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Brad Fitzpatrick

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Facebook QR Code "me"-link [Jul. 10th, 2008|09:40 am]
Brad Fitzpatrick
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Facebook's public profile pages don't let you include any links (notably: no XFN "me" links), so you can't setup a bi-direction proof that you own your Facebook account from another page.

I got around that:

http://www.facebook.com/people/Brad_Fitzpatrick/500033387

Check out my QR code in my profile photo. That QR code says "http://bradfitz.com/".

:-)

Update 12:42pm: I made it with Google's new Chart API feature. Make a URL like this:

http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?chs=150x150&cht=qr&chl=http://bradfitz.com/

You can read them with this: http://code.google.com/p/zxing/
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: mart
2008-07-10 05:06 pm (UTC)

Can you really "parse" the QR code after it's been resampled down to such a small size? I know it has error correction, but I'd expect that once you get below a certain image size it all degenerates into garbage.


(Or do you have some clever way of computing the full-size image URL from the thumbnail one?)

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[User Picture]From: muerte
2008-07-10 05:19 pm (UTC)
How did you generate that QR code?
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-10 05:55 pm (UTC)
http://qrcode.kaywa.com/
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-07-10 07:44 pm (UTC)
Updated my blog post.
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[User Picture]From: dossy
2008-07-10 05:36 pm (UTC)


Suitably high-fidelity for a QR reader to decode, IMHO.
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[User Picture]From: tsutton
2008-07-10 09:37 pm (UTC)
My phone didn't pick it up. :(
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-07-10 10:12 pm (UTC)
I wasn't thinking about phones (and esp phones with crappy cameras) but rather computers with the raw image available.
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[User Picture]From: schernyshev
2008-07-11 03:53 am (UTC)
I think they have a requirement of empty space around the image - it should work better with phones then.
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[User Picture]From: mart
2008-07-11 06:20 am (UTC)

How did you get the URL for that image without being logged in to Facebook?

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[User Picture]From: mart
2008-07-11 06:22 am (UTC)

Never mind. Someone else answered my question below. ;)

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[User Picture]From: xlerb
2008-07-10 05:27 pm (UTC)
In the absence of a QR decoding tool that isn't full of crack-weasels, I'll just take your word for it.
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[User Picture]From: dblume
2008-07-10 06:08 pm (UTC)
It would be more practical to put a human-readable "bradfitz.com" in the image than the QR code. I doubt anyone would bother to process the QR code, until there's a FireFox plugin to automatically scan them in images and throw up links. (Sort of the opposite of Mobile Barcode.)

What you did is cute, but not very practical.

Edited at 2008-07-10 06:18 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-07-10 07:40 pm (UTC)
Well, I care about machine-readable.
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[User Picture]From: bulknews
2008-07-10 07:55 pm (UTC)
All Japanese cellphones (besides iPhone 3G) can read QR code and open the web browser to access the site. It's quite common to put the QR code on ads in newspaper or trains.
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[User Picture]From: dblume
2008-07-10 09:29 pm (UTC)
C'mon. What you care about is bi-direction proof that you own your Facebook account from an external page.

What you really want is an XFN "me" link.

This is a poor, poor substitute. Think about the workflow. Some stranger to you is at your Faceboook profile. If they're not browsing from their phone, and if my Firefox plugin isn't on their computer, they have to take a photo of their screen, then navigate to your domain on the phone, then to Facebook on the phone. (Or transcribe the URL back to the computer they were on.)

If they're already browsing to your Facebook profile on their phone, what's the workflow? Save the image, then ask a phone app to process the code in the image in the phone's OS and navigate to your domain? On how many phones can you do that? Most QR code processing apps are integrated directly with the phone's camera as the input device.

Your workflow is seriously awkward. No one will do it. You'd benefit from the FireFox plugin that generates URLs from QR codes.

And what's the motivation for making such a plugin? A way to create a link on a webpage that allows images but prevents links.

See how crazy this is?

Those codes are only practical when you're not in a browser.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-07-10 10:11 pm (UTC)
Are users supposed to see XFN me links? No, the XFN part is the machine-readable part. Lacking that, this is also machine readable.

If you want something pretty for end-users, put it in Comic Sans MS in rainbow letters on the image.
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[User Picture]From: dblume
2008-07-10 10:26 pm (UTC)
Heh, thanks for that GeoCities flashback.

I acknowledge that you're ready for when some program automatically does such scanning of web page images for the purposes of verifying account ownership via URL links and back-links.

I can imagine the browser's "identity information" flag going green already. :)


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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-07-10 11:46 pm (UTC)
I acknowledge that you're ready for when some program automatically does such scanning of web page images for the purposes of verifying account ownership via URL links and back-links.

That'd be crazy!

:)
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[User Picture]From: schernyshev
2008-07-11 03:59 am (UTC)
Are you going to implement QR-code reader in Social Graph API? ;)
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From: (Anonymous)
2008-07-10 06:29 pm (UTC)

Spiderable?

The way they smash your image down to a small thumbnail and encode it as a jpeg, it looks like that QR code might be illegible.

Have you tried to decode the image right from the public listing (which would be required for FOAF spidering)?

Cool hack tho :) Hopefully something similar will catch on.
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[User Picture]From: iamo
2008-07-11 12:58 am (UTC)

Re: Spiderable?

Since this is a pretty facebook-specific hack anyways, translating the s to n in the url to make it a full size image is probably not too much of a stretch.
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[User Picture]From: kvance
2008-07-10 06:54 pm (UTC)
Dude, steganographic watermarking.
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From: pathawks.com
2008-07-10 06:55 pm (UTC)

Just... wow

I'm not entirely sure where this sits on the Geeky-Cool spectrum, but more power to ya, man.
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[User Picture]From: taral
2008-07-10 08:13 pm (UTC)
Nifty!

Bah, facebook says "request pending" when I try to add you. :P
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From: astawater
2008-07-10 08:21 pm (UTC)

nice!

I love the interesting hack. It will be entertaining to see the social sites attempt to limit these codes in their images.
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From: ext_103406
2008-07-10 08:48 pm (UTC)
lol that's great! I thought fb reviews changed to profile photos...be sure to update if they reject this photo change. :)
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[User Picture]From: paradroid
2008-07-10 09:10 pm (UTC)

Needs borders

I know it seems a little lame, but the white band around the outside of the QR code is required in the spec to give the client/camera/device as little noise as possible.
Therefore your picture is problematic.
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[User Picture]From: brad
2008-07-10 10:09 pm (UTC)

Re: Needs borders

Ah, good to know, thanks! I'll update it later.
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[User Picture]From: soph
2008-07-14 06:11 pm (UTC)

Re: Needs borders

I was just about to update with that. :) Specifically, QR Code requires a 4-module white border around it.
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[User Picture]From: d4b
2008-07-11 01:07 am (UTC)
Speaking of account ownership and owner pictures, did you know that Friendster sends out a confirmation email when you create an account, but never actually requires the confirmation to occur? So, I found out that this guy was using one of my rarely-used email accounts as his primary email address, and that meant that I was getting a ton of "your friend did..." notifications. I got his account password, found that his style didn't allow for any display text (for some odd reason) and so instead changed his primary default picture to the one shown here, without making any other changes or deletions. (The background is a lighter version of his original picture.)
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