Monday, December 20, 2010

Dropbox startup

Today I got an invitation for a service called Dropbox from Gregor. It is basically an online storage/backup service and a possible way to share files. Part of my work is programming in Fortran and R, what I do on my office computer and laptop. Because of this I have my files on both of them, often in a different stage, so I always had to think which one is newer, or even if I knew, I had to send it via email or USB drive to the other computer... And as soon as I did some modifications, the version on the other computer was already obsolete...

This is now officially over.

This wonderful application created a folder on my computer, and whatever I move in there appears also on my other computer as well. It is just beautiful :) ! It also has an undelete and undo option, which might come handy in the future.

What I also did is that I set the working directory of R directly to this share folder, so any time I write a piece of code, it is saved, backuped and transferred to my other computer, but also accessible from any other place. Everything with one click.

The service is free offering 2GB of storage space at the beginning. If you want to try it out, you can consider to do it via this invitation link, which gives you (and me) an extra 250MB storage space. This is an obvious "candy" from the developers for getting more users in, but in this case it is really worth it.

See the introductory video on Youtube:

Monday, November 29, 2010

Development in all directions

I just read an interesting blog post from Lawrence Haddad writing about "development" in connection to so called "developing countries". I mentioned this very briefly in my Picking ideas blog post, but if you are interested Lawrence deals with this in much greater detail. An other very nice point is (as also mentioned in the discussion part) that Lawrence also lists some action points to be taken in order to concentrate on global instead of local development.

The link to the post is:

Development Horizons from Lawrence Haddad: Development N,S,E & W

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Survival Kit v6 online


After many-many working hours spent with the project I finally can say that the new version of the Survival Kit (free and open source software for survival analysis) is on its official website at BOKU. I am very happy that the  program is already out there :)

If you are interested in the Kit in more detail, you might want to browse through the introductory paper we published for the 9th World Congress in Genetics Applied to Livestock Production in Leipzig, Germany this year. Also there is a bunch of wiki pages at Wikiversity, intended mostly for novice users.

This does not mean however that the development will stop. There is much more things to do! I am looking forward to these as well!

And in case you are wondering about the picture above: This was the computer where the new version was developed. ;)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Best of the Web 2010

I am more and more sure that it  is impossible to keep pace with the newest developments on the Web. If you consider that each icon on the conversation prism represents a whole world in its own, you can imagine the size of Web 2.0 .

Actually, you can't... I am not a theoretical person, but in my understanding we are the witnesses of infinity in our computers.

In this situation it is very helpful to have at least some guidance. In this particular case in a form of a presentation... Question: Do you know about any similar list?



I discovered this presentation through Derek's blog post. Thanks for that!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Youtube learning

I was browsing the Youtube today. I wrote "learn" to the search to see what comes up... After 2 clicks I got to the video below. This is what I have learned :)

Not too much, I know, but at least there is some result for the two minutes I invested into it.


Monday, September 20, 2010

The Padova trip

Saturday, September 18, 2010, 9.36 a.m. (in the train)

I am just returning from a week long journey in Padova, Italy. I attended the course "Statistical methods for genome-enabled selection" given by Daniel Gianola and Gustavo de los Campos, dealing with Bayesian statistics, machine learning and other statistical tools that can be used in evaluation of genomic information.

The group of attendants was very diverse, consisting mainly from Italians of course, but also people from Slovenia, Slovakia, Brazil, Indonesia, Australia/Ireland, Austria, US and others.  The content was very advanced (as one can expect from prof. Gianola), but it was presented enthusiastically and sometimes with very funny commentary (as one can expect on prof. Gianola).

I also liked the course not because of its content, but also because it helped some the new ideas to pop up in my mind. In particular it drove my attention to machine learning. I knew also before that something like this exists, but until now I omitted the topic. After this week it seems that I will dive into it more deeply. Gregor Gorjanc mentioned a video site dealing with Machine learning, perhaps this is a good place to start.

At the end of this short post I also would like to thank you Alessio Cecchinato for the great organization! 

Update: Here is a video showing a part of the course.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Book counting exercise

If you ever wondered how many books are out there, now you can get an "educated guess" from Google. After reading the whole post it turns out that it was not a simple sum, but rather a sophisticated algorithm what they had to use.

Read the post if you are interested in details, if not, I give you the short answer:
The "educated guess" mentioned above is 129,864,880 books.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

World Congress on Genetics full papers online


Beginning of August I was in Germany on the 9th World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production. It was a great event with excellent organization. If you don't know the event, I can describe it briefly as the Olympic Games of animal breeders. It is organized every 4 years with participants from all over the World.

The only thing is that after some time it is very hard to find the full papers from the congress. Partly from this reason, and partly because I was asked by our Erasmus Mundus - Animal Breeding and Genetics students, I put the full CD online. Also I put up the previous two from France 2002 and Brazil 2006. These are not reachable on their original websites, so if you need them, just click the link.

Happy downloading! :)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reboot

 In the past several days I was thinking about my blogging "career". I like the idea of having a blog, a personal space for my thoughts. But obviously I can't post as many times as I initially thought.

To clarify this point: At the beginning (a few months ago) I was starting this blog to write extensive posts about the topics of my interest, which are research (in particular in developing countries), new media and the education of the context of the previous two. I wanted to write long posts to disseminate good ideas and adding mine.

The main problem is time - the usual excuse. I was surprised how long it takes me to write a longer post. Even when I find some time to sit down and write, it takes me around 2 hours to put everything together. This most likely because I want to work out every aspect of the formatting/language. The posts evolve during the writing, which takes time of course. The best example is this post. I wanted to write 5 sentences, and look where am I now...

Anyway: I am starting with the blog again. If for nothing else it is a good writing practice (+ I hope it will be of use in the future somehow).

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Back to the Ground

After a longer time I am back to my blogger keyboard writing down some things that were in my head for a longer time. Now it is time to "digitalize" them...

There was an event organized by the Centre of Development Research called Soil health: Pathways to well-being in developing countries. It was held on 16th June, the advent of the World Day to combat desertification. This time I knew that I want to write down my thoughts to this blog, so I took a paper to make some more sophisticated notes, not to end up like during the waste management presentation.

This time the discussion was somewhat closer to my field of animal breeding, but the main focus was on the soil. Still, it was interesting to hear some new things. The first new info I got right with the second sentence of the opening speech. This was that desertification is not connected to expansion of existing deserts. For me the meaning was exactly this: desertification = desert expansion. Instead of "my" definition desertification means degradation of soil because of human acivities such as overexploitation, overgrazing, an inappropriate use, as well as climate change.

You can get a crash course on the meaning of inappropriate use by watching the video Killing Fields - the battle to feed factory farms. These issues (not only in South America) are of big importance. Saying it shortly: approx. 25% of Worlds surface is endangered by desertification, directly affecting lives of cca. 200 million people.

There was also a link to the International Year of Biodiversity. As it was pointed out during the discussion the soil "produces" and "sustains" biodiversity. Thinking about it this way, it is true... The whole agriculture is connected to the soil. For the plants it is obvious, but also the ruminants relying on pastures and the monogastric animals on the feed that was produced there. Also carnivores are connected to it through their prey. Without soil there are no herbivores, no carnivores, no people...

The second part of the discussion event resulted into a more general discussion about development research and the importance of the participatory approach with local people.

If you have doubts what development research means then I have two (self made) definitions for you.

The first one is the plain explanation: Research done in developing countries on almost any issue.

The second explanation is more complicated, I will illustrate it with a methaphor. I like to think about development research as a big puzzle game containing social sciences, water and waste management, all possible branches of agriculture and some more things I am not aware of. Now you have this big puzzle... You don't know how many pieces are in total or how or where to find them. And the goal is it put the picture together.

There are people who are committed for the search. As for me, I believe I have found on more piece during that evening.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Course on Quantitative Genetics

Last week we attended a quantitative genetics course in the City of Life Sciences.  Five days of information flow about Selection theory and other advanced topics from the field (course notes available). It was a great experience from several reasons.


First of all: The presenter was none other than Bruce Walsh from University of Arizona. He is a well known, I would say iconic, figure in quantitative genetics. In short, one of the best to learn from.
In addition we practically got his new book in form of course notes. Several hundred pages which were only partially covered during the course - there are loads of things to read at home. To say the truth, if he would say everything from there we would celebrate the New Year there for sure.
The only drawback was/is that the slides are available only for Mac. It would be good to have a "European friendly" PC version as well.


The other great part of the course was the environment itself. This was my third visit of the Netherlands (all in Wageningen), but I just love to return here. This was the first time I had the opportunity to try out the typical Dutch habit of biking. Our hotel was around 5km from the course venue, so we got an additional exercise two times a day. Fortunately the terrain was flat, so we had no big difficulties moving around.

In fact there is a hill near Wageningen which might be mentionable in the Netherlands, but it is ridiculously small everywhere else. Bruce was making jokes during the whole course about this, calling it "Mount Wageningen" :) Yep... Compared to Rocky mountains it is a difference.
 

Monday, May 31, 2010

Animal Breeding in the Digital World

Last week I gave a presentation to my colleagues about the possibilities of finding and sharing information on the contemporary internet. Since this was a part of our weekly department seminar I called it "Animal Breeding in the Digital World". But frankly, it was more about the internet stuff than animal breeding. (Note: the "Digital World" supposed to point to our Information age as well as a metaphor for the Internet.)

I had two reasons to do this kind of presentation instead of the conventional one. I gave at least 4 presentations in the last 3 years on survival analysis so it was some kind of refreshment for me. The other reason one is more complex. Let's just say that I was influenced by people like Michael Wesch (you might have seen his video The Machine is Us/ing Us or his presentation A Portal to Media Literacy) and a fellow from the other side of the World named Leigh Blackall, whose happens to be a blogger too. ... or I happened to be a blogger because of him :)

In the presentation I showed sties like the Internet Archive, Google Wave or Delicious (my bookmarks). Actually my main point was the suggestion for them to set up a Delicious account and use a feed reader to increase their efficiency on the Net.

I am wondering how much I succeeded. Certainly not on the full scale... But I hope to make a similar presentation in the future going into more details about a few key points. This might have a greater impact on the people, so I could convince them to form an active Delicious network (for starters).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The teacher matters

I have some time now to browse the net. Just remembered one of my delicious bookmarks of a guy at Stanford university giving a lecture on a "sort of introductory course on programming". This particular video interesting not only because of the content (I am also a "sort of " programmer), but also because of the lecturer.  

He is just hilarious!  See yourself!
Here are other course materials if you are interested.



I usually don't look at the comments on Youtube, but in this case it is also worthwile. Majority of the people are praising the lecturer, some of them even express the wish to go to Stanford. An other quote from a commenter:  
" I wish my teachers was like him :(
 i'm in highschool and my teachers are
like serious 80% of the time and angry 20% of the time." 

So here is my point:
The personality and the mood of the teacher matters at least as much as the wise things s/he want to tell. I am not saying that every student has to laugh through all classes, but a well placed joke or an occasional smile could help a lot.

Sidenote: If you are interested in programming you might want to check out the game Light-Bot 2.0. It teaches programming basics in a fun way. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Picking ideas

Quite some time now I am interested in issues dealing with developing countries. I heard some people saying that reserachers are interested in these geographical areas because there is where the money goes. It might be true that some people are driven more by the vision of high salary rather than the willingness to help. We are different and the normal distribution applies also in here...

As I never crossed the borders of good-old-Europe, I don't have any personal experience about life in developing countries. The interesting thing in this field is that there are very few answers to many questions raised . I have my own: How can a man improve the life of many?

This week I was on a discussion event organized by Centre for Development Research. It was about waste management - not really my topic. But the title was very interesting Picking ideas, which I "borrowed" also for this blog post.

For me the most valuable outcome from this lecture and discussion event were the general remarks of the presenter about the connection of University research and the real need of people in developing countries. He emphasized his message several times. While he was not denying the importance of big projects and "hi scale" ideas (mostly for the industry, as he said) but at the same time called for research solutions driven by real demand. He argued that writing scientific papers is irrelevant for people in developing countries.

In a presentation full of questions a final one came:
How people learn?

There were some hints during the presentation:
- researchers have to reach people on very local level
- there is a difference between project demand, government demand and real demand
- that the researchers should go to a pro-poor leadership rather than poor people to specify the demand

I also remembered a paper (Jean Gradé et al: Building institutions for endogenous development) I read several years ago which was saying: "The success [of the project] may be due partly to the fact that it has been an endogenous movement (from within) rather than exogenous (initiated or led from outside)."

My answer for the question how people learn would be:
People learn from those whom they trust.
Maybe just a partial answer, but this is my best one at the moment. Anybody has a better one?

My original questions still remains however.
How can a man improve the life of many?
I still don't know...

Comments:
Personally I agree with some points the presenter made about the necessity to know the environment in developing countries from personal experience, not just from the office desk, if you want to do a research or any other kind of project there. What I don't fully agree with is the non-importance of "hi end" research for people in less developed countries.

I have that luck to work in a very international group with people from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe. Although we work on different topics, I have some insight what they are doing. I am pretty sure that research findings laid down in papers are relevant for us (Europeans) as well as for our colleagues from all over the World. Maybe this is because we are working in animal breeding and given the importance of this field in the developing world. A few of my colleagues are doing community based breeding programs, but at the same time highly  interested in genomic selection (i.e. selecting animals according to DNA information), which is the hottest topic nowadays in animal breeding.


Notes:
These I left out from the main text in order not to disturb its flow.


 The term "developing country"
As one of our EM ABG students said, the term "developing country" is flawed. All countries are developing in a sense that they want to be better and better with each year. This has a point! After a short search I found out that the definition of a "developing country" is not a straightforward one, and that it is decided mostly according to income per person, or some similar measurement unit.

I was living in a developing country
 I just noticed that my home country (Slovakia) is considered to be developed just from 2009, probably because of the introduction of Euro. Other neighboring countries like Poland and Hungary are still in the emerging group. Strange... (Source via Wikipedia)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Wave of change

I thought I could say a few words about Google Wave. This is one of the newest large scale project from Google that in my opinion will change/improve the way of communiccation as we know it today.  
(Note on "newest": In fact Google Wave was announced in May 2009 and the preview was launched in the second half of 2009, but as they say: Everything is new for an infant...)

In short:
Google Wave is an online platform for communication and collaboration in real time. At the first glance it looks like a hybrid between email and chat, but it is much more.

The real strength of the Wave is in the various gadgets that could be installed with one click, which greatly help you to reshape the Wave according to your needs. Need to organize a meeting or do a quick poll among your friends where to meet for a beer? Brainstorm session at your working place? Organize your thoughts via a Mind map? No problem! With Google Wave you get everything in one package!

It is interesting to see how this platform evolves before our eyes. Some time ago we started a brainstorming session (picture above), how Google Wave could be used in education. Now anybody can start a brainstorming wave using a neat template already explaining the basic rules. (btw. This wave is now public, so if you have some ideas, feel free to share them. You will need a Google Wave account for this.)

There are many more features that I can't and even don't want to cover in this post. You could check them out personally on the two Youtude videos embeded below, or going to the Getting started... help page where you will be filled with the basics. They also have an official blog to announce new features. But as always a simple Internet search will tell you what you want to know.

To be honest there are also some difficulties using the Google Wave.
You need a Google account to sign in - this is not a big surprise to be honest.

As it is a relatively new project the number of people with access is limited. You can't get a group of people online immediately. There are a limited number of invitations, but these does not arrive immediately after sending. As the developers say: "We have a lot of stamps to lick." Personal maximum was 1 week, minimum only 10 minutes. You can also request invitation by yourself. This is how I got mine after several days of waiting. This issue will likely purge after some time as it gone now for Gmail.

There are also some technical issues, like occasional crashes and inability to use any kind of web browser.

But if you sum it up, the "pro"s of using it exceed the "contra"s by far.


See you on the Wave! Ahoy!

Update: As of 18th May 2010 Google Wave is available for everyone. Hurray! :)
Update 2: The length of the post shows how enthusiastic I was about this topic at the time. Unfortunately Google shut down the project triggering a massive "Google Wave is dead" - wave on the Net. But the good news is that the Apache picked up the idea. So let's hope for the best.





Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Next blog, next feed

I am new in the Blogosphere. As a newbie I went on, and tried to experiment with the "Next blog" button on the top. What I kept getting were various family blogs about babies, babies and even more babies. At some point the cats came in...

After some Google exercise I found out that I am not the only one with this problem. This is a little disappointment for me, since I expected to go to a random blog, as also mentioned in one of the linked posts. Well, well...

By coincidence I was also browsing through my feed reader (the one from Google), when I found an even better feature :)  The "More like this..." button.
This picks up pages (blogs?) in the similar topic you are already subscribed to. Pretty useful!


This way I can expand my collection in an exponential rate in the matter of minutes! This is a good possibility, but I will most probably take the relaxed approach. I just don't want to end up with 150 other subscriptions I won't open any more. Most probably I will pick the best of the best :)

Good suggestions from anybody are more than welcomed though!

p.s. If you are wondering what a feed is, check out this blog post from Leigh Blackall.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Journey to the Heart of Austria (Day 2)

This post is a continuation of my previous entry about our excursion to the Austrian countryside. The much larger farm I was speaking about belongs to Manfred Gerl and his family. We were on "Holiday on farm" without even knowing it... It was good... In the evening I went out to the balcony and what I heard was a complete silence. It was a big difference compared to the rush of the Austrian capital - no cars, no music from the neighbors (what I hear right now). Nothing but silence. Re-freshening!

In the morning the ladies from the Gerl family served us a "personal" breakfast. They asked us what we want, how the eggs should be cooked. Everything we wished. This was again a big difference what I have seen so far compared to the "regular" hotels.

After the breakfast we had a tour around the farm with the farm owner as our personal  guide. It was interesting to see the differences compared to the 7 Little Goats farm. This was also a family farm, but with much higher number of animals (cca. 40 cows and a larger flock of sheep), which inevitably  requires a good mechanization.

Our time ran fast and we had still lot of things to see. We said a farewell to the family and went on to our next stop. It was the Gumpenstein research station again. Because of time pressure we haven't seen their sheep and goats the day before. They have a nutrition research experiment up and running for goat grazing. More interesting than the project itself was the person who guided us - an older guy with a "Hulk Hogan" beard. I don't remember his name since I have a terrible memory for this. At one point he said: "If you don't have any problem, buy a goat!" Obviously a sheep person...

Although sheep and goats are similar (from the animal breeding point of view) there is a huge difference in their "personality". Goats are very curious, even stubborn. They go where they want, do what they want. The direct opposite are the sheep with their flocking instinct. Easy to scare, easy to manipulate. It might be that I am simplifying the things too much, but this behavior was obvious also on the 7 Little Goats farm, where we met both species in close quarters. While the goats almost jumped off from their place, the sheep immediately rushed to the farest corner of the barn.

I am (moderately) for the goats! :)

Next stop: The agricultural show. This was a unique opportunity, since they celebrated 100 years of animal breeding in the region. Perfect weather, beautiful environment. What else to wish for?!

Free entry! Definitely! In this we got a huge help from "Hogan" who negotiated it for us. (This guy has really good connections around there, since he was able to do the same trick previous evening, saving us the entry fee for an hour long dance in the local disco club.)

As you would expect there were plenty of cattle around. Not just for fun, but actually to take part in a serious competition, a sort of beauty contest. Skilled evaluators searched for the best animals mostly considering their type traits - their exterior. As one of them said, he was searching for the "modern cow", the one that is the prime example how the breed should look like in the future.

Also here was something extremely interesting, but as usual, the whole happening went on behind the scenes. If you imagine a Miss competition, the inevitable part is the photo shooting. It is not different in animals either. But while the young ladies go before the objective willingly, in cows could be a slight problem. So here is the question: How a 70 kg owner forces his cow with its 600 kg body mass to stand on one place in a specific pose, if she does not want. The answer: With patience. Much patience.
If you don't have to do this personally, it is quite funny to see people trying to move the cow's leg in order to take a nice shot of the udder. The person moves the cows leg. The cow puts it back. Our guy moves the leg again. The cow puts it back. The guy moves it again. The cow decides to go for a short walk - for a change. And this went on at least 10 minutes before they actually made it.

Later in the afternoon we had to move, as always. This time we started our trip back to Vienna. As we were in the mountains we also made a little hike to an ancient Roman style church nearby. I don't have any photos of that church (which is a pity), so I give you the view to the valley.
 This church is not used for quite some time now, but still kept tidy fom inside and outside. As we were so close, we also went to see the other church they had in the same village. This was originally also a Roman one, but finished (or renovated?) in Gothic style with a cemetery around it.

Here came the last surprise on this extraordinary trip. In the basement of the church we could see a pile of human skulls and bones. As we (the non-Austrians) were told, these bone were dug out from the old graves, cleaned and put to their final rest to a separate place. In this way the local people deal with the lack of burrial places. Very strange... In my country, which is just around the corner, it is unacceptable to dig out somebody from the grave. And judging from the comment of my other colleague from Tirol  this is not unusual in the mountain regions of Austria. Very strange... It seems that I have still lot to learn about this country.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Journey to the Heart of Austria (Day 1)

We have just returned from a two day excursion in Styria. Two days full of experiences from the rural Ausria in a breathtakingly nice environment. The main idea was to visit some typical family farms so common for Austria.
Besides of the surroundings and schedule the trip was interesting also because of the composition of our group. From total of 16 people we represented 12 countries and 4 continents. The countries were: Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Bosnia, Croatia, Ethiopia, Egypt, Ghana, Pakistan, Iran, Bhutan and Mexico. Not an ordinary bus ride for sure...


Before going to the farms we stopped at the research station Raumberg-Gumpenstein. People from there took us to a tour into the most interesting places of the station.
Besides of various facilities for research in animal nutrition they showed us some large plots to study (Alpine) grassland management. Although I was not particularly interested about this, it turned out as one of the most interesting parts of the day. This was mainly because of the explanation that was given to us. Once again I have seen that the way of communication and shoving some enthusiasm during the speech can take the message through, no matter of the topic.
Besides of other things the guy (I forgot his name) said during his explanation: "Everything is connected!" I kept on thinking about this simple phrase, and remembered the book I read some time ago. The book Modern and Mobile emphasizes the need of improving the pastoral systems in Africa. As I am interested in animal breeding in developing countries, the topic of grassland management seems to be relevant also for me after all!
 
In the afternoon we arrived to the highlight of day 1, a small family farm called 7 Geisslein - 7 Little Goats. It is needless to mention that the farm itself is located in a beautiful environment (the first picture in this blog entry is the view from their house). I have "borrowed" the family picture, more info about the whole family on their introduction page.
We were shown around the (surprisingly big) little farm by the owner himself. In the animal breeding point of view Michael (the father) is also interesting, as he heavily participated on creation of the official database for sheep and goats in Austria. Data collection in the right way is one of the cornerstones in animal breeding, and to participate in it's creation is a big thing.
We also got a chance to taste their dairy products from goat milk. As the goat milk has the reputation of "not so good" and "smelly" milk, I was cautious. But then I said that if I am here, I will taste. Picked a yogurt (from goat milk it is drinking consistency) and went on. It resulted to yet another surprise: It was very good, without any sign of "goat smell". Barbara (the wife) told us that this is because of high hygiene during the milking and the quick cooling right after. Another bunch of things we have learnt...

As the day turned into dusk, we had to move on... We said farewell to the family and went on to the next (much larger) family farm. This served also as a hotel, so we could have some rest.
It was a good day...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

{{Welcome}}

OK, that's it! I just set up my very first blog :) Getting familiar with the environment and stuff...

As for the first post I would like to introduce myself and tell a few words why am I here.

Me:
My name is Gabor Meszaros researcher and sometimes lecturer at University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, also known as BOKU. My field is quantitative genetics and software development with the main objective to improve the Survival Kit - a software package used for survival analysis.

On the Net I use the name "Gbaor" which is (as you might have guessed) a misspelling of my first name. I am (sometimes more, sometimes less) active on Wikiversity under the same name - Gbaor.

About this blog:
Well... I would like to drop in here sometimes and write about the stuff that interests me. This could be nearly anything, but to narrow down the things a little bit: most probably there will be topics around web 2.0, education, learning and research. I am also interested in animal breeding in general and animal breeding in developing countries in particular.

... and I am curious how this blog will evolve.

p.s. In case anybody reads this, leave a comment for a beginner blogger to boost his confidence ;)