MacMost Now 605: Using QR Codes

QR Codes are barcode-like boxes of dots that you can find in magazines, posters, signs and business cards. They usually represent web page addresses. You can use free apps on your iPhone to easily scan these codes and see where they lead. You can also make your own QR Codes using free web services.

Video Transcript
Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. In today's episode, let's look at QR codes.
So, what are QR codes? Well, they're these little boxy, barcode-like things you see popping up everywhere nowadays. For instance, looking at this magazine and in the ad here you can see it in the corner. Here's another magazine ad and it's at the bottom, right here. And you can see them in other places like business cards, posters use them. I've even seen them on television and movie trailers.
So, what are they? Well, they contain information, usually, a URL for a page on the web. So instead of seeing, say, an advertisement somewhere and it giving you this long URL that you then have to type in to your web browser, you can simply scan the QR code using your mobile phone and it will take you right to the page.
Now, if you have an iPhone there are a variety of apps that search for QR codes in the app store. They come up with tons of different apps that will scan the QR codes. Some of them cost a little bit more than others, usually ones that have more features like the ability to scan barcodes, or to keep records of your scans. But there are a few very simple ones. I'm going to use one that they call Scan.
So, when I run Scan it just basically shows video, right there. All I need to do is pass a QR code, like the one from this magazine, just right in front of it, and it will buzz when it gets something. Then it will jump to the web page right there in the app and I can see what it is that the QR code points to.
You can also easily create your own QR codes. Search for QR code creator and you come up with a ton of free web sites that allow you to create them. Now, they'll always a pass a URL through their own server, so you want to choose carefully.
I'm just going to show an example and I'm going to use Google's URL shortener, which is goo.gl. You can use this to create a short URL. So, I'm going to paste in here the link to the online password security guide at MacMost, and I'm going to say Shorten it. It's going to create a short link to it which, of course, is useful in its own right. But I also get it listed down here. It keeps a history of the short URL's that I've created as long as I've logged in to my Google account.
I'm going to click on details for that and you can see that it'll take you to some stats and some information about that, but in addition it will also show me the long URL, the short URL, and a QR code here, to the right. I can easily then right-click on this and copy the image, or just drag it out of the browser there and use that in anything. Put it in a business card, a poster, anything I want to make I can then put this QR code there.
QR codes have been around for a long time. They started in the automotive industry and only recently have moved over to advertising and web site URLs. Built-in to the structure of the code is a lot of error correction. That means they can be read very quickly by cameras of various qualities, and always get the URL right. You don't have to worry about errors.
I hope you found this useful, or interesting. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 4 Responses to “MacMost Now 605: Using QR Codes”

    Richard Greene
    9/14/11 @ 9:47 am

    Didn’t know it was that easy to get and use QR code. Thanks, as always, for useful video tips and instruction!

    Tabgrip for Ipad
    9/15/11 @ 4:03 am

    This is some good information to know! Didn’t actually think that this would be easier than the usual find. I’am a fan of these QR Codes, your constantly updated reports are a sure way to help mobile phone users as well.

    smithy
    9/16/11 @ 1:45 am

    you give great info and i always check you out first when i need to know something
    Thanks Gazza

    Kevin Strittmatter
    9/17/11 @ 12:14 pm

    I found this video to be very informative and easy to understand.

Comments Closed.