Why the QR Code is Fine and Gizmodo is Full of S***

While my enemies will chalk this post up to a physically-debilitating case of sleep deprivation, but I am indignant.  I am calling out Gizmodo, Adrian Covert in particular, for penning a petty piece of pathetic prose:

With the great NFC race looming, Google is axing support for QR Codes in their Places service. QR codes made a noble play for the hearts and minds of nerds, but honestly, I hope this is the first step towards their complete and utter annihilation.

When QR Codes were first introduced to the masses, they were a novel concept: You saw a weird looking digital pattern confined by a square box. You took a photo of it with your phone. It then launched whatever app/website it told your phone to and you were then informed.

In theory that sounds fine. In actuality, it was an unrefined technology with an unsatisfying end reward more often than not. First you had to spend time firing up your camera, or whatever QR-compatible app made use of your camera. Then you had to line up a shot of the QR Code. Then it processed the photo and shuffled you into another app (web browser, perhaps?), where you were privvied to what ever facts of life you needed (most likely some fluffy marketing BS).

Reading this excerpt again, now rested (read: caffeinated), I’m still indignant.  The article, QR Codes: Goodbye and Good Riddance, is ridiculous.  But if you don’t know what a QR code is, you won’t understand why that article was utter crap, so I’ll quickly explain. 

A QR code is the matrix version of a barcode, instead of vertical lines, it’s pixels and boxes.  That’s important because, instead of storing a few numbers that allows the supermarket to know how much to charge you for a snack-size bag of Cheetos, atbreaksixthis barcode can hold a two and a half page essay.  But you probably won’t read a QR code essay.  No, you’re much more likely to scan a QR code and be redirected to the website of the manufacturer of the product the QR code was on.  And that has value.  Prior to the prevalence of QR codes in the States, I’d previously used my phone to take pictures of movie posters that I thought were interesting and would later look up online.  Now, I scan the QR code, my phone takes me to the movie site, and I learn that Rebecca Black’s The Day After Thursday is coming out in 3D.

To the point, why does Adrian think QR codes are dead?  Apparently, it’s because Google Places no longer supports it.  My first thoughts: OH DEAR GODS!  If Google Places doesn’t utilize my product, what chance do I have of surviving in this world?!?  That was stupid.  Yes, Google is big.  And yes, if Google supports something you’ve made, chances are good that it will grow in popularity.  That said, just because Google stops using it doesn’t mean that it dies.  Being unable to search for a business in a specific phone app isn’t going to eliminate a piece of technology that’s almost two decades old and exists on every medium from business cards to grave markers.

Just to humour him, let’s see what the rest of his -scanner-lets-you-check-in-to-venues-by-scanning-barcodesargument was.  Well, to my understanding, his ire is wrought by QR codes being inefficient and borderlining on difficult.  …Okay, I’m disgusted.  Of all the pathetic arguments, I mean really.  It’s difficult?  To open press a button and point your phone at a picture?  That’s difficult?  By that metric, I’m forced to believe that you’ve dictated the article from your bed and even that’s questionable as it would require you to open your mouth. 

It’s tragic really.  And a commenter to the original article picked up on it.  To paraphrase, they brought up a point made by Louis CK about how we live in what would be considered a utopian future by people just fifty years ago, and yet we have people like Covert who complain about waiting mere seconds for the camera to initialize on your phone in order to direct you to information on the internet.

Well, to close this off, I’m making a prediction.  You read it here first, that when all QR codes are replaced by the wireless radio technology he currently desires, there’ll be another article in which he decries the need for a radio receiver and is anticipating the designer sunglasses that will translate the QR codes of 2018.


The Gizmodo article and enlightening comments can be found here: http://gizmodo.com/#!5787427/qr-codes-goodbye-and-good-riddance

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