June 24, 2014

Morning Drives

Weekends tend to be a snore unless you plan something in advance. And I am the kind of person who tends to go into a real bad mood by the end of the weekend if we have not done something more than the customary grocery shopping. Planning a weekend takes effort and when it involves more than your family, they really have to be the same kind of people.

A friend asked us to join them for a picnic and we were so thrilled at doing something different, we were up at 6:30am ( well in reality, T woke us up). We were off to Nandi hills, a mere 70kms from where we stay, but the idea of packing up food and eating it there was enough to have us cooking till 7:30 am, and then setting off. 2 couples and 2 kids all packed into the car, and happy to be off on a road trip, if I may call it so!
A welcome back to Nandi hills
Having been to Nandi hills many a times, it was just the pleasure of the drive and the conversation which was so great, but for our friends, it was their first trip up there. And, boy, has the place changed! I realized that I was headed up the hill, after 3 years, which means T has never been there even. They have lookouts set up and lots of picnic spots, which were all occupied. And along with the people, were so many monkeys, something which I have not seen in all the times I have been there prior to 2011.
There are monkeys everywhere!
The wind which blows at the top of the hill is something all the bikers and trekkers come for, and that was something which was still very much there. T was in fact a little cold, and I did not carry a jacket, which was quite irresponsible, but then I think a 3 year hiatus can affect the memory of the chill. ;)
The wind blown lovelies
The eateries have not become any more in number, and the same ol' tea shop served the ice cream and tea. It is still that early morning tea place, or else a picnic spot offering you the snacks and drinks supply all through. But, I think its one of the places from where you see Bangalore in a very different light, especially if you head up there at 6am, when the gates open, and watch the sunrise!
Chillly but so much fun!
As you can see I had clearly forgotten how chilly Nandi hills can get, but the company made it all worthwhile!

June 18, 2014

Hootsuite or Buffer?

Recently I had asked my social networks whether anyone had anything specific to say about Hootsuite and Buffer for social media management, and I wanted some user reviews based on corporate profile management. Most of the inputs were in favour of using Hootsuite, but having started off with buffer, I thought I needed to find out if Buffer would work too. Also, added to the fact, I was falling in love with Buffer's clean and simple approach without the entire tutorial need as I saw when I signed up for a Hootsuite trial, this was more an attempt to stick to something which was more pleasing to the eye.

No doubt buffer is certainly more pleasing to the eye, but Hootsuite seems to offer more.

  • Clean, simple, intuitive
  • Adding content from feeds and adding feeds in themselves are a breeze
  • Scheduling posts and fixing time and days 
  • Quick analytics on retweets/favourites and most importantly, the reach of each post, essentially things which really matter. For better analytics, they have a business subscription
  • Allows 10 social profiles, 1 team member and 15 feeds for the Awesome plan ( approx. $10/month)

    • Looks very similar to tweetdeck and hence for those who have used it, would find it simple
    • Its easy to pull content from one social platform to another, and makes it simpler to discover content
    • The auto scheduler does an auto scheduling based on your message cap and with the days and time period which you would like. Very similar to buffer
    • Exact times can not be auto-scheduled
    • Hootsuite Syndicator works well for adding posts from feeds, but the overall interface is cluttered.
    • The reporting section looks more swanky with more things to show your boss
    • Allows 50 social profiles, unlimited feeds, 1 team member and 1 report/month ( approx. $10/month)

    And when I am looking to manage about 6-8 social profiles, and the chances of it increasing is very high, then I do not see how Buffer will work, even though it seems so much more easier. Maybe it is simpler for a person to use for their personal social media management, but I doubt it will work for a corporate profile.

    Do any of you have any thoughts?

    Images are linked to their original sources

      June 16, 2014

      Something new...

      So, I got a new phone. Knowing my luck ( or not) with phones, I am looking at any instant for something to happen to it. Its just so difficult that I do not know how I am going to make peace with this new gadget in my hand. I worry too much, but with my history of phones, I think I have all the right to be super worried!

      An with a new phone, I am trying my hand at some fitness regimes. Gone are the gaming days, so now all I need on my phone is the Flipboard, some social media and some trackers. The latest trackers that I am looking for is a fitness one. I started to use Nexercise, but I do not like it, prmarily because, it does not have the simple floor exercises to log, and it expects me to be doing some complicated like Aqua jogging, Ballet, Burpees, Disc Golf and what not. This is one of the top downloaded apps on Play Store, but doesn't seem to work for me. Or maybe I should try it out a little more, I do not know.
      Image Source: http://kansan.com/media/2012/10/apps_alee.jpg

      I am going to be using a few fitness apps and going to compare what I am using, liking and which one I am going to stick to eventually.

      1. MyFitnessPal Calorie Counter
      2. Lose It
      3. Sworkit
      4. Nexercise

      Sworkit is a circuit training app and it syncs to MyFitnessPal, which makes it all the more a perfect combination. So, I shall be using these and coming back with what I like and also what is the kind of exercises which I like to do.

      I started with the Calorie Counter, and I decided I do not want to do it. I have done my fair share of counting and I thought that in my head if I know that I am not eating junk, and I am eating good food on a regular basis, I am allowed to eat whatever I want in between, maybe just on the weekends. That should help in my counting in the very passive sense.

      Lose It again being on the Calorie counting route, I decided I did not want to do this either. But, I must add that Lose It was a far more beautiful and user friendly app as compared to Calorie Counter. But for me, maybe some other day.

      Sworkit and Nerxercise I have been using regularly for the past 2 weeks and the ease of logging workouts id very high in Nexercise, and the range of exercise options seems very nice in Sworkit. I still have not figured how to use them in conjunction though. With this added responsibility of logging workouts, now I have started aiming to exercise more regularly as I need to input the data. This might be a new app fad, which might wear out, but nevertheless till it lasts, I am getting some workout done!

      June 7, 2014

      A Thank You

      Many of my conversations with B have a potential to be a post, but I do not ever get down to writing most of them. Today, there was something which came out and I thought I should write it down.

      When I look around, I see parents of many toddlers who have raised their kids in a way very different to me. I am not in a position to say whether that way or my way is better, but what I do know is that I am happy the way things are.

      When I look back, one of the first things which I am grateful for is Amma to tell me that I should put T in a cot, teach her to sleep by herself, rather than get her used to body warmth and suit the short term convenience. I know the effort I put in to sleep train her, and the extend of crying I had to endure to ensure that she would learn. The extend of reading I did to CIO or go in a slow, paced manner. Eventually I decided not to CIO, but I chose to go with the Sears method, and it worked for me, but that was possible primarily because of the cot being there.
      3 months

      Another thing which kept me sane was a decision which I made to use diapers, and not follow the cloth napkin routine. There was a strong urge in me to use the eco-friendly, baby- friendly option, but that was certainly not a solution for me, as a person almost all on my own with T, I was not in a position to take on another responsibility. So, I chose diapers and it helped me a long way, and in a way was also responsible for helping me sleep train her.

      Another thing which I see is so many children who are jumping about in cars, sitting on the front seat, and many a times, moving between seats too! T has been on a car seat since the time she started to move about in cars, and that has made my life so much more simpler. I was able to move about on my own since the time she was 4 months, and she started to enjoy the rides. As a mother taking her child out all by herself, there is no way she can do it, unless there is a car seat. I think this gave me the mobility and peace of mind while driving, making my life much more bearable.

      4 months
      I am not a person who loves kids. In fact I am not too sure whether I have ever been the child loving kind. I would just say that I have been a person for rules and following them, so which might be a reason why kids and me never really gelled. And, I think a large part of my kind of child rearing has been influenced by these rule following ideas. This might not suit many, but now I have a kid who is so set on rules, I am happy :)