The Art of Buying Safely Online

Why do you want to buy online?

You would like to buy online because:

Convenience

  • You do not have to ride to the mall.
  • You do not have to drive around ten blocks to find a parking place.
  • You do not have to jostle around with the crowds in the mall.
  • You do not want anyone following your every move with a hawk’s eye.
  • You do not want some one to convince you into buying, something that you do not need.

Well, I think they are good enough reasons why you would like to get onto the net and go buy something online.

Standard Features of online malls
Most of them are visitor friendly. Let us look at one such Online eMall I came across.

Let us now see how these Online eMall websites are designed.  This is a generic website.  Of course you understand that this site does not exist and it is only for demonstration purposes I am mentioning it here.  Let us call it simply – Online eMall.

The customer-friendly Online eMall website is cleanly laid out. The website name is very clearly displayed on the home page.

A key feature of this Online eMall is, it  offers franchises.  Normally, the franchise’s name appears to your left, right beneath the Online eMall profile. Then you have the navigation bar that indicates the e-franchise home, orders tracking and a tab to invite friends to the site.

Then you see those small folder icons: The name of the folders indicate the contents and within brackets the number of items too. For example the first folder is Beauty and Personal Care and it is displaying 43. When you click on the folder, the column to it’s right displays all those items that fall under the “Beauty and Personal Care” category. Each item has a small picture of the product / service with pricing, availability and probable shipping time.

So, all the visitor has to do is click on the folder on the left, view items that appear on the right, add her choice to the shopping cart, fill the forms and pay, to have them delivered at her doorstep. But before she confirms the order, it is up to her to make doubly sure that she is ordering exactly what she expects.

When the shopping season approaches, the Online eMall  owners will update the site and announce really amazing products and services to it’s customers, at great prices.

Phishing
OK, so what makes you think it is safe to buy online? Haven’t you heard of those who collect your credit details and siphon off monies without you ever knowing about it?

Yes, I have heard about that and read about it too. But then there are always those elements around. All you have to do is take a few precautions and you are better off.

Now let’s see what those precautions are:

FAQ’s
Every online shopping mall would have a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) and a privacy policy. Read them both carefully and if you are convinced that it is a good site and is taking care of your interests go ahead and do your shopping.

Warranties and Guarantees
Check if the the site is offering warranties and or guarantees on the products and services they are offering before you make your purchase decision.

Postal Address
You must take care to see if the postal address of the site is given on the web site. If it is not there, then their intentions are in doubt and I advise you not to do business with them.

Cash
There may be occasions that the company or any individual you are buying from asks for cash, say no. Tell them that you would prefer to pay with your credit card. That way you are protecting yourself from avoidable fraudulant transactions.

Help and Support
There are genuine sellers and are helpful. They would be more than happy to help you with your doubts and queries that you might have. Some of these sites do have a live chat service where you get instant answers. Some of them have Feedback forms for their customers and they always write you back about your concerns.

Search and Research
Use the search engines to learn about the online shopping mall that you are trying to buy from. This would help you learn more about them and you can make a buying decision based on that.

Reviews
If there are reviews left by customers read them. It would give you a better insight about this online shopping mall and how they go about treating their customers.

Return Policy
You should also make sure what their Return Policy is, so that you know exactly what to expect.

RESOURCES
There is this excellent site that tells you how to protect yourself from online phishing scams. Please click here to visit the site.

Happy Shopping!

Note:
This article was first published elsewhere on August 6, 2009 and the site is no more available.  Hence I am posting it here again.

https://web.archive.org/web/20101123150210/http://rightword.blogsome.com

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Aim, Time, Shoot

Basel Accurist‘s wristwatches exemplify the legacy of  centuries old watchmaking and precision time.  Basel Accurist now proudly presents you the synergies of traditional experiences and the best of the cutting-edge technology of the day.  Huntr represents them both. We present you now the best of both worlds of horology and chronometry. Huntr , with its straight lines and intricate design makes the pursuit of your hunt a pleasure. Accuracy and precision are the hallmarks of Huntr .  With its patented ‘movements’  Huntr is the perfect accessory for your gallant personality. Huntr is the original wristwatch, for the sharp, shooting eye.

This limited edition masterpiece will be especially delivered by hand.

Huntr, created by Basel Accurist

Huntr, created by Basel Accurist

Image courtesy: Internet Stock Photography

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Six Tips To Becoming A Better Person

Self-development

Self-development is a process of guiding oneself based on the results obtained from an assessment of one’s thoughts and actions. The first step towards Self-development is identifying key areas that need to be changed for better. These could be one’s mental abilities, emotional strength, technical skills or educational qualifications. The next step is to find and employ the “tricks” that get us to achieve the intended goal. Here are a couple of steps that can help us get started with Self-development:

  1. Put your thoughts on paper. Writing weeds out lots of unwanted energy that goes into creating negative impact.
  2. Perform an honest self-assessment of your skills, abilities, know-how‘s etc.
  3. Evaluate the results and chart out an action plan.
  4. Prioritize the action plan to best match your career / personal goal / growth.
  5. Locate resources that matter most, and might act as an assisting-aid to execute your action plan.
  6. Last, but not the least, get down to it… and work on your action plan.  Make sure that you work out exactly as plan and do not procrastinate the “To Do” list.

For those who need that extra push, it is a good idea to enroll with self-development programs such as Leadership-Programs, Confident-Public-speaking, and Communication-skills etc. Such groups not only provide an all-for-one, one-for-all support with fellow members facing similar challenges, it also paves way to network with like-minded people, looking for help. You gain knowledge from someone else’s experience, while the other person may get a life-lesson by listening to your experience.

Let us not forget that, the biggest lesson any self-development tool-kit would give you is “Criticism is Good, react positively”. Indeed Criticism is Good, because it is this criticism that serves as a reality check and wakes us up from our self-absorbed “I know it all” mindset. True (self) development comes from reacting positively to such a criticism, however harsh it might be, whatever the source it might come from. Many fail at completing their self-development exercise due to the sole reason that they take criticism far too personally and fail to see it in a much broader sense. Ultimately, not making an inch of progress towards their actual goal.

Self-development is a skill and an art. While one needs to have THE inherent urge to improve one-self, this can also be learnt with the help of self-help books, audio-video aids, support groups etc. These help us focus on things that matter to us the most, and in turn makes us a better performer, at work, at relationships, at mentoring, at community activities etc. As easy as it might sound, it takes a lot of patience and rather a heavy dose of perseverance to complete a session of self-development (self-imposed or otherwise). But, those who do, are winners in their own sense for having mastered (or rather being able to deal with) their fear over criticism, face the audience with confidence, articulate their thoughts in a  better manner.

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Electronic Cigarette – Does it stop smoking?

Stop smoking

Hon Lik’s father was a smoker and could not stop smoking tobacco. He died of cancer caused by it. That broke the heart of young Hon Lik, a chain smoker like his dad. He wanted to quit smoking but his life was built around his nicotine oral fix. Somehow he had to get away from it. He made the first Ecig. He called his Ecig – “Ruyan”. In a Chinese dialect it literally means clean smoke.

Dr. Lennox Johnson says, “The best way to stop smoking is to stop smoking”. A reformed Scottish smoker he should know. In hi report published in the British medical journal Lancet, he suggests that to stop smoking you should first understand the psychology of smoking. Smoking tobacco is a way of announcing that you are a grown-up now. A smoker is also informing the world that he is sophisticated. It is an image that is carefully cultivated and very difficult to get away from.

Electronic Cigarrette - pic courtesy WikiMedia

Elsewhere, the Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin wrote in her report: “When individuals inhale cigarette smoke, either directly or secondhand, they are inhaling more than 7,000 chemicals: hundreds of these are hazardous, and at least 69 are known to cause cancer. The chemicals are rapidly absorbed by cells in the body and produce disease-causing cellular changes.”

So every puff hurts, not you but also the others around you. It is best to stop smoking. But then the design and the contents of the products are packaged attractively and promoted aggressively. You need a herculean motivation to stop smoking. Contrary to what people advise and believe in “cold turkey”, a stop smoking technique is quite difficult to practice. The first day is the most deadly and to pass that night would be “nightmarish.” That’s when most of them fall prey to the relapse.

The pill, the patch, the spray, the inhaler, the lozenges, the gum are some of the nicotine products that are regulated by the Federal Drug Law. The Federal Appeals court in Washington unanimously held up a the FDA’s injection against the Ecig. Now the Ecig, a battery powered tube that looks like a cigarette and, delivers a steam like a clean smoke, free from smoke, without combustion moved a step closer to complying with the law.

Electronic Cigarette or Ecig is a device that suits one who wants to quit smoking. Some manufacturers of Ecigs claim it to be harmless, successful alternative to tobacco cigarette and it is an ideal smoking cessation device for people who intend to stop smoking. For those who say that Ecig is addictive there is an answer. Ecig comes with electronic liquid (also called eliquid, vapor, vape etc.) which is without any dose of nicotine at all and its accompanying harmful ingredients. Ecig may not stop you smoking immediately but it may aid you in your motivation to stop smoking.

Words 480

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Context Search Makes It Easier To Search For Antidisestablishmentarianism

There are many add-ons, plugins and utilities that help in search and research.  But from the point of view of  a freelancing content provider like myself, Context Search is an other addon for Firefox that helps you search when you are on the Internet.   Antidisestablishmentarianism is supposedly the longest English word.  28 English letters make this word and they include 12 syllables.  To research this word, all you have to do is, install Context Search addon for your Firefox, select the word antidisestablishmentarianism and right click to open the context menu.

There, in the context menu you will find a new option ‘Search for “word”‘  (word = is the ‘word’ that you selected) and by default, Context Search gives you four search options. You can search Google, Yahoo, Dictionary, Amazon and eBay.  You can also customize and manage the search engines.   You can choose from the multitude of search plugins that Firefox offers and install them.

Firefox Plug in Context Search

Select text, right click to invoke Context Search and search.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Context Search helps you search without leaving the browser.  You can get it here. Perhaps you would like to test the Context Search addon with this word, Antidisestablishmentarianism!  🙂

The credit to the Context Search addon on goes to Ben Basson and there have been about three hundred eighty-five thousand nine hundred eighty-nine downloads so far.

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Paypal Currency Conversion Tool

Paypal Currency Conversion Tool helps you find out the worth of your American Dollar (USD $)  in Indian Rupee(INR).  Log into your Paypal account.  Click on the My Account tab.

Paypal Currency Conversion Tool

You will find “Withdraw” there. When you click on it, it opens a new screen – Withdraw Funds. Click on the option:  “Withdraw funds to your bank account“. If you have a verified bank account it is displayed as default in the amount transfer “To” box. Right beneath it to you will find the Paypal “Currency Converter“. Click on it.  It opens pops up a new window displaying the currency converter. This is the window that tells you exactly the equivalent amount Paypal is likely to consider at that point of time. Take a look at the screen shot for a detailed view.

The Paypal office in Chennai is a development center and has nothing to help you.  When I reached them while writing this post on 044 – 6634 8001, the receptionist there gave me this US toll free  # 1 402 935 2050.

Do not call them if you do not want to go through their IVR system that could take ages to reach their agent .  You are burning your money.  It is better that you mail them.  I came across this site which seemed to have plenty of resources to learn more about Paypal.  Good luck. Hope this little info about Paypal Currency Converter helps you.

If you liked this post, please pay it forward to others who do not know how Paypal deals with foreign exchange.

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How To: 6 Easy Steps To Convert Word Document to PDF

How do I convert the MS Word word document into PDF format?  That is the question before me.  I been doing a lot of reading on my Dell monitor for a long time and I just wanted to relax and read a PDF. So here is what I did.

  1. I went to Zoho.Com.
  2. Logged in with my GMail account.  (Well, you can also register with Zoho for a free account and use all its services).
  3. Under the drop down list of Productivity Applications, selected Writer.

    ZOHO Work, save and share online

  4. From the File menu, chose Import option. Picked up the document from my desktop.  Zoho Writer imported the document.
  5. Then again under File, I chose Export and from the sub menu selected PDF.
  6. Downloaded the PDF document.

The default Foxit Reader loaded the document for me and it was ready for me to read.  Well there were a few issues with some spacing in couple of places.  But that’s OK.  It did not hamper my work.  The bonus is you can also work online and save your documents online.  Zoho at this point of time is offering unlimited space but it seems it might limit it to 1GB when it gets out of it’s current beta avatar.

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How to: Customize your signature in GMail

Yes.  You can now customize your signature in GMail.  This is a feature that I had been waiting for GMail to introduce.  There were times when I wanted to introduce my services with a few links to content to my clients on Elance, Guru and oDesk, the freelance sites where I am active. One of those Firefox addons that I used was Wisestamp.  The problem with it was if people were accessing mails through their Outlook, Evolution or Mozilla’s Thunderbird or other mail clients they were unable to read my custom signatures.  Wisestamp displays my latest posts when I added my RSS feed to it.

Tip: How to customize your GMail Signature

Customize your GMail signature

You can customize your GMail signatures now.

Click on the image to view large

All you have to do is log into your GMail account (Created an account here if you do not have one) and login.  Click on settings tab that you find on your right top hand side.  There under the general tab, scroll down and you will find the Signature box. Now you will see a rich text editor.  Enter the text like your name, a designation with other contact details.  You can format the text, add links and insert images to add more value to your signatures.

Images You cannot add images from your desktop.  However you can add images from the web.  In case you want to add a logo or a specific picture, I suggest that you upload to your Picasa or Flickr account.  Add tags to the image.  Copy the link to the image and add it in the Web Address URL box that pops up when you click on the insert image icon.  If the image is small and the URL you entered is correct, it shows up almost immediately.  Save your settings.  Now click on the compose mail link and in your mail composing box, you should be able to see your signature in all its glory.  To edit it, you need to go to settings and tweak it.

In case you already have multiple custom addresses, you can create a unique signature for each address.

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How to: Share a Document Online – Tip 1

As a freelance content provider it is but natural that I deal with documents of all sorts.  I open new ones. I save them and share them.  Sharing most of the time involves mailing them across to others or uploading them to an online document management service and share a link or email as an attachment.

During one of those events, I sent across a word file that I created in Word 2010 (beta).  This document has an extension docx.  In the past I did have problems opening documents because of compatibility issues between different versions.  Word 97 loses its format when you try to open it Word 95.  Similarly you will find that a document that you created in OpenOffice looks different in certain respects, when you open it in MS Office word.

During those times there were occasions when I used Abiword or some such RTF tool.  While I was giving OpenOffice’s Writer a spin, I also downloaded a version of the MSOffice Word viewer.   All of them came with their own constraints.

Later I started using the online versions.  I used to upload my documents to Google Docs, or Zoho or to my account on Skydrive MS Office.  I upload my document and then share the documents.  Most of the time I used to send the link across and all the recipient has to do is click on the link and read it.

But in this particular instance I refer to, though I uploaded the document to one of my online document management accounts, I mailed her a copy.  I just wanted to see if she was able to open the document and read it.  She could not open it.  So I opened the Save As dialog box in my Word 2010 Beta and saved it as ‘Word 97 – 2003 document’.  I sent it across.  She could open it.  She said she would read it and get back to me with her review.*

So that is one more way to share your word document.  If you are using a Word 2010 Beta and if you are not sure about the version of the MS Office Word or any other word application the other person is using,  it is best to open a  ‘SaveAs’ dialog box and save it as ‘Word 97 -2000 document’.And then mail it across.

Click to enlarge

Please feel free to tell me how you share you documents.  Thank you.

*In this instance I still am waiting for her review.

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Hyperwords Helps You Interact With Your Words

This is about another addon that is of immense help to those that work with words.  I came across this addon a few years ago.  But somehow during the ensuring browser crashes and OS hopping and upgrades and updates I missed it.  Today I found it again and to my surprise I learned, Hyperwords has a version even for Chrome.  Once you install it and restart your Firefox / Chrome you are all ready and set to go.

Hyperwords Promotional Logo

Hyperwords - an extension for Firefox and Chrome browser

When you are on the net, select any text that you need to learn more about.  You will notice a small icon next to the text.  Hover your cursor on the Hyperword icon and you are shown a few options.  Choose the one that suits you and you are done.  You can do a whole lot of things with Hyperwords addon and the text on the web.  You can translate, email, share, find meanings and synonyms.  It interacts with Facebook and Twitter too.

Click here to learn more on their own demo page.

To see Hyperwords in action on YouTube, click here. It is much more detailed and elaborate.

No wonder there were one million, eleven thousand, four hundred and twenty one downloads when I checked the last time.  🙂

Give it a shot.  I am sure you would love it.

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