This is cool. Slash get off my lawn.

Slash: Not Just a Punc­tu­a­tion Mark Any­more

Two weeks ago, one stu­dent brought up the word slash as an exam­ple of new slang, and it quick­ly became clear to me that many stu­dents are using slash in ways unfa­mil­iar to me.


6. I need to go home and write my essay slash take a nap.


12. JUST SAW ALEX! Slash I just chubbed on oat­meal raisin cook­ies at north quad and i miss you

via Boing­Bo­ing

QR Codes: great, but then what?

I keep a long and ever-growing out­line of blog top­ics I may some­day write about. Most aren’t ful­ly formed, but each at least once struck me as inter­est­ing at some point or anoth­er, so I fig­ured they’re worth keep­ing around.1 (See one real exam­ple to right.)

  • <3 qr-codes
    • bridges the phys­i­cal and the cyber
    • low-tech, lowest-common denom­i­na­tor
    • cam­er­a­phones in every pock­et
    • makes a lot more sense than com­pet­ing tech­nolo­gies, like that microsoft one with the dif­fer­ent col­ors that requires col­or print­ing, etc. this one I could, if so inclined, draw with a pen­cil
    • sad­ly, most of what I use this tech­nol­ogy for is curi­ous­ly decod­ing bar­codes I come across on the web

I add top­ics to my list pret­ty reg­u­lar­ly, but what doesn’t hap­pen very reg­u­lar­ly is some­one read­ing my mind and writ­ing my post for me. Okay, it’s only hap­pened once: about a week ago, and it was geek­ing out on QR Codes.

I’m a bit behind on my RSS read­ing, but when I just came across this boing­bo­ing post, I was quite pleased. In it, guest blog­ger Glenn Fleish­man pret­ty much lays out the case for 2D bar­codes — QR being the most pop­u­lar, good/open-enough for­mat — as a use­ful sort of link between the phys­i­cal world and the dig­i­tal one. It’s an idea I hap­pen to have loved for a few years now, and with Internet-enabled cam­er­a­phones all over the place, one that has the poten­tial2 to cre­ate some ben­e­fit to soci­ety on a large scale.

It should come as lit­tle sur­prise, then, that for as long as I’ve been aware of these codes, I’ve longed to find a use for the tech­nol­o­gy aside from the mun­dane let peo­ple scan your ad to go to your web­site, or send a URL from your com­put­er to your phone. A hand­ful of boing­bo­ing com­menters point­ed out a few real-world exam­ples of ways they have used QR codes: label­ing shared lab equip­ment or get­ting on the VIP list at Tokyo clubs. Inter­est­ing they are; world-changing they’re not.

Of course, there’s also the idea of pro­vid­ing rich­er infor­ma­tion about wine than a sim­ple bot­tle label could dis­play, which I find a step above the oth­ers, and giv­ing extra con­text to muse­um art, which I think gets us even clos­er.

Yet I still think QR Codes have even greater poten­tial… but poten­tial isn’t even half the bat­tle.

  1. Yes, they’re basi­cal­ly brain crack.
  2. Nat­u­ral­ly, the bar­ri­er to adop­tion is con­vinc­ing the aver­age per­son to both­er solv­ing for them­selves a prob­lem — easy URL/text/contact entry on their phone — they didn’t real­ize they had.

It’s fear, mostly.

Inc. Mag­a­zine: Why Is Busi­ness Writ­ing So Awful?

When you write like every­one else and sound like every­one else and act like every­one else, you’re say­ing, “Our prod­ucts are like every­one else’s, too.” Or think of it this way: Would you go to a din­ner par­ty and just repeat what the per­son to the right of you is say­ing all night long? Would that be inter­est­ing to any­body? So why are so many busi­ness­es say­ing the same things at the biggest par­ty on the plan­et —  the mar­ket­place?

Fear, most­ly.

(via Ryan)