Monday, January 16, 2012

MPR Sound Points at Five Points Building

Post, photos, and video by the Hawthorne Hawkman.

Almost a year ago, I did a blog post about one idea of the many nifty things one could do with QR codes.  I tossed out a few other ideas to neighborhood partners, but the right project hasn't come along yet.  What I forgot to do, however, was to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to the President of Inventions, along with a detailed summary of all my great ideas.  Had I remembered to do that, I might have gotten credit for the work shown above.  Instead, like most people who come up with interesting ideas that never get fully developed, I'm relegated to saying "Yeah, but I thought of it first."

And then the real credit here goes where it's deserved:  to Minnesota Public Radio, the City of Minneapolis, Catalyst Community Partners, and the various artists who participated in the project.

For those of you new to QR codes, they are the equivalent of bar codes for your smart phone.  And they work like this...

...First, you'll need a QR scanner on your phone.  Those are available for free download on both Android and iPhone apps.  Load up that program, and point your camera at the box with black and white patterns bearing the likeness of a Rorschach test that's being administered by Hal 9000.  That's your QR code.  The program will recognize it as...whatever the code itself is set up to be.  In this case, it comes up as a weblink.

I tried posting the link to my Facebook and Twitter accounts.  But the one downside of these Sound Points is that the QR code hyperlink only works on mobile phones.  So you get something that looks like this:

That link takes you here:

Scrolling down on the page allows you to add your own comments or experience.

And the link on your phone takes you here:

In all, the process takes less than a minute to get from opening the program to listening to the sound bite.  Most QR programs store the codes you've scanned, so anyone with the program can hop over to Penn and Broadway, scan all of the sound points shown, and make the connections to local art and music at your leisure.

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