How to: Download templates from Avery (without providing your information)

Today I was looking for a template to use with some business card paper from Avery. Upon trying to download the template, I realized that it wouldn't let me without me giving it a valid email address. I really didn't want to, but I did anyways. Now, I'm writing this so that others that might happen to read it won't have to worry about giving Avery their personal information.

First, you need to figure out what template you want. Once you have done that, get to the part where it asks for your name and email address. Then, copy the text that's in the address bar of that window. (On Chrome, this wasn't an issue, but when I tried it in Firefox, the form requesting my information opened in a separate window, which made this part necessary.)

Here's where things start to get fun (and maybe somewhat tricky). Paste the text you copied from the address bar of the form's window into a new tab or window, but don't press [Enter] or go to the URI (yet); it needs to be modified to bypass the name and email form.

Look at the URI, and it should start out similar to this:

Depending on where you are trying this from, the part that says:
might be different. Regardless, this is the part between the first ampersand and the last forward-slash before it; this is also the part that needs to be modified.

Change it to:
and press the [Enter] key, click "Go"/an arrow, or whatever else you use to go to the URI. You should get the download page for the template you wanted; it should say "Downloading..." (or something similar), and provide a link to click if the download doesn't start automatically.

If you do try this, I'd appreciate a comment letting me know whether or not it worked for you. Thanks!


Scan, Convert, Share using Android and ZXing

So, I had been looking for an easy way to scan a barcode and then share it as a QR Code (even if the original was in a different format). After a while going through several different applications with no luck, I finally realized what I could do.

The ZXing barcode scanner has a "custom search" feature that allows entering a custom URL for searching. I didn't think that I had any use for it, until I realized that I could use it to easily convert data read from a barcode into QR Code format.

Basically, all I did was utilize the same thing that's used by ZXing's online QR Code generator.
Here's how:
  1. Open the Barcode Scanner application.
  2. Tap the phone's Menu Key.
  3. Tap the "Settings" option.
  4. Tap the "Custom search URL" item (you might need to scroll down first).
  5. Fill in the box with: "http://chart.apis.google.com/chart?cht=qr&chs=300x300&chl=%s" (not including the quotes).
  6. Go back and scan something.
  7. Press the "Custom Search" option.
  8. See below.
  • The "300x300" part is the size; I found this to be a good size on my Droid Incredible, but you can change it as needed. (It should remain a square, though.)
  • It doesn't like the "%" (percent) symbol. I haven't found an easy way around this, but I'm sure it could be put into the generator box directly using JavaScript; I just haven't taken the time to figure it out. (Let me know if you do, so I can link to it!)
  • If you scan something that contains a percent symbol, and it's not working properly, replace the "%" in the URL it directs you to with "%25"; then it should work.
Feel free to comment with tips/tricks/improvements, a better way of doing it, or just to let me know you read this post.


No more social networking for me

At least, not for the most part. After much thought and consideration, I've finally decided to abandon my social networking sites. That said, I might check back every once in a while, (possibly once a month,) but I definitely won't be participating as much as I used to.

Several factors influenced this decision, and I'd like to highlight a few:

  • Security. As most people with an interest in security know, social networking can be a very bad thing. I have not had any issues of my own as a result of social networking, but I'd rather stop before that changes (just in case).
  • Stability. Facebook, now the most popular social networking site, is by far the least usable of the three I'm familiar with (MySpace, Facebook, and myYearbook). Their AJAX code sucks. Their "applications" are a joke. If they can't fix simple bugs, I don't trust them to make sure my "privacy" is secured. Note that I put that word in quotes; I honestly don't believe it exists anymore. To a certain extent, yes, it does; to the extent of having a "privacy policy", absolutely not. That's why I've never posted anything on there that I didn't expect the whole world to see, anyways. Even the "messages" feature hasn't seen anything from me that would be severely detrimental if it were exposed. Either way, I'd rather not support a site that can't even maintain itself, let alone rely on a site like that.
  • Productivity. I plan on learning programming and attending DMACC; eliminating social networking will eliminate one of my biggest distractions.
  • Usefulness (or lack thereof). It's quite ironic that I would join a social networking site in the first place, considering that I'm not really a social person.
  • Communication. If someone needs to communicate with me, they have plenty of other ways to do it; I have Internet access and telephone service (with support for SMS). I'm sure that if someone needs to find a way to communicate with me, they can.
I'm not sure when exactly this will happen, but probably by the end of August, if not much earlier. It wouldn't be unlikely if the end of this week holds the last of my participation. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.