Karl`s PC Help Forums

QR (Quick Response Code) Technology
JackInCT - 25-4-2015 at 17:37

I'm posting this as a separate topic from my NFC topic post, since some viewers on Karls Forums may be using them, and can speak to that.

QR and NFC tech have some capabilities (for home users) in common.

For those unfamiliar with QR, all you need to read a code (and there are multiple ways of you winding up with one) is a free scanner app on your phone & to then read it via the phone's built in camera (and you can create your own QR codes for free [either online or some scanner apps have a codegenerator])

It seems to me that the biggest advantage of using QR is that there are a number of smartphones/tablets out in the real world WITHOUT NFC capability (no one seems willing to venture a guess as just how many users don't have that capability with their current phones). I checked out the Samsung line of tablets today, and via a Chat with a customer service rep, the ones available in USA don't have NFC capability.

The possibilities for QR uses, as is for NFC uses, is only limited by one's fertile imagination (with some stimulation from Google hits/YouTube videos).

The following URL (for free code generation) shows on the left side, a large number of data types that can be turned into QR codes (and applications),

http://www.qrstuff.com/

The attached word processing file (and I'm not sure this file format will work) has a QR code embedded in it with a small touch of humor, i. e., as an example, imagine if you will, leaving a message via a printout for a significant other, and counting on their curiosity to actually read it in a timely fashion.


Quaver - 27-4-2015 at 08:46

Quote:
Originally posted by JackInCT
The attached word processing file (and I'm not sure this file format will work) has a QR code embedded in it with a small touch of humor, i. e., as an example, imagine if you will, leaving a message via a printout for a significant other, and counting on their curiosity to actually read it in a timely fashion.

:D
That's cleverkewl_glasses

Other QR codes I've tried took me to a website.
This one's more fun:D


JackInCT - 27-4-2015 at 13:23

One of the realties of ANY digital tech is if/when the tech itself is a 'solution in search of a problem'.

As I noted, NFC's dominant use (outside of health care/industrial/manufacturing/etc.) is a payment system. BUT using either of these techs to 'enhance' what we are already doing (for the same task) is no guarantee that they will be well received, i. e., appreciated, etc., by the recipient.

Example: there are typical business size cards that have a QR code printed on them (with the sky's the limit re what you have stored in the code) [toinclude having a series of highly customized QR coded cards on your person]. That's no guarantee that anyone who you give one to will ever scan the code, and assuming they will is naive. Best practices means that, if it's that important to you to have the recipient of the card contact you, you will be forced to develop multiple strategies for that to occur; and from a best practices perspective, multiple contact strategies can wind up that you're perceived as a pest, i. e., the human equivalent of spam.

There is undoubtedly a "WOW" factor in NFC & QR; but 'wow' is superficial/trendy and likely to be short lived re relevant.


JackInCT - 28-4-2015 at 16:33

This post is a real world example of QR codes being used by a relatively 'big time' 'player' on the web--Opera and its somewhat popular browser.

There was an Opera browser update today (I have it installed on my desktop PC), and as typical, after the update was completed, and the browser reopened, it reopened to its website homepage.

The attached image file of the homepage shows how Opera used QR codes to make it as easy as possible for anyone to download its browser install file (if they had not already installed it) to their smartphone/tablet.

I should note that this 'concept' entails scanning the QR code with one's smartphone/tablet with an appropriately installed scanning app.

An alternative would be to install a QR code scanner program on one's PC/laptop (and there are freeware ones), download the install file, and manually transfer the file to one's smartphone; these freeware programs do not require a dedicated scanning device.

And in case you've ever wondered, QR Codes do NOT have to be black and white affairs. There are free apps (as least for Android) they create 'designer/boutique' colored QR codes.


JackInCT - 29-4-2015 at 13:57

FYI: There exists in the realm of QR codes free online generators known as "designer QR codes" (& probably AKA as 'boutique' or 'fancy' or 'colored').

A Google search (for Color QR Codes), and looking under the "Images" part of the hits, will show a rather large number of QR images, and many of which have been artistically created (AKA 'eye candy') which could likely induce a viewer to scan them.

These includes embedding images in the code, any color, color gradients, etc.,. Some have gone to the lengths of what appear to be silk screened polo shirts (there's one with a 'cute' tike with a shirt that states "I Love Mommy"). I have attached an image file of a beverage (on a curved glass) that most forums users have never heard of, or tasted for that matter (Ahem!); I call your attention to the small print under the glass's image re the marketing ploy that this 'creation' was created for.

Since QR codes rely on foreground and background colors, colored ones run the risk of not being able to be universally scanned. In the last week I have scanned several dozen from Google Image hits, and I have found that scanning QR codes on my monitor (with my tablet) does not always succeed. I think that part of the problem is that images on the web are generally low resolution affairs, and the various parts of the code are not sharply enough defined. Many scans read the code in 2-3 seconds; others take a very long time, and some never work. And I'm not seeing any measurable difference between my tablet's scanning app and my PC's freeware scanning program re success rates. The angle at which the smartphone is held to the QR code is also likely a variable in the success rate.

Having thought I've seen it all, I came across cookies (for sale apparently) that has a flat QR code in the icing on top of the cookie. There is also a slice of toast with a QR code that I feel safe in guessing that it's a PhotoShop gimmick. And there's no end to uses for decals (art supply stores type) that can be put through a color capable printer, etc.,. Imagine a scavenger hunt via QR codes decals (indoors on a rainy day...).


JackInCT - 4-5-2015 at 16:42

"The medium is the message" is a phrase coined by Marshall McLuhan (Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man, published in 1964).

It is very likely that there is nowhere on this planet more cluttered than the Internet, and never before in history have so many, so often clamored for attention hoping against hope that their digital devices will give them a leg up in a sea that is overflowing with all manner of "data".

My two successive posts is an attempt to demonstrate that QR codes can be created that are very eye catching, not to mention as personal as one's signature, and potentially so attention 'grabbing' that they will 'motivate' someone (the recipient) to 'check them out' [I did two posts sinceI can only upload one image file attachment per reply as examples].

But, having said that, getting someone to scan a code, is only the very first step to get them to PERCEIVE that the information contained in the SCANNED code is relevant to them. Or to put the matter more bluntly, it is well within the realm of possibility that the code will be perceived as a 'complete waste of time', i. e., the medium is NOT the message.

This first code is my idea of a very attractive visual eye catching design obviously done by someone with a good deal of artistic creative talent.

Codes such as this, and the next post, are very likely created by using PhotoShop type software after the information contained in the code itself was generated. There are online tutorial type resources as to how to go about doing this. These genre of codes would take some time to create.


JackInCT - 4-5-2015 at 16:52

This particular QR code obviously has a photograph as its background.

This code also requires Photoshop type software to create, to include extra special care that the photo's transparency is such that it does not obscure the QR code.

This approach to QR codes, especially the creation of multiple codes by the same individual, would lend itself to a consistent theme/logo that the recipient would immediately know who they are.


LSemmens - 5-5-2015 at 01:37

They are very eye catching, Jack, it might be just me, and I may be "old school", but I'd like to know where I am going before scanning any sort of "code" using any of my devices. Because of the potential for such code to be used for nefarious (red: Virus, et al) purposes I am unlikely to ever scan one that is not solicited. Information in plain english and a web address is more likely to garner my attention.


JackInCT - 5-5-2015 at 02:18

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
They are very eye catching, Jack, it might be just me, and I may be "old school", but I'd like to know where I am going before scanning any sort of "code" using any of my devices. Because of the potential for such code to be used for nefarious (red: Virus, et al) purposes I am unlikely to ever scan one that is not solicited. Information in plain english and a web address is more likely to garner my attention.


I'm not sure if this will address ALL of your concerns about nefarious threats but I will offer up a possible, at least, partial remedy.

The 2nd image file (the QR code overlaying a picture) can be the equivalent of a personal signature if the photo is UNIQUE, one of a kind, to the sender, and is THEN used in an ongoing (consistent) basis for future QR codes (to the same individual). Since that QR code would have to be generated by a PhotoShop type software program, using PhotoShop's overlay image technology, it would seem to me very difficult, if not impossible for the photo to be shoplifted (reverse engineered) out of the QR code (and used elsewhere).

I am unfamiliar with Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology not to mention to what extent that could be applied to QR codes, especially one with a photo background. But that could include something like a watermark in/on the code. Certainly DRM is part and parcel of PDF files these days; I have had PDF files where I couldn't even copy and paste any of the text.

There is work underway of encrypting QR codes that require a recipient to have a password for it--in part an anti-counterfeiting strategy.


LSemmens - 5-5-2015 at 10:09

Whilst a "watermark" may well be a good protection. The problem is that not all QR codes could be protected in that way. Also, an unscrupulous person can still counterfeit such, much in the same way as notes and credit cards are counterfeited now. The average user is unlikely to be cluey enough to notice the differences, much in the same way as the current crop of *wares are distributed.


JackInCT - 6-5-2015 at 20:15

FYI: An Example Of A QR Code With An Embedded GIF File Format Animation

The text in the QR is the URL for Karls Forums, i. e., if your smartphone/tablet can successfully scan the QR, you will then, depending on the app's features, get (automatically) a pop up window asking you what browser on your phone that you would like to use to launch the URL.

This type of a QR Code has the potential to be problematical re being able to be scanned (the animation SIZE can obscure/block parts of the QR coding).

Obviously if you did a hard copy printout of the QR code, you wouldn't see the animation running, i. e., you would see a still image, but you would still be able to scan the QR code. Hard copy printouts MAY likely need the highest quality setting on your printer in order to be scanned, and even though this code is in color, a B & W printout wouldn't affect the ability to be scanned.

And I do NOT know if the file attachments on this file will display/run an animation.


LSemmens - 7-5-2015 at 01:25

I'd be wary of using that particular image, Jack, a person with epilepsy may react adversely to it. Perhaps slow the flash rate down.


JackInCT - 9-5-2015 at 14:17

GIF Animation = Slide Show Animation. BUT with one alteration: instead of having the animated GIF images overlaying a single QR code, the QR code(s) are interspersed among the 'slides'.

There are GIF animation creation software programs that have the same control features as an MP3 player (pause, stop, etc.,). The pause feature is an important capability since you really never know how long it will take you to scan a QR code, i. e., you would have to pause the slide show to scan the QR code. You would 'publish' such a GIF animation/slide show as you would be doing now re your digital 'outlets'.

I'm not going to attach an example to this post (way too much work), but I will offer up a hypothetical scenario. Imagine, if you will, taking an extended holiday, and you edit your photos into a GIF animation slide show; so the tourist attractions that you visit have their own websites; you create a QR code for each such site, and place it after the photo of where you went; then any viewer who wished further information could scan the code and be immediately taken to that website.

Obviously the list of possible uses for this COMBINED technology is limited by only one's fertile imagination. I would guess that the juvenile age group is especially willing to take this tech to the farthest limits.


LSemmens - 10-5-2015 at 01:16

You've convinced me of the practicalities of such things, but I'd still rather see a web address in "english". :)


Quaver - 10-5-2015 at 11:55

QR codes are good when the web address is really long, and it is on a printed material (paper or a wall, so unclickable).


marymary100 - 10-5-2015 at 13:05

Yes Q. Not sure how you reassure all consumers that they are safe to use however. A malicious user can use any technology for harm.


JackInCT - 10-5-2015 at 17:37

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
You've convinced me of the practicalities of such things, but I'd still rather see a web address in "english". :)


To begin with the attached image file is *NOT* a PhotoShop digital manipulation; there's a YouTube video of this man getting his hair 'done' [it's a PR campaign for a shampoo called "Clear", and was done in some Asian country circa 2011; the video would have us believe that the QR code 'quality' was such that it was able to be scanned--the video would also have us believe that this code, and a story about it on a local TV station, set off a widespread 'trend']. And no, there was no mention in the video how long this 'haircut' lasted before new hair growth prevented the code from being scanned (ditto what it cost).

So one question becomes whether anyone who would allow ANY QR code to be cut into their hair would embed a malicious code in it (a totally irrelevant (AKA irreverent) question would be who (among the males of our species) still has enough hair on their dome to have this done).


LSemmens - 11-5-2015 at 07:45

After my accident, I ha a bald spot right on the back of my head, probably because I had been laying in one position for so long, though it, could well have been as a result of scar tissue. Anyway, I was threatening to have a smileyface tattooed there, but never did. You wouldn't be able to see it now, as the hair has all grown back, just not as thickly there. Up until my accident, I had been going bald. (it was much cooler, and easier to keep clean)


JackInCT - 11-5-2015 at 13:38

Quote:
Originally posted by LSemmens
.....I had been going bald....


Once upon a time, long long ago a very wise sage passed this gem of wisdom to me.

Cosmologically speaking, we all live in an Infinite Universe with all manner of sentient beings. In this Universe, there is a finite, limited number of perfect heads among the males of each species (for reasons that have yet to be divined). These perfect heads have no hair, i. e., all the rest of the heads have hair. I know this to be fact since there are bumper stickers that proclaim this.


Quaver - 11-5-2015 at 14:24

:clap)
You can always have the QR code tattooed. No need for hair:D


JackInCT - 11-5-2015 at 16:06

Quote:
Originally posted by Quaver
:clap)
You can always have the QR code tattooed. No need for hair:D


Actually there are decals that, if you desire only a temporary presence, that would serve the same purpose.

I use a brand name, high quality decals from a company called "Papilio" that I print on the high quality setting on my inkjet printer (multiple possible applications; I use them on my home made candles) [you generate your own image file, in a size that suits you, and print them out on thedecal paper]. I've never put them on my skin, but I would presume that they would readily wash off. FYI: a reading of the box that they came in states that Papilio makes a "temporary tattoo paper"; I would suggest that no one take for granted that these are completely non-toxic, i. e., everyone should research that.


victor - 11-5-2015 at 17:34

Quote:
Originally posted by Quaver
:clap)
You can always have the QR code tattooed. No need for hair:D


Have it tattooed as a rabbit from a distance it would look like a hair. ;)


JackInCT - 11-5-2015 at 19:35

Quote:
Have it tattooed as a rabbit from a distance it would look like a hair. ;)


I braid to a minor diety that this wouldn't turn into a punfest (attributed to one John Walkenbach)!


victor - 11-5-2015 at 20:58

John Walkenbach, a.k.a. Mr. Spreadsheet, interesting fellow.


LSemmens - 12-5-2015 at 01:40

Did he lose his license?


JackInCT - 18-5-2015 at 23:54

Moore's Law Version (equivalent) Of QR Codes Technology Advancements

FYI: the following copy & paste is for an almost brand new type of QR Codes--HIGH density codes (it doesn't seem to be currently available for 'prime time' use--the specialized scanning app that it uses wouldn't install on my android device). The purpose of this post is to file this info away, and to periodically check to see when it's available.

VOICEYE (High Density code)

VOICEYE was developed in South Korea and debuted in the US in January 2013 by ViewPlus Technologies. Like QR codes, VOICEYE codes contain all of the information inside the code itself, and they can be scanned and decoded using a special smartphone app. However, instead of 7,089 characters, advanced algorithms enable VOICEYE codes to capture and contain up to a quarter of a million characters in a printed matrix roughly the same size as a standard QR code.

Also like QR codes, VOICEYE codes can be created with special formats to prompt if you want to add a contact to your address book, send an e-mail to the address in the code, or open a URL in your default browser. Unlike QR codes, VOICEYE codes can contain large blocks of text, even entire documents. For example, a VOICEYE code on a printed map could offer up a link to Google Maps along with detailed turn-by-turn travel instructions from any number of starting points not printed on the original document.

VOICEYE codes applications:

Textbooks with VOICEYE codes printed on every other page could contain not only the text of the book but also descriptions of the accompanying photos, charts, and graphs.
VOICEYE codes at museum exhibits could describe in great detail the objects on display even deep within the building where there is no cell data coverage.
Utility statements with VOICEYE codes would require nothing more than a quick scan on your smartphone to take you directly to your account page where you can check your usage and pay your bill online.
Agendas and other handouts you receive when you arrive at a meeting could be reviewed instantly and accurately on your smartphone.

The VOICEYE code reader app is free for both iOS and Android (me here: yes, it's on the Google Playstore as evidenced by my PC desktop search, but as I noted, I couldn't find it on my device's Playstore).

A sample image file from the website is attached (I have zero idea what it contains since I couldn't install the scanning app for it).


LSemmens - 19-5-2015 at 06:29

It's a good concept, and, probably, a good method of sharing a lot of information quickly.