What is a QR Code

We’ve all seen the strange black squares that are constantly being photographed by smartphone users. They’re called QR codes, an innovative re-imagining of barcode technology. Originally used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, these codes are now used in a much larger context. The application of QR codes is even finding new life in creative business ventures and interactive advertising.

What is a QR Code?

    A QR, or Quick Response code, is a distinct matrix barcode which is readable by specialized scanners and, more generally, smartphones. Because QR codes are two-dimensional constructs, they can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information much like the traditional barcode found on most purchased products. They are practical tools for business because of their ability to hold huge amounts of easily translatable information.

    When you scan or read a QR code with your smartphone, the code links you to web-enabled digital content. Much like when a barcode is scanned to generate the price of a given item in a food store, in a much more complicated way, when a QR code is scanned, increased numbers of information can then be generated.

How are QR codes used in Business?

    Making a QR code is simple. It’s a simple process of entering the appropriate data into a QR generator. There are several free versions of this code online, if you’d like to check one out try using the Kaywa generator.

    After you’ve created your QR code, you are able to print it on business cards, posters, billboards, or distribute it on the web. Once the code is available, prospective customers are able to scan the code using their phone and then access whatever data you would like them to see.

Why it works

    Creating a QR code is a unique way of creating an interactive ad campaign. You give the mysterious code to the audience; the audience deciphers the code and is then rewarded with the information you’ve coded. It adds value to that information by making it a fun activity. Though QR codes remain new to America, they have been a popular strategy for creating brand loyalty in Japan for over a decade. If you’re looking to generate a conversation with your prospective clients, consider using this innovative device.

How Connected is too Connected

We are living in an age of connectivity. No matter where we go or what we do, being connected is only the press of a button away. If someone needs to transfer information to us, they only have to choose by which device to do so. We can be called, chatted, emailed, texted and even Skyped. This change in communication has proven beneficial in many respects, though in lots of ways excessive communication can be negative. What does it mean to live in a world of almost constant connectivity? Read on for a number of of the pros and cons of always being available.

The Pros

  • Being connected means increased safety. There was a day when breaking down on a dark highway was a life or death situation. Now, thanks to high range cell phones, help is only a phone call away. Doctor appointments can be made online, routes to emergency rooms can be Googled and there’s an app for figuring out minor ailments.
  • Connectivity makes staying in touch easier. A current example of this benefit is international communication.  With the help of an Internet connection and a web cam, soldiers deployed overseas can communicate with their families, face–to-face.
  • Technology has made offices portable. Everyone knows at times the travel to work can be challenging. Thanks to telecommuting, working from home while sick or on personal leave is as simple as opening up your laptop.

The Cons

  • Turning your phone off is difficult. Being constantly connected migh result in a decrease of personal space. With communication barriers being redefined, finding alone time is now more problematic than ever. Remember, it’s important to disconnect and relax.
  • Technology has made it more difficult to leave work at the office. It’s increasingly hard to walk away from a long day of work, knowing that simply opening up your computer can effortlessly access any project you left unfinished. While connectivity continues to be a great productivity tool, it also enables people to become workaholics.
  • While connectivity can be hard to break, it can also encourage us to disconnect from those close around us. While technology has helped to make communication possible at a remote distance, it’s also made personal connections easy to ignore.

The age of connectivity has transformed the way we communicate. The key to keeping ourselves in check is remembering to interact with these new experiences with moderation. We all have to strike the balance between inadequate and too much connectivity.

For more information on connectivity, as well as an interesting look at unplugging yourself from technology, take a look at this article

Spam, the net, and the future

Spammers made a large amount of money during the early days of the Internet. However, if some tech-savvy delinquent thought to earn some extra money via spam on today’s Internet, they might want to consider a new line of work. The truth is, since the all time high of spamming hits in 1997, spam filters have become just too good. Simple mathematics make spamming an un-profitable business, thanks to the increasing amount of hardware and time needed to spam effectively. In fact, spam is currently at its all time lowest levels since 2008. The question is, why has spamming decreased, and how will spamming accommodate new Internet changes?


    There were a few high profile arrests in 2010 that made a obvious dent in the spamming industry. However, more than increased monitoring, spammers have noticed a decline in earnings. For a time, with each increase in spam filters, spammers would also increase the number of sites attacked. Though with increased efforts, the amount of money that can be made through spamming is at record low levels. It’s just not worth it for most professional spammers.

    Though spamming is now a money-losing business, spammers are known for adapting to new security updates. How can we expect spamming to change along with the changes being made to the Internet?

Smart Spam

    Spammers are getting crafty. Instead of overloading an inbox with traditional spam messages, personal email accounts are being hacked, allowing spam messages to be sent from more reputable accounts. The same can be said for social media mediums like Facebook and Twitter. Fairly recently, actor Simon Pegg had his twitter account hacked. Spammers then sent a link to spyware to over 1 million of his followers. Spammers have combined their skills with hacking in order to overcome a more secure Internet.

    To protect yourself, remember to always be wary of odd-looking links, even if they are sent from friends. Being diligent of suspicious activity will help keep you safe in a future of more subversive spamming. For more information, take a look at this article.

Pop Quiz: Define the Internet

Um… It’s where I Google stuff? It’s how I update my Facebook page? It’s where I buy music and books? It’s that thing Al Gore invented?

We live in the ethereal world of the Internet. More than 75 percent of U.S. adults are online, according the Pew Internet and American Life Project. For the average American household, Internet use (12 hours per week) is starting to rival television viewing (13 hours per week), according to Forrester.

But I’d wager that few among us really understand the basic principles behind the Internet. That’s not because we Americans are stupid. Rather, it’s because we’re really good at adapting to new technologies and incorporating them into our lives without understanding how they work. We just understand that they do work, which is good enough.

(This is rational behavior. Ask any economist, they’ll agree.)

But if you’re looking to gain a basic, cocktail-party-ready understanding of the Internet, we suggest starting with this handy guide from Business Insider (BI), which is bluntly titled “What the heck is the Internet?”

Here’s what you need to know about the Internet:

  • The Internet is an interconnected network. It’s a network of networks. The mother network, you might say.
  • BI: “In its simplest form, the Internet is a bunch of computers spread throughout the world that are connected to each other and swap information.” There are two basic computer types that make up the Internet: (1) servers, which store and serve information, and (2) clients (e.g. desktops, laptops, iPads, smartphones), which access the information stored on servers.
  • The World Wide Web, or web, is just one of several ‘layers’ of the Internet. Other layers include POP and IMAP, which govern the transmission of email across the Internet. The web layer, officially known as HTTP, was invented in the late 1980s by American Tim Berners-Lee. BI: “The web is all the pages that can be accessed using Web browsers [e.g. Explorer, Firefox].” Often used interchangeably, the Internet and the web aren’t the same thing. The web is a small slice of the larger Internet pie.

Why is consumer-based technology important

Recent years have seen an explosion of consumer-based technology: devices and processes designed for the general public by means of user-friendly functions and practical implications. The most used example of this is the Google search engine, a service that is constantly reshaping its construction in response to user needs and trends. How will this recent trend of consumer-based technology shape the future of technology as a whole? Here are some ideas:

User-Generated Content

Creating content, like apps, to work with more complex pieces of technology, like the iPhone, is now a process that has been opened up to independent developers. While independent programing has always been available, recent consumer-based technology has created a greater need for more specialized content. Because of this, you no longer have to look to big companies like Microsoft or Apple if you’re in the market for a new app. User-generated content is a valuable aspect of technology because there is a consumer need for it.

User-Friendly Applications

Any market reliant on consumers will inevitably adapt to the ability of those consumers. Basically, this means that a company must provide an easy to use product in order to survive. Consumer-based technology is no different. As technology has progressed, it has become more user friendly. Compare Linux to Windows 7, the improvements made between the two operating systems is a direct result of consumer trends favoring products that are easy to use. Technology has become a part of our every day lives because of the innovation behind it is consumer-based.

User Involvement

With recent generations growing up with advanced technology, current consumers now want to interact on deeper levels with their technologies. Those products that allow greater interaction between user and device are quickly becoming the most successful. For example, the Xbox Kinect is a gaming system that allows the user to move independently of a handheld device in order to interact with the game.  As demand increases, Microsoft has already found more innovative applications for this. With a wave of a hand you can browse movies on Netflix, send a message by email, and navigate the web.

Because consumers supply the demand for technology, consumers will direct the growth of technology. Many of these advancements may seem trite or simple, but the key to determining their worth is looking to the future of how they will be implemented.  What would it mean if doctors could customize body scans from patient to patient, or if writing program code were so easy that anyone could do it, or if motion capture technology could help you analyze your regular workout routine? Consumer-based technological advancement isn’t a bad thing, it’s the future.

To see some specific ways consumer technology is being implemented practically, take a look at this article.