my love/hate relationship with QR codes

it’s sad, really. qr codes seem like a really good way to get dense chunklets of information out to people. but, you know, it’s not always a great way to do this.

last night i sat at a bus shelter–the 24 divisadero had ten minutes to arrive and i’m sitting in one of our new-fangled bus shelters which rotates the advertisement out every 30s or so. oh, and one of the ads has a qr code … so i fire up my qr code application and wait for the ad to pass by again … and it does, and i try to position my camera to get the shot and by the time i do the ad has moved on … after four rotations i finally got the shot of the qr code but by then the bus had arrived and it was time to go and i no longer cared what the qr code would get me.

same thing happens in subways–there’s always a qr code on an ad and you’re in a rush to catch the train … are you going to stop, fire up your qr app, get the shot and hope it wins?

i thought the qr code could be great for this purpose: i stick one on the back of my state id card and this qr code points to a list of my medications (a list that won’t itself fit on the back of my state id card).  this seems smart, right? … but do i want to depend on the idea that the paramedic has a smart phone, a qr reader, and knows what to do with it?

so often qr codes have *nothing* which tells you what they do.  do you really want to go there?  some qr code readers will ask you if you want to go to the destination hidden in the qr code, and it is often a shrunken url which is,  itself, hiding something.  meh.

what are they good for?  i’m sure there’s an answer …