The more observant of my blog readers will notice a strange addition to my blog layout today - a weird little box that looks like a mutant crossword puzzle in the lower right corner.
I am told this is something called a QR code. It is kind of a custom bar code in which you can embed information to be decoded by your cell phone or other bit of smart gadgetry. Actually, I've known about this kind of thing for a long time - people were talking about early versions even back in the early '90s - but it never occurred to me to try it until today, when I read a piece by legendary journalism recruiter Joe Grimm, suggesting that sticking something like this on a business card or resume would be a nifty way to make potential employers think you're way cool and tech savvy.
Use a Two-Dimensional Bar Code to Brand Yourself as an Innovative Journalist
So I tinkered with the technology and, sure enough, it works.
The mysterious set of blotches on the blog will lead you to my website:
This is what it looks like:
In order to understand the code, you need a little piece of software for your cell phone, which connects with your built-in camera. There are lots of them out there, but the one I found that works with my Blackberry - and seemingly many other devices - is called NeoReader.
But the nifty thing is that you can encode damned near anything in these little doodads. Again, there are lots of sites that do this, but I am kind of fond of the one, called Kaywa.
For example, here is my email address:
But the really excellent part is that you can encode long blocks of text, making it possible to send secret messages to people. For example:
This is the first paragraph of the Gettysburg Address (though my Cell Phone had a hard time deciphering this much text).
This will tell the viewer "You are a complete idiot."
The possibilities here are simply limitless.