Technology has a way of slipping into our everyday lives-whether we want it to or not! Sure if you are going to build a traditional hot rod there's a good chance ECU, EFI, crank trigger, or refrigerant will be terms that shall not pass your garage threshold. But what about your daily life?

For starters, just reading STREET RODDER will expose you to the latest in technology and I am not talking about parts-I am talking about the simple pleasure of reading a magazine. Look carefully at the ads by Cotati Speed Shop and Unisteer and you will notice (or maybe not) a bar code, a colorful-looking square that at first might appear to be out of place-but it isn't. These two companies are the first to use "code" in STREET RODDER and I am sure they will not be the last. In fact, in many stereo, computer, and other electronic publications and stores the use of this "code" is commonplace and has been around for years. (I contacted Jonathan Wong from Super Street, one of our import titles, to get some background, as "code" is used frequently in his title and has been for some time.)

If you aren't up to speed with the latest smartphone, mobile phone with camera, or QR (quick response) scanner, these little black or colorful boxes may appear foreign to you. In truth, they are another way to get more information into your hands (literally) that is of interest. "Hidden" within the matrix barcode is information that can be in the form of a text, URL, or other data. By using your smartphone (an iPhone, Droid, etc.) you can download free software that will allow you to "read" these codes. And, as if by magic, volumes of additional information is at your fingertips. Now, I am the first to realize that not all hot rodders want more information, they are happy with what they have and that's fine. (Senior Tech Editor Ron Ceridono is just fine with his encyclopedia set ending at 1967!) But for many others, especially the younger hot rodder (or the older who are gadget freaks, such as myself), smartphones open an entirely new world of readily accessible information.

These two-dimensional barcodes are common in Japan, and no wonder as they were created by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave in 1994. Originally intended for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing (the intent was to allow contents to be decoded at high speed), QR codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging). QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.

Should you find yourself absolutely fascinated with this new (well, relatively new) technology you can create your own codes, as they are free by going to this site: qrcode.kaywa.com. If you want the "rest of the story" on "code" you can go to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/qr_code. Here, Wikipedia can fill you in on all the interesting tidbits revolving around "code."

My first exposure to "code" came through ads all of us were exposed to at the '09 Comic-Con in San Diego, California. Since I didn't have a smartphone I wasn't sure what I was looking at but it wasn't long before the more tech savvy came to my rescue. (Yes, I do love my comic books.) The '09 Oscars also used "code" that was integrated into the artwork. Go back and look and you will see something you may have missed the first time around. "Code" is very popular in the rest of the world. It hasn't found its niche, although it's coming, here in the states but "traction" is increasing every day and it won't be long before all of us use "code" in our daily lives-especially in daily shopping trips. Let's say you are driving your hot rod and need directions. Well, you would probably use the GPS in your smartphone. Let's try another possibility. You have just ordered you latest intake manifold and you are looking for the torque specs, gasket info, hardware requirements, linkage applications, etc., you name it. The instruction sheet, or maybe even the box, will have this "code" printed on it; scan it with your smartphone and there before your eyes is all the information you could possibly need. The possibilities are endless and exciting. Some may want this information and others may not, but that's the fun part-to each his own, just like the hot rods we build.

The time has come and we will be seeing more and more of these interesting-looking pieces of miniature artwork. I can see it now-pick up the latest STREET RODDER and scan the "code" with your smartphone and presto up pops more information and photos that you can't get anywhere else. Hey, gives you something to do and keeps you off the streets at night.

Try it for yourself. Scan the code on the right to visit www.streetrodderweb.com. (Get a free mobile app at: http://gettag.mobi.)