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July 12, 2011

Business Card with QR Code

That funny black and white pattern on the top of my new business card is called a QR (Quick Retrieval) code. Think of it as a two dimensional successor to barcodes; naturally it can hold much more information than an old fashioned linear barcode. In this case my contact information is encoded in there. If you read it with one of the many QR reader applications which are available for smartphones, it will resolve into a vCard, which can then be stored directly into an address book. After you have my address in your address book, you can throw the card away – or give it back so I can use it again.

QR codes are a link between the print and online worlds. You see them more and more often in magazines. When they appear in an ad or as part of a news story, they contain a URL which both takes you directly to a relevant web page and tells the owner of the web site what publication sent you. A QR code can also contain a phone number and even a text message to send to the phone number. In fact any short text can be encoded this way.

QR codes can also be the link between a computer screen and a smartphone. I put my vCard QR code at the bottom of my email signature so that someone can scan either the printed or onscreen version of a message from me and capture my address information. From now on I'll put it on PowerPoint presentations when I want the audience to be able to contact me and they'll be able to point their phones at it instead of trying to write down address information or the URL of the presentation.

I use a free application called Barcode Scanner on my Droid X to read QR codes. When you run it, it uses the Droid's camera to see the code you want to scan. As soon as it recognizes a code in its viewer, it captures it and decodes it. The application is also able to read traditional barcodes -something you may want to do in a store before buying so that your phone can get some competitive prices on the same item. The documentation says that Barcode Scanner can be used to make QR codes but I haven't tried that.

goqr.me is a free site I used to make my QR code. Worked fine. It has a link to zazzle.com, which, for a price, will put the QR code on business cards, t-shirts, coffee mugs or whatever. You can also download your free code and paste it into your own documents or send it as a picture file to whoever makes your business cards or t-shirts.

Now you know what I was doing today in nerdville.

Related posts:

Droid Setup – Day 1 of My Re-Retirement

Droid, Gmail, gSyncit, iPhone, Outlook, Mary and Me

Navigating on My Droid

Swyping from my Droid – The Supplement

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