Friday, June 26, 2009

Bar codes, younger than I am

The NYT notes the 35th anniversary of the bar code. First product scanned, presumably in a "real" transaction: a pack of Juicy Fruit gum.

Somewhat shamelessly, the Times repeats its canard about Bush 41 and the scanner:
They even played a role in the 1992 presidential race, when then-President George H. W. Bush, at a campaign stop, seemed surprised by what had already become a technological staple of everyday life. notes that the Times' Andrew Rosenthal (still dispensing misinformation today) hadn't even been present, and that Bush was really being politely impressed by "a new type of scanner that could weigh groceries and read mangled and torn bar codes."

Anyway, I am old enough to remember vaguely when bar codes came in. Googling hasn't turned up a cartoon that delighted me at the time (it was in Omni, if that tells you anything): two bar codes, having reared up slightly to expose numerous pairs of creepy arthropodic limbs, are shown, with bar code 0000000002 reporting to 0000000001 that "our infiltration of the enemy's food supply network is nearly complete."

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