Quick, Respond

If you’re like me, you’ve probably started to notice the Quick Response or “QR” codes on buses and billboards.  You know, those weird square barcode-like things that look like really bad modern art.  And if you’re like me, you’ve probably didn’t give a rat’s ass.

Aren’t you tired of these things yet?

But Saturday, I was looking at some site on my laptop and wanted to see what the same site looked like on my iPhone.  Retyping the 100-character URL was non-starter.  I thought about e-mailing the URL to myself.  Then I had a brain-wave: those stupid QR things.

It took me maybe five minutes to whip up a “bookmarklet”.  For those of you with actual lives (who are mysteriously still reading my blog), a bookmarklet is a browser bookmark that, instead of having pointing to an ordinary URL, has a fragment of JavaScript.

To install my QR bookmarklet (on Firefox, other browsers may be different),

  1. right-click on the Bookmark bar
  2. select “New Bookmark…” (“Add Page..” on Chrome)
  3. set the Name to something useful like “QR”
  4. set the Location (called the URL on Chrome) to
javascript:window.location="http://chart.apis.google.com/
chart?chs=250x250&cht=qr&chl="+escape(window.location)

(Don’t include any line-breaks, of course.)

To use it, find an interesting site on your desktop or laptop, press the QR button you now have, the QR code will appear instantly.  Scan it with the QR scanner on your phone.

What? You don’t have a QR scanner on your phone.  Well, get one…

(By the way, props to the guys at Google for making QR codes available through their Charts API.  Makes up for the whole sucking-up-to-China thing.  No, wait, it doesn’t.)

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