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QR Codes For Memorials

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the last-message dept.

Idle 127

mikejuk writes "Companies in America, Denmark and the UK are adding QR codes to gravestones that can be used to view online memorials via smartphones. The idea is that these living headstones can include photographs, videos and memories of the dead person from family and friends. Genealogists and historians have always found graveyards a useful resource. If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations."

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127 comments

EEEEEEE (5, Insightful)

Mr. Kinky (2726685) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286783)

If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations

Yes, put obsolete technology there. Why not just put floppies?

You don't need QR codes for that information anymore. Everything is saved anyway. You could just put the persons social security number there and all that information and much more would still be available.

Re:EEEEEEE (4, Insightful)

aNonnyMouseCowered (2693969) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286907)

The QR codes would only work as advertised if the "cloud" part of the system is still intact. Otherwise you'd have just some fancy hieroglyphics for future archaelogists to decipher. If this is the case, why not just carve out the human readable URL of the poor dude's FB/Twitter/G+ page.

Re:EEEEEEE (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288643)

The QR codes would only work as advertised if the "cloud" part of the system is still intact.

Not true. A QR code can contain a lot more than just a link. It could contain the deceased's name, identifying info, and links to more than one URL. Also, "the cloud" as it exists could disappear, and the QR code code be relinked to something else.

Otherwise you'd have just some fancy hieroglyphics for future archaelogists to decipher.

QR codes are not that difficult to decipher, even if you were starting from scratch. The are designed to provide info, not hide it. But since the specs [wikipedia.org] are publicly available and widely disseminated, I don't think anyone will be starting from scratch.

If this is the case, why not just carve out the human readable URL of the poor dude's FB/Twitter/G+ page.

Because an individual URL is far more likely to not work in the future, provides far less information, and is less convenient to access since it has to be typed in rather than just pointing a camera at it.

Re:EEEEEEE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41289145)

Assuming one does not keep up the webpage, and domain, after one dies, the QR code might not do much good for long.

Re:EEEEEEE (4, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287041)

I have one word for those that think this would be a good idea....Geocities? Anybody remember Geocities? people had their whole lives on those pages and guess what? Went tits up and bye bye all that work. Of course most people aren't web designers so it was a brightly colored nightmare, but hey, some people like gaudy crap.

For these to work you have to have a "permanent cloud", we're talking centuries permanent, except the cloud is the biggest "her today, gone this afternoon" medium we have. if you want to do something like this what we need is the data embedded in the stone itself, hell putting a fricking flash stick in the rock would be a better idea than this, at least if you have it built in the rock, with it read only, it should last for decades if the person isn't rock star popular.

TLDR? Stupid idea because it depends on something that never lasts.

Re:EEEEEEE (2)

Gadget_Guy (627405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287199)

I have one word for those that think this would be a good idea....Geocities?

From the point of view of the business providing the website, it is a good idea. You can take the money and run because your customers are all dead!

It is a pity that some cybersquatter has managed to nab deathmaskbook.com [deathmaskbook.com], because that would be the ideal domain name for the job.

Gadget_Guy likes this post from beyond the grave.

Re:EEEEEEE (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288823)

I have one word for those that think this would be a good idea....Geocities?

Poor analogy. Geocities was one company. QR codes are an international standard.

except the cloud is the biggest "here today, gone this afternoon" medium we have.

Are you serious? Post some nude pictures of your daughter, and let us know how ephemeral "the cloud" is. Her picture will probably still be available long after your gravestone has crumbled into dust. Individual sites may come and go, but "the cloud" as a whole will live on. The cloud is the most permanent and robust source of information that humanity has ever devised.

Re:EEEEEEE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41289207)

I had my web pages up on AOL's free pages. Their pages lasted slightly longer than Geocities' ones did.

Re:EEEEEEE (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287097)

If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations

Yes, put obsolete technology there. Why not just put floppies?

You don't need QR codes for that information anymore. Everything is saved anyway. You could just put the persons social security number there and all that information and much more would still be available.

In the future, letters and numbers could be obsolete, so how is a QR code any different?

Re:EEEEEEE (1)

Zcar (756484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287751)

QR codes have a history of almost 2 decades, mostly for the industrial market. Its widespread popularity came about only in the last few years.

Letters and numbers have been in use for millenia.

QR codes are pretty new on the scene for long term use.

The other side to it is, you're linking that QR code to a URL. Who's to say that will still be valid in even 5 years?

Re:EEEEEEE (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287965)

Mourning the loss of loved ones has been around for thousands of years without ANY technology needed.

Really, this is just fucking sick. Leave technology at the office and the entertainment system, and live like a fucking human being the rest of the time.

Re:EEEEEEE (1)

Zcar (756484) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288917)

Technically, graves are a technology. Embalming is a technology, as is cremation. Gravemarkers are a technology. Caskets are a technology. And so forth. Pretty much everything in a funeral is a technology including having a funeral in the first place. They've just been around so long we don't think of them as "technology".

Re:EEEEEEE (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288951)

Mourning the loss of loved ones has been around for thousands of years without ANY technology needed.

And 99.99% of those loved ones are completely forgotten.

I have a copy of my grandmother's bible that her grandmother gave to her. It is more than a century old. There is a copy of our family tree drawn on the back flap that goes back eight generations. Except for the first three generations, I know nothing about these people other than their names. I would love to know something about their life, what they were like, what was important to them. After those eight generations, I don't even know the names.

Re:EEEEEEE (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287761)

Actually, it would be *our* numbering and lettering systems would be obsolete. There would be evolutions of it, and other systems. With a little luck, someone would be able to translate it.

    Most people can't translate a QR code. Even if they did, what will it contain?

http://www.iseedeadpeople.com/grave.cfm?id=19582921985 [iseedeadpeople.com]
[Warning: that was for illustrative purposes. The domain is actually a spammy ad page]

    That would be ... well ... completely useless.

    In 10 years, the site is rewritten in another programming language. In 100 years current format URLs are obsolete. In 1000 years, it's a curiosity of antiquity. In 10,000 years, having similar marks would probably look like common association of some ancient group. If it does get widespread adoption, it would probably be viewed as a mark of the working class, or maybe the slave class. If it has little adoption, it may be considered to mark of a cult, the rich or the royalty. But why would the royals be buried with the commoners?

    I seem to remember something about another project, where they wanted to put USB drives on tomb stones. That's not a long-term solution. It's barely a short term one. As someone else said, put a box of floppies there. That'll last forever. I think I have a floppy drive in the storage room, by the old laserdisc and betamax players. Or did I throw those out with the AT keyboards?

Companies don't live forever. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286817)

If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations

Or not, if these companies go out of business, which is extremely likely to happen in the next few decades or centuries.

If you want to add additional data, encode it somehow and engrave it on the stone itself. And put an additional tablet in each graveyard explaining the encoding.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286831)

Have the QR code be a link to your own website. Have a trust handle the hosting costs and provider.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287155)

The point of headstones isn't to have information available for a few months or years, it's to have information available for centuries . The internet hasn't been around for very long compared to the headstones being used by Genealogists and historians, and there's no guarantee that it won't change completely in the next 20 years in such a way as to be unrecognizable. Carving a URL in stone for future historians a hundred years from now is as pointless as having the phone company list your address as "I'm currently standing in front of the checkout at the grocery store" in the phone book.
For the record, here is a list of things that can go wrong with your plan of using private hosting and having a trust handle the hosting costs:
  1. Internet addressing method changes completely in 20+ years, and memorial site is no longer accessible because nobody uses http://.../ [...] for anything, and there aren't any servers running that protocol anymore.
  2. Civilization collapses and internet infrastructure is gone, leaving your QR code pointless even if people are able to figure out how to decipher it when civilization eventually recovers.
  3. Provider experiences catastrophic systems failure, all sites hosted (including your memorial) are lost.
  4. Trust runs out of money due to bad investments or rapidly increasing costs, and provider shuts down site due to lack of payment.
  5. QR codes fall out of popularity, as something else becomes popular instead (which then also falls out of popularity, and is replaced by yet another thing), scanning software becomes unavailable, and people wonder why grave markers from 100 years ago all have that weird staticy-looking square on them. Historians hypothesize that it was some kind of tribal identification symbol. Also, they regret that there's no actual useful information about the people buried there.

Like the GP said, you can include the bio in the QR code. Again though, this seems pointless when you can use the same space to just carve the bio in human readable characters if you want it included at all. If you're totally opposed to normal people being able to read it just by looking at the stone with their eyes, have it done in Klingon or something.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287311)

The point of headstones isn't to have information available for a few months or years, it's to have information available for centuries.

Not really, the point of headstones is to reassure the insecure living that when they are gone they won't be forgotten. Except that people do forget, until they are getting old and insecure and they like to go see the gravestones of all those people who died many years ago and reassure themselves that they won't be forgotten. It just so happens that people in recent years have found this to be a useful resource when researching their family history.

In years past, it was customary to be buried in the churchyard then, after a few (5-10) years when the flesh had rotted away, be dug up and have any remaining bones stored at the charnel house. There was no space in the burial ground for everybody to have a space for hundreds of years..

Re:Companies don't live forever. (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286857)

QR codes can store more data than just a website address. In addition to a URL, name, dates, and a brief biography are reasonable things to include in a large QR code. Future readers could get the website if it's still around (or archived somewhere, assuming the URL follows a suitable format), but even if that's unavailable they could still get more information than just a name.

The problem here is that with more data included, the code's footprint will necessarily increase, or its details will get smaller. One's ugly, and the other's more fragile.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287235)

QR codes can store more data than just a website address. In addition to a URL, name, dates, and a brief biography are reasonable things to include in a large QR code. Future readers could get the website if it's still around (or archived somewhere, assuming the URL follows a suitable format), but even if that's unavailable they could still get more information than just a name.

The problem here is that with more data included, the code's footprint will necessarily increase, or its details will get smaller. One's ugly, and the other's more fragile.

The capacity of a QR code sounded a little limiting to hold any kind of meaningful biography (4296 ASCII characters), but after looking around at some obituaries they seem to be mostly around 1200 characters long, the longest I could find in a brief search was only 3100 characters long.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287715)

To give you an idea of how much text that is, 4K is also the rule-of-thumb for the number of characters in a page of text.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

azadrozny (576352) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288209)

When I first read the headline, I thought they were encoding an obituary of some kind, rather than just a web link. As other posters have pointed out, real data would likely stand the test of time, rather than a link to a server that may not exist in 5 years, let alone 500. This all got me thinking though, a QR code is nice, but I have seen many headstones with faded/eroded text, and some were only a 150 years old. For how long is the engraved granite or etched metal going to be readable? Should this info also be buried with the body, or just under the headstone?

QR ECC levels (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288779)

a QR code is nice, but I have seen many headstones with faded/eroded text, and some were only a 150 years old. For how long is the engraved granite or etched metal going to be readable?

Most marketing uses of QR codes use "level L" or "level M" error correction. Codes using these ECC levels can be read with 93% or 85% of the symbol intact respectively. But QR can also be configured with "level Q", such that the message can be reconstructed from 75% of the symbol. This results in a larger symbol (and thus smaller squares).

Should this info also be buried with the body, or just under the headstone?

Both. Engrave another copy of the symbol and bury it with the body.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

nschubach (922175) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287909)

But could you imagine coming across a QR code as a historian and trying to figure out what it means?

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288111)

As an appropriately-trained historian I'd record it according to the available technology of the day (probably at least a handheld 3D laser scanner, by the time QR codes are forgotten) and archive it. Elsewhere, another historian will find a specification for a QR code reader, and eventually a third historian will find both in some archives and make the connection, then some overworked grad student (or the future equivalent of slave labor) will actually write the decoder, and some other historian will take the credit for the discovery.

Modern archaeologists couldn't read hieroglyphs [wikipedia.org] when they were found, either.

The more Rosetta stones, the better (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288861)

Elsewhere, another historian will find a specification for a QR code reader, and eventually a third historian will find both in some archives and make the connection

And to make this even easier, engrave a copy of this spec to store in each cemetery where this system is used.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (3, Informative)

pnot (96038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288037)

QR codes can store more data than just a website address. In addition to a URL, name, dates, and a brief biography are reasonable things to include in a large QR code.

But at that point you may as well write the brief biography in English, and save your descendants from having to figure out how to read a QR code.

If our forebears had done this a hundred years ago, great-great-grandad's brief biography would be encoded on a bronze punch-card in an encoding nobody can find the documentation for. Text, on the other hand, has been working just fine for millenia.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288293)

QR codes are the right tool for the job. Whether the job itself needs doing is a different matter entirely.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

pnot (96038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288549)

QR codes are the right tool for the job. Whether the job itself needs doing is a different matter entirely.

Well, that depends what you think "the job" is. If it's "letting little Suzie use her iphone to retrieve some kind of posthumous Facebook page for her late grandma, for the next five years or so", then yes.

If it's any kind of long-term storage, then no. If it's encoding an actual potted biography rather than a URL, then absolutely no. We have an excellent encoding for that already; it's called the alphabet.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41289131)

If our forebears had done this a hundred years ago, great-great-grandad's brief biography would be encoded on a bronze punch-card in an encoding nobody can find the documentation for. Text, on the other hand, has been working just fine for millenia.

So encode in text instead of a zip file of a rar file of a par2 archive of a DRMed video codec.

Amusingly enough as a "retrocomputing enthusiast" I can read paper tape and punch cards using Mark I Eyeball pretty well. I have to look up online at the numerous wikis and pdf documentation collections to remember exactly how it works for each media and device, but its no great challenge to reverse engineer given some raw material. If you think what amounts to the most trivial possible substitution code imaginable will utterly stump future generations of cryptographers then you must have an extremely "idiocracy" view of the future.

Something like a UPC code complete with checksum verification isn't too hard to do in your head and/or reverse engineer. Been there done that. That's life when you're bored and working retail.

A QR code might be a bit of a challenge. URLs would suck to reverse engineer, if you'd never seen a URL, but a text QR code of my long and distinguished /. posting history would be pretty easy to figure out since its merely substandard english language prose.

You have to realize the military cryptographers and DRM hackers are pretty good at pulling digital information outta sources when the source tries their best to stop them... given a dataset where no one is trying to stop them, your average cryptographer is just going to laugh at how easy it is. Why, paper tape and punch cards are just simple substitution ciphers, given enough english language prose, a simple frequency analysis of glyphs will crack it wide open, assuming you don't notice one of the obvious binary encodings is in binary order alphabetically (little endian vs big endian)

Re:Companies don't live forever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286867)

Or not, if these companies go out of business, which is extremely likely to happen in the next few years or centuries.

FTFY

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

sam1am (753369) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287125)

Or not, if these companies go out of business, which is extremely likely to happen in the next few decades or centuries.

or years. or months.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

localman57 (1340533) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287137)

If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations

Or not, if these companies go out of business, which is extremely likely to happen in the next few decades or centuries.

If you want to add additional data, encode it somehow and engrave it on the stone itself. And put an additional tablet in each graveyard explaining the encoding.

Tombstones are horribly expensive. At present, i don't think the idea of being able to engrave a significant amount of data into the stone itself is practical.

It seems to me that you might be better off with a different solution. An RFID style passive tag that is actually part of the coffin might be good. Currently availbe technology would allow you to encode a reasonable amount of data including a low-res photo. It would also be useful in cases where the coffin floated to the top in a flood and got moved, or things like that.

If you're dead set on putting a link on the tombstone, I'd recommend a 128 bit GUID, along with some sort of hash of the data it points to. When you die, you submit a zip file of crap you want to a a torrent tracker run by the geneaology nuts. the GUID gives you something to search for. The hash lets you know it is what the deceased intended, and not some modified version. I hate the cloud as much as the next guy, but I trust that system more than any single provider to still have the data in 100 years.

Re:Companies don't live forever. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287211)

The hash lets you know it is what the deceased intended, and not some modified version. I hate the cloud as much as the next guy, but I trust that system more than any single provider to still have the data in 100 years.

Do you really think the hash will still be secure in 100 years?

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

Imagix (695350) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287513)

An RFID style passive tag that is actually part of the coffin might be good.

Hmm... probably not the coffin. That's under about 6 ft of dirt and enclosed in a cement box. RFID is pretty weak....

Re:Companies don't live forever. (1)

vlm (69642) | about a year and a half ago | (#41289237)

Tombstones are horribly expensive. At present, i don't think the idea of being able to engrave a significant amount of data into the stone itself is practical.

Don't confuse the "death industry" which sucks as much money as possible out of grieving people with technological limitations and actual economic issues.

Ask a machinist how much a substandard (by machinist standards, aka less smooth than a front surface mirror, etc) granite surface plate would cost, or perhaps a home center big box store how much the cutout for the sink in a granite counter top costs. Then talk to some engravers. Be careful because they also tend to price aspirationally, so if a bridesmaids gift should cost $50 guess how much the engraved whatever will be priced at... of course the cost to engrave is much less.

Tombstone's always going to be priced at $1000 because thats the most the grieving family can afford to pay, but there's so much profit built in that the cost to create that tombstone is pretty much a rounding error of the price charged. So it'll cost $10 of QR code engraving to make that $1000 tombstone instead of $5 now. Eh.

QR codes != information (0)

OleMoudi (624829) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286825)

"If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations."

Not necessarily. QR codes are only links to other resources, they can't hold useful information by themselves. The availability of the information depends on the provider of the content they refer to.

Re:QR codes != information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286859)

>QR codes are only links to other resources
No they're not. Sure they can hold links, but they are primarily designed to hold text and numbers.
I'm not sure that it may "tell more to the future generations" thought.

Re:QR codes != information (3, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286885)

Wrong [wikipedia.org]. QR codes can store over 2KB of arbitrary binary data.

Re:QR codes != information (2)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287187)

I don't think the version 40 QR code is going to be feasible in granite. The version 4 seems the most likely to survive and it's only 50 characters.

Re:QR codes != information (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287319)

Printed on the back side of the stone as a 6" square, the version 40 code has large enough pixels that a deep engraving could survive a century or two.

Taking Bets! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288269)

Here's your chance to get rich!

I'll bet you that in ten years, not two centuries, ten years almost no one will remember what a QR code is and it will be extremely difficult, nigh on impossible, to find a means of decoding one.

Ever heard of a Cue Cat? There is still lots of information available about it and plenty of software. So decoding should be easy. Right?

So, tell us what the meaning of this is [cuecat.com]. Where did it point? What did it represent?

My wager is that the ability to decode QR codes will be as easy in ten years as the Cue code is now.

Re:QR codes != information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41289269)

Then it wouldn't last as long as the older headstone information in a cemetery in my town. There's some about 250 years old.

Future generations? (4, Insightful)

pnot (96038) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286827)

If the QR idea takes hold memorials will be able to tell much more to future generations.

Uh huh. How many future generations? For how long are QR codes going to be a popular format, and for how long are these companies going to be around?

Re:Future generations? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286979)

QR codes may not be popular for long, but they are easy enough to build a program to read. Do you really think future humans will be carrying around weaker computers than we are now?

The company being around is not that important considering you can store ~2KB in a QR code.

Re:Future generations? (5, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287145)

QR codes may not be popular for long, but they are easy enough to build a program to read. Do you really think future humans will be carrying around weaker computers than we are now?

The company being around is not that important considering you can store ~2KB in a QR code.

Wonderful. Future humans with their amazingly powerful computers will be able to decipher such amazing messages as "http://www.qr-memories.co.uk/memorials4less/115223/b11235/4.gif".

Through sufficiently advanced technology, future generations may eventually use that message to discover that their great uncle Leon's favourite number was 404.

Re:Future generations? (1)

IcyHando'Death (239387) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287523)

Sorry man, my mod points expired this morning, or it bump this. Yeah, carving a link into stone seems like the height of absurdity given the transient nature of the web. "404 not found" is likely to be of less use to genealogists and historians than the summary seems to suggest.

Re:Future generations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288921)

Larger QR codes can store a large amount of information, they were after all originally used for part identification, they are the same concept as bar codes but in 2d instead of 1d. Being able to take a quick picture of one with a low quality cell phone camera is just a convenient way to enter urls. Your entire message could fit inside of a QR code. The advantage of the QR code is that it can have error correction so that if a large portion were no longer readable the error correction could fix it (try covering the corner of a QR code sometime, it still works)

Re:Future generations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287207)

Pick out a random person on the street, and ask them to write a program to translate QR codes. The chances of them actually being able to do so are roughly equal to the chances of them calling for the police. Also, it doesn't matter if they're carrying around weaker computers, or digital watches with more computing power than all of the computers currently on earth, if they don't have (or want to write) a program to translate it, and more significantly, if the company providing this "service" no longer exists.

Re:Future generations? (4, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287275)

More to the point, how long are QR codes on a tombstone going to be readable?

When I visited England, I visited several churches and graveyards. Some of them were barely legible, after sitting out in the rain (and acid rain) for centuries. I know QR codes have a lot of error correction on them, but are they going to be readable after 1cm of stone has eroded away?

Re:Future generations? (1)

GreatRedShark (880833) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288261)

Exactly. I wonder what an archaeologist will think of the QR codes when they dig up one of these headstones in a few thousand years?
The text might still be comprehensible to some scholars, but I doubt the website backing the QR codes will still be live.

Re:Future generations? (1)

Bigby (659157) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288493)

It would be far easier and less costly to just use GPS and OCR on the tombstone to find a best match. Or present a list based on GPS.

But let's spend a bunch of money we don't need to spend...

QR code ubiquity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286841)

Is anyone else bothered by the QR code 'takeover' of some businesses' aesthetic senses? I've seen local restaurants with elegant signage (think black background, flowing cursive font, mature and understated design overall) RUINED by prominent QR codes.

Who thinks this is a good idea when someone could just put a small text URL, or god forbid, rely on people using the business' name in a search instead splashing techno-shit all over attractive visual elements?

Re:QR code ubiquity (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286913)

Thanks to the error correction algorithms and necessarily-lenient recognition, QR codes can be colorful, stylized, and smoothly integrated into most graphic designs.

Of course, the disconnect between nerds who know this and the artists who make the signs means we'll be stuck with ugly QR codes for a while.

Re:QR code ubiquity (1)

Inda (580031) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287389)

There are plenty of people with their faces poorly encoded into QR codes. I've seen many on people's avatars. There's even a website that does this for you. I couldn't get mine to be recognisable though :(

I've also seen the BBC characters visible on a QR code, so it can be done.

Re:QR code ubiquity (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286989)

RUINED?

A poster with a QR code ruins the look?

White people problems.

+5 Monday Morning (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286853)

Looks like I chose the wrong week to try and avoid stupidity.

This is the stupidest idea I've heard since Friday. I must be reading Slashdot again.

R.I.P (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286861)

Thus, behold, all that will be on my tombstone
8=======D ~~~~ ( . )( . )

Re:R.I.P (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286915)

It will fit in that 2k that a QR code holds... You're golden!

What will future generations really see? (4, Funny)

ljhiller (40044) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286899)

Get the best deals on:
Cars
Mortgages
Viagra
This website www . eternalmemories . com is available. (C) 2015 Godaddy.com

Nothing is so impermanent as an online web service.

They will see: Goatse! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287087)

I can see the look on grandma's face now when she pulls up uncle Henry's web page and gets goatse instead.

The problem with QR codes is you can't see where they go. I'm waiting for someone to start spreading Goatse QR codes around their city to catch unsuspecting people by surprise.

Re:What will future generations really see? (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287107)

Or, how long before someone slaps on a new QR code for a Rickroll.

Good Thing / Bad Thing (1)

X!0mbarg (470366) | about a year and a half ago | (#41286905)

On the Plus side, it'll save space in crowded cemeteries, as they won't need so much space to list the Dearly Departed. Particularly, in mausoleums, and content can be changed and updated as needed without costly stone replacements.

The bad news is, a memorial wall of nondescript QR codes will mean the non-technologically equipped will see nothing more than a bewildering array of QRs, and can't pinpoint their loved ones name.

Even worse: the dearly departed can have their web-ghost hacked by the unscrupulous, and serve up viruses and/or mal-ware, or simply bombard the grieving family member(s) with "inappropriate content" such as Ads (both commercial and less-than friendly)

Scanning a Memorial Wall could result in a cacophony of Ads in poor taste, Vogon-grade poetry, and sex scenes drowning out the messages of the departed.

And THEN, there will be Lawsuits!

Re:Good Thing / Bad Thing (1)

Bieeanda (961632) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287337)

Stone replacements? Saving space? You really have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

base64 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41286917)

So why not just put the whole information IN the gravestone itself as a bunch of base64-encoded images? ...or just plain text?. There are some QR formats that allow such things, no need to host the damn thing on the interwebs anyway. Anything you'd want in 1264 characters or less (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code#Design)

In any case, I see this as a very short-lived experiment. Why don't they just carve a portrait of the person and a short bio on the back of the stone and let *them* figure it out after N-generations? I mean, besides time and costs...oh, and skill...or maybe that robotic arm that carves people up...in the stones I mean.

Have some friggin' common sense FFS.

RFID (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287029)

Might as well slap an RFID tag on while you're at it. Or an E-Ink display (solar powered, natch).

Seriously. Who's wandering around cemeteries going "Gee, if I only had detailed biographical information on this random dead dude?" I thought the accepted practice was to visit dead people you knew about.

Re:RFID (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287095)

What, never spent hours in graveyards making up stories about the lives of the people buried there? I guess you've never dated a goth girl.

And it would be kind of neat to know the name and bio of the woman on whose grave we fucked.

Re:RFID (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287271)

I think you would have had a lot less fun if you had watched clips of her and her cats try on funny hats.

Re:RFID (1)

gman003 (1693318) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287309)

Also, looking for stupid and/or awesome names. Eg. a certain "Manley Powers", died in the 16th century IIRC.

How about we just get rid of cemeteries? (1)

hsmith (818216) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287059)

They are absolute wastes of land. You have acres of land tied up around here for 100+ year old graves that absolutely no one ever visits.

Grave sites are only for the living who just lost someone, which I understand. But, how often are they visited by those who have had someone pass?

Re:How about we just get rid of cemeteries? (0)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287247)

First I get to take over your land because I don't think you deserve it.

Then you get to take over all the graveyards.

Re:How about we just get rid of cemeteries? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287463)

I agree. Not only that, but it's really best to just "let go" and not provide the living with a compelling reason to go back to a site to grieve yet again. As strange as it sounds, I find that people have an easier time with an urn of ashes setting on a shelf in the home someplace. It's always there, and yet people don't grieve as much. Or so that's always been my impression.

Re:How about we just get rid of cemeteries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287745)

They are absolute wastes of land. You have acres of land tied up around here for 100+ year old graves that absolutely no one ever visits.
Grave sites are only for the living who just lost someone, which I understand. But, how often are they visited by those who have had someone pass?

How much are you willing to sell grandma's grave for? You don't want it.

QR code horizon (1)

jgotts (2785) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287363)

QR codes are extremely unlikely to persist any longer than ten years. If you've programmed a point-of-sale system like me you probably know that there are more coding schemes for barcodes than you can shake a stick at. QR codes are just the current encoding fad that will soon be replaced by something better.

Seriously? (1)

Inda (580031) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287405)

After I'm gone you want to place a QR code on my gravestone?

Over my dead body.

Problems with diffrent religions ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287659)

I guess the good folk of that company did not read the short story "thecemetery.com"

http://www.heise.de/tp/magazin/lit/36707/1.html (german)

Guess what would happen if a Virtual Gravesite from Religion A is on the same harddrive as Religion B, and Religion A does not like B very much.

Think again :)

QR codes store information.. (2)

xtal (49134) | about a year and a half ago | (#41287669)

A referral to an online service is pretty stupid for a long-term idea. Nobody will care in 100 years.

What IS neat is QR codes can store information directly, in a standard format, that can be manually decoded BY HAND if you have to. This is useful for "the long haul". Most people are not aware there are different sizes of QR codes, and the standard encoding can hold a kilobyte or so of information.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code [wikipedia.org]

Etching the QR code on the stone is not ideal. If I wanted it to last very long time, I'd look at using a gold or platinum protective film (perferably coated as to not look valuable) with the QR code lithographically etched onto an aluminum plate, or something along those lines.

A more interesting idea would be the design of a long-life semiconductor that could flash out a message in morse code. I think it'd be feasible to design something that would remain functional for 100 years or more with current technology. Maybe more with descretes, and if you didn't want to have an onboard power source like a small solar cell / gold ultracapacitor.

For really long term, it has to be decodable by hand or with the information on the device.

Mortality is a bitch.

Why not use an existing company? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41287853)

You know, the family members that are most likely to do something like this would be the same group who enjoy geneology anyway. There IS a company for that on the net... ancestory.com
If ANY company will survive for generations to come it would be them... until google buys them. ;)
seriously, they have a huge userbase that pays them month after month. Data storage is cheap enough, especially for a well established company. And connecting people with their family history IS their business.

pointless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288187)

I don't need this, I've already arranged for my myspace page address to be engraved on my headstone.

Maintenance fees? (1)

dpilot (134227) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288253)

This won't come for free. There are many parties involved in a funeral, they're all businesses to some extent or another, and they all have they're hand out, looking to meet their revenue needs. Since TFA talks about QR codes on headstones, this sounds localized to the cemetery/mausoleum. They have physical control, so they would be the managing party, even if they contracted the job out.

So the costs of this idea are a web server setup, possibly wireless access, etc. I would guess that they would be run on a "trust fund" kind of basis. Pay a fee at internment, and the interest pays for ongoing maintenance. I would imagine that pay-by-year would last until someone had a tight year, the a few years later someone else would ask/pay to resume service, hope the data still existed, and all of that other messy stuff.

Next complication, assuming it's contracted out, would the cemetery/mausoleum management insist on owning the data, even as they're contracting out pretty much the entire project? Otherwise, what happens to the data when either the IT contractor goes under, the relationship goes sour, or whatever?

Here lies ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288373)

... The Cloud. Once, we trusted it as the repository of our knowledge and history. But it, and its safekeeping are no longer with us.

Lovingly scratched on a rock, by the light of a tallow candle.

"Photographs, videos, and memories"? (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288629)

A QR code can hold less than 3 kilobytes. You might be able to squeeze a few pages of text, but anything more data-intensive than that, you'll have to put in a URL or some such that points to it. And how long will that be good?

Geo Memorial mashup with Maps or Google Glass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41288905)

Imagine using a GPS to get memorial information, or having a layer on Google Maps or a layer on Google Glass that includes memorial information. We could call it GeoMemorial. Allow anyone, anywhere, to add geomemorial info to a specific location - a home, an accident site, etc.

Someday, maybe people will drive/cycle/walk around town with their Google Glass memorial layer enabled, and they'll see what people have tagged at random locations. Attach ads to the memorials, and profit.

Imagine buying/renting a house, and finding out that the ghosts of the past will never die because of GeoMemorial(s) that are attached to it, in the cloud, out of your control.

I've been looking into this. (1)

Dee Ann_1 (1731324) | about a year and a half ago | (#41288935)

My mom recently passed away and I had seen a news clip somewhere about this.
I wanted (and still want to) do this for her, for my dad when his time comes and for some of my other relatives that have long since passed away but are all but forgotten now except by the few remaining survivors. I would love to do something to honor and respect their memories and their pasts.

So I looked at the website that offers the QR service for memorials, lifemarker.com

This was the biggest question I had and I found the answer I expected.

Q: How long will the LifeMarkerTM web archive be maintained?
A: Web archive page(s) that comply with the terms and conditions of LifeMarkerTM, LLC will be maintained for as long as the company is in business.

Well we all know how long companies stay in business. Not very long.
So what I'm doing now is trying to find a way to put something online that will stay online for 100 years (or as long as the internet is alive).

Another thing about the company, the sample they exhibit didn't really impress me. So it's time to roll my own.

I'm thinking buy a domain and hosting and put up any content you want. Make sure that archive.org crawls it. Then generate a QR code for the archive.org copy of your content. You can generate your own QR code easily. Then find someone that can do ceramics and have it put onto a ceramic tile. Lots of people do ceramics as a hobby. Find a way to attach it to the headstone that will never turn loose. There must be a ~permanent~ adhesive.

I'm sure this isn't the best way to do it but it's just something I pulled out of thin air. I need to do a lot more research on it but I honestly have little faith in that lifemarker company being around for long, much less any other company.

think bigger (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41289127)

Why not put an actual PDF417 or something that can hold a couple kb of compressed data and actually write an article/eulogy/obituary?

QR code on Elvis grave ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41289275)

If I could license or just tag it in the night ... QR code on Elvis grave ...
Nice place for link whoring

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