back to article Baffling barcode-on-steroids stickers plaster the Earth

QR codes are everywhere. They have completely overrun Japan and are becoming well-established in the rest of the world as well. There are plenty of convenient uses for this technology, as well as several less carefully considered uses. QR codes were created in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave. There was a need for a …


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  1. Gordon 10

    What really annoyes me

    Is some w*nker ad agency has started sticking little boxes next to the billboard at bus stops containing a QR Code, NFC tags and a ring of flashing blue LED's.

    Catch them out the corner of your eye when driving and you think the plod have you in their sights. How on earth were they allowed to be deployed?

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: What really annoyes me

      Bigger question: Why do you panic when you see blue flashing lights?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Lee Dowling

        "honest men have nothing to fear from the police" comes second only to "I won't come in your mouth" in the Great Lies of Our Age stakes.

        1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

          Re: @Lee Dowling

          Has nothing to do with honesty.

          Why *panic*? That just MAKES people suspicious. If your immediate reaction to blue lights is to think the police are behind you - okay. If this then provokes panic in you, maybe you shouldn't be a naughty boy, or maybe you should learn not to look like a drugs mule shuffling through customs holding their stomach.

          There is a certain in-built human response to authority to jolt slightly in the "Who? Me?" way, and a tendency in the guilty and inexperienced to give themselves away by such over-sensitivity of the reaction (sweating, nervousness, shuffling, etc.). Don't trust the incredibly calm, either. It's a sign of professionalism and them being accustomed to a police presence.

          If you panic at the sight of blue-lights, if I were a policeman, I'd probably pull you over, just to see. Most people just look, indicate, make way (usually in 1-2 foot "edge-forwards" if in traffic).

          It took a cop over a mile to pull me over the other day. He looked at my car at a roundabout, followed me, then blue-lighted when we were both in the middle lane (so I waited until it was safe and pulled into the left-lane), where he then followed me and blue-lighted again (at which point I realised he wanted *me*, not to get past), and then again at a suitable layby where I pulled in. If I'd been "oh, crap" and just pulled in, I'd have been suspicious of me too. I'd seen him at the roundabout, of course, but he was just a car. I was just driving as I normally would. I pulled over to make way for him like I normally would. I wasn't running down the street thinking "Oh, blue lights, he's after me", or making my driving reflect that.

          But he'd already picked me out for pulling because he'd seen my lovely un-matching two-tone bumper and bonnet on a clapped-out Mondeo. I think he thought it would be an easy pull. I had the MOT certificate on the seat next to me from the previous day. He got out, I waited in the car (because I don't know why he's pulled me or if he is worried I'll jump out into the traffic), he came to the window, he looked at the MOT, we exchanged pleasantries about me not having the compulsory gaffer-tape-on-the-bumper to warn him of a Mondeo driver, he went on his way and barely looked at the car itself. He told *me* that I'd seen him at the roundabout, because I didn't know it was the same cop car. I think the slightest jerk of the car (or jerk in the car) when the blues and twos come on would have made him take a much closer look at things.

          Whether you trust the police or not, whether you've done wrong or not, unusual reactions to their presence makes them doubly suspicious instantly. "What speed were you doing?" - the correct answer is "X mph" or "I don't know, officer". Not "Why should I tell you?" or "WE DID NOTHING WRONG!".

          Blue lights should NOT make you jump or change driving patterns - whether you're doing something wrong or not.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Lee Dowling

            "the compulsory gaffer-tape-on-the-bumper to warn him of a Mondeo driver"

            So true.

            Did mk2 Mondeos come with this as standard from the factory?

            Do they have particularly weak bumpers?

            The US Contour version seemed to have bigger bumpers.

            1. Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Lee Dowling

              Off topic. I bumped a Mondeo in the car park once. I was driving an Escort. Not a scratch on the Escort bumper, the Mondeo fell apart into a million pieces. I paid for the repairs, but they must have made them out of plaster of paris or something.

              1. mark 63 Silver badge

                re I bumped a Mondeo in the car park once

                That was you???

                you owe me £50

                You can reclaim it from ford if you like for issuing cars with bumpers made from glass

          2. Gordon 10

            Re: @Lee Dowling 2

            I didn't say I panicked. It was certainly an unnecessary and potential distraction as I worked out what it was.

            Given that they are on bus shelters mostly with lay-byes in them it's a reasonable assumption that a plod may be in the vicinity and either want you or want you out the way.

            A light is which is totally unnecessary to sell a product ffs.

            Sod the bankers - the first people hung in my own private utopian dictatorship will be the ad execs. (hello Eric Schmidt)

            Oh and Mondeo drivers.

            1. Steven Roper
              Thumb Up

              Hey Gordon!

              Seems like your utopian dictatorship sounds about on par with my own. How about we join forces and impose our collective will on this fucked-up planet? ;D

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @Lee Dowling (why *panic*)

            Jokingly ...

            Obligatory 'Minority Report' quote: "Everybody runs, Fletch."

            Obligatory 'Troops' quote: "They wouldn't be supects if they weren't guilty!"

            Seriously ...

            As police continue to act high-handedly, the number of law-abiding citizens whom have unpleasant contacts with the police rises, and hence the number of law-abiding citizens with a police *panic* reaction rises.

          4. bobbles31

            Re: @Lee Dowling

            Interesting story about the mondeo. I wonder though, being as the police already knew you had an M.o.t before they interrupted your day, what was their real reason for pulling you over? I doubt that you know as they wouldn't have told you. Sounds like a fishing expedition to me.

            Hope you weren't late for anything as a result.

      2. 404
        Big Brother

        Re: What really annoyes me

        Flashing lights NEVER mean a pleasant thing is occurring or about to occur.

        Take that to the bank.

        1. Magnus_Pym

          Re: What really annoyes me

          Not so much panic as caution.

          I slow down on the motorway when I see flashing lights up ahead. This is not 'Rubber necking'. It's just so I lower the risk of mowing down an emergency worker as I pass. If I see a flashing light in the mirror I get prepared to pull over to let an emergency vehicle pass. Anyway, if a police car is coming up fast behind you there is a chance that an idiot in a stolen car is coming up a bit sooner.

          1. NomNomNom

            Re: What really annoyes me

            A bigger problem is drivers who *don't notice* flashing lights. Once on the motorway some guy was hogging the outside lane. I could have just gone round him but why should I? I had to flash my lights for almost a full minute before the driver in front noticed and got out my way. I was so annoyed I followed him flashing my lights for another 5 minutes. My finger ached after that but I think he got the message. I mean seriously some people don't have a clue on the road.

            This other time coming home from work one evening I spotted a driver was using his mobile so I have him a long dose of full beam to dazzle some sense into him, but he didn't even notice. I just gave up on that one - I am not getting paid for it after-all, that's the polices job.

            1. Loyal Commenter


              You drive a BMW or Audi, believe you own the road, and think you are a better driver than everone else on the road. AICMFP.

              Driving behind someone flashing your lights 'to make a point' is only likely to distract the other driver from what is in front of them. Deliberately dazzling other drivers with your full beams is just plain dangerous. You probably won't realise you're the one in the wrong even after you've killed your first biker.

              1. NomNomNom

                Re: @NomNomNom

                you guessed right about the Audi

                "even after you've killed your first biker"

                I like how you assume I would go on to kill more

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Lee Dowling

        In some parts of the world, there's a crime which isn't on the books, yet people are pulled over for. It's called "DWB" (Driving While Black).

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Tasogare

          @AC 01:35

          In some parts of the US it's "DWH." An old friend of mine once got pulled over by a cop for speeding. The cop apologized and let him off the hook because "I thought you were Hispanic."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Blue lights? What blue lights?

      If those are the ones being trialled in sunny Berkshire, then the local product testers have removed them with extreme prejudice from the shelters on my route home.

    3. Cliff

      Re: What really annoyes me

      Good question - if people also mistake them for other emergency vehicles then it makes quite a case to remove them/spray them black and not distract diligent motorists.

  2. melt
    Thumb Up


  3. FartingHippo

    Colour QR

    I'm sure I read, oooo about 10 years ago, about a bright idea to store data on a4 sheets of paper using a colour printer. The capacity was pretty impressive (for 10 years ago). Certainly several orders of magnitude higher than a QR code.

    And by the magic of Google:

    So hardly original. But then, few things ever are...

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: Colour QR

      I spent years looking into "homebrew" backup solutions back in the days of dodgy CD-R's and floppies. I even had a Video Backer that I took to pieces to find out how it worked. And I looked into paperising data too, as a sort of side-hobby while doing my Coding Theory courses at uni.

      Turns out, anything with high enough a data density to be useful, the format was unreliable and weakened far too easily over time, and more and more unreadable. And anything with lower data density to be able to effectively store it - you might as well just print it out as English text / Hex codes. There's a tiny sweet spot but it's really been sucked into the real of 8Gb Flash drives nowadays, so it's not worth the effort.

      So the world revolves again, keeping its data safe by just constantly moving it onto multiple copies of newer and newer media and expanding the data size by parity, checksum, etc. to check that its (probabilistically) okay. Not much of our data will survive to become archaeology, but that's pretty true of anyone that's ever lived anyway. Why should our data be more useful to future investigators than the Roman coins?

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Colour QR

      Microsoft proposed their own colour QR using triangles. But it's not took off, colour costs more.

      1. Charles 9


        The HCCB failed not because of its color nature. It was intended for use in ads and other materials ALREADY in color, so the print costs are incidental. Also, the four-color version was designed to use the CMYK colors normally used in offset printing, so the colors were easy to produce and thus easy to read. Anyway, a B&W version exists, too. No, what did it in was Microsoft wanting to be the gatekeeper by turning it into the Tag format. If the HCCB decoded into straight URLs and other useful stuff, it probably would've had a better chance.

    3. Framitz

      Re: Colour QR

      I believe that was closer to 15 years ago. I remember some crazy stuff from that period that never took off.

  4. David Hicks

    So do people actually scan these things?

    I've noticed them popping up in ads all over the place recently, but I've never seen anyone actually use one.

    It also opens up the possibility of hard to detect advertising redirection or trolling. Overpaste the QR of your choice with a sticker containing either competitor information, or a link to a shock site... It's only a matter of time.

    1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

      Re: So do people actually scan these things?

      You, sir, are a genius.

      I'm off to print out a thousand sticky labels with "rickroll" QR codes. If you were really unscrupulous, you could even direct them to, say advertising sites that generate revenue....

      1. Tanuki
        Thumb Up

        Re: So do people actually scan these things?

        I see here the modern replacement for the traditional "Mandy - Slow and Easy - 01-423-9999" tartcards which were a standard adornment to 1980s phone-boxes.

      2. 404

        Re: So do people actually scan these things?

        Make big ones for telephone poles, walls, etc advertising new clubs, over priced 'cool' exclusive restaurants, civil unrest meetings, underground Jedi movements - tap into the younger, tech-as-way-of-life-and-would-die-if-off-grid segment of the population to make it a trend, eventually gets to older generations. Be a moneymaker if the marketing is worked out properly.

        Big thoughts for a Saturday morning. Cheers!

    2. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: So do people actually scan these things?

      They seem like the sort of thing that augmented reality would be handy for. A QR placed somewhere on a static poster could then trigger a 3D advert when viewed through an AR app. The video would replace the poster.

      It would also make a "They Live" augmented application possible, just need to replace the faces of random people with alien faces :)

    3. Quxy

      Sure, why not?

      Once you see the resulting text and accompanying URL, you don't have to actually CLICK on it! What kind of smartphone OS immediately opens the QR code URL in a browser without displaying the full information and asking for permission? (Not iOS or Android, certainly.)

      1. Charles 9

        Re: Sure, why not?

        Depends on the reader. My Android Barcode Scanner shows the decoded text, yes, but I've seen at least one other Android phone go straight to the Browser after scanning a QR Code with a URL in it. Maybe they changed the behaviour since then, but...

    4. Drem

      Re: So do people actually scan these things?

      So you read B3ta too?

      The newsletter today suggested a link to Goatse was the appropriate thing to do, via a URL shortner of course...

      1. David Hicks

        Re: So do people actually scan these things?

        Heh, haven't been to b3ta for a while, pretty sure I will have stolen the idea from somewhere though, it's just the way of the world these days!

    5. Charles 9

      Re: So do people actually scan these things?

      Most QR codes these days are directly printed onto advertising material. A sticker pasted on top of such a code would likely draw suspicion.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So do people actually scan these things?

      I saw someone scannig once. I asked them how they would know that the link was not to some kiddie porn site.

      The person looked at me blankly, as if I was from another planet. They had not even contemplated that someone might even remotely possibly display a bad QR code.

      That said it all.

      QR Codes are a disaster waiting to happen (IMHO)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So do people actually scan these things?

        It's another form of communication. You just need a prompt of some sort. Or only use reliable sources. How easy is it for someone to replace phone numbers on billboards? Easy to get everyone to call your premium rate line that way. Yet I've not heard of it happening. So the risk to QR codes is probably just as low.

        1. David Hicks

          Re: So do people actually scan these things?

          A phone number is usually quite large, and not in a consistent format or size. A QR code is a funny looking square of black on white. Much easier to over-stick than unknown shape, unknown colour, unknown background phone numbers.

          It probably won't ever be a big thing (it takes effort) but it could be done pretty easily.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So do people actually scan these things?

            Thanks. I'll try and remember that. So we need QR codes overlaid on images, so faking them is harder. That should be easy enough if the system used does not insist on black/white colour codes.

            Then it becomes a kind of watermark.

        2. Chris 3

          Re: So do people actually scan these things?

          >How easy is it for someone to replace phone numbers on billboards?

          Quite tricky. You need to get font, size, colour, any glow effects, drop shaddows etc. correct. Often the number will be overlaying another image or color so you have to get that right too.

          As opposed to a QR code where you simply have to ensure the square is big enough to cover the original/.

    7. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: So do people actually scan these things?

      Beware Mr Q R Goatse

      That's all I'm saying.

  5. SirWired 1

    I think I shall form my own protest by pasting over public QR codes with my own stating: "I prepared Explosive Runes today."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bring e'm on!

    As it's quite dificult doing an SQL injection using self-service tills and conventional bar-codes, I for one look forward to the hours of fun QR codes will offer...

    1. IT Hack

      Re: Bring e'm on!

      Well damn you ninja'd me!

      Just another attack vector we'll have to deal with.

      Pint coz not only is Friday but also to deaden the pain.

      1. Code Monkey

        Re: Bring e'm on!

        My preferred defence against QR-based attacks is not to bother with them. From never having seen anyone else use them it seems that's standard.

        +1 for beer!

        1. IT Hack

          Re: Bring e'm on!

          Indeed. Same here. If they intrude in the workplace I'll be taking them down.

          Pint - always a good thing.

          1. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge

            Re: Bring e'm on!

            Imagine, 2,953 bytes of virus to work with!

            It's only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to do some imaging thing analogous to a buffer overflow so all your camera has to do is see the QR code, not even try to read it.

  7. Jediben

    I developed quite a headache...

    That looks nothing like a dolphin! These are the worst MagicEye pictures I've ever seen!

  8. David Given
    Thumb Up

    Hands up everyone who...

    ...just emailed

    1. Jaruzel

      Re: Hands up everyone who...

      I was hoping the codes in the article actually contained some secret URL or message :(

  9. Quxy

    Smartphone camera limitations?

    Boy, you wouldn't think it here in Japan, where even the cheapest phones seem to handle v-40 QR codes without breaking a sweat -- even when (as is common) they're printed on glossy colour posters or transparent window decals. It's telling that iPhone users seem to have the most trouble -- you can spot them stopping, carefully framing, and retrying the QR codes instead of snapping them in passing like most folks with domestic phones. Methinks the US and Chinese phone manufacturers need to work on their image processing software, not on their CIS resolution!

  10. Christian Berger

    Next stop IPv6 and home servers

    Now imagine a little box containing some sort of server, perhaps part of a de-centralized social network. You plug it in, it'll boot, and display a QR-code on its display. This code contains the IP-address of the server as well as an authentication token. You photograph it with your mobile phone, set a bookmark in your browser and there you go. Alternatively you can press a button on the device to get the information in human readable form.

    This would save a lot of data protection problems instantly.

  11. Dave 32

    What innovations will the next 18 years bring?

    How about infrared or ultraviolet QR codes? Those ought to give the spy agencies lots to think about. ;-)


    P.S. My QR code is the one that looks like the naked Scarlett.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What innovations will the next 18 years bring?

      "ultraviolet QR codes?"

      That actually is a pretty neat idea. Use a UV LED to cause the pattern to fluoresce, and take the picture (without flash, of course). It would be a good way to de-uglify things, and would also make a dandy way to introduce a bit of obscurity to a link (e.g. stamp your property with the code - bad guy doesn't see it, gets busted, cops scan swag with UV light, scan code, call you.)

      You could even do a real Indiana Jones moment: arrange some pattern of objects in the world that, when illuminated by the sun on a give day and time, forms the pattern. I'm surprised some artsy type hasn't done this.

      1. Charles 9

        Re: What innovations will the next 18 years bring?

        Didn't someone do a Hello World DataMatrix code in a wheat field once already?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: What innovations will the next 18 years bring?

        Even better, IR. Infra read is already detectable by most digital cameras. Not sure how you'd get the ink to reflect IR enough though. :/

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dumb companies

    First: Used properly, QR codes are great - they are everything that the Cue-Cat should have been, but wasn't.

    BUT: I've seen some stupid companies use them. I got a post-card sized item of junk mail in my mailbox (US Postal Service: about all we do now is advertising), with NOTHING but:

    The company's name.

    A QR Code.

    That's it. No info on what these jokers do, or why I should want to scan their code. If they think I'm going to just blindly follow a link like that - they've never seen a certain Christmas Islands domain, have they?

    So, what did I do? Not scan their QR code, that's for damn sure. But being a curious monkey, I searched for the company name, found out what they did (avoiding their actual web site like the plague), and decided that yes, I really didn't give a frip, and fed their missive into the shredder.

    Anybody who goes around scanning random QR codes stuck to random objects by random people should be forced to live in an Amish community as an Amish person - they clearly are not ready to live in this technological world.

    1. 100113.1537
      Thumb Up

      Re: Dumb companies

      Good point. I know of one application which uses them as links to inform emergency services of specific conditions in buildings. For example, when the firemen rock up to a high-rise, then can get up-to-date information on which residents need help evacuating (sounds a bit basic, but I live in a high-rise and it is a surprisingly common problem). You still need to keep a list of the people somewhere, but keeping it on-line makes updating it easier.

  13. pPPPP
    Thumb Down


    Personally, I think anyone with one in their email signature is a twat. But then again I think the same of anyone who spams me with more than a few lines of ASCII. I don't need to see your corporate logo, or logos for the myriad of products you claim to be an expert in. The more you put in your signature, the less I think you're actually any good at what you do.

    Name. Phone number. Job title. That's all you need. I'll let you off with a small quirky quote, if you must. Anything else is twattage.

    There. Said it.

  14. Quxy

    "A QR code can easily contain a link to a scam or a blob of malicious binary information"

    Sure, so can a printed URL.

    I would argue that QR codes are no more obscure than links in email and web pages, given that many common (albeit to be avoided) email clients and browsers fail to display the full URL of the link before the user clicks on it; whereas all QR code scanners I've used display the URL and accompanying text, requiring at least token approval from the user before opening the URL.

    Yes, OS manufacturers and enterprise admins need to do more to lock down permissions to sandbox or block malicious code. (In Android's case, a *lot* more.) But displaying URLs and text blocks as easy-to-read QR codes does nothing to exacerbate this problem.

    1. melt

      Re: "A QR code can easily contain a link to a scam or a blob of malicious binary information"

      I think that was meant to be read with slightly different emphasis:

      "A QR code can easily contain a link to a scam, or a blob of malicious binary information".

      OK, any form of URL can link to malicious content, but I think the point is that the QR code itself has enough space in it to contain a useful buffer overflow targeted at the QR software itself.

      Not many people would type in a printed URL like "\n\n000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000xdeadbeef", but a QR code neatly gives you the ability to blob that right up.

      1. melt

        Re: "A QR code can easily contain a link to a scam or a blob of malicious binary information"

        itself itself itself itself

      2. Quxy
        Thumb Down

        Yes, but...

        The QR code standards are refreshingly uncomplicated; and even the highest density (v.40) code is limited to a modest 4296-byte payload. This means that the possible buffer overflow vulnerabilities are fairly limited, so it's reasonably easy to implement the QR reader software to avoid internal buffer overflows and then test for such vulnerabilities. I'd be more concerned about the QR reader passing along otherwise legitimate URLs that carry out things like format string attacks to downstream clients.

        But I'll reassert my position that the most critical security focus needs to be on (a) educating users about the dangers of phishing and messed-up URLs, (b) giving them tools (like displaying the link URL) to help them avoid clicking on dangerous links, (c) fixing the OS so that it doesn't automatically execute downloaded code, and (d) sandboxing downloaded code so that it can't affect the rest of the system.

      3. Charles 9

        Re: "A QR code can easily contain a link to a scam or a blob of malicious binary information"

        I think the reason for the lack of concern is the physical limitations of the barcode. Even at maximum size it can only hold so much information, which is explicitly stated. And the code standard is pretty robust and well-defined (as in just about every possible situation is defined). Which means it would be hard to buffer overflow if the barcode can only hold so much information. An 8K buffer will hold even the biggest all-numeric QR code.

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    A QR-code for "42"

    is what would like to stick on every QR-code I find.

    Mine is the one with the cassette tapes of the Hitchhicker's Guide to the Galaxy radio plays in the pocket

  16. John Sager
    Black Helicopters

    Snow Crash

    When the codes get big enough...

  17. Cameron Colley

    Now all I have to do is make some stickers with teh equivalent of this on them:


  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just a rumour

    That al-Qaeda and friends are using these to pass messages around in broad daylight.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Just a rumour

      How does that differ from a personals ad "Chrissy Wayne, happy 21st from Ducky" or (approximate Heinlein quote) "James N, make your will. You have 27 days to live".

      Both select prearranged messages: "Chrissy Ducky" or "N 27". As old as the hills, and less breakable.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just a rumour

        So, what did they mean? It's been a while since i read "Friday." Other than "some bigshot's going to get it."

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Just a rumour


      And what does the government do?! Asleep on the force lever, as usual!

  19. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


    What about...a QR code that contained only the URL for the image of itself? Does this break the internet?

    1. miknik

      Re: Recursion

      No, a QR code containing a link to would break the internet though.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How about someone providing a solution?

    I've seen them around and never used them. Seen lots of people complain. But rather than accept it as a problem, I thought I'd look for a solution.

    Did not find any. :(

    So, what do people want from QR codes? I'll put the idea forward to BBC 3 and their "Be Your Own Boss" show. If someone makes a QR code everyone wants to use I'm sure they will be even more of a success!

  21. Wombling_Free
    Black Helicopters


    Anyone made a decent SCORPION STARE with class IV Basilisk capability QR code yet?

    The possibilities of pwning any phone that passes by is intriguing.

  22. Chris Sake


    Has a screenshot from a mobile phone pointing to [1].

    "This page has to be ideally opened on your laptop or desktop browser.

    "Once you open this link on your computer then you will have a QR code to the URL that needs to be opened on your device.


    [1]. to name and shame

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh the assumptions!

    my phone has no camera, no g3 connection - not everyone can afford these toys... at least i won't be caught by scams and spams ^_^

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IR code hack

    Actually, most cameras can do this already.

    Just remove the IR filter (requires edge of the seat microsurgery on camera lens) and then put a NIR LED from a camcorder etc in place of the existing white LED.

    Not obvious its been done, but that 'phone is now far more useful.

    Works great for low light, garden wildlife photography etc.

    I tried this a while back, it works better on B/W cameras but colour ones also somewhat work.

    Zapping the CCD with a focussed red DVD burner laser to blow out the green and blue filters would probably increase the sensitivity at the cost of ruining the camera for colour.

    Nearly the perfect covert message system, as no-one else can see the message.


  25. henchan


    A good primer.

    Denso is an independent Japanese car parts supplier, not a subsidiary of Toyota. Similar to Bosch in Germany.

    Both at home and overseas, they have close ties to their Japanese customers - of which Toyota is the largest.

    QR codes are less common in Japan than articles like this always suggest. At least for consumer applications.

    I used a QR code for the first time yesterday. It was a link to an Android app I had found on my PC, and I did not want to type the URL on my phone. On-screen data transfer is another good application for this tech. It is quick and easy.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Denso

      I am always curious about the threshold for the concept of "subsidiary," and how it may or may not differ per culture/regulatory regime.

      Denso was spun off from Toyota in 1949. It is most certainly its own distinct legal entity, but Toyota still retains a ~24% stake in the company. What's more, Denso owns shares in a number of companies itself, many of which Toyota owns a significant chunk of. The two companies cooperate on nearly every level and are completely and inextricably linked together for all practical purposes.

      I’m willing to accept that subsidiary might not be the exact correct term for use in this situation. “Partner” doesn’t cover it either. The closest anglicism I can come up with is “clan member.” Separate distinct entity, but unquestionable “part of the family.”

      As to “use in day to day life,” well…that seems to depend on who you talk to. My Japanese friends claimt he things are embedded everywhere. From bus route info to advertising, passport baggage claims to all sorts of other things. Where we might use a regular 3of9 barcode or some form of reference number, QR codes seem to be used there.

      Maybe that is different in different areas? (And why not? Different cities would certainly have different methods of representing transit info, etc?) But overall, it seems that QR codes are simply “a fact of life” in Japan whereas they are still largely a novelty everywhere else.

      Interesting to hear a different take on the matter, though!

      1. Bumpy Cat

        Re: Denso

        It's an interesting concept - look up keiretsu, zaibatsu or (Korean) chaebol. It's basically a business empire, where a group of companies all work with each other by preference, with suppliers, consumers, a bank or two, and distributors all linked.

  26. M man

    qrcode corn circles

    Just saying.....

  27. Chris Sake

    Re: Re: Denso

    The term to use is most likely "keiretsu".

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Denso

      I'll buy that for a dollar, but am unsure how to use it. I had always heard the term applied to the parent company, as with chaebol or conglomerate. Without using the word subsidiary, how do you use kieretsu in a sentance to decribe child companies? "Denso is an independant mid-tier corporate node in the Toyota kieretsu?"

      Barring XML, I don't know that axequate descriptors exist. :)

  28. Doctor


    Fully justifies the complete pointlessness of QR codes.

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