Dumb and dumberer ideas: Last October 8, I suggested that using a camera phone to take pictures of UPC bar codes in order to download them to a price-comparison service was an idea whose time will never come. That was before I owned a phone with a camera that I use almost daily. Now, even more than then, I am convinced the idea is lame. However, when did an idea being stupid stop someone from hoping, somehow, someone may think it is clever? A story on wired.com reports that several products like this have been recently introduced.
“Clearly, this is going to change the way people think about shopping,” said Olivier Attia, chief executive of New York-based Scanbuy, one of the firms specializing in bar-code-scanning software. For example, “with a camera phone that is also a bar-code scanner, you can go into a store like Barnes & Noble, take a photo of the ISBN number on a book and instantly receive a coupon offering the book for 30 percent less at Amazon.com,” said Attia.
No, Mr. Attia. This will not change the way people think about shopping (clearly). It may prove to have a few obscure niche or novelty usages, but there will be no paradigm shifting on book-purchasing patterns as a result of these son-of-cuecats. How many tens of thousands of UPC codes change each day? Sure, ISBN numbers on books may work, but do I really need to go through the Rube Goldberg process of using my camera phone to compare prices?