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QR Codes

New Study Used QR-Like Codes to Prove Ants Have a Corporate Ladder

QR codes are generally something we think of as silly. Most people aren't interested in scanning the code you put on your band's flyer to get more information. It turns out they can actually serve interesting purposes for science, like tracking an entire colony of individually tagged ants to better understand their social structure.

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Cry for Attention: Taiwan Makes QR Code From 1,369 People

Taiwan wants to let the world know that it exists, and they have decided the way to do that is to assemble 1,369 people to form a massive human QR code. In general, QR codes are stupid, but this one is really interesting due largely to the fact that it is made from people. Since the purpose of the event was to promote Taiwan's image and make people more aware of the island, we can officially call it a success. Taiwan, you have our attention.

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Simon & Schuster Adds QR Codes to Books, is Half of a Good Idea

Publisher and mega-company Simon & Schuster has announced that starting this fall they will be adding phone-scannable QR codes to their print books. You might expect that this would give you access to special content, like videos or even a digital version of the book. You'd be half right, as there are some goodies awaiting scanners, but it's mostly to (wait for it) get you to sign up for their email marketing. Lame.

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Overly Optimistic Farmers Paint QR Code on a Cow to Raise Awareness

QR codes catch a lot of flak for being sort of awkward and hard to use. In fact, there's a lot of evidence to suggest that the typically tech-savvy youth have little to no interest in them. Some farmers in Somerby, UK, however think they can spice up this technology and make it work for them. How might one do that, you ask? It's easy; you just spray-paint your QR codes on a cow.

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Students Don't Care About QR Codes, You Probably Don't Either [Infographic]

Some consider QR codes a noble failure -- neat in theory and practice, but who cares? Not students. Have you ever whipped out your phone to capture a QR code while waiting for the bus or train, or did you just kind of stare at the pattern and feel the need to dig your old Nintendo out of the closet and play some pixelated gaming history? Marketing firm Archirival wondered how engaging the QR codes tend to be, and took to college campuses to find out. A clever move, in that college kids are usually seen as the epicenter of technology adoption. Archrival found that only 21 percent of the surveyed students successfully scanned a QR code before, and 75 percent said they don't plan on scanning one in the future. Aside from those interesting, yet dismal for companies that employ QR codes percentages, there are some more findings after the break, all prettied up in infographic form.

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QR Hobo Codes Let You Leave Secret Messages for the Tech-Savvy

Using a couple of neat programs, laser cut stencils and a can of spray chalk, you can start a revolution and begin leaving QR hobo codes with secret messages for your smartphone-carrying brethren. If that sounds kind of cool, but doesn't immediately make sense to you, here's a little history. First off, hobo codes were glyphs originally used back in the pre-internet Stone Age as a way for hobos to communicate important information to each other, but not non-hobo squares like you (presumably) and me. One seemingly random symbol would mean "this underpass is a safe place to sleep" and another might mean "talk about religion here and get a free meal." This kind of communication eventually inspired a guy named Matt Jones to propose a thing called warchalking. Warchalking, a combination between hobo signs and wardriving (well, warwalking really) consisted of hobo sign-esque chalk symbols that told travelers about things like insecure wifi networks. While QR hobo coding isn't directly related to warchalking (as far as I can tell) it's sort of a spiritual successor. QR hobo codes don't necessarily pertain to tech information, but they're inherently tech-y by virtue of being QR codes and they still have that "this is our little secret" vibe, while being common knowledge enough that they might catch on big time. But that's enough of a history lesson. How do you make these things?

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Man Has QR Code Etched on His Mother's Grave

Regardless of how you feel about it, virtual immortality is totally a thing and now, thanks to Israeli Yoav Medan who had a QR code etched onto his mothers tombstone, it may become an increasingly mobile thing. The code itself isn't a sticker or plaque or any kind of affixed image, but rather is laser etched into the stone of the tombstone, the white bits remaining raised, the black bits being etched in as indentations. Apply some thick, black paste and boom, you've got yourself a decidedly neolithic QR code that is erosion resistant. Bet you never expected to see that noun-adjective pair. The code directs users to a website Yoav has dedicated to his mother's memory, a site which he plans to expand in the future. The QR code carver is apparently chomping at the bit to turn this into a business, but is this something that would really catch on? It's certainly a cool idea, but if you spend some time thinking about the practical application, it breaks down a little. Anyone who is coming to visit a grave probably had a relationship with that person, right? In that case, if there is a web memorial, this visitor is probably already aware, correct? QR codes generally serve to connect strangers and passers-by with media, and when you think about it that way, the guy who would benefit most from a tombstone QR code is a guy who doesn't know the deceased and isn't aware of their web memorial. If thats the case, do you really want them to be seeing it? After all, unless the deceased is a celebrity, it means Joe Shmoe is out prowling random gravestones. Still, the same logic applies to tombstone etched images, and those remain popular enough. So, where do we draw the line between memorial and postmortem stalking? Apparently not at QR codes. (via Techi)

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Grocery Shopping In the Subway? There's An App For That

For most of us, waiting for the subway or train is just another daily time sink. Sure, you could read the paper or listen to music, but more often people can also be found pursuing less productive activities like counting rats and avoiding making awkward eye contact with strangers. But a new project by grocery retailer Tesco has commuters in South Korea actually crossing things off their to-do list while they wait, by grocery shopping on the train platform.

To improve their online sales, Tesco covered the walls of a South Korean subway station with pictures of their merchandise arranged as though on store shelves. Each item was tagged with a QR code, the black-and-white squares that can be read by smartphones. In the morning, commuters can scan the codes with their phones to fill up a virtual shopping cart. They pay for their items using an app, and then at the end of the day the food is delivered to their homes.

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QR Code Tombstones

A Japanese funerary company called Ishinokoe is offering tombstones with scannable QR codes, allowing cemetery visitors with QR-capable cell phones to scan the code and visit a more detailed web shrine for the deceased. This link is what you get if you scan one of Ishinokoe's sample QR codes. (Japan Trends via Neatorama)

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