Flutterby™! : QRCode & virtual business cards

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QRCode & virtual business cards

2010-03-19 17:23:16.786318+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

Okay, lazy web:

I'm seeing more and more QRCode, a 2d bar code that's on everything in Japan (including buildings), and is starting to become required on papers and presentations for things like links to the online versions of the media being presented.

I've been really lax with business cards, because for the most part I'd rather enter your data into my phone directly (or use Bump), but I'm realizing that I need actual paper cards. I'd like to put a QRCode on the card, and I probably also want to print up a bunch of stickers so that when I go to meet & greets people can point their phones at my "Hello, my name is ..." and get my info.

My first attempts at playing with this seem like URLs are recognized fine, various vCard type data sets aren't universally recognized. But when they get to my bio URL, what's the best format or set of formats on which people can click and get an easily importable set of contact info for me. Is vCard the way to go? What MIME type should I be serving it up with?

If I can't have LID[Wiki] I want the next best thing, but I've no idea what that is.

[ related topics: LID (Lightweight IDentity) ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-24 22:36:43.891151+00 by: Dan Lyke

My contact info is at http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke , with

<link rel="meta" href="http://www.flutterby.net/User%3aDanLyke_foaf.rdf" title="FOAF" type="application/rdf+xml"> <link rel="alternate" href="http://www.flutterby.net/User%3aDanLyke.vcard" type="text/directory">

I'm not sure anything uses those, I'm pretty sure rel="alternate" is wrong for the .vcard, even if that's what people are recommending, but there it is.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-24 21:06:58.459384+00 by: ebradway

Now you have me worrying over this... I'm heading out for a few back-to-back conferences and figured it'd be nice to make up some biz cards (and stickers). I found a nice online QRCode generator. But that leaves the question - what to encode?

A vCard or FOAF would be great if apps that read the QRCode expected them. But looking at the vCard and FOAF contents, I realized I have this information in probably a dozen different sites. Here are some of the possibilities:

Google Profile - only shows actual contact info to my contacts. That's useless. Blogger Profile - also lacking in contact info... Amazon ProfileA - Similar beef... LinkedIn is a little better - but it still doesn't give a phone number (but it's in there if you are connected to me). Flutterby profile - even thinner on details...

I'm a bit of an exhibitionist when it comes to contact information. If you can get through Google's spam filters (and my own filters built on top of it), I'll be happy to see your email. If you call my Google Voice number, I'll listen to your message (it's actually hard for me to answer a call from Google Voice because I barely get two rings on a phone that takes three to get to).

So, maybe just doing vCard is the best way. No one expects the Spanish Inq...^B^B^B^B^B^B FOAF. So maybe that's it... But what URL? What domain? Does it matter?

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-19 22:14:27.261478+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, vCard predates FOAF by quite a bit, there are a number of email clients that do interesting stuff with vCard, and even the FOAF Wiki describes end-user tools which use FOAF as "exploring FOAF support".

But it's no problem by me to publish the data however people will actually use it. Right now I've hardcoded the files, I'll probably put it in CSV (or pull it from my Google contacts which are synced from my iPhone) and generate vCard and FOAF.

My impression is that FOAF started out as a way to describe social networks, which no hacker except for a few researchers actually wanted to publish, and people are now trying to shoehorn FOAF into the vCard application. So as you say, FB and LinkedIn are doing their best to monetize that connection info without actually letting it escape, and without a compelling reason for geeks to publish it independently, the rest of us aren't interested in actually putting that data out there.

We'll see in a little while, I have some optimization and caching that needs to be done on my personal website updating software, but I should have a .vcard published as a "text/directory" there shortly.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-19 21:41:45.11554+00 by: ebradway

Interesting... It appears that there's a lot of effort going on mapping between vCard and FOAF:





#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-19 21:35:00.631759+00 by: ebradway

Who reads FOAF? Everyone in the SemWeb community?

I just find it ironic when people talk about formats for data interchange and ultimately end up reinventing the Semantic Web in some proprietary way (like vCard vs. FOAF). The Semantic Web is seriously lacking in a few ways:

  1. It's tied to the circle jerk that's called Ontologies and Reasoning (although Tim Berners-Lee is now trying to deny the circle jerk, re-labeling the Semantic Web as "Linked Data")
  2. Most of the tools for manipulating RDF are actually programming toolkits (like Jena). There is a severe lack of user-friendliness in SemWeb software, both server and client... unless you think writing Prolog is user-friendly.
  3. Because of 1 & 2, adoption outside the SemWeb community has been glacial. As I said, people tend to just develop proprietary interchange formats.

The irony is that Facebook, Myspace or LinkedIn could, in a matter of minutes, become a primary source of FOAF. But FOAF exposes the one thing at least FB and LinkedIn most closely guard: the network graph of user connections.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-19 21:17:09.214613+00 by: Dan Lyke

FOAF as a <link rel="meta" type="application/rdf+xml" title="FOAF" href="..._foaf.rdf" /> will be there shortly, but what actually reads and uses FOAF?

#Comment Re: made: 2010-03-19 19:48:47.992859+00 by: ebradway

URI to your FOAF file!