Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with both close and distant friends but, as your number of friends increase you will start to miss out on updates or see too many updates from someone you aren’t very interested in. This dilutes the value of Facebook both as a personal network builder and marketing tool. So, here is where lists come in…
Creating lists for your friends and categorising them helps makes sense of the chaos. (Friends can be added to multiple lists too.) These lists can then be used to view New Feeds and send out information and updates.
Categorising friends may seem like a lot of work initially but in the long run it will help organise Facebook for you. Among other things, it will allow you to send group mails and most importantly set-up you privacy well. Do it, you’ll be glad you did it : )
Create your lists based on how you would like to group your friends and how you know them or interact with them. For Example – As a gamer I have created atleast two lists for games – e.g. Frontierville and Friends on Frontierville. On one list I have friends who play the game too. On the other, people I do not know at all but who are friends I play games with on Facebook.
Why do you need these lists? Here’s why.
Viewing Updates from Friends by List
What if I told you that you can choose to view updates from just school friends, or college friends, or work friends, or even your marketing circle? You can do that, here’s how.
1. Click on ‘Most Recent’ above your News Feed on Facebook Home.
2. In the drop down menu, click on ‘Choose Another’ to see more Lists.
3. Choose the list you would like to view.
I love this method to see group updates or game updates.
Marking Status Updates viewable only to specific Lists
You can even mark each status update to be viewable only by specific people or not. This helps send out targeted messages not only for marketing but also when some information you are sharing is private or hidden from some.
Now onto creating those all important ‘Lists’. Here’s how to create them –
1. Click on the ‘Account’ tab on the right-top-corner of the page.
2. Choose and click on ‘Edit Friends’
3. Click on the ‘Create a List’ button
4. In the pop-up type the name of the list
5. Select friends for the list. (You can do this later too.)
6. Create as many lists as you need following the same process from Step 3 onwards.
You can also add friends after the list has been created.
Creating Lists is a tedious process the first time its done and the more friends you have the more time and effort it takes. So start early and maintain the lists as you go. You’ll be glad you did this as your Facebook group gets bigger.
How do you categorise/group friends? Do you have any special lists?
November 15, 2010 4 Comments
Privacy settings on Facebook are important and I cannot stress this enough. No matter whether it’s for games or work or marketing, setting you privacy right can avoid some embarrassing moments. Especially with family and boss! 😀
Facebook by default sets all Privacy Settings to Public. i.e. viewable by everyone. That means, if you have never visited your Privacy Setting page and customised it, anyone and everyone in the world can see all your information. If you’re someone who has no data on Facebook then great, don’t worry about it! But, if you have personal data, you better get cracking on customising it.
So how do you set your privacy right?
- Click on the ‘Account’ tab on the right-top-corner of the page.
- Choose and click on ‘Privacy Settings’
- Choose Your Privacy Settings. Spend some time on this page checking through your information. It’ll definitely be worth your time.
Click on ‘Customise settings’ to control who views your posts or shares. If you have created ‘Lists’ for your friends, doing this would be easier. Read my article Creating Lists on Facebook for more on Lists.
- This page has three main sections – Things I share, Things others share, Contact Information. Click on the drop down next to each sub-section and select the ‘Custom’ option.
- In the pop-up that appears you can select who should see this type of data and who shouldn’t. You can also specify certain people by name or by list.
Remember to add your ‘game list’ in the ‘Hide this from’ section for all sub-sections so your data is safe from gamers and strangers.
- Set-up your custom settings for all the sub-sections.
- Once you’re done. Click on the ‘Preview My Profile’ button (towards the top of the page) and check to see what information is visible and if you are comfortable with the world seeing that.
- It is a good idea to go through the settings for the following on your privacy page too –
9. You can read more on ‘Controlling How You Share’ here – http://bit.ly/aLOD6s
Now that you’re done with your privacy settings, take a look at your account settings too.
- Click on the ‘Account’ tab on the right-top-corner of the page.
- Choose and click on ‘Account Settings’
- Almost all of this page is pretty simple. Go through each detail on each tab and make changes as needed.
If you’ve set-up your Account Settings, Privacy settings and Application Settings right, you’re in safe hands on Facebook. Well, not completely as Facebook can still access and use all your data but atleast you’ve reduced the chances of the abuse of your data.
And not to forget those embarrassing moments when your boss or family see photos and posts that they shouldn’t have. Have you had any embarrassing moments on Facebook?
**Bonus Tip – Use the little ‘Lock’ icon below the status message box to control each posts visibility by people and lists.
October 1, 2010 5 Comments
This week had me thinking quite a bit about what to cook… Finally my tummy made the choice
Akki Roti (Rice Roti)
3 cups rice flour
1 cup cooked rice (optional)
1 big onion
2 medium size chillies
Fist full of coriander leaves
½ tsp Jeera (cumin) powder
Salt to taste
Textured cloth napkin or handtowel
Finely chop onion, chilles and coriander.
Mix the rice flour and rice in a bowl. Add chopped onions, chilles and coriander. Add jeera powder and salt to taste.
Knead the mixture into dough. Add water slowly as not much water will be required. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Adding rice is a trick I learnt from Mom. Cooked rice (especially when a bit old) acts as a gluing agent and gives the roti its own texture too.
Wet the textured cloth napkin or handtowel so that it is moist but not dripping. Place a ball of the dough on this and pat flat to required thickness with your fingers. Keep dipping your hands in water to make sure the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers.
Heat a girdle (tava) and add a few drops of ghee before gently but firmly flipping the roti (with cloth) onto the tava. Now slowly lift away the cloth and cover the girdle to cook the roti on a slow flame. Flip roti, add some ghee and cook until both sides are golden.
Older generations pat the roti out right on the pan. I find the cloth method easier and it lets me thin out the roti quite a bit too.
The roti’s take a while to cook so you may want to use two pans. Be careful to not over-fry as then they become very crisp.
Serve hot with pudi, chutney, pickle or curry. Serves two hungry people 😀
August 22, 2010 4 Comments
Chenthil’s been away this week in Alleppey leading a Photography On The Move workshop and of course that meant a lot of quick simple food (simple = roti, curd & pickle) for me. Since he’s returning tomorrow I thought I’d try something special for him. Try it and tell what you think of it… or just ask him (@ChenthilMohan) 😀
Spicy Meaty Cheesy Cutlets
2 green chillies
4 garlic cloves
1 inch ginger piece
1 tsp jeera powder (cumin)
½ tsp red chilly powder
½ tsp ginger garlic paste (optional)
1 cup powdered poha (beaten rice)
Salt to taste
½ cup boiled mince meat
Boil potatoes with a little salt. Peel and mash after cooling.
Grind onions, garlic, green chillies and ginger to fine paste.
Mix mashed potatoes and onion paste in a bowl with jeera power, red chilly powder, ginger garlic paste and mince meat. Once mixed well add the powdered poha to thicken the mixture. Add salt to taste.
Make four pieces out of each cheese slice and make big lemon size balls of the potato mixture.
Flatten each ball; add the cheese slice and fold sides in until cheese is covered uniformly. Flip the cutlet in flour and keep aside. Repeat for all balls. 😀
Shallow fry the cutlets in oil until golden brown.
Serve hot with mint sauce or tomato sauce.
Update: – Potatoes don’t always work well for holding in molten cheese. Using eggs or maida as a wrap will keep the cutlet well together. Beat eggs and flip the cutlets in it before frying or make a thin maida batter and dip cutlets in this before frying.
August 15, 2010 No Comments
I hate cooking! Well, not really… I hate cooking regular food. My favourite dish in the world is Dal and Chaval (rice) but I hate cooking it and its varieties every day. I haven’t cooked in a while and have started to miss the kitchen now, so I decided to give the hubby a break and cook once a week (magnanimous isn’t it :D)
The challenge is to enjoy cooking in the true sense – feel the textures, savour the aromas and get all excited to see the outcome. To hold me down to my resolution, I’m posting it up here. As we go along I will share my experience and recipes too!
I’ve had a bad sensitive tooth this whole week and haven’t eaten much. I just kept getting tired of chewing in only one side of the mouth. I really did get tired! So this week’s recipe is…
Sweet & Spicy Carrot Soup with Bread Sticks
5 Peeled Carrots
1 dry red chilly (or chilly flakes would do)
3 cloves Garlic
½ tsp. Ginger Garlic paste
1 tbsp. Butter
1 pinch Jeera
1 Maggie Magic soup cube
Pepper (corns and powder)
1 cup Milk
1 pinch Rock salt
Salt to taste
1 Bread loaf
Boil carrots and tomato in three cups of water with ginger garlic paste and a little salt. (two whistles should do it)
After the veggies cool, remove skin of tomato and blend the carrots & tomato to a puree. (save stock)
Grind almonds to a fine powder, add the chilly and grind again. Finally add garlic and grind again, it should form a paste. Do not add water while grinding.
Heat the butter (adding a few drops of oil before you add the butter will prevent it from burning), put in a pinch of jeera and a few pepper corns. Add the almond paste to the butter and sort well.
When you get the aroma of roasted almonds with a twinge of chilly, add the carrot-tomato puree.
Mix it well and sort for a bit. Add the remaining stock and the soup cube. Let the mixture cook for 5 minutes. The colour will lighten a bit.
Add pepper powder to taste with a pinch of rock salt. Add 1 cup milk and salt to taste. Let the soup simmer for 10 minutes.
Serve hot and garnish with celery or coriander.
For bread sticks – cut strips from bread slices. (I find it easier and cleaner to cut the slices before roasting.) Roast the slices in an open pan on slow flame. This takes a while but gives a great crispy texture.
August 8, 2010 1 Comment
This week has been a bit crazy. There’s been a product launch in the BookBuzzr family. (Check out fReado to win books or even a Kindle while playing games) And we travelled Monday night to Kovilpatti. I’m skipping nostalgia this week for fresh experiences but I do have a guest – meet Santosh, an old friend and traveller who loves to explore the unknown and unseen.
The isolated and faraway Ladakh is no longer a final frontier for adventure travellers.
I remember when biker buddies Satya and Omi set out on a 45 day expedition from Bangalore to Leh in 1996(their second or third) – I went to the railway station to see them off. The sense of an adventure like that those days gave me goose bumps. It remained a dream in me until I set out to do the same in 2002. By then itself things had changed. Satya and Omi’s stories of riding out into the vast mountains, high roads and passes made no sense at all. There was black tarmac roads built, new passes were opened, signboards, guesthouses; home stays along the road, made this a very doable ride. One, no longer needed big bikes to conquer the road that was counted among the ‘Top 10 in the world’. Life had changed – there were more people riding/driving/flying into once forbidden land of Ladakh. But the sense of an adventure to Ladakh was still exotic when I made my first trip.
2010 – Today, I am sitting in Leh. I am annoyed at the way things have developed here. Facebook, Orkut, Mr. Aamir Khan and the various commercials, which includes a Maggi noodle ad in Ladakh, has changed the character of this faraway land. Four lane highways, a tunnel to tame the Rohtang pass, a proposed rail connection from Manali, road connections into Zanskar from all sides, will continue to make Leh, the Manali/Shimla of Ladakh. Hotels and guesthouses are built by the dozens every season, new restos crop up every season and newer businesses find their way into Leh – massage parlors, tattoo artists and many more.
What remained a destination for the adventurous of travellers has been decimated to a destination for the package tourist – the kind who wants to carry their kitchen with them. Thanx to corporatized tour companies like Makemytrip. As I walked into my favorite guesthouse Oriental – I was surprised to see the change in genre of travellers. As I sat at the open area by the kitchen, I hear a tourist who yells out from the window of his room “areh there is no hot water in the room”. Staff replies “ it takes a while for the solar heater to warm up the water”. Our man says “then get me a bucket of hot water”. No thank you’s, no please’s in the whole conversation. Then another white shirt, Bermuda shorts clad tourist walks into the kitchen. Same question “hot water”. Followed by another who complains of not having EPABX (intercom) or he would have yelled from the intercom itself. What hell, I thought.
As I walk into the town – I was shocked to see the change in landscape of the town. New buildings, new shops, new restos, and many more new’s – I have not dared to walk back to town again. Leh has lost its charm.
There are other stories to be heard. Oriental owner rattles – it is difficult with all the high impact tourists coming this way. Leh runs on diesel generator power, the whole town I mean – all the geysers, lights, TV’s, water heaters, water pumps all of it. Some of them like Oriental have solar powered water heating systems and basic lighting running alternatively. The makemytrip types don’t see the point or value the scarcity of resources. They stand below hot showers emptying the overhead tanks, insist on keeping the generator ON all night, and turn a blind eye on conserving. I guess the problem is awareness.
Now there is a problem in a larger scale. So far Ladakh has been seeing independent travellers. These independent travellers have been scattering their monies into the many restos, guesthouses, taxis, and other local setups. There was a split and all involved locally were happy and earned their share. Then comes the corporate tour operators; charter flights arrive, hotels are mass booked with obscene discounts bringing in the ‘every minute packaged’ tourists. This ‘every minute packaged’ starts at the hotel and ends at the hotel. Every meal every snack is planned at the hotel. On local tours – packed food from the hotel is carried along. Instead of smaller vehicles big buses are used to ferry the packaged.
Now this is what might happen, serious travellers avoid the touristy places. We have seen what has become of the Ooty’s and the Manali’s of the world. So the smaller businesses who depend on tourism suffer cos the ‘every minute packaged’ cant afford to explore the offerings of the town. They are tied into their packages. The serious travellers who scattered their monies are no longer there. The taxis don’t have much business cos the ‘every minute packaged’ are ferried in big buses. Guesthouses, hotels, have to scale up to have TV, intercom, geysers, and god knows what to satisfy the high impact tourists, thereby they getting into a debt game. I have not even spoken about the trash and solid waste management.
Where does it stop or where does it begin?
When Ladakh opened to tourism – year 1974 – 500 travellers braved the journey to visit Ladakh. This season when the corporate tour operators floated their Ladakh packages – one single company got in 10000 tourists, they want to bring 50000 tourists next year. Where is it headed – no answer to the question, but we have seen what has happened to the popular hill stations of the India. Aren’t they in a mess?
Few tips to make ur trip in Ladakh low impact –
1. Pick a local Ladakhi operator or a conscious travel company
2. Make an effort to share ur money into local hands
3. Avoid an ‘every minute packaged’ tour. They are cheap but they don’t give a local experience, they just make the bigger hotels, operators and themselves richer and fleece the smaller fellows
4. Value and conserve the local resources – use buckets instead of showers – simple things like that
5. People in Ladakh are a wonderful lot – they are peaceful and welcoming – pls treat them well or we will loose the innocence of a breed of happy simple people
6. Pls don’t trash the place – avoid things like mineral water bottles. Carry ur own bottles which can be refilled at local places. There are spots in town where one can fill in filtered water. This is an effort to cut down trash by locals
7. Pls be more aware – I am sure u don’t want to be counted among the ‘every minute packaged’ tourists.
One doesn’t have to have a reason to travel – it’s as simple as getting out there to take it within! Propagating the same message for over a decade, Santosh has traversed turbulent rivers, worked with an NGO, built solar fences & initiated an outdoor gear store and meandered through most of India. For those who know him better, he’s just stirred something within them…
After leading inspiring ventures like Getoffurass, Photographyonthemove & Getofftraveler, there’s only one nonchalant reaction from him- “It’s been an interesting journey so far”!
Photo Credit: Anukaran Singh
August 5, 2010 2 Comments
A few years ago I got a chance to experience India; I quit my job and travelled for 8 months. When I finally did get home-sick and came back I had so much to say that I didn’t know where to start so, I never did get down to writing about it. But then recently at the GetOff Traveller Meet one of the speakers – Charu, a traveller writer – got me thinking about my journey as stories. That helped get over the overwhelm I was feeling; it seemed a lot easier to write stories.
It’s also been a while since I travelled for a stretch of time and these cloudy monsoon days in Bangalore tempt you into reminiscing. So here are stories from my travels and experiences across India as I relive my journey.
Disclaimer – This might seem very detailed and boring 😀 You’ve been warned…
The way it all started…
The itch to take-off and travel started years ago when I went on my first solo ride and got a first-hand taste of India. I was hooked; I started looking for ways to travel without having to take leave from work, which of course meant that I would have no job and money became the big question.
In the course of time circumstances and situations changed and I realized that maybe seeing all of India would be asking for too much, however the drive to see the country of my birth was still strong. Some friends and I started to plan to do the biker pilgrimage – Ladakh in 2006, slowly the route formed and lists followed. But this was not to be that easy, slowly but steadily friends started dropping out until soon there was just Ajay, who was a close friend and me left. About the same time I started to feel very unsatisfied with my work and my life that revolved round my work; I wanted a break. I decided to go on a saving spree for 5-6 months then quit work and travel as much as I would in the money saved, the day I ran out I would return home.
So then Ajay and I started planning for that, as after Ladakh he would return home and I would move on. But this was not to be either and Ajay had to drop out too. By now I had done quite a bit of planning and more importantly dreaming, and this wasn’t a dream I was ready to let go. I decided to go for it anyway, even if alone. Friends were appalled and advised against going solo, swayed by the persistent attempts I started to look for others going to Ladakh too, some seemed to fit my timelines and dates but maybe I was destined to this myself and all just fell through. When the last friend dropped out three weeks before we were scheduled to leave I had had enough. I was going and going alone.
It was when I was on my way to book tickets that I dropped in to Sam’s store ‘Get Off UR Ass’ and he told me of some friends going to Lahaul and Spiti Valley in Himachal Pradesh. Sam suggested starting off with them and then just heading on to Ladakh, he pushed me into at least calling up and checking. So, that was what I did, I called up Prashanth and soon found myself booking my ticket for Delhi on the 14th, a week earlier than planned. I would now be doing Lahaul and Spiti valley with friends from RTMC (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club) the Bangalore Bullet club I was a part of.
Now I just had two weeks to go before I left, loads to do, lots to buy and sort out and I was also scheduled to travel to Hyderabad for a week to spend time with Pallavi who was friend and travel partner from work before she left for U.S. I just about managed it all I guess, though I did leave a long list of to-do’s with Mom and friends and before I knew it, it was the 14th.
The 14th saw me running pillar to post getting the bike packed and loaded on the train, some legal matters sorted, packing all I thought I needed, getting briefed on bike and picking spares from mech, shopping for last minute stuff…
With all this happening I couldn’t believe I made it to the station in time for the train…
July 26, 2010 2 Comments
This is a story of Chau Chau Kang Nilda the peak behind Langza village. Chau Chau means little girl or princess, Kang is a snow-capped mountain, Ni or Nima means sun and Da or Dawa means moon. So this is the princess mountain on which the sun & moon shine.
This story starts years ago. Langza village gets its water from this mountain’s stream so every summer someone was sent to check the stream and remove any obstacles. They also had to watch over the stream through the season.
One day Landup was sent to check the stream. Landup was a lazy man & rather enjoyed playing his lute. So off he went to the base of the mountain. After he had checked the stream he sat down by it to play his lute and was soon lost in its music.
After finishing his piece he opened his eyes to find a beautiful woman standing before him. She stared at him transfixed and slowly said. ‘Landup I love your music would you play for me again.’
Landup couldn’t say no to such an ethereal beauty so he started to play again.
The beauty told him after he finished that she was the Chau Chau Kang Nilda fairy & she would like him to come often and play. Landup agreed and left at the end of the day. From then on he kept trying to get the job to check the stream. Over the season they fell in love and continued to see each other during the summers that followed.
It was during the winter a few years later that a drunk Landup was lazing about. His wife saw this and reminded him of some work he had to do. Drunken Landup got upset and shouted back that he rather be with the Chau Chau Kang Nilda fairy who didn’t ask him to work. To this his wife asked him to stop dreaming but by then Landup had passed out.
In the morning Landup woke up covered in boils & pain. He then remembered what had happened the night before & also remembered that the fairy had asked him never to mention her.
Now he was really worried, the boils marred his handsomeness & he tried everything through winter to be rid of them. But nothing worked.
As soon as summer came & he was no longer house bound he ran to the stream. He played his lute, called out, cried & even screamed but the fairy didn’t come. He never saw her again. And every time he went near the mountain the weather turned nasty & he had to turn back.
Even today when a man tries climbing up Chau Chau Kang Nilda the weather turns nasty. It is said the fairy is still nursing her broken heart and will not let any man come near her.
Story – I first read this story in Spiti Through Legend And Lore by Kishore Thukral and then heard variations from locals in Spiti.
July 19, 2010 3 Comments
The other day while talking to a friend about ChandraTaal, I thought of doing a quick tips piece for people planning to go there; so, here are a few things to keep in mind…
Things to keep in mind when planning…
1. Start early from Manali to ensure that you have a lot of time and that you don’t get stuck on top on Rothang Pass. (Rothang is the honeymoon spot for North India and trust me, here traffic jams can last hours).
2. There are two trekking routes to go to the lake. One starts at Kumzum La and the other at Batal. The Kumzum La route is shorter but more challenging; I recommend doing this stretch when going to the lake and only in good weather. The Batal route is a gentle rolling climb and a nice walk on return. ChandraTaal is about 14 km from Batal. If the roads have been cleared, you can take a jeep for the first 12 km.
3. You can hire a jeep in Manali to take you to Batal and trek from there. On return the jeep can pick you up at Batal too. If you are doing the Kumzum La route, ask the jeep to drop you off at Kumzum La.
4. If you think you need a guide, you can hire one at Manali.
5. Medicine for altitude sickness – If you are doing a quick trip I recommend using Diamox. Start taking it as soon as you arrive in Manali or at least a day before you start the climb. Diamox will help with acclimatising but it makes you want to pee very often so you may want to take it in the morning after breakfast
Two pods of garlic everyday will also help with AMS. Be careful not to over eat on the garlic as it can also cause ulcers.
6. If you are going in peak season you may find tents there that locals pitch to provide accommodation and food to travellers. However, this is a chance to take and I recommend taking your own gear.
7. Carry good and warm camping gear. You could even hire this in Delhi or Manali. You will need –
a. thick sleeping mat (make sure your mat is of good quality else the cold seeps in)
b. high altitude sleeping bag
c. tent with wind and rain cover
You will need all the insulation you can get; make sure it’s all high altitude stuff and in good condition.
8. Carry warm clothes. Layering is the trick. Wear thermals, then tee and jeans and follow that up with a warm and wind-proof jacket. Gloves will be a requirement along with head gear. Carry extra pairs of socks, wet feet can kill your trip and you will most definitely get your feet wet.
9. Carry your food with you. If you are lucky you may find a food tent but if not… Carry maggi, and ready food packs if you have a stove. Else carry chocolates, biscuits, cheese, dry fruits, jam sachets, etc… They make for some nice picnic food.10. Don’t set camp near the water; it’s tempting to do that but it gets freezing at night. It’s colder near the water and you are more exposed to wind.
11. While sleeping keep your bags inside tent at the four corners to add weight. There will be strong winds and the tent could do with extra stability.
12. Keep your shoes inside the tent so they’ll stay warm and to keep the smell away carry plastic bags to put shoes in.
Have you been to ChandraTaal, what was your experience? Do you have recommendations for other travellers? Please feel free to add your tips and experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
July 12, 2010 8 Comments