Monthly Archives: December 2009

QR Codes and Google Favorite Places

Google Favorite Places QR CodeTypically, when Google initiates something, it turns into something big. That’s why we, at Barcoding Blog, are pretty excited about Google’s new Favorite Places.

Google began its Favorite Places initiative by sending out 100,000 window decals of QR codes to popular restaurants, stores and attractions throughout the US. This favoritism was based upon Google users’ interactions with local business listings.

The QR code decals can be scanned with a supported phone in order to reveal restaurant reviews, in addition to allowing users to star the business as a favorite and more.

How It Works
In order to scan the code with your phone’s camera, you will need to make sure that the model phone that you are using comes pre-loaded with a QR code reader. If it doesn’t there’s no need to worry, simply download a reader. Google is recommending that users perform a Google search with the model of your phone along with the words “QR reader” in order to find one compatible with your phone. So far, Google ha found the beetagg, neoreader, QuickMark and Barcode Scanner applications to be very useful for a wide variety of phones.

Once you have the proper application, you can scan the code in order to take you to that business’ mobile Place Page where users can:

  • Read reviews about the business
  • Find coupons
  • Star the business to remember to check it out later
  • Leave a review

While we’ve been seeing small instances of QR codes appear in the US, they are still much more prominent in Japan. Perhaps Google Favorite Places will aid in spreading the prominence of QR codes throughout the US.

Using Zebra Designer in Windows 7

Zebra Designer & Windows 7

If you’ve decided to upgrade to Windows 7, or simply bought a new computer with Windows 7 installed, and want to print a barcode label with Zebra Designer, than you’re in luck.

Zebra Designer is completely compatible with Widows 7, however new print drivers are needed. Zebra recommends installing Nicelabel Drivers, which can be downloaded here.

Good news for instant use Zebra Designer is compatible with Windows 7, although you will need to install new printer drivers.

Once the drivers have been downloaded, simply follow the wizard prompts to complete driver installation and then print using Zebra Designer.

As of now, Zebra Universal Driver (ZUD) is not compatible with Windows 7.

Motorola MC3090-Z RFID Reader

motorola mc3090zMotorola recently released the MC3090-Z, a hand-held RFID reader that aims to improve item-level RFID operations, asset management and tracking in intense scanning environments. In fact, the MC3090-Z is the first hand-held to use dual-axis antennas for versatile use in retail, healthcare and business environments.

The Motorola MC3090 features:

  • Gen 2 technology
  • RFID reader
  • Barcode scanner
  • Omni-directional antenna
  • Microsoft BizTalk compatible
  • 802.11 a, b and g support
  • Password-protected applications

Because of these features, the MC3090-Z is ideal for intense RFID data capture for item-level applications such as inventory tracking, asset tracking and cycle counting. The dual-axis antenna, the MC3090-Z offers a greater level of read sensitivity and superior reliability, all while providing an expanded coverage area.

Aside from its reading capabilities, the MC3090-Z is also somewhat ruggedized and can survive a four-foot drop onto concrete in addition to being able to operate in a wide range of temperatures and being IP54 sealed.

As of yet, Motorola plans on releasing the MC3090-Z to its channel partners in North America in the first quarter of 2010, with an ongoing global roll-out.

GEPIR: Global GS1 Electronic Party Information Registry

GEPIR, or Global Electronic Party Information Register, is a database that holds information for over 1,000,000 companies in over 100 countries throughout the world. On the GS1 website, the GS1 Member Organizations allow you to search by barcode/GTIN, Container Code (SSCC), Location Number (GLN) and company name.

Searching by GTIN
GTIN, or Global Trade Item Number, is an identifier for trade items, ultimately helping the trading process of buying and selling. GTINs are assigned to any product or service that can be priced, ordered or invoiced at any point the supply chain. The GTIN can be used to retrieve pre-defined information about the item.

Searching by SSCC
The SSCC, or Serial Shipping Container Code, is a GS1 Identification Key for any item established for transport and/or storage that needs to be tracked throughout the supply chain. The SSCC remains the same for the life time of the transport container and is a mandatory element in the GS1 Logistic Label using Application Identifier.

Searching by GLN
The GLN, or Global Location Number, is the GS1 Identification Key for Locations and can be used to identify physical locations and legal entities in order to retrieve information that helps to improve the efficiency of communications within the supply-chain.

Searching by Company Name
Through GEPIR, users can also search by company name in order to locate enterprises.

Micro PDF-417 Barcode Symbology

micro pdf-417While we’ve discussed the PDF-417 barcode symbology before, the Micro PDF-417 is becoming more and more popular. Based off the standard PDF-417, the Micro PDF-417 is designed for maximum area efficiency, but without the PDF-417’s maximum data capacity. Thus, there is a limited set of symbol sizes available, in conjunction with a fixed level of error correction for each barcode.

With the Micro PDF-417, the x dimension is the width of the narrowest bar, and the Y dimension is the height of each row within the Micro PDF-417. The Micro PDF-417 is most commonly printed with an X to Y ratio of 1:2 to 1:5, depending on the amount of space. By changing the ratio to 1:2 or 1:3, a lot of space can be saved, but it should be noted that some scanners can not read ratios of less than 1:3, with most reading best at 1:4.

With the Micro PDF-417, one can encode 250 uppercase characters, unless using text compaction mode, where the amount of data will vary depending on switching between different types of characters such as letters, numbers, upper case, lower case and punctuation. In binary mode, the PDF-417 can encode 150 characters, but if using only numbers, then it can hold up to 366 digits.

For applications that are ideal for a PDF-417 barcode, but have a limited amount of space, the Micro PDF-417 is the perfect candidate.

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