Branded Movie Trailer: Crazy QR codes

I recently saw the trailer for Branded. A film that seems to be a conspiracy theory on acid. The premise of the film is simple, the human race have a code in their minds that makes them susceptible to advertising. Oh yeah, and also there are loads of messed up CGI demon things flying around. I’m kind of hoping this film is really some kind of dark comedy as I clocked Arrested Developments Jeffrey Tambor looking rather serious for once (he will always be George Bluth Snr to me).Image


Anyway the use of the QR codes is what mostly interested me about this trailer. 

There seems to be around 40 odd different QR codes in the trailer, which is a hell of a lot for a 2min 30secs trailer. As part of my masters last year I researched into the use of QR codes and the platforms that are most suitable for them. One of them was television or moving image. It seems like a good idea but a lot of flaws always come into play, and yes I know this has a more ‘viral’ vibe about it, making the user dig and scrape around to find scraps of information. The main problem was the platform moving image and more specifically Youtube.

The problem with using QR codes on Youtube is the inability to accurately rewind. This crated such a nightmare to be able to actually get the QR code up clearly for the length of time needed in order to scan the code. Also, why should I invest my time in scanning the code for a trailer that looks like it’s going to lead to a bad movie? Anyway I did.

For those who couldn’t manage to scan or do not posses the ability to scan the QR codes can see a link below which leads to one of the many codes. All you need to do in order to see all the QR codes is just change the code number in the URL and you’ll be linked to a different image.

The images provided are a mixture of in film screen shots and parody posters of famous brands. I don’t know if it’s just me but I’ve seen so many posters, films, programmes that have all done similar things to this before. Since seeing Morgan Spurlock’s latest film outing The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, this kind of Sci-Fi romp couldn’t have come at a worser time. 

After looking into the QR code use I can see now there is more of a viral campaign that has come out of it to ‘crack the code.’ I really could not be more bothered to do this as the film looks like a joke. Either way I guess this is a ‘fun’ way to hide a message

In all it’s nice to see QR codes integrated subliminally as it relates to the films subject but again, QR codes are not really a good idea when it comes to moving image. Anyway, the films looks like a bit of a ‘laugh’ but the message has already been broadcast many times before…advertising is evil…yawn.

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The Cookie Law – What’s it all about?

What are cookies?
Cookies are small files that are left on a users computer. Cookies are used to save data in order to track what the user is doing in order for a users experience to be tailor made. The cookies trigger the server in order to display the information that the user has interacted with.

Here’s a simple breakdown of how to go about categorising cookies:

Zero compliance risk or ‘strictly necessary’ cookies Always first-party and not persistent. These include functional navigation and user session cookies for shopping baskets.
Low compliance risk Always first-party and may be persistent. These cookies include accessibility options for visually impaired users and, arguably, analytics cookies.
Medium compliance risk Usually first-party and persistent. These might be used to store personally identifiable information, or limited cross-site tracking, in order to present content based on previous visits. Another good example is the Facebook Like button.
High compliance risk Third-party and persistent. These are mainly used to track and record visitor interests without prior consent, and aggregate this data for use by third-parties, normally advertisers. This also includes cookies set through the provision of embedded content which is not ad-related, such as Google Maps and YouTube videos.

Cookie Law
The new cookie law states that a user has to consciously allow the use of cookies when browsing on sites. An example of this would be an alert indicating to the user that cookies need to be enabled in order to use the site. Some sites now are going one step ahead and already enabling cookies straight away but indicating to a first time user that this has been done so the user can then switch cookies off if they choose to.

The law also requires that the user can easily access more information about cookies.

Image displays an example of a prompt for a site that has already enabled cookies. The user is made aware of this and can gain further information and turn cookies off.

Why is this law a good idea?
Due to the amount of data that is vastly growing and being stored by numerous different machines, cookies are pieces of data that the user until this point has had not much control in the information that is stored about their browsing habits. By introducing this law the user is now more aware of some of the data that is being tracked and more importantly they are in control of their data.

Why is this law a bad idea?
The downside to this law is that this may make people more sceptical about browsing online especially their favourite sites. Ultimately your online information is captured elsewhere, this is inevitable but cookies are one way in which now the user can control. However the problem websites face is that a lot of functionality especially in e-commerce depends on cookies being used, this way the products that the user is shopping for can then be added to a basket for example. If the user is able to switch cookies off then this means that they will no longer be able to use the main functionality of these kind of websites.

How does this effect the user?
So to speak, it doesn’t effect the user. Once again most websites are automatically enabling cookies but just notifying the user. The negative side to any of these will be for first time users getting a lightbox containing an agreement that the user has indicated that they have seen this prompt.

How does this effect the world wide web?
This mostly effects the people who are building a website. The cookie law needs to be abided by, if not a company can be charged around £500,000 for not abiding. This makes this part of the build important to discuss with a client in order to not get them a hefty fine! Ultimately the cookie law will not have much of an impact on the web. As long as it is taken into consideration and websites work alongside it, then we should see a more open web…potentially.


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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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