Unexpected barcode in the bagging area…

A fair few times on this blog I have mentioned QR Codes, even a few times I have mentioned Microsoft Tags.

Both are mobile phone barcodes that store a lot more information than your standard product barcode that you scan at the supermarket.

By encoding information into print, users (or learners) can scan into their mobile phones, information, data, URLs,

So the question you may be asking, which of these two mobile phone barcode systems you should go for?

Well sometimes it is not a matter of comparing the two systems, but asking what device do your learners have and be using.

I have been using an iPhone 3G for nearly a year now and the main issue with using the iPhone and QR Codes is the quality of the camera. Due to the fixed focus it has real issues in acquiring and reading QR Codes. Now the iPhone 3GS has a much better camera and the variable focus does allow it to focus much better on QR Codes and decode them. However I still have issues and both the 3G and 3GS don’t even come close to the scanning ability of the Nokia N95.

Having recently installed the Microsoft Tag Reader on my Google Nexus One and reading the Microsoft Tag Blog I noticed that they said they had an iPhone App.

So out of curiosity I installed and tried it with my iPhone 3G and was surprised to see that it worked very well.

Now I do have issues with some of the privacy issues relating to Microsoft’s implementation of mobile phone barcodes, but if your learners all have iPhones and specifically the lower specified iPhone 3G then using Microsoft Tags may be a real option in getting learners easy access to information and URLs.

3 thoughts on “Unexpected barcode in the bagging area…”

  1. I’ve never used either of these and it sounds like something that would be useful to be able to demo to trainee teachers in my class. Does anyone have any suggestions or links to ‘getting started’ or to good, illustrative activities for use in this kind of context? Thanks, Cheryl

  2. It’s precisely because the MS tags ‘just work’ so much better than QR codes that I’ve been suggesting them as a better alternative to QR codes for ages 🙂

    I also think the detailed stats and tracking info available through MS ‘for free’ is a real benefit, and I recently saw an article pointing out that you can overlay the colours in tags over an image to make them more attractive/useful as human readable images as well.

    However, in my view, the potentially big downside isnt privacy/proprietrybissues, it’s the need for colour. Colour printing costs more and isn’t always available.

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