All about QR codes and why you should love them (and Scan, so you can use them)

Have you seen those little black and white squares on posters or other things and wondered what they are? They’re QR (quick response) codes, and they’re there so you can point your smartphone at them and be automatically taken to a website to get details, watch a video, buy something, follow somebody on social media, enter a contest… Essentially all the things you can do on the web.

If you think about it, QR codes are brilliant. But they’re still not truly appreciated by less geeky types. And the more geeky types are starting to think they’re really lame. Poor QR codes are in limbo.

OK, a real-life example: I was just out shopping and saw a poster in the butcher shop for a poetry festival. There was a QR code on the poster. If I cared, I could have opened Scan, my QR code reader app, pointed it at the QR code, and had the website of the festival on my phone instantly. Then I could have bookmarked it. Or e-mailed it to someone. Or Tweeted it. Or whatever. All while I was waiting for that ancient lady to decide if she wanted one pork chop or two…

And then there are these edible QR codes on your sushi in a fancy sushi shop in San Diego, to tell you about where your fish came from. And then there’s Mercedes Benz, which is putting QR codes on cars so rescue workers will know where not to cut if they have to jaws-of-life you out of the car.

Instructions: Open Scan, center the QR code in the nearly invisible square frame. That’s it.

In the first two shots below, I scanned a QR code that appeared in a book review in Smartee Mag, an interesting publishing project that includes QR codes with all its content. I was taken to the magazine’s mobile site, from where I could choose to click through and buy the book on Amazon or FNAC (a French company) right then and there.

In the third shot, a poster on a Paris phone booth whose QR code takes you to a place where you can download an album for free. Scan couldn’t scan it though, maybe because of the glare or something. Last shot, that poetry festival poster from the butcher’s.

Can you suddenly imagine a million reasons why you’d want a QR code of your very own? Lucky for you, the makers of Scan will make you one. And QRphoria can make you a pretty one… Here’s ours from QRphoria. Scan it and see what happens!

Cowgirl App! QR code

I just want to know where can I get a QR code tattoo…

Warning: Android phones can be infected with malware, so don’t go scanning any random old thing (just get an iPhone).

screenshot Scan app reviewscreenshot Scan app reviewscreenshot Scan app reviewscreenshot Scan app review
Devices: iOS
Cost: Free
Scan on the App Store

About Pam

Pamela Poole put on her red cowboy boots and moved from San Diego to Paris in 2006. She's a translator and tech blogger who believes the Internet is the fountain of youth.

04. June 2013 by Pam
Categories: Artsy, Fun, Life, Productivity | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 comments

Comments (3)

  1. Fabulous!

    I need to try this with my iPhone.

    (Marché de la Poésie – o, j’en suis jalouse…)

  2. Thank you for this post !

    You should try ephemeral QR Code tattoo by MarieBen ; they talk and say “I love you”, “kiss me” or ten other sentences (in french of course ;) : http://goo.gl/ep7zA

  3. I use QR codes on posters I hang at our trail heads…that way someone who loved the hike they just took, the wildlife observation deck, or some cool bird they saw they can make a donation right away.

    I wouldn’t advise getting a tattoo..sounds creepy…like the 666 thing…

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