RE: Bar-coding the Real World with URLs

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From: Håkon Wium Lie (
Date: Thu May 04 2000 - 13:17:41 PDT

Also sprach Jim Whitehead:

> One of the major impacts this technology could have is allowing every single
> item to have its own barcoded URL. In fact, I think it would be neat if
> every single item we bought, over a certain size, had a URL that pointed to:
> * a desrciption of what the object does
> * specifications of the object

Given the specification, in machine-readable form, you should be able
to make the thing from your 3D-printer.

> * any consumer recalls of the object
> * safety information on the object
> * how to repair the object (or how to locate someone who will repair it)
> * how to recycle the object
> * how to safely dispose of the object
> * description of how to locate a secondary market where the item could be
> sold

If it's foodstuff we're discussing, I'd add a few more:

  - email address to the person picking it from a tree
  - a picture of the person when picking it from the tree
  - a complete trace of the where the atoms have been since picked from a tree

Douglas Couplang, in Generation X if I recall correctly, suggested
that people should try living without buying barcoded stuff. I tried
it successfully in Antibes which has a market, small butcher shops
etc, but it's harder in Oslo.

So far bar codes have represented industrialization and mass
production, but I agree the technology has a potential for
individualization as well.


Håkon Wium Lie gets you there faster

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