Bangladesh Bank (or Bangladesh Government) Approved Money Changers List

Any Bangladeshi wanting to go abroad will be seeking to buy and endorse foreign currency at some point. Foreign currency can be bought from money changers but this being Bangladesh we have no way of knowing which money changer is operating legally and which one is operating illegally. You can refer to this news item for an example.

However, unknown to most people, Bangladesh Bank actually maintains a list of money changers.

And this list of money changers is also available on its site!

This list can be downloaded as a PDF (it’s free to download from the Bangladesh Bank website) and contains the following information about every money changer:

  • Organization Name
  • Address
  • License Number
  • Date (I assume date license was issued)
  • Area: Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet etc.

Unfortunately this list is available only in Bengali, so people who cannot read Bengali will have some difficulty interpreting this list.

You can download a copy of the Bangladesh Bank money changers list from our site (we have saved the list on our site in case the Bangladesh Bank site is down or if it takes the list offline).

However, here is the link to the Bangladesh Bank money changers list in case you want to download it directly from the Bangladesh Bank site – go to the provided URL/website and then click on “Money Changers” on the right hand side.

Details can be seen in the image below.

Bangladesh Bank money changers list

Have you had any experiences with money changers in Bangladesh? If so, we would love to hear from you!

Feel free to let us know in the comments section below.

Really Free Website Templates, Images and Other Resources for Websites and Web Design

As a web designer or web developer, we never know when a website template or an image may come in handy. For this reason we always hoard free website templates and images from the internet. However, it is not easy to come across sources that regularly provide you free website templates, images etc.

As a web designer or web developer, we are always in search of free website templates, images and other similar resources because we never know when a website template or an image may come in handy. For this reason we always hoard free website templates and images from the internet. However, it is not easy to come across sources that regularly provide you free website templates, images and other relevant web design/development resources that are really free.

Hence, below is a list of such sources that regularly give away free website templates, images and other resources such as fonts, paint brushes, Photoshop plugins etc.

And by free, I mean absolutely free. All you need to do is register for a free account (no credit card information required during registration!) and then every week or month just visit the respective site to download their latest free goodies. Hence, these are a source of freebies that is almost never ending!

So, without further ado, below is my list of sources that provide website templates, images and more for absolutely free:

Envato MarketplaceFree web design files such as website templates from Envato for Free Website Templates And Other Stuff

Now, this one is huge! Here, every month, you will find a list of various free web design and/or web development resources which include website templates, images, audio/video clips, Photoshop plugins etc.

The resources are actually hosted by the different sites operated by Envato. One of these sites is ThemeForest.net.
It provides one new, free website template every month! Website templates include free themes for some of the most popular CMS such as WordPress and Joomla as well as HTML5 website templates.
The links for some of the other Envato sites are listed below:

To get the free resources such as the website templates, all you need is a free account with Envato which will give you access to all the Envato sites. Then you can download any of their freebies absolutely free of charge. Just remember to visit the link above once, near the beginning of every month.

TemplateMonster for Free Website Templates

For this one, you need to subscribe to their newsletter. The newsletter subscription box is near the bottom of the homepage. Please Free web templates or themes from TemplateMonsternote that once you subscribe, they will send you a newsletter (i.e. email) once, everyday which I admit is a little annoying. But then, more often than not, the email will contain a link to a free WordPress or HTML website template or theme which is definitely worth the slight inconvenience.

Also, the newsletter will contain useful links to their blog which I have found very informative and knowledgeable. And of course, the newsletter contains discount codes for their website templates which is up to you whether you want to take advantage of.

Shutterstock for Free Images Free images from Shutterstock.

Every week, this site gives you 2 new premium images for free. One is a Photoshop file (PSD/JPEG) and the other is an Illustrator file (EPS format). All you need is a free account in the site and then visit it every week on Tuesday or Wednesday when the new free image files are made available for download.

Simply, remember to visit it once every week to download the free image files.

iStock for Free Images and MoreiStock for free images

Another place where you can download new free images every week. This is a service by Getty Images and downloaded files are of very high quality.

Best of all, here you get not only Photoshop files (PSD/JPEG), but also Illustrator files (EPS), as well as free Video and Audio files. Definitely a valuable source of free web design files for any web designer or developer.

And, as usual, all you need to do is create a free account and then visit the link provided here once every week.

Well, this all I have got for now. I will keep updating this list as and when I come across similar resources that are really useful and free. In the mean time, if anyone is aware of other such free resources, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments section below.

How To Apply For Bangladeshi Passport

Recently I had a Bangladeshi passport issued so I wanted to record my experiences and describe how to apply for Bangladeshi passport, in case others find it useful too.Bangladeshi Passport Cover

All Bangladeshi passports are now machine readable (known as MRP). Hence, if you have an old passport that you want renewed but is not MRP, you will be issued a new passport.

There are two ways you can apply for a passport.
One is the offline application where you collect a form from the passport office.
The other way is to fill up an online application form.

Offline Passport Application:

  • First you have to collect/get the form. This you can do on any working day and at any time during office hours by going to the passport office in Agarga, Dhaka.
  • Fill-up the form with necessary information. You will also need an attested passport size photo. The application form will have to be attested too.
  • It’s best to pay the necessary fees at this stage. Fees are collected in the Sonali bank near the passport office, i.e. you cannot pay the fees while submitting the form.
  • Next you need to submit the form. Again, you can do this on any day. However, be prepared to spend several hours in the passport office. Your biometric data will be collected on the same day. You will have to queue up in several places for various purposes. This includes being assigned a serial number, having the form verified as completed correctly, and finally collection of biometric data. The biometric data includes thumbprint, photograph and signature.
  • After this is done, you will be given a receipt which will have the tentative delivery date of the passport.
  • Be aware that if you have an existing passport (that may have expired), a police verification will NOT be necessary. However, if you are having a passport issued for the first time, police verification is mandatory.
  • You can find out if you passport is ready or not by sending an SMS to a number that is mentioned in the receipt that you were provided when you submitted your form.
  • If you get SMS response that your passport is ready, go to the passport office to pick up your passport. Again, be prepared to spend several hours in long queues.

Online Passport Application:

  • You can also complete the passport application form online, at: http://www.passport.gov.bd/
  • To be honest, though this is called online application, most of the work occurs offline. Here, you only get to fill up the form in an online form at the URL provided above.
  • Once the form has been completed online, you have to download a PDF, which is basically the softcopy of the form that is used for offline submission. In this case, the information you entered in the online form is prefilled in the PDF.
  • Next you will have to get a printout of the PDF. Remember to have 2 copies of the PDF printed out because you will have to submit 2 forms.
  • After that, the process is exactly the same as that described above for offline application.
  • Hence, you will need to get the picture and (both of) the forms attested, pay the fees in a bank, queue up for submitting the form etc.
  • Once the passport is ready, the passport collection process is also the same as described above.

Do not expect this to be a pleasant experience. If you are doing this in the summer, be prepared to spend hours in crowded, sweltering halls/rooms.

Also, for obvious reasons (i.e. collection of biometric data) the actual applicant will have to be present on the day of submitting the passport application form.

Create Cartoon Character or Picture of Yourself – Top 11 sites

Creating a cartoon character or picture of yourself (also known as avatar) is very easy and fun. You can easily create one using the numerous free applications available online. Here we list the top 10 websites that you can use to create a cartoon character or picture of yourself.

An avatar or a cartoon picture is cool to have and also can be helpful. It sets you apart from all your friends who have plain old photo. It also creates a sense of mystery by hiding the actual you!

So, how can you create a cartoon character or picture of yourself?

Here is our list of the top 11 sites that let you create a cartoon character/picture or avatar of yourself:

Cartoonize.net

This website lets you cartoonize your photo in one click. It is very easy and totally free! You need simply to select or upload your photo, and in the second step you choose the cartoon effect. There is also a desktop version (which you can download to your computer and use without an internet connection) which you can buy or try for free.

Below is a sample of how Cartoonize gives a cartoon effect to your pictures.

Cartoon from photo

Faceyourmanga.com

FaceYourManga is brilliant Manga-type avatar creation tool. You start from scratch and start building your avatar starting from the face type and ending with makeup. When done, your avatar can be downloaded to your computer.

Make cartoon of yourself from scratch

South Park Avatar

If you are a fan of South Park you can use the series’ official website for creating avatars that look like South Park characters. You can choose any type of South Park character: adults, 4th graders, kindergartners  or Canadians. You can then choose their hairstyle, skin tone, clothes, etc. When you are done you can save your avatar or share it on Facebook. The site even lets you create a desktop background using the avatar you create.

Southpark character avatar

SP Studio

This is another site where you can create cartoon look-a-likes of yourself, friends or celebraties, inspired by the art style of South Park. This fanpage has existed for more than 10 years with regular updates.

another site to create southpark like characters of yourself

Dumpr Sketch

Dumpr Sketch produces a pencil sketch of the photos you provide it. One of the service’s unique features is that in addition to accepting photos stored on your computer, the picture can also be given pictures from Facebook, Picasa, or Flickr. You can also use the URLs of images if they are stored online.

pencil sketch from picture

Zwinky

Zwinky is a wonderful tool to cartoon-ize your pictures. The tool works through an Internet Explorer toolbar and works best on images with a white background. It provides lots of clothes and accessories for making custom characters. Just use your creativity to make a great avatar.

zink

Portrait Illustration Maker 

Portrait Illustration Maker is a simple web service that lets you create an online avatar from scratch. From the background image to the mouth shape of your character, from the facial hair to the body type, everything is customizable. When you are done, your avatar can be downloaded as a PNG image file.

make cartoon portrait

 

Mii

Simple but elegant interface to make avatars in Wii-style. Free to use, even without subscription.

create cartoon character

 

Pick a Face

Perfect for the creation of a face-only avator or cartoon. Lots of possibilities and free to use.

face avatar or cartoon

ToonDoo

At Toondoo you can create a cartoon of yourself. Besides that, you can also create your own comics and upload pictures to make a cartoon of it. You can sign up for free, but when you want to use all the possibilities, you have to pay in the end.

create cartoon faces and comic strips

 

Bitstrips

This is a Facebook app which means that the easiest way to use it is to log in to your Facebook account. However, you can also download this to your iPhone or Android mobile phone.

This app lets you create an avatar or cartoon character version of yourself and your friends and put them in a cartoon strip that you can share with your social networks.

It will take you through about twenty steps, from choosing the shape of your jaw to your eye color. You can even choose glasses frames and whether or not you have freckles on your face.

Cartoon characters with Bitstrips

Then, choose your scenario. There are over 10,000 options. Once you pick one, you can finalize your cartoon. Then it will give you the option to share it on your Facebook newsfeed!

Cartoon with Bitstrips

If you have tried any of these sites to create a cartoon character or avatar of yourself, do share with us your experiences in the Comments below.

Fast Weight Loss – Top 10 Tips

Fast weight loss - men and womenTo lose weight fast and keep it off, eating well and exercising are key (the secret, of course, is to eat less and move more). Add these 10 easy tips to your arsenal to boost your weight-loss efforts.

With regards to the diet, Michael Dansinger, MD, of NBC’s The Biggest Loser show recommends eating a diet that minimizes starches, added sugars, and animal fat from meat and dairy foods. For fast weight loss, he recommends focusing on fruits, veggies, egg whites, soy products, skinless poultry breasts, fish, shellfish, nonfat dairy foods, and 95% lean meat.

As for the exercise, here is what Dansinger has to say: “Cardio burns the most calories, so it is ideal for fast weight loss, but afterward you need to include a few hours a week of strength training”. To burn the most fat, try to break a sweat after your warm-up and keep sweating for the entire hour, Dansinger says. One way to step up the intensity is to do interval training — brief bursts of high-intensity, followed by a mellower pace, and repeating that pattern throughout your workout.

So, here are our top 10 tips for fast weight loss:

1.   Workout smarter and take breaks

Do 3-to-4 shorter 10-minute workouts instead of 1 big 30-to-40-minute cardio workout.
Take a 20 minute break half way through an hour-long workout.

2.   Wake up & Workout!

As soon as you wake up in the morning workout for at least 30min to an hour. Studies show that working out in the morning has been shown to burn up to 3 times as more fat as opposed to working out at any other time during the day.

3.   Drink lots of water and drink green tea

Drinking lots of water helps the kidneys function properly which in turn reduces pressure on liver. This allows the liver to perform its duties which is to help your body burn stored fat for energy.

Regarding green tea, studies show you can burn 35-to-43% more fat during the day when you drink 3-to-5 cups of green tea.

 4.   Eat raw fruits and vegetables

Your body has to burn a lot of calories to break down the RAW fruits & veggies you eat so basically you’re losing weight fast every time you eat fruits & veggies and people whose diets are dominant in fruits & veggies tend to lose weight faster and maintain their weights much longer

5.   Eat more fiber as well as protein

Getting more fiber in your diet can help you control your weight. Eating fiber prevents you from overeating because it makes you feel full.

You’ll eat up to 500 calories less per day when at least 30 % of the calories you eat is from protein. You increase your body’s fat burning metabolism every time you eat fiber & protein because your body has to burn a lot of calories just to digest the protein & fiber you eat. Plus, protein speeds up your weight loss by helping you build and/or maintain lean muscle that also raises your fat-burning metabolism.

6.  Get more active

Adding a little physical activity to your daily routine will help you start losing weight quicker than you can imagine.

Some examples,

  • walk to the supermarket instead of driving
  • walk to the TV to change channels instead of using the remote control.

7.   Lift heavier weights to burn fat faster

If you lift heavy weights (that allow you to only do 3-to-12 reps per set) you’ll burn more calories during your weight training workout if you lifted lighter weights for 12 or more reps and the reason is simple: you burn more calories or use much more energy to lift heavier weights. Plus, you’ll get a much greater after burn effect from lifting heavier weights because of the high intensity and your body’s metabolism will burn more fat to help your body recover from your heavy weight training workout.

 8.   Get enough sleep

Don’t sleep too long or TOO short because according to a study done by researchers at Laval University in Quebec, people who slept TOO LONG (over 8 hours) & people who slept TOO SHORT (under 6 hours) were more likely to gain weight than people who slept the normal 7-to-8 hours.

9.   Walk after meals

Take a 5-10 minute walk after each meal. It doesn’t have to be a walk, but any activity will do. The reason you should do this is because it increases the amount of calories you burn during digestion.

10.   Don’t sit down for more than 4 hours

According to researchers at Missouri University – sitting down or being virtually inactive for longer than 4 hours slows down your metabolism, making it easier for you to store fat. So, to prevent this from happening, try standing up for at least 10 minutes within every 4 hours.

Has any of you tried any of the above tips? Don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comments below.

Top 5 Laptop Deals

What are the top 5 laptop deals?
Before we answer that question, let’s first have a quick overview of the top 5 laptop brands right now.Top 5 laptop deals

So, what criteria do we use to differentiate or rank laptop brands?
Below are some criteria that are commonly used:

  • Design: overall aesthetics, build quality, color usage, size versus weight
  • Keyboard and Touchpads: ease of use, responsiveness
  • Tech Support: A brand is only as good as the technical support it offers.
  • Displays and Audio: display and audio quality
  • Value and selection:  better features and performance compared to the competition for the same amount of money.
  • Innovation: forward-thinking features and technologies
  • Software: usefulness of preloaded software

Now, that we have the criteria, let’s list the brands:

  1. Apple
  2. Lenovo
  3. Asus
  4. HP
  5. Samsung

So, after we have found out the best laptop brands available right now, lets reveal what we are here for: the top 5 laptop deals sites/sources.

Top 5 Laptop Deals

DealNews

This is what DealNews has to say: “The best laptop deals everyday. Our editors research hundreds of laptop sales each day to find the laptop sale on the internet. When looking at laptops for sale, DealNews editors find not only the cheapest laptops at the biggest discounts but also those laptop computer deals offer on high-demand laptops. Listing the best deals on laptops is what DealNews does and does well.

SlickDeals

Slickdeals has built a name for itself based on hand-picked deals and they have a section dedicated to computers/laptops.

Slickdeals is driven by user submissions and voting. The deals you see on the front page are pushed there by the votes of other deal seekers. Each deal has a forum thread attached to it where users discuss the merits of the deal, ways to lower the already low prices, and warnings about problems they’ve had with the said product or company.

FatWallet

This is from FatWallet: “Compare laptop deals and get the best discount, coupon and cash back on popular brands like Dell, HP, Apple, Lenovo, Acer, ASUS and more. Find the best laptops, from a MacBook to a Netbook, and combine quality and price for a cheap laptop. Check out valuable, hand-picked laptop deals from our Expert Picks deal hunters and their acclaimed ULTIMATE LAPTOP BUYING GUIDE!”

FatWallet offers a three-pronged approach to scoring great bargains. They offer coupons and cash back (anywhere from 1%-20% cash back on purchases made through FatWallet), their best deals sorted by category, and discussion forums. The FatWallet deal discussion forums are some of the most active around and the deal-hunters that populate them are a great resource for determining if something is as good a deal as it appears. Between the cashback and the quick response of forum members it’s tough not to save money at FatWallet. You can follow FatWallet via RSS, Twitter, and Facebook.

Woot

Woot offers a single item per day at a steep discount. Their format is one item per day, well below retail, with $5 shipping. When their warehouses are overstocked, companies hold a Woot! Off where dozens of items are queued up one after another until all the goodies are gone. One thing that keeps people coming back to Woot! everyday—despite the limited daily selection—are the product descriptions. The Woot! staff does a masterful job writing entertaining descriptions for every product they list.

HotUKDeals

If you’re a deal seeker outside the US, you’ll be quickly frustrated by how often the deals you find on major deal-hunting sites are restricted to the US. HotUKDeals offers deal aggregation for the United Kingdom and Western Europe. You’ll find deals on everything from electronics to groceries with deals ranked by “hotness”—you can easily sort by hotness, time added, or most discussed to get a feel for which deals are best. You can follow HotUKDeals via RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and email updates.

Has any of you tried any of these sites for laptop deals?
Don’t forget to leave us your opinion below.

Top 5 Web Hosting Companies of 2013

Top 5 web hosting companiesWhile we list here the top 5 web hosting companies of 2013, we would also like to describe the criteria that is used rate or rank hosting companies.

I would assume that anyone reading this article is aware of what a hosting company is, but for the absolute beginners, a hosting company is where a website (or, more appropriately the files related to a website) resides. Since the files take up some space, you ‘rent’ the required space on the server(s) that are owned by the hosting company and are connected to the internet. Typically, a hosting company provides additional services such hosting the database for the website, reporting on the ‘health’ of the website, email services and more. In return for the space and other services, you pay the hosting company a fee or rent on monthly or yearly basis.

Now, we will describe 3 most important criteria that must be taken into account when considering a web hosting service or company:

Server Stability: This is measured by percentage of downtime and is one of the most critical. Even if your web hosting needs are for non-business purposes, excessive downtime will make it difficult for you as well as those trying to view the site.

Acceptable downtime should only be about 40 minutes per month which equates to about .1% downtime. Anything over 1-2% indicates that there is something going on with the company; whether it is internal business issues or external problems such as frequent hacking attempts, it should encourage you to move on. That said, if they have had one bad month, chalk it up to bad luck; however if they are consistently having issues, there are always other companies with better uptime ratings at the same price point.

Customer Service: This need becomes most obvious when your site is facing issues. At such a time good customer service can make the difference between panic & chaos and order & quick solution. As another example, scheduled server maintenance should always be announced to customers but some companies choose not to alert customers which can easily affect their web-based businesses.

Applications: Finally, research the availability and quality of server applications each web hosting company provides. Even if you do not intend on using the applications today, having them available in the future could end up being important. For example, an entrepreneur may initially setup an account for web hosting simply to have sales pages for affiliate marketing campaigns running. They realize later that they need to find alternate ways to drive traffic to their sales pages and decide to add a blog.

If their hosting company supports and has WordPress or another blog authoring suite available to be installed and configured for free, then they can easily add this to their site. If they had not looked into finding a web hosting company with extra features, they would either have to pay extra to have it installed or would have to change web hosting companies.

And so, here is our list of top 5 web hosting companies of 2013.

Top 5 Web Hosting Companies of 2013

iPage Web Hosting

iPage is a very popular web host known for its low cost and feature rich web hosting. iPage is often awarded as a top web hosting company on independent review websites because of its high customer satisfaction rate and easy to use web hosting. With one of the easiest and most user-friendly control panels, iPage contains a variety of tools for customers to easily modify and maintain their web hosting account. With numerous web hosting features and a low cost plan, iPage is a good web host for individuals and small businesses on a tight budget.

InMotion Web Hosting

InMotion is a trusted web hosting company that offers high performance web hosting. It’s no surprise InMotion has once again been awarded a top web hosting company. InMotion has the highest customer satisfaction rating on nearly all of the top web hosting review websites. While more expensive than other web hosts, InMotion does provide higher performance and more reliable web hosting than its leading competitors. InMotion is recommended for those who manage a business website and need a host that will work properly under heavy loads of traffic.

Web Hosting Hub Web Hosting

Web Hosting Hub is another well known and respected web hosting company on the internet. Hub offers quality web hosting services for small business websites. Their hosting is perfect for both individuals and small businesses looking for an affordable and reliable web host. Hub is also easy to use and is great for beginners new to web hosting. All in all, Hub is a trusted web hosting company and is a solid choice for individuals and businesses looking for an affordable and reliable way to host their website.

Bluehost Web Hosting

Bluehost is another popular web hosting company that provides quality and affordable web hosting to individuals and businesses around the globe. Bluehost offers a wide array of web hosting features at a low price and is recommended for both individuals and small to mid-sized businesses in need of a fast & reliable web host. Affordability, reliability, and unlimited web hosting, make Bluehost a decent alternative to Web Hosting Hub or InMotion. Bluehost is also great for hosting multiple websites on one account.

GreenGeeks Web Hosting

GreenGeeks is a newer web hosting company founded in Los Angeles that provides high performance, eco-friendly web hosting to its customers. They are rapidly growing in popularity and now host over 100,000 websites throughout 150 different countries. Web hosting with them is incredibly easy to use and is great for beginners who are looking to host their website for the first time. With a simple and user friendly control panel, customers can easily manage their web hosting account to set up a website, email, shopping cart, and blog.