I was watching the vid below on AHK and barcode scanners, he tells a story, about 7.20 min in about someone who uses barcodes to record feeding times and cage numbers to speed up record keeping.
I thought that would be an interesting project for learning about recording data on plants, thinking about OraPharm (My daughter’s company) and plant monitoring. I could make a bit of a project on monitoring my plants at home and keeping records on them.
I’m also interested in using a hand-held scanner and inputting data to PC and what programmes to use to set it up.
There are a few steps:
Scanner setup with an (Enter/Return) or Tab after reading, so setting up hand scanner
Connecting Scanner, Bluetooth USB dongle to Mobile phone or PC
What programme to use to record inventory data and how to manage.
Creating Barcodes to use & Scan
1 & 2 Hand scanner
I looked on TradeMe and decided to buy:
This scanner has a vid about itself:
Tera Wireless 2D QR Barcode Scanner with Stand, 3 in 1 Compatible with Bluetooth & 2.4GHz Wireless & Wired Connection, Connect Smart Phone Tablet PC USB Image Bar Code Reader with Vibration Alert
Tera Magic Diamond Aiming System & Vibration Alert- Lightning speed read rate coupled with a large depth of field means no more frustrating delays trying to get your scanner at just the right angle or distance. In addition to the buzzer and LED light, when a scan is successful, you receive a tactile signal in the form of a mild vibration. Buzzer can be set to mute to allow for a quiet operation.
Versatile 3-in-1 Transmission- Can work via 2.4Ghz wireless + USB 2.0 wired. It is compatible with Bluetooth as well. Supports Windows and Mac OS; works with QuickBooks, Word, Excel, Novell; and almost all common software. Can be widely used in supermarkets, shopping malls, cosmetic stores, retail industry, postal industry, logistics, banks and medical institutions.
Large 2000mAh Battery, 60 Days Standby- Large 2000mAh built-in battery, standby time can be over 60 days. Continuous scanning time can be up to 16.5-19.5 hours when fully charged. Worry free after one charge.
Shockproof Silicone Design- The bright orange silicone protective cover can avoid scratches and friction while falling from your desk or the shelf. Using the bright orange color will also increase the visual of the barcode scanner when you don’t use or leave it anywhere.
Supported Digital and Printed 1D 2D Code- Symbologies: 1D: Codabar, Code 11, Code93, MSI, Code 128, UCC/EAN-128, Code 39, EAN-8, EAN-13, UPC-A, ISBN, Industrial 25, Interleaved 25, Standard25, Matrix 2D: QR, DataMatrix, PDF417, Aztec, Hanxin, Micro PDF417. It can read barcode displayed on computer monitor.
Specification: Ram: 16MB CPU: ARM Cortex 32 Bit Indicators: Vibration, LED Light, Buzzer Battery capacity: 2000mAh
Package includes: 1 x Tera barcode scanner 1D/2D 1 x Receiver 1 x USB cable 1 x Stand 1 x User manual
I have ordered it and am waiting to receive it. It cost $103.99 NZ inc delivery.
The reason I chose this one was of the following list, others had micro USB receivers that would only be good for mobile phones and may not have read DataMatrix or QR codes. There were 1D scanners but I wanted a more versatile one that was good for testing:
it is wireless, and wired & Can work with Bluetooth (so can be paired with a phone)– So good connectability to multiple devices
reads barcodes, QR codes & DataMatrix. So flexible in use
Charges by cable & data download by cable too
Can work connected or store up to 5000 scans (hence the 16MB RAM). So works to input directly if PC in range, or can store/download later.
I’ll say more in another article when I receive it and test it.
Data Matrix codes
I hadn’t heard about DataMatrix (DM) but are standard for small computer components & US Military require them to be used. The difference between DM and QR is that QR is usually a URL link and it then triggers you to go to that location.
And you can download the code.I found it hard to scan as it changed every second, but I think you could alter the code so it only showed HH:mm and I’m going to explore the code to see if you can also modify it to show date as well. Rather a cool clock though. It works on joining individual images together.
You would need this on a screen somewhere so you could scan current/date time with a scanner.
Some scanners have a built in function for current date time , but they are more expensive scanners that you’d use.
Excel & Google Sheets
I’m interested in creating and organizing an inventory and a watering regime, so updating data on a regular basis, using scans’ barcodes may be an efficient way of doing this & spreadsheets are a great way to manage them too.
If you can’t put current date/time in to barcode then you can always update a cell to =NOW() when a new row is created in an excel sheet (or Google Sheet).
You can only store so much data in a spreadsheet, you do want to push this information into a Database (as these handle vast amounts of data) and are great for querying.
If you use Excel then you are using it locally, whereas Google Sheets would be online, but you need wifi enabled and accessible to be able to use it.
So this is what I want to explore:
If you can gather lots and lots of data quickly , scanning
how do you gather it? spreadsheets? Good for ordering
Vast amounts of archival data to a database to store & retrieve- to the cloud? or on a server? Firebase (noSQL) or MySQL (SQL)
Generally data ordered, so want an SQL DB to use.
SQL upload via Excel/CSV ?
monthly tabs from Excel so that older tabs can be deleted?
I have the label maker (I’d better go find it and dig it out, can’t find that either at present, in Waikato, so I’ll have to wait for that to return on Waitangi Weekend (Feb 6th)) and there is a tool for creating the barcodes, which is the programme.
Also you can use Barcode Fonts in Excel & Google Sheets has some inbuilt ones I think, so you can create rows to check you have the right information.
Just talking with Zoe on the phone and they have their own recording system for this, so I’ll need to explore for my own interest. Shame Label maker is not available, will need to practice with PC info.