Tag Archives: QR Codes

Create QR Codes for your Twitter feed using Insqribe

While I am still not sure what a ‘campaign’ is I do think it is pretty cool that you can generate social QR Codes for your Twitter feeds.  While Insqribe lets you do this after establishing an account Snappr.net, which I highlighted a few posts back, lets you do all this with no limit on the number of codes you can generate.  But, hey, let’s give Insqribe a chance to prove their worth.

Snappr.net – your ‘one stop shop’ for all your 2D barcode needs

Snappr.net is a very cool site which provides you with the tools to generate any type of 2D barcode you might need.  Not only does it allow you to generate the standard web codes, text codes and phone codes you can also create social codes for applications like Facebook and even image and music codes by uploading MP3’s and JPEG’s.  This site is definitely worth checking out.  It was built and run by a small firm with offices in San Francisco and Europe and based on what I have seen here I am sure you will be hearing a lot more about Snappr.net.  Head on over and generate your own codes now.

Read on…

‘QR Codes on Google Maps’

Keir Clarke over at Google Maps Mania has a write-up on generating QR Codes for Google Maps.  He suggests these three sites for creating your own QR Codes from geolocated data:

  • Semapedia.org (which we already covered in an earlier post) connects Wikipedia articles with real world locations.
  • QRMap allows you to generate a code simply by dragging and dropping a placemark on a Google Map which you then email to yourself via a link on the map.  While definitely clever I am not sure it is any more efficient than the method I describe in a previous post.
  • QR Code Mapplet is more of a marketing tool but a cool one at that.  It allows registered users to create Google Maps placemarks with embedded QR Codes for events, sales, etc.  Definitely head over and check out the demo to see what is possible.

Lastly, Keir suggests Google Chart API for those of you who want to look under the hood.

Read on…

QR Code for a Google Earth Semacode

I am truly fascinated by this 2D barcode business, especially how it relates to location based information.  I found the perfect storm of 2D barcode and Google Earth this weekend when I came across Hello, world!.  In May 2006 two Germans mowed a 160mx160m Semacode into a wheat field outside the town of Ilmenau in the Land Thuringia.  (Ok, I could stop right there and this story would already be cool.  Did you even know there is a place called Land Thuringia!?)

They did it for typical geek reasons and then overflew the patch, snapped some pics and posted it.  Frank Taylor posted a write-up and KMZ file over at Google Earth Blog in May of last year.  I used Frank’s file to create a QR Code using the handy-dandy Kaywa QR-Code Generator and then copy and pasted the HTML code into a new placemark which I titled ‘Hello, world!’.

Unfortunately, snapping a pic with my iPhone’s NeoReader only gave me an error message as an iPhone cannot yet read KMZ.  (Snapping the actual wheatfield mow job pops up the website.)  However, with Earthscape’s new foray into the field of iPhone Apps with their newly released Earthscape Basic App we may soon be able to get stuck in some Escher-esque infinite QR Code/Google Earth loop.

Why is this all so fascinating?  We can now easily generate a QR Code for any geolocated data and with the recent release of iPhones in 21 new countries and the massive penetration of Nokias with their built in QR Code reader snapping pics of QR Codes to find out information about a location that is not available via other means (WikiMe, etc) will become more and more popular.

I realize I have not even begun to scratch the surface of what is possible with these technologies.  If anyone has information regarding these types of hacks, mash-ups, etc please comment.

2D barcodes and why they might prove useful to aid workers

Some of you probably cannot figure out why I keep harping on 2D barcodes as a resource for humanitarian aid workers.  For those of you who have no idea what 2D barcodes even look like:

They are a way of compiling up to 1/2 page worth of information into a postage stamp sized, mobile phone readable, matrix design like the one you see above.  The most ubiquitous type of 2D barcodes are QR Codes.  The information within the code is easily accessed with a 2D barcode reader.  If you have an Apple iPhone or any one of a number of Nokia phones you can download 2D Sense, Neoreader, iDecode or any one of these readers.  There is also a reader made by ScanLife but it reads proprietary codes that are currently involved in a restaurant review roll out in San Francisco.  Nokia also has it’s own 2D barcode reader that comes pre-installed on a number of phones or you can download it here.

If you have the requisite hardware and have downloaded the App you are going to use fire it up and snap a pic of the Aid Worker Daily code you see above.  If you are using an iPhone the reader will ask you if you would like to visit http://www.aidworkerdaily.com.  You will then (of course) click ‘yes’ and now you can read more of these fascinating posts while you wait in line for a cup of coffee.  2D barcodes can encode a wide array of information, even audio, and are commonly used on Japanese business cards where they provide easy access to a person’s contact information.

How many times have you arrived at UN coordination meeting, met dozens of people, all of whom told you the exact same thing, “This is my most recent business card.  The email is still good but I am waiting on my new cards with my local address and new mobile number.”?  It has happened to me plenty of times and it is the same mind numbingly slow process that inevitably detracts, albeit slightly, from the mission at hand.  It is a waste of time and for which until now there really has not been a suitable solution aside from heading back to the office, emailing your information to the recipients address, and then waiting for a response with his info.  Or you sit there for 5 minutes typing in each person’s name until you have covered about half the folks you wanted to meet and the other half have already left.

Now there is a solution and here is how you solve the problem…

When you arrive on location find out your address, phone number and any other relevant contact information.  Fire up your laptop and head on over to i-nigma to create you own personal 2D barcode.  Select ‘Contact details’ and fill in the blanks.  It should look something like this:

You now have your very own code!  Right click on the image and save it to your desktop.  Print it out on a piece of paper and tape it to the back of your phone.  (Ok, I admit the taping part is a bit hokey but I always taped my new number to the back of my phone so I always had easy access to it.)  Now, when you go to a coordination meeting simply hold up the back of your phone, let your new friend snap a pic of it, and your contact information should immediately become accessible on his or her phone!  No more waiting, typing, etc.  You can also attach this image to an email and folks can snap a pic of it straight off of their computer screen.

Nokia has a similar service which you can access here and which looks like this:

There are a host of other generators out there and most of them will allow you top enter text, web addresses, or contact information.  For example, you could easily generate code with meeting schedules for different sectors embedded in them and then post them on one sheet near the entrance so that attendees could snap a few pics on the way out and have the entire schedule saved in their phone.

There are many possibilities and I am fairly certain that you will soon see 2D barcodes showing up in a whole of humanitarian applications.  Next time I’ll write about how to embed your coordinates, or even a .KMZ file for Google Earth, in a 2D barcode.

Battle of the 2D barcode readers

We are back with more 2D barcode info.  In “Mobile Barcodes NeoReader on the iPhone vs Nokia N95 Barcode Scanner” we are treated to a comparison of the two readers.  Bena Roberts of GoMo News does a good job of laying out the details.  For those of you that have been waiting for this ‘tete a tete’ here it is.

Links: 2D barcodes

  • Streetstylz dropped a link on me for another 2D barcode reader: NeoReader.  Check out the ‘How it works’ section on the NeoReader site to see what 2D barcoides have to offer and check out Streetstylz site for more on the mobile space race.  Sadly, no NeoReader for the iPhone.
  • Dean, over at Cognation, sent in a link for a sixty second intro on QR Codes.
  • Australia’s SmartCompany ranks QR Codes at #5 on their list of Top 10 search-and-sales tools.  (Not aid worker fodder but interesting enough.)
  • Here is a YouTube video titled ‘N95 Barcode Guide’ that does a great job of laying out the basics.  What the hell, I’ll just embed it.

2D Sense – an iPhone 2D barcode reader that works

I just came across the 2D Sense iPhone barcode reader this morning.  I did a search on my wife’s iPhone in the App store for ‘QR Codes’ and it popped right up.  (Still no luck with ScanLife!).  It has a very clean interface and does a good job at pulling QR Codes off of a computer screen.  (I have yet to try it in the wild.)

If you are looking for a way to easily generate QR Codes for websites you visit and you are a Firefox user be sure to check out the Mobile Barcoder 0.1.4 which I wrote about here, a few posts back.

2D barcodes hold a lot of potential for the aid community and I hope to soon see some apps that help to make our job easier.  The 2D Sense Platform is a good start.

Nokia Mobile Codes

Nokia has a Mobile Codes Beta site dedicated to everything you can do with a Nokia phone and QR Codes.  You can qucikly and easily generate a QR Code for any site here.  I generated another code for this site to compare to the one in my previous post.  Here it is:

A number of Nokia phones come with the Nokia barcode reader pre-installed.  In case you don’t have one Nokia’s site has a great list of Nokia compatible QR Code readers.

(Note: I’ve decided to start posting in bold face the sections of each post relevant to aid workers.)

Nokia phones are the most widely used phones in the world today, at least in areas where aid workers function.  Any added functionality that can be of some use to the folks in the field is worth writing about.

More on 2D bar codes, QR Codes, EZ Codes, etc.

  • Battle of the Mobile Barcodes – A quick slice of 2007 barcode news from Andrew Curie can be found here.  A very good write-up on current standards and a few projections.  I am sure there is a lot more of this out there.
  • No ScanLife reader for the iPhone – As numerous TechCrunch readers pointed out on John Biggs’ post there is no ScanLife reader for the iPhone.  I spent some time last night looking for it and could not up with one reader.  Someone please point me in the right direction.
  • Semapedia.org – “With Semapedia you can connect Wikipedia knowledge with relevant places in physical space. Learn more…
  • SFGate.com – Once again, here is the SFGate.com article about the ScanLife roll out in SF.
  • Make your own QR Code – I did over at i-nigma.  Here’s my Aid Worker Daily QR Code:

  • QR Code video – George Colony, founder and CEO of Forrester Research briefly discusses his thoughts on the future of QR Codes:

What is the point to all this?  This will make it possible for us to know the contents of a shipment of medicines, equipment, food, etc. even if the packing slip has been lifted.  We will be able to pull patient data off an ID card rather than a faded and dilapidated piece of paper.  I’ll finally be able to get everyone’s information at a UN coordination meeting without having to fiddle with punching in dozens of new phone numbers.  The list of possibilities is endless.