Finally, mankind has discovered a use for smart phones beyond reading porn while jogging and logging onto Wikipedia to avoid bar fights.

QR codes have been popping up everywhere. QR (or “quick read”) codes are boxes of pixelated gabbida gook that a cellphone camera can read and interpret into a link, text, GPS location, etc. (QR Code-reading apps are widely available for free on all major platforms.) They are ubiquitous in Japan and have been the rage in Europe. Now, the US, which has long fallen behind the rest of the world in cell tech is finally beginning to get all code-y. Apparently Facebook is even getting in on the QR bus (but I still have yet to see it in action, have you?)

It’s too bad QR codes are just catching on now. They would have added a new dimension to print—from both an advertising and editorial point of view. It’s pretty much a mute technology for any e-reader, which the industry is grasping onto for salvation. But I think QR will be, for the next few years at least, a fixture of our pedestrian and mass transit culture. And—especially at first—the codes can act as a secret language created especially for those of us in the know that will keep the old people and lame-os in the dark. For example, thanks to technology, now I can say the following, without really saying it:

qrcode

The future is now, my friends.

(code generated via)