Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Going Mobile

A short post to mark the day I entered to mobile internet "community". Today my Android phone finally arrived so I played with it a bit.

First impression was only confusion what to press to get where I want. I know it should be easy, and "everything at your fingertips" stuff, but still it took some time to get somewhat familiar with it. I guess the feeling was similar when my parents generation is confronted with computers for the first time. Ok, maybe not that bad...

I synchronized the phone with my Google account and tried to send a mail. It was ok, except I unintentionally saved the draft like 5 times... But if worked out at the end...

My biggest challenge to data was/is a trivial thing of inserting phone numbers for the contacts.
To clarify: To my great surprise all my Gmail contacts are in my phone (most of them only email), but I could not find a way to include an additional mobile number via my phone without having to re-create that contact. So what I did is that I updated the contact info in Gmail online and voila' now I have "call mobile" in my phone as well. A bit crazy to deal with these things via servers located who-knows-where, but oh well... happens...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Learning German

Personal log.

I like to write a blog in general, as it allows me to remember things which I would forget in the course of time. Probably I am not keeping the track of all things on this blog that would “qualify” in terms of importance, but at least something…

Today I am continuing my push for learning proper German. After 2 years in Austria it would be nice to speak it fluently. I am in a lucky situation that I can survive and socialize using my English around here (at least at the university and also in the city). Everybody at our institute has a decent knowledge of it, and my placement in the office for MSc and PhD students mostly from other countries adds to level of comfort even more. English rules our office! Well… Sometimes it is Amharic given the large number of Ethiopians… :-) 

Back to the German language… I have studied it for four year in school but not used it for quite some time. When I started to work in Vienna I started to learn again several times, but left off with it for different reasons. Well… convenience mostly… But this time I should push until the fluency at least to the level of my English.

The question is how you learn a language. I read a bit about this on the Net and found out various opinions and as a by-product of the search valuable resources as well (notably Deutsche Welle). These might bring you until some point where you understand some lines in the newspapers, catch a phrase or two in the talk. You can reach this point relatively easily. After that it all comes down to the performance of a muscle. The sitting one… As everything, the knowledge of a language does not come by itself. Comes with hours and days spent by learning. No shortcuts are possible here…

In a way I am still on the beginning of the journey. Wish me luck…  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Five years of European Master in Animal Breeding and Genetics

29-04-2011, in the train from Vienna to Bratislava

Friday again and I am going home for the weekend. I decided to use my travel time a bit more productively and write something to the blog.

This week the central EMABG office submitted our application to the continuation of the European Master in Animal Breeding and Genetics project to the European Union. This was a final step in a process taking several months, starting in October 2010 in Uppsala, Sweden, continuing in January 2011 in Paris, France and ending with the final click in Wageningen, The Netherlands. Additionally sending lots of emails in between, with lots of people involved, of course. Now the usual procedure follows, so the peers can assess our and all other submitted projects, and decide which ones are the best. We wait and we hope to get through…

At this time the selected students of the fifth group are busy preparing their documents, group three and four is getting the “study within EMABG” experience and the guys from first and second group already utilizing their knowledge in various places of the World.

As always, pictures tell more than words, so I am attaching some screenshots of Google maps. A great thanks goes to Laura putting these maps together. First one showing the work places of group 1 and 2 students (already graduated), the second one the origin of students from all 5 groups.

From obvious reasons the names and exact places are omitted, but this helps to get the picture. I think the EMABG is a big success story, with applicants coming from all over the World, and with a perspective of continuing work in the field of animal breeding. It is a bit strange to me that we haven’t got any students from Australia, New Zealand or Japan, although the animal breeding should be very strong in these regions… Maybe there will be some in the next editions though :)

Also you can notice that the working place concentration for graduate students is in Europe at the moment. The reason for this one is the PhD studies that many of our former students are pursuing. Also one additional project (European Graduate School in Animal Breeding and Genetics) got approved, so the PhD possibilities in Europe in the field are enriched even more.

Edit: As for the most recent edition we got an Australian and a Japanese student as well :)