits... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675332)

+1 Insightful???? Now THAT is funny ... I want a "funny" metamoderation!

Re:More digits... (2, Funny)

finkployd (12902) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675468)

So as long as we are marking merchandise and not people we are cool then, right?

Finkployd

Re:More digits... (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675210)

It's already there [av1611.org] .

Re:More digits... (2, Funny)

marius4143 (782616) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675301)

My kid's going to be pissed when his Scannerz toy stops working.

FP (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675102)

This is pointless...

ECFA COMPLETES TAKEOVER OF GNAA (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675105)

The ECFA (Euthenasia for Canus Familourous Association) and the GNAA (G** N***** Association of America) are connecting into one ECFA. Stay connected. Both the ECFA (Euthenasia for Canus Familourous Association) and the GNAA share one common goal - A HAPPIER MANKIND! Members of the combined group, which will be called ECFA, will not be required to change their skin color or practice homosexuality as previously required to be members of an EVIL ORGANIZATION. The motto of the combined ECFA will be to protect our oxygen supply, to clean up our streets and sidewalks, and to curb noise pollution. The combined organization will be headed by the current leader of the ECFA and will be headquartered on EFNET. Employees of the GNAA will be able to apply for new jobs at the combined ECFA headquarters. We will be taking all existing GNAA content OFFLINE FOREVER on "ECF-day", when the two organizations will be merged into one. "We are expanding to target a much larger demographic, not just the homosexual and colored population," the CEO of ECFA's parent company was quoted as saying. While the GNAA trollers will continue, their message will be changed. The chatroom, movie, and illicit images will not be a part of the new organization, as it doesn't fit the new demographic.

About GNAA:
The GNAA has a vast membership of slashdot trollers who claim to have dark complexion and have a perverted sexual lifestyle. By harnessing the powers of the GNAA, the ECFA will be able to spread its message throughout slashdot much more effectively.

Are you G**, Are you a N*****, Are you a G** N*****? If you answered "yes" or "no" to any of the above questions, the combined organization is for you!

About ECFA:
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If you answered "YES" to any of the above questions the ECFA (Euthenasia for Canus Familourous Association) is for you! Why change your sexual lifestyle or change your skin color to join an EVIL ORGANIZATION when you can simply INCREASE OUR SUPPLY OF O2! Did you know that DOGS turn BENEFICIAL O2 into CO2 simply to gain their energy to bark, drool, and howl? They LITERALLY BURN OUR OXYGEN SUPPLY!!! One dog can waste 2 moles of O2 PER HOUR! This country has MANY UNWANTED, ABANDONED DOGS that WE ARE PAYING MONEY TO KEEP ALIVE. We are FEEDING them our food supply while making the homeless STARVE! By using a Dog Killing Gadget, a dog can be turned into beneficial food, helping us all. We let children go hungry yet feed our **UNWANTED** dogs like royalty.

Save Our Oxygen! One dog can easily use the entire oxygen output of ten full size trees. One dog can output over 20 lbs of droppings daily. One dog can aggrivate the allergies of untold numbers of people with its fast growing hair. Kill a dog today!

Do you own a dog? Are you tired of its mess? Don't feel like planting ten trees and waiting 10 years for them to reach maturity? Then get it euthanized. Euthanasia is a painless way for a dog to... terminate. However, it can be too expensive to buy these drugs for the LARGE NUMBER of DOGS in the HUMANE SOCIETIES. It is thus proposed that these dogs be turned into food for the homeless.

We are connected with the GNAA to form one organization, called ECFA!

WANT TO JOIN THE ECFA? You can either get a First Post! on slashdot (a popular news for trolls website) or create a new movie for membering new recruits.

This message brought to you by the National Association for Humane Action for Dogs and the Euthenasia for Canus Familourous Association. Gadgets For The Elimination Of Dogs, as featured on TechTV, is announcing a BRAND NEW product designed to exterminate canine pests of all sizes. Our economical K9Zap product retails for just $49.95 and takes only 2 seconds for a 60 lb dog. Our $5 bakers chocolate will kill up to 500 lbs of dog per package!

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Re:ECFA COMPLETES TAKEOVER OF GNAA (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675264)

This sounds like a cat plot to me .....

MY GIRLFRIENDS PUSSY IS BARCODED FOR DISCOUNT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675107)



Cheap and wet, just like Mom.

Why not be smarter? (4, Interesting)

Pig Hogger (10379) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675108)

Why not take the time to implement a flexible sytem which may allow to encore an arbitrary number of characters?

This would last forever and be able to migrate through other technologies, such as RFID.

Re:Why not be smarter? (4, Insightful)

mopslik (688435) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675203)

Why not take the time to implement a flexible sytem which may allow to encore an arbitrary number of characters?

I imagine it has to do with simplifying the amount of work done by barcode readers. Similar to IPv6. Bigger, longer... but still fixed-length.

That last bit makes me feel dirty.

Re:Why not be smarter? (0)

Jahf (21968) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675356)

I'm just waiting for a barcode long enough tranlastion of IPv9 addresses. THEN we are ripe for confusion. IM to China via barcode? Cool.

Re:Why not be smarter? (2, Insightful)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675401)

Bigger, longer... but still fixed-length.

Fellows' Law: All fixed-length fields are too short.

Re:Why not be smarter? (4, Interesting)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675274)

Barcodes themselves can be as long as the user wants them to be. We're just talking about a change in the addressing scheme that is the UPC code to have another digit. Anybody who assumed UPCs were no bigger than 12 characters now has a Y2K-ish overflow issue.

Re:Why not be smarter? (4, Informative)

MarkedMan (523274) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675371)

Arbitrary length barcode standards do exist (EAN-128 for example), but they are complex beasts and great care must be taken to ensure both the creater and reader get everything exactly right. The UPC or EAN-13 have the advantage of being simple. There may be multiple barcodes on a box, but only one of them would be in the UPC/EAN-13 symbology. I suppose you could create a new symbology just for that, but every reader in existence would be obsolete.

In the end, that's what it boils down too: anything that would allow varying length would make way too much software and hardware obsolete. The cost/benefit would be astronimically bad.

[slightly] OT: With RFID how do I get my rebates? (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675419)

If they do away with my beloved "original UPC code from the side panel" how will I get my rebate check in 6-8 weeks?

Will I have to track down the "orginal RFID tag" then?

Damn (5, Funny)

The-Bus (138060) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675111)

Now I have to go update the tattoo on the back of my neck...

Re:Damn (3, Interesting)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675197)

Dont laugh, I have my SS# on my leg.....yes for real.....

Why ? I was bored, and had a scar that needed covered, I couldnt think of anything that wouldnt be lame skulls etc, non my taste, so I figured If I ever get amnesia it would be nice to have (in case your wondering I'v had maybe 4 concussions, been declared dead once and had a skull fracture, perhaps THAT explains why I had my SS# put on my leg) in addiditon just in case noone has a scanner handy it is also printed in digits below as well.

Re:Damn (2, Funny)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675248)

in case your wondering I'v had maybe 4 concussions, been declared dead once and had a skull fracture, perhaps THAT explains why I had my SS# put on my leg

Are you a) a racing driver, b) in the military or c) into extreme sports?

Re:Damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675310)

Major Dick... military?

Don't be concerned: (1)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675396)

The next time you're "abducted" by "aliens", we'll be sure to update the tattoo while also boosting the range of your GPS/RFID chip. No charge.

Of course, there will be anal probing.

Re:Damn (1)

Citizen of Earth (569446) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675451)

Now I have to go update the tattoo on the back of my neck...

Just get them to put a new one on your forehead. It can be smaller since ones there only require three digits.

Bwahaha (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675112)

And next: the metric system. Eat this, oversea refugees... ;-)

That's all fine and good, but... (1)

kenners (736483) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675114)

Where are the government adoptions of RFID tags? Is it still a privatized concept?

Get me a rewrite... (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675118)

12-digit bar codes aren't quite going to be retired, but US and Canadian retailers will be expected to be able to tolerate 13-digit codes as of January 2005. This sounds a lot like the Y2K situation... anybody whose database and/or software assumed it was a 12-digit field is now going to have to account for an extra digit and that's going to mean patches and code rewrites all around.

It's good news for the geeks... more work for us to do.

Re:Get me a rewrite... (4, Interesting)

furball (2853) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675191)

Wal-Mart has been running with 13-digit codes for almost forever now. Amazon does likewise.

To the best of my knowledge, I don't know anyone that works with strictly 12-digit codes on any mass level. Perhaps it's just the mom&pop shops with their possibly custom software that runs with 12-digits only.

Re:Get me a rewrite... (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675343)

> Perhaps it's just the mom&pop shops with their possibly
> custom software that runs with 12-digits only.

Yeah, and we all know there's hardly any of those around. Tiny fraction of the economy.

Re:Get me a rewrite... (-1, Flamebait)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675462)

Yeah, and we all know there's hardly any of those around. Tiny fraction of the economy.

If Bush gets re-elected in November then I'm pretty sure you can count on this to be the case by 2008. Guess he's just thinking ahead on this one.

Max

Re:Get me a rewrite... (1)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675486)

And the ones least likely to be able to afford a software re-write... :-(

Re:Get me a rewrite... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675460)

I worked for a small grocery store chain that had a new NCR system installed when they remodeled the location I was working at. Well unfortunatly soon after it was installed we had mysterious lockups and system wide crashes. We of course got the NCR guys in to look at it, and after about a week they realized that the cause was 13-digit bar codes! Some percentage of our stock came from oversees and their labeling machinery printed out 13-digit codes even if it was US bound stock. So even though it was a brand new system from a global producer the stupid code couldn't handle the 13-digit codes because of some stupid assumption by a code monkey. They released a patch and after that we had almost zero problems but I'll tell you cashiers get really, really prissy when their registers lock up several times per shift.

Re:Get me a rewrite... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675472)

Corporate music and movie chain stores here in the US -- to be specific, Wherehouse Music. I believe they have now been bought by FYE.

It's been about two years since I worked there, but when I did, we were using dumb terminals that could not comprehend a thirteen-digit barcode; any import CD that was stocked had to have an all-new SKU created (expressly for the chain), and a new barcode printed and slapped on the back of the case.

I am assuming that this is not the only chain store that has such limitations; checking my most recent Suncoast Video receipt, they only have enough space allocated on there for 12 digits.

Re:Get me a rewrite... (1)

rjstanford (69735) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675227)

And it should be pointed out (ideally in the writeup, but who are we kidding here) that this is specifically talking about UPCs. Barcodes are still an unregulated item, as are other generics like "words", "sentences" and "labels".

But yes, there's a lot of rewriting to be done. The actual mods will be fairly simple, even on older systems, but the hard (and expensive) part comes when its time to test all of the millions of lines of code that hadn't changed in years, that have now just been impacted. And yes, in enterprise software you should test everything that might have been impacted - just in case.

Luckily most UPC-aware software doesn't try to decode it, but either reads it, writes it, or treats it as a lookup key. That makes life an order of magnitude easier than it might have been.

--

Enterprise software - for when "Close enough" doesn't cut it.

Re:Get me a rewrite... (2, Interesting)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675258)

I don't think it'll be that difficult actually; it didn't take very long at all for Best Buy to modify their scanners to adapt to a host of different types of barcodes used for different things. For instance, all of the signs in the stores have a bar code which is actually the UPC + 1 digit sign style identifier + price; which allows employees to quickly scan the sign to verify if it displays the correct price.

People using older cash register systems might be SOL though.

Re:Get me a rewrite... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675338)

Which, for us IS folks, hopefully means ... Profit!

Seriously, it is a lot like Y2K, particularly in the fact that this has been expected for a looooooong time, but everybody had to wait for the standards bodies to wave their magic wands before anybody would move.

Woah... (5, Funny)

perly-king-69 (580000) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675121)

For a minute there I thought it said that Americans were going to fall in line with a European designed system.

Is this an April fool dupe or something? ;-)

Re:Woah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675246)

It's O.K, they'll find some way to ignore it, and then they can declare another war to divert everyones attention.

Re:Woah... (1)

malsdavis (542216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675290)

This is quite an amazing, almost unbelievable event.

Whats next, the USA joining the rest of the world and switching to metric?

It is intereasting how the main (and quite plausable) reason used by the USA authorities against going metric is due to the huge cost/effort which would be involved doing all the convertions. Yet, I would of thought changing the common shopkeepers barcoding system would be one of the few convertions which would require een more cost/effort.

I wonder as to why they've agreed to change one system and not the other?

Re:Woah... (2, Insightful)

BigBir3d (454486) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675397)

private sector floating the cost versus the us gov't paying to re-do all the highway signs and whatnot.

Re:Woah... (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675478)

The combined cost won't be as bad as said losing several more probe because the contracted company (Lockheed Martin) interprets the spec with the metrics-system while the contracting government agency (NASA) wrote the spec in US-system of units. Result? A probe that crash itself to mars because it couldn't figure out whether it 100 meters from the surface or 100 feet.

Re:Woah... (-1, Flamebait)

maxpublic (450413) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675500)

It is intereasting how the main (and quite plausable) reason used by the USA authorities against going metric is due to the huge cost/effort which would be involved doing all the convertions.

No, the main reason the U.S. doesn't 'go metric' is because our government can't force us to do so and for the most part we, the people, don't want to. That's what's called a 'representative government', in case our friends on the other side of the pond have forgotten about such things in their rush to a new world order.

Max

Take Arms!! (0, Offtopic)

PhilippeT (697931) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675128)

the King of england is trying to take the US back under his rule!!!!

poop in shoes (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675133)

FRIST POST YOU titty fearinging cockgobblers.

lunix si teh BEStaSTES!

How long? (2, Interesting)

toasted_calamari (670180) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675136)

My question is how long will it take to get all the barcodes reassigned, and all the barcode hardware changed. I seem to recall that a large portion of US barcode readers are hardcoded to 12 digits. How much will this new bit of regulation cost?

Re:How long? (3, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675182)

I doubt that hardware is going to be the problem, but rather the software that accepts the data. There may be a few applications where the logic is burnt in, but by and large, the barcode reader is just another input device, and it's the software that needs to change.

Re:How long? (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675238)

I doubt much software will have a problem. The bulk of the digits in a barcode are unnecessary. 10 are actually significant, and the rest are check digits / filler. Within those 10, often only 4 or 5 have real meaning to a retailer, and the rest are just padding to fill out to 10 digits.

Re:How long? (3, Informative)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675426)

Maybe in your experience that's the case, but by and large, the middle 10 digits contain the main information that a retailer would use. Digits 2-6 denote the manufacturer of the item, and 7-11 are the item's ID. Throughout the supply chain on the way to a retail store, unique logic can often be applied based on the manufacturer ID. They might read digits 2-6, for example, and that would determine a specific label that needs to be generated, which would use digits 7-11 to pull the item info. Now they'd need to adjust that logic to account for the extra digit.

Like someone else mentioned, it's not a difficult problem to solve, but the testing will just take a good deal of effort.

Re:How long? (3, Interesting)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675199)

Who says the US won't just forget the whole thing and start switching everything to RFID? Good time to start.

Re:How long? (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675347)

There isn't going to be a reassignment, per se. EAN already accomodates the US barcode by making the 13th digit a 0 by default.

Mobile Phones (0, Offtopic)

Phillip2 (203612) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675138)

All we need now is get the US using the same phone system as everyone else and we'll be home and dry....

Phil

Re:Mobile Phones (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675241)

Err, except that in the US you get a *choice* of which type of carrier you want. You can get a GSM phone if you'd like, but I think that everyone (including the Europeans, who are basing their next system on it) realizes that CDMA is superior to GSM.

Besides, cross-Europe standards make sense: European countries are small, and border crossings are common. The same is not true of North America, where the countries are large (2 of them being the number 2 and 3 largest countries in terms of size), and the phone systems between Mexico, the US, and Canada are fairly compatible.

Re:Mobile Phones (1)

Phillip2 (203612) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675484)

What can I say. My phone seems to work all across Europe. It works in Asia. It even works in Africa. But it's knackered in the US.

It's very strange. It all seems very silly to me. Next you'll be telling me that you do use good old metre's and kilo's.

Phil

Re:Mobile Phones (2, Informative)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675270)

Sorry, the US isn't the only one using TDMA/CDMA [cdg.org] . In fact, over 202 million people use it worldwide, with over 120 million outside the US.

GSM has about 1 billion subscribers.

RFID (1)

milgr (726027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675141)

Just in time for the US to go to RFID, and drom bar codes all together.

Non register link (1)

PktLoss (647983) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675143)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/12/business/12barco de.html?ex=1247371200&en=5150688e8ea6f850&ei=5090& partner=rssuserland

What the hell, dude? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675269)

Fixed Link [nytimes.com]

Linkify, man!

welcome ... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675144)

I for one welcome our new euro-barcode overlords

saw this coming (2, Informative)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675149)

I for one welcome the New World Order and our European Article Numbering Code Overlords.

old tech and fucture tech? (2, Interesting)

blanks (108019) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675150)

What happens with all the old hardware/software that currently exists? How long until people will need to migrate to the new system, and will such things as rfid support the number system?

Re:old tech and fucture tech? (1)

Eu4ria (110578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675242)

Actually many companies migrated a while back and some even went to 14+ digits to account for the future, Our POS takes 16. Our only real problem was redesigning some of our preprinted stationary to make the SKU column a little wider.

Some of the products we carry are already coming with 13 digit SKUs on them so some systems might already be broken :)

Re:old tech and fucture tech? (3, Interesting)

ajlitt (19055) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675321)

Many modern (made within the last 5-10 years) barcode scanners are firmware-upgradeable. New standards for barcodes are always being released by one industry or another, and systems within manufacturing, shipping, and warehousing companies need to adapt to handling the new data formats quickly.

As for the older, fixed function models, well, barcode readers get a lot of abuse, and are usually replaced every so often anyway due to wear and tear. Even better, the older supermarket checkout units have HeNe gas-discharge lasers which have a much shorter service life than their solid-state counterparts.

Implications for the CueCat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675159)

Does that mean that all the CueCats at the bottom of my desk drawer are now obsolete?

let me hit you with some knowledge (4, Informative)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675161)

In June of 1974, the first U.P.C. scanner was installed at a Marsh's supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's Gum [about.com] .

Re:let me hit you with some knowledge (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675362)

> The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's Gum.

And the second was Wrigley himself, though this fact is much less well known.

Re:let me hit you with some knowledge (3, Interesting)

slimyrubber (791109) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675383)

And the first bar code reader was built by Woodland (who was an IBM employee at the time) and Silver in 1952 and included a 500 watt light bulb and a photomultiplier vacuum tube made by RCA for movie sound tracks.

GASP!

Does this mean... (0, Redundant)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675192)

...that my groceries won't check out properly, for, like, a week, while the software is upgraded to accomodate the new barcodes?

Re:Does this mean... (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675244)

Not likely... it'll take there being products that have the 13 digit bar code on them in order to cause a problem, and all products that are currently allocated a 12 digit code can keep theirs. I'd assume most grocery stores will have their computers in line before they let a 13-digited product onto their shelves.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675461)

It's nto too bad of a deal. Most grocery stores I know of use a turnkey based system and I am sure NCR already has it working if not already patched. The only hope is that the back end that puts the prices in is compatible. Seeing as I think I have seen this type of barcode in the stores already (many US grocery stores buy stuff from Europe to sell), I think the issue is already a done deal.

Re:Does this mean... (1)

raehl (609729) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675365)

that my groceries won't check out properly

If you think checking them out will be bad, just wait until you try to return them!

When a domain runs out of numbers... (4, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675208)

Also on our radar screens should be the fact that the US PSTN numbering scheme keeps getting more lines and is coming closer to the point that the (xxx)-yyy-zzzz numbering format is about to hit the wall. The rule that declared the center digit of an area code had to be 0 or 1 fell years ago. If an extra digit ever gets added anywhere, a lot of PBX systems are going to not like the new numbers.

IPv4 is also in trouble in this area, and IPv6 is waiting in the wings to take over. However, NAT seems to be good enough in stretching out single IP addresses to multiple computers so I don't know if we'll ever be forced to convert over.

Re:When a domain runs out of numbers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675320)

The reason IPv6 is still on the back burner is because IPv4 with NAT allows the corporate service providers to keep your balls in a vice. Originally the internet was peer-to-peer. Now widespread IPv4 with NAT has allowed ISPs and "content providers" to reshape the Internet as a "service" you can only obtain from them.

Re:When a domain runs out of numbers... (1)

vslashg (209560) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675488)

Also on our radar screens should be the fact that the US PSTN numbering scheme keeps getting more lines and is coming closer to the point that the (xxx)-yyy-zzzz numbering format is about to hit the wall. The rule that declared the center digit of an area code had to be 0 or 1 fell years ago.
Once ten-digit dialing becomes the rule everywhere, the restriction that the first digit of an exchange (the yyy part) cannot be a 0 or 1 can go away, extending the pool of phone numbers by 25%.

Not that this is a long term solution to the problem, but I disagree that we're "about to" hit the wall.

someone needs to learn to use PNG (-1, Offtopic)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675224)

Ugh, who's idea was it to use that JPG for that bar-code American flag graphic. It looks awful, full of compression artifacts (most of which aren't even the right color, look at the gray borders on the red stripes).

You'd think that the people running a multi-million dollar the NYT would know how to use PNG files! If they were worried about way-backwards compatibility, they could have used a GIF.

Speaking of image formats... whatever happened to jpeg2000? Anyone know? It seemed to have a lot of promise, then... nothing.

end of the bar (4, Funny)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675228)

The US codes have 12 digits; the EU codes, to account for 12 countries and about 25% greater population, have 13. Now the unified system has 13, with 225% the population, globalism, and 30 years of using up codes. Seems like barcode system upgrades are a perpetual growth industry.

Metric? (1, Redundant)

tbaggy (151760) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675259)

I heard next on the list of things to convert to was metric??

Re:Metric? (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675276)

It better, since all "smart" fields (physics, chemistry, biology, and such) uses metric, it's time to be rid of the old British system... EVEN BRITAIN DON'T USE THEM ANY MORE!!!

It's about time (5, Interesting)

1u3hr (530656) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675262)

You may notice that most books sold in the USA have two barcodes, an EAN-13 one (for the rest of the world) and a UPC one. It's a drag having to support those troglodyte US companies that insist on having their UPC. Books published overseas often have to pay to have a UPC code stickered to them.

Next up, metres and kilogrammes (you can spell them American if you really want).

Re:It's about time (0, Offtopic)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675394)

Who cares about spellings? All I need to know are the m and the kg.

Re:It's about time (3, Funny)

Rolo Tomasi (538414) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675429)

Next up, metres and kilogrammes (you can spell them American if you really want).

As far as I know, the U.S. military uses metric exclusively. Also, they use the 24 hour format, not that idiotic AM/PM stuff. So, with the military dictatorship coming in a few months, your wish might come true. ;-)

Re:It's about time (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675432)

Next up, metres and kilogrammes (you can spell them American if you really want).

What do you mean yards and miles?

Why the hell are they doing this? (2, Interesting)

TyrranzzX (617713) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675265)

It makes no sense. Why the hell would you want to move everyone onto the same UPC code standard? Ok, fine, you can standardise devices, big freggin deal. Barcode reading software is minimal, as are the readers. Sure, it may also make it easier to streamline shipping; the boxes could arrive at the store pre-upc'd and numbered and ready to go: TP get's it's own bar-code addressing space, whuptiedoo.

Then again, certain ISO standards....*shutter*.

For the tin foil madhatters out there, the standard doesn't provide enough addressing space to address dittly squat. I suppose getting everyone on the same standard is a step in that direction, since the next step could be setting up bar-codes that do have unique addresses (people'll be reading codes off in base-64) for later, but still.

Anyway, this may work in our favor; if the codes are standardised and it looks like there's country codes on them, one can memorise the codes you can tell which products are most likely baught from 3rd world countries via slave labor, and which are local. You can tell when they bring in the big crate of oranges from the big upc sticker weither or not they're from mexico and sprayed with DDT or not.

MMMMMMmmmm...I'v stayed up too late. I need to get some popcorn and coffie, get wired, and do some studying.



Re:Why the hell are they doing this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675457)

Voiced alveolar (or dental, if your first language isn't English) stop: "shudder."

Misleading link (1)

bigsteve@dstc (140392) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675268)

The cited link in fact has little (if anything) to do with barcodes. It is about face recognition systems.

Re:Misleading link (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675431)

Note: He said as a tool, meaning the Big Brother might decide to pass a law requiring barcode to be tatooed on everyone's face. Including new born child.

Inevitable (5, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675275)

Other inevitable and overdue US switchovers:

1. GSM mobile phones.
2. Metric. (*)
3. Standard international dialing. (00 + country)

And one I won't be holding my breath for:

4. A universal healthcare system.

(*) Laugh all you like, global corporations are gonna use metric for everything, not stupid US-only units. Eventually this will trickle down to everyday life. It may take decades, but...

Re:Inevitable (2, Informative)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675331)

Not sure what 1 is and why its important... 3, I could live without, but yeah, better standardize that... 4 would be nice... but 2 is a must have!!! The US system is FAR TOO CONFUSING to use in the scientific world.

I have a professor who actually think the base-unit in US for mass AND weight is the pound (he coined the word, pound-mass and pound-weight).
Just for those who don't know. The base-unit for mass in US-unit is a slug, the weight is a pound. And 32 slug = a pound because the acceleration due to gravity in US unit is 32 feet/second squared.

Re:Inevitable (0)

rabtech (223758) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675404)

Why would we want GSM? It is inferior to CDMA; it requires more towers, supports less customers, and has slower data rates.

We DO need a standard in the US but GSM isn't it.

Re:Inevitable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675415)

Err I think just about everybody is in agreement that CDMA is superior to GSM, and with China and India both using CDMA, that's a huge huge market.

Standard international dialing? Here in South Korea you dial 01 + country. I believe (but I can't remember for certain) that it's the same in Japan.

OSR... (2, Funny)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675487)

2. Metric. (*)
My car gets forty rods to the hogshead and that's the way I likes it!

In other news... (2, Funny)

88NoSoup4U88 (721233) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675292)

IO Interactive and Eidos have announced to issue an extra patch for all the Hitman series, updating your kick-ass mean mofo playercharacter, with these new barcodes.

Ah crap (1)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675302)

Does this mean I won't be able to play with my cat [wired.com] anymore?

Re:Ah crap (1)

KD5YPT (714783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675358)

Don't worry, note it's used only for inventory (meaning, there's a chance you migh need to move it out of the country, as in importing and exporting). Your "cat" would be fine, since the CueCat merely points to a website. No harms done.

Let's go metric! (0, Flamebait)

midifarm (666278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675308)

How about a 100 digit barcode number?

Peace

Re:Let's go metric! (1)

df3rry (795627) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675400)

What about EAN-128? Includes EAN13 data plus other data which can be included via special codes, its flexible and usually used for internal manufacturing where more information is needed.

Re:Let's go metric! (1)

pklong (323451) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675438)

You can type in the barcode when it fails to scan. I'm not doing it.

Re:Let's go metric! (1)

midifarm (666278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675459)

How about use as many digits as needed, everything else is a bunch 0's.

Peace

I once went to a Church ... (2, Interesting)

theguywhosaid (751709) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675427)

... with a friend of mine, and all of the regular members had a barcode that was scanned for attendance. This really creeped me out, but the sevice (i guess it was more "sunday school") was nice, and I didn't have to get a code, since I was visiting. Does anyone know if this is common practice?

Re:I once went to a Church ... (1)

AGTiny (104967) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675474)

Hah, sounds like a cult that wants to keep good track of their members to me. No, that's pretty far from a common practice. Wonder what happens if you miss a week? Do they come to your house and bug you about it or something?

IMPORTANT WARNING: Avoid CmdrTaco's "special taco" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9675466)

This is an important warning to all slashdotters. CmdrTaco has been luring people (mainly underage males) into the slashdot compound to eat his "special taco".

You may be wondering what CmdrTaco's "special taco" is. You will be wishing that you hadn't been wondering after you finish reading his post. To make his "special taco", CmdrTaco takes a taco shell and shits on it. He then adds lettuce, takes out his tiny withered dick (otherwise known as his "Commander"), puts his "special taco sauce" on it which means he jacks off on the taco, and adds a compound to make the person who eats the taco unconcious. Of course, the compound does not make the person unconcous until the taco is fully eaten. Thus CmdrTaco force feeds the taco to the unsuspecting victim. After all, who would knowingly eat shit and CmdrTaco's jizz.

After the victim is unconcous, he is held against his will and used for CmdrTaco's nefarious homosexual purposes. This includes shoving taco shells up the victim's ass, taco snotting, and getting JonKatz involved. Trust me, you do not want JonKatz anywhere near your unconcious body. Also, rumor has it CmdrTaco is looking for a new goatse.cx guy. Don't let it be you!!!!!

The last thing you may be wondering is how this goes along with "taco snotting", or what "taco snotting" is. George WIPO Bush and The WIPO Troll have been doing considerable work explaining what "taco snotting" is. Please see his FAQ on "taco snotting" which can be found as a -1 rated comment on most slashdot stories.

Please, if CmdrTaco offers you his "special taco", RUN LIKE HELL!!!!!!!!

What happens to old bar codes? (4, Interesting)

midifarm (666278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9675498)

Let's say product X is assigned a barcode. Product X is discontinued. What happens to the assigned bar code?

BTW who assigns barcode numbers and do they reap huge financial rewards from performing such a task?

Peace

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