Friday, December 31, 2010

What's that funny thing at left?

Oddly, nobody has quizzed us about the funny black and white thingie at the top of the left hand column.  Maybe our readers assume it has a purpose and don't wonder what it is.

Well, it's time to unmask that thingie.  It's called a QR Code.  The "QR" stands for "Quick Response."  Naturally, the Japanese devised it.  It has sort of an Asian artistic look to it, doesn't it?  real Zen feng shui-like with every black dot and white space in its precise place. (Here's the Wiki.)

Believe it or not, you can actually embed over 7000 alpha-numeric characters in that funny-looking thingie.  People with Smart Phones simply point their device at a QR code and all of the embedded information shows up on their phone screen.

The Drewster's Geek Blog helped me discover and appreciate QR codes.  THANKS, Drew!  You can click here to read his blog post that spawned my interest in QR codes.  (NOTE: Beware--This is SERIOUS Geek Stuff so don't go there if you are allergic to geek pollen.)

So who cares about QR codes and what good are they anyway? 

Well, Class, we can safely say QR codes are coming to your neighborhood soon and will be one of Year 2011's big techno phenomena.  As more and more people begin using Smart phones, you will see more and more QR Codes.  The proliferation of QR codes this coming year will be in direct proportion to the increased sales of smart phones.  It might even be possible that QR codes could become the tail that wags the dog.  How's that?  Well, QR codes are so useful that people might want to buy a smart phone just so they can actually USE QR codes.  Honest, that could happen.  I know that Susun and I are already considering a smart phone simply to use QR codes.  That's a fact.

QR codes offer potential to truly amp up our own personal learning curve.  Let's take a real world example from Yellowstone National Park.  The park is working with a Montana university to study and interpret astrobiology.  Meanwhile, a lot of this information is now available to the visiting public via QR codes.  The academic people even made a really cool poster to explain QR codes and how they facilitate the education component of the astrobiology project.  You can click here to see the poster.

We believe QR codes are poised to go exponential.  We're seeing them sprout up in the Sedona tourism market.  We found a nice brochure at the Visitor Center the other day.  Each business advertisement has a small QR code at the bottom.  Without doubt, we know that one could instantly learn more about those motels and restaurants using a smart phone.  We fully expect to see QR codes popping up on all sorts of state and federal interpretive resources.  We're certain that the museum industry will jump on the QR code bandwagon this year.  We even suspect they will become a mainstay of municipal Parks & Recreation.  I suspect Idaho Falls will soon be at the forefront of municipal QR usage.  There's unlimited potential for this geeky stuff.  It's going to be a great phenomena to observe in the months ahead.

OK, so what information is contained in the QR code here on this blog?  Simple: It's my name, actual real mailing address, email, cell phone and personal contact information.  So far as we know, the spam robots haven't yet figured out how to harvest this information from QR codes embedded in blogs and websites.  It's a safe way to post up our contact information without giving away the farm to the spammers and the telemarketers.  If you have a smart phone, point it at our QR code and see for yourself.

That's my Year End Geek Prognostication and I'm sticking to it!  Cheers, jp


Maggie said...

Now I want a smart phone. Thanks.

Marti Spudboater said...

Megan uses her smart phone to compare prices when she's shopping. She scans the code thing and if their is a bar code, that too, and her phone tells her who else is selling the item locally and what it costs. It's similar to the bar codes on groceries and whatnot.