With the advent of the Honeywell Xenon, a big chunk of the former HHP and Motorola 2D barcode scanners are now redundant. Honeywell’s decided to let them run for a while before taking them to the farm upstate, and I’m sure customers appreciate that plan as opposed to pulling them from shelves immediately.

It really boils down to the 4206, FocusBT, Focus, 4600, and 4820 being replaced by the Xenon, but there are some specifics, such as which type of imager is replaced and so on. I’ll put a big table breaking down the specific scanner part numbers, but not the kits.

Focus/FocusBT: For a while (like right when I started), the Focus & its cordless brother was the go-to 2D barcode scanner for us. It was reasonably priced & pretty good at scanning messed up barcodes. Once they added EasyDL (formerly EasyID) for driver’s license parsing, the scanner became a staple at Targets across the universe. Getting a customer set up for a rewards program or even a credit application is wicked easy when you just have to scan the back of an ID instead of hand type it.

4600/4820: These came from the HHP side of the family, and they are some burly barcode scanners. They came in quite a few flavors, including standard range, special focus, and high density models, so they were great at certain scanning situations as opposed to okay at all of them. The 4600g lineup had disinfectant-ready options, in case you needed a scanner at your hospital & wanted to be sure it was completely cleanable after someone got sick on it. The 4600r was a bit more high-end, giving you the option of downloading configurations and a quick autoscan mode for presentation scanning.

Here’s the table breakdown. Most products got replaced by the standard range Xenon, but there are some differences in there. If you have a kitted model, just check out the part number on your barcode scanner, and it should be in this list.

What you had What you should get
4600GSR031CE 1900gSR-2
4600GSR051CE 1900gSR-2
4600GSR151CE 1900gSR-2
4600GSF031CE 1900gSR-2
4600GSF051CE 1900gSR-2
4600GSF151CE 1900gSR-2
4600GHD051CE 1900gHD-2
4600GHD151CE 1900gHD-2
4600GHDH051C 1900hHD-0
4600RSR051CE 1900gSR-2
4600RSR151CE 1900gSR-2
4600RSF051CE 1900gSR-2
4600RSF151CE 1900gSR-2
Focus 1690
MS1690-106 1900gSR-2
MS1690-14 1900gSR-2
MS1690-38 1900gSR-2
MS1690-47 1900gSR-2
MS1690-40 1900gSR-2
MS1690-62 1900gSR-2
4206GHD051C 1900gHD-2
4206GSF051C 1900gSR-2
4206GSR051C 1900gSR-2
4820HDH0C1CBE 1902hHD-0
4820HDHM 1902hHD-0
4820SF0C1CBE 1902gSR-2
4820SR0C1CBE 1902gSR-2
FocusBT 1633
MS1633-5 1902gSR-2

Quite a big list for just the scanner units. The kits would’ve easily quadrupled this in size.

After Honeywell bought HHP and Metrologic, they ended up with a few products that overlapped. And nobody wants overlapping products, it causes split ends. So they’ve been slowly whittling away the excess products, getting their catalog into lean, mean, fighting machine status. The current round of end of life products are from the Metrologic side, and their replacements more than make up for this loss. There’s a handy dandy table at the bottom of the post if you’re really looking for more info.

VoyagerHD & VoyagerPDF: While these scanners provided pretty solid features for Metrologic (4 mil barcode scanning capability and a laser scanner capable of reading PDF417 barcodes, respectively), the HHP products and even newer Metrologic products did the same and for about the same price. VoyagerHD can be replaced by the high density VoyagerGS, which is a better all around laser scanner. For the VoyagerPDF, they recommend getting the 3800g PDF scanner. For its price, nothing beats the 3800g lineup.

MS1890 Industrial Focus: I felt bad for this product. It came out right before the merger, and half of HHP’s lineup does the same with greater cachet. The 4800i industrial 2D scanner should replace the industrial focus and then some.

MS7320 InVista: Pretty glad this is getting replaced by the Solaris, since we have a solid video showing off how amazing it is.

MS2320 StratosE: For a while I’m pretty sure there were about 8 different Stratoses (Stratii?) Thankfully, they’re whittling it down to the best and the brightest. The MS2420 Stratos is the new replacement and that thing is a beast.

IS1650 Focus: We never really listed this scanner, mostly because it’s designed for automation and we’re big into point of sale. It’s like a Focus with the handle knocked off, but they make better products and now it’s done for. The MS4980 VuQuest is replacing it, and that scanner’s pretty fast so good on them.

And here’s the handy chart!

If You Had: You Will Want:
VoyagerHD VoyagerGS HD
VoyagerPDF 3800G PDF
MS1890 Industrial Focus 4800i
MS7320 InVista MS7280 Solaris
MS2022 StratosE MS2420 Stratos
IS1650 Focus MS4980 VuQuest

In our ongoing effort to make the site plump with content and solid, honest information, we’ve implemented user reviews. Customers can hop onto the site, find their favorite product, and write up their likes, dislikes, etc. It’s always nice to have verification on the awesomeness of a barcode scanner or receipt printer, especially if it’s from someone who isn’t drawing a paycheck from the site.

We’ll be adding them slowly, but if you want to check out a couple, the Honeywell 3800g barcode scanner. Two whole reviews! And they both backup the claim that it’s probably the best 1D handheld barcode scanner on the Earth. That’s a big dorky claim, and I’m sticking with it.

This is absolutely fantastic, and I’m hoping it increases our conversion rate in the long term. Interest-based Advertising, so if I’m reading this right, and I’d like to think I am, you search Google and its affiliates, reading up on say “president nixon”, “blue people”, and “alternate universe”, and you’ll see ads for like Watchmen stuff. Look at me, being quasi-relevant in a post about ad relevance.

Our business is really focused on a specific market anyway, but having ads reinforced based on users’ interests as opposed to one-time searches should help drive quality visitors to our site. And that’s a pretty solid thing in my mind.

Official Google Blog Post

SQL Kung Fu All Over

February 16, 2009

I’ll admit right now that in terms of SQL Kung Fu, I’m the guy who gets his ass handed to him by Bruce Lee at the beginning of the movie. You know the guy, his name in the credits is like “Henchman #24” or something equally generic. But hey, hacking on queries and trying to shoehorn data into proper formats is fun and doesn’t involve extolling the virtues of EAS devices.

We have our product catalog listed up on Google Base in case people search for barcode scanners and want to buy through their vector instead of clicking ads or researching other price comparison sites. By the way, Google Base is free and gets a fair amount of traffic. Unfortunately, sometime last week they tightened their restrictions on something that caused our full catalog to be disapproved. This is only exacerbated by the fact that they don’t provide a reason, just a list of what can cause a product to be disapproved.

I pour over the rules, and strip out products with prices under a dollar, products that may not have a clickout url, and anything with weird or missing information. Apparently Google doesn’t like those. Nor do they like selling limbs, currency, or means for defrauding people. Good thing we don’t sell anything like that, we’d be out of luck.

But still, after cleaning out old weird stuff, we’re disapproved. Now I feel like the kid who does everything he can to win approval but only receives ambiguous reasons for what may be wrong. Instead of drawing on the wall in crayon, I start hacking on the clickout urls.

Previously we used product urls that had anchors linking to the option on the page. So you’d see:


to get you to the USB Xi3000. I guess Google was done with that, so I had to replace the url with:


so now it links directly to the option as opposed to the product page.

The big problem with this is that weird random characters were up in the part number field, so I was getting leading spaces and asterixes all over the place, blowing up links. A  replace statement removed the asterixes, but not the spaces. I hate spaces, they’re totally lame. But new to me, you can nest replace statements without blowing anything up, and so the URL is mostly scrubbed of crappy data, making my life easier and now Google approves of our feed.

But again, this is weak kung fu. Not even like sweep the leg no mercy stuff. Maybe like painting the fence or waxing the car. But I’m excited and that’s all that matters.

Gigantor Audit Month

January 12, 2009

Hey look at this, I forgot to update for a while. It’s been a little rough, we’ve been working on getting as much of the site up to date as possible as quickly as possible, so I haven’t had as much downtime to make videos or post about the exciting life of point of sale product management.

Part of the fun of being a manager of products is that I have to make sure they’re accurate. Manufacturers may change a few parts on a product enough that it gets its own part number, prices drop, or maybe even get bumped up, and I gotta try my best to keep the umpteen thousand part numbers in line and awesome. Fortunately for me, I stomped my feet and held my breath long enough that the rough portions got delegated to other people. In actuality, it’s much better for new employees to dive into audits to get a better idea of what we sell.

Barcode Printers and Mobile Computers have been avoided for some time, and now they’re getting the due dilligence they deserve. Even better, they’re the two categories with the most individual part numbers and most often changed part numbers. It’s a gigantic and fun event there. Did you know that there are 73 different Datamax M-Class printers? Yeah. 73.  And that’s just the ones I know about. Luckily for me, I get to pass the grunt work to someone else and only have to deal with imagery and content creation.

In the process, I’ve seen which products customers clamor for. The Zebra ZM400 barcode printer, which weighs in at a beefy 30 pounds, has actually sold quite a few since getting put onto the site. It could help that we’re running a rebate for it too, but hey, those things are big and expensive and usually seem like a once a decade purchase to me.

No rest for the awesome

September 9, 2008

I mentioned in a previous post that we did some work under the hood on the site to make it a little snappier. Well now that we’re pretty much done with it, we’re on to adjusting the outward appearance to be a more aesthetically pleasing. Mostly we’re trying to point out the stuff we do that customers may dig, but don’t see that we do it unless they dig around the site. Some would say it’s lace on a bowling ball, I would, well, I guess agree.

One of the big things you’ll notice is the right side bar has a bunch of fun stuff talking about our rockin free shipping, super nerdy phone support, and more. It does kind of trap the content in the middle of the page, which I guess is pretty cool.

In other news, my boss has been on vacation a couple times in the past couple weeks, so I’ve been trying to do some of the work he normally handles. Like web dev stuff. All I can say is I’m super rusty, but picking it back up pretty quickly. Once we push the thing I worked on, I’ll share some of the fun of relearning this stuff.

Web2.0 Nets Me 50 Bucks

June 24, 2008

This is a quick post while I’m on vacation. I probably should post more than once a month anyway…

Went to a conference last week and learned about leveraging Web2.0 technologies to better grow visibility of our company and find more solid employees. It was interesting, and gave me a lot of ideas that I’ll have to flesh out for the next month. At one point in the discussion we had a “Stand up until something on the list doesn’t apply to you” activity, covering things such as blogging, forum posts, putting videos on the youtube, etc. Well halfway through I was the only person standing, and pretty sure I was the youngest person there by a good 15 years, my cohort excluded.

Apparently it was one of the first times someone made it through the whole activity, and the speaker gave me 50 bucks. I was stoked. Totally going to spend it on a nice steak dinner.

And, to link it to work somewhat, check out the homepage. The title was a placeholder until our graphic design master threw the 60’s-style background up there.

Learning new things

May 20, 2008

I’ve been spending the lions share of my time working on implementing a better, more efficient method for storing our product data. This means my boss tells me a table has everything we could sell ever, but it needs cleaning. So this also means I’ve spent the past couple weeks learning to not fear update and delete queries. They’re the scariest things ever.

It’s also meant restructuring the feeds we create for product comparison sites. I’m pretty sure product comparison sites were created to accelerate growth of gray hair, ulcers, and countless other annoyances that shouldn’t be hitting people in their mid twenties. It seems to me that the sites realize they’re a main source of income for many online retailers, and so they can control what kind of hoops must be covered before a feed goes live. Or whether or not your 12,000 entry csv only has 450 records. I will say, however, that of all of the ones I’ve dealt with, Google base is the most easy to get into. I didn’t have all the fields mapped identically, but they were imported with no problem whatsoever.

So, in a month and a half, I’ve gotten a crash course in Access’ methods for queries, table linking, and filter criteria. It’s nice in that it’s very graphical, anytime you want to link two tables you just gotta drag one field onto its complement in another table. And, thankfully, if you feel silly doing that, there’s a nice way to see the SQL query and actually write it like our nerdy forefathers intended.

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