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QR Codes

Ken from MI asks:

What are those funky-looking  barcodes I’m seeing everywhere?


They’re called QR codes. You may have seen them in magazines, newspapers, or any number of other places. QR is an abbreviation for Quick Response and are a more sophisticated and complex version of the bar codes to which we’ve become so familiar. They appear as an arrangement of black squares against a white background, and contain encoded information (URLs, text, etc.), designed to be read–and sometimes generated–by QR readers and smartphones. Created in Japan in the 1990s, as a parts tracking method for the auto industry, their use is currently more widespread in Asian countries than in the US. However, the expanding use of smartphones is creating more interest around the world.

While QR Codes are often directed towards mobile phone users, they can also be generated and read online with a PC. If you’d like to give it a try, just follow the directions below.

For this demonstration, I decided to generate a QR code for a website; one created for the article, Build Your Own Website with Google Sites [1]. The code was generated here [2] by filling in the Name and Website fields and then clicking the Generate button.


This is the resulting QR code image.


It was then decoded here [3] by uploading the image file from my PC and clicking the Submit Query button.


The text result included some unusable information (blurred out).


So, I copied just the URL and pasted it into the browser’s address bar and was taken to the site.

QR Reader apps can be downloaded here [4] for the Android and here [5] for the iPhone.