Saturday, May 4, 2013

The ever-growing world of apps and the QR Droid

The old idiom, ’you learn something new every day’, is true. The older I get, the more there is to learn every day, not less. The world of computers, smart phones, tablets, e-books and a myriad of other new gadgets ensure that this is the case. The advances and updates keep me quite occupied in my free time. The world of ‘apps’ by itself is overwhelming. I’m always rather surprised at how many apps there are out there whenever I use my smart phone to download yet another free app. New ones every day—some of them useful, others not. But I downloaded a rather useful app today, the QR Droid, after having been to the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art here in Oslo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrup_Fearnley_Museum_of_Modern_Art) for the first time since it opened in its new location at Tjuvholmen on the Oslo waterfront. My husband and I went to see an exhibition called Untitled Horrors by the American photographer Cindy Sherman. Fascinating exhibit, well-worth seeing, sometimes bizarre, often unsettling, overall mesmerizing. What I noticed as I was walking past the photos was that many of the photo descriptions included a quick response (QR) code, and that some spectators were using their smart phones to scan the codes that then connected them to an online site that provided information about the photographs. Very smart, as it obviated the need for museum headsets that provide the same thing; at least that is what I assume was the case, since I didn't have the necessary app on my smart phone to try this at the museum. The museum provided free Wifi and a passkey on the entrance tickets. I’ve seen these QR codes many times before, but somehow had not gotten around to wanting to understand their utility until now. Although I have registered that shopping discounts and coupons are available for those who can use this system. Perhaps not completely fair to unenlightened shoppers, but there will be fewer of them as time goes on. The QR Droid app, besides allowing your phone to read a QR code, also lets you create one. I’m not sure yet how that would be personally useful, but I’m sure it won’t take me long to find out. I just checked out some customer reviews of this app, and one of them mentioned using it to create a QR business card. Others mentioned using it for web links and contact details. I see the potential. As I said when I started today’s post, you learn something new every day. That’s what makes life interesting. 

As an addendum to this post, I just tried creating a QR code for my blog, A New Yorker in Oslo, and it worked. Here is the QR code for those of you who would like to try it:


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