“Crop Square” or a QR Code?

Have you seen these strange looking squares on menus, store windows or real estate signs and wondered what they are? Your inquiring reporter, Mike Blaney has tracked down the answer. It’s a QR Code! Believe it or not if you use an iPhone, Blackberry or other PDA/Smart Phone device to scan the QR code to the right it will take you to one of my websites www.mikeblaney.com.

QR Code for http://www.mikeblaney.com

A QR Code is like a bar code that you see in grocery stores, bookstores, videos or almost any retail establishment. It is a code that, when read by the correct device, can provide you with information about a product – whether it’s a price on a retail product, or in this case, a website and information about a home listing.

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or just about any object that users might need information about. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone’s browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL.

Where Did They Come From?

A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The “QR” is derived from “Quick Response”, as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. QR Codes are common in Japan, where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. Moreover, most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera.

How Do I Make a QR Code?
The first website I found with a QR Code generator was Kaywa. I typed in the url and created the code which I saved as a jpeg and then inserted it into this post.  (This does not imply a recommendation)

How Do I Scan a QR Code With My Phone?
Again without any research I downloaded an App to my iPhone called QR App and within seconds I was scanning QR Codes. (This does not imply a recommendation)

What Are The Real World Applications?
There are a number of Realtors that are using QR Codes on their signs so buyers can scan the code and go directly to the listing on their website. A Vancouver based company called Mobio is using QR Codes as a payment system.  “Mobio allows consumers and merchants to purchase/sell products and services using a smart phone. Mobio-enabled businesses include traditional stores, online e-tailers and other media like print advertisements, billboards and television. Currently, Mobio is available to iPhone users and will expand to include Blackberry and Google Android customers in 2010. Each payment transaction contains unique “one-time” data that verifies the user but does not expose actual identity information to fraudsters.”

So the mystery is solved. Aliens have not landed. But where do those crop circles come from…

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