I needed a tripod for my DSLR and mobile phone so that I can make some long videos. I was looking for something under 1000 INR (~15 USD). After going through a lot of suggestions and reviews available on the web, I finally decided on this. It was available on Amazon for INR 699 (~10 USD).
After unboxing it, when I held it in my hand, it felt very light. I wasn’t sure if it would be able to hold a DSLR. The build quality seemed average on first look. Overall, my first impression was, “Its not going to work for me”.
I wanted a tripod for recording videos of my daughter
Playing the piano
Sketching and colouring
Crafts and other activities
After I tried it out, here’s the good things and the things that I wasn’t satisfied with as per my requirements.
It’s ok for a mobile tripod. The accompanying phone holder is ok. It should be able to hold phones of different sizes. The holder can be attached in 2 configurations, and should be able to cover almost any orientation.
The quick release clasp is a good feature, which allows you to detach your mobile or camera from the tripod instantaneously.
Good for shooting videos with phones and DSLRs in upright position, as displayed in the above photo.
Light weight, and portable.
The height of the tripod I felt is too less for certain situations, especially if you want to shoot videos of your table top (for recording crafts, drawings, sketches etc).
The gorilla tripod, described as “Heavy Duty” is quite an exaggeration. For mobile phones and action cameras, it is fine, but it definitely is not sturdy enough for DSLRs, even for the lightest of the lenses, although it advertises to support cameras upto 1 Kg.
It is not stable when you want to record videos from various angles, apart from the upright position.
The flexible joints on the legs seems to be of average build, and I have a feeling that they won’t last long. But, I guess I have to wait a little longer before I can give a verdict.
The Tygot 13 inch Flexible Gorillapod Tripod is definitely not suitable for DSLRs. For mobile phones and action cameras, this is a good option only if you want to record videos in upright position, for example, doing interviews, shooting sceneries and outdoors etc.
This is a very basic tripod. So, I might have to spend a few more bucks to find a better one for my needs.
Today, I knew it was going to be hectic. Just like the other days. Right from waking up, till everyone else in the house is asleep. And then, my day really starts, when I am surrounded with calm. It’s such a weird time of the day to be awake. And just like the every day, I ponder whether to sleep now, and may be wake up early in the morning.
I have tried that too, but it doesn’t work for me. Too much noise all around. The birds, the early morning workers, the daily delivery trucks honking and the alarms going off. Everyone says that early morning is the perfect time to work in peace. When almost everyone believes in this theory, a hell lot of people wake up at 4-5 am, and get on with their work. That generates a lot of noise.
Today, I wanted to sleep early. But, I haven’t yet found the calm. With earphones tucked into the ears, and the lights off, I can finally see the calm in the dark.
Keith dropped Veronica in-front of her PG. Both were still holding hands, facing each other, smiling. Suddenly, it started raining. Veronica hurriedly pulled away her hands and ran to escape from the rain without even looking back. Keith, waved her good bye and got into his car. He messaged her,
Keith: That was rude. Why would you run away? I love the rains. It’s not that late either.
He waited in his car, hoping that Veronica would come back. Instead, his phone beeped:
Veronica: I hate the rains. And it’s already midnight. And please accept the fact that I am, and will forever be rude like this. This is the way I am.
Keith didn’t not know how to respond. He was trying to be romantic but Veronica seemed indifferent to his feelings. He didn’t know what to do, say or feel. This was the first date of his life. Although he just wanted to have a nice time, Veronica’s behaviour throughout the day had been different. All these events and every detailed conversation was being replayed in Keith’s mind while he was driving back to his house. He was utterly confused. He didn’t know if his first date was a success or he failed miserably.
His phone rang. It was Veronica calling. Keith was a bit reluctant to answer, and let it ring. He was getting ready to sleep, thinking what to talk about now. He called back.
Veronica: Hey, let’s resume our game. Are you settled and ready to sleep? Because this is going to be a very looooooong call. We might talk through the night as well. Be prepared.
Keith was a bit irritated and tired after such a stressful game. He was out of ideas and punch lines. He wasn’t expecting this at all. But he couldn’t have possibly said no. Although he still wanted to talk to her, but he wanted this game to be over soon, win or lose.
Keith: I am a bit tired. My phone’s battery is low (phone was 98% charged). Can we play this game tomorrow? I also had planned to study a bit.
Veronica: (seemingly angry) OK. Bye. Good night.
Keith: No, no. Hold on. Let’s play some more till my phone dies.
And the call went on. For 3 hours. It was 4am and the game was still going on.
Veronica: OK Next. I think you are running out of ideas. I am disappointed in you. The game is pretty simple. Let’s try one more time. “Tell me one thing that you have never told me”.
Keith: I have already told you so many things and you accepted all my answers. How many of them do you need to know? Can’t we continue this tomorrow or some other day? Well, frankly, I can’t think of anything else now. Let’s stop this game.
Veronica: Come-on. Don’t get irritated. I know it’s not an easy game. And I never said that it was going to be easy. Now continue.
Keith: Sorry, I honestly don’t have anything else to tell you. So, let’s declare you the winner then.
Veronica: Well, I know for sure that there’s just one thing. Why are you not telling me that? Okay, I will make it easier for your. “Tell me one thing that you have never told me, and you think I want to hear from you right now”.
Keith was nervous. He was always looking for the right moment to tell her this, and for some reason, he had not been able to. He wondered why it took him so long to tell this. The game could have probably ended during the dinner and they could have moved on with something more interesting.
Keith: I LOVE YOU!!!
Veronica: Game over.
And then she hung up. Keith was confused yet again. What was he supposed to do now. Sleep? How could he sleep? He didn’t try to call her back or message her.
Keith: (To himself) What did I do? Why did I say this to her? I proposed to her on our first date? Why didn’t she respond? Does “Game over” mean she loves me? When will she reply? Tonight? Tomorrow?
Tired from the long conversation and restless with all these questions, Keith finally slept off.
I needed a laptop bag, and saw the product suggestion on Amazon, priced at Rs. 2,099. From the specs, it looked awesome, so I ordered it.
After 2 weeks of usage, I am ready to pen down my review.
First looks: After unboxing it (a red one), I was a little disappointed with the colour and the finish of the bag, however, it wasn’t actually bad. The actual product doesn’t look as good as the pictures on Amazon. But, it definitely stands out in the crowd. I got everyone asking about the new bag. It looked stylish, and different than the usual laptop bags I had used in the past.
Features: I was happy with all the features that was described on the product details page. It had all the pockets and compartments that I had checkout out. However, the Anti-theft design (no access to the bag at the front) is a nice to have, but I wouldn’t buy this bag just for this.
Build quality: The build quality looks and feels good.
Rain cover: Fits OK and is an accessory that I would have bought anyway.
Phone charging option: This is a very convenient feature. Although I haven’t used it as much, it’s a big plus.
Compartments: There’s enough compartments for you to pack up a variety of things along with your laptop and accessories and keep them organised. One thing I miss personally is a bottle holder.
Capacity: With my MacBook, chargers, power bank, headphones and books, I can easily pack 2 sets of clothes, with still some space free. You would not have any complaints with Procus Hustle’s capacity.
Safety reflectors: Nice to have if you walk or ride a bike with your bag.
Ease of use: Well, the anti-theft design, comes at a compromise. Opening and accessing the contents is a bit comfortable at first. The main shoulder straps actually prevent you to easy open the zips. Although you would get used to it, it can get very uncomfortable at times. Accessing the side pockets, pockets on the shoulder straps are easy.
On your shoulders, it could be uncomfortable as well, at-least initially. The bag keeps it shape, so it doesn’t hug your shoulders and back. However, after a week of usage, I don’t see this as a problem.
The shoulder straps could have been a bit better. They don’t seem very comfortable.
Is it heavy? Not at all.
Why I bought Procus Hustle?
Stylish and a different design
Phone charging option
Capacity and multiple pockets to keep your things organised
Good build quality and design
What could have made this bag a lot more useful?
A bottle holder
Better design for accessing the main compartment
More comfortable shoulder straps
Procus Hustle is a nice laptop bag, with a good build quality and decent capacity. It surely a head turner. For the price, I would surely recommend it if you are planning to purchase a new laptop bag.
Going for a vacation? Don’t forget your plants at home. Of course, you can’t take them with you. Leave them with your neighbors or ask someone to water them regularly. It’s quite easy to forget about them while doing last minute packing. Wondering how to water your plants while on a vacation?
Or just do it yourself. You can very easily make some DIY kits for watering your plants while you are on a vacation. And you don’t even have to spend a dime. There are so many videos on Youtube about this. Here’s one setup that I made 3 days before I am off for a vacation.
1 2-liter soda bottle
A small hollow pipe
That’s it. For the hollow pipe, I used the insulation cover for electric wires, which actually seems to be a great choice. Just by bending the pipe, you can adjust the flow of water very easily. I have adjusted the flow such that the setup discharges 1 drop of water per second. I will be gone for 6 days. Hope the basil plant doesn’t die out in the scorching heat.
I have tried such setups before without much success. This one seems to be a perfect setup.
This is the second part of the series. You can read the first part here if you haven’t already, Tips for moving the house – Part I. The first part focussed on issues that specifically on choosing a service provider. In this post, we are going to discuss things that you should take care of yourself. I always thought that it’s going to be an easy job since the people from the moving company will take care of packing all the stuff. I just have to stand there and supervise them. I was completely wrong. If you are not prepared, there would be loads of surprises when your packed boxes arrive at your new house.
1. Pack all your documents yourself
This is the one thing I had done myself, well before the moving exercise started. And that saved me hours of effort while unpacking. I started working on it at least a month before. First, I collected all the important papers, documents, and bills from all around the house, sorted them, discarded the unimportant ones like, and packed them into separate envelopes. I also separated out the documents that I needed to carry like ID proofs, passports, etc with me instead of sending them with other items. You should also keep a few copies of each important document since you would generally need them sooner than you can imagine. It’s better to be prepared in advance rather than running around in the new city, searching for a copier machine.
These are the things that I kept with me:
Passports of all members: Original and 2 copies of each
PAN Card: Original and 2 copies each
Aadhaar Card: Original and 5 copies each (Most sought after document nowadays)
Copies of vehicle’s RC, insurance policy in case you are moving your vehicles as well
Medical Files: Especially if you have kids (vaccination schedule and important prescriptions)
2. Surrender/apply for relocation for your services
Surrender your gas connection. The whole process might take a few days, but if you are lucky you might get it done in a day or two. Call your provider and check how many days they would need to process your request.
Apply for a relocation of your broadband and TV connections. I had paid advance rentals on both of these, so it made sense for me to apply for relocating. But, call them first and check the feasibility at your new place. The better option would be to close your accounts, and when you finally settle down at your new house, apply for new connections.
3. Electronics and other valuables
I had packed my TV, Desktop, laptop, all electronic accessories like desk phones, speakers, cables, chargers, power adapters etc on my own. And since I had kept all the original boxes with me, it was easy to pack them. It turned out to be a good decision. When I reached my new home, I could see the boxes that were packed by me, clearly marked with its contents. I also had listed out individual items on the boxes, in case it contained multiple items. The movers and packers people will never take care of your things as you would. Although it might take a few extra hours, it’s always a better choice to do it on your own.
Valuables: Obviously have to be carried with you and not with your other stuff. But it does help if you can sort them out into boxes if you already haven’t.
Large appliances like refrigerator, gas stove, microwave, washing machine can be left for the so-called pros. These things are generally more durable, and can’t withstand the tortures. Don’t be surprised if you see some new scratches or dents when they arrive at your new house. These damages are not avoidable.
Kitchen glassware, photo frames, and other glass items should be packed under your supervision. You probably cannot do it yourself, but you should keep a close eye on how they are being packed. Although the guys are a bit more extra careful with these items, you need to tell them to add more layers of bubble wrap whenever you feel so. They would most of the times acknowledge your request only if you are around.
5. Food item and groceries
Try to avoid packing up opened packets of food. All liquid containers should be properly sealed. Again, your supervision is important here as well. You should also be aware of rats. The carriers would make multiple stops at warehouses and godowns where rats are plenty. They would try to feast on your food. Even if one of them manages to get into your boxes, you would end up having a lot of food to throw away.
Clothes are the only items which can be easily managed while moving your house. But, I would suggest that you make separate boxes for each kind and each member of your family. That will help you to unpack and re-arrange them again at your new place. If they get mixed up, it will take a lot of time to find and sort everything again.
If you can manage to organize them yourself before they are put into boxes. It will save you lots of time when you search for your things like staplers, gum or tapes when you need them at your new house.
Handling children can be pretty tough when everything is being packed. My suggestion would be again to sort and make boxes for the toys. You can also involve your children here. My daughter cried a lot when all her toys were being packed. She calmed down only after I ensured that all of the toys will be fine. I also asked her to remember which toy was in which box, and we were very surprised when she was able to figure the contents when our boxes arrived at our new house. This is also probably the right time to discard those old and broken toys to reduce the clutter, although you might find it hard to convince your little ones.
9. Beds, Mattresses, Sofa
These are the big items that should be left for the so-called pros. Although they would probably do a good job at this, a little supervision will surely help.
Make sure they dismantle your bed properly, mark all the items and safely keep the nuts and bolts so that they can be easily found. Dismantling a bed is easy. Before that, take some photos of your bed which will give you a rough idea how it was set up, especially, if you have a bed with drawers. In my case, the guy who had dismantled the bed didn’t turn up at my new place. It was a hard time for me to figure out how to set it up. I had no pictures of it, so I had to try all combinations possible. Spent a good 5 hours at that.
Same applies to other furniture which can be dismantled. Small tables, show pieces, etc.
Mattresses: Do not let them fold or roll your mattresses in any case. Ask them to put extra layers of bubble wraps on them so that they don’t get torn accidentally.
Sofa: Ask them to put extra layers of bubble wraps to prevent accidental damage.
10. Mark all boxes
Mark all the boxes and items yourself and be as descriptive as possible about the items. Also, tag the boxes with the room where you plan to keep it in while unloading. Although, it’s not possible for all your stuff, doing this would make sure that you don’t pile up all the boxes at a single place in your new house.
If you can follow all these tips, I am quite sure that you will see very fewer damages, you can’t avoid them completely. The most important thing is your supervision. If you can get help from your friends or family, that would really help. There would be around 4-5 packers storming into your house and try to pack up everything as fast as they can. Having a few extra hands on your side will help you instruct them and make sure everything is being packed safely.
On the day when the things are being packed, you should be relaxed. Do not try to hurry up, take your time to ensure that everything happens under your nose. If the packing guys are in a hurry, offer them some water or tea, ask them to rest and then resume. Let them know clearly that you want everything to be packed safely. Don’t fall for their serious assurances of safety. You would probably never get hold of the same guys at your new place. The guys who come to deliver your stuff would most probably be a different set of people, especially if you are shifting to another city.
While unloading, ask them to put the boxes in different rooms. If you have tagged your boxes, it would be easier. Ask them to put the large items in their intended places. Before they arrive, you need to have a good idea where to put what instead of deciding on the fly. Spend some time discussing the rooms at your new place, which stuff goes where, and who takes which cupboards.
A lot of things mentioned here might seem obvious. It did, for me too. But it’s quite easy to miss all these points when a lot of things are happening around you.
Again, I would stress on that fact that you should start preparing for this exercise at-least a month before. Make a plan, not just in your head, but put it down on paper. Plan in detail as much as possible. And hope that you shift to your brand new home peacefully.
Shifting houses is hard. And it’s even harder if you are not well prepared. Recently, I had to move from Bangalore to Faridabad. It’s been about a month now that I have shifted to my new house, but I really can’t say that we have settled in yet. Many would think, moving houses is an easy task. Enquire and finalize a Movers & Packers, finalize a date and you are done. That’s probably true for a bachelor. But if you have a family, I would suggest you plan for it at least a month in advance.
In this post, I will only write about things that you will need to know about choosing a moving company. I will also do follow-up posts covering other aspects of moving your house and how you can plan it so that you are not frustrated in your new home.
1. Choose a Movers and Packers company
This is probably the hardest part. Choosing a vendor is not at all easy or straight-forward. This business is still quite unorganized and most of them will disappoint you. If you go by their reviews, you won’t find even a single reliable vendor who you can trust with your items. Once you call them, they will ask for an appointment to survey your house and give an estimate. They would just talk and talk, give you an estimate and give you all possible assurances.
You might get very cheap estimates, and some might quote you exorbitant prices. Do not always go for the cheapest or the costliest one expecting them to give you a trouble-free experience. Read reviews about them on the internet. You should never shortlist a company if it has less than 50 reviews(good or bad). If they mention something which is not written in their terms and conditions, ask them to give it in writing.
Note: 80% of their words are plain lies. Please don’t believe their words. Ask for written commitments and terms and conditions. Never go by their words.
2. Household items: Avail insurance or not
For household items, the insurance amount that you normally have to pay is 3% of the declared value of items. They would force you to declare a higher value for your items so that they can earn commission from the insurance companies, it at all they insure your items.
What could go wrong here? Well, as I said earlier, don’t believe these guys. I would suggest not to spend anything on insurance. But if you still want to, make sure you first get your insurance policy from them before the shifting date. Go through all the terms and conditions before you let them touch any of your belongings.
Note: For me, they took insurance charges from me on the day of the shifting, and never gave me any insurance policy details even after following up with them for weeks. Some items were damaged during transit, and I was never able to claim anything. What they probably did? They pocketed all the insurance premium that I had paid, about 6000 INR.
3. Payment schedule for the Movers and Packers
Most of them ask for 80% payment on the day of shifting. 20% or so needs to be paid when you get the delivery. Although this is a highly unfair payment schedule for you, there’s nothing much you can do here. They will accept all methods of payment: Cheque, Cash, Online Transfer etc, which is quite convenient.
Note: Keep all your estimates, payment receipts and other documents related to this in safe custody. It is very easy to misplace these documents while moving.
4. Full-Loading or Part-Loading
Full-load is obviously going to be costly in theory, where the vehicle which loads your items is the one that is going to deliver it, and it would only contain your items. Part-load is usually cheaper since a single truck can contain household items of multiple persons who are moving.
Part-load can be riskier because:
Your items can be easily mixed up with others’.
Your items can be damaged since they will be loaded and unloaded multiple times due to change of trucks or carriers which ply to different destinations.
If they are promising you a “Full Load” carrier, make sure you note down the number of the carrier that leaves your house. Verify at your destination if it’s the same carrier.
Note: For me, they promised a single carrier for my items, but when they finally delivered the goods, I realized that I had been taken for a ride. I lost 2 items in transit, which they haven’t been able to track down yet. The carrier wasn’t the same one which had picked up my items. And I did see several damages on various items, which clearly suggested that they have been loaded and unloaded multiple times.
5. Moving your car or driving
It is a tough decision. It was for me. But if you are adventurous, I would suggest that you drive it to your new house yourself. Trusting your car with these guys is very risky. Driving could be tiring and costly, but it can also be economical since you would save on your air tickets. However, if you are still shifting your car through any moving company, please take care of the following.
Insurance or not: Please refer above where I have talked about insuring your household goods.
Take note of your odometer. Although, this doesn’t make any difference. If they need to misuse your vehicle, they will drive it around by taking out the cables attached to the wheels.
Take note the fuel in the tank. If there’s a big difference, ask them to explain.
Please mark the tires in front of them which cannot be easily tampered or reproduced. I have heard about incidents where they steal your new tyres and replace them with old ones.
Do not leave any accessories inside the car.
Take note of all current damages and scratches. Take lots of pictures of your car, both inside and outside.
For moving a car, they generally would ask for your RC in original and the Insurance Policy document in duplicate. That’s normal.
It is very easy to skip all these things. You would probably be very busy when they come to pick up your car. So, please plan for all these points well in advance.
Note: For me, my driver’s seat cover was torn at 2 places. The toolkit was missing. My car phone charger was gone. Tires seemed to be replaced by old ones, although I am not very sure about this. The fuel tank was almost empty. The delivery guy at least had the courtesy to remind me that I had an almost empty tank: it was half-tank when I had handed over the keys to them.
These are the things that you should definitely plan for and keep in mind. Also, check with your friends. Most of them would probably know a moving company which they might have used before.
This is only the first part of your preparation, and probably the most important one. If you happen to succesfully choose a great moving company, by luck or by research, 90% of your hassles are gone. In the follow-up posts, I will talk about other things that you need to keep in mind.