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If I was really bored and feeling malicious, printing QR codes to point to this "exploit" and then pasting them over QR codes on random advertisements in the streets seems like a terrible idea.

It wouldn't affect anyone because no one has ever scanned a QR code in an ad

I chuckle every time I see this.

But good sir, it's empty!

This will never stop being funny

My 6 year old daughter is absolutely fascinated by QR codes. I've been nagged into scanning ones on posters, in magazines, and even one that showed up in the middle of a TV show...

I have a six year old son with this same fascination. Sometimes I'll walk into my home office and find some mailer with a QR code sitting there waiting for me. His inquisitive mind just has to know what the phone will do with the code.

You can pick up barcode battlers on ebay for cheap. Although they're probably antiques now.

I've got some somewhere, but I don't think they did QR codes and they certainly didn't launch a link - that's what she enjoys. No idea why, but I'm not going to discourage her from anything that gets her interested in technology. We're going to get a t-shirt printed for her with a QR code saying "If found, please ring [phone number]".

First thought: this might be a neat Android game Second thought: this has already been implemented



(by the way, this displays in an awful Spanish for me, because of my default language)

I do mountain bike (and thus indirectly hiking) trail development, construction, and maintenance as volunteer work. This has shown me a surprisingly useful place for QR codes: on trailhead map boards. The code just links to a (well optimized) PDF of the map itself, along with some text that says "Scan this with your phone to download a copy of the map.".

It amazes me how many people I see scanning the QR code to get a copy of the map before they head out on the trails.

Every Android phone in Japan would be wiped out in a matter of hours. I see people scanning them in Tokyo constantly.


I actually found them quite useful as a bookmarking tool when comparison shopping appliances at retail stores. They usually had code to the retailer's page for the appliance, and another for the manufacturer's page.

I've yet to scan one of these codes, or see anyone scanning one. It seems like something from the 90s just came back for one last dying breath.

I was in a British train station the other day and saw a poster containing 20 QR codes, one for each of a set a possible journeys from the station. Since I'm techy and had time to kill I scanned it, waiting to see the timetable information. Sadly the company who installed the posters was having some downtime, so it just errored. The annoying thing was that they were really just a URL shortening company, forwarding you on to the correct mobile friendly page of the trainline website. I really don't know why the trainline couldn't have just made some nice short, typing friendly short URLs of their own, and posted these on the poster. Or just posted the actual time tables like they used to. In the olden days.

Whilst scanning it and trying to figure out what was wrong, the station master approached me to see what I was doing - since the poster had been installed he'd yet to see anyone use it, and had been waiting to ask someone what on earth it was for.

Still - if there is someone out there that wanted to hack me, they just have to place a qr code in a place where I am likely to have nothing to do for a while... At least with this poster it was actually easy to scan the codes, unlike those on billboards or posted on the tube here in the UK.

My local bus company has failed to grasp QR codes in a mind-bogglingly thorough way.

Every stop has a poster with a QR code on it, advertising that you can now look up when the next bus will be here by scanning the QR code. The first thing you might notice is that the poster is actually a photo of a QR code on a poster, and is taken at an angle sufficient to render scanning the QR code impossible.

The second thing you might notice is that all the posters are identical - they are, in fact, an advert for the QR code you are meant to scan and not the QR code itself.

So where are these QR codes? Somewhere else on the bus stop? On the post for the sign? No. Reading the smaller print on the poster reveals all: You simply visit their website on your PC and go to a specific URL, which delivers you a page full of QR codes. You then scan the QR code corresponding to the bus stop whose schedule you wish to view.

Couldn't be easier!

Maybe they got the idea from Google Code, which helpfully shows me a QR code for the tarball I'm about to download, for all those times I'm using the browser on my desktop and the IDE on my phone.

It's a QR code of the tarball's hash, so you can do an easy (albeit less secure) visual verification instead of comparing two text strings.

uh what? So I download the file, hash it, then pipe that into some program that's going to show me another QR code? And then eyeball that for differences? Who does that? I already have programs to compare two text strings, easily, accurately, remotely. Comparing two pngs is way more work. I was just assuming the QR code was the URL, but hash QRs make even less sense than my IDE on the phone scenario.

Actually, looking at the URL of the QR code image itself, it is for the download URL.

I had assumed that they were mostly doing that for .apks but had just turned it on for everything.

Fun :).

Lothian Buses in Edinburgh has done the right thing: they've stuck QR codes to each of their information signs, which direct you to the correct page on their mobile site, and the official Android app is registered for the URLs too.

The only semi-useful QR code I've ever seen in real life was on one of those little reminder cards in a parking garage to help you locate which floor you parked on. I say semi-useful because the QR code took you to a webpage that told you the same exact information the card had on it, and none of my friends or I could get reception inside the garage, so we all had to wait until we were out of the garage before figuring out what was on them.

I can see the usefulness of QR codes, but I don't think I've ever seen one implemented in a non-trivial or non-gimmicky way. They're a solution to a problem no one outside of marketing had.

I once saw a QR code advertised in a Buenos Aries subway station that was just a QR code and nothing else. No graphics, logo, or ad copy around it. So having some time, I scanned it. It was just text, not a URL. (I don't remember what the text said. But it was basically just "buy slurm!"

Seemed pointless to me. This is how the public interacts with QR codes - they can't do anything that can't be done by pasting TEXT where the QR code would be.

This sort of thing is common from what I've seen. More traditional businesses (like phone companies) don't know how to "do a QR code" (as it were), so they pay a company to make them for them. Such companies are just selling a glorified URL shortener, but the other businesses don't know that.

At FTF (Freescale Technology Forum) in 2011 at least (didn't go this year), used them on everyone's name tags and booths, so rather than passing out business cards, you used the iPod to scan them and it would send you a nicely formatted email along with the contacts for easy importing into whatever contacts you used. It was about the only time I felt they were done right.

And if you scanned the codes that were given in the different tracts, you were also sent the PDFs and slides of that tract.

Or you could take a picture of peoples name tags and it could just do OCR... surely?

"just do OCR"

It's the future, alright.

Oh yea. If you paste an image into OneNote, it'll auto-OCR things and index them.

If you record audio into OneNote, it'll index the audio, synchronized to any other notes. I've used this on multi-hour meetings, to jump right to places where I think one party said something. Amazing.

COULD do that, or you could have all the information that they already submitted (it was more than just a vCard). I would rather not have to proof read all the OCR (there are hundreds of people at FTF)

The Heartland Developers Conference did the same thing this year. The QR code included more info than just the text on the badge so OCR would not have gotten the email address.

I would guess the opposite. QR codes are too early. They need to be scannable by a device that doesn't require reaching into your pocket, fumbling with your phone and then trying to get the right angle.

Combining a couple projections, I see them going from utterly useless to gimmicky cool for a particular crowd within 2 years.

Personally I think they would take off if we had some sort of large plastic dedicated device that plugged into your computer to scan these things. Perhaps shaped like a cat; people like cats.

For anyone wondering what jlgreco is referring to, it's the CueCat:


I still have one in my junk electronics box in the basement. It's what I always think of with QR codes.


Doesn't it seem idiotic to duplicate what we already have? (English characters) in some arcane non human readable, punch-card-esque idiocy?

In a few years, all cellphones will be able to read english characters and words. There will be no need for QR punch-cards.

Imagination. moe's got it. If as Brin suggests, Glass is available next year then scanning QR codes is one of the brain dead obvious launch apps for it. QR codes will be less variable and more reliable (under arbitrary conditions) than OCR at that point as well as being able to hold more information per square inch. They will be quickly translatable and displayed as human readable information floating in front of your face - with little to no effort required on your part.

The information density of QR codes is much higher.

In a few years many people will also be walking around with AR-glasses (e.g. google glasses) which may very well scan the codes automatically and overlay them in the viewport with whatever they want to represent.

Maybe using something like NFC? so you come near to a poster and it pushes a URL or something to you?

Or a 'smart billboard' perhaps: http://mashable.com/2011/04/16/smart-billboard/

This is pretty darn dangerous already, but I would note you may not need a website at all for this. From my understanding, the problem is in the stock dialer, and it automatically executes when the number is entered. I will quietly note here that, as part of the standard, QR codes can embed phone numbers. I do not have a samsung phone to test this with. Anyone?

Used a QR code scanner on http://qr.kaywa.com/?s=8&d=tel%3A%2A%252306%2523 (QR Code of tel:*%2306%23) - was picked up as a telephone number QR code by some barcode scanning app I have. Clicked dial number. Showed IMEI.

Yeah, this would probably work.

Using the app Scan[1] it immediately showed the IMEI without promt. I'm not going to scan any QR codes of unknown origin any time soon.

[1] https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=me.scan.androi...

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