Microsoft Tag

– I haven’t Blogged on technical stuff for quite awhile now.  After 25 years of IT, not much pleases or surprises me these days.   But this new Microsoft Tag idea is really cool and it’s amazing no one thought if it before.

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Microsoft Tag creates unlimited possibilities for making interactive communications an instant, entertaining part of life. They transform physical media (print advertising, billboards, product packages, information signs, in-store merchandising, or even video images)—into live links for accessing information and entertainment online.

With the Microsoft Tag application, just aim your camera phone at a Tag and instantly access mobile content, videos, music, contact information, maps, social networks, promotions, and more. Nothing to type, no browsers to launch!

More…

– Research thanks to David D.

– Here are four tags to various websites that I created on Microsoft’s Tag website just now:


Samadhisoft Website (as Tiny URL) Park Terrace Apartment

SamadhiCoda Website SamadhiMuse website

– My wife and I had a conversation about this article (above) a short while after I published it.   Her immediate comment was, “There will be a lot of scammers using these things.

– After I thought about it, I think she’s right.  Following the link within one of these is no different than following a link in an E-Mail you have received.   The link will only be as reliable as the person who sent you the E-Mail.  

– I’d never click on a link unless I was certain that I trusted the folks providing the link.   So, if you find one of these around and use it to go to a web site, how will you know where you’ll end up?  

– It’s a slick idea and, so long as cell phones are not being corrupted by viruses, following a link like this on a cell phone might not be dangerous.  But, I strongly suspect cell phones are vulnerable to viruses and other attacks. 

– I say this because I used to work at Motorola and helped to develop the software that went into their cell phones.   And what we put into those phones was, in every sense, a complex operating system.   Just the sort of thing viruses can get their teeth in.

Nuff said….

Nope, not enough said yet.   I wrote the following to a friend of mine this morning in an E-Mail.  He’s not a real technical guy so he was unsure what all of this was about.  If some of you are having the same problem, maybe the following will help:

R.,

Many cell phones these days have web browsers built in so you can surf the internet on your cell phone’s little screen from where ever you are.  The newer cell phones also have cameras on them so you can just point it like a camera and push a button and it records a picture digitally.

The Microsoft Tag idea combines these two capabilities.

Say you are out in public and you see a poster for a movie that’s being advertised.   On the poster is one of these ‘tag’ things.   You take your cell phone out and point it at the ‘tag’ on the movie poster and you take a picture of it with the built in camera on your cell phone.

If you have you cell phone setup to use Microsoft Tags, what will happen then is that the cell phone will take a look at the picture its just taken and translate it into an address out on the Internet and then the cell phone’s web browser will automatically go to that web site.    So, you take a picture of a Tag and then, boom, you are looking at the website represented by that Tag.

In this case, since the tag was on a movie poster, the website will probably be about the movie on the poster and you’ll be able to see, on that web site you’ve just gone to, where the movie is playing and when.

BUT, the concern is that these tags could be malicious and take the web browser on your cell phone anywhere.  To porn sites, to sites infested with worms and viruses or to anywhere.   Just by looking at the tag, you can’t tell where it is going to take you.   So, in that way, it is just like clicking on a link in an E-Mail you received from someone you don’t know.   It’s a very risky thing to do.

Dennis

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