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Mini terrariums

Mini terrariums in glass bowls.

As a little holiday project, I got to working on mini terrariums. I had a few different ideas that didn’t all work together. So I ended up making three different variants. For one, I have some leafy plants and an animal prop. For the second one, I have moss and an toadstools. And finally cactus/dry succulents. I wanted a tiny sign post prop for the cacti but didn’t manage to get one. I bought the ~10cm glass balls from eBay, and the props from toy stores. The glass balls were filled with a small amount of charcoal followed by soil. The exposed soil on the top is covered with a thin layer of fine gravel. in hindsight, these glass were too small to work well. Also finding suitable plants of the right size can be tricky. Propagating cacti can be a bit of a pain.

Snowy Landscapes

A short winter getaway and snow landscape photography.

I had a few days off and took the opportunity to go on a short getaway to snowy winter wonderland. The snow in Uppsala and most of Stockholm and southern Sweden is rubbish. To find some, good quality snow, one needs to drive 5 hours west to Norway. Regions north of Mora and places such as Sälen and Stöten seem to have a decent quality snow. I stayed at an STF hostel called Sälens Vandrarhem, close to Stöten. Nice, cozy place and the owner is a fun dude. At this time of the year, the hostel is literally empty and it was all mine. I drove a bit into Norway to the little town of Ljørdalen. The town centre is basically 2 houses, one of which is a supermarket and the other is a church. The snow in Norway is much nicer. Heavier and more consistent. The landscape is absolutely amazing.I also saw a whole herd of Moose wandering about. Unfortunately, they got away before I could get my camera. This place is excellent for winter photography.

Photo calender using R

Create an elegant photo calendar completely using R.

I had this idea of using some of my travel photos to create a photo calendar. I would normally go about it using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. But, that would involve a lot of manual work placing dates and days for each month. I would also like to mark some public holidays and friend’s birthdays. So, I wondered if it might be possible to do it with R. After fiddling about with it over the weekend, I managed to make it work. It went better than I expected. And here I am recreating the calendar using some stock photos. All stock photos are royalty-free from Pexels. For the impatient ones, the whole code and images are available at this Github repository. For detailed guide, keep reading.

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Scraping Instagram and choosing hashtags

We scrap Instagram for basic public data using R to help us pick optimal hashtags.

If you are an Instagram user, at some point, you care going to be interested in the various metrics such as followers, number of posts by a certain user etc. You might want to compare these metrics between different users or to find out the number of posts with a certain hashtag etc. The casual way to do it is to go the relevant Instagram page and look at the metric and write it down somewhere, and go to next and so on. Clearly this is not ideal strategy if you want to look at a few hundred pages. It would be neat to get this data in an automated manner.

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Texas

A conference trip to Austin, Texas and my experiences.

This was my first trip to the USA, mostly to attend a conference in Austin, Texas. And then I took a week to go around and explore the place. I managed to visit Houston and San Antonio as well.

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