Making Coding relevant

We’re building up to a week of Coding in a few weeks; this will dovetail with Digital Learning Day. So I’m kicking off the new year with an introduction to the different kinds of ‘codes’ in use, some of which we take for granted: Morse, Braille, even the simple icons we used to call ‘highway code.’ And of course, HTML.

This week I’m focusing on QR Codes, and how we barely notice them. On ID cards, and even at checkouta – the Walmart pay feature, for instance. IKEA too has been testing something similar.

So as we lead up to several  events in Jan and Feb my students will create and test QR Codes – embedding them in a report. Perhaps work on a design for a T-Shirt for Martin Luther King Jr. day next week, and Digital Learning Day in February.

Meanwhile, this use of a code to demonstrate the connection between analog content and digital is very interesting.

Second eBook experiment. It gets better!

As I mentioned yesterday I’m trying out different publishing tools for eBooks. Here’s the second option, using SimpleBooklet. It is at Click on the image to open the book




QR Code - Culture Book


The Pros

  1. Simply upload a PDF and the site converts it to an eBook.
  2. You could start with a blank page and add content –including audio and video.
  3. You could change the layout of the book, the way the page flips, and also add a contact card.
  4. Sharing is a big deal here. It generates links and embed code for social channels.You could also email directly from the website to your network.
  5. QR Code generator. Very neat feature lets you generate the QR code –on the right.
  6. You can check Stats on the dashboard (it uses Google Analytics)
  7. My best feature: A unique URL

The Cons:

The embed code was not available for WordPress. You need to upgrade to a paid account to get this.

NOTE: The previous eBook Was created using

Quotes for the week ending 8th May, 2010

“In the Future, we’ll all have 15 minutes of privacy.”

Scott Monty, head of social media for Ford, on a post about Facebook’s latest move to connect to the rest of the web

“No one is laughing in Arizona. Do your job and secure the border.”

Governor Jan Brewer, in a YouTube video aimed at president Obama, who made a joke about the immigration Bill that Brewer signed into law.

“A lot of great stories are hidden within the public”

Manesh Nesaratnam, Malaysian film director of a movie, Your Grandfather’s Road, which is being crowd-sourced.

“That QR code on the left will even take your smartphone to my Twitter feed. And if you really liked this story, you can re-Tweet too.”

Kit Keaton, whose column in Fast Company, features this Quick Response code.

“A nastygram.”

Shel Holtz, referring to the letter Apple, which sent a nine-year-old girl a cease-and-desist letter after she suggested enhancements to the iPod.

“You gotta give him credit for his media manipulation skills.”

Pat Elliot, commenting on a post I wrote for ValleyPRBlog, about the value Sheriff Joe Arpaio holding a press conference to announce he is NOT running for governor.

We are heartened by news reports that J.S.Tissainayagam appears to have been pardoned…”

CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) in a statement on the presidential pardon for journalist J. S. Tissanayagam in Sri Lanka

Opt-in meets experience using QR Codes

Anyone dabbling in communication tends to stoop at the altar of speed and instant gratification. They seem similar, but they are not. Speed of response or implementation is a critical component for some organizations, some industries.

Speed, in today’s world, is a given. If you’re in customer service and you don’t respond fast to an inquiry, you lose a lead. If you don’t respond to a complaint, you risk turning a small hiccup into a major snafu.

Instant gratification is a different animal. We gloss over what it really involves by regarding it with such clicles about ‘delighting the customer’ etc.

But what I am interested in is a hybrid of speed and instant grat. Especially the ability to deliver targeted information to mobile devices, since we are beginning to use our phones not just as lap-top replacements, but as a means to interact with content related to our professional and personal lives.

Custom QR code I created for Public Radius

That’s why I like the idea of Quick Response Codes – QR Codes. I covered it in a recent column for a magazine (IABC’s Communication World).

If it sounds too geeky, it’s not. Actually it’s more user-friendly than a typical bar code. Unlike a bar code you embed it with information that is linked to content you point it to somewhere on a server or blog. That content could be any digital file, such as a PDF, podcast, video or photo album.

If you like to read the article, here’s a link to a PDF

Updated: The QR code on the left is something I created for my company, Public Radius. Many of these codes can be photographed by a cell phone that seamlessly connects the device to content.  Some of  them require an initial download of an app. Some work without it –like a short code.