There’s A QR Code On My Banana! And Other QR Observations

As a QR code fanatic, it shouldn’t surprise me to see Quick Response Codes just about anywhere, beckoning me to scan with my near field communication phone. But this time I have to admit to some surprise — there’s a QR code on my banana. We’re not used to seeing advertising directly on food: Sure, Chiquita has had their little emblem sticker on bananas for as long as they’ve been selling them, but somehow, some way, I was still surprised when I saw this one. So, I ran my near field communication Android over it.

Sadly, in this case the QR code led to the Chiquita home page. It’s sad not because I don’t like bananas — I really do — but because that page is in no way optimized for a mobile audience. That means that Chiquita will see I scanned their banana and think they must be doing a pretty good job, when the truth is there are tons of near field communication companies the banana juggernaut could consult with to improve their QR experience.

This made me think about some of the idiosyncrasies of Quick Response Codes:

1) Where Will Codes Show Up Next? It’s pretty funny to encounter a QR code on a piece of produce, and thanks to the growing prevalence of effective online QR code generators, it becomes more and more likely to see them everywhere. QR codes could soon slip into the public consciousness and become a way that people communicate with those who’ll visit the same place in the future. Imagine seeing QR codes discreetly set up in hotel rooms, letting you know what’s wrong (and what’s right) about the room? Even if this never pans out, I can’t wait to see where QR codes pop up next.

2) When Will Sites Get Smart on QR Codes? I’ve never figured out why websites include QR codes that lead you to their websites. This seems like a waste of developers’ time. If anyone followed these, it would lead to an endlessly recursive nightmare. Do companies feel they need to reach out to people who print websites out for easy reference? If you’re checking a site at your computer, you won’t be scanning it with your phone — and if you’re accessing it on your phone, you won’t be scanning it with a second phone. They would be much better off simply making their sites smartphone ready.

3) When Will QR Get Better at Shopping? Near field communication companies are waiting impatiently for the day when near field communications technology will replace our wallets, so where is it? Shopping could be as easy as swiping an item and swiping your card of choice — without even having to pass by a point of sale. And it would probably be a lot easier than the average self-scanning kiosk at a big box store, which tends to be buggy and slow. Let’s hope we see progress here soon!

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Awful Password Safety and Password Security Habits Could Hurt Your Users

More and more experts from near field communication companies are chiming in to make note of an important issue in the world of Quick Response Codes, namely the idea fraudulent codes could be used to exploit users. In answer to this, established online QR code generators and expert QR marketers are working on ways to create verification and trust with end users. One of the best ways? Driving user account creation.

Encouraging your users to create an account with you and bringing them to encrypted “members only” information early in the transaction makes them feel safer and gives them the sense of belonging to your site. Unfortunately, it also creates an issue: Most internet users have been taught password safety and password security habits that literally make it harder for them to remember their passwords.

This, of course, makes it that much more likely that a password will be lost — leading to a complex retrieval or password change process. Every time a user goes through this, it’s more and more likely that they will simply write the password down or start using the same password for every single login — both strategies that leave them open to a much more profound break-in than one that involves your site alone.

A Web Comic Might Have The Answer to Password Safety Woes

As the comic here suggests, many people believe password security based on bizarre, unrecognizable combos of letters and numbers actually doesn’t help with the core problem — a hacker attack. Instead, counterintuitive demands that passwords have one number, a capital letter, two symbols, a color, a sound and a taste in them actually make them harder for humans to remember and easier for automated hacking tools to guess.

Add in the fact that many password safety regimes of this kind require their users to change their passwords on a regular basis and you have a recipe for disaster. Faced with this kind of predicament, users feel resentful and they usually go straight to a common bypass: Coming up with a single password which they then manipulate (by adding one number or changing a letter) every time they’re forced to do a password reset.

Of Course, Take This With a Grain of Salt …

It’s impossible for the average user to verify all the facts that the comic above is based on, and you should draw your own conclusions — but it should give you something to think about if you, like many other online QR code generator users, are moving toward password security for your QR code exchanges. For simple applications, online password generators can be very helpful in making sure you have the security you need.

In fact, here’s an online password generator based on the strip above.

Want to learn more about password security? This blog post may have inspired the comic in question, and goes into the technical details in a surprisingly accessible way. A great reference for QR code entrepreneurs or anyone interested in IT security.

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Which QR Code Reader is Best? An Awesome Round-Up

No matter which QR code generator you use, your near field communication phone will need an appropriate QR code reader to make them work for you. Many phones come with readers for Quick Response Codes already pre-installed. However, sometimes these built-in programs can be slow, buggy, or prone to other errors that make them less reliable than the alternative. So, what should you pair with your online QR code generator?

It can be difficult to decide, and your choice might change depending on what kind of device you have. For example, some near field communication applications are only available on the Droid or on the iPhone. But with the Android’s share of the market growing every day, cross compatibility is becoming more and more common. Hopefully, the number of near field communication reader programs will increase.

So, you’ve got your phone and your online QR code generator and now you’re wondering what reader you should use. Well, there are a lot of things to consider, especially with the latest shift toward making QR codes more secure than they once were. Luckily, the tech blog All About Symbian has a great new post that can help you work it out. Check it out here: Review Roundup: QR Code Readers.

So what’s the ultimate QR code reader on the market today?¬†Although it’s a toss up between many different programs and none of them are perfect, NeoReader edges out the competition with the second highest score of the post, 75%. NeoReader is free in the Nokia store. For those who don’t have a Nokia phone, try the #1 contender from the post: Mobiletag QRCode Scanner. What’s the difference?

Mobiletag QRCode Scanner is said to have the fastest code recognition of the seven programs that got reviewed. However, be aware that there are still some things that might be problematic, such as the heavy profile section you must fill in before the program will work. The All About Symbian writer, Steve Litchfield, is still a bit concerned about the privacy implications. If you’re also serious about internet privacy, it could be an issue.

Surprisingly, though, none of the programs reviewed at All About Symbian got what most folks would consider a B (80%) and all of them were far from getting that coveted A or perfect 100%. If there really is something keeping businesses from enjoying wider acceptance of QR codes, it just might be the fact that some of the readers aren’t up to par.

Which brings up another good point …

You should definitely check out the All About Symbian article, even if you currently have a pre-installed reader or a solution that works for you. Why? Well, it’ll tell you what software to definitely avoid! One free program received an astonishingly low 35% out of 100%. I’ll refrain from saying which one, but you can find out in the post.

Until next time, Quick Response Code geniuses!

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Quick Response Codes Help Kids Exercise, Pass Math, and More

One of the great things about Quick Response Codes is that you can use them to connect to just about anyone, as long as you understand what that person is looking for in their day-to-day life. As near field communication phones become more prevalent, even young kids are able to use QR Code generators and scan the Quick Response Codes that they encounter on a day-to-day basis. Pretty soon, a majority of people in all demographics might be toting a near field communication Android phone that can process codes all day long. That even includes kids on the playground, as it happens.

Quick Response Codes are great because they’re about interaction. But one of the complaints about them and any near field communication technology is the idea that they encourage people to “zone out” and get stuck in their phones. Well, one Virginia elementary school even has kids using QR codes to stay in shape. The school features an exercise trail with various fun equipment and obstacles, and the QR codes lead to instructional videos and ideas on how to use them.

(This has made such a big splash that there are other articles about it, too. That’s a long way from the movement to ban cell phones from schools that was so popular only a scant few years ago! More signs that schools are keeping up with the latest trends and not wasting energy trying to eliminate things they might not be able to control.)

And that’s not all — in this example, there are Quick Response Codes showing up everywhere in the school, including math and science class. This is a great idea since it gives kids who learn through visual or auditory means the chance to encounter videos explaining subjects that they find difficult. After all, not everyone can learn everything by reading the written explanation over and over.

What Does This Mean for A Near Field Communication Company Or Marketer?

It’s a great thing that schools are embracing the idea of “multiple intelligences” by using QR Codes to help children learn. After all, not every child is able to work through every concept by reading the same explanation from a page over and over. QR means that you can access video, audio, slideshows, and other kinds of companion media. In the old days, this just wasn’t possible — and I’m betting a lot of math grades suffered for it!

But that’s not all we can take from this awesome example!

The important thing here for any near field communication company or internet marketer is that you don’t need to use your codes to take people away from what they’re doing — to take them “out” of the scene. You can also use QR to help people take a closer look at what’s around them, just like what’s going on at Chesterbrook Elementary. Talking about music, world-renowned composer Aaron Copland said “Knowledge enhances enjoyment” — and that’s true of the world that’s around us every day, too.

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