On October 7th, 1952, the first patent for a "Classifying Apparatus and Method" was issued. This eventually developed into the barcodes we know today. I mostly associated barcodes with the UPC barcodes found typically on price tags. I never thought too much about what was beyond those boops and beeps. I was surprised to learn the large number of Linear and 2D barcodes that are used for various reasons. Beyond sales, inventory tracking and shipping/receiving, you can utilize codes to encode URLs, characters, images, emails and more.
A few weeks ago, while reading the Metro News (yes I still read actual newspapers), I came across the 2D barcode called EZcode, found within one of their sections. The EZcode links readers to their mobile site and updated editorials. This review isn't about them, it's about the free barcode reader I picked up from the BlackBerry App World. It's about ScanLife. This application is able to read an EZcode, QR Code and Datamatrix / Semacode. ScanLife may not be the life you want to live, so have a read and see if it's for you.
The ScanLife application is a portion of a solution brought to you by Scanbuy Inc. The IP rights and patents to EZCode are currently owned by Scanbuy. The solution, according to the company, consists of a Code Clearing House, Code Registry, Code Management Platform and, of course, the ScanLife mobile app. According to BlackBerry App World, the mobile app is available for the 81XX series, 82XX series, 83xx series, 88xx series, Curve 8900, Bold 9000 and Tour. The current version is 3.01.
The Main Menu
The UI dresses up the simple barcode reader quite nicely. Your trackball will allow you to navigate the application, as there are no keyboard shortcuts. The concept is pretty simple; ScanLife utilizes your BlackBerry's camera to snap a pic of a 2D barcode. A steady hand and decent lighting are key. When I first tried to scan a barcode, the image was blurry and dark, therefore, ScanLife had issues trying to process the image. Once the shutterbug in me took hold, I was able to snap, scan and search with ease. If scanned successfully, ScanLife will sound a tone, and begin to retrieve information. Sometimes, you'll find that the application will take a long time to process the image, or load the content. Once in a while, it would freeze and I would have to pull the battery. This is a serious issue that I hope will be addressed in the next version.
just shopping around..
link to a site
ScanLife also has an info page that appears after the information has been gathered. This information details the code content and if the code has been registered or not. At this point, you can return to the menu or proceed to the content. The application also includes a history section - the six most recent successful scans will be listed. Previous scans will be lost, unless you add them to your Favourites. If you click on a scan from your history, you will revisit the content, as well as sound another tone. This could get annoying quickly, so I suggest turning off the sound in the settings menu. Other options include: sending off an SMS invite to people you know, a help section and automatic updates. For more barcode fun (not from the application), you can set up a free ScanLife account and create Webcodes, SMS codes, Call codes, Contact Codes, Menu codes and Twitter codes (which posts a pre-filled tweet to a user's Twitter account).
CrackBerry.com - barcode style!
While ScanLife is a decent barcode reader, it's not without fault. Besides the occasional unresponsiveness, I constantly have to delete captured barcodes from my BlackBerry's memory. I do appreciate being able to view my history and maintain a favourites section. Now, I'll definitely be on the lookout for 2D codes when I'm out and about - curious to see what I'll find. You can find ScanLife as a free download at BlackBerry App World. Happy Hunting!
- access to information wherever a supported 2D is found
- view history and favourites
- may become unresponsive
- must capture a clear, crisp image