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MUOIf you frequently browse the web for cool mobile apps or other ways to improve your phone, you will have run into the issue where you need to navigate to a link on your phone. Rather than hand type a ridiculously long URL in, you think of alternate ways to get content from your PC straight to your handheld seamlessly.

Would you generate a TinyUrl for it and type that in on your phone? Forget about it and move on? Not this time.  This time, you’ve got I-Nigma – free software from 3GVision that may become one of your best friends in situations like these.

I-Nigma exists to manage data matrix codes for almost any model of phone with a camera. Take a second and check the compatible devices list to make sure that this article is relevant to you.

Features

  • Flawlessly read QR and Data Matrix codes with your cell phone
  • Transcribe links, SMS messages, contact details, geo-data, phone numbers, email, and more!
  • Extremely speedy and efficient
  • The process is amazingly accurate
  • Endless possibilities available (see below ideas)
  • No internet is required

What Is A QR (Data Matrix) Code?

Jimmy wrote an article on QR Codes What Are QR Codes? Digitize Your World & Back Again What Are QR Codes? Digitize Your World & Back Again Read More last year.  But here’s a quick summary. QR stands for Quick Response – a two dimensional bar code structure designed by a Japanese company called Denso-Wave in 1994.  Originally used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, Quick Response codes have since become a handy resource for cell phone users that want to quickly transfer text information from a computer (or other information resource) to  a mobile device. They are most frequently used in Japan, but I have seen them on magazines and bulletin boards in the United States before (although I had no clue what they were).


The following diagram explains the main aspects of a QR code block and how it is organized. An example of a live QR code tag is the picture at the top of this article (scan it with your phone and see what pops up!). If you really want to know all about QR data matrix codes and how they work, feel free to check out this other article.

QR_diagram

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Starting Off With I-Nigma

First, visit this page and follow the instructions to download I-Nigma to your mobile device. As long as your device (doesn’t even have to be a phone) has a camera, it’s most likely capable of running I-Nigma.

Next, you’ll want to go find or generate some QR or Data Matrix codes. I personally use “Mobile Barcodes” for generating mine – it has a great layout and a lot of options. Select a type of QR code to generate, then fill in the required fields and click “submit“.

QR_write

The program will output the encoded image according to the data you provide. Now it’s time to scan your image with your phone. Save it, print it, or leave it on your screen for the next step.

Finally, open up I-Nigma on your device, and it should immediately go to the capture screen. Hold it up about 6-10 inches from the QR Code you just generated, and let it scan – it should take about a half second at most. When it scans, I-Nigma will prompt you for an action according to the content it interprets. If it is an SMS, you will have the option to send it, a link will open the default browser, etc.

i-nigma-barcode-readerBe sure to check out the main menu of the application. It allows you to check out past scans, share I-Nigma with others, and mark “favorite” scans as well. Overall it’s an excellent, finger-friendly app that you’ll have no trouble getting used to.

Quick note: Since I-Nigma works across several platforms, the look and feel can change for different devices. In general, from what I’ve seen, this will cause no real confusion.

Also, I’ve seen some comments about I-Nigma using the unpopular Internet Explorer to visit links. To fix this issue, set Opera or Skyfire Add Power To Mobile Browsing with Skyfire Browser Add Power To Mobile Browsing with Skyfire Browser Read More (whatever you use) as your default internet browser, and restart I-Nigma.

Ways To Use I-Nigma & QR Codes

  • If you’re like my parents, you store your login credentials on sticky notes all over the wall behind your desk. Since this isn’t the most secure of methods, you may consider storing login credentials on a small block of QR code and labeling it “Wachovia” or something to that effect. To me, this seems like a better idea than placing your entire financial well-being on the off-chance that your son doesn’t care about having easy access to all of your money. With this new method, if you forget your password, just scan the QR code.
  • I have a touchscreen phone–which makes texting a serious pain. If you have a relatively long message to type out, and don’t feel like tapping the entire thing out with your thumb, just pop open your favorite QR generator and start typing.
  • Do you frequently find good links to visit on your phone? Get Mobile Barcoder, an awesome Firefox Extension that generates a QR code for each web page you visit. Now getting a QR link is as easy as hovering over the add-on, and scanning the image it generates with your phone.
  • Advertise. Believe it or not, QR codes are eye catching. They’re also as addictive as cigarettes for phone users – once you start scanning you just can’t stop. Be creative with this one and see what happens.

To be honest, I think QR and Data Matrix codes are very interesting innovations. I know of alternatives like Microsoft Tag (which requires an internet connection), but have always found QR gets the job done just fine.

Do you have a better solution to the common problem of computer-to-mobile content? Feel free to share your ideas here and let the rest of us know. Also, I know I-Nigma isn’t the only QR reader out there – let me know what you use so I can check it out!

  1. Edwin
    January 15, 2010 at 3:19 am

    My Japanese-imported phone will read it natively :)

  2. Altzan
    November 30, 2009 at 8:40 am

    My phone is annoying - I got a code reader for it, but my phone denies the application access to the phone's memory, so it can't save the picture after I snap a pic of the code.
    This problem is around for other apps too, for instance I can't use a bluetooth file manager app on my phone because the phone denies it access to bluetooth.
    And when i go to the settings that determine what the apps can access, the options are greyed out so I cannot change the settings.
    Anyone know how to get around this?

    • pbozzay
      December 1, 2009 at 4:48 pm

      What kind of phone do you have?

    • Altzan
      December 2, 2009 at 9:20 am

      It's a Nokia 6085.

  3. Ian Foster
    November 28, 2009 at 8:10 am

    Paul, I have a complete list of QR code readers that covers most phones at http://www.qrme.co.uk/qr-code-resources/qr-code-readers.html

    Regards
    Ian

  4. Mark O'Neill
    November 27, 2009 at 7:31 am

    I have been using QR Codes for a while on my website. For making them, I use QR-Code Generator and to read them on my Android phone, I use the app Barcode Scanner which you can find in the Android Market.

    I am addicted to scanning these codes!

  5. Jack Cola
    November 27, 2009 at 7:10 am

    This is very usful. I have seen in the real estate magazines these codes, you scan it with your mobile, a URL appears, and gives you information and pictures about the property.

    It is quick and easy.

    Although I couldnt get the email to work on Mobile Barcode site. My Nokia E71 would not use the details to make a ready email or sms to send

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