Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tech Tuesday: QR Codes

qrcodeIf you are a smart phone user, you probably find yourself wanting to go to URLs from your computer, but they can be a real pain to type in on your phone. Sure, there are options, like Tweeting or text messaging yourself, but there is another option: the QR Code.

A QR Code is a matrix, or two-dimensional barcode, that can hold a variety of information. You may have seen them on advertisements near mass transit. There are many applications for the various types of phones to read these, most are free. I use QR Code Scanner Pro on my BlackBerry. Of course, if you don't see them often, you may not think a scanner is useful. It can be with sites like Kaywa.

Kaywa makes a QR Code reader, but also hosts a web-based code generator. Clicking the link above will allow you to create a QR Code for website URLs, text, phone numbers, or even SMS messages. They also make a reader application, but it is primarily for Nokia and Sony Ericson phones. The interface for QR Code creation is simple, and they will allow direct links to the generated code. Here are the basics:

  • Pick what type QR Code you want to create.
    • For a URL, enter the web address in the URL field.
    • For simple text, enter up to 250 characters. This text will typically just appear on the users screen.
    • For a phone number, and the desired number. Accessing these will often prompt the user asking if they wish to call that number.
    • For a SMS message, enter the phone number and the desired message. The user will typically be prompted, asking if they wish to send the message when the code is scanned.
  • Pick the size you want generated, anything from small (1752 pixels) to extra large (4202 pixels).
  • Hit generate, then you can save the image, post it to your site using the permalink code, or just shoot it with your scanner.

It can be quite useful, if like me, you are not the best at typing on the tiny keyboards on smart phones. I have included the code for this blog in the column to the right, so if you get a scanner application, and want to see this blog on your smart phone, you can give it a test run.

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