Thursday, March 24, 2011

QR Codes - Really?

The big thing at my work right now is putting QR codes on everything.
If you're like me you're going WTF is a QR code? It's these little squares full of computerized gobbledygook that you can find in magazines, in ads, on the sides of buildings – anywhere that people can think to put it. 
The idea is you scan these codes with your cell phone and you're immediately connected to online information. Say you see the code in a real estate ad – you can scan the code and are instantly taken to a detailed description of the property you're interested in.
Which is fine. Just another way to disseminate information, right?
No! Not fine! To me it's just one step to the bad from bar codes at grocery stores and post office scans on our letters. Our whole world is being reduced to scans and codes and numbers. Pretty soon we won't need names or addresses – we'll plaster our forehead with a QR code that contains our driver's licence, rank and serial number. No more need for "Hello, My Name Is..." We'll just zap everyone with our cell phones.
The codes could be imbued with other important information as well:
Job interviews - "Am really hard working until the probationary period is over then frequently am caught drooling on my desk." Or, "Will kiss the boss's arse and buy doughnuts regularly."
Cocktail parties - "Married Romeo willing to cheat on wife and destroy our home." Or, "Single, lonely, with bad breath and a block-sized mole in an embarrassing place." Or, "Can't go home with you tonight because I forgot to shave my legs."
Church - "Bless me Father because I have sinned. Enclosed is a 164-page document with all indiscretions."
The other day I was watching Daily Planet and the hosts were talking about creating computers that mimic human emotions. Their example was a computer "nurse" who could show empathy to patients. I was like, "HELLO - WHY NOT HIRE A NURSE?"
We are living in '1984.' 
If we're not careful, we are going to make ourselves redundant in our own world.

In other news, April Fool's Day is drawing near. If you haven't sent me a photograph of your door for my Knocked Up Contest, get busy! It honestly should be the most mindless bit of fun you have trying to match the bloggers you know and love with their front doors. For details, click on the pink door badge at the top right of my blog.


  1. Dammit! The door! I keep forgetting. Plus it's really, really, really cold outside and I don't wanna go out.

    Maybe I need one of those QR things on my house so I can just scan a

  2. These like it or not innovations to make things faster and more at our fingertips do eliminate the need for human involvment. Not that we mind so much when the surly clerk who hated waiting on us anyway because we were distracting him from his iphone is replaced by unpaid US scanning our own suds & beef jerky. But rather than fulfilling the 1960s futuristic ideals of machines making our lives easier, freeing up our time for those cool suburban cocktail parties they are always having on Madmen, the treadmill pace just keeps getting faster. I think I'd prefer 1884.

    "Am really hard working until the probationary period is over then frequently am caught drooling on my desk." :)

  3. I don't know if I ever told you that I am a nurse. I don't work as a nurse currently but I am a registered nurse in my state. When I was in nursing school, I was at a conference where they were showcasing a robotic nurse that could take your temp, blood pressure, pulse, respirations, etc. Those basic skills are currently completed by nursing assistants that get paid minimum wage. I was like...hmmm, so you spent a billion dollars creating a robot to replace the most underpaid people in the medical community. Oh and the robot can't help the person to the bathroom, help with personal hygiene or be a listening ear. Nursing assistants provide much more emotional support than anyone gives them credit for. So stupid. You would be better off spending that billion dollars teaching physicians to be clear communicators.

    But I digress. Loved your post. I agree.

  4. "Bless me Father because I have sinned. Enclosed is a 164-page document with all indiscretions."

    Letterman called ... He wants to spot you for some moments of comedic fame - They asked if you'd wear that black and white splotchy dress you sport. Funny stuff Mrs Webster, in your irrepressible rant and GP's digress was warmer than steel.

    Figgered that was Harry with all the grub hogging up the 16 items or less line. Sheeeesh.

    ~ Absolutely*Kate

  5. Yup, I agree. We need to draw the line somewhere - and hopefully, it won't be scannable.

  6. Laurita - Let me think. No. Put your damned sock monkey hat and take a picture of your damned door!

    Harry - I want 1884, too. Except with a dishwasher. (Really? You eat beef jerky?)

    Gen - I KNOW. Isn't that the stupidest thing ever? What's WRONG with people? Nurses, by the way, are the best people on earth. The. Best. See? I knew there was a reason I liked you!

    Kate - You think I should wear the black and white dress? Don't you think it makes me look fat?

    Samantha - Amen!!!!

  7. I have never heard or noticed these QR I'm going to have to look and see how many I can find. :)

  8. The loss of detail and articulation bothers me as well. Reducing us to what can be priced and scanned is dangerous, even as we need to embrace these mechanisms and use economics to reach one another. We're far away from 1984 - and these culture trends are more Brave New World or Fahrenheit 451 - but dystopia is always possible on the next horizon.

  9. Tha NCAA basketball finals are in my city at work and my newspaper is blowing it out. We did a special section with one of these codes in the centerfold but it didn't work because we used 4 different inks for the black. All that work...

  10. Anthony - See? I wondered about that -all our pages are CMYK, too, and as I was adjusting the jpgs I was worried about whether or not that would affect the scan. Argh... these things don't come with rules. You just find out what works when it doesn't. Thanks for the tip, though! Next time I'll be sure to make them straight black.

    Gwen - I never noticed them before I had to work with them personally but now I see them everywhere.

    John -I really see, up close and personal, how technology is hurting our economy and our society. Some of it, I embrace. Some of it scares me.

  11. The next time that lady scans my stuff at Target, I am going to totally tell her off. You've convinced me, bar codes are crap.

    BTW, my wife's name is Cathy. She spells it "Cathi" though. Still, a great name.


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