Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas and New Year cards with images and video

With a bit of clever jiggery-pokery (technical term) you can use a Q-Action mini-web to set up a multi-media Christmas or New Year message web site at no extra cost. Send the link by email to your family and friends or as a QR code in a Christmas card.

You'll need an account with a free image or video service like Flickr, Vimeo, or YouTube; the URL of your content, and of course some sticky-backed plastic (but only if you're a veteran Blue Peter viewer).

The mini-web site lets you insert your image or video URL as a site sub-page. Your home page becomes a navigation page for several sub-pages of rich media content - a 'Blank' card containing free text updating people on your year so far, plus some images of events and people in your life. As you can have as many Q-Action mini web sites as you want, you can create a site for each recipient or one for everyone, and you can set up and manage them all through your mobile. Unlike social networks, the pages are more personal and restricted to those you send the link or the QR tag to.

If you make one and are so proud of it that you want a wider audience, let me know the URL.

Happy Christmas and hope the new year brings you joy.

How to organise a QR Treasure hunt

How would you use QR codes to organise a treasure hunt? Have any 'techies' out there done this already? What are the tips and wrinkles? Do enough people have smart phones yet to make it viable?

I got to thinking about how to do this using Q-Action (what else) and I can see several ways of doing it. The common first step is to create for each location a page or card - we're not quite sure what to call them yet - and get the QR code printed. You can change card types even after you have created them, so you can decide later what to put on each one. You could even change things right up to the start of the treasure hunt if weather or road closures meant doing things a different way.

If it will be an outdoor or car-based hunt then it's not a bad idea to encapsulate the codes. You can buy credit-card sized pockets for £5.50 per 100, but you will need access to an encapsulating machine. You might suggest using your employer's, but I couldn't possibly comment on that.

For the logistics, one suggestion would be to use Location pages with each page carrying instructions for the next location. You have to think what to do if someone gets stuck or runs out of time. Maybe give them a sealed envelope with the final code in it, or arrange the final meeting pub...er...pint...er...point in advance.

To avoid cheating, players have to scan the code at each location to get a code word (or cryptic clue they have to solve for bonus points). They could anyway save the page on their phone as proof.

For something more complicated (eg. picture clues) you could use a 'Goto' card which will send the user to a Google Docs document that you have shared as 'public'. That could contain just about anything you like.

You could watch progress by monitoring the hit count on your pages. This should tally with the number of successful completions. If it doesn't you could smell a 'Basil'.

I'd really like some young creative minds to come up with ideas. I keep reverting back to the physical world. There has to be a new twist on thsi old game by using QR codes. We just need to find it.