Thursday, January 13, 2011

What the heck is a QR code?

Have you used your smart phone to get your boarding pass when flying? Save a tree and all that. I've been doing it for 14 months now -- love techie things, but that's the geek in me.

The block above is like a bar code (that is scanned) and it's called a QR code. QR stands for quick response. Japanese have used them since back in the Nineties -- they are now becoming popular in North America. The QR code is more elaborate than a bar code, but the principle is the same. If you use one to fly, it will tell the QR code reader your name, your flight, your seat number, etc. Paper is so last year.

A business card with basic information? How 2009. Now you can put a QR code thingie on it. The person you give your card to can scan it with his smart phone and go to wherever you want to send him with bells and whistles on.

Marketing? QR codes are becoming popular in this area, too, limited only by the imagination of the players who design the target.

To use a QR code on your smart phone (or tablet), download a reader. I have an iPhone, so I went to iTunes and downloaded QRReader -- it's a freebie, so tap that app. I've heard the app comes automatically with most Blackberries and android phones, so no downloading anything.

Now if they just had a QR code that told me when to shove all in and when to fold.

You can read more about it if you go here or here.

(Did you scan the QR code above? If so, where did it take you?)


  1. I've still got the first QR code I used for boarding a flight on my phone.

    I still think it's cool enough to show family and friends, but for some reason most don't seem to find it particularly exciting.

    However they tend to humour me if only because I'm the one they need to fix computers and the like.

  2. Homeland Security will be by before your next flight to tattoo a perminent ID on your forehead. A good American shouldn't mind, right?

  3. I don't have a smart phone yet, just because my son would think he should have one too so I'm not ready to buy two. ;-)
    I had an art show recently and two guys showed up to introduce these QR codes. They told me that they work great for artists. You can put the code on the display card for your art and it will take the viewer to your web site right while they're standing there. I thought that was just so very cool! I'm starting to see them on all kinds of things now.

  4. Never heard of a QR code. I had quite a cold last year at this time, but that's different, I think.

    Too many codes and too much Big Brother crap going on.

    That's what I think.

    I have an Android phone that I'm going to dump as soon as I can. I hate gadgets smarter than I am!

  5. I recently created the first QR Code Generator designed for social media and social sharing for businesses.

    Give it a try please!

  6. @Paul: I see you like tech stuff, too.

    @KenP: When you get old like me, if they want to come find me, good luck to them, lol.

    Readers, if you like art, give Joni's web site a look -- you can see it here.

    @Jacob: Most smart phones have a learning curve - then, after some time, you get comfortable with them.

    @Tyler: I checked out your site, very cool.

  7. By coincidence, just today there was a big article on this in the local paper. A restaurant here is printing them on the walls in random places including the restrooms. If you scan one, it may give you a coupon for a menu item, a video of the chef, barely clothed, riding a giant chicken, etc.

  8. @Crash: The newspaper is trying to keep up with MOJO. They're going to have to move pretty fast to do that, ha.

    No one scanned the shot of the code I posted. If you did, it would take you to my blog, lol. I tried it and it really works.

  9. Just to say that naturally I tried it and it did work!

  10. Impressive article on QR Codes. I would be interested on your suggested generators and readers. I have tried beqrious and qr code city for generators and Scan and qrreader for iPhone apps. You?

  11. Can these things give you or send you to an installer for a trojan, worm, virus, etc?

  12. @Crash: I assume it's like any other web site, so, yes you could get a bad thing, but don't forget: You're going there on your phone. Bad guys aren't targeting phones much yet (yet being the operative word).

    @Garrett Gee: I made the image you see at KAYWA and it worked with no sweat. You can find them here:

    The only reader I've used is the freebie at iTunes called QRReader (free download).

    To test it: I pulled my blog up on my computer screen. I started the app which opened my iPhone camera. I took a picture of the computer screen, then tapped on a square thing in the lower left. It immediately took my phone to my web site (which is where I had asked the QR code to take anyone who tries it).

  13. Well, I just put a qr scanner onto my old iphone. Scanned your code and it took me to your blog easy as pie. It also has the ability to create codes. Easy. Cool. Thanks.
    $1.99 from iTunes. They have free ones, too.

    I was sold when I searched Google for QR codes, chose the 'images' results, and saw the nice, young woman with a code on her belt buckle!

  14. Great article. Check out for free dynamic qr code generator with unlimited free scan analytics - including geolocation tracking.