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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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.

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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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Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

Ever Heard of Solar Christmas Lights?

This year Solar Christmas Lights are going to spread the message through out the world that festivals do contribute to making this world go green.   During the festive season Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are expected to raise the awareness of people about green and clean energy.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs will also increase the focus on Solar power and hopefully technologies that are involved in harnessing the abundant Solar energy will get a boost.

What are LEDs ?

Solar Christmas Lights are made of LED’s (Light Emitting Diodes) that consume much less energy than your traditional tungsten filament or CFL light.  They are more efficient compared to the traditional lights that need color filters.

How do they work?

A light sensor when triggered by sun light, activates the solar cells on a controller board, which in turn charge a  battery.  The energy charged battery powers the Solar Christmas Light LEDs.  A bright Sun produces about 1000 watts of energy for each square meter of the earth.  Solar Christmas lights burn brightly for almost up to fifteen hours after a full charge.

Solar Christmas Tree at Rockfeller Center, New York

Energy Efficient

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are energy efficient lights with distinctive look.  They are cost efficient and last longer.  Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs do not burn out but fade out over a period of time.  Besides a single bulb fading out in a string does not affect the other LEDs.  The energy savings made compared to the traditional lights is quite substantial.

Lasts Long

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs work for almost ten years.  This is almost twice the time of the incandescent bulb.

Safe

Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs are safer too. Since they do not generate much heat they are safer to hang on the Christmas trees.   Solar Christmas Lights with LEDs come in durable and sturdy plastic cases and do not break easily.  Hence they are comparatively safer and are less risky especially when children and pets are around.

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3 Tips to bid on Guru’s Best Projects and become a Winning Guru

This is about a feature  “Add to Watch List” on Guru.com, where you go to pick your freelance projects.

You are busy.  You are busy with your content.  You are that busy you don’t even have time to log into your Guru account and check out those projects. And that is pretty bad news. You are busy now. But what about tomorrow, when your current assignment ends?   You will have to find a new project, bid on it and win it to keep you occupied.  It could take an other three days to three weeks and may be beyond.

Don’t despair.  Not all is lost.  Guru has a nifty feature.  “Add to Watch List”Log into your Guru account.  Click on the “Get Work” tab.  Set your search filters of your choice and now you have a list of all those projects that are open.  Neatly tabulated under various headings and they include Employer Statistics too.  IMHO, this is the most important column.  It informs you a great deal about this client.  (Read Employer = Potential Client = Client.)  It informs you if this potential client had paid her bills.  The number of projects she had posted and the kind of rating the providers gave them.

1 – The FIVE STAR rated client is the best.  That means none of our clan had any issues with this client.

2 – How much did this client pay?  A couple of thousands.  Oh.. I like this client more.  She’s been around for some time.  She knows how the system works.   She deserves your complete professional attention.  One you would like to retain for ever and be in her black book.

3 – Does she pay all her bills?  She does. Fantastic.  You ought not miss her projects.

What do you do now?  You are busy with your current project and yet do not want to leave this excellent potential client.

That’s where your Guru’s feature “Add to Watch List” comes in.  You just click on that tab “Add Watch List” and it goes into your “Add Watch List”.

Now you can go to your My Account and there under your “Manage Your Proposals”, reach your  “Watch List”.  Click on it, to go to your “Watch List”.Filter your watch list projectsYou can also set your filters from the drop-down list that provides you four options.  The first one is “Newly Listed”, then “Ending First”, the third is “Project Budget – Highest first” and the fourth is the “lowest first”.  Set your filters here and Guru will deliver all your watch-list projects  neatly tabulated.

At one glance you can now check out the best of the projects, the best paymaster, saving you plenty of time.Guru Add to Watchlist OptionsThere are also other filters that hide all those projects you have applied for, projects that viewed, those that need on-site work and vendors only projects.

Keep working on your projects, make some time go to your “Watch List” and present your bids.  That way you can keep both your hands busy all the time.  What you say?  🙂

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