QR code readers for your iPhone

QR Code, a two-dimensional bar code storing addresses and URLs, is a widely used technology in Japan and elsewhere that can be scanned with camera phones equipped with the appropriate reader.

It's likely to gain ground quickly in the U.S. now that Google has sent out a QR code to 100,000 of the most popular companies in its Local Business Center. When those companies display the QR code, customers can use code-scanning applications on their iPhones and other devices to retrieve the firm's individual Google listing.

The only problem is, many of those QR code-reading apps for the iPhone just don't do a good job. That prompted me to sift through more than a dozen QR code readers to find some of the best. I came up with four.

QR Code it up

NeoReader NeoReader is one of the most useful apps in this roundup. The program is simple, it's intuitive, and it does a relatively good job of reading QR codes.

NeoReader is an extremely simple app. When it's open, you need only to point your iPhone's camera at the QR Code, click the scan option, and you're all set. Within a few seconds, the app delivers the unique content directly to your iPhone. It works with QR (obviously), as well as Data Matrix, and Aztec bar codes. To ensure the app is working properly, you can even go to NeoReader's home page and scan the QR Code examples to see if it's returning the right results. But beware that the application works best on iPhones running OS 3.0 or higher. NeoReader is free, so it's worth trying out.

Optiscan Optiscan's developers say the application is the fastest QR Code scanner in the App Store. That's not necessarily true. But it's certainly quick.

Overall, Optiscan is a really nice QR Code reader. The application is able to capture QR codes on monitors, paper, and other places where you might find the code. Upon scanning a QR code within the app, you can view the company's QR code information. You can also save that data for later, so you don't have to come back to the QR code every time you want to view it. Even better, Optiscan allows you to share QR codes with others. It's a full-featured app that should satisfy most users. It costs $1.99.… Read more

Cleaning and disinfecting your Macs

The last time I needed to clean my computer I considered setting it on my patio and blasting it with the garden hose, then decided that probably was not the best idea. Apple has a knowledgebase document they've released with instructions on how to best clean various Mac models, but I should warn you if you care to read it, to be prepared for redundancy.… Read more

iTunes Store: Genius feature not updating

Several users, for the last few days, have been reporting issues surrounding the Genius feature in iTunes. Genius mixes allow users to forget about taking all that time it takes to search through you iTunes Library to find the perfect array of songs that blend seamlessly into an original set of tunes by doing it all for you. With data gathered by the iTunes Store and synced to your specific list of songs, iTunes can create perfect playlists in seconds. Issues with syncing, however, have limited this function in recent days for some users.… Read more

Does Apple need to refresh iTunes? Probably

Apple's purchase of streaming music service Lala reportedly represents a shift in the company's iTunes strategy. The aim: Make iTunes more Web friendly.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is looking to give consumers more ways to access and manage iTunes without a download of the software.

The larger questions: Does Apple need to rethink the iTunes model? Is Apple missing a shift to Web listening habits? Can iTunes, the largest music service around, be getting tired?

Those questions can be answered with one word: Yes.

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AT&T considers incentives to curb heavy data usage

Correction made December 9 at 7:51 p.m. PDT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that AT&T had announced a tiered pricing plan. The company is considering incentives to curb heavy wireless data usage.

AT&T wants its iPhone users to use less wireless data, and it may consider new pricing models to curb users' data usage as it tries to keep up with growing demand.

At an investor conference in New York on Wednesday, Ralph de la Vega, AT&T's head of wireless, said the wireless operator is considering incentives to … Read more

Troubleshooting the Apple IR remote

Apple's IR Remote may stop working for a number of reasons, either because the device itself is not functioning correctly or because the computer cannot pair with the device. There are several troubleshooting steps to take when testing the Apple remote, to isolate problems and hopefully get the remote up and running again.… Read more

The 404 Podcast 483: Where we play a never-ending game of devil's advocate

Today's episode of CNET's The 404 Podcast starts off on a personal note, with Jeff detailing last night's tour of Justin's tiny Manhattan apartment. I'll concede that the space is indeed very small relative to the cripplingly expensive rent, but like any self-respecting human, I'll pay almost anything stay out of New Jersey.

Although, if I ever get tired of New York, I can always make like Rob Cavazos, aka the Wilderness Man, and embark on a 10-day camping trip to the most remote phone box in the world. It's a 10-day experiment put on by Skype and The Viral Factory to raise awareness of Skype's cheaper international calls to landlines and mobile phones. Cavazos speaks English, Spanish, and French, and is inviting everyone to call the payphone using Skype for a quick chat. Check out the Phone Box Experiment Web site for more details.

Back in January, we made a spelling error trying to use the idiom, "Good juju, bad juju." As it turns out, the expired CrunchPad is now resurrected as the "JooJoo," but CNET's Rafe Needleman doesn't think consumers are willing to pay $499 for a device that does less than a Netbook. Check out Rafe's hands-on with the JooJoo and let us know YOUR opinion in the comments below.

Big thanks to Austin for the Nook motivation poster you see up there. And, as promised, we've got more 404 theme song remixes today, including more 8-bit awesomeness and two piano covers of Jonathan Coulton's "Mother Effers" track! Very cool stuff here, and please keep them coming! This has been the most. successful. unofficial. contest...ever!

EPISODE 483 Subscribe in iTunes audio | Suscribe to iTunes (video) | Subscribe in RSS Audio | Subscribe in RSS VideoRead more