A little while ago, the Spec published a nice feature about the history of James Street. In it, they told readers they'd be linking to the various historical items on their website using images that they called "Scan Life barcodes". Images which looked like this:
This says http://raisethehammer.org
These codes have nothing to do with the company Scan Life, other than the fact that Scan Life makes software you can use on mobile phones to read the codes. These are actually QR codes, a type of two-dimensional code that can contain much more information than a standard barcode.
Larry Di Ianni got some free press during his mayoral campaign from The Spec for putting these on his election signs. His campaign claimed he was the first to do so in Hamilton, which is probably true. I had to laugh when I read the story about it, because these codes are so easy to create that it's hardly a technical revolution to slap one on a sign.
Here, go try making one.
Anyway, the codes look pretty cool, but that's not why I'm writing about them. Now that they've gone mainstream, I think it'd be fun to start using them in interesting ways. For example, you could write an alternate history - a people's history? a fictional history? - of James Street landmarks and put posters up for passersby, who could potentially be quite surprised by what they'd find when they scanned the QR codes.
Have fun with them.
A link to my latest side project.
This blog entry was updated November 11, 2010, to correct the portion about Scan Life barcodes.
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