Contents

IntroductionMany documents that are to be electronically processed contain barcodes to encode important information that is extracted via barcode decode software. There are a number of issues that should be considered when choosing a barcode symbology. The largest distinguishing characteristic to be considered is whether a linear (1D) or 2 Dimensional (2D) symbology is to be employed. 1D symbologies, as the name implies, typically consist of width modulated bars and space...

An Evaluation Of 2D Barcodes In Document Processing Applications

An Evaluation Of 2D Barcodes In Document Processing ApplicationsIntroductionMany documents that are to be electronically processed contain barcodes to encode important information that is extracted via barcode decode software. There are a number of issues that should be considered when choosing a barcode symbology. The largest distinguishing characteristic to be considered is whether a linear (1D) or 2 Dimensional (2D) symbology is to be employed. 1D symbologies, as the name implies, typically consist of width modulated bars and spaces that encode the user information. There is no information contained in the vertical dimension of a 1D symbol. 2D symbologies encode information in both dimensions of the symbol and as a result, have much higher data density. 2D symbols typically use a regular grid of possible cell positions, where a cell is either black or white.This article will focus on the use of 2D symbols in document processing applications because of the significant data density advantage of 2D symbols over 1D symbols. In particular, we will compare the relative merits of three popular public domain 2D symbologies: Data Matrix, QR Code and Micro QR Code. Following a brief overview of each symbology, we will compare them based on their data density, error correction, and relative processing speed.Data MatrixData Matrix symbols use a regular array of square cells ranging in size from a 10 by 10 grid up to a 144 by 144 grid. A 1 cell quiet zone is required around the entire symbol. In addition, rectangular sizes are also available. Each symbol consists of a fixed L pattern that is used for finding along with a clock track along the opposite sides of the L. In addition, there are internal clock tracks for larger Data Matrix. These fixed locations do not encode any information. They are present to identify the symbol as a Data Matrix and to aid the decode software. The remaining grid locations contain either a black or white squares depending on the information to be encoded.QR CodeQR Code symbols also employ a regular array of square cells ranging in size from a 21 by 21 grid up to a 177 by 177 grid. A 4 cell quiet zone is required around the entire symbol. To aid finding, QR Code symbols contain 3 finder patterns at 3 of the 4 corners. In addition, there are internal alignment patterns, clock patterns, as well as format information on larger symbols that gives the size of the code.For data applications that require smaller amounts of data, there is a derivative version of QR Code called Micro QR Code which can encode up to 35 numeric digits in less space than a corresponding QR Code. It has 4 different square sizes: 11 by 11, 13 by 13, 15 by 15 and 17 x 17. Each size requires a 2 cell quiet zone around the entire symbol. It contains only 1 finder pattern, with limited clock pattern and format information.Data Density and Error CorrectionData Matrix has a clear data density advantage over QR Code. This is especially true for smaller amounts of user data. This is due to the fact that it has fewer fixed cell locations. It does not devote as much space for finder patterns, and contains no format information. Micro QR Code was designed to address the data density issue and is comparable in size to the Data Matrix for this data content.All 3 types of symbols use Reed Solomon error correction to detect and correct errors due to symbol damage or imaging issues. The number of detectable and correctable errors is determined by the number of extra error correction codewords included in the symbol that are above and beyond the codewords used to encode the data.The data capacity of a given size symbol is a function of the amount of error correction overhead as well as the data itself. Data Matrix uses a fixed level of error correction that is not selectable by the user. The percentage of error correction codeword overhead ranges from 62.5% for the smallest symbol down to 28% for larger symbols. By contrast, QR Code has 4 different levels of error correction that allow an approximate recovery capacity of 7%, 15%, 25% or 30%. Micro QR Code varies the choices of the amount of error correction for each of the 4 allowable sizes. The smallest only allows error detection, while the largest allows up to 25% recovery capacity.The amount and type of user data will dictate the size of the symbol that is necessary. In addition, for QR Code and Micro QR Code, the amount of error correction used will factor into the size as well. The table below summarizes the relative size and error correction capacities of the 3 symbols shown above.Symbology -- Relative Size (with Quiet Zone) / Error Correction Overhead (%) / Maximum Correctable ErrorsData Matrix -- 1.00 / 58.3 / 3QR Code -- 3.70 / 65.3 / 8Micro QR Code -- 1.33 / 50.0 / 1The choice of the amount of error correction used in QR Code and Micro QR Code is application dependent. In situations where size is an issue, one may be tempted to reduce the amount of error correction overhead. This may reduce the overall read rate of the symbol if the barcode may be damaged or if the imaging environment makes it more difficult to get ideal images. Barcodes on soft packages that curve the symbol, as well as shiny tape over the symbol that can cause specular reflection back to the camera are examples of how codes may be damaged. In general, if space permits, for optimum read rates, one should normally choose the maximum allowable error correction capacity.Relative Processing SpeedIn real time applications where the time to decode an image is important, one must also compare the symbologies on how quickly they can be decoded. The most time consuming part of decoding a barcode within a large and busy image is generally finding the symbol. The more unique the finder pattern within a barcode symbol, the easier it is to locate within a busy image. This reduces processing time. Conversely, if a barcode symbology does not provide a unique finder pattern, more time will be spent looking for it.QR Code and Micro QR code have a significant advantage over Data Matrix because of the unique finder patterns within the symbols. QR Code is the best of the 3 choices because it includes 3 finder patterns, each being able to be used to find the symbol. Data Matrix has the L finder pattern and fixed clock lines. Unfortunately, these are not terribly unique patterns with forms where many areas of text are surrounded by boxes. In addition, both QR (Version 7 and above) and Micro QR Codes have format information within the symbol to let you know the size of the symbol and to confirm you are on a real symbol. Data Matrix does not contain explicit format data, providing only a clock track on the opposite sides of the symbol from the L corner.A busy form was scanned at 200 DPI, and a single instance of the 3 barcode symbols was added to the image with each symbol using 25 mil cells. Then in 3 separate passes, Volo, a barcode decode software toolkit from Omniplanar, was used to decode each symbol. In each pass, only one symbology type was enabled. The table below summarizes how long it took Volo to issue the decode result and completely finish processing the image. Both QR Code and Micro QR decoding were 3 to 4 times faster than Data Matrix decoding. This is almost entirely due to the good finder pattern in the QR and Micro QR symbols.Symbology -- Issue Time (msecs) / Total Time (msecs)Data Matrix -- 30.8 / 74.5QR Code -- 7.2 / 23.4Micro QR Code -- 7.6 / 21.9SummaryWhen deciding what 2D symbology type to use in document applications, one must consider data density, error correction and processing time. In applications where the size of the symbol must be kept to a minimum, both Data Matrix and Micro QR code are good choices. When processing speed is of primary importance, QR Code and Micro QR Code are both better choices than Data Matrix given their good finder patterns. In applications when both symbol size and processing speed are important, Micro QR Code is the best choice. However the largest possible Micro QR Code can only store 35 numeric digits with the minimum error correction (maximum of 3 errors). At the maximum error correction level, the data capacity drops to 21 numeric digits (maximum of 7 errors).

Do I Need An Accountant Or Accounting Software?

Do I Need An Accountant Or Accounting Software?

Accounting is the process of collecting, summarizing and analyzing the financial data of your business. Every business needs do keep on top of their accounts to ensure proper management of revenues and expenses. Failure to do so could cause your business to fail.There are two ways of keeping accounts for your business, one is enlist the help of an accountant and the other is to buy some accounting software and manage the accounts yourself.Lots of people are worried about accounts and tax and would rather pay for an accountant to do all the work for them, however this might suit some people but not everyone. With hiring an accountant this will be quite costly and the cost will depend on the size of your business and the amount of financial data it generate. If you are just starting up a business you could collect all of the information and hire an accountant once a year. Most accountants work on an hourly basis so depending on how long it take them to work out your accounts will depend on how much you have to pay them. If you keep all receipts and invoices in date order this could keep your accountant fees to a minimum.Another option is to invest in good "accounting software" . You do not need to have any knowledge about accounting as most good software is very easy to use with simple steps that anyone can follow. More and more business are using accounting software as the price of an Accountant can be quite steep whereas accounting software is a one of payment. There are lots of different types of accounting software for small and larger business and for lots of different types of businesses. Some accounting software can work for all size businesses with modules that you can add as your business grows and your accounting needs grow.Some of the many benefits of having accounting software are:Saves timeSaves money100% AccuracyUp to date accounts always availableQuick access to informationThey are just a few of the reason why accounting software is best option for any business. Accounting software will make your business management much better, much more efficient and easier. You will be able to access the up to date data with a simple click of the mouse giving you the competitive edge that all business need to have in this day and age.Choosing the right software is a very critical. You should always do your research before you buy any accounting software. With the internet it is not a problem as you can find reviews, websites and talk to users of software to find the best one for your particular business. I would talk to many different users and read many different reviews and then weigh up the benefits of each. Once you have chosen the right one then your business can grow and expand without any worries about finances. The software will free you time up so you can get on with your job.

E Commerce A Serious Marketing Arm For The New Millennium

E Commerce A Serious Marketing Arm For The New Millennium

Business will never be the same as before. It would only take flyers, a banner and probably blaring music to let your business be known to the community. But now it has never been the same with more and more businesses opening and going online simultaneously. Business owners are now seeing the bigger picture of having a website paired with your traditional business. With this communication tool, it can expand your clientele to a vast region of a globally connected market.But going on line is no joke. This can be a pretty expensive marketing tool but a justifiable one. Choosing a web hosting company that can accommodate your online business is not an easy task. You would not want to commit to a fly by night web host that falls short on resources and heavy on the price.Hooking up to the World Wide Web is a venture that needs to be planned and coordinated well. It is good to choose a web host that do the website development themselves. Mostly website developers or website hosts have an all in one package that can help you save money and time. Having two companies coordinate with each other can be tiring and a hassle of your time. With an all in package the web host and developer already know the capabilities of the resources of the packaged being agreed on. It would be a great synergy of production and presentation talent to go with a properly managed hosting hardware. Another advantage of an all in one package is you only have to talk to one company regardless of software, hardware or any tweak or modification that you want to be done. Plus, they can answer you right then and there if it is possible for the hardware to do the job.Putting up a website is like putting up a virtual store but a lot cheaper compared to the physical one. Having a store built needs to be designed and studied by architects and engineers to attract more people into the store and have more possible consumers. This is just the same as a website. It needs to be attractive and comprehensive to drive in more and more viewers. Hire professional website developers and designers for the site to have a professional feel and let the viewers know that you're serious about the business. Doing it with a ready made template and do-it-yourself website creator program don't just cut it and will only show that you are not an established company.Business tuned websites serve as a global store to companies big and small. Setting up a website that stands above the others could make your backyard company into an overnight international success. Spend wisely on the conceptualization. Choose a dedicated host server, professional web developers and designers to rake in interest and curiosity of other web site viewers.

Protecting Your Computer From Viruses, Spyware, And Other Security Threats

Protecting Your Computer From Viruses, Spyware, And Other Security Threats

Most of us rely on our personal computers and those in our office to complete multiple tasks each day. If that data is lost or compromised it can create numerous problems for us. Protecting computers against viruses and spyware is something you should do before you start using any program on it. The information you prevent from being accessed could be your credit card accounts and bank accounts. If they are compromised you can end up becoming a victim of identity theft.One way that people accidentally end up with viruses or spyware on their computer is by not paying attention to the sites they use. Dont get into the habit of giving out your personal information online just because a site asks for it. To opt in, you should only have to give them a first name and an email address.Always check the address in the URL to make sure you are accessing a secure site. It should start with https as this will let you know it is very secure. If it only starts with http then the site is not secure and you can end up compromising the security of your computer if you continue entering information on the site.Viruses can spread very rapidly so if you think your computer may be infected, you should take care not to pass it to any other area of your computer or to others via email. By disconnecting your computer from the network you have a good chance of isolating the damages.Always be on the alert for various types of emails known as phishing. This is a scam to get you to provide personal information. Once you do, spyware can be attached to your computer. Never respond to emails asking you for personal information as most credible companies wont contact you for such information.Make sure you purchase a virus and spyware protection program that is very easy to install. Most of them offer step by step instructions for you to follow. You can find out how easy such software programs are to install before you buy them just by reading some independent reviews online.You need to choose the program for your computer protection very carefully. While they are designed to give you the very best security, you can be sure those trying to pass viruses or get spyware into your system are very smart. They have learned elaborate tricks to be able to gain access to your information.One of the latest tactics that these criminals have been using is to sell software that is supposed to protect your computer from viruses and spyware. Unfortunately, what they are selling you is actually the very thing you are trying to protect yourself against. Always get such software from a company that has an excellent reputation, not just any one that you come across online for a good price.In order to ensure your computer is well protected against viruses and spyware, you want a program that offers you instant updates. These will usually happen for one full year after you install the program. This ensures that your protective software is always the most current available and criminals will have a hard time infecting your computer system with viruses or spyware.

An Online Telescope Brings Star Gazing Home

To access the Internet, we must first open up our Internet browser. Once the browser has been activated we can either select one of our favorite web sites or go to the address bar and type in the Internet address that we wish to access. Generally, when typing in the web sites address we begin with the letters www. These initials stand for World Wide Web.Now, however, by logging on to certain web sites, we can view and gain information through our computers that transcends the World Wide Web. Through our computers we can capture, view and study images that are obtained from far beyond the earths atmosphere. Specifically, through the internet, we have the opportunity of viewing worlds beyond our world by accessing an online telescope.How It WorksThe process involved in accessing an "online telescope" viewing opportunity requires coordinating of viewing times and dates. An individual, at the participating observatory, is normally assigned to coordinate the requests. Once the e-mail has been received and the time is scheduled, the coordinator, that is facilitating the use of the online telescope, will respond to the request.The process is completed once the telescope records the images that were viewed based on the given request. Once the images are posted an e-mail, with the link, is sent to the individual who made the request. That individual can then just simply click on to the imbedded link and access the photos that reflect their specific request provided by the online telescope.Two Viewing MethodsThe individual making the request can ask that the online telescope be utilized a number of ways. In addition, the observatory may honor requests for different colored filters to be utilized when requested by the viewer.One of the viewing methods includes the viewer requesting that certain specific coordinates be captured. These coordinates may correspond to the position of a specific star, system, etc. If the person making the request is asking for specific coordinates to be observed, they can accomplish this by accessing the available catalogs that can help provide these specific coordinates.The other method simply provides an image by the online telescope of the general areas of space. The online user can simply request that the planet Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, etc, be viewed by the online telescope and that its image be captured. In addition, this method can simply request that general areas of deep space be observed.

RSA Attack Efficiency Improves

August 2006 saw the disclosure of a fairly interesting attack against the RSA encryption algorithm (most famously being used in SSL - protecting online transactions). While it didn't target the actual algorithm, which still has not been broken, it is a so-called side channel attack, targeting the peculiarities associated with implementing the algorithm on various computing hardware.The team behind the initial disclosure have recently submitted a modified approach to the attack, resulting in almost-astronomical improvements in attack efficiency.In basic terms, the attacks rely upon a phenomenon known as 'Branch Prediction Analysis', where a program / attacker is able to predict what other software is doing as it passes through the CPU of a system.In the first iteration of the described attack, the method required snooping on what was happening with the CPU for a relatively long period (or number of cycles), and certain software that implemented SSL protection (OpenSSL) quickly introduced patches to protect against this listening attack.While many hardware manufacturers and Operating System developers have introduced defensive mechanisms to try and prevent this sort of attack taking place, it has been discovered that Pentium-IV (PIV) chips with Hyper-Threading enabled still have two caches that are not adequately protected. The new iteration of the attack, using a technique dubbed 'Simple Branch Prediction Analysis' (SBPA) targets both of these caches and can extract almost the complete secret SSL key in just one cycle. Running as an unprivileged user, this method can also target and extract data from any other software processes running on the system (SSL is an example in this case).The technical black magic of how a branch predictor attack works can be explained as follows. Although modern CPUs are very quick, they still can't process absolutely every bit of information that they need to without a queue building up. This queue of instructions / data waiting for processing sits in a cache next to the CPU and they are executed in order of priority / time spent in the queue (various tuning settings come into play). By attempting to monopolise the CPU's attention, and filling the cache, the miniscule timing differences between when instructions from the same process are executed can give hints about what other instructions and data are moving through the CPU. Being able to interpret what this data is exactly, is key to branch prediction.Mitigating the issue is the requirement to be running secure and insecure processes on the same processor at the same time, and for the attacker being able to run their process as a local user. Due the spying process capturing almost 100% CPU continuously while it is running, normal system monitoring software should be alerting administrators to something out of the ordinary running on the system.What real-world threat exists for this relatively esoteric attack? Shared-server installations. It would be possible for a lesser-privileged account holder on a shared server to run the spying process while other account holders are negotiating SSL connections. A well timed attack will allow them to run their spying process once (and thus minimise the attention drawn to it), and then be able to effectively intercept SSL communications directed at the target.

Summary

IntroductionMany documents that are to be electronically processed contain barcodes to encode important information that is extracted via barcode decode software. There are a number of issues that should be considered when choosing a barcode symbology. The largest distinguishing characteristic to be considered is whether a linear (1D) or 2 Dimensional (2D) symbology is to be employed. 1D symbologies, as the name implies, typically consist of width modulated bars and space...