Standout uses of QR codes show their potential and are keeping the form very much alive, though thoughtless applications -- such as displays on billboards where they can't be scanned or in subways where cellphones don't work -- abound, writes B.L. Ochman, president of whatsnextonline.com. Nonetheless, the codes are gaining ground, with usage up 20% worldwide between the second quarter and third quarter of this year, per 3GVision.

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