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Bar code blogs.

The humble bar code has come a long way since the first UPC code was introduced in 1974. Today bar codes are on virtually everything. It is impossible to buy a retail product or concert ticket, ship a package or board a plane without coming across a bar code. And now, with the advent of 2D bar code technology and mobile phone scanners, they are appearing in magazine ads, store front windows, bill boards, even product labels. With dozens of bar code symbologies and more coming online all the time, what is the label converter to do? Reading these blogs will be a start. The five blogs reviewed here will keep you up to date on all the latest news on bar codes.

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Barcoding (http://blog.barcoding.com/)

Barcoding Inc. sells bar coding products for a range of industries. It provides scanners, printers and RFID readers for asset management and data collection. Their blog is one of the most comprehensive resources in the bar code industry, covering everything from the brand new two-dimensional bar codes to an explanation of different bar code symbologies. There are two things I like about this blog. First, it focuses on established and new bar code technology, with a good mix of both. Second, you wouldn't know this is a corporate blog. There is little self promotion--the focus is providing useful information on bar codes.

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Barcode Nerds (http://barcodenerds.blogspot.com/)

The Barcode Nerds blog is the oldest blog in the bar code industry, dating back to early 2005. It is actually the corporate blog of Azalea Software, the makers of bar code font software, although they keep the self-aggrandizement to a minimum. This blog is focused on education with some excellent FAQ sections on the most popular bar codes such as Code 128, Code 39, ISBN, UPC and QR codes. These days the blog posts focus mainly on useful applications of bar codes, particularly when it comes to new QR code and mobile phones.

2d code (http://2d-code.co.uk/)

The world (well at least the bar code world) is going two dimensional. The most popular of these new bar codes is the QR code; it is being used on everything from billboards to product labels. If you haven't received any work to print a QR code on some labels, it is only a matter of time. More and more companies are seeing the benefit of the QR code as a promotion tool, linking the product information on the label to their website. The 2d code blog is the first of two blogs in this review that focus solely on 2D bar codes. The blog itself is not very easy to navigate, with Top of the News, Featured Post and Latest News sections--it is not clear what you should be reading. But it has some useful information. The list of online QR code generators is invaluable, as are the quick reviews of all the QR code scanners/readers. Another thing this blog does well is give examples of good and bad uses of these 2D bar codes.

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2D Barcode Strategy (http://www.2dbarcodestrategy.com/)

2D Barcode Strategy is our second blog dealing specifically with 2D bar codes. It was launched just this year but it already has a useful library of content. It has extensive coverage of the new Microsoft Tags (Microsoft's proprietary 2D bar code technology that uses colored triangles) as well as JAGTAGs (a different approach that uses multimedia text messaging) and of course the standard QR codes. One very handy feature of this blog is the 2D bar code best practices section. This is useful for anyone planning to use 2D bar codes as well as for the label converter who wants to be able to provide clients with feedback on their 2D bar code projects.

The Bar Code News (http://www.barcode.com/)

The Bar Code News is not technically a blog, but it has an RSS feed with new regularly published articles so I am including it here. It also just happens to be one of the best resources online for anything to do with bar codes. There is so much content here. You can read reviews of bar code printers, scanners, and bar code software. There are articles about asset tracking, inventory management, RFID as well as the latest news on mobile phone bar code scanning. A nice feature for beginners is the Barcoding 101 section that answers many basic questions. There is also a free bar code generator where you can create a graphic (that you can save) of a number of bar code symbologies such as Code 128, Code 39, EAN 13 and UPC codes.

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Peter Renton is the founder and former co-owner of Lightning Labels, an all-digital label printer in Denver, CO, USA. He is currently doing some blog consulting while attempting to take a career sabbatical after the sale of Lightning Labels.
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Title Annotation:THE BLOGSMITH
Author:Renton, Peter
Publication:Label & Narrow Web
Date:Sep 1, 2010
Words:826
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