A while back I had an idle wish for a firefox extension that autogenerated a 2d barcode (semacode or other) from the URL of the current page/thing/resource, so I could quickly snarf it into my mobile and take it with me.

Instantly-mobile deeplinky goodness with no fiddly typing.*

A random thought tonight while staring at my browser: how much info could I store in a favicon, if I made it a 2d barcode?


A favicon is 16×16, and readable datamatrix 2d codes go down to 10×10 and 3mm. Of course, readable here means by an industrial scanner from a crisp printed sticker, rather than a mobile phone and a fuzzy LCD display.

Here’s the semacode for the wikipedia entry on Blogjects (it was the 2nd workshop that Julian and Nicholas have run on those blighters this week, so it seemed an appropriate choice!)


As you can see, a fair slice of the data is cropped if we try for 16×16 in order to make a favicon.

Still – I wonder if there’s anything doable there? Could something useful and/or diverting be done in this little space in the address field?

If not, my original lazyweb wish for a firefox extension to create instant takeaway datashadows still stands…

* Yes, before Charlie gets all-up-in-my-face (;-) – I know winksite has semacode integration – but I want EVERYTHING I visit to have a code ,whether they like it or not!

0 thoughts on “Takeaway

  1. That’s quite a good idea.

    My first concern would be with the size of the semacode, in relation to your phone’s ability to resolve it. I mean, when I made up business cards with semacodes on them last year, it turned out that they were too small to read with the VGA camera on my Nokia 3650. And the semacode was 1″ square, there.

    Now, an extension to make a semacode link with a mouseover, *that* would be something to think about…

  2. Eh, that got all borked up in the name of safety. Here’s the source:


    You can sort it from there, I have no doubt.

  3. Thanks guys but I’m going to be a hardass about it. Mouseovers or bookmarklets are TOO MUCH WORK! 🙂

    In order for it to be something that occurs without a thought, then it needs to be a parallel, effortless display of the relevant 2d barcode… of course it’s not effortless on the mobile yet either… Ideally we need the device to recognise that it is looking for 2d barcodes automatically (which itself is fraught with risks and processor/battery-life impacts)

  4. Okay, I’ll buy the too much work requirement. How were you thinking of it being displayed, then, if the favicon is too small?

  5. I may be completely missing the point here, but can you just post to del.icio.us anything you need to take with you and have it set up as a bookmark on your phone / device … especially good on the new browser on the N80. I know this is not a particularly technical solution, but it only took a few taps on the phone to set up the bookmark and the firefox post to del.icio.us link thing is great.

  6. For me, the difference would be the gesture itself: the phone is a handheld device, and it’s a natural idea for me to “pick something off the screen” with it, to take it with me, rather than having to noodle through a clumsy GUI-ish set of menus, in order to get something that’s right in my face.

    So, it’s the natural feeling of the gesture, and the reduction of the number of operations necessary to get at the stuff, and the fact that it’s easier to maintain my focus on the outside world, without too much attention paid to the tiny noplace inside my cell phone screen.

  7. Your extension just needs to generate a big (150x150px) image of a URLcode and float it over every page top right or something – it could even be semi-opaque perhaps. How hard must that be?

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