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More About QR Codes

As we lead up to the QR Code Hunt next week in New York City where you will have a chance to win a brand new Ford Fiesta, I wanted to write some more about how the contest will work and how QR codes work in general. Yesterday, we learned that QR codes can be programmed to deliver an SMS, to take you to a Web page, to place a phone call, etc. Because they’re so versatile, they’ve been used in a variety of cool ways already.

For instance, during the Lost finale, some fans noticed the flash of a red QR code during a True Blood commercial. If you stopped your DVR and shifted back to the code, you could pause the frame and scan the code. From there, you would have been taken to an exclusive clip from season 3. (In fact, if you try the red QR code here, with the blood, it should still work!) Clothing companies have also been using them in innovative ways. For instance, window shoppers at some stores have wondered what the little square 8-bit-looking thingamajig is doing there next to, say, a certain jacket or a pair of shoes. Well, if you scan the code, you get a coupon for a discount on the item if you bring it inside the store on your phone. Pretty neat, eh?

For our QR Hunt, we’re asking everyone to download a few different QR code readers and to practice scanning some codes to get the hang of it before heading off to find the car on Tuesday the 21st at 11am. Some readers respond faster than others. Some are just plain cooler than others. So here’s a test. Scan the code below and see where your phone takes you (it’s free, don’t worry, there’s no catch!). If you wind up at my community engagement Web site where the contest is mentioned on the homepage, well then you’ve done it correctly.

Stay tuned for more on QR codes here on the blog and remember to follow one of the following on Twitter for those starting locations next Tue: @neatorama or @mental_floss or @resila. If you don’t use Twitter, no worries, just check our blogs at exactly 10:30 am for the starting location nearest you. Oh, and you don’t have to be from NYC to participate, though you do have to be IN the city that day.

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I have a Wordpress blog and, for the convenience of mobile users, I use a mobile plugin called Wordpress Mobile Pack (see if you're interested). On my blog, it's on the right sidebar at the very bottom of the page.

Here's how the plugin works. You bring up the site on your desktop or laptop computer. Assuming that your mobile device has suitable barcode software installed, you can simply snap the QR code and go to the site on your mobile device without having to type anything in on your mobile keyboard.
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