Although I am aware of (and use) wonderful services like Read It Later, Springpad, Evernote and the ability to send myself links through various means such as mail, Twitter, Facebook updates or the old “typing what I read”, I find that shooting a QR code beats all of the above for ease of use and speed. Here’s the situation: I like to read ezines (web magazines, whatever you like to call them) on a tablet. In my case, I read them using Pulse on the Xoom. Sometimes I find something worth sharing, but here’s the problem: my wife and I share the tablet, so it’s not configured to use either of our social network logins.
Now, I want to be able to share a page using my personal Twitter account, but the page I found is on the Xoom, where I have no immediate access. I installed the excellent Barcode Scanner app (by ZXing, a must-have on any Android device) on both the tablet and the phone (which also happens to be an Android device, the HTC Desire in my case). The Barcode Scanner does two things; #1: it allows me to catch a link I share from any application and display it on the screen like a QR code. Like this:
And #2: it allows me to take a picture of a barcode or QR code and it tells me whatever it represents. For barcodes on books, it will take me to Amazon or Librarything, for DVDs it can take me to IMDb and for QR codes that represent a URL, it opens them in the browser. So, like this:
Of course, I would not have this problem if Android devices simply supported multiple logins, instead of being strictly personal devices. I even considered getting a Windows 7 tablet instead of the Xoom (I was considering the Acer Iconia) but the battery life is dreadful and frankly, Windows 7 isn’t quite there for tablet use. Another way to avoid the problem would not to pick a geek for a wife, or not have a wife at all, but how would I have taken that picture above, then?
At any rate, I like QR codes and the Barcode Scanner app, since it beats all the alternatives for speed and ease of use. I don’t like tablets being personal devices. Come on Google, get with the program and make sure the next version of Android allows me to simply select my identity when using the device.
Oh and sorry to Monty Python, for stealing their joke from the excellent Lost World of Roiurama sketch.