Today’s Google logo is written in the incomprehensible but enormously useful script of the bar code. Without it, we simply wouldn’t have modern distribution. Bar codes translate from producer to retailer and back. They help organize inventories. They open up new worlds of data to market research. They sometimes literally unlock doors. Except for money, nothing talks louder to businesses. Happy birthday, Bar Code.
I know, I know. We’ve long since begun moving toward radio frequency identification. RFIDs and other smart tags can tell us not only what a product is, but where it is, where it’s been how much it weighs, who made it, and a thousand other things. But the dumb, humble bar code isn’t dead. It still has a long life ahead of it, and I would guess plenty of new and interesting applications. May the rest of us live half so long.