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QR codes

You may have noticed the funny not-exactly-bar-codes looking things I dropped on the Contact page. That's called a Quick Response bar code, or simply a QR code.

I've been learning about them and their various applications for a little while now. Seems they've been in use in Japan for quite a while, and now they're making their way to the U.S.

You can do quite a bit with these things: Simply drop a URL or a text message, for instance, or embed a bunch of contact information. Or an ad, or a coupon, or information about a painting at a gallery.

And the fun part is any smart phone with an auto-focus camera can read them. BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 and newer even comes with one built-in, if you're only including your BBIM or a URL. There are other apps out there that will read more complex messages.

I've been using Barcode Scanner by ZXing for my Android phone; it's free and handles a lot of 1-dimensional (standard product) bar codes as well. I've also been recommended QuickMark for the iPhone and iPad (99 cents).

I wouldn't know what to get for the BlackBerry or Palm, but I know there are apps out there. Stick a link in comments if you're using a good one.

There are plenty of free QR code generators on the Web, as well; I've been using the one from ZXing for contact info and the one from Kaywa for URLs.

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