Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE II ISSUE 2 / JUNE/JULY 1980

The Single-Board 6502

Eric Rehnke

Barcodes Come of Age!!!

Back in 1976 (November to be exact) BYTE magazine introduced an interesting concept regarding program entry from magazine pages (or other printed media).

Using a code very similar to the Universal Product Code, which can be found on just about anything you purchase anymore, programs (and data) can be reproduced on paper in a form that can be fed directly into your computer. This, of course, eliminates, the laborious typing in of magazine software. Just think about the amount of wasted energy when 10,000 computerists across the country have to type in the same program? Now THAT amounts to a lot of effort!!! Well, this new scheme could put an end to all that.

I'll bet you're wondering if it's so great, why aren't all the magazines offering software in bar-code format. Well, that's a fair question — and the answer is that up until now, bar code reading wands have cost from $300 up.

But that's all changed since Hewlett-Packard introduced the HEDS-3000 bar-code data entry wand for around $100 in single quantities. Now, for a little more than the price of a good audio cassette deck, you can have a truly revolutionary peripheral device for your computer!

Think of all the neat things that can be done with such a device. You computer music users now have the ability to load musical scores directly into your “instrument” (providing of course, music publishing companies print music in some sort of bar code format). Industrial controllers could have the control program or several programs printed right on the face plate for ease of operator input. You could easily input trip data to your car computer or phone numbers to your communication computer. The applications are numerous.

The April 1980 issue of BYTE has an article on the new HP bar code reader and the bibliography of past BYTE articles written on the subject, so I'd suggest you start there if you want more information.

HP can be contacted directly at: 640 Page Mill Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94394 Attention: John Sien.

I'm very tempted to spring for one of these devices but will probably have to put it under the modem on my priority purchase list.

If you'd like to see COMPUTE (or COMPUTE II) publish software in bar code format contact Robert Lock and make yourselves known.