Monday, February 28, 2011

"Do You Use QR-codes?" or "20 more ways of using QR-codes!"

Personally I got to know about QR-codes last year during AIESEC Global Communication Crew meeting, from Igor Rodrigues (If I don't mess anything). Now I see those QR-codes everywhere and personally use this simple method of coding and decoding, which, by the way, appeared in 1994 in Japan.
Small intro: QR-code is specific matrix two-dimensional barcode, readable with specific barcode readers and cameras of contemporary mobile phones. The information encoded can be URL or any other data.
Some month ago I used this "technology" to make a present for my friend, who got married. I made a t-shirt with "Just married" back and and encoded wishes for bride and groom in the front of t-shirts(1). They look very nice on this pic!

But now I discovered some more ways, how people use QR-codes and I also I find that it is a kind of fun to use them! And I think, that this info will be interesting for you too! Enjoy!

1) Postcards, t-shirts and other gifts with encoded secret message or wish

2) Discounts : you may scan the QR-code and receive a discount in some shop

3) Music/podcasts/video download links 

5) Shorten URL : useful in advertising to attract people to use your web-page
6) Logo rebranding with encrypted URL or other info
7) Invite in Facebook or other social network

8) Watch

9) Tourism : Google map link. I heard this was used very well in Ukraine /Lviv. Imagine you are a tourist and you like a place you are visiting, but you don't understand Cyrillic alphabet, and you don't know what is this place. You can scan a barcode and got to know all needed touristic information about the place!
10) Tissot "Scan to Win" campaign : you can participate in lottery to win expensive Swiss watch. You scan, register and participate.

11) Tickets : via sms you can receive a QR-code which will be your train or plane ticket

12) Japan visa

13) Business card info

14) Good's barcode : everything you buy has a barcode. Some goods have QR-codes as a type of barcode.
15) Tatoos 

16) Close/ accessories design 

17) Building design+advertising 

There is a futuristic design project in the UAE

18) Cemetery : the most inspiring way of using! Instead of writing the name of a relative or friend, Japanese people use QR-code, where they put all needed data about the dead person. Probably, that's very useful for cemetery administration and future generations. 

19) Psychogeography : this was a movement appeared in mid-50s called 'Yellow Arrows', they marked spaces with yellow arrows, to show their attitude and it was a kind of fun. Everyone has his own idea about some sightseeing object, building or any place in a city. And everyone may write some message, opinion or story connected with that object  and put QR-code label on it. Then, when you travel you may find this code and scan it with your mobile phone to know some new, may be tricky or  funny facts about those place. It is like "AnnA was here".

20) Semapedia : is connected with psychogeorgaphy. You can create your own barcode and connect a place or any object with an article in wikipedia. It can be almost everything! When Berlin's municipality organized a psycho-geo-flash mob in the city, in the metro they promoted a web-page, where every user could choose an object and write his own idea about it, using a QR-code. You can connect virtual and physical world and by your own!
Generally western people use QR-codes and other ways of simple cryptography in advertising, web-pages, posters, billboards, in newspapers and magazing, on TV and internet, but eastern people found some more funny and practical ways of using them. For me, that was an inspiring journey!

I found also some resources where you can create your own colorful QR-codes: 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Transformation of Innovation in Close Monopoly

   Information defines the main mood of our epoch, it forms environment and character of the society. The freedom of the word is in the hands of those, who owns the "main switch".
   Internet is not the first informational technology, which changed the world. It is only a link in a chain of open media, which then turned into close and managed monopolies like TV and radio. 
  • First TV-set appeared in the year 1905. And since then started its way, since 1926 it became popular in Europe and America, since 1939 in USSR. Second half of XXth century people couldn't imagine their life without TV.
  • The history of Radio started in the beginning of XIXth century. 
  • The history of Internet in 1969, and we can say, that this was revolutionary important. And probably now we are on the pick of the development of internet!
Typical cycle of any high technological breakthrough [according to  Tim Wu] 

   Now TV and Radio are huge corporations, with their own censorship and other attributes of monopoly. It's hard business. 
   Let's remember the possible cycles of development of Web (web 1.0, web 2.0, web 3.0, web 4.0, ...,...) --> We can see, that slowly we are moving to Web 3.0 in aspect of virtual clubbing, grouping, building communities, creation of knowledge and information. 
   But moving to Web 4.0 may be the real utopia:
  • I see an opposite trend, when governments are trying to control web. Russian government (and probably governments of other countries) creates/ or hire some group of internet users, which run campaigns in the internet against of some opposite parties or leaders. There is also a work made by this kind of users, who watch different videos or post about popular bloggers and make notes for them to delete some of their works, cause they seem to be extremist, anti-governmental, etc. 
  • Another thing, I already mentioned in my blog, is International Anti-Counterfeiting Trade  Agreement [ ]. According to it [just to remind you], special services (probably police) may, without any reason, check you, your belongings, your apartments, in case they think you are using some pirate production (music, video, software, channels)
I am not against the war with pirates, but it is  the structure and nature of internet! It is consequence of using new technologies and creation/sharing/transmitting of information. It is absolutely connected with idea of thanksgiving consumption - "pay after you consume" []. This international agreement, which soon will become a law, already breaking some constitutional rights. And it is also about control.
Today the difference between Apple and Google is huge: first fully wants to control its channel (I am a Macbook user and I feel that it is expensive for me to buy all needed software), another one (Google) works as a provider of content and provide users with open source. Apple has all chances  to become an empire of Informational Technologies (App Store has the united subscription system, which is being fully controlled).
   The main business of Google is search, the sustainability of the company is provided by the structure of internet itself (I am an Android user as well). Google transfers content, which is being created by billions of people, and communicates with users through channels, which belong to other companies.
   Tim Wu thinks that creators of the content, providers and owners of informational infrastructure should exist separately. And personally I agree, it is like to divide the legislative, executive and judicial authorities. In other situation we are going to live in a world of total control of the global government [I am gonna write a post soon, according to those Antiutopia books I've read some time ago].
   I think we should really think about those changes, cause otherwise there will not be any kind of freedom, any possibility for WikiLeaks to appear and exist, any blogger to write articles about governments, any personal opinion.

Here is some more links around these topics:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Technologies are Changing Economy?

   Technologies are changing the world. Nowadays costs to process information increased a lot. It is cheaper to produce product rather than to sell it (companies spend a lot of money to explore the market, to learn customer's preferences, to create selling brand, to promote, etc). 
   Economic theories taught us the curve of demand-supply, that customer choses product which is better and cheaper. Today is important which products customer buys, why and what kind of effect customer wants from it. 
   It is difficult to define the real quality of the product according to it's price, cause the price is build not standing on real utility, but marketing and branding. Bloggers --> communities --> on-line societies --> and soon --> clubs around interests, satisfy needs of users in qualified information and communications. All informational economy is working to create clubs. What is interesting, one single man needs not only 1 club, but several according to different faces of his personality. Subjective statements become products, valuable for members of the club, which at the same time is being build with this type of statements.

? Do you know, how many club's/ social network's/ communities are you  a member of ? [If it is possible, mention some of them in comments]. Personally, recently, I registered in [art], [sports] and 
   In the society, where the voice/ subjective statement of a single person becomes measurable (now you can check the value of your Twitter account), the new system of relations may survive?!
? Did you hear about thanksgiving relations system ? -->
Try then pay. 
Series of experiments were made, here is 2 of them:
1). Musicians from Radiohead, Nine Inch Nail and "Мумий Троль" (Russian rock band) and other bands share their music in the internet for free and ask their fans to pay the amount of money people think is giving the right value to the product.
2) In Freakonomics there is a story about the guy who became millionaire after leaving a box with muffins every morning in offices of different companies together with a box 'donations' and taking it away in the evening. 
The same experiments were made in different part of the world. [Of course there are situations and societies where it works 'more' or 'less', but it works. And it is not about donations. It is about paying for the certain product to certain seller].
   There is a new economics, economics of "the Rubbish civilization", where people produce so much informational rubbish, that costs to produce it became very low. Everyone can produce, but the quality is very different (from low to high, and as some books say, from 100 people only 13 have innovative thinking). 
   Leaving in the Rubbish civilization is possible to choose and to measure value and importance of a product by yourself. There is an alternative economy. And it exists?
  • What do you think? 
  • Are you ready to 'pay after consume'? 
  • How much does your opinion costs? 
  • How much you rely on opinion of your peers?
Here is some more links around these topics:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

What New Technologies are doing with Our Brain?

Many-years-question "Does 'being' determine 'consciousness' or 'consciousness' determine 'being'?
Today I would like to touch aspect of 'being'.
I believe you agree, that before having maps  we used our vision, smell, touch and other senses. After we draw the first map, our thinking became abstract.
After we  invented watches, people (most of) agreed on having 7 days in a week, 24 hours in a day, 60 seconds in a minute. This made our world discreet and measurable. 
After we made the 'first book' and invented 'reading', we started to concentrate our attention  and ignore the distraction.
Every new 'technology' is changing our perspective and our way of thinking.
Every new 'technology' changes also connection between our neurons in our brains, changed synapses (some constant connections between neurons). And may be new 'technology' even caused a birth of new neurons?
Our brain always tries to be effective. Using some synapses more, brain (as Personal SuperComputer) uses some other less (connected with old behavioral models).
Internet as new technology changed our brains. In Internet we always deal with a huge amount of information, distraction, several parallel activities at the same time (reading, making tweets, replying mails, watching pics and videos, listening to the music, commenting, etc.) We develop our visual senses a lot, we notice graphical location of objects, we digest huge amount of information. Sometimes it is called clip-consciousness.
We jump from one hyperlink to another. And together with this we can not concentrate our attention for a lot of time anymore.
The problem is that concentration is fundamental in our memory process. It helps us transmit information from short memory to long memory. Our mental capacity develops only when we are able to connect new information with old facts and experience which we had lived.
I am writing this to point that the way we started to live is something revolutionary and evolutionally important. This is something we are going through, and probably we can not access final influence, final outcome.
But what is important, to develop in a 'right way' (I understand, that there is no 'right' or 'wrong'), we need to continue reading, concentrating our attention from distraction factors. 
Moreover, only by reading we are able to develop our abstract thinking, our right part of the brain. Cause only while reading we are drawing our personal picture of the book, our individual matrix, images and colors, heroes and relations.
Of course we can not reject using social media tools, cause it will cost us social isolation, but we can be smart.
With this post I just reflect on things we are doing everyday  while we make  preferences to social media friendship rather than physical meeting, while we agree on something with your colleagues via skype of gmail rather than saying a word in office or at home. 

More links around these topics:
Thanks to F5 weekly free newspaper for inspiration, motivation and good material,