A Confusing Question

A few days ago I was talking with a co worker about my electronic parts cataloging project. Explained the bar code reader (CueCat) neutering procedure and my issues with printing barcodes. I was feeling pretty proud of the project when he asked me one simple questions that through me for a loop.

“So why do you need a barcode reader?”

I sat there for a significant amount of time slack jawed wondering why I was using barcodes and a barcode scanner. This was not a point of sale system; I did not need to run an inventory; I was not automating a warehouse. The only answer I could come up with was that I had an old CueCat scanner and wanted to play with it.

I suspect that many projects evolve this way. You stumble on some cool technology and force an application on it just so you can use it. I suppose it relates to the old saying “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”. In my case, “If you stumble on a barcode reader in your attic, everything now needs to be barcoded”. Perhaps I will add that to my daily lexicon.

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