So what's the point of the bar code thing? Is it just for fun - i.e create messages which only the bar code reader can read?
No, it's a big deal in real/digital world crossover. Some potential uses include business cards (give your business card to someone and they can scan your details straight into the phone) or posters.
Imagine you see a gig poster and fancy going. You scan the barcode and the resultant web address takes you straight to a ticket ordering page where you say how many you want and it's banged straight on your mobile bill!
It's useful for things like long complex web adresses (a specific forum thread for example) to save typing the whole thing into your phone. There is a project called semapedia too, which is about sticking barcodes in places where people might want extra info and that link contained in the barcode has a link to more info online. For example, a sign next to a statue in a park; Someone sticks a barcode on it and by scanning the barcode you get a link to a wikipedia entry for whoever the statue is of.
Check it out here: http://www.semapedia.org/community
Lots of potential and its getting a lot of weight behind it in Japan