QR Droid – QR reader integration

I recently (by mistake) stumbled upon an amazing new (well maybe not new but new to me) upgrade with the QR droid (Android’s QR code scanning software. The upgrade was a quick and easy way to fire up the QR droid application. 

This to me is a truly amazing find as up until now there have been no direct solutions to making QR code readers quick and accessible. One of the original solutions would have been to ingrate the application directly with the a mobile phones camera, instead Android have connected the QR Droid with the find option on most HTC handsets. 

These simple ease of use as a way of access to the QR reader could make Quick Response codes actually quick at last. 

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A New Beginning

It’s not often that I blog about more personal matters, but I have now completed my masters which was the purpose for creating this blog. It comes to my attention that I have not posted much consistently for a while now, mostly due to finishing my masters and being in the process of beginning my career.

The 20th September marked the end of my post graduate studies at Ravensbourne. The deadline on the day was for our dissertations. The relief of having submitted the dissertation and practical major project over the space of just over a week was truly extraordinary. I was now in unknown land, as up until this point my education had a fairly linear pathway.

The plan originally was going to be something on the lines of moving back to my home town as I didn’t have a job at the time and also have a little bit of time out to get my things together while applying for jobs. However, nothing ever works out the way in which we plan things, but this was a very good thing. Amazingly enough opportunity found me and I jumped into a month long period of networking, interviews and travelling. To cut the long story short I choice as to where I wanted to start my career.

At present I started my new job a week ago and I am loving it. So many people to meet, so much work to do and even more learning to do, its fantastic.

This brings me to the purpose of this blog posting and this to what extent and use will I be using my blog for in the future? I feel the answer is now that I have started my job and began to get into a routine I will be aiming to be doing a lot more blogging about particular technology that interests me and my field the most. I may try and use events that I go to in London as good opportunities to do mini interviews in order to see the professionals perspective on certain topics, trends and innovations in the digital world.

Either way this blog is a brilliant tool to get my head down onto digital space and communicate with other like minded people.

Watch this space.

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QR Codes – Quick Response…..really?

So, QR codes are popping up more and more. They are designed for people to be able to obtain data quickly, but is this actually correct? Are Quick Response codes really so quick? And if not, should their name be changed?

Well changing the name would be of no use to anyone, so that would be ridiculous idea. The main problem when it comes to QR codes is the process to which a person can get information from a QR code. It isn’t as quick as the codes make out. QR codes are handy little things but they need to give someone more of a pay off than just a url.

If an advertising campaign really wants a person to invest their time in their campaign, they better have a bloody good reason to stop people in the street. If not, you are wasting peoples time and potentially you may be damaging a brands reputation (another argument in itself).

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Are QR codes really that quick?

I was talking to someone about the use of QR codes the other day. His view point of QR codes was very pessimistic, but understandable. He pointed out that he could type in a URL faster than scanning in a QR code. Initially I was pessimistic about his outlook, however, he did have a point. Are QR codes really that quick?

As you may already know QR (quick response) codes are small square patterns that contain information. These two dimensional barcodes can contain a lot more data in them compared to the traditional one dimensional barcodes you seen on pretty much all products.

The Process
So, QR codes, just point, scan and retrieve yeah? Well not quite. Here I will illustrate the longest process you will have. (This may be slightly exaggerated for emphasis, but I’ll let you challenge me.)

1) Figure out what QR codes are
2) Find out what application you need for your ‘state of the art’ phone
3) Download said app
4) Open up QR code scanning app
5) Point phone at QR code
6) Retrieve QR code data
7) Open URL in browser
8) Waiting for URL to load (depending on mobile internet speed)
9) URL opens, not designed specifically for mobile
10) Swear to never use QR codes ever again

Ok, so this was a little exaggerated but the principle is there. Now lets see the process of what we all did before QR codes came to be.

1) Enter URL into web browser
2) Done

The friend I was talking to pretty much said that it is quicker to enter a URL into a browser rather than scan a QR code, and now I think about it, yes, it is a lot quicker. There is still a massive variable to how long the URL is to whether you could search in time.

I know QR codes can be used for more than just URL’s but the URL seems to be the most common usage of QR codes out there. A URL links to anything that you want to in the digital, this is why it is the most useful to use in QR codes (providing you have decent internet connection and your bloody website can be used of a mobile phone!)

The most important point to all this is, QR codes are not intuitive at all. Signposting surrounding the QR code needs to be used in order to give some kind of hint of what to do (if you are new to them) and also where it is leading you.

There are several examples that are available already that take a lot more integrated route into information retrieval. My favorite at present being Google Goggles. It’s nothing new, this application has been around for a year or so, but the premise of being able to scan any object and potentially connect that to brand information, related content or a specialized site is a fantastic use of object recognition technology. Google Goggles is still in its early days, but from what I have seen so far, I have no doubt that this is the beginning of the way in which we will be able to consume information with the digital in the physical world.

As I am sure you’re aware there are several other applications around that are around the public domain that let you do similar things such as Layar, an augmented reality application. Allowing you to see and extra layer of information in the real world. Sci-Fi has landed (or did a few years back), technology over the next few years is going to be highly interesting. I cannot wait to see how the QR code plays out well, in the UK for now anyway. Will it be successful in the UK, or are bigger and better technologies going to over take the QR code before it’s found it rightful place?

Please comment, discuss, debate, shout and scream. Information consumption is changing dramatically, be apart of the debate.

Tweet me @antonyjwhite

Posted in PG05 - MAJOR, Technology | 2 Comments

QR Code Posters – Disney Customised QR

A series of posters from Disney that blend together famous characters with QR codes

A nice idea that I discovered today was a set of posters for Disney that plays with the visuals of QR codes to create the faces of famous Disney characters. What’s really nice about it is the simplicity of the posters, there is no massive explanation of what to do, as these are based in Japan where QR codes are very common.

To make these QR codes would have been through a designer, not a generator. It would be nice to be able to create your own QR codes that splice together images, but it really isn’t that simple, yet!

QR codes are 30% damage proof which means a great chunck of the code can be taken away, and in this case replaced with graphics. This would be under a trial and error basis which would not make it possible for programming to manipulate the shape. The main variables are the message in the QR code and also what graphics you want to use.

Tags: QR, codes, graphics, disney, poster, campaign, japan, damage, proof, custom, simple

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The Good Cook: Breakdown

Another week has passed. This time last week after the broadcast of the cookery show The Good Cook my blog received a large amount of traffic yet again, this time doubling the week prior. In anticipation to more people coming to my site yet again I thought I’d breakdown the points yet again. Here we go again!

1) QR Code Scanners are free for all mobile/tablets. Do not buy one.
2) QR scanners are universal, there is no specific app for The Good Cook
3) Here are a few examples of QR apps for mobile:

iphone: QR Reader
android: QR Droid
blackberry: QR Code Scanner Pro

4) Great place to view QR codes on mac, pc and linux: Desktop QR Reader

5)Searches from last week:

Search Views
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Total views referred by search engines 186

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QR Codes for Beginners

A journey through QR

A beginners guide to QR codes

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Giant QR code Analytics

Large QR code

QR code filling a window at Ravensbourne

I recently set up a giant QR code in one of the ground floor windows at Ravensbourne (my University).
A company under the name of Glyfco kindly set up the code for me to gain analytics from. The beauty of doing it this way was the database that the QR went through, this allowed me to gain insight into when the QR was used and by what kind of devices. My results are as follows.

16/7/11 – 6 scans
17/7/11 – 4 scans
18/7/11 – 1 scans
19/7/11 – 3 scans
20/7/11 – 2 scans
21/7/11 – 0 scans
22/7/11 – 1 scans

  • Most scans took place between 1pm and 5pm.
  • Two people scanned the code twice.

Scans came from

  • 8 i phones
  • 4 android
  • 2 blackberry phones
  • 1 symbian
  • Two scans from the same device were not identified.

This piece of research will be very useful for my dissertation. Even though there were not many scans, this demonstrates the variety of different mobile devices that have scanned the QR code, proving that without being promoted these codes are starting to become known in the public sector.

Posted in PG05 - MAJOR, Social Media, Technology | 1 Comment

My Face – QR Experiment

Basically I am uploading for QR experiment that I will blog about once it’s done!
QR Face experiment

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QR Codes – Response to This is Hoop article

I think anyone who says that QR codes are a waste of time are not really seeing the possibilities here. QR codes provide a brilliant platform of access to the masses (providing they have a smartphone). As these little codes enter the mainstream more often in the UK the application of a QR code will be highly effective. The Japanese (where QR codes all began) is the best place to look to start to predict how these little codes could evolve this side of the world.

Now that I have witnessed QR codes on television (The Good Cook, BBC) I have no doubt in my mind that this technology is going to become a lot more popular, its just going to take time.

The main thing that comes back to these codes are the design. They are pretty ugly, but you can make them more appealing. An idea I came up with this very evening was thinking about designing anything else, you need a style guide. Does a style guide exist for QR codes? Can one be made successfully and still allow the QR code to work? The idea came from hearing about a poster campaign that Bulmers have released recently that involves a QR code that blends into the style on the poster.

Anyway, the efficiency of scanning a QR code to receive information on a device is fascinating. The way in which we consume data has a hybrid solution.

If anyone would like to discuss QR codes further I would really like to. Check out my blog to see my QR code articles: http://bit.ly/jAPAF1. Or tweet me @antonyjwhite

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