Create your own QR Codes in 5 simple steps

QR codes are slowly growing to be popular, and people are using them more and more. Recently in a bit of work for one of my freelance clients, we introduced the QR code into their business card, brochure and even their print ads, being well received by all this was a great feeling. But like a lot of people in the creative field will tell you, people around the UAE don’t really feel the need to experiment. This being the main reason for why most technology does not really get completely adapted well here. Getting back to the main topic on hand; QR codes are really getting more and more interesting and innovative not only in their applications but also with their designs.

If you’re unfamiliar with QR codes, not to worry I have a introductory guide written before. Those fuzzy boxes on business cards and promotional swag are easily scannable information barcodes. Essentially, you point your camera at the image and get a message, website, or other piece of content beamed directly to your smartphone or computer. Try the one above here. QR codes are still a relatively foreign concept for most casual users, but they have a lot of potential to change the mobile game. I am sure all those Android users will know what it is already as well as the Blackberry users with the introduction of QR codes in their BBM.

Since you are reading on the Inquisitive Mind, here is a small tutorial for the creation of these QR codes for yourself.

1. Decide the content 

Although the QR code can hold a bit of information, if you do properly you can maximize the small black and white chequered board for marketing, operation or some other innovative usage. A client of mine who is a Computer service person, uses the QR codes to be a sort of a information holder on when a computer was last formatted and when it was last services, by whom as well as which office. Another client uses the QR code to redirect the scanner to his business website on the back of his business card. So first of all decide what is the information you are going to embed in the code.

2. Find a QR code generator 

There are many QR Code generators online, I usually use the kaywa creator, you can find the creator here on their website. The swiss site is one of the simplest I found for the generation of QR codes.

3. Add your Content 

Based on the usage, you would need to pick if you would like to add in a URL, text only, a Phone Number or an SMS and add it in the relevant fields. I am creating one for my blog. So will chose the URL feature and add in the code. Hit Generate and wallah, its there.

4. Check that it works 

The next step is to ensure that the CODE works. Pick up your phone and scan the code, to ensure that the result matches with the exact same text or url that is added. 

5. Share it, use it, print it, save it 

One of the best places I have seen these used is at the back of a Business Card, information can be scanned and saved on the phone without the need to actually store the Business Card. Other placed include Social Network Profile pages, email signatures and Resumes. These will definitely help put up an innovative touch to your communication.

Another awesome way of using these codes, especially if you want it in print and you want the content to keep changing is the usage of Bit.ly. You can create a custom shortened URL for yourself on Bit.ly and then use the link to create the QR Code.  Then based on the source of the information that will be added in, the source of the Bit.Ly URL can be adopted. True if you are updating resumes, using linked in or Facebook versions for people etc. Another advantage of using the Bit.Ly method is to gain some analytics information of the Code. Bit.Ly will by standard provide you with analytics to use the code.  Try it out and let us know how the QR code is working.

From nutritional information on groceries, or comparison shop for textbooks, to addresses, games and free giveaways and bonuses at community events, these QR codes are really coming soon to a mobile phone next to you.

Guest Post – How to save more by spending smarter?

Saving more by spending would be ridiculous, but by smarter spending it would be the best thing you can do to yourself. To be able to manage your everyday finances is a great art in itself, and the Guest post by Mr. Ramalingam is trying to help with just that. But to be able to be ideally manage your finances better, you would need to monitor it first. More on that in further posts, but here is his thoughts on how to save more

The willingness and the ability to save money is the secret of building wealth. So as to save money, you need to spend less than you actually earn. Though it looks very simple when you say, it is really difficult to implement. There are plenty of ways to help you start saving money even on the very tight budget. Saving money or spending less is all about the personality, belief system, values of a family. Spending less and saving more are lifelong living skills that need time to develop. Unless and otherwise, you have a written financial goals, you will lose your focus and go after consumerism and materialism.

To save more, obviously you need to spend smarter. To spend smarter, you need to understand you own spending patterns.Consciously you need to track all your expenses on a daily or weekly basis. So that you will be able to find out what influences your spending pattern.

Spending money has got so many influencing factors. But all these influencers can be classified into five broad spending influencers.

  1. Emotions: Your emotions play an important role in your spending pattern. The positive feelings like happy, fun, joy can influence you to spend more on entertainments and gifts. The negative feelings like envy, jealous, shame, stress, depression, frustration can influence you to spend more on smoking, drinking, buying things you actually don’t need, relaxation and healthcare.
  2. Traditional Thought: This is because of you belief system and your thought process. I need to buy a silk saree every year for my wedding anniversary. I have to bust crackers for Diwali. These are all the classic examples of how your traditional thoughts will influence your spending pattern.
  3. Society: Society in which you live will have more influence on your spending. You have to buy a car as all your colleagues are coming to office in their own car. On the occasion of your kid’s birthday, you need to arrange gifts for all the classmates of your kid.You should be watching this movie, on a first day first show.This influencer is caused by friends, colleagues, neighbours, relatives, and club members. Even at times, the advertisements and promotional offers like a discount sale can make you to spend more.
  4. Habits: Habits formed when you are growing up can make us spend impulsively. Generally this will be for our sensual pleasures.Spending on movies, music, eating out, smoking, drinking are the best examples of these influencers.
  5. Commitments: This includes paying off your debts and loans, commitments towards family like school fees, buying groceries and other provisions, paying rent, paying for medical insurance. You are committed to pay these expenses earlier.

By tracking and analyzing your each and every expense, you will be able to identify the influencers which made you to spend.Here are some strategies to overcome these influencers and spend smarter:

Control Your Emotions:

Instead of spending money, you can control your emotions by doing something else like doing yoga or meditation, watching comedy shows on TV, going to temple or beach. You need to solve the root of the emotion. You have to do introspection and need to keep a balanced mind always. Balanced mind is a key for spending smarter.

Self Talk:

You need to consciously change your thought patterns to come out of traditional thinking. “I don’t really need a saree for every wedding anniversary”. “I am not a kid; so I need not bust crackers on diwali”. These kinds of auto suggestions will change your thought process and you will be able to really prioritize things on which you spend.

You are unique:

You were born original. Please don’t die a copy. There is no need to feel bad if you don’t get to spend or buy things like your friends or people around you. You are unique and special in your own way. You need to discuss with your family and friends about “How to live happily by achieving compromised spending patterns?”

Learn and unlearn Habits:

The unwanted habits which make you spend more can be unlearned. Good habits which make you spend smarter can be learned. Habits can be learned and unlearned. But you need to know it is not a quick fix. It involves a process and a commitment.
A habit is an intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge is ‘what to do and the why’. That is we need to spend less to save more and become richer. Skill is ‘How to do’. That is ‘how we spend less and what are all the strategies to be applied for spending less’. Desire is the motivation, the want to do. What are we trying to achieve by spending less? How that is more important to us than spending more. In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three.

Unwanted Commitments:

You can’t avoid certain commitments like groceries, schools fees. But definitely you can discontinue unwanted commitments like the club membership in which you are not actively participating and not getting any actual use out of it; the chits impulsively you have enrolled with a jewelry shop.

Money not spent is saved. These above strategies will only work if you truly have a desire for future financial success. You need to be disciplined and persistent in the course of implementing these strategies. The more you practice smart spending,wealthier you become.


The author is Ramalingam K, an MBA (Finance) and Certified Financial Planner. He is the Founder and Director of Holistic Investment Planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in.

Your password is easy to crack …

If you’re like most people, you have a few passwords that you use over and over again on many different websites. You know this isn’t secure, yet you do it anyway. Why? Because it’s difficult to remember a unique password for each and every web site that requires one.

The use of good, hard-to-guess passwords can make it difficult for a malicious hacker to break into your computer account. Avoiding predictable keywords and using different methods to introduce variety into your passwords makes it easy for you to remember them but virtually impossible for others to guess them.

First of all, check how strong your password really is. Head over to http://www.passwordmeter.com/ or here and if you password shows as strong I think you dont really need to worry about too many things, if however it shows that your password is kinda weak, medium or really weak, then here are some tips on creating winning passwords.

Continue reading Your password is easy to crack …

WTF is twitter ? A Common Man’s guide to Tweets

From Scandals to great entertainment, from news to breaking news, from celebrities to yours truly, everyone seems to be getting on the Twitter bandwagon. But few of us really know what is twitter and how to use it ? Don’t fear, I am here, to help clear all doubts with twitter and how it is used. First things first, Twitter is a website that allows you to share or read information updates to and from other members all with the help of 140 characters only. Its like SMS for the internet (Except SMS is 160 characters). For, all of you who have been using Facebook, it is like your status update on Facebook. A service that helps people to update their status to everyone who is ‘following’ them.

So what’s the big deal, there is Facebook for it ?? Right ? Well most famous people who want to announce things to the world traditionally used press and emails, with the introduction of Social Networking Sites like Orkut, Facebook, My Space, people realised that they can connect directly with the people on the web without the need of the press, and thus these services slowly started being called Social Media.

Continue reading WTF is twitter ? A Common Man’s guide to Tweets

How to avoid Email Phishing

In my previous post I wrote about how a person I know got scammed on email and had to loose control of his email ID as well as face the embarrassment of people asking him how he was stuck in the UK and lost all his money on gun point. His email was actually the target of a phishing. To understand what is Phishing you need to think about scammers who scam normal people out of their money. Phishing is a way using which scammers trick internet users out of their personal details and also financial details after which they take ownership of email accounts.

So As promised I decided to do a list of things to be weary about when checking emails from unknown people, this is the only possible way that phishing can actually be stopped. Making sure no one can gain access to your account is the key. If you do loose your email address and its a Gmail address then check this detailed post about recovering your Gmail account in case you loose it, you can access it here. For most other Email Id’s I am not really sure of the recovery methods, might need to get researched.  So here is the list :

  1. Be careful when you receive an email with a link from an unknown email address
  2. The Phishing emails are built usually to collect personal or financial information from you and this would mean that the information would be used elsewhere. So unless you email your Id’s and Passwords the only other way is to get you to click a link and feed in this information.
  3. In cases when the email is from a corporate address like a bank, a bigger website etc the scammers would really be veiling the email to make it look as close to the actual email as possible; But senders ID and look and feel cannot be the only judge of the legitimacy of such an email.
  4. Scammers would use email Id’s from very close looking email domains, the email Id’s might come from remove@msn.net or info@icicibanksindia.com or director@anycompany.org ( as most companies will have .com and not .org)
  5. Most email scams are of fake emails from very big brands like eBay, PayPal, Bank of America and many Indian Banks like HDFC, ICICI. The look of the email might get people to check the links without even looking at the email twice.
  6. They can even send you an email from anonymous email sending websites, which you can find in plenty online.
  7. So, by checking if the email is really a valid email or not can improve your safety.
  8. Once you find a link within your email you need to mouse over on it and based on the browser you will find the linked URL in the status bar of your browser. Check if it actually shows the actual website of the company whose link you are clicking.
  9. In case of Internet Explorer or browser where you cannot find the URL on mouse over, you need to right click on it and select the properties option which will show you the URL Address to which its linked to.
  10. More often than not, the link to scammer emails will be to some IP based URL which might be a phished link.
  11. In case it is still not an IP address based link then you might need to check the spelling of the link, it might be wrong. Taking an example, a website that might be wanted to look like icicibank.com might look like, icicibanksindia.com or icicbank.com.
  12. After the email Id, the other thing to look at is the email subject, you will not receive emails from your friends saying things like, MY Predicament, or Verify your account, or limited Period Free Samples offer or Final Warning – Confirm your account within 48 hours, click on the link to confirm your account
  13. The title does make a lot of difference and when the sender is trying to send you information about some urgent issue then the read rate increases, so in case of very important issues, its better to call the office and check about things like verify account info, click to activate within 48 hours etc.
  14. Most companies will not require you to enter your personal information or financial information though email accounts but personally at the office. So before you enter information like that it is better to check the website is they have announced the same or even call them to check the same.
  15. Check for https:// instead of http:// as most organizations that require you to enter information would use such secure channels.
  16. Do not use Internet Explorer as your browser, upgrade to Google Chrome, Firefox or another browser.

Always keep these few things in mind to verify the links you receive and in case you feel that the link may be a correct one, use a free proxy website and check the link there first and if you have confirmed it that its the correct one, you can proceed with it.

How to Download movies from the Internet using BitTorrents

A Beginners Guide

I have been asked a few times, how people are downloading movies from the Internet, People with nearly no technical skills want to but don’t really know how to download movies. Before I can do a how to on this one I definitely need to mention that I quite frankly do not support downloading illegal content from the Internet. You have to be careful when downloading torrents as many of them are copyrighted and illegal. Now that that is out of the way, lets see how we can download a movie from the internet. For this How To I am going to use a website that hosts free public domain movies like http://www.publicdomaintorrents.com/ which do not carry copyright infringement in doing so.

Step 1 : Get yourself a Bit Torrent ‘client’

Bit Torrent is a process where you can share files with many people called lechers, through a process known as peer to peer networking. Peer to peer is actually a form of networking where unlike accessing google.com or yahoo.com where you request information from the Google server, you would request this information from a private user connected to the internet elsewhere in the world. Since this is different from just plain ‘browsing’ you would need a specialist software to actually connect with many peers or seeders. Unlike browsing where you use Internet Explorer, Firefox or Google Chrome which are browsers, what you would need is a Bit Torrent ‘client’ software. There are possibly hundreds of free Bit Torrent Clients out there, but the most popular among these are Vuse, uTorrent and BitTorrent. The process that you would use for downloading would be more or less similar regardless of what client you use. I would however suggest using uTorrent as it is not only the most popular but also the best of the lot according to me. To download uTorrent, Go to uTorrent.com and click on the big Free download button to get the Bit Torrent client. Once it is downloaded you could follow the procedure to install the software on your computer, it’s pretty straight forward to do so. Now you are ready for step 2.

Step 2 : Get the torrent file

Once you have the Torrent Client installed on your computer, you will then need to tell the client what file you want to download and from where. For this very purpose seeders or people who share for information on the internet, create a file with extension .torrent. Just like your word or excel files have an extension .doc or .xls and open in Microsoft Word or Microsoft Excel, the .torrent file opens up in your Bit Torrent client when you open it. There are many hundreds of torrent sites on the internet and most of these offer various downloads like music, movies, documentaries, books, games and even software. You could search for your choice of downloads on these sites and obtain the .torrent file. This is usually marked with, “download torrent here” or “Download this Torrent”. Examples of sites which provide torrents are http://www.thepiratebay.org, http://www.mininova.org, http://www.demonoid.com and then there are other websites that act as torrent search engines that actually bring together the torents from various torrent sites online, these might be http://www.torrentfreak.com, http://www.cinematorrents.com/ and others.

Step 3 : Open the .torrent file in your client and wait

Once you have downloaded the .torrent file from the site that you want, Usually, the web browser’s file download manager will ask what to do with this file. You want to open the file with your torrent client. If it doesn’t open that way, just save the .torrent file to an easy to locate place. Then open your torrent client and use the “Open Torrent” feature(Most torrent clients support click & drag). Now you can let your Bit torrent Client do the work for you while you can go away and do something else on your computer or kill time, because torrents do not require your attention and will download in the background. How long a torrent takes to complete the download is completely dependent on how fast is your internet speed, How many people are sharing the file (seeds) and how big the file that you are trying to download is. Usually movies are about 700 MB – 1.37 GB and this would mean that it would take about 8 hours of download on a 512KB connection with a few hundred seeds.

Tips and Warnings

· You can close your torrent program and turn off your computer when you need to. Most torrent programs will resume download process automatically when you start them back up. If the download doesn’t resume automatically, there should be an option to start downloading, by either right clicking on the file and choose “Start” or a button somewhere in the program.

· There are other torrent clients (programs) that can be used so do your research on these also. The most popular torrent programs are uTorrent, Azureus and BitTorrent.

  • There are Torrent search engines that search the popular torrent clients (programs). This saves you time by not having to search each individual torrent client site. The most popular torrent search engines are TorrentReactor.net, Nowtorrents.com and Qtorrents.com .
  • When looking for torrent files, try to find ones with plenty of Seeders. When searching for torrents, you can often sort the results by seeds, simply by clicking on the seeds column header.
  • Seeders (Seeds): Are people who have a complete copy of the torrent’s files and are only uploading (sending) data to the people who are downloading (peers).
  • Leechers (Peers): Are people who have a portion of the torrent’s files while they are downloading they are actively uploading to help others download more quickly.
  • Downloading torrents can slow your computer down depending on how well your computer performs. Recommended specs for each client vary, but on average you should have at least 512 MB of RAM and a 1 GHz CPU. You will also need space for the files you want to save.
  • In certain jurisdictions it is illegal to download content through peer to peer networks such as bittorrent. There is a program which blocks certain IP addresses from communicating with your computer and can help protect you while downloading. PeerGuardian can be found at:phoenixlabs.org/pg2or [1]
  • Keep your anti-virus program and its definitions fully up-to-date, downloaded software from ‘sharing’ sources carries a high risk of infection.
  • Downloading torrents can slow your overall internet connection down if you don’t properly tweak your upload rate. DSL and Cable modems have problems downloading if you’re uploading at your maximum rate. Set your clients maximum rate to 80% of your maximum upload rate if you can adjust it. If you set your upload rate too low, your downloads will slow to a crawl.
  • It’s important to know about bittorrents so that you know the risks, consequences, and best practices.
  • Make sure you check the comment section before downloading, if there is one, to see if the torrent is real or not.

All I can say now is Happy Downloading .

Become an Internet Ninja ……. swoosh

[tweetmeme] Whether we’re working or just browsing, we spend a lot of time on the Internet every day. Be it searching for something on Google, walling people on Facebook or maybe even farming on Farmville, we have been sort of addicted to the internet. Well you want to graduate from being just a web user to an internet ninja. So, well the first step is to definitely get rid of your age old, Internet Explorer. Its not that I hate IE, but yes I hate IE. I would highly recommend Firefox or Google Chrome as your best friend when it comes to browsers. My current favorite being Google Chrome.

OK, so you’ve already ditched Internet Explorer and switched to Firefox or Google Chrome. But are you using your browser’s best features? Power Web surfers or Internet Ninjas know the settings and shortcuts that make getting what you need online fast and efficiently. Here are five browser tricks that can streamline your surfing session, whether you’re on Facebook or the company intranet.

1. You can have multiple tabs as your Startup Page

The days of a single default home page are over. If you always get on the Web to check the same Web sites like Gmail, Facebook, Google Reader and this blog 😉 save yourself the time of visiting them by hand, and set all of them to load automatically in tabs when you start your browser. To set this up using Firefox, open only the tabs you want to load when you start, and from the Tools menu, choose Options. Under Startup, in the Home page setting, click the “Use Current Pages” button to set those tabs as your home tabs. In Chrome’s Options you can do the same.

2. Restore the last tabs and windows you had open automatically

Instead of loading a static set of tabs that don’t change when you start your browser, automatically load what you were looking at when you quit your browser last time. In Firefox’s Options dialog (get to it from the Tools menu), next to “When Firefox starts,” choose “Show my windows and tabs from last time” to restore your previous browsing session. In Chrome’s options, on the Basics tab, select “Reopen the pages that were open last.”

3. Undo your accidentally closed tab.

You accidentally closed a tab that you didn’t mean to? No problem. Just like the Ctrl+T keyboard shortcut opens a new tab, the Ctrl+Shift+T shortcut reopens the last tab that you closed. So when you think you just killed that fantastic article you had open meaning to read it all day, press Ctrl+Shif+T to get it back. Repeat that same shortcut to continue re-opening tabs you closed down your history list. (This shortcut works in both Firefox and Chrome)

4. Open a link in a background tab by clicking your mouse wheel.

When you’re browsing this or other blogs, news, Twitter, or Facebook you come across links you want to check out, but you don’t want to stop reading your current page. If your mouse has a wheel on it, click links of interest with the mouse wheel to open links in background tabs as you read down a page, so you can switch to them later without interrupting your flow now. An extra tip for mousewheelers: Close background tabs in one click of the mousewheel without switching to them first, too.

5. Sync your bookmarks across browsers and computers.

When you save a bookmark at work you want it in your list at home and vice versa, and bookmark synchronization is available in both Firefox (with an extension) and Chrome. If you’re a dedicated Chrome user, bookmark syncing comes built in, from Chrome’s Tools menu, choose “Synchronize my bookmarks.” Sign into your Google account, and Chrome will save your bookmarks into a Chrome folder in your Google Docs account. You can then access all your bookmarks from anywhere.

Now over to GMail

All these tricks should enable you to slowly be an Internet Ninja, now its time to look at GMail. If you don’t have a Google Account or are living under a rock, GMail is Google’s Mail program and the Google ID is your key to unlock all of Google’s Products. Anyway, Google has launched power tips for the Ninja in you to be able to master all the tricks in GMail.

Starting from a White belt to being a Gmail Master, the Gmail tips site gives you all you need to check out for being awesome at using the Program. Check out these tricks and let me know how far with have you come.