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I'm posting here cause I need the services of the KTT.  You can move to Off Topic if needed, but I have seen these in some signatures, and most recently in magazines.

What's the deal with the square bar code thing I've been seeing lately?  How does that work?
 

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I think you're talking about QR codes. They can be scanned with smart phones and take the user directly to a website or app. In the bookstore I'm an owner of, we put them on the shelves of books that are available in Google e-books editions, so if a customer would rather have an e-book than a printed one, he or she can scan the QR code and buy the e-book on the spot.
 

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I just added one to my sig last night. Thought I'd experiment with it. As Jeff says, if you have a reader and scan my code, it will take you to my website.
 

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Are you talking about QR Codes by chance? A lot of libraries and others are using them to include additional information for those with QR Code readers (free or pay apps that use the camera on a phone to analyze the code and share the meaning). Here's an example of the brochure from our local library showing where they used a QR Code:



QR Codes:

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes now are used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (termed mobile tagging). QR codes may be used to display text to the user, to add a vCard contact to the user's device, to open a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), or to compose an e-mail or text message. Users can generate and print their own QR codes for others to scan and use by visiting one of several paid and free QR code generating sites or apps.
I used a QR Code on the back of my paperback near the serial code to embed a special URL. Most phones have apps with free QR Code readers. They are kind of fun because they will take you to places on the web to learn more or show a short text message.
 

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Looks like while I was working up my post others answered before me :)

JeffMariotte said:
I think you're talking about QR codes. They can be scanned with smart phones and take the user directly to a website or app. In the bookstore I'm an owner of, we put them on the shelves of books that are available in Google e-books editions, so if a customer would rather have an e-book than a printed one, he or she can scan the QR code and buy the e-book on the spot.
This is a good idea, especially if these are affiliate URLs so your bookstore gets a spiff in the process ;)
 

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They're really useful in retail stores when one wants more info about a product. A QR on an appliance, for instance, might take you to a video demonstrating the product.

Not quite sure how useful they'll be for a book.
 

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I don't like my phone to be any smarter than I am (in fact, I prefer it considerably stupider) so have not yet had the opportunity to actually scan any QR codes. Sometimes, though, I admit they catch my eye and make me curious. When you're pushing a book, that's a good thing.
 

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Yup, QR Codes. Working for a mobile tech company, I am all for SmartPhones, and new developments like this. I'm sorting myself out with one, they may be big in future considering accounts we have requesting services which incorporate them.
 

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I think I hit my technology peak in about 1998.  I was at the top of my cutting edge technology game right around then.  Everything that's come out since then makes me say "Ehh, sonny, what do you need that thar squiggly box for?  I never needed no squiggly box when I was your age!!!"

edit: although I do have 48 solar panels on my roof so I'm not a complete Luddite...
 

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daveconifer said:
I think I hit my technology peak in about 1998. I was at the top of my cutting edge technology right around then. Everything that's come out since then makes me say "Ehh, sonny, what do you need that thar squiggly box for? I never needed no squiggly box when I was your age!!!"

edit: although I do have 48 solar panels on my roof so I'm not a complete Luddite...
I'm with you, Dave. I used to be an early adopter, but not any more. Anyone want to buy a Betamax? An Atari 5200? A quadrophonic receiver? Already sold my Kaypro...
 
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