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What are those strange-looking squares?

If you’ve checked out our new videos (see the first two here and here), then you’ve seen these strange pixelated boxes. You’ve probably also seen them around on posters, wine bottles, and flyers. But what are they exactly?

These collections of squares are called QR codes (QR = quick response). They’re special barcodes that store information like phone numbers, calendar events, and website addresses. Mostly they’re used as a quick way to share website links with people who aren’t necessarily at a computer.

To read these codes, you need a mobile device with a built-in camera that allows you to download a barcode reader application. You can try out RedLaser (iPhone, Windows Mobile, and Android) or QR Code Scanner Pro (Blackberry) or any of the many other free apps out there.

When you launch your app of choice, you’ll notice that the camera comes on and you’ll see a framing guide on your screen. Just line up the QR code within that framing guide and the app will read the code and show you the embedded information. Take a look at the video below to see one in action.

Pretty soon you’ll see QR codes on all our new publications — that lead you to further information — so keep an eye out.

Happy scanning!

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