Marketing Red Herring: QR Codes

I’m in digital marketing. I spend a lot of time dealing with ways of people visit websites to get them to spend money. (That’s the short version. The really short, and moderately soul-suckingly depressing version. The long version is … an entire career.) So I deal with a lot of different ideas, tools, methodologies, and directions that — in theory — make everyone’s lives easier.

Every so often, we get hit with buzzwords. Sometimes, they’re tech-related, like DHTML, AJAX, and HTML5 (remember, I deal with these things every day — I know what they really mean). Sometimes, they’re things like “progressive enhancement” or “responsive design” (yes, buzzwords — they can grossly over-simplify reality). And then there’s the Big Shiny™ stuff that distracts from simplicity.

Let me tell you a few things about QR Codes

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Alberta communications companies suck

It’s about as official as it gets, now. We leave Costa Rica on 8 December. Which means that on the morning of 9 December, we’re going to be needing a few things. We’re trying to establish as much of that as we can remotely, so that it’s “in place” when we arrive. It just makes things easier, right?

Well, it would make things easier if we could actually set things up properly. Therein lies the problem — it’s not that easy to do! Especially when it comes to the Holy Trinity of communications services: phone, internet, and TV.

The term “rocket science” comes to mind…

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Steve Jobs blows it. Again.

Sigh.  There’s nothing more frustrating than watching Apple come so close to finally tying the knot, only to leave threads dangling.  

I speak, of course, of yesterday’s Let’s Rock event where the apparently-not-dead (but much gaunter-looking) Steve Jobs talked at length about iTunes and iPods. And they played Jack Johnson, who is somehow the most popular male performer on iTunes to this point in history. (Yeah, I don’t get that either. Don’t get me wrong, Jack, you’re a great performer — just didn’t see that coming.)  

But why — oh why! — does Apple have to continually deny us a complete entertainment experience?  

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The phones I ordered finally showed up

Augh.

I called it yesterday, when I got my new cell phone. A month ago, we ordered phones over the internet. They were shipped US Postal Service. They entered Costa Rica on 8 July. And then sat in customs. When I got my Nokia, I said (knowing this was truth) that our eBay-ordered phones would show up today.

I hate it when I’m right.

My new 1998-era Nokia TDMA cell phone

Note today’s date: 8 August 2008. That’s (almost) two months since we first came to Costa Rica. Two months ago, we tried to start getting things like cars, bank accounts, work visas (a fairly significant need), and cell phones, as these were the things we felt were necessary to be able to do our jobs effectively.

To date, we’ve all managed to get bank accounts. Only Mark has successfully bought a car (Jason and Jen are still looking, and we’re still waiting for our money to arrive from Canada), and the work visas are in the application process (read: not completed).

Yesterday, despite phones ordered via eBay still being stuck in Costa Rica customs, we finally got cell phones.

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It’s Mañana Time!

We’re slowly getting ourselves up-to-speed down here. But the reality is that things are not happening at anywhere near the speed we’re used to. This was something we were warned about — you need to relax and allow things to take their time. Things do not happen quickly here, and getting all bent out of shape only makes things go more slowly. (And no, totally slacking off doesn’t cause the reverse.)

For us up-tight North Americans, this is the single hardest thing to contend with. Uncertainty is the name of our game, so unknown things aren’t a problem. It’s the ability to do simple little things.

Like call each other. Hard to do when you have no phone.

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Apple doesn’t hate Canada … Rogers, Bell, and Telus do

Those of us who’ve paid not only close attention to the rollout of the much-anticipated Apple iPhone but also to the Canadian mobile market don’t find this surprising. But we’re in the minority. A significantly larger portion of the Canadian iPhone-hungry masses are incensed by Apple’s announcement of the iPhone’s release in the UK.

Why do you hate us Apple? Why do you not let us poor Canucks use your wonderful product?

Guess what, my fellow Hosers, it ain’t Apple. You want the culprit? Look at your cell phone for a hint.

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