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Microsoft IT Technology

Microsoft Finds a Home For Barcode 141

Posted by kdawson
from the color-cuecat dept.
MicroBarcode writes in about the color barcode technology that Microsoft developed but shelved two years back because nobody adopted it. The technology promised a way to link packaging to Web sites — and once cell phone cameras get good enough, Microsoft hoped lots of people would use it. It seems the technology has finally found a home: the ISAN International Agency has inked a deal with Microsoft. The color barcodes, consisting of red, green, yellow, and black triangles, will appear on XBox 360 games and other products beginning later this year.
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Microsoft Finds a Home For Barcode

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  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by garcia (6573) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @02:44PM (#18825805) Homepage
    Once the group starts issuing the barcodes, studios and producers will be able to link their Web sites to that database. One day, consumers might use a digital camera to "scan" barcodes on DVD cases, in advertisements and on billboards, then be transported to a Web page to watch trailers or buy products.

    So, what you're telling us is that this is nothing but a pointless technology and that it would be much easier just to post a URL?

    I have a to take a picture, possibly be charged depending on my mobile plan and if I choose that route, and then be tracked by Microsoft and the end company and then go to a website that would have been easier to just type in?

    Right. Dumb.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by tomstdenis (446163)
      They could probably encode a URL in a small enough 2D barcode, or failing that a 1D barcode with used as an index into a table.

      Or failing that, just put the URL on the damn box.

      Of course this is MSFT so using sensible existing methods is directly out of the question.

      Tom
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        Because it is easier to type in bluerayplayer.com/blueray1030/index.php on your phone than to take a picture and send it? Rigghhhttt...
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          Because it is easier to type in bluerayplayer.com/blueray1030/index.php on your phone than to take a picture and send it? Rigghhhttt...
          I've only one thing to say... bastard offspring of TinyURL to the rescue.
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      The idea is that with the right technological support, this can be easier than to just type in.

      Of course OCRing human readable data would be an even better solution.
    • Don't be an idiot. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nobodyman (90587)
      You're anti-MS zealotry is clouding your mind.

      Look. It's just like the QR Codes in Japan. What makes them so special is that you can encode much, much more data into them than a typical barcode (the blac&white QR codes can hold about 3KB, I assume this color version can do better). This lets you encode a ton more data about a product than w/ a typical barcode.

      Basically it holds all of the promise of RFID with none of the scary privacy issues. But this is slashdot, so I realize I must spin this as ev
      • What makes them so special is that you can encode much, much more data into them than a typical barcode (the blac&white QR codes can hold about 3KB, I assume this color version can do better). This lets you encode a ton more data about a product than w/ a typical barcode

        Not unless by "a ton" you mean twice as much, it's four colors instead of two. At the cost of a totally incompatible system.

        We have had labels with two-dimensional scan codes for years. These can be printed in any laser printer and scan

        • Um, Having 4 colors instead of 2 doesn't mean just "double" the storage.

          If you were to make 5 old-style two-color lines, you have a possible of 2^5 = 32 possible combinations.
          If you were to make 5 new-style four-color lines, you have a possible of 4^5 = 1024 possible combinations.

          So...I'm sorry, try again.
          • by Mr Z (6791)

            Ok, so you went from 5 bits of storage to 10. Explain again how that's not double the information content?

          • by mangu (126918)

            If you were to make 5 old-style two-color lines, you have a possible of 2^5 = 32 possible combinations.
            If you were to make 5 new-style four-color lines, you have a possible of 4^5 = 1024 possible combinations.

            If you were to make 10 old-style two-color lines, you have a possible of 2^10 = 1024 possible combinations.
            If you were to make 5 new-style four-color lines, you have a possible of 4^5 = 1024 possible combinations.

            There, 5 * 2 = 10, to have the same amount of data stored you need twice as many dots with

            • You are correct on a single dimensional array. However in this case it is a 2 dimensional array. Therefore both the length and the height must be doubled. which results in 1/4 of a monochromatic array.
            • Space is hardly a issue on DVD boxes.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by garcia (6573)
        Basically it holds all of the promise of RFID with none of the scary privacy issues. But this is slashdot, so I realize I must spin this as evil. DIE MICROSOFT DIE! There, happy?

        My comment has nothing to do with anti-Microsoft sentiment (hell, I run Windows and use Office, *gasp*!) this has to do with me finding that the application is fucking pointless as described in the article.

        I'm supposed to take a digital image of something and then scan it later to get to a website because of a billboard ad? Please.
        • Great New Invention! (Score:5, Interesting)

          by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @04:48PM (#18826577)
          I take pictures of the "now playing" line on our music server for future reference. It's not really any different than that.

          Entering text on a cell phone is a real pain in the ass and it's often the only device I have around me capable of recording data while 'out on the town'

          Take for instance google maps. I'll often take a photo of a google map before driving just so that I can look at it later on my cell phone. Much cheaper than GPS. Imagine if you will if Google Maps could encode all of your driving directions into a little 2"x2" square barcode on your screen. Then you just snap a picture with your cell phone. The Cell Phone includes a text decoder which then decodes the driving directions for when you need them later.

          Let's say you're in frys and you see a new 500 GB HDD for $220. Now you start thinking to yourself... "Is this a good deal?" but you can't remember what the going rate is. No problem you snap a photo of the barcode and you've already set up an association with product names and your favorite price grabber search engine and presto there it is on New Egg for $180 shipped.

          Let's say you're in a big city and you're lost. No problem! Just snap a photo of the nearest street sign's colorful barcode and presto google maps (your chosen default map service) locates where you are. You already while at home scanned the barcode for the address of your hotel and google gives you new directions from where you are.

          The problem with cuecat was that all it did was awkwardly enter URLs onto your PC. When you're on your PC there is no need for barcode scanners you already have an amazing data entry tool... your keyboard! Cellphones have no easy way to enter in a lot of information.

          I doubt microsoft's lone solution will be the only survivor, but who cares! With a camera based system, you can have hundreds of competing formats on your cell phone. But the better compressed the data, the more likely it is to catch on because the more information it can convey.

          I for one welcome our new barcode speaking overloads.
          • by Mr Z (6791)

            Cell phone cameras today are already high enough resolution to read regular barcodes. UPCs are, well, universal, as their acronym indicates. You could do all your product tie-ins with the UPC. This Microsoft technology sounds too much like a solution in search of a problem.

            • Regular barcodes can only carry a few bytes of data. The advantage of a compressed machine readable symbol which could hold a dozen kilobytes of data is a very useful solution to many data entry problems. No need for RFID or bluetooth integration. Just print on a symbol, no power required and stick it anywhere. I really like the idea of putting barcodes on every street corner I would find this invauable while travelling in a city I don't know.
              • by Mr Z (6791)

                My point is if you're using these codes to look stuff up online, a few bytes is all you need. IPv4 addresses are only 4 bytes. UPCs are 12 decimal digits (though one of those is a check digit). Even w/ the check digit, the UPCs offer about 20x as many codes as IPv4 offers IP addresses. That's more than enough tags to index anything you might want to index. You don't even need to be hooked up to the Internet. POS machines typically aren't and they handle UPCs just fine. Product serial numbers can be h

                • by CastrTroy (595695)
                  Or they could just set up a site where you type in actual barcode, or use the built in scanner on your cell phone to go to that url. Just make http://www.barcodedatabase.com/XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX [barcodedatabase.com] go to the product information page.
                • But it's not a question of being digitally isolated. It's a question of having to enter in:

                  "Corner of 12th and Broadway, Seattle, WA" using a little keypad or just clicking the photo button, pointing and firing away. Not to mention downloading any data will costs up to a dollar for even a very simple transaction.

                  It's effectively using a photo as a data sync method. And while something like RFID could do the same thing this you could do with an inkjet printer, or any printing service. Want to send out
                • Yeah except, you wouldn't want to have a unique IPv4 address for every URL.

                  Anyway, this whole problem was solved with QR codes long ago, just not yet adopted in the North American market.
              • by joto (134244)

                I really like the idea of putting barcodes on every street corner I would find this invauable while travelling in a city I don't know.

                They already have these things called signs that show you the name of the street. It's possible to read these signs using no other equipment than your eyes. And unlike barcodes, you can even read them from your car, without having to stop, exit the car, and hold a barcode-scanner up to a wall. Also, signs are more fault tolerant, as the human eye is usually able to decode t

                • by Bluesman (104513)
                  Do these "signs" translate themselves to many different languages so tourists in the city can figure out where they are?

                  • by joto (134244)

                    The signs describe the original names that you need to get around. That means they will correspond to the letters written on a map, the address of the hotel given you by the travel agency, or the instructions you need to give to a local taxi driver. Even if some words do sound a bit foreign, they are more helpful than words that sound like they're from your home town, but nobody else understands.

                • by Pojut (1027544)
                  You seem to be of the middle-aged crowd, so allow me to explain this to you:

                  Things change. Technology changes. People are passing this off because it seems like it's pointless.

                  It's not pointless, it's just something in it's early stages. When it matures, it will just provide you with another option of how to buy/navigate/whatever...just like now if you really wanted to you could continue doing long division and using a slide rule...no one is FORCING you to use a calculator.

                  But a calculator for some people
          • I take pictures of the "now playing" line on our music server for future reference. It's not really any different than that.
            You must be the life and soul of the party.
      • by SnprBoB86 (576143)
        "Basically it holds all of the promise of RFID with none of the scary privacy issues."

        Not even close. These color bar codes are still bar codes. GUIDs are 128 bits. If a black and white bar code can hold 3KB, as you said, then you could easily fit a few GUIDs in there. RFIDs are typically just GUIDs which reference a database. There is no reason why a black and white bar code can't include a server URL and an item GUID to effectively store infinate data.

        The promise of RFID comes from its no-contact nature.

        T
        • by rtb61 (674572)
          Why would M$ spend money on this tech, it is the inevitable pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A licence fee on every product sold, the billy goat just couldn't resist the idea not matter how delusional it is.
      • This isn't just MS hate here. The tech is pretty on paper, but will end up failing in practice. B&W bar codes are far more fault tolerant than color barcodes. Especially in low light conditions. All the software has to worry about is as to if it's seeing a monochrome black, or white. Throwing colors into the mix doesn't work nearly as well. Just look at how well color barcodes have suceeded. They've existed nearly as long as 1D barcodes, but just don't work well in practice. Hell, 2D B&W barcodes ha
      • Let's see...


        Cellphone: check
        Cell carrier that cares little for privacy: check
        Barcode by Microsoft: check
        Connects to a website: check

        'nuff said?

      • by Kjella (173770)
        Look. It's just like the QR Codes in Japan.

        So, does the wheel need to be reinvented because QR codes are proprietary or because Microsoft wants to make barcodes proprietary? On my grainy craptastic phonecamera (it doesn't deserve the title cameraphone) I think 3kB is just about max you'll get in poor light anyway.
        • by Asmodai (13932)
          I think this says enough:

          The Japanese standard for QR Codes, JIS X 0510, was released in January of 1999, and a corresponding ISO International Standard, ISO/IEC 18004, was approved in June of 2000.

          "QR Code is open in the sense that the specification of QR Code is disclosed and that the patent right owned by Denso Wave is not exercised."--from the Denso-Wave website
      • What makes them so special is that you can encode much, much more data into them than a typical barcode (the blac&white QR codes can hold about 3KB, I assume this color version can do better).

        Except that they don't really hold a lot more data.

        Basically it holds all of the promise of RFID with none of the scary privacy issues. But this is slashdot, so I realize I must spin this as evil. DIE MICROSOFT DIE! There, happy?

        Basically, this is old stuff. There have been tons of 2D barcodes and color barcodes b
    • The technology promised a way to link packaging to Web sites -- and once cell phone cameras get good enough

      I've seen this in Japan for years. Ads in magazines and elsewhere have little square bar codes like American UPS packages. Take a picture of them with your cell phone and it pops up some content on your screen.

      Good to see Microsoft "innovating" once again.

      I once worked for a company that sank millions into the CueCat [wikipedia.org]. This seems like the same thing, only with a cell phone instead of a plastic

      • I've seen this in Japan for years. Ads in magazines and elsewhere have little square bar codes like American UPS packages. Take a picture of them with your cell phone and it pops up some content on your screen.

        Japan seems to have a culture where they like these types of things. For me, the last thing I want to do is spend more time with advertisements, etc.
    • by satellitenoise (1060984) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @04:26PM (#18826421)
      There's also an article about this over on BBC News with more information: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/6570871.stm [bbc.co.uk] It appears it's not an attempt to replace the traditional UPC barcode.

      From the article:
      Gavin Jancke, the Microsoft Research engineering director who developed the so-called High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB), said the aim was not to replace the current barcode system, called UPC. "It's more of a 'partner' barcode," he said. "The UPC barcodes will always be there. Ours is more of a niche barcode where you want to put a lot of information in a small space."

      Of course, since this is /. we should all assume that the new barcode is just another phase of Microsoft's Plan of World Domination, right?
    • 1. Create picture with a barcode URL to a malware site
      2. Post on flickr, youtube, et al
      3. Wait for someone wearing glasses to visit the image
      4. Let MS's automagical software see the barcode in the reflection in the user's glasses via the PC's
      5. .........
      6. Profit.

      This is the visual equivalent of the exploit that uses an audiofile to tell the voice recognition software to do things.
    • "I have a to take a picture, possibly be charged depending on my mobile plan and if I choose that route, and then be tracked by Microsoft and the end company and then go to a website that would have been easier to just type in?"

      I went digital camera shopping not too long ago. Wasn't really planning on it, I was at Best Buy and saw some interesting cameras. I ended up pulling out my phone and taking photos of the little placards they have on them with the model number and price, then I went back home and l
      • But these codes probably would have taken you to the manufacturer's site, full of marketing hype and lies. You'd then have to copy/paste the model number into google to find the results (I assume) you actually wanted anyway.

        Where products are concerned, where the seller/manufacturer wants me to go is the last place I want to go to get more info.
        • "But these codes probably would have taken you to the manufacturer's site, full of marketing hype and lies."

          They can't lie about specifications. If the specs are interesting, then I can find my way to reviews. Very simple and convenient.

          • by CastrTroy (595695)
            They can't lie, but they can stretch the truth. I know a guy who got a Sony cellphone with a 2 Megapixel camera. But the problem was that the images that it saved were so overcompressed that they looked worse than what you could do with the old 1-megapixel-save-to-a-floppy-disk cameras that they had 10 years ago. So while you can't lie about specs, they don't really have to tell you everything about the product.
            • "But the problem was that the images that it saved were so overcompressed that they looked worse than what you could do with the old 1-megapixel-save-to-a-floppy-disk cameras that they had 10 years ago. So while you can't lie about specs, they don't really have to tell you everything about the product."

              Right. But if I'm looking for a camera that uses a particular type of memory or comes with a rechargable battery... well now I'm curious how they'd lie about that. Heh.

              Seriously, gimme a little credit, will
    • They will be useful for those game developers who completely fill a DVD-9, and still need a few hundred more bytes.

      The same kind of developers who regularly run out of gas 25 cm from the tank, wishing they had some kind of auxiliary tank with an additional .8 miliounces to get them the rest of the way.
    • by 3choTh1s (972379)

      I have a to take a picture, possibly be charged depending on my mobile plan and if I choose that route, and then be tracked by Microsoft and the end company and then go to a website that would have been easier to just type in? Right. Dumb.

      HAHAHAHA. Easier to type in? Are you serious? Have you ever seen some of the urls required to get to some of the product websites available? I see it from anywhere in the range of 15-50 characters (if you're lucky). I'm one of the current people who do look up info on my

  • by waterford0069 (580760) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @02:47PM (#18825845) Homepage
    It was called the "CueCat" [wikipedia.org].
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      In their defense, at least Microsoft seems to be doing something to place this on computer games and other related products, instead of just expecting to put it on Random Stuff like I seem to understand the CueCat hoped for. Give them a half-ounce of credit where it's due, hmm?
  • CueCat (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BigDumbAnimal (532071) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @02:50PM (#18825863)
    Sounds exactly like the CueCat. [zdnet.com]

    Which, of course, sucked. One article about it from several years ago said something like:

    "It fails to solve a problem that doesn't exist."
    • by catbutt (469582)
      Guess you didn't notice this was posted from the "color-cuecat" department.
    • Sounds exactly like the CueCat.

      Which, of course, sucked.

      The Cue Cat [cuecat.com] does make a great barcode reader [accipiter.org] for cheap.

    • by xigxag (167441)
      Sounds exactly like the CueCat.

      Except for one tiny detail -- no CueCat. The ubiquity of personal cameras in modern society is what is making this feasible. Whether through MS or some other implementation, it's bound to happen eventually because it will enable advertisers to directly measure the effectiveness of individual print ads.
  • by Viraptor (898832) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @02:50PM (#18825865) Homepage
    Only place where I see this applicable is: - take picture of a movie box in shop - upload tag to torrent search site - download results - profit! No need for ... even.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 21, 2007 @02:51PM (#18825869)
    Microsoft may have invented the Internet and the computer, but sometimes they do some really stupid shit.
    • by nurb432 (527695)
      Invented what?!?

      I hope you were just being sarcastic...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I hope you were just being sarcastic...

        Well Duh! Obviously I know they couldn't really have invented the computer. They must have copied it off of Apple.
      • Thank you Ted, that was the joke.
  • QR codes (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Esine (809139) <admin@tohveli.net> on Saturday April 21, 2007 @02:54PM (#18825889) Homepage
    They already have this in Japan. Just take a picture of the QR code with your cell phone camera and you'll get all sorts of info about the product. See here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code [wikipedia.org]

    -- dbg
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Hellbuny (444564) *
      The tech for em in Japan is widely accepted and used enough that during Tokyo Game Show, my G/F spotted temporary tattoo versions of them that the booth babes were allowing people to take pics of. Sure enough lead to a website geared for phone use and was all in all pretty spiffy

    • Mod parent up plz!

      I kept seeing those when I traveled to the near future, aka "Japan". Microsoft's solution requires a 4 colour printer, this one is monochromatic... why am I not surprised that Microsoft is pushing their own bloated implementation of an already popular technology through "undisclosed financial terms"?
    • by aztektum (170569)
      That could be cool if I can find out info *I* want and not just company sponsored ads. Like whether or not the product sucks. Like everything, the usefulness depends on who is pulling the strings.
  • by The Media Mechanic (1084283) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @02:54PM (#18825891)
    A better implementation exists, one that is not controlled by a convicted illegal monopolist: Semacode.

    It uses Datamatrix 2-D (monochrome) barcodes to encode URLs on paper billboards and flyers, and has scanner implementations for many cellphones w/ built-in cameras.

    In a prototypical application, a typical college student sees an advertisement attached to a bulletin board, for a local concert of Local Rock Band XYZ. There is a semacode symbol on the poster. He or she, uses cell phone to take a picture of the link, which automatically launches the cell's built in web browser to that URL (saving much tedious thumb-typing), and purchases concert tickets instantaneously.

    http://semacode.org/ [semacode.org]
    • by peragrin (659227)
      let's see here $1.00 to process the image remotely because no cell phone can, $1.00 data charge for access the website to buy tickets from, $5.00 random extra charge because your using cingular's/Verizon's/sprints special web buy service, another $1.00 worth of data rate charges because you entered your credit card wrong.

      In the end I don't friggin think so. Cool concept, but every company has to get their piece of the pie, and it needs to be bigger than everyone else's piece too.

      Thus a good idea fails mise
  • The color barcodes, consisting of red, green, yellow, and black triangles

    How exactly is this a barcode if it's not made up of bars?

    • You have to view it at an angle like a laser. Then everything becomes bars. View it from a triangle and everything becomes even better.
    • by foobsr (693224)
      Now that natural language is unstructured text you should not sense semantics with wetware. CC.
  • I'm no fan of Microsoft, but this actually sounds fairly cool and useful, assuming they don't destroy it with licensing and royalties. The standard barcode system has been around for a long time and some improvements could be made. I am more comfortable with barcodes with denser information than RFID tags. This could be particularly useful for libraries, most of which depend on standard barcodes for cataloging books--more information could be stored actually on the book's barcode rather than relying on big
  • by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @03:12PM (#18825963)
    Sure, we all say Bill Gates is the Antichrist, but I never thought it was true until now!
  • Too bad (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I won't succeed simply because they look like shit [com.com]. Maybe if they used blue instead of puke yellow then the symbol would look more nifty. Now those monochrome semacodes discussed above, I've seen those on packages before, and those have style!

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Too bad your criticism (as usual) is totally unwarranted. The colors can vary based on the packaging.

      Monochrome looks better? Idiot, go back to watching B&W television.

    • DataGlyph [dataglyphs.com] is specifically designed to be both machine readable and look good to people.
  • http://www.delicious-monster.com/ [delicious-monster.com]

    It uses the webcam build into new Macs, or a third-party firewire camera, to scan barcodes and index books and DVDs and such. It pulls the data from Amazon or another web source.

    No laser scanner needed, no special barcodes required.
  • by ReallyEvilCanine (991886) on Saturday April 21, 2007 @04:03PM (#18826273) Homepage
    In the early days, UPC code readers were really touchy and items often had to be held just so to be read correctly. Even with this problem worked out, the UPC code still has to be found and brought over the scanner. This and the fact that there's no maximum line height allow a neat hack. At discount markets like Aldi and Lidl which contract with suppliers, bar code are often required to run the entire length of the package so that no matter how the check-out girl holds the item, it'll scan. Checkout is noticeably faster. This colour coded triangle system moots this.


    While there are markers so that the orientation can be determined by scanners, there's no way to extend this encoding along the length of a package in any relatively inconspicuous manner the way that ISO/IEC 15416 codes do. This is the same problem which has prevented mass adoption of the Datamatrix 2D code outside of specific areas such as postage and shipping which simply needed to include the additional data required.

    This is an interesting system and even more capable than Datamatrix and ShotCode of encoding a lot of information in a limited area. Unfortunately it suffers not only from requiring higher printing specs for those who use it (reflectance is of utmost importance; see here [barcode-us.com]) but also from a return to a less usable system in key areas. This is for retail packaging but it will slow (or prevent speeding up of) standard, real-life usage.

    Yes, it would be possible to place multiple copies of the code along the length of some item, but the colour factor as well as the required resolution don't allow for interruptions and additional area uses that the current lengthwise 1D barcodes do.

  • The color bar codes, consisting of red, green, yellow, and black triangles, will appear on XBox 360 games and other products beginning later this year.
    I think they've been examining the DualShock controller a bit too closely.

    http://www.johnlewis.com/jl_assets/product/2301532 68.jpg [johnlewis.com]
  • red, green, yellow, and black triangles
    WTF? Just use CMYK. It costs more money to print red and green.
    • by jam244 (701505)

      WTF? Just use CMYK. It costs more money to print red and green.

      Only on CMYK printers. A large portion of professional printing uses spot color [wikipedia.org], where each individual color's ink is premixed and applied in separate passes.

      Often you'll use process color and spot color on the same target. Look near the bottom of a pack of Doritos or the like, and you'll typically see cyan, magenta, yellow, black, and some other custom colors that are used to increase vibrancy and sometimes even reduce cost.

      • by dreamlax (981973)
        No no, you're not following. When we pirate the games using inkjet printable media, we want to reduce costs to maximise profits.
      • Yes it reduces cost when you need less than FOUR colors. Any other time it increases cost. Only time more than 4 makes sense is when you want your product to look it's best, and you better have massive volume of Doritos to make this worth while.
  • I for one hope they don't adopt MS's color-coded triangles. I don't care how much more data it can encode. It'll still be worthless to me since those of us that are color-blind can't read it.
  • I'm not sure what they're talking about in relation to cell phone camera resolution being insufficient currently. I just took a picture from one of the links provided and it was more 'readable' on my cell phone than the black and white 2d matrix. Especially at 320x240.

    Perhaps it's the processors that are still lacking.
  • by mpapet (761907)
    Microsoft can do all the printing they want, but the retailers point-of-sale and logistics systems actually would need to adopt this.

    In the POS software market, that smells like a current-version-+1 feature
  • When you see an infomercial on TV, that phone number they display is different from region to region. By segmenting the data by region, the company knows where ads perform better, and they can pump for dollars buying airtime in that region.

    It's harder with the web. You can't tell someone to visit www.acmewidgets.com/detroit, because nobody bothers with anything after the .com. The only trick is to create clever variations, like saveonwidgets.com, yeswidgets.com, buywidgets.com, etc.

    This technology offers

    • by joto (134244)
      Only old people watch TV. Most young consumers are able to click on a link they find online.
  • What benefit does this have to anyone other than Microsoft's avoiding yet more royalty payments?

    None.
  • The BBC article [bbc.co.uk] reports that the colour barcodes can encode up to "3500 characters" worth of information. They also include a screenshot. The screenshot has 11 rows of 24 triangles. Each triangle is one of four colours. So that gives you 2 bits per triangle, 264 triangles, for 528 bits of information in total.

    Anyone know where the BBC got the "3500 characters" line from?

    • The BBC article states "The four and eight-colour geometric patterns...", but they do not show pictures of 8 colour ones. So with a space the size of the picture shown 8 colours would provide 792 bits of information. Nowhere do they state that their examples are using the maximum available, as is seen by the examples only having 4 colours not the maximum 8 that the article states. However with smaller triangles and 8 colours, their "3500 characters" per square inch claim could be possible. (though also lik
  • to take an existing technology that worked perfectly well, and release it's own propritary version which is complicated and no one wants or needs.
  • Can anyone explain to me what benefits this has over QR codes, which are already widely deployed in Japan and free for anyone to use (the patent on them is for public use by the holder) ??

  • MS managed to get themselves to use the barcode they created.

    Well done.
  • ...is why Microsoft wants a better barcode to put more data on DVDs. Doesn't DVDs already have space for 4.7GB? If so, I'm sure they could store some data on the disk itself, without inventing a new form of barcodes.
  • According to TFA current generation camera phones are too poor a quality to read this barcode.
    Also they imply that the entire code system is vendor locked to a central database.
    I expect they even charge royalties on it via their patent.

    where as qr-code contains just a url (no vendor lock in) is royalty free (and an ISO standard) and has worked on phones and pdas with cameras for a number of years now.

    way to go microsoft, always pushing the boundaries (not)

    There is one possible useful thing to come of this,
  • "You see, most barcodes will be playing at 10. You're on 10, all the way up, all the way up...Where can you go from there? Nowhere. What we do, is if we need that extra push over the cliff...Eleven. One more character."
  • I realize that I'm a bit out of the loop with the current "in" fads as I near 30, but I've noticed more and more kids making their cellphones/PDAs the center of their worlds. From customized ringtones, to custom backgrounds, to Podcasts, to music on the device... the device itself has begun to center itself in the "look what I have" market that so many kids seem to covet. At this point it isn't a big enough deal to just have an electronic device. These days the device actually needs to do things that oth

Passwords are implemented as a result of insecurity.

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