Monthly Archives: February 2012

QR This…

Why might you use a QR Code?

Scanning QR codes can reduce customer frustration when typing in long URL’s.  QR Codes – abbreviated from “Quick Response Code” – is a trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two dimensional codes) which allow people to connect people with each other and to multimedia digital content via a mobile application loaded on their smartphone.  QR codes allow the digital world to come into the real world. Once scanned, QR codes take you from the real world back into the digital world. There are a lot of different free QR code generators out on the Internet; here is a link to a blog post about “10 Free Online QR Code Generators”: http://freenuts.com/top-10-free-online-qr-code-generators/

Microsoft QR Code Cookies? Really?

QR codes work like this:       

  1. Place the QR Code at eye-level when scanning.     
  2. When designing: QR Codes should not be smaller than 5/8 inches by 5/8 inches when they are printed.
  3. Besides text, you can turn phone numbers, maps, business cards and other information into QR codes.

The QR Code generator that I use is QR Stuff  -   www.qrstuff.com – an easy to use website where I can select my data type, my URL content, pick a color and preview my QR Code before I download the image (pretty simple huh?). 

Things you should consider with QR codes:

  1. Place the QR code at eyelevel when scanning.
  2. When designing; QR codes should not be any smaller than 5/8-inches-by-5/8 inches when they are printed. 
  3.  Besides text, you can turn phone numbers, maps, business cards and other information into QR codes. 
  4.  Use a URL shortener for faster loading:   https://bitly.como   or  https://tinyurl.com

Check out this video on Advertising with QR codes:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYDbFTai0iE

Are QR codes the way of our future? Be on the look-out for QR codes in your magazines, on products in the grocery store, on video games, on marketing literature, or on your local TV station – I am positive you will see them. Stop back and post or tell us where you are seeing QR codes appear in your life? How many QR codes do you think were scanned across the world, during the time you read this blog post – kind of a fun way to market isn’t it?

Check it out, I even found a QR code attached to a recipe.

Who does't like General Tsao's Chicken?

 Check out our website and our blog and tell us how many times you can find the CS Technologies Plus QR code? As always, your comments and ongoing discussions are always welcome.

Happy Scanning!
Holly Berlin, General Manager

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Filed under Free Applications, Phone Applications, Social Networking

Google Chrome’s Password Generator

Everything we do via technology requires some sort of password protection. Whether we log on to a computer, check email, online banking, smart phones, or any kind of account management, we need passwords. How do we remember them all? I certainly can’t. I’m constantly fighting with myself when I need to recall a password for a particular website. Then when I think I finally have a password remembered, the system requires me to change it!

Google is in the process of working on a password generator for its  Chrome browser, to create strong passwords for its users to safeguard against hackers. When a user visits a page that Chrome thinks is going to set up an account, it will place a key icon in the password field. If the key icon is pressed, and confirmed, Chrome will generate a password that include letters, numbers, and characters to make it difficult for hackers to crack, and impossible for the user to remember.

photo credit: PC Magazine

Once the password is accepted, Chrome will sync it with the user’s other devices running the browser. Why does Google thinks it’s a good idea? They speculate that if a person doesn’t remember his or her password, then it can’t be given away to phishers.

Google’s goal is to have the browser authenticate the user’s login and identity. Currently you can achieve this through password managers, but users still know their passwords. By having Chrome generate passwords for users, this can remove the problem of phishing.

So what if the user would like to see their password from time to time? Google stated that they will create a secure website where users will be able to see and possibly print the passwords. Another problem would be, if someone cracks into the user’s Chrome account, they would have access to that person’s passwords.

We just can’t win can we? My solution would be to have a password that you will always remember, but spelled backwards, with the first letter in capital case, and the last as a digit and a symbol. Either that or we can just tattoo the password onto ourselves, and when we want to forget it, just add a flower tattoo over it. It works for the celebrities…

Will you be using this service once it’s available? Tell us what you think, all comments are welcome!

Chrissy Le, Technology Marketing Specialist

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Filed under Free Applications, Safety

Computing for All

Computers are everywhere. It can be a little shocking to realize how many are incorporated into our lives. Cars, thermostats, refrigerators, ovens and stoves, hot tub controls, toys, cellphones, etc. are all controlled through a silicon chip. The best part?  The alternatively abled have been included in this explosion of technology.

Can’t type? Talk to your computer. Voice control has been included in every version of Windows® since XP. The updated version included with Windows®7 is so slick, I’ve started using it. There are also several very good third party voice control software companies around the globe.

There are left-handed and right-handed half keyboards with keys arranged for people with the use of one arm or hand. There are keyboards with one inch keys for people who have difficulty seeing clearly or for small children.

There are on-screen keyboards that you use with a mouse or touch screen. When activated, the one incorporated into Windows® 7 becomes available during system startup so a user can put in a username and password.

Need help using the mouse? There are mice that can be controlled by a thumb, a head movement, a toe or a knee press, moving your eyes, breathing into a straw or worn on a finger. My favorite is an oversized trackball mouse that uses different colors to identify the buttons. It dissolves the barrier for people with arthritis, or other arm/hand motion issues. It’s terrific for small children and seniors.

Remember, you can always slow down or speed up how your mouse reacts to both movement and button clicks.

Eyesight an issue? There are screen magnifiers for people whose eyesight is impaired. There are screen readers for people who are blind. Website programming includes descriptions of their pictures and graphics so screen readers can tell the user what the graphic is.

Fingers too big to comfortably use the miniature keyboards on smartphones? Bring some bling to your smartphone use with a jeweled-tone capacitive stylus. Even people who hinder themselves with inch to four-inch long fingernails can use touch screens with these clever little items. The best part: no more fingerprints on the screen!!

No electricity? Computers have been designed to work off hand or pedal powered generators.

I’m eagerly waiting for one that will clean my house, cook my dinner and run my errands.

As always, Your comments and ongoing discussions are always welcome.

Carol Smith,
Training Manager

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Filed under Blogging, Social Networking

Remote control of your Security System? Yes, there is an App for that too!

With the arrival of the Internet, electronics manufacturers have leapt into the world of connectivity by incorporating user interfaces with their devices via a network connection.  We live in a fast-paced, electronics world and we want to be connected to it.  The Security Alarm and Home Automation world is no exception.

Traditional alarm systems had utilized a landline phone connection to send signals to a central station.  This signal was sent over a slow POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) line.  An incorporated digital modem in the control panel allowed communication in the event of an alarm. 

With the success of the Internet and cellular technologies, new possibilities have arrived for the alarm industry.  Now, a cellular or IP device could be utilized alone, or in conjunction with a landline for redundancy, to send digital signals to a central station.  With digital high speed connections, not only can we send alarm signals, but we now have two-way high speed communications with our equipment, giving us full management and control of our security system over the Cloud.

Do you own a Smartphone, iPad or similar hand-held device?  When it comes to security systems, yes, there is an app for that too!  With the tap of a finger, the remote services apps let you control your security system, receive text messages and e-mail alerts.  You can even view live video, event-driven video clips and pictures on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod touch®, BlackBerry® or Android™ devices.  

Enable the virtual keypad and you can arm or disarm the system remotely. And with integration of Home Automation, you can control your lighting, HVAC, door locks, garage door openers and most anything electronic from any place in the world!

As Smartphones and other hand-held devices evolve, the security system manufacturers will race to stay integrated and quickly bring complete home automation into our lives.

For more information, call.

-Jim Welch

Technology Specialist

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