Obdormio.com Unwasted Hours

23 January, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Obdormio @ 00:00

Ever since I first got a mobile phone as a young boy – a giant Motorola monstrosity that in no way fit in my pockets – I have been a curmudgeon when it comes to getting new ones. I scoffed at polyphonic ring tones and coloured screens. “Not for me, this modern nonsense,” I sneered. “I want a good, solid phone I can just call people with!” Operating systems and touch screens? Forget it! Such frivolity would never penetrate my armour of sensibility and austerity!

But when I needed a new mobile over Christmas, I realized that we had now reached the point where I’d basically need to choose between a smartphone and a Jitterbug, so I threw that particular set of principles out the window and ended up getting an Xperia arc S. And dang it all, I love the thing.

It’s just so much fun! There are apps! Games! E-mail, and a good Twitter client and even a good version of Opera! Yeah, yeah, I know, welcome this Luddite to the present day. I acknowledge that I have been pretty silly about the whole thing. I’ll just have to catch up to the rest of the world in a while.

The thing that I have been having the most fun with, strange as it may seem, is the barcode scanner. This probably gives you an insight into the kind of geek I am. Being an avid LibraryThing user, I have already used it to catalogue some new books to great effect. Regular barcodes, though great for numerical codes like ISBNs, aren’t all that fun in the long run, however. Enter QR codes.

QR code

These things.

Yes, I know, Luddite to the present etc. These codes fascinate me. I’m not even sure why. Encoding messages and numbers and URLs and other information to be decoded later – it sings to my inner six year old! I want to find one of those scavenger hunt using these and follow the trail all the way to Narnia.

Deprived of that opportunity, however, I am left casting my mind about for some way to use these things. And I do want to use them. Because they’re cool. I understand they’re widely used in marketing, but I unfortunately don’t really have much of a product to market. Well, there is this blog, I suppose, but I’m not sure it is ready for a media blitz.

QR code

Still, spread the word!

While I was playing with the scanner, I got very excited about using it to mark my books. I could encode tags, collection information, and all sorts of detail right there in the cover! And decode it right there with my phone at any time! I was excited about this plan for at least twenty minutes before I realised that all that information would be much more usefully accessible to me if I just put it on a sticker in plain text.

Having had this otherwise admirable plan shattered by common sense, I’m back at square one. To cheer myself up, I did make some QR codes with some identification codes for my few books that do not have an ISBN, so I could easily look them up in my catalogue with my phone, but it’s not the same. I’ve thought about incorporating a code into some sort of Ex Libris, but I think that runs into the same problem of plain text just being better.

So, I have a marvellously fun new toy, and no earthly idea what to use it for. Googling around for ideas hasn’t been fruitful yet, but I hold out hope. The tech geeks out there have surely cracked this nut many times already. Still, do tell me if you have any ideas, and I’ll give an update somewhere down the line if I figure out a good one.

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