November 1, 2023

By Joe Winett

IN THIS ISSUE

It's early Thanksgiving!

I needed a QR code one day, so I wrote a program.  It's not perfect, but I packaged it up and you can download it.  I'm thankful to be moving again on Karen's software. 

What got me moving?  I was paid to write a simple copy utility for the reception desk of a medical practice.  They'd asked me for a triggered copy function that Karen's Replicator doesn't have, yet, so I wrote a new program. 

Danke schön, Stephan, for the money, experience, and impetus to rewrite Replicator in modern .NET. 

What is Karen's QR Code Talker?

QR Code Talker generates QR codes for you, made to order.  It's the latest of Karen's free software utilities for Windows Karen Kenworthy that Karen originally packaged on CD as Karen's Power Tools.  This one was written by Joe, though. 

QR Code Talker is available for download now from here

What is a QR code?

A "quick response" code is a bar code, an image meant to be read by machine from a distance.  Bar codes on supermarket products encode a short series of digits in a single dimension.  QR Codes are two dimensional representations of long strings of data. 

screenshot of a qr code generation program encoding a long string of data

I used Karen's QR Code Talker to encode the first sentence of the previous paragraph into that square of squares above. 

Typically, a QR code will encode a URL.  Here's a code leading to the Wikipedia page "QR code", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code:

screenshot of qr code generation of a url

How to scan a QR code

Most smartphones scan for QR codes while you're previewing a picture you might take with the Camera app.  Point the phone at a QR code and the display will show the value of the code. 

If it's a URL you could touch it to visit that site:

screenshot of iphone camera scanning a QR code

Why were QR codes invented?

A Japanese automobile parts manufacturer was struggling with bar codes.  By the time a box of parts was ready to be shipped, employees needed to scan four or five separate codes to verify all the information. 

Their solution was to encode all of the information into a single code that only need be scanned once.

Why do we use QR codes today?

QR codes are ubiquitous in advertising. If there's a chance you might want more information, modern images include a QR code for your reference.

QR codes make conventions possible. Well, not really, but if you're on a convention floor and your name tag also includes the QR code for your contact information, then every picture you appear in will include your contact information, handy in case they decide to buy. 

What is a Code Talker?

During the world wars, Native Americans communicated on open radio channels using codes they'd developed based on words nobody else in the world could pronounce, much less understand. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_talker

"Hi!"

I'm trying to wave more often, Karen.

Love,
Joe

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Power Tools Newsletter

November 1st, 2023:

  • What is Karen's QR Code Talker?
  • What is a QR code?
  • What is a Code Talker?

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