When George Laurer goes to the grocery store, he doesn’t tell the check-out people that he invented the barcode, but his wife used to point it out. “My husband here’s the one who invented that barcode,” she’d occasionally say. And … Continue reading →
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent. Invisible, I'm roman Mars, the sound is unmistakable. Maybe you find it kind of lulling like idea, since it signifies the end of a trip to the grocery store. You found other things on your list and now you get to just stand there and zone out for a second or flip through a bastard magazine. While the check out person does the work. That's our new producer, Katy mingle. I myself find that sound a bit anxiety inducing sets its also the sound of the total that I'm going to have to pay going. What did I just took? A grocery store charter I'm amazed at how well will skaters can read bar codes lie. Dont tell the check out p. My wife always did get my husband years, one that invented that bar code and they just kind of look catches of two.
I believe that course today they would look at you as if to say you mean there was a time they didn't have a bar code it's hard to imagine a world without Barcode a world without George Laura. Well, hello, George J, Laura I'm, the one that invented the you preach, see bar code and symbol in nice. Eighteen, seventy three now some of you might be saying to yourselves. I thought you of woodland invented the barcode. Have you seen You yourself you are a nerd and I love you for it and just hold your nerd horses because we're getting to woodland right now. It started away a lot of things started with people trying to make more money. The brochure business decided that they needed some way to reduce their overhead. One of them
in places they felt they were losing money. Was the czech outline worker for the idea of having some kind of a scandal code which would move people. My please through the line one of the first people started working on? It was an engineer named Joseph Woodland after working on And Hatton Project Woodland moved on to develop an innovative way to produce elevator music. He was jam on this project- probably set to make a whole bunch of money until and MRS according to Woodland, New York Times Obituary, his father forbid him from getting into the industry because it was controlled by the mob. So woodland moved on from elevator music to barcodes. He was chatting Come up with a symbol that, when scanned, would translate to a series of numbers that a computer could use to identify a product
so one day he's sitting on the beach in Miami Florida, so the legend, girls and woodlands. Thinking about his days in the boy Scouts and Morse code as well intends to do on the beat and kind of. Absent mindedly, drawing in the sand with his fingers. When sudden, he looks down and he's got it dragged his bore through the sand in the shape of concentric circles. Instead of dot dot, dash dash dash. He thinks I can you skinny and wide lines. Bowser balls, I the very first barcodes written the shape of a boss. I actually they didn't call them barcodes. Yet woodlands invention was called a classifying apparatus and method, I'm really we don't call me that was one forty, eight and then twenty years the bulls idea gather dust scanners and other equipment needed to put the system in place we're just two expensive for any of it to be feasible fast. Written nineteen. Seventy three, the techniques,
She is now a bit more affordable and a group of supermarket executives led by a guy named Alan, haven't I, like ok bar code or bust, were doing this by that time? There were a few other designs out there, but none were perfect. So put together. A list of quality is that their ideal barcode would have and asked fourteen different companies to come up with a proposal could be. No law the one, on the one hand, swell wrenches had a hammer fitted up depth feel like that. Could read about a foot and a half above scanner had to be Omni Directional, that's George lower again is working at IBM at the time, which was one of the companies competing to make the best barcode, and most people thought A circular design like woodlands, would probably work better, because of the way the scanners worked. Those days just about every scanner was a single while you can just picture
if you had a single wine and it was going in the direction of the bar, it would not read all the bars Lillian's original secular design solved this, because it could be read from any direction that meant the chair, out person didn't have to take your bag of cheaters and turn it in just the right way before it could pass over the scanner, but George didn't think the balls I symbol, woodwork, I couldn't support, the solution to what the grocery industry wanted, because too, be. There was no way that it would fulfil their specifications integrity. Just would not. Let me come up with a bunch of ball. So George went back to the drawing table. Website chamber text. I will work day and night come back at night and again most of us was thinking, arithmetic, trying to prove that this would work
also, I have to admit I had to disprove. Suddenly others wouldn't work. He ultimately came up the rectangular Barca that fit more code into less space, which was crucial since grocery manufacturers were already grumbling about having to make room for this new symbol on their packaging, but there still the issue of the one line: scanner. Somehow We got the idea that if we use and eggs for the scan pattern which could be developed further ITALY with a pair of mirrors. Then. Code, can be read by the scanner in a matter which way it was oriented as it pass So, even though woodland came up with the original idea of using lines of various with George Lore did more than just change that shape from a circle too. Tangle improved on the symbol, the code behind the symbol and Scanners that read the symbol, even Joe Woodland thought, so Joan. Willin was variant,
Yeah strictly worked with me. In fact, he wrote the actual proposal for the submission to the grocery industry, but it was my invention of the particulars oh and bar code that we see today. The symbol Selection Committee unanimously voted for George lures rectangular symbol and code. They called it the universal product code or you pay. See, and a year later, in nineteen, seventy four, a pack of Wrigley chewing gum, became the first item to ever be scanned with EU pc barcode It barcodes on minute entered. The entire lay out and architecture of commerce would have been different. Are very difficult to overestimate,
My name is Sunday ceremony, professional, mechanical generic at MIT Sancho Sarama, has also worked with an organization called GS, one that stands for global standards, one and if you need a bar code on your product, you have to go through, GS won T get it irregular go. The telephone numbers. One standardized Can you know where your goods and to giving for number, you know When barcodes became the standard they didn't just make check outlines faster they'll. Stores to keep track of huge amounts of inventory and to collect data on what we were buying data they could use to keep us coming back for more without barcodes? So stores might not exist. But equally, you know I'll store might need more employees to run it. It's like the guy is that that makes the machine run with one of the key elements of fun.
Efficiency in our capitalistic system, and when you put it like that, you can see why, for some people, the bargain it has come to represent everything they hate about capitalism and consumers. Do you can get wrapped candies if every guy lollipops one's eyes, Gandhi, just a dollar. Eighty nine, when I was about kid. If bans out and a bar code, we knew they were led, sell out rate the barcodes fault, but become the symbol of the live. Technology were afraid of her, don't understand or being cog, in a wheeled in a larger monolith, machine the matrix, Well, why well, during, like my name, is Jerry Whiting, I'm the founder of Azalea software here in Seattle, Washington, I've been writing software that Prince BAR codes for twenty five years they aren't bad. They aren't good they're, just tools, but most people look at them and don't even know where to start. So, let's do
to fight for a minute and look at what's inside the barcode again. What we're talking about here is the you pc barcode that George lower invented doesn't work. That you and I and everyone in the world has had them most interaction with the you pc. Our code is divided into two halves. It's it's actually to barcode sitting right next to each other. You can see this visually because there are these longer powers that come down in the middle and on each side those are called. The guard bars the guard forest tell the scanner that the code is starting and ending the left her for the barcode tells you manufacturers and the right have tell us you, which particular product it is and this was something I didn't realize. The scanner is reading, both the white and the dark lines: doorstep the scanner just consider yourself in a dark room where the wall behind you has bars painted on it, and you took a flashlight
I it over your head across the bars you would see ring, get a low wider when you were over the White bars and it would get dark when it was over the top bars black lines. Dont reflect the laser light back to the scanner register as one why lines equals zero there. Actually, ninety five evenly space columns on a your pc barcode, a thick black line is actually a bunch of one's right next to each other. They can adds all that together and you get a string of twelve numbers. This number goes totally computer. The computer now looks up in its table to get the information such as what is the product, how much there charging for but that is not in the bar code. The only thing it's in the bar code is where the computer should look this number also printed below the barcode. Just in case the scanner isn't working which
for me really makes the whole mystery a little anticlimactic. I mean it's that's right there. So when most people until recently thought a barcodes, they thought of something that was a combination of bars and stripes. More recently two dimensional bar codes, which are they look. I crossword puzzles have emerged and most popular being q are barcodes quickly, bonds that our scanned by cell phones We ve all seen these, and maybe a few of us have actually bother to pull out our cell phones and download the app required to scan them either. Something about them that I find kind of lame annoying. You know it's like no Chile's. I dont want more info on the blooming onion. If you did, you may know that the bloom and news from our back so anyway, I googled why our cue arc hoods lame and bunch of articles basically saying there actually really useful they're just being misused,
plea by advertisers who just started slapping them on every single thing Jerry waiting. He still believes in them. The nice thing about cure barcodes. If they are not just look up number to an external database? Yes, it can be a chunk attack, it can be a url it can be. A whole lot of different things, but there is no central authority that tells you what or how to do anything meaning you don't have to go through GS, one to get a cure code which lets people do stuff like make a joke, picture of Amy Goodman's face entirely out of pure codes. This is my cure code. Amy Goodman Portrait made with two thousand three hundred and four unique. You are codes that nine years of democracy. Now, videos The cure code, lore and woodland original barcodes has spawned a bunch of other barcodes, their use for all sorts of things.
Code, one twenty eight, which is mostly used for packaging and shipping, there's posts net, which is used by the Post office to sort mail. There are bar codes, use radio frequencies to stand out data, there called Aref Ivy Tags and they aren't really barcodes at all. They just get put in the same category because, like barcodes, there being used, keep track of inventory with a grocery cart full of our ef. I d tag items. One could conceivably we'll their carved through a big hoop. That would read all the contents all at once, basically eliminating the czech outline entirely and allowing more people to pass through stores even more quickly, so that we can all by more stuff by could help us keep track of prescription. Library, books, luggage endangered animals There are so many bar codes on so many things that accord Did Jerry waiting when future archaeologists come across remnants of our
backward ass civilization and they stumble across the barcode began a sign it religious significance if they dont understand the supply chain, had no idea how far was going to go. We thought it would stay just within the grocery industry it didn't just today in the industry. It actually way. Beyond all the way to conspiracy, there is, in fact a silly conspiracy theory that all barcodes halve the number of the beast: six: six, six encoded into them. It has to do with those guard bars that come at the beginning, middle and end of every bar code and its basically, True that there are three sixes coded into the guard bars the end Why is a bit technical? You can read about it on George lures personal website in the fn key section. If you want, but as exhibit
I submit George himself well, hello, George J. After we were done with our energy, and he was talking a little bit more about his job and I began, and then, when I come home to after more poor world was cheerful and then he started talking about his wife, his kids. She heard the hard core labour she gave up her career, which was a tutoring career in order to take care of the kids and believe me, we are so proud of those kids. Really they are you just couldn't they ask for better kids? This is because my wife spent her career raising those kids Andrew somewhat, so I don't know. Does that sound like a state in which a burglar? Do you guys my daughter, but
Mr Green. Ninety, nine percent invisible was pretty since we buy Katy mingle, the same Greenspan. Avery truffle meant any romanesque special thanks to Jenny, Morgan for production, helpless. We are directive. Ninety one point: seven, local public radio, K Ale W in San Francisco and produced the offices of ARC sign and architecture firm in beautiful, downtown, Oakland, California and Enginrie Charlotte. Our youngest son has a Phd state. We often don't think of winter is a time of growth or creation. But if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website is recouped. Job you thinkin about being productive and now square space can help you do it with Squares Bates. You can take your cool ideas, you ve creative content, your services, goods and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks. Does it because
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.