Geeking out at work: Bar codes

I wrote the other day about QR codes, primarily because I'm starting to use them. But in general, bar codes and bar code scanning have me a little too giddy for my own good.

Mostly what happened is one day at work, someone said, "Hey, I heard you can read this thing on a cell phone," and pointed to a QR code. So I went to the Android App Market and downloaded a few bar code applications, finally settling on Barcode Scanner by ZXing. It read the QR code fine.

But then I brought it home (always a smart thing to do with your cell phone), and flipped over the Scrabble Dictionary that was sitting on the coffee table. Yeah, it scanned that fine, too – and then linked me to a Google Shopping results page that offered me various locations and various prices for the book.

I then scanned the bar code on a box of staples from Target and while it read the code, it couldn't find a shopping result. So I searched the Web, and got a bunch of sites in Chinese, which probably made sense, since they were made in China.

Then for kicks, I hopped over to and discovered you can only get them in stores, so everything made sense.

Anyway, there are a bunch of bar code standards, including a unique one for the Post Office. With smart phones taking over the mobile phone market, I'm really curious to see where this goes.

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