Category Archives: beauty

I’ve just about had it with QR codes

Robot Vomit!

I dunno why I’m talking about airplanes again. But I thought it’s funny. Though they’ve been around forever, and sortof indifferently hyped by airlines for years, I’ve never got around to trying to one of those mobile/QR/paperless boarding passes. Until today that is. Ya that was a error.

Imagine your typical looong line at the gates to your local FAA security theatre-dome. At first the code is ready and showing fine on the screen. Ok great. Boredom ensues. Surf a few emails, read twitter. Getting close now, flip back to the United email with the code. The phone spontaneously has decided to refresh the page. What could go wrong? Everything is blank. It’s not loading. Not loading again. or again. Our local carrier, who we like to affectionately call $!@#$%! AT&T has chosen this moment now to take one of it’s not-infrequent cat naps. The line is looming behind you. Something finally loads … with all broken images links. F5! F5! crap! and… we’re back ok whew it’s loading, hold it out steady. It’s not scanning. hold it closer. hold it further. Try to hold your hand perfectly more steady… (People near you are starting to offer helpful suggestions). And thank god, at last we’re through.

Technically QR codes do work. And lest when all the conditions are right. Trust me I resent, more than most, carrying around bits of paper instead of a proper digital solution.

And a lot of folks, myself included, but especially it seems marketers really, really want to believe in the ugly little buggers.

Wouldn’t it be great say the marketers to make your print and out-of-home marketing actionable and trackable.

Wouldn’t it be great say the developers if we had this internet of things, if connected devices could just close the last inch to connect and link with the physical world in a cheap/easy way.

Wouldn’t that be great?

So collectively we’ve been trying really hard to believe that QR codes are like a real thing.

Ask yourself. When was the last time you were out there traveling the world and said, oh my gosh, oh look a QR code, I can’t wait to scan that and see where it goes?

QR codes just don’t feel right. They are not self-revealing to humans, you can’t trust or be sure what they will do from looking at them, they take work to use, the optical/focusing screen/waving dance is awkward, they are widely considered to look like chunky robot expectorate, nothing about them feels “cool”

I think we need to do better than QR codes.

Tell me I’m wrong about this one.

“Some people tell me it is a beautiful shape, but I cannot tell this because I am an engineer.” – Gábor Domokos

Gomboc shape

Ha, a quote that seems to explain a lot about this world?

1. How many the things that surround us may work, but are not beautiful.
2. And the corollary, why some things that are beautiful don’t seem to work?

file under: arguments for interdisciplinary design.

Quote overheard on a quirks and quarks podcast. a Gomboc is the first know shape shown mathematically to have only one stable and one unstable point of equilibrium. Side note: if modern engineering is a hare, than this must be the tortoise?