Bar coding boxes??

Chris at Mizzou1.Missouri.eduGarvie Chris at Mizzou1.Missouri.eduGarvie
Mon Aug 7 17:26:00 CDT 1995

     As someone who makes his living developing software and inventory
     control systems I shall make a few comments.

     1) I can't think of any good reasons why anyone would want to bar-code
     specimen boxes etc. Bar-codes in industry are typically used for
     similar items which make their way through a manufacturing process or
     for inventory applications where widgets are stored and you cannot put
     all the information on the box label that you might need. The curator
     of biological specimens better know where all his boxes are, no need
     to bar code the outside and then buy a scanner at $600-$800 a piece
     and all the connecting H/W to tell him what it is and where it is
     supposed to be.

     2)Setting up a database in whatever way (one large file, many linked
     ones etc), defining all the fields, and writing the software is the
     easy part of making a system. Training, making sure everybody uses it
     (most systems are very unforgiving), making sure all the fields are
     given the right information, and interfacing the system with the H/W,
     - that is the difficult part. If it were only S/W, an experienced,
     good programmer/analyst could write you a loan and transaction
     management system using one of the modern development packages in
     weeks, assuming you could give him the specifications.

     3)Remember also, that these modern packages need more megabytes every
     year, and by now also Pentiums to run properly. That involves
     considerable money. However if you do buy or develop in one of these
     packages you do get very useful options: like adding fields to your DB
     when you realize you forgot an important set of data without having to
     recompile everything, unlimited size text fields and pictures are
     handled just as easily as a fixed length ASKII field, and you can make
     your application look just like Windows!

     The corner S/W store does not have an off-the-shelf the answer to your
     problems but there are many S/W developers who do.

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