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Finding Indian Railways train running status by SMS

If you are booked to travel on an Indian Railways train in India and would like to know if your train is running on time you can simply send a text message to their support number 139.
There are 2 options:
1. To find the present status of the train and last station crossed send the following SMS to 139 – “SPOT XXXXX” where XXXXX is the train number. You can get the train number from the train ticket or the message/email you get when you booked your ticket. you will get a reply SMS within a few seconds with the required information
2. To find out when your train is arriving at your station send the following message to 139 – “AD XXXXX YYYY” where XXXXX is the train number and YYYY is the STD phone code for the station location – you can find this by asking someone or googling the city name for STD code. Again you will get the information as an SMS reply within a few seconds.
These SMS services are not free and cost Rs. 3 per enquiry. Last night I was stuck at a station without a clue as my train was delayed and I managed to track it by SMS. The online portals were not working well and showed contradicting information for some reason.
Here is a video demo of how this works:


Hope you found this information useful

Using an elevator / lift: ways to conserve electricity wastage and save time, money!

Using an elevator or a lift is a common activity that you will probably do at work, college or home. With high rise workplaces and apartments and malls everywhere taking the stairs every time is difficult. Elevators are powerful electrical devices and hence using them will use up a lot of electricity power. Here are some tips to prevent unnecessary wastage of electricity when you use an elevator.

  1. Lift Pooling: Just like carpooling, this means trying to get more people into the lift (within the safely allowed limits). Before you close the lift doors, look to see if anyone is hurrying to get in and hold the door open for them. This will waste a few seconds for you, but will save a lot of time for the other person. It also means less lift trips and so less electricity used.
  2. Don’t press the up and the down buttons: This is a common mistake most people make. The dictum in most elevators is this. If you would like to go to a floor below, push the down button and if you would like to go to a floor above you, push the up button. Pushing the wrong or both buttons means that the lift will stop unnecessarily when it is not headed to your destination floor. This wastes everyones time (including yours!). needless to say, the stopping and opening of the doors wastes some electricity.
  3. Choose your elevator: May buildings have more than one elevator in the same spot. Usually the call buttons are interlinked. But if you have the option of choosing an elevator, choose the one that is on the closest floor to where you are waiting. Also avoid calling all the lifts when possible. Lifts that travel longer use up more electricity. Calling many elevators will also multiply the electricity costs.
  4. Switch off the fans: If the elevator has a manual switch for the fan, turn off the fan if you are the last person to leave the lift. A lot of modern lifts usually automatically do this.
  5. Don’t let children play with lift buttons: Kids love watching elevator doors open and shut and also pushing all the buttons when they get into the lift. This is both annoying and wastes electricity and someone else’s time. Gently prevent them from doing this.
  6. Take the stairs: Although this may not be possible, if you ned to just walk a couple of flights of stairs, use this option when possible. I work on the third floor and invariably use the stairs all the time! This is healthy too.

These are just some random tips. If you own a lift or have an elevator in your apartment make sure it is serviced appropriately and also cleaned regularly. Lifts that break down or malfunction are expensive to repair and also waste a lot of electricity.Hope you found this article useful.

Note: I have used the words “lift” and “elevator” to mean the same thing. The words are used interchangeably depending on which country you live in!

Conserve water when you shower

The sensation of stepping into a hot shower on a cold morning or after a tiring day of work and play is awesome. Having a loooong shower is very refreshing, but also uses up a lot of water. Here are some tips to conserve water when you have that hot shower.

1. Save the water you waste while waiting for the right temperature: depending on your water heater, it takes a few seconds or minutes to get water at the right temperature. During this time precious water is getting wasted. Catch this in a bucket or a mug. You can use this for a wide range of things either in the bathroom (brushing teeth, filling the flush, washing your face) or anywhere else in your house (watering plants, soaking or washing clothes, mopping floors, cleaning a car, etc,). This can be quite a sizeable amount of water saved.

2. Slow or stop the shower when you soap yourself. While you lather soap and scrub yourself clean, most of the water is just running away. Slow down the shower or stop it for these few minutes. You can also use water collected from the 1st tip to lather your soap or body wash.

3. Time your shower. This is especially useful in the mornings when you need to get to work or school in time. It helps you waste less time and also helps save water. This may not be possible on the days when all you want is a long hot shower, but its worth a try.

4. Use water saving showerheads. There are shower heads that have a water saving design and hence save water without compromising on the quality of your shower time. They are usually a one time investment and hence will pay for themselves by reducing your water bills.

4. Slow down the water speed. While we all love that feeling of a high speed shower, slowing it down a wee bit can help save a few liters. Try it.

5. Avoid water dripping. A shower tap thatbis not closed fully or a faulty tap/showerhead will result in water dripping even after you think your bath is over. This results in water slowly getting wasted. Make sure your shower tap is fully closed and not leaking.

5. Shower together. Couples could enjoy the intimacy and pleasure of showering together! However they could end up being extra long!! So try it and there could be more happening than saving water!

6. Catch that water. Keeping a bucket or a mug by the side will catch a couple of liters of water that gets wasted due to the showrer jet being wide. You could always use this for other purposes.

So that’s just a few practical tips. Saving water not only cuts down your water bills, but also helps conserve water and is good for the environment.

Share your other water saving tips in the shower.

Sleep Naked and live a better life!

We spend a good 30-40% of our day and our lives sleeping. Sleeping right will definitely make you feel better and live happier. You all know how grumpy you are after a bad nights sleep and how energetic you feel after a good nights sleep.

One of the tricks to sleeping better is to sleep naked! Yes that means sleeping with absolutely nothing on – no pyjamas, no lingerie, no underwear and no socks. Besides feeling completely liberated, there are some definitive benefits of going to sleep nude.

  1. You sleep better: Although feeling warm and cosy seems the best way to sleep, sleeping in slightly cooler temperature is actually better for your sleep rhythm and depth of sleep. An environmental temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit is better for a good nights sleep. You are less likely to wake up inbetween and more likely to get a refreshing nights sleep.
  2. Better skin: The levels of both growth hormone and melatonin are lower and more optimal when you sleep naked. This results in better skin and a more youthful appearance. Your friends will be wondering how you manage to look so good as they continue to age!
  3. Better sperms: For men, sleeping naked means that their scrotum and testes are kept cooler and also not constrained by underwear. This ensures better blood circulation and the cooler temperature is better for your sperms – the numbers and motility get better. This means that your chances of getting your partner pregnant are better when you want to have kids.
  4. Less skin disease: As your armpits, groin, feet, toes and thighs get more air and less sweat without restraining clothes or socks, chances of skin irritation, infections, athletes foot are lesser.
  5. Better vaginal hygiene: Its common to have some bacteria and yeast down there, but tighter underwear could make this a frequent cause of infection. Sleeping naked reduces yeast and bacteria as more air reaches the area between a womens legs. This means less infections, less smells and better hygiene in her intimate areas. This will make any woman feel healthier and more confident.
  6. Less Stress: Cortisol levels are under better control when you sleep naked. Excess cortisol levels are known to increase heart rate. Higher cortisol levels are seen in stress. Cortisol is in fact a hormone that can cause a fight or flight response. A subdued cortisol levels results in better sleep and also waking up feeling less stressed. You can literally sleep away your worries. Get happy!
  7. Better intimacy: Cuddling naked with your spouse or partner releases oxytocin which is often called the love hormone. This creates a more intimate relationship and makes you feel positive about your partner. The feeling of skin to skin does wonders to your desire to stay clinging together. It apparently creates more stable relationships. And it doesnt take an Einstein to figure out that when the two of you are naked together there is going to be less inhibitions, more passion, more sex and better orgasms. Foreplay and afterplay can go on for ages!
  8. Better time Management: You can literally wake up and jump into the shower. You spend less time getting in to and out of your night clothes. You spend less time shopping for pyjamas! You are also less likely to spend time with your electronic gadgets like a laptop or your mobile when you are naked in bed and less likely to jump out of bed to do anything else. You get a lot more “me alone” time.
  9. Better body image: We tend to cover our body with clothes and feel that our clothes define how we look. Most people feel their naked bodies are not a sight to behold! Spending more time naked makes you comfortable with your body and helps you rediscover yourself in a more confident way. If you sleep naked with your partner you learn to appreciate and discover her/him more.
  10. Better finances: You will spend less money on pyjamas and nightclothes. You will be washing lesser clothes. Your innerwear will be cleaner as you wear them lesser and will be easier to wash. As you sleep better, you will eat less midnight snacks and user lesser airconditioning in summer. All these amounts to savings that will add up.

So sleeping naked is not just something glamorous you see in the movies. It is definitely better for you, your health, your life and your partner! Feel the liberation!!

Changing your twitter handle / username / nickname

I seriously thought that once you have chosen a username on twitter, it cannot be changed at all. I was wrong. If you would like to change your username on twitter (often called your twitter handle or nickname) this is what you need to do.

Make sure you are logged in and go to the twitter homepage. In the top right you will see your user logo.

Twitter username

Hover your mouse over it and then click this logo. You will see the following dropdown menu appear.

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.05.24 pm

Click on the settings menu here. It will take you to the following URL –
https://twitter.com/settings/account
(Alternately you can skip the above two steps and go directly to the URL above. You can click the above link to open the edit page in a new window.)

Your twitter handle will be seen. All you need to do is put in your new desired twitter handle here. When you finish typing it in this box you will get a small note on top stating if the username is available.

Twitter username

Keep trying till you get the message “Available!”.

Twitter handle change

Now scroll down and hit save. You will get a prompt for your password. Enter it and click OK. Your username and twitter handle and your twitter URL is now new!

Now go to your new twitter URL – https://twitter.com/newhandle

In the right you will see an edit profile option – click it.

twitter - edit profile

This is where you can change your twitter name (Full name as it is displayed) and your description. You can also change your header image and logo / profile picture to reflect your new handle. Hit save and you are good to go with your new handle.

All your tweets are preserved and your followers will still see your tweets.

However there are some downsides in changing your handle:
1. Your twitter URL will change to reflect your new handle. So all old weblinks, bookmarks, etc will not work. I assume that this means that your embedded tweets will also not work.

2. Your old handle will be available for other users to claim. Its a good idea to create a new twitter account and claim that username so that you can redirect users to your new account just in case. Click here to see how you can create another twitter ID with the same email ID!

Did you change your twitter ID? Let me know!

Get rid of those Google ads that know what you do online

Google Ads is probably the most popular ad options that websites use to monetise themselves. Almost everyone you know has a google account. One of the things that freak me out is that after I have surfed through a few related websites or hunted for hotels or searched for things to buy online, all the google ads on various other websites seem to know that I have done this and display ads that continue to throw suggestions of resorts to stay in, clothes to buy, coffee to drink, places to visit, etc. Some of these are the exact product I have been trying to buy. While at the outset this may seem useful, it feels as if someone is snooping on me and google seems to invade my life!

This is via a set of cookies that google uses to track your websites and searches which it may link to the google account you are logged in to. Using this google ads that are relevant to your surfing pattern are displayed.

I prefer turning this off to feel more secure and there is indeed a way to do this.

  1. Go to https://www.google.com/settings/ads
    You can login to your account if needed. You will see this note
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.14.51 pm
  2. To control y=the ads seen whenever you are logged into your google account, see the next section and turn it off. There is a clear explanation of what the “on” and “off” options are. This ensures that whenever google detects that you are logged into your account, it will serve fairly random ads and not based on your settings or browsing history. Once you turn it off in one device, it saves this preference throughout all devices and browsers  that use this account
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.15.03 pm
  3. If you want to turn off the relevant ads in the browser irrespective of whether you are on a google site or signed it, look at the next option and click on “Control signed out ads”
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.20.38 pm
  4. This will take you to the page which shows this explanation and gives you two options under that:
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.22.14 pm
  5. The first option is with respect to ads displayed on sites that are not related to google. Turn it off.
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.23.15 pm
  6. The next option underneath that is to turn off search ads. If it is on (like shown in this screenshot) turn it off:
    Screen Shot 2015-11-08 at 7.24.21 pm
  7. Do this on every browser of every device you use.

Google now will not display ads based on the sites you visit and the searches you do. This will leave you feeling less stalked and more secure! Of course, if you love seeing relevant ads, you don’t need to change anything. Google will stalk you and claim that it does not store any information.

Did you find this useful? Or would you like to add some more information? Please do leave a comment!

Adding adsense, adhitz, chitika to your blogjob blog

One of the nice things about BlogJob is that while you earn 50 points for a blog entry with more than 300 words, you can also add your own ads to the blog. This can result in additional earnings to your account at google adsense, chitika or adhitz if interested readers click on your ads. Right now Blogjob will show your ad  75% of the time while their own adsense will be shown 25% of the time. This is a very good ratio as it gives a really good chance to get your ads viewed.

Step 1: Create a site

To do this look at the menu links on top of any blogjob page and see the “Sites” menu. If you hover your mouse over it the option “Create a site” drops down. Click on this.

Create a site

You will be taken to: https://blogjob.com/sites/create/

Here fill in the preferred site name, title, etc and your site should be created automatically. This takes a total of less than twenty seconds!! You can then play around with the themes, layout, etc.

Step 2: See the dashboard menu

Go to your site. The URL will be blogjob.com/yoursite

On the top, black menu bar you will see your blog name. Hover your mouse over this and the drop down menu will have the dashboard option. Click on this.

Dash

On the right side menu options (in the black vertical column) you will see an option called “Settings”. If you place your mouse over this a submenu will open which will show an option “Advertising”. Click on this.

Advertising

This will take you to the link https://blogjob.com/yoursitename/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=user-advertising

ad URL

 

You will see two boxes you can put ad codes in.
“Before” Ad Code: Used before post and page content.
“After” Ad Code: Used after post and page content.

You can put your adsense, chitika or adjitz codes in both these text boxes. Don’t forget to delete what is already in the boxes. Avoid ads that will cause popups, fly in ads or clutter the page. Avoid Revenuehits.

Now go ahead and blog away like crazy. The more visitors you get  on your site, the more page impressions for your ads and possibly more clicks!

Hope you found this useful. Please do leave a comment if you did. If you have any queries let me know.

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