Inky-Linky: making live links on printed webpages

Roo Reynolds's Inky-Linky is a bookmarklet that makes printed-out webpages much more useful by adding QR codes to the margins, corresponding to the links in the document. That way, you can follow the links in your hardcopy by scanning the codes. It's available as a tarball on GitHub, and will probably not be usable to you if you don't run a local web-server, but it points in a very interesting direction!



  1. I don’t see the advantage of QR codes.

    As I understand, they can be used to encode any arbitrary text string, but in practice, they’re nearly always used to encode URLs. But the related URL is generally printed adjacent to the QR code, anyway. And my smartphone can pretty reliably identify a URL if I get a photo of it; in addition, I can recognize the URL myself. The QR code is big, ugly, and redundant.

    1.  But if you’ve got a print-out that links to a long URL or doesn’t show the URL, you can use the QR to browse to the link on your phone. I think they’re not quite useful in a lot of situations with short, top-level domains, but this seems really practical.

    1. Exactly. This is useful only as long as we see paper as a technology with a future beyond street poster art. This makes me feel the same way as photo printers – I just wonder why…

  2. I recall that for awhile back when programmers still lived in caves and rode dinosaurs, some computer magazines would print strips of QR-like static in the margin of their pages.  When you scanned the strips (with a hand-held scanner, of course), it would enter the data for a BASIC program, saving you the trouble of retyping the complete program included in the article.  (Because memory was so scarce and costly back then that programs were short, measured in bytes and maybe kilobytes, rather than megabytes and gigabytes.)

    1. This is the way I started using published code. Hand-held scanner from DAK Industries and an Apple IIc.

  3. The “installation” doesn’t require anything much, simply follow the instructions on the Github page.
    1) Go here
    2) Drag the link to your bookmarks bar

    To use it, visit a page and then click the link (it’s not a normal link, it’s a Javascript program).

  4. In ’02, I added Sema@codes:twitter  (early printable barcodes for URLs) to my project. Every page had one, so that if you printed it, you could call-up the same page by scanning the barcode. Perhaps I was a bit early, as there weren’t many scanning softwares for phones.

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