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PostPoints tip: 'QR Codes' defined

You've probably seen it on a Web site or a sticker in a store window by now: a square filled with seemingly random black-and-white patterns. What is it? It's a "QR Code," a specialized bar code that smartphones using the right software can scan with their cameras and then respond to--in most cases, by whisking you to a Web site without your first having to type out a complicated Web address. For example, many developers for Google's Android operating system use QR Codes to point users to their applications' listings in the Android Market, while in the District, the city government plans to post QR Codes on Circulator stops that passengers can scan with their phones to look up bus schedules. But to use any of these shortcuts, you'll need to add a program that reads them. For the iPhone and Android, check out Big in Japan's free ShopSavvy; 3GVision's free i-nigma Reader is another good option that also works on BlackBerry phones. Once you have either program installed, you can try scanning this sample QR Code I've created to see how these things work.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  July 26, 2010; 8:06 AM ET
Categories:  Tips  
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Aha, another example of the failure of American education! Why are American's so illiterate on bar codes? Why can't they read them? Are we falling behind in our code reading? Are Chinese kids testing above their grades in bar reading? When I was going to school (walking and it was uphill both ways), we had to learn to really read and write, none of this technology stuff for us. We have to set national standards and include bar code literacy!!! We should hold teachers accountable!!! This is OBarma-gate!

Posted by: southVAHmptn | July 26, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Subscription-based music sites administered by Alexander Street Press utilize QR codes that allow users to stream licensed recordings to their mobiles.

Here's a website that generates QR codes:

I'm enough of a geek that I changed my FB profile photo to a code generated with webapp above.

Posted by: beetsnotbeats | July 26, 2010 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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